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Introduction:

Linda's sin is revealed. The world rest in the balance. Steve has one choice to make. Will it be the right one?
Editing Reality

Book Three: Naughty Fantasies Unleashed

Chapter Fifteen: One Choice

By mypenname3000

Copyright 2019

Note: Thanks to WRC264 for beta reading this.

Steve Davies

“A god,” I said. The word rippled through my soul. I had set things up to be hero-worshiped, for the entire world to see me as something more than them, but to hear my wife say it was intoxicating I glanced down at my phone, at the power it held.

So many edits left...

We used to be good Christians, but then we learned about all of this truth. How the Most High operated. Things changed. And now... Now we were flirting with crossing the line into blasphemy. It was a heady rush. I stroked my wife's face. I stared into her eyes and—

Light exploded around us.

My wife clung to me. She screamed but I couldn't hear any sound. The light drowned it out. It rang with a note of pure creation. I pulled her tight against me, my hand gripping my phone. She pressed tight, clinging to me as the light surged us up and up and up.

What was going on? What was this?

The light burst from us and washed like a brilliant liquid through a room that now around me. It was like the light formed the floor, walls, and ceiling. It echoed and reverberated with the fading of a ringing bell. Gold reflected around us. Everything had this stunning radiance, all made of the purest substance on the world. Columns studded with gemstones lay everywhere. Tourmalines, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, amethysts, topazes, and other precious stones twinkled around us.

Linda clung to me as I whirled around, searching for something. In the corner, cloaked in smoke and fire, a presence sat upon a throne. The form hidden inside was impossible to see. Flickers of lightning crackled from the swirling flames and whirling fumes. The majesty radiating from it had me trembling in awe. It had my knees knocking and trembling.

Beside the throne, another figure stood, cloaked in light, a brilliant figure that shone like the rising sun, a star blazing in the morning. The figure turned to us, something in its face flickering with this smug radiance. I could get the impressions of arms crossed, eyes focusing on us.

“Steve,” whimpered Linda.

“The gallery is empty,” the figure cloaked in flame and smoke said. His voice boomed and roiled through the entire room, feeling it. “My Council has abdicated. Do you know anything about this, Steven?”

I swallowed. We stood before the Most High, his form obscured from us. The bible said none could see God's true appearance and survive. It melted the minds of humans, too much for us to comprehend. We must be in his hall. We were in heaven.

My stomach melted with fear.

“Answer.”

“Yes,” I said, trembling.

Linda whimpered and groaned. Her fingers dug into my arms, fingernails biting into my flesh.

“Did I not send you a warning against this? Did I not promise consequences if you stole any more of my servants?”

“You did,” I said. “Through Sandalphon.”

“And you thought that if you had him under your power, that I would be impotent to act against you?”

“I was told I could do as I will,” I said, lifting my head. “So I did. I made decisions to change things. Your servants were the fastest way. Look what I have done to the world. With my influence, things will become better. Poverty and human-inflicted suffering will be things of the past. No children will go to sleep hungry. No homeless shall die in the cold through neglect. Humans will care for each other and stop being selfish!”

“You had the power to do that without taking any more of my servants.”

“Two cities a day? That would take a lifetime to affect everyone in the world.”

“You could have given yourself such a lifetime. You could have had the patience to work within your limits. You had constraints, and you chose to break them.”

“You gave me the power to break them.” I held up my phone. “Right here. You put this in my hand. The power of creation. That's what you gave me. The power to remake anything I wanted. You can't complain that I used it to the fullest. You're the one that made it possible for me to take control of your servants. For them to give me more power. Why else would you do that if I wasn't supposed to use them?”

“These are not the crimes we are here to judge,” said the figure glowing with brilliance. His voice had a cruel delight to it. This haughtiness. “Steven, your actions are not your own. You are merely a puppet for the crimes of your wife.”

Linda tensed.

