God and Satan are at it again.
The prize this time? – a sixteen-year-old heroin addict who wants nothing to do with either of them.
In Conflicted, Part One, a sixty-seven thousand word action-adventure spiritual drama set in contemporary Boston, Dee, a hostile, aggressive iteration of David Carradine’s Kwai Chang Caine, traces a nascent, local crime wave to an unassailable demonic-controlled website offering followers cash-redeemable points for committing crimes.
The number of the site’s hellish-disciples swells, creating a worldwide crime tsunami that plunges civilization into an anarchy bordering on the End of Days.
Can Dee overcome her despair and regain the spiritual strength she needs to defeat the demon agent provocateur?
Dee and her three devoted teenaged girlfriends are about to find out.
Intro to Today’s Post
This is another chapter from my manuscript published here for the first time anywhere.
In Chapter 13, posted today, Dee is reunited with her parents for the first time since her kidnap and forced heroin-addiction.
The three went from Dee’s makeover, to her spending a small fortune at Giorgio Armani’s, and are now having dinner at the Bristol Lounge.
Dee’s parents are about to be severely tested.
Note that the earlier chapters are on the Web Site Page, “Conflicted, a saga”
Today is Thursday, August 9
This is my 121st consecutive daily posting.
Time is 3:02am and the day will be hot with a lot of sun, at least this morning.
Today's dinner is leftovers. I have a lot. I've yet to check the refrigerator.
Reader’s Comment: from Sally Chetwynd
I've maintained for many years that political correctness is nothing more than a form of terrorism, all the more insidious because it is couched within the culture of the day, as opposed to being blatant and open (and in a way, honest) so we can see it for what it is. It benefits nothing and nobody. It damages or destroys everything it touches. It is a blight.
Thanks for letting in the light of day.
Too often PC is used as a substitute for love.
Word of the Day
Give yourself a point if you knew this word before reading on.
A polemic is contentious rhetoric that is intended to support a specific position by aggressive claims and undermining of the opposing position.
Polemics are mostly seen in arguments about controversial topics.
The practice of such argumentation is called polemics.
A person who often writes polemics, or who speaks polemically, is called a polemicist.
Polemics often concern issues in religion or politics.
A polemic style of writing was common in Ancient Greece, as in the writings of the historian Polybius. Polemic again became common in medieval and early modern times.
Since then, famous polemicists have included the satirist Jonathan Swift, Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy, the socialist philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the novelist George Orwell, the psycholinguist Noam Chomsky, the social critic Christopher Hitchens, the existential philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche, author of On the Genealogy of Morality: A Polemic.
What is Satanism?
Find the answer just before today’s Post below. Partial answers for partial credits.
Satan, also known as the Devil, is an entity in the Abrahamic religions that seduces humans into sin.
In Christianity and Islam, he is usually seen as a fallen angel, or a jinni, who used to possess great piety and beauty, but rebelled against God, who nevertheless allows him temporary power over the fallen world and a host of demons.
In Judaism, Satan is typically regarded as a metaphor for the yetzer hara, or "evil inclination", or as an agent subservient to God.
A figure known as "the satan" first appears in the Tanakh as a heavenly prosecutor, a member of the sons of God subordinate to Yahweh, who prosecutes the nation of Judah in the heavenly court and tests the loyalty of Yahweh's followers by forcing them to suffer.
During the intertestamental period, possibly due to influence from the Zoroastrian figure of Angra Mainyu, the satan developed into a malevolent entity with abhorrent qualities in dualistic opposition to God. In the apocryphal Book of Jubilees, Yahweh grants the satan (referred to as Mastema) authority over a group of fallen angels to tempt humans to sin and punish them.
In the Synoptic Gospels, Satan tempts Jesus in the desert and is identified as the cause of illness and temptation.
In the Book of Revelation, Satan appears as a Great Red Dragon, who is defeated by Michael the Archangel and cast down from Heaven.
He is later bound for one thousand years, but is briefly set free before being ultimately defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire.
In Christianity, Satan is also known as the Devil and, although the Book of Genesis does not mention him, he is often identified as the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
In medieval times, Satan played a minimal role in Christian theology and was used as a comic relief figure in mystery plays.
During the early modern period, Satan's significance greatly increased as beliefs such as demonic possession and witchcraft became more prevalent.
During the Age of Enlightenment, belief in the existence of Satan became harshly criticized. Nonetheless, belief in Satan has persisted, particularly in the Americas.
