This is an original tale meant for entertainment purposes only.

Memories

By LJ58

4

Luke had not consciously considered his steps, but he ironically found himself standing in front of the high school an hour later after he briefly had stopped along the way to watch a dog chase a small kitten. Just before the animal could have torn the tiny ball of fur apart, he punished the canine.

Just as he had judged anyone in his way along the path he followed as he had then resumed his walk, leaving a stunned, and confused feline staring at the pile of dust where its tormentor had been.

Luke eyed the façade of the building now, and noted two men in uniform that came out of the front doors. Both were wearing weapons. Both looked wary, but one seemed disdainful of him.

"Starke," the disdainful officer spat at the boy still only in pajamas. "I don't know what bug got in your head now, boy, but….."

"You are judged," he declared, eyeing the man who suddenly froze, and whined as his hand left his holster, and slapped against his own head with the other.

Then, he simply vanished, not even dust remaining as he simply vanished, leaving his uniform, and equipment belt to fall where he had been.

"Nolan," the other officer cried, and then looked back to Luke who had not moved, but was now staring at him.

"You….. You….."

"Yours is a pure soul," Luke declared, and started to walk past him.

"Wait! I can't let you….!"

Even as Kyle Waterson reached for the boy known to be a loner at school, still confused by the weird images that had briefly assaulted him when he met Luke's gaze, the officer found himself flung back to smash into the brick façade hard enough to stun him. Before the officer could even try to regain his feet, Luke walked up the steps, but didn't even bother to reach for the door to enter the unsuspecting school.

"Luke! Wait! Please, wait!"

They both turned to see the harried woman running from a car left idling half on the walk, and half in the street beyond. She ran right up to him, and stopped just inches from the strange teen, holding her hands up as if in supplication.

"I understand now, Luke. I think I know what happened to you. I know what will happen again. And again. Unless you listen. Please, Luke, hear me out," Ellen begged.

"I am not Luke," the teen said again in that ominous voice.

"I know. But I think I can tell you what you are. But only you can tell me who you are. Please, give me your name, and I will give you my….."

"Theories," Luke growled in disdain.

"No! I realized it only after you left. I understood how the pieces fit only then. Please. Tell me. Because….I think your name is the final piece of the puzzle. Tell me," she smiled now. "Trust me. As one…empty soul to another."

Luke drew a deep breath, and sighed.

"I have been….empty," he nodded at her. "Longer than memory, the wasteland within has lingered. It lingers still."

"And you're about to recreate it in reality again if you don't listen to me. None of us are perfect," she told him desperately. "But together, only together, we can sometimes make things right."

Luke stared long, and hard at her. Kyle afraid to move even if the boy did seem frozen just then, his dark skin paler than it had ever been in his life.

Even he wasn't sure what had just happened. Where Nolan had gone, or how he had been tossed away like that. But he knew one thing as sure as the sun would rise and set, and that was Luke Starke was far more dangerous than anyone else he had ever known.

"Please," the strange woman asked the boy, hands still held up. "Trust me. For your own sake, if not for all those here."

"You do not know them. These immature, and irrational children. Yet you would intercede on their behalf?"

"No one is all good, or all evil. Yet you still spared Erma. And even Ian, who you had already judged."

Kyle heard that, and swallowed hard.

What the hell was going on?

"I have walked this world for so long I no longer remember my own arrival," he finally told her as Kyle gaped at that claim. "Still, I remember my first name. And the shame that fell on it. I remember….falling."

"Tell me," she asked again. "Tell me, and let me help you. You know it's what I do."

"I….am Lucifer," he told her.

"Light-bringer," she tried.

Luke shocked her.

He laughed.

He threw back his head, and shook with his dark mirth.

"And I thought you without humor," he smiled genuinely now. "Silly myths aside, Dr. Sheridan…. No. Eleanor. From the Greek. Meaning Light. It suits you," he smiled at her. "Your inner self. But you have dimmed your brilliance with doubt, and confusion. Give me the light you claim you do possess, Eleanor, and I vow I shall consider your words carefully."

Kyle found he was holding his breath now, feeling that whatever was happening, a lot of lives now hung on this woman's words.