“My wife?” I glanced at Linda. Her face had gone deathly pale. She stared at me with this look of helpless horror. “What did you do, Linda? What could you have possibly done to cause us to be here?”

“Steve,” she said, her voice tight and hoarse.

I threw a look at this other voice. He was as brilliant as the morning star. Was this Lucifer? Was the Devil standing before us accusing my wife of some misdeed? “I'm the one who edited Sandalphon. I'm the one who wouldn't let anything stand between changing the world. I knew it was wrong, and I didn't care. It was the fastest way to help everyone. To make the world into a better place. I'm the one who sinned, not her.”

“You have done that. It is an admiral act, but it wasn't your will that accomplished it. Linda imposed her will upon you just as you have imposed your will upon billions.”

“Linda?” I glanced at my wife again. “What is he talking about? What is going on?”

She broke away from me. Her entire body trembled. She had this look of hopeless fear on her face. She clutched her hands to her chest. Fingers knitted together as she clasped them tight. Her breasts jiggled before her. Her breath quickened. The vein in her neck pulsed.

“Steve...” she croaked. “I did it for us. I did it so we could have more. So we could help everyone.”

“Do what?” I demanded, growing angry. “What did you do? What could you have possibly done to me?”

“She edited you.”

The Most High's words echoed through the golden hall. It rippled around the columns. It spilled over me. I stood up against it, weathering it. Confusion rippled through me. I stared at my wife, pleading with her to explain.

“Linda?” I reached out to her. “What are they talking about?”

“The... the... app appeared on my phone,” said Linda. “Right after you beat Seth. It was your app, but different. It had one single edit, but I could do it to anyone, even someone protected. Even to you.”

My brow furrowed. “Why didn't you tell me?”

She glanced at the glowing figure. At Lucifer. “It came from Hell. From a demon. Lilith. She spent days tempting me. She tried to get me to use it selfishly. Tried to make me jealous of you.” She darted forward and grabbed my hands. She gripped me tight. She had this wild desperation in her eyes. This look of hopeless panic that rose from her soul. “She wanted me to build a harem of schoolgirl sluts. To make myself powerful. She whispered in my ear that I could make you obey me. That I could rule the world through you. I didn't. I held off. I wasn't selfish. I did what I could for our family. Not me. Us!”

“What did you do?” I demanded.

“You wisely rejected your wife's suggestion to find Sandalphon's true name. She merely saw a shortcut to power while you were tempered by caution. You were content to work in the constraints I placed upon you. And then she edited you.”

“Through my Lilith, your wife made it so you found Sandalphon's true name, changing your history, and then put in the desire that you would do anything to change him. To fix the world. Look for yourself. See what she did to you.”

I grabbed my phone and opened the editing app. This boiling anger rippled through me. She had edited me. I had done it to her. I shouldn't be mad, but I had come clean. When she edited me, I was open to her. She was my partner. She could have come to me and told me what she had. What she could do with it. We could have figured it out for ourselves.

We both wanted to take over the world. We knew we needed Sandalphon's name. I hadn't hesitated at all to use it.

I found my profile. EDITED BY THE MOST HIGH.

“There's nothing here that says Linda edited me,” I said. “It just says you edited me, Most High.”

“That's how my app works. It's insidious. A hack upon the world. If it left obvious traces, it wouldn't be effective, but it can't hide the traces. You'll see them. You know how new desires stand out.”

Desires...

I hit the Spiritual Menu and then Desires Sub-Menu. It opened up and I scanned it. They were all normal save one. One that stood out in bold. It was a new one. My heart clenched as I read this edited desire.

• Steve Davies desires to take over the world and remake it in his image. He will not let anything stop him from doing that. No fear of threats even from Sandalphon will dissuade him.

I glanced at my wife. “Did you put this in me?”

“You... You didn't want to use Sandalphon,” Linda said. She gave me this pleading look. “It was clear to me that we had to. We would never be safe if we had his sword hanging over our heads. Our family would never find happiness so long as we were under the threat of death. What else could I do, Steve? I had the chance to fix you.”

