The Harbinger – Chapter 9

Chapter 9

The original book had been written by a French inquisitor.  He had named thousands of demons, rituals to summon them and who their arch-nemesis in heaven is.  He also explained ways to block the demons from entering earth and how to banish them once they were summoned.  Jeff wasn`t permitted to include either of the last two sections in the journal.

Clearly, the demon he had made a pact with, had no intention of giving out the secret to banish it.   Most of the journal had already been written thanks to the poor sucker that got staked earlier.  Now that he was stuck in this situation, Jeff actually felt like he did the kid a favor.

The first page that he had to write was regarding a demon by the name of Balberith, the fifth ranking demon in hell who tempts men to commit homicides, and to be quarrelsome, contentious, and blasphemous.  His hand slid elegantly across the page, working the pen with a fine craftsmanship that wasn`t his own.

With his body doing the actual work, Jeff`s mind wandered into darkness.  When his eyes opened again, he was standing in the center of a large market.  Only, it wasn’t exactly the type of market he was used to.  The area was swarming with people, all in ragged wool tunics and pants and leather sandals.  Although he didn’t know how, he knew exactly where he was, and who he was.

People were speaking in another language and yet he understood every word as if it were English.  “Care to buy one?” an old woman barked, holding up a squawking chicken by a leg.

Jeff shook his head in annoyance.  What the hell would he do with that chicken?  Off in a dark corner, he spotted a very young boy, his face streaked with dirt.  The kid was clearly a pauper.  And then Jeff learned he was clearly a pickpocket also.  The boy ran forward and snatched a coin pouch from a bulbous man.

The kid had remarkably bad luck as a soldier spotted him immediately and gave chase.  Jeff followed a ways behind.   They headed down an alley.  There the soldier speared the boy without hesitation or warning, and retrieved the coin purse, pocketing it for himself.  Jeff slid into a recessed doorway and waited.  As the soldier passed by, Jeff jumped out and grabbed the man’s chin and back of his head.  With a quick hard twist, he snapped the soldier’s neck.

Jeff dragged the man into the alley, behind some wicker baskets and retrieved the pouch.  He wasn’t quite being forced, but he was definitely being pressured into his actions.  The demon’s influence was strong.  A woman passed by and Jeff was being pushed to kill her as well; but he resisted and let her pass.   Angrily the demon ceased the vision and Jeff was sitting back at his desk, writing in the journal.  His hand ached and when he looked down, he saw the word wrath, etched into his skin from his knuckle to his wrist.

“How very disappointing” the demon cursed.  It was sitting on the cellar stairs, leading back up to the chapel, wearing a full-white tuxedo.

“I won’t be your plaything… your puppet” Jeff growled back. But he was.  His mind was both feeble and fragile.  He knew it was true.  He wanted to stop everything and run out of the chapel, but his hand continued to write, refusing to acknowledge his instructions.

The demon smiled and chortled victoriously.  It knew Jeff’s every thought.  “Why fight it? Do you think there is a seat reserved for you in heaven?  Do you think you have any other destiny?  I can make you strong.  I can give you power.  They make you fear hell.  They tell you that it’s pain and torture for eternity” the demon stood and paced close behind Jeff’s back as it began its sermon.

“But who goes to hell? The ones that live life to the fullest.  The ones that enjoy sexual pleasure, in all of its most carnal forms.  The ones that revel in chaos and exert their power on the weak.  Why live a life as a sheep, turning the other cheek while the people around you grow richer, taking advantage of you day in and out.  You most certainly are a puppet.  A puppet to those with the will to abuse you.  You follow other men’s laws.  You waste away your life, slaving at jobs you can’t stand.  Paying bills that line the pockets of others. Living in marriages that choke your very soul.

In heaven, you would be a puppet to… his rules.  An eternity like that is the real torture, the real punishment.  You will be forced to remain faithful to a woman no matter how dreadful your life becomes.  You will be forced to serve your fellow-man without any reward, to be humble and pathetic in the eyes of your peers.  You will pray to his greatness from your bended knee, begging for his acceptance.  You will give your riches to the poor, the weak and frail, no matter that you earned it and they squandered their opportunities.

Is that your idea of paradise?  Even the angels you so desperately adore are nothing but messengers, order takers.  They are the lowly servants, playthings, of those above them.  Like human life, the rich get richer off the backs of the poor.  If you exist only to give away what you earn, hoping to be rewarded in the next life, you will spend eternity regretting it.  There is nothing more for you there, than there is for you on earth” the demon’s every word was seething with hatred.

Jeff couldn’t speak, the demon had mentally gagged him, but he wouldn’t have said anything anyway. He had come to know that the demon was none other than Belial, prince of deceit and treachery.  And yet, a lot of its words rang true in his mind.

“Hell on the other hand, is like a twenty-four hour, free of charge brothel, serving a never-ending supply of any type of alcohol and drugs you like.  Hell is taking what you want, when you want, how you want.  If you want more, you take that too.  In hell, the strong prosper.  There are no rules.  You live the way you see fit.  This is the existence you are told to fear.  Pain becomes pleasure and torture becomes entertainment.

They want you to fear it so that they can keep control of you.  They need more cattle in heaven to do the brunt of their work without question.  He threats to punish you for disobedience.  He threatens to cast you aside if you do not declare your love and loyalty to him.  In hell, you are rewarded for your sins and embraced for standing up for yourself, for being strong and acknowledging your most carnal desires”.

As the demon spoke, images of both heaven and hell swirled about in Jeff’s mind.  In heaven he would be a slave.  He would have rules and answer to higher powers at all times.  Life would be miserable.  In hell he was accepted.  He did as he pleased and it pleased him a lot.  His mind was not what the demon was after.  It was his will.  And it had a firm grip on it.

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