"Think, Lucifer," she told him, slowly lowering her hands now. "Remember your dreams? Your memories? All we discussed? I figured it out after you left. You judged your own world long ago. You judged yourself. And you were left alone in the wake of that judgment. Left in a wasteland of your own making. You gave those….travelers who came to you time, time to prove themselves, but why you waited so long only you can say. Still, it's clear that you now intend to judge us as you first judged your own. Only once you are done, you'll be alone again. In another wasteland. And another. Do even you remember how many times you've probably done this…..to yourself?"

Lucifer now frowned, and only then did his hand rise as he stared at it blankly as a bell rang inside the school.

"Your words…..ring true," he said after a moment before he regained his eerie composure as his hand dropped. "Judgment begins within. I forgot this for a time."

"We are all imperfect, Lucifer. All of us. That doesn't mean we don't deserve a chance. A chance to prove we can do better. Erma tries to give forgotten kids, like you, that very chance. Don't you think the children in there," she waved as teens began to fill the halls, and some looked their way in confusion. "Don't you think all those young souls deserve the right to prove themselves before you damn them for their immaturity?"

"Your words…..sound familiar," Lucifer turned from the door to fully look at her again, even smiling again just a degree. "I wonder, have we met before?"

"Oh, Lucifer," she almost cried. "I don't know. I don't. But I know this. You are hurting yourself, as much as these people. You probably can't be stopped, I know that now. But you can stop yourself. Please, for the world's sake, for their chance, stop now. Please."

Lucifer looked up into the sky.

"Yes, I have heard those words before now. I know I have."

"Hey," a gruff voice demanded. "What is your damage now, freako," a tall, stocky teen demanded, shoving the door open, and almost knocking Ellen down, though the door seemed to just pass through Marcus when it would have, should have hit him.

In fact, the steel and glass had simply vanished the moment it contacted him.

"Holy crap," the obvious bully howled as he stared at the ruined door, and realized what had just happened. "What the hell are you, Starke?"

Lucifer's faint smile had darkened again, and his expression went flat and empty once more as he turned on the boy.

"Lucifer," Ellen cried. "No!"

"You are judged," Luke intoned, staring hard at Randal Lewis, the big teen now clamping his hands to his own head, shrieking at the images torn loose there even as he reached for the teen with that ominously glowing hand.

"Lucifer," Ellen cried again. "Please!"

Grim as death, and far more ominous, his gaze turned to her again, and he eyed her with that same, empty stare she first saw back at the Baxter house.

"Please," she told him. "Don't surrender to this madness now. Let it go. Please, for your own sake, let it go."

Kyle almost cried himself just then, staring at the door, and Randy who reeled back as the boy ignored the bully now. Still, Kyle knew he shouldn't move. Absolutely shouldn't. He glanced at his partner's empty uniform, and grimaced. Then pulled his service revolver all the same.

"Freeze, kid," he begged more than ordered. "Turn around, and put your hands on your head."

Lucifer slowly turned to face him, and one, imperious brow rose slightly as he eyed Kyle again.

"You would dare," the weird kid asked him as his own gathering peers just gaped, heedless of the danger they were in just then.

"I can't let you hurt those kids, boy," Kyle hissed. "I can't."

Lucifer's coldly empty gaze softened for a moment, and he eyed him more like a human being again.

"Yes. You, I remember, Defender. Your soul remains constant. That is good. Yes, it is good," he said, and turned back to the crying woman. "Proof, Eleanor that your plea is not without merit. You have won this day," he nodded to her as he turned his back on the gaping teens in the door. "I shall relent."

"What….? What will you do now," she asked uneasily.

He looked up at the sky, then back at her, and shrugged, almost human again.

"I've not the slightest idea," he said, and began to glow.

Literally glow.

"Lucifer. Wait. Let me help you. Let me help you find your own way," she told him as he stepped away from the door, glowing brighter, and brighter.

The teens gathered in the door gasped as he stood there, looking back at Eleanor, and smiled again.

"I shall consider your words, kind Eleanor. Indeed, I shall," he told her, and burst out of his pajamas as the glow surged, then faded, and Luke was no longer a thin, teenage boy standing there.

