“Madman” Chapter 2
Saturday is Story Day
Madman is a serialized Christian novel with 28 chapters. One chapter will be posted each Saturday. The first three chapters are free to read and form a short story on their own. To access a new chapter each week, please join Medium using my membership referral link. A portion of your monthly fee will be credited to me.
Madman is based on the life of an historical figure. This fictionalized account offers insights into personal rebirth in Christ.
You may want to begin with the first chapter at https://edsharrow.medium.com/madman-chapter-1-4c860201a69a
“I won’t welcome your guest. Whoever is under your control will be sent away.” Anthony pushed past the Boy and headed to the antechamber of the tomb. “Haven’t you tired of this game. How many of your visitors have I cast out over the years?”
“I tell you that your Jesus is not coming. You are not a chosen one. You cannot cast me out because this is my world. I rule here, not your sacrificial lamb.” The boy smiled. He never tired of their banter.
“My faith is stronger than your words.” Anthony used his small oil lamp to light the torches that were mounted on the walls. The antechamber was decorated for its first Egyptian occupant many generations earlier. The walls were covered with hieroglyphs. The main wall told the story of the journey of the dead according to ancient Egyptian beliefs. On another, the hieroglyphs told the life story of the man for whom the tomb was originally constructed. Large items including a chariot and furniture were stored in the antechamber for use in the afterlife.
The lower sarcophagus room that Anthony had just left contained the bodies of his deceased parents and their personal items. There were canopic jars containing human organs, mummified dogs and birds suspended in oily resins. Grave robbers had desecrated the original tomb and removed the ancient occupant. Coptic Christians, Anthony’s parents didn’t hesitate to reuse the space.
Once he moved into the tomb, Anthony adapted the furniture and the wall torches for his own use. He swapped oil based torches for bee’s wax because the wax burned much longer.
After lighting the room, he settled in the middle of the antechamber and ate his food. Digesting the small meal made from grains and dates, made him tired. Anthony fell asleep while seated upright on his small carpet, cross-legged.
A rumbling sound like a dozen round boulders rolling down a hillside woke Anthony. When he opened his eyes and looked up, the African Boy was gone. The appearance and disappearance of the Boy’s material form of flesh and blood was always accompanied by rumbling. Spirit forms could appear silently but the manifestation of physical bodies always made sound. Anthony assumed that the Liar had become bored and left. He didn’t look behind him.
A beautiful girl stood an arm’s length behind Anthony. She was wearing traditional Egyptian wedding robes. She smiled at the back of Anthony’s head. Oblivious to the young woman’s presence, he began part of his daily routine.
He straightened his spine, and looked upward at the torch that was still burning on the wall in front of him. Barely audible, he muttered to himself, “My breath comes in, my breath goes out. Breath in, breath out. Breath in, breath out.”
His words were replaced by the sound of his deep rhythmic breathing. Anthony became calm and his focus was fixed on the torch on the wall in front of him. Anthony expected Macarius would deliver new supplies today. Mac was his best friend and continued to care for Anthony though he didn’t understand or agree with his actions.
Anthony’s series of silent prayers were not as deep as they would have been on a day when he didn’t expect to be disturbed. When Anthony was into his third silent repetition of the Lord’s Prayer, Timna, the young woman who stood behind him stepped around and moved into his line of sight. At first, he appeared not to see her.
“Anthony?” Timna broke his concentration.
In unison, they looked into each other’s eyes and asked, “What are you doing here?”
Anthony chuckled and relaxed. He was confused. Perhaps his former prospect for a wife had come with Mac to visit. Her sudden appearance felt normal and Anthony relaxed.
“I seek answers,” he responded to her question.
“I seek you,” she said bashfully.
“You seek what?” Anthony became confused again and anxious. He glanced at the entrance. It remained sealed. Her spell over him was broken. He knew a demon was masquerading as this woman from his past.
Timna blushed and dropped her clothing to the floor. Anthony snapped out of his delusion. “Get thee behind me demon!”
“That’s cruel. I know you want me. Take me. I was promised to you in marriage. I will be the mother of your children.”
Anthony stood on his feet. He commanded, “In the name of Jesus Christ, stay away from me.”
His words physically hurt her. A horizontal cut appeared on Timna’s neck. Her head fell backwards. It dangled from the top of her spinal column as three serpents protruded from her neck hole. They hissed at Anthony, then withdrew. Instead of disappearing, she recovered and grew stronger. Her head flipped back into place atop her shoulders.
“Remember, our marriage was arranged. Until you began this disgusting life in a tomb. This search for your false God.”
“You are not Timna. That marriage was cancelled. You are just another servant of the Liar.” Anthony glanced around the antechamber. “Where is that Boy now? I do not know. But you are not welcome.”
Timna stretched her hands outward towards Anthony. Her fingernails grew. Her polished nails extended into inches, then to the nails grew many feet long and finally ever-lengthening yards that wrapped around her and Anthony like a cocoon. Anthony was restrained by the keratin strips enveloping his body.
Many serpents sprouted from Timna’s scalp, transforming her head into an image of Medusa. She leaned toward Anthony and the serpents moved to strike him.
“Stay back. You have no power over me.”
Her fingernails quickly retracted. The serpents transformed back into hair. Timna put her dress back on. She looked sullen but resigned when she said, “Very well, I will wait for you. My love. Because she comes.”
Timna remained standing in front of Anthony. She became extremely still. Like a statue, the demon Timna waited.
