Not a Sparrow
By Hilkiah Angell
Joseph began to drink more and more. He began inviting trouble in from all sides. He had already had two car accidents, which Shammah managed to keep under control. He manifested open contempt for all authority figures. This vow was "no one will ever tell me what to do!" I often heard Joseph muttering to himself, "You can punish me, beat me, or even kill me. You will never make me do anything I refuse to do."
Joseph graduated high school and had some difficulty holding down jobs, as you can imagine. He would blow up at the slightest problem. He would stomp off and quit, any job, any time. He had many run-ins with the local police, and although not serious, very disturbing. When his troubles began mounting, he would head for church. He thought the church was the source of God and he would cry out his plaintive prayers before his Father in Heaven. Many times God answered him and tried to draw him close, but Joseph overcame success with failure. If he only knew someone who knew the Word of the Lord.
Joseph's parents were beginning to worry about him. The term often used when describing Joseph was 'emotionally unstable'. His parents were desperately trying to find the solution. They settled with the notion that the family doctor might be able to do something. Unfortunately for all involved, Sorcery had been there first. The kindly old doctor had been introduced to the Sorcery's mind control assortment. I heard the doctor say: "Try the pink one four times a day, it'll calm you down." What I read on the label gave me great cause for alarm: 'Can become very addictive when used in conjunction with alcohol.' Joseph was being introduced to Addiction, along with cohorts, Obsession and Compulsion. He would begin to hear: "Take a pill, have another drink. Take another pill, have another drink..." Many persons have been driven to the brink of insanity or suicide, and many have been pushed over.
That evening I received instructions from Above. I called Shammah and Benaiah to plan a more aggressive strategy. The orders we received included that we were not to let Joseph overdose on chemicals. We were also to actively engage the enemy whenever necessary, and protect Joseph from serious injury in the event of an accident. Shammah shouted, "Praise the Lord!" and Benaiah joined in with; "His mercy endures Forever!" Benaiah then said, "Why is it so hard for them? They are good people, they even have a Bible on the shelf." I replied, "They do not trust in God, they put their faith in the people of their church." As we looked down on Joseph, Shammah asked; "How long, Hilkiah, can he go on like this? "Until he comes to the end. The end of his ways. Only the Lord knows when that will be." I said.
Joseph found a job at Bedlam. He was right in the center of the enemies camp. He worked in the administrator building, no less, out of the post office as a messenger. He would go in and out of offices of the Strongman himself. I saw this as the time to confront Strongman. I planned to take out many of their troops to lessen the danger to Joseph. Shammah and Benaiah were overjoyed at the prospect. They wanted to dispatch many of the demon horde, and send them back to where they came from. I planned the attack to begin on the full moon. The enemy would be out baying at the moon, and I'm sure would thus be distracted.
"Shammah, go out over the water to the east. Benaiah will pretend to fly a reconnaissance mission to the west in full glory. When they spot him, a detachment will try to intercept him. When they are drawn off far enough, hit them from both sides! Full power, use no quarter, take no prisoners." "What are you going to do Hilkiah?" asked Shammah. "I am going to create a diversion in the center of the camp. When there is sufficient chaos and confusion, I will challenge the Strongman in his den. I want to know who is in charge, now! Ready Benaiah? GO!" He angled himself to fly against the background of the full moon. The baying was reaching a crescendo. It was almost midnight when Benaiah showed in all his glory, a flashing brilliance which alerted the enemy of his presence. Insanity barked orders to a nearby platoon: "Go you silly fools! It's an intruder! Chop him up you cowardly bastards! How dare you let him get close, you will pay you slackards!" The enemy troops flew out screaming obscenities and snorting yellow smoke. They waved their scimitars wildly in the air. The flapping of their bat-like wings added to their disgusting noise.
Benaiah began to streak across the sky, lighting it up with the brightness of sunlight. He rallied to the right, dove down and soared up again right into the middle of the fray. Shammah came in from behind and his sharp edged sword sang through the wind, eager for the battle. Benaiah dispatched one to the right with a quick thrust. Yellow smoke filled the sky as the mournful shriek came out of his intended victim. A green horned head flew off in one direction and claws were dropping everywhere. Sulfur filled the night as the demons were ripped to shreds by our flashing swords. The enemy troops began to disappear into the night, headed for the dry places. They left behind red and green slime that had dripped from their putrid, now gnarled bodies.
At the same time, drawing great power from above, I threw my light display right into the center of the camp. I left a trail behind me as I soared up and around, back and forth in dizzying patterns. I lit up the sky with gleaming gold and red light. I cut the dark of the night with my sword and filled it with radiance to blind the fiends of the night. Confusion reigned, and fear was loosed as beneath me the inmates screamed in terror. Their masters raced to and fro looking for hiding places. The Python was screaming at his guard: "Hold your posts!" The Cobra reared his ugly head out from the doorway of the Strongman. Shammah and Benaiah raced in fresh from their victory. The Python threw out his tail, seeking to cut me. Shammah sliced through his middle like it was warm butter. Benaiah was busy hacking up the rest of the horned guard. I broke for the hallway at a terrible speed. The Cobra came to his full height and got ready to strike. His poisonous sword struck out at me and missed. I raised my sword and watched the Cobra flee. He didn't get far, as he ran headlong into Shammah's blade.