He was now well over six foot tall, very close to seven. His dark hair was now as silvery-white as freshly-fallen snow, and his body was as hard, bronzed, and as fit as if cut from stone. He was also completely naked, and yet showed no sense of modesty, or concern at all.

"Perhaps, we shall meet again," he declared, and turned to walk off as Kyle gaped.

"S-Stop," Kyle cried, still holding his gun on him.

Lucifer, for he was surely not Luke now Eleanor realized, turned to regard the man.

"A token for your courage, Defender. But do not think to press me anew," he added, and gestured at the empty uniform laying nearby.

An instant later, the teens howled in shock, and confusion as Officer Nolan Parker was suddenly standing there, back in that uniform, and looking as stunned as they were.

"N-Nolan," Kyle rasped.

"What happened," the man frowned, looking at the tall man walking off down the sidewalk. "Who the hell is that?"

Kyle couldn't seem to answer as he slowly lowered his gun.

Eleanor dropped to her knees, staring after Lucifer, and wondered just what he truly was. Just what had created him. Just as she wondered if she would see him again.

A part of her hoped she would.

A part of her feared him as much as she ever did that evil man that called himself her father.

The officers, she noted, wisely didn't chase the naked man down. Officer Nolan just kept staring at his own hands in confusion.

She very much wanted to interview him just then. A man that had obviously just come back from oblivion. Only just then, she was too overwhelmed herself.

She needed time.

'I wonder, have we met before,' rang in her mind, and she wondered if souls truly did…return.

Still, what could explain Lucifer?

"Randy? Randy, are you okay, man," someone was asking that big teen who was on his knees now, wailing as he echoed, "I'm sorry," over and over to anyone that would listen.

She drew a deep breath, climbed back to her feet, and pushed through the crowd to reach the crying teen, and knelt to put a hand on his shoulders.

"It's all right. I understand," she told the bawling teen.

She wasn't too surprised when the big teen turned, and hugged her, wailing all the more.

"Man, what a puss," someone muttered, some of the faculty having appeared just then to start breaking up the apparent trouble.

"What's going on here," a squat, bald man in a cheap, wrinkled suit demanded as he shoved over to stand over her. "Who are you, lady?"

"It's okay, Mr. Turrant," Kyle said, leading a very pale partner into the building just then who had yet to accept what had just happened to him. "That lady just saved a lot of lives here. Trust me."

"What," the vice principal sputtered.

"Let's just get things settled down, shall we," Kyle suggested as some of the teens were trying to stay to see what happened next as Miles Turrant only then saw his ruined door.

"What the hell happened to my door?"

"It was that weirdo Starke," someone volunteered. "He just made it….disappear. Then he turned Randy into a crybaby with just a touch."

"Starke? Luke Starke? I knew that boy was trouble. Where is he? Where…."

"You don't want to know," Kyle told the man, returning after leading his still shaken partner to a seat in the office. "Come on, big guy," the tall officer said as he helped Randy stand now as Ellen stayed close to help. "On your feet. I think we all need to talk, don't you," he asked gently.

Randy looked up at him, seeming to sense a kindred soul.

"You saw him. You saw him, too," he asked, almost desperate as he eyed him.

"We all did, son," Kyle said as Ellen helped the boy stand up as she rose with him. "Now, let's get out of the hall, and start getting our heads back on straight. Okay?"

"I'm sorry," he murmured again, letting them lead him to the office.

"What the hell is going on," Miles thundered.

Eleanor didn't even try to answer that one as she helped lead Randy away.

~M~

He stood at the edge of a desert.

A potentially vast, endless wasteland. No dystopian rubble left by some imaginary apocalypse was before him, though. No dispiriting chaos of cataclysm. No nothing.

Just the natural desert land of a living planet.

Vast.

Seemingly endless.

Yet ironically far from empty.

Sand and stone extended as far as the eye could see, and beyond. Yet Life filled it in every nook and cranny, even if not immediately obvious to the casual observer. He sensed it all.

He was right there at the start of it.

Standing naked, alone, and untouched by it all.

The searing sun did not touch his flesh.

The void did not touch his soul.

He simply stood, observing. His expression as blank, and vacant as the world around him.

Until he looked up.

