If you haven’t, you might want to read part 1 first. And as always, any feedback is appreciated.

Tormenter – Part 2

Like one of his human subjects hearing a story he had heard before and hoping irrationally that the bad event he knew was coming wouldn’t come, Knifeweed watched as the honorable man heard the news regarding his family. Many tears were shed, much confusion was shown, and there were even cries of anguish and torn garments. But, as expected, while doubts about the love and sovereignty of his God were momentarily considered, none were embraced, to the dismay and shock of other tempters (lower and ignorant – of course he had not told these underlings of the inevitable) who were watching with lip-licking anticipation.

These demons were whispering impatiently:

“Seventy Two deaths – why isn’t he dented? Why isn’t his faith in tatters?”

“Think the easy false thought, you rat! Think it! God is weak! He didn’t stop it because he couldn’t. That’s where this should lead you!”

“’The Lord taketh away!’ Why does he give us no credit? Is he not mindful of us at all?”

“What else could a demon do to make a man doubt?”

It was this last statement, showing an opinion apparently shared by many, that made him nervous. It was obvious to him, at least, that there was more than could be done. He knew something of the humans; that they were physical creatures – animals really – despite the largeness of the degree of sympathy and love that this honorable man could harbor, there was some likelihood that this might not exact the amount of spiritual torment that deep physical pain felt in his own body would. At the very least, these were the lines along which his chief would think. And if Knifeweed knew his Lord, it was likely –

Yes, there was the call from below. He went into the Chief’s presence and heard the words that he knew were coming: there was to be another meeting. And his presence was expected.

==

Knifeweed listened to the agreement being made. He had cringed as his chief had made the fruitless taunt. He had grimaced as the Almighty had (all too correctly) taken credit for his own work in the swath of destruction. But now as his chief was being told how he must limit himself (Knifeweed almost felt it to be a mercy that they wouldn’t be allowed to kill the honorable man – if it was not likely, as it looked, that he would be turned in the present conflict, perhaps he still might later, but killing him now would only send him straight to his LORD – a definite loss for their side, rendering punishment unavoidable for Knifeweed), he noted ironically diffuse emotions in the spirits of both the dueling minds whose debate he was being forced to experience.

In the mind of his Chief, Knifeweed felt the cheerful awareness that the work he (Knifeweed) was being allowed (and, the under-demon would argue, commanded by God) to do would be more along the same lines – satisfying, intriguing and relatively simple – as the last job. Satan obviously took pleasure in the pain of others. Who didn’t?

But he also heard in his chief’s voice the distinctively humbled voice of one who would be defeated, ultimately, to be sure, millennia later, but also now in the project at hand. They would fail to meet the primary objective. If only the chief would shut down his pride for one moment, they might actually get somewhere with their business. But that didn’t look likely.

The Almighty, however was the opposite – the cheerless awareness that a good man would physically suffer, blended with the sovereign certainty that nothing could stop his victory – nothing would even come close. But of course, the Almighty had the plan. He always did.

So he sensed defeated, thrill-grasping from his chief, and sober calmness from his enemy as they left the Presence. And soon the Chief was handing him the job. He left his Chief’s presence directly. This was going to take some research.

==

It was nearly a week after the Meeting that Knifeweed was heading to the Honorable Man’s home. He brought with him an expert in human disease, ScarMak, who knew the best ways to tempt people to despair and loss of faith. Knifeweed had met with ScarMak, and showed him the requirements, to wit: The primary goal for this disease wasn’t going to be the typical one – the sufferer, it was to be the sufferer’s associates) they needed a special kind of disease – visible, ugly, repulsive. ScarMak knew just the thing – Sores. Open, puss dripping, red and scaly sores. Knifeweed hoped the blemishes would be so extensive that the man’s friends wouldn’t recognize him.

A few minutes later, as the honorable man slept, ScarMak put his face over the human’s and blew a ghastly blue breath on him. It was only a matter of earth minutes after that the man woke feeling a light prickly feeling down his back.

ScarMak smiled, and Knifeweed understood the other demon’s appreciation and pride for a job well done.

But both he and the consultant cringed as the man, after he had become more alert, prayed for his health, and then for that of his wife’s and then (again) for the souls of his children. ScarMak departed quickly.

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