“Another roach crawl out of the woodwork?” someone asked from across the cube wall.
“Yea ─ yes,” Dante stammered.
You must learn not to react to my presence human, Rabdos said.
“Keep your voice down!” Dante hissed frantically looking around to see if anyone was coming over. No one was.
You are the only one that can hear me, and you do not need to speak out loud for me to hear you. We are connected on the plane of Eden. This affords us certain… benefits, Rabdos said.
“Fine,” Dante said out loud, and then caught himself. Fine.
Excellent. You are a quick study. This is good, Rabdos said. We need a complete list of all those who are our allies, and our enemies here at this company.
What? How am I supposed to do that? Dante asked.
Simple. You can see into the spiritual realm now, what those fools who serve the son call the ether. Walk around this company and observe everyone who works here. Make a list, using a quill and parchment I will give you, of those who have a lemur, imp, or demon. Make a separate list of those who are accompanied by forces of the enemy, Rabdos said. Hold out your writing instrument.
Robert Dante did as Rabdos commanded. He held out an ordinary retractable ballpoint pen emblazoned with the company’s name and logo. Rabdos drew up his axe and began chanting an intricate incantation Lord Malphas taught him some time ago. When the incantation finished he drew the palm of his hand across the razor’s edge of the axe blade. Black, inky blood oozed from the wound and began to flow across his palm. Rabdos made a fist over the tip of the pen and squeezed. The dark, hellish blood formed a thin stream from his fist to the pen tip. The pen began to glow bright red as it drank up the blood. Not a drop spilled past the tip. As the pen soaked up the blood, the crosses that formed the Ts in Tech Evangelist hissed and smoked until they burned away from the pen’s surface. A moment later the stream of blood stopped and Rabdos drew his fist back.
Write on any paper what you wish to communicate to me, then burn the paper. I will know what you’ve written instantly. Make your list thusly. When it is completed, burn it, Rabdos said. Oh, and that pen now has an added effect. Notes written with it will be seen in a favorable light by those who first read them. They will come to you very open to your suggestions with respect to anything written by that pen. Do not abuse that power, but do try it out a time or two such as on your lady friend, and when you purchase a lottery ticket tonight before the big game.
Lottery ticket? I don’t play the lottery. It’s a tax on poor people and people who can’t do math, Dante said.
Math. You put your faith in a false religion just like the rest of your kind. It has been one of our greatest achievements, Rabdos said, shaking his head and chuckling.
False religion? What are you talking about? Numbers don’t lie. One plus one is always two, Dante said. Science is precisely not about religion. It is about what exists; what is real and can be measured, not touchy-feely faith.
Let me tell you about math and science. We’ve been using math and science to twist your world away from the truth for centuries, millennia even. First, those proponents of math and science declared it was a fact the world was flat, that it couldn’t possibly be round. We had it so good then we even had the church burning people for heresy claiming your Earth was the center of the universe and the sun revolved around it. Then your vaunted numbers that never lie declared no one could travel faster than the speed of sound, impossible was the word I think they used. We had you there for a while, but that one was just a matter of time before it fell.
I can manipulate any experiment to make the results say precisely what I want them to be. Just look at studies on eggs or alcohol. I can find you ten that say eating or drinking either will kill you and then I can find ten more that counter the first group. Oh, and global warming is my favorite one of all, and I’m not going to tell you which side Hell is on there either, Rabdos ranted pacing across Dante’s desk as he spoke.
Robert Dante stared blankly at Rabdos holding the pen gently between them.
Play the lottery tonight, with that pen; that is assuming you want to sleep somewhere other than your car tomorrow night, Rabdos said. And make the list, today. I want to know what resources we have available to us. Thwarting the plans of Paul Thomas are our top priority. Unless you wish to become one of the foundational stones in my next fortress, I suggest you get to work.
Rabdos smiled as he watched Dante’s face twist in horror at the memory of how those stones were made. Rabdos began the incantation to return to Hell. Robert Dante was gone from his cube before the acrid smoke obscured the plane of Eden from view.
Guardians of the Herald is a weekly serial published and copyright by The Cavalier, Mark Malcolm. For more information about this story please join us on our Facebook page community at www.facebook.com/firstchevalierbooks.