Lucifer: Chapter 12
Streams Of Information
AT FIRST THEY only sat there in Father Damien's kitchen and ate their sandwiches in silence. Derrick stared out the sliding doors at the lawn. After a while, however, Damien began to get edgy again--he hated long waits and long silences, they struck him as pointless and wasteful--wondering just why they were here. Father Damien could tell by the way he started shifting in his chair, bobbing his feet as if ants were crawling up his legs. He cleared his throat and spoke.
"Derrick, you're probably wondering why you're here," he began.
"Not exactly," Derrick replied mildly, taking a bite of his sandwich.
Father Damien and his nephew looked at each other, caught slightly off guard. "You're not?" Damien asked.
"No. It should be the other way around. You're wondering why I'm here."
Damien paused, then shrugged. "True."
"What's more, you think I'm lying to you," Derrick went on, "not telling you everything I know. I can't tell you everything I know. Neither can you do the same for me."
So he did listen in on me. "Also true," Damien said, his tone acidy. "But when it comes to cults--"
"What about cults?" Derrick interrupted him, setting down the sandwich and looking at him. "Don't you think you're being a little prejudiced here? Haven't you ever thought its members might consider it their true religion? 'Cults' is a generic term--"
"I don't give a damn what a cult is!" Damien shouted, slamming down his own sandwich and causing Father Damien to jump back. A tiny piece of lettuce hit the floor and the priest bent to pick it up, dropping it in the small waste bin. "There's only two things I want to know--number one, just how are you involved in all this, and number two, how do I get my parents out of that cult?"
Derrick stared at him a while, until Damien was forced to turn away, muttering to himself in annoyance. He hated staring, too. Then Derrick spoke up again, his own voice cold and carefully modulated.
"Number one," he said, "I'm not at liberty to answer your question. And number two, are you really sure that's what you want for your parents?"
"What are you, nuts?" Damien cried. "Of course! Do you really think I'd want my parents stuck in a murderous Satanic cult all their lives? Do you know what that feels like? It feels like they're in a glass cage and I'm looking in at them and I can't get them out! Of course you wouldn't know how that feels--"
"Of course I would!" Derrick shot back. Father Damien sat silently off to the side, as if he'd disappeared altogether from the conversation. "From what you've already managed to dig up on me, against my wishes, might I add, you should know my own mother was in the cult. I never got to know her, just like you barely got to know your parents. At least you saw yours. And they're still alive. That's a cage my mother will never climb out of." He looked at what remained of his sandwich, then pushed the plate away across the counter. "I'm not hungry anymore. I think I'll leave," not even bothering this time to keep the anger out of his voice. He stood up. Damien followed, and then Father Damien, who didn't like the look in his nephew's eyes.
"No, you won't," Damien said in a low voice, stepping between Derrick and the kitchen doors. "You're going to stay here and tell us all you know about this Scorpio first."
A scowl. "And if I don't?"
"I'll make you."
Derrick held up his hands. "Oohh, I'm soooo scared."
Damien made as if to lunge at him; Father Damien grabbed his arm and Derrick quickly jumped back out of the way. It had been only an act, and Damien glared at Derrick as if to say there was more where that came from.
A lot more, if he insists on playing these games.
"I believe you're losing all your chances of ever meeting your parents again," Derrick said shakily, grabbing a hold of the doorknob behind him. "Behavior like that will definitely get you nowhere. Have a nice day," he said to Father Damien, and quickly left the house, the glass door sliding shut with a bang behind him.
A deep silence filled the room.
After staring at the closed door several minutes, Damien slumped down on one of the stools at the counter and put his head in his hands with a shuddery sigh. Father Damien came around behind him and placed his hand on his shoulder. What Damien said next, muffled by his hands, startled him.
"He's with them," Damien said, with more than a trace of bitterness in his voice. Another sigh, this one hopeless, escaped him. "He knows about my parents and he'll do nothing because he's with them."
Damien was in an interminable mood the rest of the afternoon and the next day; that morning Kat caught him at the kitchen counter, spinning slowly from side to side on the stool as he doodled ceaselessly on a sheet of paper. She pulled it out from under his pencil seemingly without his noticing and read what was scrawled on it:
Someone is watching you
The heart can stoop so low
That you'll finally get your due
(Dot dot dot...
