"Conversations with the Devil"

by C. Ikpoh

I conversed with the one possessing a forked tongue. His words were slight in their singularity, but with each string woven combining them together, their weight amassed to that of an unbearable burden. Ever so convincing, all rhyme and reason flew by my mind as it grasped for some semblance of understanding. His vernacular chimed against the metallic bars built around my sanity, ringing vibrations of elusive logic. Though I knew his intent, I could not resist the nectar his rhetoric poured into my ears. So sweet and delectable, my conscious became unwittingly drunk. Visions of all the things unattainable to any mortal bound by the laws of this universe flooded my sight. I walked on the surface of the sun with feet colder than the farthest nether-regions of space. The stars sprouted wings of velvet, and bowed before me swearing their allegiance with voices of crackling thunder. All I witnessed was not mine yet became promised to me.


"Beware those with forked tongues, for they embolden you with false dreams to secure your demise amidst your worst nightmares," a voice said, penetrating my consciousness with the precision of the narrowest needle. With my vision restored to a poignant righteousness, I bid the man with the forked tongue farewell.


I conversed with the one possessing a silver tongue. His voice directed my ego as the most prolific conductor guides his orchestra. Illusions of grandeur dominated my psychological state of mind. I became second to none. Blasphemy formed into idolatry as I spoke to myself in terms only a silver tongue could conjure. Even the parallel universes were incapable of mirroring my arrogance. Each syllable uttered by the silver tongued man enraged my lingering sense of humility. Every fiber within myself was embraced by the warmth of the dragon's breath. My right mind was lulled into an oblivious sense of entitlement. I believed I comprehended all things, that all mysteries were known to me. He whispered things about my salvation; that no single soul was worth saving before my own. I was the pedigree displayed at the head of all creation. Adam and Eve were merely trial and error. I began floating to heights never discovered.


"Beware those with tongues of silver, for they enchant your wants and desires. All the while, they are creating a false idol from your flesh and blood, counting the seconds until they are able to bask in your damnation." The words slid across my consciousness as a drop of water does over the healthiest of leaves. Humbly, I bid the man with the silver tongue farewell.


I conversed with the one possessing a sharp tongue. His words sliced my skin with a razor sharp wit. Layer by layer, his unbridled hatred peeled my spirit apart. As calm as a dead winter's night, his voice carried no inflection. The words seething from his mouth were absolutely monotonic. Yet, my soul shuttered with terror. My deepest, darkest secrets were known to him. The most secure recesses of my mind were accessible to him. Every ounce of memory buried away below the surface  was obtained and used to poison my serenity. Each prod punctured my armor. As my self-worth and strength leaked through the holes, I felt myself grow weaker. His tongue drew blood with each flick. No solace was given amidst his pauses. The silence was more damaging than the berating I received. It was as if I knew what he would say next, and the anticipation of the cuts his words would inflict was undeniably excruciating.  Hopelessness crept into my eyes, and I had no weapon to strike back with. I was helpless against his verbal onslaught. He dressed me in the rage and wrath of times forgotten. No intent existed in him except for the pure annihilation of any joy and happiness I may have had. Only shame, grief, self-loathing, depression and dishonor were left to cling upon.


"Beware those with sharp tongues, for their aim is to destroy the pillars you have built for yourself, collapsing you towards the lows they can no longer bear to experience alone." The words were the mortar needed to rebuild my spirit. Restored, I bid the man with the sharp tongue farewell.


I conversed with a man possessing a venomous tongue. His words were littered with malcontent. Alone I stood across from him. Yet, I felt exponentially more distraught and abandoned than one normally would standing by themself. Every face within my history of existence vanished. I knew no one, and no one knew me. Loyalty, trust, both were foreign ideals in my mind left for those, I believed, had to be foolish and naïve to value them. Slowly, my paranoia blossomed into a painful disdain. His words oozed toxins, destroying each memory cell left relating familiarity between faces and names. All I believed in, all I held dear was of no matter to me. I journeyed from the land of the abandoned to the circle of those who abandon. Anticipating like company, I was mistaken, for the circle held no spherical shape at all. Again, I was alone, left with nothing but wanting nothing at the same time. All in existence was against me. The odds within chaos theory were no longer random. His words made this very apparent. Soon, my thoughts, ideas, beliefs and convictions mutated into pathogens attacking my self. His voice grew fangs, and they settled deep into my streaming consciousness. The incisors continuously pumped poison into me, rotting the things making me capable of bonding with anything amidst the universe. I was utterly infected.


"Beware those with venomous tongues, for their poison is made to attack your strengths and isolate your weaknesses. Theirs is the way of the serpent, made to deceive and lead astray with the intent of ambushing what may be left after you have withered away from the world." The words administered were the anti-venom needed to recover all I lost. Upon finding my way back to the real dimensions of time and space I have always known, I bid the man with the venomous tongue farewell.


No conversation was left to be had. I encountered the men of many tongues, all of which ultimately failed in their mission, and they failed due to a single fact: no matter their methods, their natures or their purposes, their words could never register in my consciousness as did the words of truth... as did the Word.