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Short Stories School Years 11 to 13 Winner Eva De Vincenzi with ‘Your Old Friend, Lucifer’

‘Dear God!’

No. I’m getting confused. Scratch that.

‘Dear God,

I don’t think you got my last letter. Antaeus said he would deliver it to you but it may have been lost amongst the eternally tormented souls. I’m giving this letter to Dante and he’ll pass it to you on his way up.’

Judas hears my muttering.

“Why do you insist on writing letters to him? He’s never going to let you off the hook” he says.

“His whole brand is forgiveness”, I reply, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they’re doing, or whatever.”

We giggle and the sound skids across the ice of Cocytus.
We get dirty looks from the frozen heads.
Ugh. Everyone here hates fun.

Judas is my only company. I would complain, but his only company is me. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose. We look like the strange kids at lunch who sit on benches with their legs crossed and spill custard on themselves. Cassius and Brutus are too absorbed in the fact that they shouldn’t be down here in the first place because “Caesar wasn't even a benefactor”, but I don’t know what that means and there aren’t any dictionaries in the 9th circle.
Jesus is the jock. He has a varsity jacket and no one knows who his girlfriend is, though he is insistent that’s because he doesn’t have one. His hair is amazing. Everyone knows that his daddy helps him with his homework which is completely unfair for obvious reasons.

I sigh and dip my quill in fake blood. I don’t use the real stuff anymore. I’m trying to go vegan.

‘I was wondering if you had reconsidered my application for redemption. I think it’s time I move up-’

My hand begins to tremble. Maybe I have low blood sugar. I reach to Judas, my humanoid glucose tablet, and pick him up. As soon as I go to bite there’s a rumble from above. It is not me who is shaking, but everything. My three pairs of eyes dart upwards. I can see light bleeding downwards, its heat coming too close and melting the wax of hell. I remember another fallen boy with wings and I swallow through dry throats. An icicle snaps and slices open the head of a sinner. They can never catch a break.

“Adam? Eve? Where are you?” a voice calls.
It’s rich and smooth and round, like an old bell struck with a padded mallet. Its echo warms my blood but punches a chill into my chests.

“Jesus Christ, is that you?” I call back.

“Dad, did you seriously tell Lucifer I was coming? I specifically told you not to” he whispers, badly.

“I heard that” I reply.
Terrible manners. I wonder who raised him.

“Oh! Haha, sorry, old friend!”

He called me an old friend. I bet he got that from his Dad. Yeah, God and I go way back.

“I’m doing a quick harrowing of hell, but I’ll be out of your way in just a moment.”

From the light his figure appears. His hair ripples in the wind stirred by my wings.
He’s wearing his varsity jacket.

“Oh hey there Judas”, he continues, “I still think about that kiss sometimes.”
He winks and smiles. His teeth sparkle.

“Jesus”, I shout, “You don’t think you could get this letter to your Dad, do you? Just let me finish it.”

The stares of a thousand angels land on me. I feel very shy very quickly, but take my chance and lick my quill tip.

‘I am sorry. I don’t know how else to say it or what else I can do. I was arrogant and young. Every young person wants to feel the adrenaline of falling from the sky. But the moment I hit the earth and carved it to the core I knew I was wrong. I don’t want to stay down here forever. I don’t want to be the martyr for all things red and black. I am trying my hardest. It is easy for you to be good. It is easy to see the beauty when it is bright. You can touch colour and breathe life and love it all clearly and truly. It is harder to see beauty when it is dark. If there is love and beauty and life here, it is surrounded by an endless winter’s night. But though I cannot see it, I have grown to feel it; to touch the bleeding heart of my existence, taste its sweet blood and smell the flowers of its flesh. This punishment was meant to strip me of my dignity, but all it has done is remind me of it. What a joy it was to fall; what a joy it will be to get up again.
Please, one chance is all I need.

Your old friend,


I lick the envelope with my forked tongue, which is logistically very difficult. I feel like a Habsburg trying to chew.

“Here”, I say, passing my sealed hopes over to the Son of God.

He looks at it and I see something growing in him. Adam chuckles, Eve scoffs. Then there is an eruption.
All of hell, all of heaven, all of the mount in between, everything; it all begins to laugh.
I can feel the pressure of the sound crushing my heads. I hear it in all of my ears. All of my red and black hearts shatter.

He rips up my letter and the pieces freeze in mid-air as they fall.

Suddenly it is dark again. It’s the type of quiet that only comes after unbearable noise. A ringing quiet that is louder than sound itself. A driving plateau. What a humiliation.

“You tried”, says Judas in a low voice, “He works in mysterious ways.”

“Well he could give us a hint once in a while!” I retort.

I check my tone. My blood sugar must be low. Really this time.

Adjudicators Comments:
A witty and imaginative work of fiction. The story moves at a brisk pace with plenty of knowing jokes and a confident sense of satire. There’s enough in this short story that it could be expanded into a longer piece. The writer has added a new perspective to an ancient story, which is no easy feat, blending religion and mythology with American high school politics and plenty of amusement.

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