In the Quran, Shaitan, also known as Iblis, is an entity made of fire who was cast out of Heaven because he refused to bow before the newly-created Adam and incites humans and jinn to sin by infecting their minds with waswās ("evil suggestions").
Although Satan is generally viewed as evil, some groups have very different beliefs.
In Theistic Satanism, Satan is considered a deity who is either worshipped or revered.
In LaVeyan Satanism, Satan is a symbol of virtuous characteristics and liberty.
Satan's appearance is never described in the Bible, but, since the ninth century, he has often been shown in Christian art with horns, cloven hooves, unusually hairy legs, and a tail, often naked and holding a pitchfork.
These are an amalgam of traits derived from various pagan deities, including Pan, Poseidon, and Bes.
Satan appears frequently in Christian literature, most notably in Dante Alighieri's Inferno, variants of the Faust legend, John Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, and the poems of William Blake.
He continues to appear in film, television, and music.
Thank you, Wikipedia
“Constantine” is a 2005 American occult detective film directed by Francis Lawrence, in his directorial debut, and starring Keanu Reeves as John Constantine.
Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Pruitt Taylor Vince, and Djimon Hounsou co-star.
With a screenplay by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello, the film is based on DC Comics' Hellblazer comic book, with plot elements taken from the "Dangerous Habits" story arc (issues #41–46) and the "Original Sins" story arc.
The film portrays John Constantine as a cynic with the ability to perceive and communicate with half-angels and half-demons in their true form.
He seeks salvation from eternal damnation in Hell for a suicide attempt in his youth.
Constantine exorcises demons back to Hell to earn favor with Heaven but has become weary over time. With terminal lung cancer, he helps a troubled police detective learn the truth about her twin sister's death while simultaneously unraveling a much larger and darker plot.
Constantine was released in the United States and Canada on February 18, 2005, and in Hong Kong on February 8, 2005. The film grossed $230.9 million worldwide from a $100 million budget.
Thank you, Wikipedia
Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan.
Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist.
Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity.
Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.
Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history.
During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals.
In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active and that they were behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century.
The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites.
In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations levelled at them.
Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography.
Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism.
Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch.
In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.
Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.
The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.
Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.
8.00pm Breaking the news
“Yes, we have your reservation. Follow me, please,” the hostess leading the Mirabile family, sans brother Fritz, parents’ decision, or Grandfather and Aunt Clara, war casualties, through the dining room whose name, Bristol Lounge, belied its elegance. Far from the implied casual, dark, crowded space, the Bristol boasted an interior comparable to the city’s most formal restaurants: spacious, as to permit Dee and her mom to walk side by side to their table without brushing against any furnishings; airy, with high ceilings and a wall, running the length of the dining room, of floor-to-ceiling windows; and elegant, both within, with its tasteful design elements and lovely appointments, and without, the generous windows fronting on Boston’s exceptional Public Garden.
The trio paused at their four-top to hand their coats to the hostess. Dee and her mom settled into the chairs facing out, backs to the dining room; father’s chair facing opposite.
As she removed her sweater to her tank top, Dee stared out at the mysterious night enveloping the Public Garden which resisted the dark assault with hazy period-lamps. The lamps illuminated the park’s graceful crisscrossing footpaths lined with trees, they stalwart, as proved by their centuries’ endurance, but winter-bare, the patient trees biding their time to waken and flourish. What Dee couldn’t see, memory painted in: the pathways and greenery sprinkled with heroic sculpture, surrounding the pond of Make Way for Ducklings and Swan Boats fame. To Dee, the view beguiling, tending to disturbing, but the witchery of the dread lurking in the dark-beyond diminished when scrutinized from amid the warmth and bustle of the Bristol; and Dee passed through the shadow of unease.
Squeezing Dee’s hand, “My dear, we’ve missed you terribly. Are you feeling alright? You’re very thin. And those bruises!” looking at Dee’s arms. Dee set her menu down and, with both of her own, tightly squeezed her mother’s hand.
“They’re all over my body, mommy – pretty flagrant reminders of the dangers surrounding us,” putting her sweater back on. “But otherwise I’m well on my way to recovery. For example, right now, I’m ravenous for the first time since the ordeal began. So, give me a month and the bruises from the injections will be gone, as well as any other effects or marks. I promise. Including my weight. Watch what I eat tonight.
“But have I told you that I missed you both very much, too? And I love your outfit, mom. New?”
“Bought special for you for tonight.”
