Bernardo Borsé

The Devil's Scent

a short story


How much is a single soul worth? Too many have been darkened, imprisoned and tortured, suffering in endless Stygian misery. The Crossroads Café was just the right place to meet him. He was late and I had grown tired of waiting for the Devil to arrive.

I knew it was him because he was the best dressed man in the room and he had this peculiar threatening aura as he walked into the bar. His tailored suit accented his slim and tall figure. After his appearance, the room was filled with intoxicating odor of heavy plant resin mixed with a fresh orange smell and some hard-to-catch-spices in the air. I could sense it as he moved towards the table. Yes, he smelled rich, sweet and earthy deep, truly a man of wealth and taste. Hard to admit, but I had some sympathies for the Devil’s majestic appearance.

    “A lightworker, who wants to meet me, how cool is that?” his voice was of a deep timbre.

    “It could be worse.”

    “Ha! Now that’s what I call a refreshing sense of humor. Keep it. You will need it.”

    “I’m trying my best.”

    We both tried to laugh. His teeth were exposed in a condescending smile so persistent that it became a grin, then a grimace.


    “What should I call you?  “

    “Please, call me Stan,” he said.

    “All right, Stan…”

    “My name sounds quite appealing coming from your mouth.”

    “Here we are. There are so many questions I’d like to ask you.”

    “You only get three questions,” Stan answered “don’t get too pushy from the start.”

    “Stan, I need to understand who you really are. Where do you come from and what’s your story?”

    He really smelled damn good. I knew that I had only this one chance. Three crucial questions of humanity, answered by the Prince of Darkness himself, I couldn’t wish for more. His smell changed to be more of heavy sweetness buried deep in the muddy earth.

    “Maybe you wish to understand me better?”

    Before I could answer he touched my hands.

 “I was waiting for you,” a gentle female voice spoke to me.

    “Who are you?”

    After the darkness slowly disappeared I saw a woman breastfeeding a child. She smiled gently. Both of them were naked. I could observe how the elixir of life flowed into the child under its pale skin. The child grew bigger with every second. At first glance, this sight had something noble about it, if it were not for the child, which grew bigger and bigger. So the picture became more surreal to me. The growing youngling softly caressed the woman. He touched the other breast and ran his fingers over her nipple. His hand slipped between her legs.

    “That’s the circle of life,” she spoke visibly excited.

    The young man laughed loudly. Now he was a grown up and handsome man.

    “He will speak to you now,” said the nurse and left the cave.

    “I have the key to the gates of your soul,” said the man. “Through this door I will go and become your voice. You will have to allow that. Your soul will be mine from now on, until eternity. I will reward you richly for that. You have to let it happen,” the man repeated and strode towards me.

    He held out his hand: “Receive me!”

    The cave deformed. We were now in a hall of imposing size. In the corner sat an old woman weaving on a spinning wheel.

    “She shapes the dreams of all people. You can make yours real here and now.”

    Suddenly, I was back in the bar. Stan grinned seductively.

    “Stan, was that you?!”

    “I’m not finished yet, lightworker!”

    I found myself in a temple full of grotesque beings, each with a different instrument in their hands. Except for the piano, all the instruments were broken and unusable. With instruments in their hands, the beings began to dance, wild, bizarre and without balance. There was a known character in the room. Light-footed and glorious in her beauty, the nurse moved through the raging crowd. Not a single hair adorned her body. I knew where she was heading. It was the piano. As the first sounds rang out, the crowd stopped dancing and everyone had only one focus: The beautiful nurse! The milk still trickled gently from her breast. Already the first who noticed this, strove for this drop. He licked her breasts and her stomach. A new smell spread in the room. From between her legs a scent breathed so beguilingly that all these beings wanted only one thing: a drop of that preciousness that crept out of the deep female origin. Countless hands and mouths fell on the nurse.

    This is the circle of life!” she cried out.


    The beautiful creature was savagely torn to pieces.

    “It will always be like that, carnage and unrestrained bloodshed is your origin.” said the voice next to me.

    The band in the bar played Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” surprisingly well.

    “You want to know who I am?” Stan asked, “It was me, who created the matrix and made you start looking outside on the surface instead looking within. I offered you a big book; I reinterpreted and adjusted the words so many times, only to capture your hearts. My priests made you repeat my mantras again and again, until you believed my words. Actually, you carry the heavens within you. I just had to darken your souls. By choosing darkness rather than light, you started worshiping lies over truth. In doing so you became my tools. I made you blind, ignorant and selfish. You nourish me with your lush dreams and rotten desires, each and every day of your desperate lives. “

    The more intensive his voice became, the wider his smell was spreading. Suddenly Stan smelled like he ought to smell. He spread a kind of fecal-acidic and sweet aroma with slight leathery notes, like overused genitals drizzled with liquid chocolate.

    “My greatest achievement, though, was to extinguish your divine light. I achieved that you hate your true self, the stardust you’re made of, by one simple action of switching identities. Look, it’s pretty simple. Your body is the house of God. God is the light within you. You are made of Lucifer’s divine light. Today you think that your glow, the sanctuary of your true self or the light within you, is an evil spirit. Now isn’t that cool? Am I cool or what?”

    “You are nothing but a horrid demon spitting bold and shallow words!”

    “C’mon, don’t blame me for everything,” he said, “better watch your dire thoughts; because they become words and finally your words become action. You create your own darkness, your own hell that absorbs and conceals everything you are. It’s not me. I’m just the humming and immortally beautiful music for your libretto. You sell your divine energy for colored stones and printed paper. The less energy you have, the easier it is for me to grab your soul. I wear faces, you wear masks.”

    “But, what’s the purpose of it all?”

    “Oh, that’s simple. I wonder how you still don’t get it. Your pain is the driving force of my universe. The oscillation of your suffering is my fuel. You stumble with devotion like little children, driven by hatred and longing need to be like God. You are nothing but orphans, abandoned by your fathers and disempowered by your mothers, and tomorrow you will, full of anger and disappointment, kill again in the name of freedom and peace. Me? I’ll be around waiting beyond time. Mark my words!”

    “Let me tell you one thing, Stan. We are not that bad and we still aren’t lost. There’s still so much light in many of us. “

    “Who are you to be listened to? You’re like an angel without wings, a warrior without a sword. Believe me, nobody will listen to you.”

    “The one thing I don’t understand is, why are you telling me all this?”

    “Well, as I already said, nobody will believe you anyway, and besides, I’m getting bored, you know. I need some action.”


    Stan looked very cocky, leaned back with his arms crossed. He had those long, bony fingers of a piano player. I had to ask myself why his smell was so captivating. Is this suddenly perceptible, balsamic and calming odor, his hidden power? The enemy of mankind is playing with me all this time.

    “One more question, Stan. With what authority you do all this? Are you God’s lost son?”

    “You are pretty close. Yes, I am a son of God, though, I was never lost. It is you who never understood the true origin of creation. You are like the harp with broken strings. You can feel the music as the language of God, but you can’t understand or enjoy the whole symphony because you are limited in every possible manner. So you get angry. You molest her, hurt and rape her with almost each and every action you take without any penance. I can’t let this happen. I must protect her. I do what I do best by achieving that mankind fights itself,” his voice turned louder, almost like thunder, “you don’t get it, do you? God is not my father, God is my MOTHER!”

    Stan was gone. The Prince of Darkness, the great worm, left. What remained were his words echoing in my mind and darkness all around. There was nothing but darkness…and The Devil’s Scent.