Jeff used all of his willpower to propel his shattered body forward. He grabbed the journal and flipped through it, looking for the words… It was the demon Belial, prince of treachery and deceit, that had tormented and then forced Jeff to complete the journal. He had copied the passages from a holy book, written in medieval times. Its purpose was to identify the demons of hell and advise how to block them from entering earth and how to banish them if they had already.
But the demon didn’t allow him to transcribe the rituals for banishment or entrapment. Leaving the journal as a one way ticket to earth for the more than six thousand demons named in it. The demon had used Jeff’s body as a vessel to complete the task, but left his mind mostly unattended. It was that oversight that allowed Jeff to spend hours memorizing one particular element of the original book; the chant to remove the physical presence of the demons on earth. It was short and easy. A prayer, taught to a prophet by an archangel.
Even with the prayer, the demons would still be able to exert their influence on mortal minds, but could not physically interfere. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than having them being able to just walk up and rip his head off. Luckily they were so arrogant in their power that they paid little attention to Jeff or his actions. They could dispose of him anytime once they were summoned. It was also lucky for him, in a way at least, that they preferred to keep him alive, to torture and torment as their strength grows.
Before he could get to the journal, Catherine quickly stood up and grabbed it. “I have to find a way to stop them!” she screamed and began flipping through the pages.
“No!” Jeff tried to stop her but it was useless. She was being persuaded to do their bidding and was beyond reason. Catherine had begun another incantation. This time, it was for the demon Balberith, the prince of murder and contention. The demon was aware of Jeff’s plan to stop the summoning and began manipulating Catherine’s mind with all of its power.
“Help me!” Randy’s voice begged. “He’s going to kill me!”
Catherine turned towards Jeff defensively and punched him as hard as she could with her free hand, the other was holding up the journal for her to read. The strike caught Jeff off guard and he stumbled. He was barely holding on to his consciousness as it was, another blow, no matter how small, would finish him. Catherine was reading so fast, Jeff had no time; he had to stop her no matter what. He punched down through the glass coffee table, shattering it into millions of shards. He sifted through them and found a large one.
The regret was so heavy in his heart and mind that he vomited. Once he was done and able to move again, he turned and slit Catherine’s throat with one fluid motion. She fell to the ground, grasping at her gouged neck, unable to scream or to stem the gushing blood. Jeff couldn’t help but laugh a bit at how pathetic she looked. He was too late, the incantation had been completed.
His mind was almost broken, but it was intact enough that he reached for the journal and flipped it over. On the back cover, he had written cue words in reverse; words that would prompt him to remember the prayer. Balberith stood menacingly over Jeff. It had no intention of killing him. He was far too useful of a tool and far too entertaining of a pawn to waste that way. Asmodeus was there as well. There was no love lost between the demons.
In hell, they were only as powerful as the number of souls they had at their disposal. They knew that whatever time they had on earth would be limited. Lucifer would never allow them to amass any large amount of power before coming to personally collect them and drag them back to hell.
That made competition for souls very ruthless and merciless. The two began to plan how they would deal with the teenagers they sensed upstairs. Teenagers were perfect. They were easily influenced and persuaded into even the most heinous acts. That worked to the demon’s advantage; the more evil they can inspire into their victims before they die, the more valuable the soul will become.
While they plotted, they were oblivious to Jeff and his chant. Once the words were spoken, they were painfully aware of their mistake. Their bodies faded into nothingness. They were there, but only in a spirit form. Jeff’s mind was overwhelmed by the combined force of the two. They were angry and using every ounce of strength to punish him. They wanted to force him to re-summon them.
But both demons were very aware that drawing even the slightest attention would have Lucifer there instantly and the summoning rituals caused a lot of attention in hell. They had to step back and use more subtle methods. And thus the chess match began. Both demons would use the opportunity to duel via influence to see who could claim the larger share of souls. But before they harvested the teenagers, the demons would work together to break their wills and turn them on each other.
There were two males and two females. Balberith prefered to choose females. His influence was of murder and wrath. He was the reason for the cliché of “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Males were perfectly capable of murder as well, but they were too easily distracted by other influences, especially lustful ones. That was why Asmodeus, whose influence lies with lust and temptation, preferred to choose the males. But both demons wanted all five mortal souls and were prepared to fight for each.
Jeff was left as a near vegetable. His mind was now more destroyed than his body. He would never recover. He would be the tie breaker if they ended up with two souls apiece. The demons were still freshly summoned and their powers were weak. They knew that to overwhelm their prey, they needed to first divide and then systematically drive wedges between them. Once they were separated, the demons would began to build paranoia and rage and eventually the humans would lose control and kill each other.