Story description: Prodigal runs away from his home and father in order to reach Sparkle City, a city of supposed freedom.
“Where are you headed?” the taxi driver asked me.
“I’m going to Sparkle City, sir,” I responded, a smile written on my face.
That name held so much meaning. Of course, I had never actually been there before, but from what I had heard, it sounded like a city of freedom, a city of fun. There, I could do what I wanted when I wanted to do it. No fear of Father looking over my shoulder, examining my every move.
“Did I hear you right? You said Sparkle City?” the taxi driver asked.
“Yes sir,” I responded.
“I wouldn’t go there if I were you. It’s a nasty place. It ruins a man.”
“Sorry sir, but there isn’t any stopping me now,” I responded.
As long as Father was out of the way, I was fully intent on getting there. Had I not asked Father for the inheritance money so I could pay to live there? Had I not run away from home for that very purpose? I had even boarded a plane to get here. No! This man could not stop me from going.
“Dude, I’ll drive you a mile from the city itself, but I won’t go any further. I was one of those men that it ruined,” the driver said.
“No problem. I’ve got legs. I can walk the rest of the way,” I told him.
In no less than a minute, the man stopped, and after paying him, I grabbed my backpack and got out of the car.
Sparkle City had other attractions as well, not just its freedom from rules. I had heard of Foolish Talk, a great comedian in the area. One of my friends had also informed me that Lust, my favorite music star, was touring these parts. If you paid enough extra, he had said, she would even let you backstage.
This would be a hoot. I had needed a vacation for far too long.
After walking for about an hour, I came across a building labeled: “Boastful Pride of Life Theater” just inside the city.
“What shows are they doing here?” I asked the man sitting at the ticket booth after I went inside.
“Right now they’re doing a magic show; I mean a real magic show. No tricks here. After that, Foolish Talk and Lust will be performing their potty humor routine. It’s hilarious. You wouldn’t want to miss it,” the man said, clearly trying to advertise.
“Boy, I’m lucky,” I responded. “They’re both one of the main reasons I came here. Imagine, just happening to come to a theater where they’re both performing. It’s ridiculous.”
“Actually, not really. They’re everywhere,” the man responded.
“So, how much does it cost to get in?”
“It only costs one-fourth of a soul. That is, if you only want to watch the show,” the man said. “It would have cost less if you had paid ahead of time, and there is another show in a week. You can wait till then.”
“Nah, I can’t wait. I’ve always wanted to meet Lust. She’s one of my favorite singers. Are there any tickets that could get me backstage?”
“There are, but they cost a lot more. A whole soul for just one ticket.”
Is it worth it? I asked myself, but there was really no question in my mind. I could do anything I wanted now. Maybe I would have to buy back soul money, but while the experience lasted, it would be wonderful. Father couldn’t stop me. He wasn’t here.
“I think it’s worth the price.”
I laid down my soul in front of the man. Immediately, he led me through a short corridor into a backstage entrance and told me to enjoy myself. He obviously did not want me to change my mind.
I smiled as I walked in, and who did I see smiling back? It was Lust herself. Foolish Talk was next to her, talking to someone else who had given his soul to get back here.
“Hello,” Lust whispered in my ear. “You’re one of the only ones brave enough to give your soul away, but don’t worry, it’ll be worth it.”
Her voice and light smile soothed me.
“You’re mine, now,” she whispered.
Her eyes bored into mine.
“You don’t need your father. You have me. I have your soul. It’s my slave…forever!”
It took me a while to realize what she had said. I was too concentrated on the calmness of her voice and the smoothness of her skin and dark brown hair. I breathed when I finally did realize it. Had I really given her my soul? What did she mean, “It’s my slave…forever!”
“I mean that from now on, you will live to serve me,” she remarked, as if reading my mind. “You will bow down to my every wish. You will call me mother and Foolish Talk father and worship us.”
“What does that mean, though?” I asked, desperate now.
“Look behind you,” Lust said.
There was a certain fear in her voice that I had not heard earlier, and as I turned around, I knew why. Father was standing right there. He was ready to save me if necessary.
“That is your first job,” she said, pointing. “Spit at him. Mock him. Smack him across the lips, and after you are done, find some food in one of the city dumpsters or just starve yourself. Let yourself die. Then, we will converse. You and I will join together and become one.”
“No…I can’t,” I told her, surprised by my own words.
“I thought you didn’t care about your father,” she said.
“I thought Sparkle City was different,” I retorted. “I thought I would be free.”
“Well, you’re not. You’re mine, and you will do what I say. You can do nothing to save yourself.”
“I can save him though,” Father confronted the woman.
“Not as long as I have his soul,” she responded.
“You cannot take him from us,” I heard Foolish Talk say. It was the first thing that I had heard come out of his mouth since I had entered the room.
“I will give anything.”
“Even your life?” Lust mocked.
I waited for him to say no, for him to leave me here. I waited for him to abandon me to Lust’s power. I knew I would end up her slave.
Father didn’t love me that much. He couldn’t. I certainly wouldn’t love me that much if I were him.
Hadn’t I run away from him? Hadn’t I wished he were dead and asked for the inheritance? Why had he given it to me? Why had he given me my soul when he knew I would only waste it?
I didn’t deserve love. I didn’t deserve anything. I deserved to die. I deserved to be a slave to my sin.
“I will even give my life. I will do anything to get him back.”
Had Father really said that? A tear hurtled down my face. Like never before in my life, I actually wanted to come back too.