“Without talking to me?”

Anger flared in her expression. “You edited me without talking to me. You made me enjoy incest. You put lusts in me for our nubile daughters. You turned me into a woman who seduces every hottie I come across.”

Guilt rippled through me. “But you could have told me about this. About your views. We were open. I'm sorry that I changed you, but I just wanted to make our family harmonious.”

“You wanted to fuck our daughters!” she snarled, this ugly look on her face. “And I get that. So why don't you understand why I wanted to protect our family! So don't get all holier than thou on me, Steve. We both abused this power.”

Her words slapped me. I thought about what she said. I had the world. I hadn't let anything stop me from seizing it. It felt so right to do it. I couldn't even comprehend this other Steve who wanted to be cautious, that wouldn't risk the chance of editing Sandalphon if he learned the angel's true name.

Just like Linda couldn't remember a version of her that had a shameful affair. A tryst that she couldn't stop even as it made her hate herself over and over. I only wanted to help her. To free her from that guilt and assuage her pain. And since she was cheating on me, why shouldn't I have the same. At least I made it open.

Something we could share.

I swallowed, staring at my wife. “You didn't trust me to talk to me?”

“You would have talked me out of it,” Linda said. “And I had that demon whispering to me. At least I used it for a selfless reason.”

“That doesn't mitigate your crime. You violated nature. Steven had the right, given to him by the Most High to edit reality. You did not.”

“You gave it to me!” snarled Linda at Lucifer. “You put that damned app on my phone, and then you judge me for using it?”

“I merely tested you. My accuser declared that you would sin. It was my task to find out if you would. And you did. You resisted. You tricked yourself into doing it. You told yourself it was for your family. But it was for yourself. Steven can check your desires. You hungered for power.”

I frowned at that. Did my wife crave power? She was always pushing me to edit things, but so what? I wanted to edit things. I wanted to change the world because...

• Steve Davies desires to take over the world and remake it in his image. He will not let anything stop him from doing that. No fear of threats even from Sandalphon will dissuade him.

I stared at those words. She had made it so I had these desires. Nothing would stand in my way to taking over the world. But it wasn't my desire. I could see what she had overridden with this decision. The desire that was supplanted.

• Steven Davies desires to change the world and make it better. He chafes at the restraints but doesn't see the risk in editing Sandalphon worth the potential downfall of disobeying the Most High.

I switched over to Linda's profile. I had to know why she edited me. Did she even know the truth of her actions? She stared at me. So close. My entire body shaking. I navigated to her Desires Sub-Menu.

• Linda Davies desires the power to change the world. She is eager to experience it through Steven Davies. He controls the world, and she wants him to keep modifying things. To make them more and more powerful.

I glanced at my wife. “You crave power, Linda.”

She bit her lip. “No, no, I did it for our family.”

• Linda Davies tells herself she does it for her family, but she wants the power to change things. To edit reality. To guide Steven Davies to change things to her whim.

I turned my phone to her. She trembled as she stared at the screen. She leaned in. She bit her lower lip as she read the entry. She swallowed and then she looked up at me. She looked shocked. She recoiled back from what she'd read. What she truly desired.

“But... I...” She had this look of horror in her eyes. “I love you, Steve. I do, right? I did it for our family. Right?”

“You did it for yourself,” I said.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Linda Davies

I shuddered at the sight of the phone. Right there on the screen. I had been using Steve for power? Not for my family, but so I could have more control. It horrified me. It wasn't who I saw myself as. I was a loving wife and mother. Not... Not...

Not someone who edited her husband to take over the world so I could be his queen... So I could be a goddess.

“Oh, god,” I whimpered.

The Most High's swirl of flame and fume blazed harder. I shuddered, fear rippling through me. I grabbed my husband's wrist. I had to know. Did I love him? I couldn't just be using him? If I didn't love him, I would have just made him my slave, had him do whatever I wanted. I tapped the screen, frantic, blood surging through my veins.