Fade to black)
"Y'know, it's been running through my head all day," he said as she read the familiar words to his first hit song. "Not a minute goes by when I haven't been singin' it to myself. Just like a really long skipping record. Isn't that funny?"
"Not really," she replied, staring at the rest of his doodles, which included small circles and stars and scribbles, as well as the odd postscript at the end of his chorus, and what appeared to be drawings of tiny candle flames. "Sometimes singers have that problem. They get too close to their songs so they can't back away from them and take an objective look."
"Like that's the worst of my problems," Damien said, with a strange laugh. He sighed as he twirled his pencil; it flipped deftly between his fingers. "I just wish it was. Is there such a thing as singer's block?"
Kat didn't bother answering what was obviously a rhetorical question. Instead, she asked, "How are things going with Derrick?"
Damien looked up at her, trying to tell if she were teasing him or not. He frowned and she could tell he again hadn't slept well last night, judging from the shadows under his eyes. "What do you know about him?"
Kat shrugged. "Not much. Just what you told me."
"And what's that?"
She gave him a funny look, thinking maybe he'd hit his head just a little too hard in the park. "Lord, Damien, what is this, the Spanish Inquisition? I don't know! Just what you told me!"
He sighed again and rubbed his eyes. "Sorry, Kat. It's just this's gettin' to me. I guess I'm just tired of being jerked around, is all."
Kat draped her arms over his shoulders sympathetically and pecked him on the cheek. "Well, why don't you go take a nap--I think you need one--and I'll keep an eye on the kids."
Damien gave a faint smile. He did feel very tired; he must have gotten at the most three hours of sleep. A nap might clear his head. "That sounds nice." Then his smile vanished as Kat's words penetrated his brain. "'Kids'?"
"Oh, didn't I tell you? Your uncle left a message that he's dropping off those two kids today. Your brother was going to keep an eye on them but I'd like to meet them. They sound very sweet."
As she walked away, humming, Damien let out one more sigh, again rubbing his eyes. Yep, this has been a long week. Instead of going to take a nap, however, he picked up the pencil and began writing again.
Someone is watching you...
Before he and Father Damien left again, leaving the kids with Kat (they recognized her as a singer too, and so were thrilled to chat with her about the state of the music industry), Damien gave strict orders for no one to go in his room. Harvey's and Ez's faces fell. But Kat attempted to cheer them up by offering to let them go in her room, giving Damien a reproachful glare. He shrugged it off as they ran screaming for Kat's room. He simply didn't like people going through his stuff. He got ogled enough already just driving down the street. And that was simply because of the car.
"Where exactly are we going?" Father Damien asked him as he exited the house. He hadn't gone in to meet Kat; Damien couldn't remember if he'd even told his uncle about her yet or not.
"Your place," Damien said, opening the Lamborghini's door and pulling out something that looked like a pair of stereo speakers.
Father Damien looked at them. "What are those for?"
"To keep in touch." Damien went to Father Damien's car, opened the door, and got inside. Father Damien went over to see him installing one of the devices below the dash. Then he went to his own vehicle and did the same, all in a matter of minutes. "There," he said, climbing back out and brushing off his hands. "It's like a CB. This way, if we ever need to talk to each other from our cars, there'll be a simple way."
"Short of sticking our heads out the window and yelling."
"You could say that."
Father Damien shrugged. "Your car or mine?"
"Yours, of course."
They got in Father Damien's station wagon and pulled out into the highway, driving away. For a while they drove in silence. Damien was tinkering with the "CB," making sure he'd gotten all the connections right, when Father Damien cleared his throat and spoke up.
"Just why are we going to my place?" he inquired.
"I'd like to take a look through your books."
"My books? Why?"
"I'm sure you got some info about Satanism in there?"
Father Damien looked at him for a moment, then back at the road. "Yes, I do," he admitted, a little guiltily.
"Good. I'd like to study it a little. See if there's anything we can do about these guys."
The priest sighed. "Damien, I've been through them before--"
"See if they've got any weaknesses."
"There's nothing in there to help--"
"Try to find their Achilles' heel."
