(written between 2570-
Disillusioned with academic life, Chersò gave up his studies and travelled for a number of years around the countries of the West. His first published work, which appeared soon after he had settled down in Cerrolin, was a collection of short stories, which did not meet with favourable reviews from the critics of the day. Although going on to publish a number of novels, it is for the strange world evoked in his short stories and novellas that Chersò is chiefly remembered.
THE HAPPY DEVIL
‘You can’t come in here,’ said the Angel to the Devil, as he tried to enter Heaven: ‘There’s no more room. We’re full of devils already, devils who have made amends at least, who have confessed, who saw the truth of their evil ways, sought penitence and have been absolved.’
‘That means nothing to me,’ answered the Devil, ‘you should see how many angels we’ve got down there; the place is crawling with your sort! Come down and see for yourself!’
But the Angel was angered by this apparent trap, and fell upon the Devil in an uncontrollable fit of blind anger.
‘Ah,’ smiled the Devil, calmly, ‘how soft your touch!’ and dragged him screaming down to Hell.
Walking towards the centre of the city, I came to the busy road, by the side of which had already gathered a number of men and women, waiting to cross. Beyond, a narrow lane meandered into a cluster of buildings with balconies and parapets, spires and towers. But the passing traffic was particularly hectic, and I resigned myself to a long wait.
The others waiting patiently by the road looked weary and time-
An old man finally turned to me, as if he had only just become aware of my presence.
‘There’s no use waiting here,’ he said. ‘We’ve been here for years. You’d be better off going back the way you came.’
I turned and wandered away from the street.
In utter blackness, as I descended the steps of my apartment-
After an eternity, I finally came to the door, now encrusted with the aeons, opened
it, and my eyes were suddenly bathed in the flickering flames of the street-
© Copyright Paul David Holland 2017
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