“Oil and maggots,” Samael says as he appears to me in a lake like Walden Pond, surrounded by autumn foliage, the beautiful cabin on the lake surrounded by late flowers and herbs. We sit in the dirt by the shore, watching geese fly above.

“What?” I ask.

“Turpentine oil cleanses maggots from wounds, but maggots themselves clean the wound, so perhaps we are both the maggot in shadow and painter’s oil creating a canvas together on this wounded world.” He breathes deep and looks at the sky of cerulean, then puffs on his cigarette. Frilly cotton clouds like sheep that have yet to be sheared drift by. He picks a dandelion from a grassy patch and blows the seeds to the wind.

“This is your favorite place, isn’t it, this cabin in the wood you have been taking me to for a dozen years, by the lake, in the snow, in the fall, in every season?” I say, holding his muddy hand. With my free hand, I dig a freshwater mussel from the dirt and toss it into the pond.

He squeezes my hand. “Building a castle for the one I love, out of polished oak, to stand tall through the ages.” He smiles at me, his long wet bark hair like hickory after it is misted by rain. “You only get one true love in your life, you know,” he says, then kisses my forehead, pressing a seal of faith onto my skin. His blue eyes are as deep as the ocean. “You’re mine.”

I lean into the curve of his muscled arms and close my eyes, letting the Indian Summer play like a butterfly in a draft across my red gingham sundress. “I thought your true love were corpses.”

“You’re fluent in sarcasm, aren’t you?” he sighs, squeezing me tight. “No, you are my true love, come hell or high water. I don’t want to spend eternity with anyone but you, Alci. You heal me in ways that I cannot comprehend, and I hope to God I can help you too in the same fashion.”

“I adore you, Sam. You’re who I love most. Whose arms I want to die in. To be carried off into the next life with you, whether that’s Earth, Heaven, or Hell – anywhere would be perfect with you, my love. I love you so much Sam, I can’t put it into words.”

He puts on sunglasses and basks in the sun. We go to have a picnic on a bench in the shade of an apple tree, drinking cider, and a pumpkin is by our door. “Do you want me to come take you away now, or do you want a long, golden life? Sometimes I’m tempted to angelophany like I used to and come sweep you off your feet.”

“Hah! Like the time you saved my life, appearing in my kitchen, then ran away when I tried to kiss you.”

He winks. “If you touched me, the malakh ha mavat, you would have died. Well, something like that.”

“You know I’m loyal to no one but you, right Sam? Lucifer be damned, even if Lucifer is kind of you, Christ and Michael be damned – you’re God, after all, what happens to God when he splits into Michael and Samael, Michael the Son, you the Father, Abraxas, whatever. Archangel of Briah and Angel of Death. My king.”

He smiles like sunlight on river rocks.  He lifts his sunglasses to gaze at me. “I’ll be sure to put roses on your grave into perpetuity, love.”

“Never leave me, Sam.”


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