Damien turned to look at his uncle, who sighed and gripped the steering wheel tighter. It was a moment or two before he spoke.
"Damien, I've been through all those books before," he explained. "What do you think I've been doing all those years we've been out of touch? There's absolutely nothing that'll help us there. We just don't know enough."
"Well, can't we find out enough?"
"Not unless you'd like to join them!" Damien fell silent and stared out the window at the green scenery blurring by. "Dami, each cult is different. Some cults are dominated by men. Some aren't. Some are racist. Some allow anybody in. Some don't eat meat. Others drink blood." He spread out his fingers above the wheel, a shrug variation. "Unless you'd like to spend a couple months with them, you won't be finding much useful information in any old book." He got a strange look on his face. "Unless it's a book written about Scorpio."
They both fell silent this time. "Or," Damien said thoughtfully, "written by a Scorpioan."
Father Damien nodded. "True."
"So where do we find such a thing?"
The priest glanced at him again, also starting to think he must have hit his head too hard. "How do we know such a thing even exists at all?"
"Come on, Uncle. Every cult must have a doctrine, and it has to be written out somehow so it's not lost. We just have to find that--or someone who knows it."
"Oh, come on, Damien," Father Damien echoed. His own nephew's foolhardiness surprised even him. "They wouldn't necessarily have it written down. There're whole cultures that get by just fine with the oral spread of information. I doubt a cult would just lay it all out like that. And even if they did, just how do you think we could get a hold of it?"
"We just have to go--"
"They live in a compound, Dami. A guarded compound. With traps. And attack dogs. And men with guns. You remember what happened to Derrick's mother." He peered at the singer out of the corner of his eye. "Now tell me, are you so willing to try just heading in?"
Damien's heart had already begun to sink at the word compound, and dropped another level or so with each new revelation. He felt it would drop down into his feet with a squish at any moment, and wondered, in the back of his head, if hearts really did go squish. Somewhere out there, somebody who'd met his sister must know.
Oh, God, sick. Don't even think that.
"So nobody on the outside knows?"
"Nobody except those who get out."
"And those who get out, get out dead."
Exactly what Derrick told you.
Silence enveloped them again. A semi swept past, blaring its horn. Finally Damien spoke again.
"We have to do something, Uncle," he said softly. Father Damien closed his eyes, but only briefly. He knew that pleading tone when he heard it. "We can't just leave them there. I got the chance to be free. I have to give them that chance back."
"It's just not that easy, Damien."
"I know, Uncle, but we've got to try!"
"If you want to try, I can't stop you. I can only tell you to please be careful. I don't want to lose you, right after we've just met."
Damien gave a half-smile and a light snort. "Don't worry, Uncle, you won't be losing me for a long time." He said it as if it were both a threat and a promise.
"And I don't know what I can do to help you."
"Just one thing--start locking your door more often. Or get a new lock. So we don't have a repeat of the other day."
Father Damien gave a little laugh. "So you don't like my closet, eh?"
"Not too much, no. I'm just not a closet person, y'know?"
That set them off, though half of Damien wasn't in on the joke; it was elsewhere, already formulating a plan.
Or, at least, the semblance of a plan.
He went first to the library to look for any books on Satanism, without his uncle's knowledge. During the city's lunch break he sat in Washington Park again, under the trees, and paged through one, more of a history on paganism, familiarizing--or refamiliarizing--himself with the symbols.
There was the pentagram; he found out that upright it stood for a person, and spirit over matter, while the inverted star represented a goat's head, which was called "Baphomet." He'd never known that before. He paged through the book to the index and looked up "goat." He found a whole two pages about how it reputedly got its connection to the Satanists.
In the earliest days of the pagans, including in ancient Greece, the goat was the symbol of virility. The Greeks worshipped a demigod by the name of Pan, who was represented as a man with the hind legs, horns, and beard of a goat; the stories of his many escapades with nymphs are just one example of how the goat got its reputation. After the fall of the Roman Empire paganism continued in Europe, where many witch-cults deified the goat, as did the ancient Greeks; many minor cults sprang up. The heretic Cathars were said to worship goats; this is unlikely, as according to their doctrine they believed everything of the material world to be evil. Some modern-day witch-cults possess two deities--the Mother-Goddess and the Horned God, the latter basically a modernization of Pan.