The waiter arrived to take a drink order. Dee leaned forward, “Dad, order a bottle of champagne. And let’s wait to order food until after our first sips. We can talk a bit before the food comes and distracts me. Wait! Oysters. Except oysters.” To the waiter, “Can we have two dozen oysters while we wait? We like small ones; briny.”
“Of course, mademoiselle.”
“And we’ll take a bottle of Veuve Clicquot,” Michael, returning the wine list. The waiter bowed slightly and withdrew.
“Where’s Fritz tonight?”
“The Billingsleys have him until we get back,” mother. “He’s terribly disappointed not to see you.”
“I am, too. Tell him. But I’m glad he’s not seeing me like this; and I’m happy for this time alone with you,” pausing. “It’s hard to think of Grandfather, my soul mate, gone.”
Father, “The excitement was too much for him. His heart just gave out. He died in the Great Hall, before the medics arrived. He must have hit his head on a table as he fell and the contact broke his neck,” Dee listening, nodding, not disclosing that, herself a prisoner at that moment, she watched him murdered.
“Daddy, please tell me how Aunt Clara died. ‘Killed,’ you said.”
After looking around, he looked straight at her, clenched fists on the table edge, leaning forward and whispering, “The truth is, my dear, she was murdered.”
Whispering as well, “Murdered? Dear Aunt Clara? How? Why?” Dee got up and hugged her father, snuggling her head into his neck, “Daddy, I’m so sorry.” She kissed his cheek and returned to her seat.
Her father related the story. Her building in downtown Boston unsecured; gentle, kind Clara working late hours, alone; criminals, having no other motivation than to wreak mayhem, invaded her premises and beat her to death. He choked a moment and went on. “Afterwards, they shredded every dress on the premises and scribbled nonsense on the walls. They took nothing that anyone could figure. Just sick, hate-driven individuals.”
“What? The nonsense? Do you remember?” Dee.
“Stupid. Mucho points. The same nonsense repeated about ten times, all over.”
Staff set fluted glasses for each of them and the waiter popped and poured the straw-colored champagne. Dee stared at the effervescence shooting up through the wine before saying, “Does sound stupid, the writing.”
She raised her glass, “To our dear Aunt Clara,” clinking with the others, sipping, and then staring through the windows into the night, into the Public Garden, using its stark, nocturnal, lonely, winter melancholy as a backdrop against which to organize her thoughts, to gird herself to the telling, mother and father as always, lovingly patient with their blessed, mysterious, targeted daughter.
Dee licked her lips, talking down to the table top. “I brought this on you.” She paused. “My enemies have me in their sights – danger lurking for anyone around me,” looking from one parent to the other. “Auntie’s death, my kidnapping, and even Grandfather’s death are all related, intended to diminish, disable, or neutralize me. And I’m certain that tomorrow’s event involves another early victim of an increasingly open and accelerating hot war against mankind.” She took a deep breath and exhaled. Déjà vu, her parents’ heartbeats quickened, their faces tightened.
“Mommy and daddy, I’ve thought carefully about this for the last several days,” pulling a hand of each to her collarbone, kissing each, looking one to the other, “I’m not ‘Diana’ anymore. I’ve changed my name to ‘Dee,’ – a new name for a new persona. It’s ‘Dee’s’ time now.”
“We can get used to that, my dear,” Lorraine looking at Michael, both nodding, both hoping that so saying would forestall more radical disclosures, but both fearing not. Even Dee, herself, crushed to announce the end of the world as they knew it.
“My dearest dears,” counterproductive her tears, reinforcing her parents’ agony while doing nothing to alleviate Dee’s stress. “Please love me,” tears now also forming in her parents’ eyes. Dee’s eyes cast back down to the table top. “I’m not coming back to Tyngsborough. Not tonight. Not after rehab,” looking up now to plead for understanding, to acknowledge their devastation, to pause for the strength to finish her story. “From rehab, I will move into my own apartment, here in Boston. Isabel is already arranging things. She’ll be calling for your approval.”
Now their turns, each of them two-hand enveloping one of Dee’s, each long kissing it, the opposing tugs pulling Dee’s chest against the table until her father released saying, “Are you sure of this, my sweet girl?” focusing on his glass, sipping.
Dee nodded, saying, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But I’m very sure, daddy: I need to construct a new persona; and Dee desperately needs your help – will you help me?”
“Of course, my dear,” her father, releasing her hand, pushed back into his chair, vigorously swirling his glass on the table top, his mouth severely downturned.
