P / P Short Story: Love and Sacrifice

Written By: Eric Street



A boy in pain prayed to all who listened.
“How may I be of service?” Said the Devil.
“Make the pain stop.” The boy cried.
“I can, for a price.” Said the Devil.
“Anything!” Screamed the boy.
“I will make you the master of pain, but you must love everyone and everyone shall love you in return.”
“Love?” The boy wondered.
“Yes, you must love the world.” He continued.
“I can love.” The boy whispered.
“And love you must, and you shall have the love of many and of no one, for you will never be understood by man. I will give you all the beauty the world possesses: you will want for nothing, you will never grow old, and never hurt. The price is love.” Explained the Devil.
“But the pain will stop?” The boy asked.
“If you agree to the terms.” Said the Devil.
“I agree.” Said the boy.
“Then it shall come to pass.” The Devil said, and the deed was done.

End of pain.

Then God came calling.
“You agreed to the Devil’s terms.” Said God.
“I did. He came first.” Said the boy.
“I created you, boy!” Roared God. “I have always been here and have always loved you, even still.”
“What can I do to please you?” Said the boy.
“You must fulfill your promise to the Devil. But when your contract is called, you must sacrifice what you hold most dear and pray for forgiveness. And you must give back the beauty you have taken from the world, unjustly. Only then will I welcome you home, eternally.” Said God.
“Yes.” Said the boy.

I have finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray. For years I’ve held a copy, but refused to read the end. I knew how it would end— how it had to end. But for a while it was fun, the pain in others could be ignored. I had never felt pain again. But it was time to look at the portrait and see what had become of us. So together, we pulled back the curtain and saw such terrible things. ‘Who is this man, Dorian? Those eyes, those wrinkles, those hands—what grotesqueness. Quelle horror Dorian, it is us!’ The ugliness no one sees was revealed to us, together.

What a terrible thing for a child to make a deal with the Devil. And yet, I did. I have no regrets. The Devil kept his promise: I would never know age, or pain, or been left wanting. For these things, I paid his price and I loved all. I loved them so much I could only bring suffering. Lovers driven mad have nearly died; more shamed or defiled; others corrupted by hatred. But I had my youth and all that beauty. I have never been hurt or truly loved.

But beauty cannot be stolen, only borrowed. The Devil’s debt must be repaid. So I have given all the beauty back to the world, and it has never been brighter- brightness I have never noticed and cannot bear to see. I have paid the Devil’s ransom for my soul and have no regrets. The Devil promised me youth. But youth must end. All things end, but God’s love is eternal. God promised me the one thing I’ve never had—true love. So, now I must fulfill my promise to god to pray for forgiveness and sacrifice what I hold most dear. Me.



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