COFFEE WITH THE DEVIL • by Bethany Votaw

“I need to know,” I cleared my throat and wiped my palms on my pants, “do all of God’s creatures go to heaven?”

The devil looked back at me with his vacant eyes; they were not as terrifying as I was first led to believe, they were like dark pools of water, a mirror. 

“All of God’s creatures go to heaven.” He never blinked. “Sinners and all, for God loves them, he made them.” Relief flooded me — a new lightness to my body threatened to carry me away, like the steam from our cups.

“Are you not a creature of God, then? Why not give up this—” I outstretched my hand and gestured around me, as if it were enough to indicate all that was wrong with this world. He nodded slowly, his sharp nose taking a moment to inhale the coffee in front of him. It had cream in it, and I don’t know why that surprised me more than his lack of horns and tail.

“I could have gone back.” He stirred the coffee. “I almost did.”

My mind thought of a world without the devil, without this evil and power. It was a strangely disappointing picture. No separation between good and evil, as there would only be the option for good. Life would be linear; we would all be equal. He was more human than I’d thought.

“But you wanted to be in control?” I guessed. It’s what I would have wanted, anyone would.

“You could say that, but I fell into a new role when I left heaven. I created my own beings, my own devils, my own children. How could I leave them? They are not God’s creatures, but mine alone. It is because I love them that I stayed.”

“I see.” Unsettled by the mirrored love God has for his people, I stood, reaching out to shake his hand.

“Where are you going?”

I slipped on my coat, ready to leave this place. “To tell everyone the good news, we are all going to make it to heaven.”

He shook his head, sipping the coffee; it was still too hot, but he swallowed anyway. “You are one of mine.”


Bethany Votaw lives in California with her husband. She spends her time writing short stories that stem from her vivid dreams. This is a secret passion of hers and very few people in her family have read her work.


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