At first, my leontocephaline king shines like perdition, his crown of fire and long blonde locks and flame eyes atop an encrusted jeweled granite throne, in this hollow blue kingdom, surrounded in the subterranean Paradisaical Perelandra abode by knights of green ivy, a sleeping tyrant my Satan, smirking at me from across the garden walls.

I take my sword and charge ahead, hacking down the ivy soldiers, and gray sleet begins to fall. Satan takes his crossed bespoken orb of kingship with a miter at his brow and tosses the golden ball up into the air, juggling it, laughing as I say I am here to defeat him, to love him, to have him worship at my feet.

“What would you have of me, Alci?” he asks, surveying the slaughtered greenery of armor and vines. There is a sly look in his eyes, now a flame blue, and I put down my sword and sit in his lap and kiss him with need. The sword is an omen like a cross over a gravestone, hilt up in the rich soil of the hollow underworld with the black mechanical sun gleaming above.

“I want you to make sure my husband lives a long, healthy life. I love him more than anyone in this world, Star. I need you to protect him, not let him die in his 60s or even earlier. I just want him to be protected.” I cuddle up in his muscled arms and tears fall onto my cheeks. “I want you to not leave me. I love both of you so much. I’ll do whatever you want, if you just grant my wishes.”

He bites down on my lip and takes his talons over my cheekbones and carves a place for Satan to nest. “I am yours,” he croons, then strokes my hair.

We go to the ocean, climbing out of the Pit of Alighieri fascination, up into a New England beach, and we play in the waves. Satan takes me careening into the frothing foam, only there is a frog, a beautiful frog, that keeps jumping between us, and I think of how Ahriman made a frog to spite God, and I wonder at my lion man, his holy animal now claiming me.

I bring the green and blue gray splotched frog with golden eyes to shore and put it on some grass. Satan and I respite in a grassy glade in the forest, turning hay, tussling with thirsty mouths and hungering cruel fingers and loins of fire. He is part man, all beast, Asiatic lion.

“Ahriman,” I whisper, when he is mid-seraph.

He growls. “Yes.” He scourges my neck with his kisses and thrusts deep. “That is my name.”

When we are finished, satiated, full bellies of each other’s wine, he turns into a winged lion and I go riding his back through the star-filled cosmos. We stargaze, and the Milky Way suddenly shines like precious diamonds in dazzling arrays, the Maine sky lit with jewels. He takes the stars down with his paws and fixes the Milky Way as a crown on my head.

“My galactic queen,” he teases, having raised me through my princess of the universe shtick.

“My Star,” I say, and we rest as the Tarot card strength on a bed of moss, him a giant lion of wings manifold, me naked Eve, and I fall asleep to the silkiness of his fur since I have at age 7, my infernal Aslan. He says he is God the Judge, Judex Crederis, and that I believe wholeheartedly.

“How will you judge me?” I yawn.

He smiles like the dawn, baring rows of lion teeth. “My heart.”

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