I shifted to the Relationship Sub-Menu. Steve was at the top of the list, followed by Becky, Sam, Marissa, and James. I tapped my husband's name and let out the largest gasp. My knees buckled. I sank to the glowing floor, trembling, my auburn hair spilling about my face. I stared up at my husband standing over me.

“I love you, Steve,” I said, tears spilling down my eyes. “Maybe I wanted to have power.” I could feel that greedy need. I was looking forward to being the queen of the world. A goddess. “But I still love my family. I still wanted us to share it. Right?”

Steve turned the phone and studied the screen. “Yeah.” Emotion shown in his eyes. He cupped my cheek. “I understand. I get it. I do. I wanted to have power. I remember wanting it even before Sandalphon. It's intoxicating what this app gave me.”

“I just wanted it,” I whimpered. “What you had. And then I got it. I knew it was wrong. A sin. I tried to fight it, to find the will to delete it. I thought it would be okay if I did it for our family. If it wasn't... absolutely selfish. It was this lifeline. I grabbed it, a way to escape the temptation without destroying myself.”

“Only you committed a crime against the Most High,” said Lucifer.

Anger rippled through me. He put that app on my phone and now gloated that I used it. I wanted to claw out the fallen angel's face. If he even had one beneath that glowing radiance that shone about him. My heart pounded in my chest. It pumped hot through my veins.

“You are the font of sin that has sprung into the world,” continued the Devil. “From you, a new wellspring of corruption stains it. Your actions have caused your husband to spread it to every living human. You have delivered the world into my hands, Linda Davies.”

My jaw dropped. I bounded to my feet. “What?”

“Like Adam in the Garden, you sinned knowingly. You were told by the Most High through Sandalphon not to edit any more angels. You ensured it happened. Steven might have done the act, but what choice did he have after you were through with him? You have tainted him. He has imposed his will on the world. Upon all of creation. Now it is MINE!” The figure seemed to whirl on the Most High. His light swelled in radiance. “You are sitting upon my throne. Your instrument has stolen everything from you and delivered it unto me.”

“Judgment is not complete.”

I trembled. I had given the Devil all of creation? I grabbed my husband's hand. I held onto him. I gripped him hard. My fingers dug into his hands. The fear dragged at me. This massive weight that wanted to pull me lower and lower and lower.

I shuddered. This couldn't be happening. “I didn't mean for this,” I whimpered. “I didn't know it would cause this, Steve.”

“I know,” he said, his face pale. He squeezed my hand. “We're in this together, okay?”

I swallowed and felt strength from him. I rose on unsteady feet and faced the triumphant Devil and the Most High. I couldn't read God's emotions. His flames swirled and spiraled. The black smoke howled around him.

“Make your judgment! You must, Most High. You have made the rules. You cannot break them! You never can!”

“What is the point in making the rules if I break them?” The Most High seemed to focus on us. “I gave others the choice. They could follow them or not. I stamped my Rules upon the hearts of all. Many have trouble following them even some of the time. Others try hard. But most do not so knowingly and blatantly disregard them as you have, Linda Davies. You were told my will and still defied me.”

I quivered, feeling some of the weight of God's presence pushing on my mind. He was so immense. I had a glimpse of his true nature. The Most High sprawled larger than the entire universe. Something vast and beyond our measly, little eternity. I shuddered, clamping onto Steve's hand. The Most High could erase me. He could destroy me with a thought. My knees shook and quivered and quaked.

I clutched tight to him. I bit my lip and whimpered.

“Steven Davies, you must understand the magnitude of what your wife has done. Her actions have left the universe vulnerable to a new owner. My rebellious child has exploited this loophole to bring us to this point of crisis. You have co-opted all of my Divine Council, the entities that affect my will, in subtle and small ways, upon your world. They are the agents that work the editing. They are the ones who manipulate all. They are extensions of my will, and you have removed them through the very tools I provided.”

I clutched so tight to my husband as we faced him.