Weeping quietly, her face anguished, her head shaking, her mother released Dee’s hand after a final squeeze. She leaned close saying, “But Dee, why should you always be the one in danger? Why you? Only? Again? Who is punishing you? You’ve always been so good and so…lovely,” throat catching, she continued, “Of course, we’ll help, my dear.” Taking a deep breath, “Forgive me for losing my composure. It’s just that, well, another surprise at the end of a string of too many surprises,” taking another deep breath. “My dear little girl, my DreamWeaver having a radiant experience – who can deny that miracle? Becoming a teenager, becoming Diana, great – precocious, but understandable.
“But now Diana, my teenager, prematurely gone? And her exciting and happy youth with her? And comes Dee, an independent woman like me? Except she cheated of the frivolity of her teen-aged years – hundreds of deliciously silly memories never to be experienced?
“Hard, Dee. On a mother. Very hard,” Lorraine shaking her head vigorously, crying, rejecting the idea. She raised her hand to abort Michael’s consolation. “I don’t want to feel good, Michael. I just want to feel normal.” And to Dee, “That’s all, my love. Just normal. Is that too much to ask?” her eyes dropping from Dee to the table.
Lorraine got halfway up, thought better of a break, and sat back down. Dee dropped her head and cried softly – a mother-and-daughter duet. Lorraine drew a deep breath. She squeezed Dee’s hand, “My dear. I’m very sorry. Ashamed, really,” falling back into the chair’s embrace, taking her glass and sipping the champagne. Looking straight at Dee, speaking quietly, “How will your girlfriends react”
Dee hesitated, lifting her head to stare out the window, “I’ll just have to soften the blow.”
After oysters and a glass of champagne and the general acceptance of the new reality, the atmosphere lightened. Plus appetizers, they each ordered a cheeseburger, cheddar for him, blue for Lorraine and Dee, the waiter to Dee’s question, “Yes, we do have Roquefort,” all the burgers with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion on ciabatta, all with sides of the hot, crisp traditional fries, not the truffle-flavored.
The family alone again, “I have a question: Why did Aunt Clara leave me all her money? What about the two of you and Fritz?”
“She provided well enough for Fritz. He’ll never lack. Several years back my sister, Auntie Clara, and I spoke at length about her estate. I told her that your mother and I didn’t need any money. If she left any of it to us we’d pass it intact to you and Fritz anyway, paying double estate taxes – possibly tens of millions of dollars. Why the bulk of it to you and not evenly split with Fritz? She loved you both dearly, but your work, your mission enthralled her, and providing you with the wherewithal to carry on your mission made her feel part of the team. Don’t second guess her, my dear.”
“But then give over some juicy details, please. I know the broad strokes. But exactly how did sweet Auntie Clara get rich?”
Mother, “She loved fashion, and her little company thrived because of her creativity and hard work, which left her little time to spend the money she earned,” Lorraine falling silent and sitting back in her seat as the staff served their appetizers and portioned the remainder of their champagne.
Dee reached across the table using her father’s fish fork to take a bite of his crabmeat and then used her mother’s spoon to taste her lobster bisque. She proffered her own plate, snails – no takers. She demolished the mollusks in a heartbeat, dipping chunks of crusty bread to sop up the white wine, lemon, butter, garlic, and parsley sauce remaining in the porcelain baking dish.
After wiping her lips and saying, “Delicious,” she lifted her glass and pushed back into her seat to concentrate on her parents’ Aunt Clara story, father picking up the thread from Lorraine.
“She invested all of her money, first tens, then hundreds of thousands of dollars in Microsoft stock, starting when they first went public in 1986. That stock skyrocketed and she kept investing in other hi-tech stocks as they came along, among them, several gargantuan winners – the size of Microsoft. By the way, your mom and I learned to follow her lead. We did well enough ourselves; but, of course, compared to Clara, just pikers. She dealt with much larger amounts and invested with abandon. She enjoyed the thrill of it and kept meticulous records.” The narrative ended, father cleared his throat. The staff cleared the table.
“So, my dear, when she first called us three weeks ago, Isabel gave us a proximation of the amounts coming to you. After paying all outstanding bills, taxes, and legal fees, and after deducting Fritz’ money, you’ll be left with upwards of one hundred million dollars.”
“One hundred what what?” whispered Dee, leaning forward, tightly squeezing her father’s hand, saying, “Did I just hear that right?”
