“Madman” Chapter 3
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
Disturbed by the six body parts of Timna laid out before him, Anthony stopped chanting. He ground his teeth together as he contemplated what the Boy was doing. He had cast out demons in the name of Jesus before, but this time was different. The name of Jesus seemed to have given the African Boy more power. The six body parts began to roll back and forth like sacks full of living melons. Rolling this way and that, each part slowly took the shape of a demon. They became grotesque forms of people from Anthony’s past. Clearly demons, but demons who looked familiar.
What was previously a woman’s torso slowly grew into the demon Moloch with the face of Demetrius. Demetrius had a round face. He was an overweight trader who wore gold and silver chains around his neck. While his face looked human, his body took the form of a bull. Horns sprouted above Demetrius’ face. A stout pair of man’s legs grew beneath him and his arms were cow legs with hoof-claws instead of hands. A scepter appeared in Moloch-Demetrius’ right hoofed-claw. Robes made from animal skins formed rough coverings. with the oddly joined body parts from a bull and a human, the overall impact made the Moloch demon look like a grotesque creation from a butcher’s workshop. Moloch-Demetrius was the first to take form. He would lead the rest of demons in the final assault on Anthony.
Anthony was transfixed as the severed head grew into the demon Lamia. She had the face of Delilah, the woman whose image had just tempted him again. But the rest of her body resembled an ancient woman who had lost her battle with the ravages of time. Lamia was a child devouring monster. The African Boy called up her form to devour whatever remnants of innocence remained in Anthony.
The right arm became the demon Amon with the face of Cytherea. Cytherea was married to his best friend Macarius. She rarely visited the tomb when her husband delivered supplies to Anthony. She feared the supernatural events that occurred in Anthony’s presence. The demon Amon appeared more meek than the others. Cytherea never posed a physical threat to Anthony. She represented the natural separation of friends caused by the obligations of marriage. Her figure combined the ears of a rabbit with the body of a lemming and the clothing and accessories of Egyptian royalty long passed. She was almost pretty, like a child’s deformed doll.
The demons could have taken any form. The African Boy had the power to create threats of his own imagination. He chose to combine the traditional demon appearances with the attributes of people Anthony had known in order to draw him in. It worked. With the growth of each demon from one of the six parts, Anthony could not tear his attention away from the show before him. He didn’t blink as he watched with increasing fascination and horror.
The left arm became the demon Flavros with the face of Lucritia. Flavros was a cat-like humanoid demon. She had the body of a black panther, and human hind legs that allowed her to squat. Her arms ended in fury paws with lethal, retractable claws. Lucritia was a young servant girl from Coma who Anthony knew only in passing. She was present the first time Anthony visited the anchorite Zafir for advice. However, he had never forgotten her face.
Next, what was formerly Timna’s right leg became the demon Garuda. Garuda was a bird-like demon with the head of a man, specifically the head of a shop owner in Coma, named Levi. Rubbery wings sprouted from his back and flapped. Levi’s nose grew into the lethal beak of a bird of prey. By contrast Garuda’s legs, with the webbed feet of a duck, looked silly. The odd combination caused Anthony to laugh.
Finally, the remaining part, the left leg became the demon Azazel. Azazel was the scapegoat demon, more goat than anything else, but with the voice of a human. Reuben’s voice, familiar to Anthony, bellowed from the goat’s mouth. “Look what they did to me. I don’t deserve this.”
Anthony recognized Reuben’s voice. He was a physically powerful man who attended the Christian meeting house. When he was a boy, Anthony thought that Reuben was the most muscular man he had ever seen. As he grew older and began participating in the circle of men, Anthony learned that despite his physical prowess, Reuben was dismissed by his peers because of his negative attitude. Always complaining and blaming others for his bad experiences, Reuben’s deep voice began chattering comically, saying, “These people are just evil. Everyone is mean to me.”
“Shut up!” Moloch silenced Azazel. Apparently even the demon king did not appreciate a poor attitude. Moloch then led the demons in taunting Anthony both verbally and physically. When Moloch’s claw-hoof first landed on Anthony’s shoulder, the spell of watching the demons form was broken. Anthony shook his head as if he was just waking up.
Anthony had no fear. He exposed his torso to attack as he raised his hands above his head and called on Jesus again and aging for protection. Yet that protection did not arrive. One after the other, each demon approached Anthony, spoke against him, hit him and then let the next demon attack.
“I command you to give up your soul to my master,” Moloch’s words caused Anthony to shudder.
Lamia grabbed Anthony’s ears and she pulled him in for a close examination. “Not much flesh on those bones. But if you were a little bit younger, I would eat you.”
“Never. I will never give up,” Anthony answered her.
“A king’s subjects cannot refuse to follow,” Amon reasoned. “It will be better for you to follow willingly. Or face death and eternal torture.”
Anthony ignored her plea.
Flavros pounced on Anthony like a cat playing with a mouse. “We’ll take what we want.”
“One by one, I’ll take your eyes first. Then your fingers. I will peck you to bits,” Garuda laid out the risks to Anthony if he continued to refuse the African Boy’s offer to join him.
When Azazel stepped up and started to complain, “They made me do this. I don’t care about you, but they made me do this,” Anthony began to chuckle.
Believing that he had seen the worst the demons had to offer, Anthony felt relieved. When he managed to ignore their verbal taunts, the physical assaults became worse.
Moloch became angry. He cracked Anthony’s skull with his scepter. Blood gushed out from a cut in his scalp and cascaded over Anthony’s left cheek.