“Because it was your actions that have caused this, even though you did not have any choice in what you did, you can negate it. You did not break my rules through your own free will. For this, and this alone, I give you the chance to set things right. Your actions in these next moments shall determine who shall rule my Creation.”

I swallowed and glanced at my husband. His breath came fast, his chest rising and falling. Perspiration gleamed across his flesh. I squeezed his hand. I knew he could do this. He was a good man. He would make the right decisions.

“You may keep all your temporal power. Your actions shall continue. You shall have all you have conquered. All you have imposed your will upon. You may keep it, for that power was placed in your hands. You have gained it faster than intended, but you possess it now. I shall not take that away.”

A surge of triumph shot through me. That was reassuring.

“However, you will fall under the influence of Lucifer. He shall have dominion over the world through you. He will nudge the world. Influence it. In your lifetime, few things will change. You shall enjoy your power until your life ends. But your children's children's children will suffer. They will see the world twisted to a new rule after you perish. One of selfish desires. One of might makes right.”

That was the wrong choice. I knew it.

“You can avoid this by erasing your wife from existence.” v

“What!” snarled Lucifer. “Erase her?”

“She shall cease existing from this point forward. She will have died. Her influence upon you shall be taken away.”

“I won't have the world to control?” Steve said. “A world that's in my image if I don't erase my wife?”

He released my hand. A blow struck me. The command I put into him. He wouldn't let anything stand in the way of remaking the world in his image. My knees buckled. Collapsed. I fell before my husband again.

“Steve,” I croaked, staring up at him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Steve Davies

“If I erased her from existence,” I said, “then she won't have edited me to have Sandalphon's true name.” My heart squeezed in pain. This hand crushed around my chest. “Without that, I won't have taken over the world.”

“True.”

My wife cried. She stared up at me with hope. I couldn't believe I was even considering wiping my wife out of existence. Her body trembled as she stared at me. She had this look of such pleading in her tear-filled eyes. She grabbed my thighs, clutching tight to me.

“I love you, Steve. I love you.”

“But if I don't erase her, then Lucifer's going to twist my world. It won't be remade in my image.” The fist around my heart crushed it. The pain was incredible. I had to choose between my ambition and my wife. “There's only one way. I have to go back to my old plan. Going slow. Two cities at a time. It will take so much longer, but I will have the world. I will have remade it in my image without the sin staining it.”

“Without your wife at your side?” Lucifer asked.

“Please, Steve, I love you. I'm so sorry. I messed up. I didn't know this would happen. I didn't know that this would be the result.” She pressed her face into my thigh. She sobbed, her tears staining my leg. “I love you! I do! Don't erase me.”

I stood torn between desires. I loved Linda, I did, but the world... I had the chance to make it better. To end suffering. No more starving children. No more warlords butchering their neighbors. The end of terrorism. War. Crime. No one would steal because their neighbors would take care of them. Humans would stop being selfish and become selfless.

I was implementing the golden rule upon everyone.

Wasn't that worth sacrificing one woman? My heart?

The world had to be in my image. Not Lucifer's and not the Most High. His world allowed evil to flourish, and Lucifer was that evil. I could feel what he wanted. He wanted me to be selfish. To choose my wife over the world so he could claim it for his own.

“Remember the first time you saw her. Kissed her. The first time you held your eldest daughter. I promise you that nothing will change. So long as you live, your world will be yours. It will be in your image. You can have your wife. Your power. I enjoy your style.”

But what about my legacy? I wanted to pass on a world that would continue to be harmonious. I couldn't do that if I handed over the power to Lucifer. I didn't trust him. He broke the rules. I wanted to trust him, I did. I was so desperate to, but...

I had to save the world.

“Linda,” I croaked.

“Steve.” She looked up at me, tears spilling out of her green eyes. “Please.”

I looked down at my phone. Something had changed. There was a new option there.

