Lucifer’s Master Plan

Lucifer: I want him—body and soul. Wait
until he reeks of fear and desperation for, by then, he will be ripe for the
picking. Do not fail me, Amon (Virgil).

Amon the demon, disguised as
Virgil proceeds to watch Dante

***

Virgil watches Dante as he walks
toward the Usurers

Geryon: A human? Did I smell his cord correctly?

Virgil/Amon: Indeed, but I must hasten as to
not tip him off. I am on Lucifer’s
orders to bring Dante to the pit for his entertainment. You must cooperate and
let us ride on your back to the Eighth circle.

Geryon: Can he not smell you? I have
heard Dante to be intelligent. Well then, he must be starstruck by the skin you
wear! Ride on and I will not speak a word. 

Dante walks back to Virgil and
Geryon, his countenance unreadable. Both Virgil and Dante get on Geryon’s back
and ride down to the Eighth circle.

Dante: I am, once again,
filled with fear. My guardian, my teacher, my Virgil is but a farce. I still
remember the Usurers. . .

Usurer
#1:
 Why are you
here?

Dante: I am on a journey through Hell. It
is certainly not easy, but the knowledge I will acquire will be beneficial to
all in my world. Others can learn from my experience here.

The Usurers wail painfully, causing
Dante to jump back.

Usurer
#2:
 How indeed
will you share such knowledge from here? Are you that delusional to
believe your body and soul will ever feel the wind of the world? It
must be through imagination only, for the deeper you go through Hell, the more
permanent your stay!

Dante: What is this? You must be filled
with jealousy at my circumstance. Do not attempt to stray me from my
purpose.

Usurer
#1:
 He
speaks the truth. But are your motives without selfish purpose? A place
for you awaits if that is not so. Do you really believe Virgil is who he says
he is? We know him as Amon—appropriately so for he hides behind the flesh
of your Virgil.

Dante: A demon? This cannot be. I have followed him faithfully through the depths. Yes, there has been
some doubt on my part, but I have only questioned his experience. Please do not
tell me he is not my Virgil! What am I do? Tell me, how I can flee this
Hell with my body and soul intact?

Usurer
#1:
 You will meet
only one other who has worn the same shoes you are wearing now. Only he has the
answer and experience. I warn you, though,
do not attempt to deal with any other demon you meet. I am already being
tormented, so I have nothing to lose or gain, but the demons have a lot to gain
and nothing to lose.

Dante: When will I meet him?

The Usurers wail loudly, reminding
Dante that Virgil/Amon told him to keep his speech brief. He looks upon the
Usurers with a mix of gratitude and pity, turns and walks toward Geryon and
Virgil/Amon.

Dante: I sit here on a
monstrous back with a demon riding down. Each
moment my body and soul grow roots in Hell. What trickery! How ignorant I have
been! If only I removed the wool from my eyes when Virgil first appeared, I
would have remembered Adam and Eve’s fate! Be still, my soul, we will overcome.

Lucifer gets word from a demon
concerning the Usurers’ conversation with Dante.

Lucifer: That good for nothing Amon!
Boasting around about getting to wear Dante to the prom! But my plans will not
go awry. In fact, I am presented with an opportunity of even more
entertainment, and possibly a better plan than the original. Right, tell Amon
that when they approach the divided flame in the Eighth circle, he must be the
one to ask the question.

***

Dante fails to ask Ulysses how to
escape from Hell.

Dante: Curse this demon!
Mercy, dear
God! If You can hear me in these depths, I was tragically mistaken and
deceived! Help your lost sheep! Alas, my last resort, my last fighting chance
lies in the hands of the one that orchestrated such events. . .

Dante and Virgil/Amon make their
way to the Ninth circle where Lucifer is. Being inexperienced and never
having set foot where Lucifer is, Amon gets
distracted. Dante seizes the opportunity to approach Lucifer.

Dante: Sir, I beg a word with you. I know
I am but mortal and you can snap me in two if you wish, but I must
reason with you, for my everything rests in your hands.

Virgil/Amon: Dante! No! Come away!

Lucifer: Amon, quiet. You should know your
secret was discovered when you stupidly sent Dante away to the Usurers.

Virgil/Amon: Master, how can it be? Forgive me
for being careless, but does it matter now? Look here, Dante stands before you,
body and soul as requested! I have not failed you.

Lucifer: You are right, it matters not.
Now, quiet. Dante has something on his mind.

Dante: Sir, yes, I am aware of the plans
you have set out for me, but I hope to come to some kind of agreement
that grants me freedom from here fully intact.

Lucifer: From where I sit, that does not
sound like a good deal for me. You must be delusional in thinking you
would not suffer a loss after obtaining knowledge of the Underworld. You cannot
simply take from me. You have to give me something in return.

Dante: What can I offer you,
sir, that grants me freedom from here?

Lucifer: I offer only one deal. If you
refuse to deal with me, then Amon over there will be wearing your meat-suit
while your soul and I get acquainted. Just know, I am not responsible for
Amon’s actions in your world. Whatever reputation you have built up there is on
the line.

Dante: I certainly do not like the sound
of that. What is your offer?

Lucifer: Leave Hell without your soul.

Dante: Without my soul? (inner thoughts:
I should just take it. My body will be my own, and if Lucifer is lying about
Amon using it, I could delay bodily torment while I find a way to retrieve my
soul when I am back in my world.) 

Lucifer: So, what do you say? Amon is
itching over there.

Dante: I accept. My soul remains here,
and I take possession of my own body and walk out of Hell.

Lucifer: Amon, lead him to the exit. I’ll
be seeing you again, Dante.

Dante and Virgil/Amon exit through
Lucifer. Once Dante is back in the world, there is an apparent change in him.

Dante: Well, that was an experience
worthy of the pen. I must hasten while these memories are fresh!

Without his soul, Dante does not
have a conscience, and decides he does not need his soul. In fact, without his
soul, he is a better writer.

Dante: Such marvelous words I have bled
on these pages! Truly the world needs to read this, but I must add more
journeys to nicely wrap it all up. I guarantee this work will make me
unforgettable!

Dante writes about his journey to
Purgatory and Heaven, which never happened.

Dante: I shall call this The Divine
Comedy
. Of course, I must rewrite history when Amon and I rode Geryon. The
world does not need to know that.

***

Lucifer: Dante is certainly exceeding my
expectations, way better than that imbecile Amon. In the years to come, Hell
will be filled with the souls of those easily strayed by his words!

On September 14, 1321, Dante’s body
breathes its last breath. On March 25, 2020, Italy commemorates March 25th
as National Dante Day.

Lucifer: Truly, I could not have envisioned
a better masterpiece! A National Dante Day? Why, souls will be coming in by the
thousands! (laughs)

Past Lucifer’s laugh, painful wails
can be heard from the Eighth circle.

Usurer
#1:
 Selfish
motives, indeed. What a fraud.

Usurer
#2:
 Truly. He is
down there, united with his cord, dancing in his flame.

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