“You did, my dear. In fact, even without that, you’ve been independently wealthy most of your life because Auntie Clara started gifting you chunks of her estate while she was still alive, again, to avoid death taxes. But you didn’t need the money so we decided that we’d wait for you to get a bit older before…” his voice clutching.
Mother added, “But with Clara’s passing and your eighteenth birthday not far off, you should begin to understand and handle your wealth.”
Father, “And it will be burdensome.”
“Not worried,” Dee, taking a sip. “I’m sure Isabel will do all the heavy lifting for me.”
Staff set down large plates of burgers and fries, regular cokes for Dee and Michael, a diet coke for Lorraine, plus a glass of a simple red Cotes de Rhone for Dee, all three of them adding salt and pepper and all three adjusting the stacks of onions, pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce on top of the burgers. Lorraine and Dee also added ketchup.
“Now tell me about my girlfriends.”
“Lost. For the entire time you were kidnapped, they kept their phones on their laps waiting for news. They missed a lot of school. A lot. Stella cried twenty-four/seven; and several times a day she’d fall into a trance that lasted several minutes. In retrospect, your father and I think those were the moments they were injecting you.” Tears fell and her mother drew a long breath. “I’m so sorry for what you went through. I wish it were me, instead.” Another long breath after which she continued.
“Lori-Baby and Laini never left Stella’s side, the three of them in each other’s arms for hours on end. Of course, the parents were always checking in with them, especially to watch Stella for clues. She’d be the first to sense any changes. The moment you were rescued she started giggling uncontrollably. We begged her to tell but she couldn’t for many frustrating minutes, just laughing and crying, the other two following suit. Of course, she only sensed you had somehow been freed.
“An hour or so later, Ivy called. We didn’t know who she was at first, except for her saying she was a friend of Grandfather and you were safe. We remembered later she had tapped on our door several days after your disappearance telling us she had found a clue on the property, a wrapper belonging to a queen, and was going to use it to find you. It didn’t make sense to us and we didn’t see or hear from her again until she called on Monday. She told us then about your kidnapping and abuse. But we were so relieved you were safe we could wait for more details.”
“Just like now. Your girlfriends are dying for us to call and give them details about our visit. They can’t wait to see you tomorrow but they’re not calling.”
“Call them on your way back home. Let’s finish our dinner. Do tell them to dress for tomorrow night. And prepare them for how horrid I look.”
“You look pretty.”
“Daddy, you’re so lying.”
“Pretty awful. You didn’t let me finish.”
Lorraine had eaten only half the heavenly cheeseburger before she pushed back from the table. “I’m too excited to eat more.”
“Are you sure? Swap plates with me,” handing her mother a completely empty plate, immediately starting on her mother’s leftovers.
Ten minutes later Dee attacked her tiramisu, and only after she had swallowed several forkfuls of it and had impolitely generous tastes of her father’s crème brule, and her mother’s ‘Chocolate Decadence,’ and took several sips of her cortado did she raise her head saying, “My last few hours at the recovery house were very busy: I hired Isabel Guffy to be my lawyer, met with Sister Mary Margaret for my soul, and engaged Dr. Mike for my head. At noon, I met with the police, Sgt. Jesse and Lt. Sam, who asked me to come to Boston today. Allies: they seem interested in helping me in my mission. This afternoon, drive to Boston, have my makeover, hang with you, shop at Armani’s. Tomorrow my girlfriends and a test of what we’re going up against.”
“That’s impressive, even for you. But please remember what you’ve just been through. It’ll take weeks, months even, before you’re fully recovered,” her mother nodding agreement.
“Agreed. But it’s great to start feeling reconnected. Communal. Like assembling a sports team.”
Father, “Of course, teammates, all of us, my dear girl. But what’s our sport, I wonder?”
Peering into her cup for answers, finding none, her voice subdued, “I don’t know, daddy, our sport. I have my immediate needs: regaining my health and my strength; weaving my teammates together. Beyond that, I don’t know.
“What’s our sport? What a good question, daddy. Is watching the watchers a sport? Is waiting for our enemies to attack a sport? I don’t think so. That’s why I’m getting involved tomorrow. Beyond that, daddy, I’m stymied. I have no idea what shape our enemies will take; or how many will come at us; or how.
“What’s our sport? I don’t know, except, …” hesitating.
Mother, “Except what, my dear?” squeezing Dee’s clenched fist.
“Except to expect a collision event.”