Time to meet the bad guys!
Complacency, the demon who had afflicted Our Hero Marshall when he was busy trying to embarrass I MEAN parent his daughter, returns to the secret lair of evil in which the demons are gathering. You guessed it – they lurk under the school, in the “catacombs of the basement level, the area set aside for administration and the private offices of the Psychology Department”.
I get the feeling we’re supposed to greet that particular department with a “boo, hiss!”, but since we’re not Scientologists here, I’ll just point out what dreary offices they have and summarily feel sorry for them:
In this dismal nether world the ceiling was low and oppressive, and crawling with water pipes and heat ducts that seemed like so many huge snakes waiting to drop. Everything — walls, ceiling, pipes, woodwork — was painted the same dirty beige ,and light was scarce.
Can you imagine working there day in and day out? I’m freaked out by anything that seems too institutional or hospital-like; surely psychology professors are aware of the soothing effects that could be gained by painting those walls a sunny yellow instead and adding a few extra lights. The fact that it remains dark and sterile implies they don’t have much clout – they’re certainly not running the show here. Poor guys.
The conference room the demons are lairing in is so dark it’s “more of a presence than a physical condition […] a force, an atmosphere”; I can imagine visibility would be severely limited except for all the glowing going on. Each demon’s eyes are glowing yellow, and their bodies are outlined in a red glow that matches just perfectly in this Vegas headline.
Demons apparently all hate each other as well; Complacency, the smallest of the demons, can “sense their common disdain for him”, but he considers them “belligerent egotists” anyway so what does he care. Bullying is a problem in our demon-infested schools, it seems; won’t someone think of poor Complacency, just trying to get by, being picked on for being small? It’s not his fault Mommy Sloth and Daddy FuckThisShit passed on stunted genes!
He meets two “demons who specialized in hate” and “a demon of lust”, as well as Deception, Murder, Lawlessness, and finally, Lucius [Malfoy], the Prince of Ashton. It’s around this time that I begin to wonder about the naming scheme here. Why is it “a demon of lust” and not “Lust”? Could the names indicate ranking? But then, why is he the smallest and (heavily implied) the weakest? Why is he getting picked on if he’s at least mid-rank? Or perhaps he just doesn’t know the exact names of these particular hate and lust demons. But there can only be so many. There’s Lust, and Masturbation, and CovetingThyNeighbor, and Pornography, and KinkySex, and Homosexuality… you’d think each of these demons would look very different. This one is a “slithery creature”with a “slippery hide” – so some kind of alligator or snake? He says to Complacency–
oh, hang on. In dialogue, he’s called “Lust”. It could just be capitalized at the beginning of the sentence, but….
Well now I’m even more confused. If “a demon of lust” is the same as Lust, then are both the “demons who specialize in hate” called Hate? How on earth do they specify, then? I suppose they don’t have actual names, and the formality among demons is to refer to them by their titles.
Except for Lucius. He has a name AND a title and his title tells you nothing about his specialty and everything about his geography. I suppose Complacency is probably Complacency of Ashton, and there’s a different Complacency at each post? Or is this little guy flying all around the world handling everything?
Complacency approaches Lucius, musing all the while about how mean and nasty Lucius is and how he was always punishing his subordinates. Nevertheless, he is “desperate and enraged” — probably not a good state for a demon that feeds on complacency — enough to risk Lucius’ wrath. Not only that, he outright censures him, insisting that he’s “making a mistake” by “bothering Hogan’s daughter”, causing him to cast the demon off rather than succumb. He’s careful to insist that it’s in no way his fault, of course, but Lucius smacks him around anyway.
Then Lucius calls the most stunning of character witnesses, Deception, to back him up. Deception, of course, insists that they were in no way attacking Sandy Hogan. Nope. They were just having a nice friendly chat. She invited them over for tea, it seems. Incidentally, we learn that Deception himself is working on Sandy Hogan, implying that the girl’s sin is…
Wait, hang on. Is being deceived a sin?
Apparently so: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Eph 5:6) This link uses that and other verses to make a pretty strong case that deception is no excuse for sin; apparently deception, or the state of believing the lies told to you by someone supposedly knowledgeable or in charge, is a sin. On the other hand, being lied to seemed to work out pretty well for Isaac and Jacob and David, so apparently it’s only bad if you’re not Chosen or something.
I would have guessed that deceiving others was sinful, but apparently Sandy Hogan’s sin is being deceived just like her father’s is being “complacent”. On that cheery note, I’m going to stop here for the time being. Hopefully one of my Christian readers can put us more at ease as to the validity of that point of view within scripture.