As did the rabbit, the goat acquired quite a reputation for procreation. Since the goat's image was so heavily influenced by the "pagan" religions of Greece and Rome, the Christians condemned the goat as a sign of evil. In so doing they created one of the strongest images of the pagan "faith" left today--that of the goat as Satan. In the Bible it was said that the goats would be separated from the sheep, as the evil from the good; of course, as time went on, the goat came to be more closely identified with the Devil, even lending him his physical characteristics: Many representations of Satan depict him as a horrid goat-legged man with horns, as well as a forked tail and pitchfork. If the story of the Fall from Heaven is any indication, then this representation is untrue.
Among Satanists--as well as among other neopagan religions--fertility is held as almost sacred; as such, the goat in turn became more important. The Satanists have even adopted the goat for their symbology, incorporating its head into the inverted pentagram. The pentagram, or five-pointed star, has always been a symbol of man; the upper point was the head, and this sign also came to represent enlightenment and wisdom. However, the Satanists inverted it, as they did with the Christian cross, twisting the meaning around to fit their purpose. The enlightened man became the earthly goat, which came to be known in Satanic circles as "Baphomet." The origins of this name are unknown; some say it may have been a corruption of "Mahomet," the name of the "god" of the Knights Templar, which we'll cover in detail further on.
Damien quit reading and sat back. Sure this was interesting; but would it be of any help to him? He already knew Scorpio had a liking for goats, if their high priest had been any indication; he tilted his head back, closed his eyes, and let his thoughts drift back to the ring of fire, and the high priest with the skull upon his head. Certainly, it was a goat's skull; he could think of no other local animal that would have those horns. He frowned and bit his lip, trying to remember more. The images were hazy to him, and painful to remember, but he forced himself to at last look deeper.
Everyone had been wearing black robes; everyone except the high priest. He'd been wearing black with red--a red belt? Sash? He couldn't place it exactly, but it didn't matter. He just had to remember as many details as he could, details which might give him an idea as to how Scorpio thought.
Black and red. Where've I seen those colors together before?
He'd been very little way back then, too little to possibly understand; the fire had been roaring and the hill had been high, but the priest had been saying something. Something about an offering... He sighed. Try to remember. If you couldn't remember, that was fine, but at least try....
Slowly, creeping around the edges of his consciousness, the words began to come back.
"Praise be to thee, O Satan."
That was it; what did the worshippers say?
"Thine is the kingdom of Hell and Earth."
He remembered that. The material Earth, like Hell, was supposed to fall under Satan's jurisdiction, too. That much he'd gotten from the book.
"To you we offer a sacrifice."
Yes, Damien thought, but a sacrifice of what? Why choose us for the sacrifice?
"Accept our gracious offering of twelve nonbelievers, traitors to your Unholy Order."
That got him also--"traitors"? What did that mean? Traitors because they'd been running away?
"Accept our offering, O Lord of the Flies, Beelzebub, living-dead incarnation of the Great Goat."
"Great Goat." There was that animal again. "Lord of the Flies"? Wasn't that the name of a book? But what else had he said, when his uncle had shown up?
"Another has joined your offering to make the unholy number thirteen."
Now that made sense; he'd also read that the Satanists liked the number thirteen as well. It was known to be bad luck; in his case he wasn't so sure. The thirteenth guest had worked out just fine.
His thoughts drifted back to the present, and he opened his eyes and stared up at the tree canopy. Suddenly the warmth of the day and his tiredness combined began to overtake him. He started to doze lightly, with his eyes still half open. Greens blurred together; light green, dark green, green somewhere in the middle; and then hazel and yellow.
He blinked; there was someone looking down at him.
He sat up with a start, causing the young woman standing over him to back off with surprise. He gaped at her, his mouth working, but with no sounds coming out.
"I'm sorry," she apologized hastily, making gestures with her hands, "but I was just passing through, and I noticed you sitting there--"
"Ah--um--uh--" Damien stammered, trying to gather himself together. Imagine! Falling asleep right in the park! With his eyes open! He felt like an idiot. "It's--uh--okay. I was just--dozing a little. Taking a catnap."
