Fernando sits alone in his room.

He has lived in this room for many years. He goes outside sometimes. To eat mostly. To walk occasionally. Although there has been very little walking of late, a fact that will contribute to Fernando’s premature death at the age of 47. But that will be some years from now. For now, Fernando sits, Fernando thinks, and the world revolves around him and his room.

Angels and devils come to visit him. The angels are beautiful. Sometimes their hair is blonde, sometimes brown, or red, but it is always long, to the waist. They are always naked, and their skin is always soft. Some are plump with larger breasts; some are thin with small breasts. Sometimes their skin is dark, as though they’ve been working in the sun. Sometimes it’s so pale, you can see the blue veins.

And Fernando says, “I thought angels were men.”

And the angels laugh. And Fernando feels stupid.

And then, they take him into their bosom and explain that men could never have created this world. And they tell him the true story of how the world came to be. But that story is a secret, one only Fernando and the angels know.

Sometimes, devils come. But they are mostly the same. (They are, after all, fallen angels).

Except their hair is always raven-black, and their nakedness stirs a longing in Fernando that the angels never incite. And they do things to Fernando. Different things. Things he savours later, things he dreams about at night, in dreams of shame.

And Fernando wonders: “Is this why the world is as it is? Simply because one pleasure is better than the other? Is this the reason Heaven was torn apart?”

And the devils laugh. And Fernando feels stupid.

One night, an angel strokes Fernando’s face and he shakes at her touch.

“You know we’re not real,” she says.

“What does it matter?” Fernando says, looking around the room. “This is all that’s real.”

And Fernando laughs.

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