"Feeling better yet," Eleanor asked him.

"I feel….. I feel," the silver-haired Lucifer told her. "I still believe you feel eerily familiar to me."

She only smiled as she stood beside him, not trying to touch him. Only standing there, close enough to matter, but without risking a 'flare-up' as she deemed it.

"I cannot complain. If you had not felt that, I wonder if you would have listened to me. To us."

"Us?"

"I know you listened to that police officer, too."

"The Defender. I am quite certain I've met him before," he nodded, staring up at the sun just starting to set.

"So, reincarnation is true," she asked him.

He chuckled softly.

"Let me tell you this truth, Eleanor. The Universe is all connected. It spawns Life in endless cycles. The Spirit within you is but a tiny spark of a greater whole. That spark is like a flame that casts out more and more sparks, and never truly dies. The sparks surge and flow endlessly. Is it any surprise that some of those sparks might return to their first setting now and again?"

"You've a poet's soul, Lucifer. Sure you're not a fallen angel, like some of your admirers think?"

He chuckled.

"I have no wings. I do not fly beyond realms. Nor do I have preternatural powers….."

"Tell me another one," she dared tease him.

Two years ago, she had daringly walked away from her very lucrative practice after an emergency meeting with local authorities when they tried and failed to intercept a strange, naked man walking down a main highway out of town. After apparently attacking a local high school. Even the National Guard had failed to slow the man that simply walked past them, ignoring the gunfire, and the bodies in his way.

His single comment to the Guard officer in charge had been, "Be content I have relented in your immediate judgment."

She had quickly rounded up the Baxters, Officer Waters, and even young Randal Lewis to address the authorities. Armed with Luke's journal, she went on to share her suspicions, and the few known facts of the man now called Lucifer.

By then, Lucifer had walked out of town, was on a major interstate, and the federal authorities were involved. They, of course, had the same luck slowing him as everyone else. Which was none. By then, the President was hearing Dr. Sheridan's testimony, and she had risked sharing even her own case files with them, as well as Luke's 'dream journal,' which helped convince a few old men that began to wonder if the boy-man should be nuked.

Thankfully, the President didn't listen to those idiots.

She suggested simply leaving him alone, and letting him pass.

Still, the awareness of Lucifer grew fast thanks to the media, and cults on both sides of the religious spectrum sprang up around him.

Lucifer ignored those, too.

Then Eleanor heard he had stopped in the middle of a forested park, and chose to follow him. She hoped, as she told the authorities, to continue to reason with him. To keep him from hurting anyone else, and perhaps even get him to try to help. For if, as she suspected, he was a man that had seen untold centuries pass, even she could imagine he had to know great knowledge that might yet help all mankind.

The President agreed, and people were warned to ignore, and especially avoid Lucifer.

Still, sightings always made the news.

And some people even followed him.

From a very discreet distance.

"The view is….lovely, isn't it," he said, looking back out at the desert before them. He had chosen to walk to the southwest this month, and she had followed.

At first, she had used her car. It was simply cheaper, and easier to walk with him, though. She had to admit, she was certainly fitter these days, and it was not like she needed much. Not anymore.

"It is. I think it's lovelier having someone to share it with," she smiled at him.

"I know your fear."

"Do you?"

"Someday, sweet, kind Eleanor, you will age, and die. It is the way of Life. You fear for me when I am alone again."

"I suppose I do," she admitted. "But….if Life changes, cycles, as you say? Why do you remain…..here?"

"I do not know," he admitted. "I simply am. I do not yet recall my own beginnings. I simply am."

"I wish I could help you."

"You do. You ease my own fears. My own solitude. Your presence….comforts."

"And when I'm gone," she asked quietly, looking up at him.

He turned, and surprised her when he put a gentle hand on her cheek.

"Then, sweet, loving Eleanor, I shall simply await your return. For if you found me again, I know you shall return. Perhaps…. Perhaps we are fated to find one another. That is a comforting thought, too, I think. Yes, it is," he smiled down at her.

She did not reply to that.

Words, she had been learning, were something unnecessary as he leaned down to lightly brush her lips with his own. It was as intimate as he ever got. It was curiously more than enough for both of them.

Never The End…