ERASE LINDA DAVIES FROM REALITY

YES

or

NO

I just had to tap one button. Make one decision. To have the world in my image, or to have my wife. One person versus saving seven billion from the petty cruelties. My finger hovered over it. Tears blurred my vision.

“Steve, I love you! You know that.”

“I love you, too,” I said, my entire body trembling. “But you didn't leave me any choice. I have a chance to remake the world, Linda. I have a chance to save everyone. They'll all be happy.”

“What about you?” She rose to her feet. “You'll hate yourself if you do this.”

“I know,” I said, my finger moving over

YES

“I'll always love you, but...” I gave her a helpless look. “I can't let anything stop me from remaking the world in my image.” I stared into her green eyes. She was so beautiful. God, she was just so gorgeous. As breathtaking as our wedding day.

My finger lowered.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Linda Davies

I caught my husband's hand. There was so much pain in his eyes as he went to wipe out my existence. I stopped him pressing the button. I trembled before him, this awful dread suffusing me. I stood on the cusp of my own destruction.

It was all my own fault. I could see it in his eyes. How I had lacerated his soul. I put him in this bind. He could not let anything stop him from editing reality because of me. Lucifer thought it would be enough to win, but the Most High gave my husband and out. A way to still have that dream.

What choice did he have? I had stolen it away from my husband and now I would cause him more suffering. He would be haunted by this day. It would overshadow everything in his existence if he pressed that button.

Emotion choked my voice as it all became so clear. I was done. Dead. There was no escaping it. I wanted to be angry, to shout and cry at the injustice of it all, but I had brought this upon myself. Even though I couldn't remember that other Linda, the original me who had cheated on Steve over and over again because she couldn't control her own desires, I was still that weak woman.

I couldn't control my desires, so I had hidden them from Steve. He had been open with me. From the moment I returned from Las Vegas, he had shown me the app, what we could do with it. He made me his partner despite what the old me had done.

I wasn't worth that. I had one chance to spare him the pain.

“Let me do it,” I whispered.

“Linda?” he asked, his voice croaking.

My free hand cupped his face. I stroked his tears. “This is all my fault. Let me undo it. Let me hit the button.”

“You'll die.”

“I know.” I stared into his brown eyes, my fingers brushing away another tear. “You'll have our daughters to love you. The concubines. James will help you. Slowly, you'll remake the world like you wanted to before I fucked it all up. This is the only way. You know it.”

I leaned in and placed a final kiss on my husband's lips, seasoned with the salt of our tears. My entire body trembled. I wanted to live. I wanted to see this future. My family grow and prosper. My grandchildren. The child I carried within me, just a little bundle of cells. All gone. I would be wiped from existence.

I broke the kiss and released his hand. I swallowed, my finger over the

YES

One tap, and it would be gone. I stared up at my husband, into his dark eyes. The last thing I would see. I felt Lucifer quivering in fury. His light seethed and pulsed. He thought he'd won, that maybe, just maybe, I'd convinced my husband to be selfish.

But Steve couldn't be selfish. I'd taken that away from him.

Peace fell upon me, and I stabbed my finger down at the phone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Steve Davies

My wife's finger plunged for the phone.

I jerked my hand away, pulling my phone from her. Her finger stabbed through empty air. Shock crossed her face. Triumphant light flared from Lucifer. The Most High's presence swelled around me as I brought my phone up.

What sort of world did I want to create? That was still left to me. A world remade in my image... That was what I had to do. But what was that world? Was it a world without Linda? I loved her so much. What did I care more about, her or all those billions of people?

I should care about the majority, but I didn't know more than a few hundred at most. Such a pathetic amount compared to the vast sea of humanity. Those in my life were the ones with whom I had formed my connection. They were the ones with whom I had bonded. Loved.

Seven billion was an abstract number. A figure too large for any human to truly grasp. It was why it could be hard to care about something terrible happening in another land. You didn't know those people. You wanted them to be safe and happy, but you had your own friend and family who were suffering. Whom you could help.