The woman smiled. She was thin and willowy, shorter than Kat, with long, wispy blond hair and pale hazel eyes. She moved her hands around again, tracing senseless circles in the air. "I'm sorry I woke you up. I didn't mean to. I just saw you there, and I saw what you were reading--"
For a minute he thought maybe she wanted an autograph or something, he could think of nothing else; his mind was still in a haze. "If you want an auto--" he started, before his brain caught up with her words and he blinked. "'Reading'?"
"Yes." She nodded at the library book, lying open in his lap. A big picture of Baphomet was upon the page. "I just looked down at what you were reading and saw that, and was wondering what you might be looking for."
Damien closed the book, and looked back up at her, frowning, puzzled. "Uh--like what exactly do you mean, 'looking for'?"
She smiled at him again, showing white teeth. He thought for a brief moment that she looked very slightly familiar, then thought he must be imagining things. "Like looking for in the book. What are you reading about there?"
He felt his ears grow hot; he didn't exactly want to say what he was reading about, cults and goats and Satanism, it might make him sound like some kind of sadistic nut. So he hedged, trying to work around the question. "Oh--you know--pagan religions?"
She nodded, as if that satisfied her. A brief pause during which she attempted to stop moving her hands. She seemed just a tiny bit nervous. "Listen, do you mind if I sit down here?"
"Of course not." He moved aside and she joined him, pointing to the book with one long finger.
"You know, I have a relative who knows all about that stuff."
She nodded. "Only I don't know her too well. Really never got to know her. Still confused about her!" A guilty smile. "What got you interested in it?"
He sighed; he hadn't wanted to tell her anything, but the truth suddenly came pouring out. "I know you're gonna find this just a little bit hard to believe," he warned, "but I've got some relatives involved in this--a cult--and I want to help them out of it. Only I don't really know how. So I was just reading around a little to see if there's anything that'll help. So far I'm stuck."
She nodded a third time; he was surprised that she actually seemed to believe him, that she didn't look at him as if he were a total nutcase, the way the librarian putting the markers in his books had looked at him. "I know what you mean. They snare you in and don't let go. Kind of like the pinchers of a--crab."
He noticed the way she'd hesitated. "Crab?"
She smiled. "Or a scorpion."
Damien smiled and put the book away; the woman picked up a stick lying near the bench and traced patterns in the grass. "So, what relatives?"
"My parents. My mother and father."
He ran his hands down his face. "Tell me about it. I've tried talking to someone, who knows, but I'm really starting to think he's with them."
"I know what you mean."
He didn't even ask her how she did; he just took her word for it and nodded as well.
She bit her lip and smiled, tentatively putting a hand on his shoulder, then pulling it back as if she considered the gesture too intimate for a first meeting. "Listen, I really enjoyed this talk. I really am sorry I woke you up; I'm kind of a busybody, you know. I see something that interests or concerns me and I go right after it."
"That's okay. I should get going anyway. I fall asleep in the park and people will really think I'm crazy!"
"I hope you have good luck with your parents. That's really tough, being in a cult."
"You bet it is."
"Well, I'll be seeing you," she said, getting up, shaking his hand quickly (he half did so himself, being in a bit of a daze), and then walking away, disappearing from the park.
For a while Damien sat on the bench, still dazed. After a short time he began to come out of it, and, suddenly surprised, looked around.
He was the only person left in the park, besides some guy walking his dog. There was no blond woman anywhere.
He instantly felt like slapping himself. Such an opportunity, and he didn't even take it! There were so many questions he'd wanted to ask her, like what she meant by "scorpion," or "concerned with," or even what her name was. He couldn't believe he hadn't even gotten her name! He leaned his elbows on his knees and ground his knuckles into his forehead, growling to himself. Whatever had come over him, so that he wouldn't even ask somebody's name?
But she had to be out there somewhere. Even Derrick was out there; he just had no records because he'd been born into the cult. At least, all indicators pointed to that. As for the woman, he had no way of knowing who she was or why, except to look around. He'd already done that before. What harm could a little more looking around do?
It might not help, but at least it couldn't hurt.