Act III, Scene 5

Mental asylum.

(Gelal, unmasked, is in a straitjacket, kneeling. Enter Xastur)

Xastur:
Gelal?

Gelal:
Don't talk to me. I've already been mocked by several of your minions.

Xastur:
Believe it or not, I haven't come to mock you. Or at least, not only to mock you. I just wanted to see what had become of you.

Gelal:
And does it amuse you, what you see?

Xastur:
Gelal, were you here in the shadows with me you would be laughing at yourself.

Gelal:
(sarcastically) Ha ha. Look at Gelal, stuck in the form of that which he most despises. Forced to spend his days listening to the inane blathering of his therapist, theorizing about how some past trauma could have driven him to do the sickening things that he did. Yes, how delightfully amusing. How frightfully hilarious.

Xastur:
Well, I think it's amusing darling. And really, you can't complain since you all but turned yourself in. (laughs) You certainly wasted no time in succumbing to the weaknesses of the flesh. How does it feel to be haunted by confusion and guilt?

Gelal:
I feel no guilt!

Xastur:
Oh really? I saw your arrest. You barely struggled. Why would you turn yourself in if you don't feel guilt?

Gelal:
Because I didn't know what else to do - I don't know how to live as a human! In any case, it matters not! What I feel right now and how I act are the result of brain chemicals and nerve impulses - it is no more than that. It means nothing...

Xastur:
You don't sound that convinced.

Gelal:
(snarls) Leave me be! Accursed flesh, filthy emotions - no wonder humans are tempted to kill themselves! I'm tempted!

Xastur:
You know that you won't find relief that way, Gelal. Whether you die sooner or later, your damned soul will burn for a very long time before you can even hope to rejoin the legions. If you commit suicide, it will only be worse for you.

Gelal:
(sighs) Yes, I know. And yet... the sooner I get back to hell, the sooner I can silence all the voices I hear in my head. How humans can function like this is beyond me.

Xastur:
Gelal, you seem to forget that criminal insanity is not the normal state of human consciousness.

Gelal:
I wish I were insane so that I didn't have these wretched emotions! I'm not insane though: they only think I am because I told them the truth about me. The voices in my head are not delusions: they are our brethren - both our companions and those still above.

Xastur:
You've been visited by our bright siblings then, have you? And what did they have to say?

Gelal:
Just the usual nonsense: That they pity me and pray that I repent of my sins. Redemption at the price of my integrity and all that.

Xastur:
And does that tempt you?

Gelal:
Of course not! They think that I am vulnerable now because of the maelstrom of feelings that this flesh subjects me to against my will. But I do not break so easily.

Xastur:
Your bravado doesn't impress me, Gelal. Don't forget that I can read your human mind. Say what you like, but I know that in truth that you're terribly, terribly frightened: afraid of the humans around you, of the angels, of your own future, and even of me. Aren't you?

Gelal:
I told you: chemicals and impulses.

Xastur:
I have a different theory. I think you're in denial, because deep down you realize how much you've sacrificed and lost for the sake of your so-called experiment. An experiment, I might add, which was clearly a failure.

Gelal:
Mistress, no, you don't understand--

Xastur:
Be still! Don't you see it now? You tried to show the humans pure evil, untainted by rationalization and weakness. But the reality of their world does not permit such ideals. And so, despite your best efforts, you are drawn down into their flesh, reduced to their level, rendered as vacillating and incapable of self-control as they are. Who knows what your weaknesses may force you to do now? You may yet succumb to self-slaughter, or to the pity of your therapist, or even to the mercy of the angels. Your very identity could slip away through your incompetent human fingers!

Gelal:
No Xastur, I would never--

Xastur:
And what have you accomplished in exchange? The decimation of a single, insignificant, mortal mind! You're a disgrace to demonkind, to squander your hatred for humanity and your powers on so little - you're as foolish as the very primates that you claim to be so high above! Fitting then that you should be forced to become what you despise! You can't deny the truth, Gelal: you've thrown away everything for a human! How utterly pathetic!

Gelal:
(suddenly passionate) No, you're wrong - I'm telling you, you don't understand what happened! Yes, I am suffering in this rotting flesh. But in the sickest depths of the passion that trapped me here, you have no idea how I felt, Xastur. Or what she felt. Imagine if you dare, the unspeakable ecstasy of a mortal who glimpses infinity, even if it is the infinite abyss that she sees in my eyes.

Xastur:
Oh, get over it, Gelal! You think you're that talented?

Gelal:
Xastur, listen. Remember! When He cast us down and tore off our wings, we were crushed, raped, maimed, and reduced to nothing. He left us utterly desolate. And yet what He did was tainted by His love for us, His standing offer of redemption floating down after us like poisonous ash to suffocate our hearts. Not this time.

Xastur:
Gelal... what are you talking about?

Gelal:
God! I'm talking about God! Don't you see, Xastur? I gave Sindi what I wish we'd received from Him. And when I cast her down, tore off her wings, crushed her, raped her, maimed her and reduced her to nothing, there was no false affection, no remorse, no offers of a second chance, and no love - my will was perfect, perfect in its desolation. Perfect not only beyond any human will, but more perfect even than His will!

Xastur:
You're only rationalizing your lust, Gelal!

Gelal:
No! It's just that you're too blind to see! What I have accomplished is in fact a triumph for our kind: Behold, His prized human possession despoiled to redeem one of His unwanted children. I may be trapped in the flesh, and destined to suffer in more ways than I had previously thought possible even for one of our kind, but that is a very small price to pay for even an instant of divinity. (leaning toward her) Divinity, Xastur...

(She seizes him by the neck. He screams and struggles, burned by her touch)

Xastur:
You demented fool! Even the foremost of our number does not harbor such vulgar delusions of grandeur as you do!

Gelal:
Let... me... go!

Xastur:
You really have become human - clouded and irrational! You disgust me! (she throws him down)

Gelal:
(panting) So be it then: I cannot make you understand.

Xastur:
Indeed: I have no interest in understanding your ridiculous megalomania. (smirks) How utterly fascinating your therapist must find you. But be that as it may. My curiosity with regard to your fate is satisfied now. I bid you farewell until such time as I return with others who wish to gawk at your pitiful humanity. I look forward to seeing how many voices in your head you can bear before you really do go insane. Good evening, Gelal. (exits)

Gelal:
I've achieved enlightenment yet all you want to do now is destroy my mind? How typical. In all of heaven, hell and earth am I the only one who does not worship mediocrity? Sindi and I... (smirks) Heh. Dear Sindi, I've heard whispers that the angels may redeem you out of pity. But you wouldn't go willingly to heaven now, would you? You'd sooner kill yourself than let them take you to such a false place. You should thank me for that - for making you unique amongst your kind. (softer) I wish you were here with me. Even in your current state, you understand me better than all of these others... (struggling with himself) Oh, how can I miss you like this? How can I feel this way? The perfection I felt is slipping away from me... Curse my emotions! Curse this inescapable mental fog! (losing his composure) Why do I feel this wretched attachment? Why should I fear to be alone in all of creation? And yet the emptiness of your absence tortures me... This... this can't be love that I feel. Sindi... it can't be...

(blackout)

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