I didn't want a world without Linda. Even the old Linda. The one who was hiding her affair. The one who was miserable because she was so twisted by guilt and shame for her bisexual desires. Even that was a world that was better than the one I journeyed towards.

A world in my image was a world where I had my family. Linda, Becky, Sam, and James. There was another option here. One that I had forced upon Seth. One that I could accept at any time if I had the courage to give it up.

A reset of everything I had done.

“Steve?” Linda asked. “You can't. He'll twist what you've made. You can't trust the Devil.”

“I know,” Steve said. “I love you, Linda. Even when I found out you had been cheating on me. You and our children are precious to me. I won't give them up.” I closed the app and then pressed my thumb over it. “I will remake the world in my image! My way!”

The little red X appeared in the corner. I tapped it.

DO YOU WISH TO UNINSTALL THIS APP

YES

or

NO

I hit yes.

I closed my eyes and waited for it all to be unwound. For every single edit I had ever done to be undone. Reality would resort to what it had been meant to be. That Friday morning when the app first appeared on my phone would be gone.

No Anael tempting me.

No editing Kyleigh into the beautiful girl she was today.

No learning of my wife's affair or taking my daughter's virginities.

All the good and all the bad I'd wrought with my actions would be gone. I would go back to being a boring English professor. I'd work on the 1969 Chevrolet Impala with my tomboy daughter. I'd have to deal with Linda and Sam's squabbling. James would be lost to his fantasies of Ruri and Orihime. I would never suspect that more happened on my wife's trips to Las Vegas than catching up with her best friend.

No orgies.

No sexual depravities.

No remaking mankind into something better.

All my selfish acts would be undone.

I opened my eyes and I stood in a white space. Nothing was around me. A vast and mighty emptiness. Linda was gone. The golden room. The Most High and Lucifer. They were all gone. I was all alone except...

I saw myself. A reflection. Naked like I was, a look of paternal care on my features. I frowned and lifted my arm. It was no reflection. It breathed. It lived, but it wasn't me. Confusion rippled through my soul. I didn't understand.

“What is going on?” I asked.

“You made the right choice,” I answered. Only it wasn't me. The voice was mine, but the power behind it was immense. “That's what I had hoped for. I created your world to see if it could happen.”

“Happen?” I shook my head, staring at the Most High wearing my flesh.

“The choices have always been wrong,” the Most High said. “Selfish. Most rarely made it as far as you. They lost sight of what they wanted, just indulging in their own desires until they had twisted the world into something nightmarish. Something that forced me to act and reset everything. Not even my Divine Council or the Infernal Court could remember it all. Could see the entire plan. They couldn't know, for they were a part of it.”

“I'm not following,” I said, struggling to comprehend this. “You created the universe so that one person could stand in front of you and... uninstall the app?”

“To give up the power. You kept wanting to make the world a better place even as you indulged in your desires.”

“But I made a selfish choice,” I said. “I refused to give my wife up and refused to give Lucifer any control. A world with Linda in it is a better place than without it. We could still work to make it better without the app.”

The Most High nodded. “Exactly. A singular choice. That is how things are truly made better. That's why I allowed things to progress. I could have stopped you from editing Sandalphon. Could have stopped your wife from ever receiving Lucifer's bastardized app. I wanted to see how you would choose.”

“You're God. Didn't you know?”

“I can never see the choices that are truly made by free will.”

“But Anael told me that we are all slaves to causality when she gave me the app. That no human has free will and that I was lucky. You were giving it to me with the app.”

“True,” the Most High said. “Most people never exercise free will. Most choices you make are reflexive, without thought. They are the ones that you are just reacting to the stimuli. A true choice, one that can overcome the pressures of your experiences, your culture, your peer pressure, and your biology is so very rare. Most humans never even make a single one in their entire life. You shouldn't have chosen to save your wife. Not truly. You knew in your heart that you would never remake the world in your image if you gave up your power, but you loved your wife. You chose not to destroy her and yourself. You made a choice and defied all the pressures upon you.