Moloch then used his scepter to threaten Anthony again, saying, “You must obey me Anthony. I am a king!”
“What kingdom is yours?”
“The land of the Ammonites!”
“That civilization is long dead and so is your kingdom.”
Moloch stepped back temporarily defeated. Amon picked up on Moloch’s theme, “I am an Egyptian goddess of your ancestors. Recognize our shared heritage.”
“You recognize my power then?”
“The only power I recognize comes from God.”
She changed her argument and leaned towards Anthony as if to confide in him. “I can see your future Anthony. I see failure. Jesus was a man, not a god. You will never know the truth by following a man. Come. Follow my master. He reigns over all of creation.”
“I have just begun to follow the Messiah, a short decade has passed. I only wish I had more life to give.”
“Just begun? You’ve been in this tomb for years,” Amon stepped away.
Then Flavros took up the argument, “And you will know nothing about the Messiah. I can see it! I have the sight.”
The demons began speaking over each other. As they became more argumentative with each other, they hit Anthony with greater force. Their claws, finger nails, and hooves cut him. Each took one small slice at a time.
Garuda stated, “I saw this Jesus of yours. I know that he will not accept you. You are too stupid.”
“I may not be educated, but I know the laws of the prophets and of Christ.” Anthony became more unsettled. He defended himself, “Christ called me. I heard his voice.”
Garuda dismissed Anthony’s explanation with a slap across his face. “Men hear what they want to hear. You are just a man.”
Amon pleaded, “Return to Coma. Educate yourself. Become a father. Clearly, you are better off as a father, then living this life in a tomb.”
Azazel kicked Anthony in the shin and spun him around. Then just like a goat, butted Anthony with his head. As he backed up he told him, “Your mother died when you were off swimming with Macarius. You treated your parents poorly.”
“Full of lies you don’t even know my story. I was at her side when she died. What of it?”
“Your father died after he drank the potion you gave to him. You were a bad son.”
“I am not responsible for their deaths.”
“I disagree,” Azazel head butted Anthony again, as he spoke to him. “Ahh, but it is true Anthony. You are to blame for all of the bad things that happened to your family. But I am here to help you.”
“And how would you help me?”
“Give up this ignorance. Stop searching for heaven in this tomb of hell. Don’t worry about the resurrection. Return to your life. It is your purpose to take responsibility for what you have done.”
“Enough! I will find life in Christ. No where else. I will not reason with you any longer. Get out!”
Azazel smirked, “Anthony, it could have been so easy for you. So, pleasure full.”
Anthony began to recite the Psalmist from memory, “God is my shelter, my strength. He is ever ready to help me in this, my time of trouble. I am not afraid. Let the earth give way. Let the mountains tumble into the sea. Let the waters roar and seethe.”
Azazel, Garuda, Flavros, Amon, Moloch and Lamia took turns pulling and pushing Anthony about the tomb’s antechamber. They cut him and bruised him and bounced him off the walls. With one violent push, a statue of Anubis was knocked over. Sealed jars crashed to the floor and their embalmed contents splattered.
Blood continued to run from Anthony’s scalp into his eyes. Cuts on his arms and legs dripped blood. The loss of so much blood weakened him. He realized that his body was giving out. He cried out, “My Lord, have you forgotten me? In the name of Jesus Christ, I command these demons be gone!”
“I told you.” The African Boy, now wearing colorful silk robes, stood off to one side and observed the beating of Anthony by the demons. “You are mine. Your Jesus has rejected you. Since you reject me, I will take you by force.”
The demons threw Anthony into the corner. Anthony touched the blood that pooled at the corner of his mouth. He examined his injuries in disbelief. “How is this possible? You are not real, and I live in the shelter of my Lord.”
Azazel answered him, “We are very real Anthony. Your God has given up on you. We will take your life now.”
When the African Boy opened his mouth to speak, the demons cowered for a moment. “You have called me the ‘Liar’ but I am all that you have ever known. You, who doubted your Messiah, deserve a place in hell with me.”
Anthony’s demeanor became calm at the words of the African Boy. He seemed to suddenly become unaware of his injuries. “Doubt,” he said softly. He repeated it louder and louder, again and again, “Doubt, doubt, doubt.”
The African Boy looked perplexed. Unwittingly, he confirmed Anthony’s internal thought, “Faith without the conviction of experience is the same as no faith at all.”
“That’s it!” Anthony proclaimed to the Boy.
“Take him now!” the African Boy commanded the demons. He could feel that he was losing his grasp on Anthony.
The demons picked up Anthony by his limbs and rushed to bash his head against the stone wall. At the moment before impact, Anthony’s eyes rolled back in his head and he said, “I surrender my body to Christ!”
A golden sphere of light burst from the center of Anthony’s chest. It spread through each of the demons. They turned into sand and the sand dissolved into the floor. As the sand statues drained away, Anthony fell slowly landing flat on his back on the stone floor. He smiled and his eyes focused on a bright spot, like a miniature sun, that floated above him.
The African Boy shouted at the growing sphere of light. “You promised. You can’t. You said….”
With his final breath Anthony said, “My Love. My Savior.”
The Light of Life spoke with compassion and love. It was the same voice that spoke to Anthony during the sermon given by the Coma Priest Amram many years earlier, and the same voice that offered words of forgiveness from the cross on Golgotha.
“I love you. I have always loved you.”
Continue the story with Chapter 4: https://edsharrow.medium.com/madman-chapter-4-6b385916bdc
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