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All the Traits That I Wish Weren't Mine

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If he had a jar with which to stuff his regrets, he’d have enough to build his own fortress. Maybe up on a hillside with a moat, like the one in his chest warding off invaders striking too close to the heart and soul.

Then again, maybe the jars would shatter or explode as did everything else he touched. He may not be Death but still he could so deftly destroy. Surely it was by malicious design. The father he loathed was a creator so it only made sense that His son would be a monster which caused even the innocent flowers to wither and die.

But this time it was not a mere flower that he’d crushed. Chloe may remind him of a daffodil at times but she was more akin to an oak in terms of strength. Yet not even that had spared her from him.

He was a poison disguised in a crystal goblet, inviting and encouraging. And with a touch of their lips, they would write out their demise. It was a bitter truth.

Like the rose, he wished he’d been created without such fierce claws and fangs. Neither knew kindness nor how to reciprocate it. They were weapons, bristling from him and begging to be used. Protection it may provide, this time, he wished to be the feeble kitten, capable of no more than bloodless scratches and nibbling bites.

But it was far too late. Chloe had seen his stripped face. She’d asked to see beneath his mask once or twice but if only she’d known that, like everything else, there were no metaphors when it came to him.

He had studied that face in the mirror, tracing every path of exposed tendons and muscle. He knew she had seen only with horror but all he had seen only with pain. The literal hurt had faded but the shadow of fire peeling away his skin hovered just behind his shoulder, a lick of haunting heat.

If she’d known the story would it have changed a thing? He supposed not. No justification remained. He was, first and foremost, the Devil. The human things, the brown eyes and freckled skin were an early blueprint He had designed, a mold from which humanity had spawned.

He regretted she had not first seen his wings.

For all the hatred he harbored, a physical mark of an inescapable bondage, Chloe would have loved them, surely. No human could possibly see divinity and think it dark, see the thin strands of barbed wire that wrapped around the appendages and tore out his feather. She wouldn’t notice the puddle of blood he stood in, a slicked over void which sucked and pulled at the soles of his shoes, demanding he drop to his knees and bow his head.

He’d bear it for her, a halo set on a horned head and feathers hiding leather wings.

For her, he’d pretend.

He’d rip out his claws. Shave down his fangs. Adhere his mask and smother himself with it if that’s what was needed to keep her.

A plucked rose. An empty crystal goblet. A kitten with sealed eyes.

But monsters are only ever able to dream of being men. Of shedding all they wish weren’t there’s.

He who had tortured twisted souls knew ugliness went far beyond the surface.

If he had a jar with which to stuff his regrets, he’d have enough to build his own fortress. A jar with red eyes. A jar with twisted claws. A jar with a freshly cut out soul. Not a fortress but a mausoleum. The resting place of the Devil but not Lucifer. A difference Chloe, maybe with time, would see.

For her, he’d die once again and be reborn a better man.