“You broke the chain of cause and effect.” The Most High smiled. “It's because humans are spiritual beings that they can do this. Think of all those moments of enlightenment and change that have happened throughout human history. Someone changing society in a small way. Ending repugnant customs, a trend towards more and more care and freedom. It's incremental. Small. They come through pain and suffering as other humans react out of instinct to stop the world from changing. Without true thought and care. Even with those I give the freedom to 'edit' have trouble breaking from it. You were free from one set of pressures, but others found you. Manipulated you.”

“Anael,” I muttered.

“Your wife. Your friends. Your upbringing. But when it mattered, you did it. You made the one choice to give it all up. I've waited a long, long time for that to happen. 4.5 billion years or so. Give or take a day.”

He chuckled. I frowned at God laughing at his own joke.

“It wasn't that bad,” he said then sighed. “No, no, you are still reeling from everything.”

“I guess,” I said. “So now what?”

“Now it's yours,” he said. “The rule of my creation has always been the stakes. Lucifer winning was one of the outcomes of this game, but your wife wasn't selfish enough to ensure his victory. If she had edited you only a little differently, you wouldn't have been able to make your choice. You couldn't have brought yourself to erase her. You wouldn't have had that command driving you. You would have chosen her and the world and he would have won.”

“So my wife helped,” I said.

“No one wins alone. No one ever does it alone, even if it feels like that. There's a chain around you, a webbing that extends from you to everyone you know and from them to others and others. All your life, people have helped you. But, in this instance, your wife blocked Lucifer and gave you the chance to make your choice. You've won. The world, this universe, is yours. I'll make others. I'm sure you will one day, too.”

“Other universes?” I asked. “You created this world as a game? Just to see if someone could rise above selfishness to such an extent.” It hit me. Why humans were so petty and vicious. Why we could so easily hurt each other in pursuit of our wants. “You made us this way just to see if someone could overcome it?”

“I did,” he said. “I've made many universes for many different reasons. I'll make more. Creation is an act of sublime delight, but if it doesn't have a purpose, then it lacks soul. All good art is meant to provoke thought, to be a thorn planted in the mind. Otherwise, it's just banal. Your son understands this. You will, too. I am sure you will find your reasons to make your own universes as did I.”

“It's so petty,” I said in disgust. “How many billions of people suffered so that you could play a game with... with whom?”

“Myself. I made a wager with this universe. Glad to see that I won.” He smiled. “At least you're not alone, are you? Maybe it'll be a wager you make with Linda that provokes the first universe you create.”

I snorted. “I wouldn't be so cruel.”

“That's up to you to decide. Be well, Steven Davies, I entrust my creation into your hands. Do with this universe as you will. It's yours now to remake in your own way. I am departing off to another. I have ideas that I wish to explore. I shall leave two of my servants behind, though the rest I am taking with me, even Lucifer. He has his uses from time to time depending on the game.”

I didn't know what to say. And then I was alone.

There was the white around me and I could feel... something. Eternity. I shuddered as suddenly screens appeared around me. Thousands of them. They were all covered in data, my mind manifesting the reality that I could edit upon it. A need surged through me to take possession of my gift, to staff it with my servants.

They rippled into being. All those hundreds of Anime girls my son had drawn. Creatures not born through natural means, but wrought through the act of true creation. They were taking their places, each of them adopting a role that was vacant. Anael and Jophiel appeared next, my angels kneeling, and then I pulled others.

Living creatures.

Linda appeared at my side, sobbing as she threw her arms around me. Then my children. Last, my concubines. I brought them up into Heaven. Then I realized that this blank whiteness was the golden room, only vacant of any ideas. I was free to make of this what I wanted. It was my canvas to splash my will upon.

I took a deep breath as I stared down at my universe.

To be concluded...
1 comments

X-MAN215Report

2019-11-08 19:02:37
O..MM..GGG I LOVE IT.

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