With the sound of thunder Delilah appeared in front of Anthony, between him and Timna. Delilah was another woman from Anthony’s past. He met her a few days before his father died. She was cavorting with the merchant of medicines on the morning that he and Hechim went to get a cure for his father. Delilah was voluptuous and sexy then. The demon manifested the same form now, as if she had not aged a single day.
Upon seeing her, Anthony said out loud, “I curse the memory of lust from that day long ago.”
Delilah told Timna, “Step aside girl.”
Timna moved farther away to stand against the wall, beneath the burning torch.
“What does a virgin know about seduction?” Delilah turned her attention to Anthony.
He made eye contact with her. “I will not be tempted.”
“Remember the oil Anthony?”
“The oil that killed my father? Where is your master? I will have a word with that charlatan.”
“No. Not the potion. The oil that my lover Nephi came out to get when you visited our caravan. Remember? You interrupted our love making. Remember my giggles? Remember how curious you were? He came out of the tent to get massage oil. There you stood, mouth agape, wide-eyed.” Demon Delilah began to sway to an unheard beat.
“I remember the results of your sin. When you later came to Zafir and I for help.” Anthony’s eyes became distant with the memory. Then he looked back at her and continued, “Well, it wasn’t you. You are not Delilah. She has settled down and become a mother. She repented and broke free of her sin.”
The demon Delilah continued a slow, seductive dance in front of Anthony while he shared his memory. His eyes kept returning to her.
“You are a demon. You only look like someone from my past.”
“What I know is this,” Delilah drew Anthony’s attention to her eyes with her fingers. “You and your man servant had need of a remedy.”
“Well, that remedy killed my father.”
“Oh, I think it was you who gave your father that potion. Am I right? I’d say that you killed your beloved Abba. The remedy you and your companion both needed was release.”
“I tested it. It was safe.” Anthony stood and turned away from both of the women. He stared into the darkened part of the antechamber.
“Yes. Yes. An accident of nature. Your father drank it all at once and it killed him. You gave him the means to follow in the footsteps of Judas. He lost his faith in your precious Jesus, then he took his own life.”
An uneasy tension hung in the air until Anthony shrugged his shoulders and turned back to face her. Delilah removed a part of her clothing to reveal more of her torso but she did not entirely expose her breasts.
“You liked what you saw that day? At my tent? Don’t lie, Jesus wouldn’t be pleased.”
Anthony looked her in the eyes and with a casual truth stated, “That day there was a real woman. Not some demon impersonating a woman.”
“I am as real as your lust is strong. The reality of this world is the creation of lust, greed and addiction.”
“Stronger is my desire for God. In His name, leave me!”
Anthony’s call upon God awakened Timna. Both women began to move in a synchronized dance. Slow, sensual moves to seduce Anthony. The tinkling sound of finger cymbals clanged. The base notes of a lute wafted through the still dead air. They smiled, and flirted, and twirled around revealing glimpses of what remained hidden beneath their scant veils. Anthony was not as captivated as a young man would be. Instead he became annoyed like a father who has caught his daughters teasing young men.
“Daughters of Satan, get away from me. I am not interested in a worldly life. If I was, do you think I would live in a tomb?”
Timna covered herself and moved close to Anthony. “I’m ready to start a family with you. Our family. Our children. Come to me Anthony. It’s not too late. You are still a virile young man.”
Anthony raised his hands toward the ceiling and looked up saying, “Our Father come down from heaven. Come here, now. Cast these demons out. In the name of your Son, cast these demons out.”
“Stop it.” Delilah implored him, “Stop hurting me.”
With Anthony’s command of “Demon get out!” Delilah’s form became a sand statue. With a loud rumbling sound the sand slowly collapsed and dissolved into the floor. After Delilah had gone, Anthony turned to Timna, “What are you still doing here? Demon, get out!”
“That’s no way to treat the only one you desire more than you desire Christ Jesus.”
“What? So, it is you? You Liar!” Anthony is confused about who he is up against. Unable to cast Timna out of the tomb, he wondered if the Liar, the African Boy, had taken up her form.
“Didn’t my master tell you?” Timna answered Anthony’s question. She squinted her eyes and gave Anthony a tight, smug smile. When Anthony shrugged, Timna’s voice deepened and she sounded like a general shouting orders over a battlefield. “Christ has rejected you.”
The words were so loud and sudden that they shook Anthony’s body. He took a few deep breaths and considered her words. The he responded calmly, “Christ chose me on the cross. May His Truth release you from this form.”
Timna did not move. Tears began to streak down her cheeks.
“Don’t you think that even demons can be saved.” Her question was rhetorical.
“You still have a choice.” Anthony turned away from her and spoke softly towards the stone wall. “Christ Jesus help me to send this evil one on her way.”
Anthony nodded to himself as he turned back towards the demon. The naked African Boy now stood beside her.
“It won’t work. Your savior has deserted you,” the African Boy declared.
“That’s not possible. You are the Liar, damned to commit evil.”
“So, if your Jesus is here, command this poor girl to leave.”
“In the name of…”
The African Boy burst out laughing as Anthony began another attempt to cast out his minion. Anthony could see sparks of fire in the Boy’s eyes shoot out in a flame. Reds, yellows, oranges from satanic fire lit up the tomb wherever the Boy glanced.
“of Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Father, I command you to leave this tomb!” Anthony chanted the command, over and over.
Flames jumped out of the Liar’s eyes and sliced Timna into six pieces. Head, torso, arms and legs fell separately before Anthony. His faith was being shaken. He wondered what the Boy would do next.
Read Chapter 3: https://edsharrow.medium.com/madman-chapter-3-99fd724e4dde
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