You must read the field manual!
The Demon Hunter
It's marvellous how a short story can pack so much in such a short space. Demon Hunter is a short story with mixed motifs. Its a scifi that is not a scifi in some ways. Its both a comment on the future and a comment on the present. It's about human beliefs and behavior. Its about who is the hero and who is the villain. It's about the double edged nature of Science. Its about deception. It's a chilling possibility about the future that I hope never happens.
Check out the image to the left. Its deceptive. There are two images. Which one is the demon hunter?
Note if you can't see the second image stand back a few paces from the screen and look at the image.
Also the eye of the larger image has been closed as Facebook has a policy not to show nipples. (Presumably they are too corrupting for adults to see yet they allow their babies to see them LOL).
As published in Narrator Australia 20th December, 2012.
The Demon Hunter
Des Pensable (copyright) 2012.
I was a scientist from a parallel dimension exploring a new world just recently discovered. I came from a society where we valued knowledge, reason and logic above all. Our science had advanced to a stage where we had detected multiple realities and could travel to them. I was sent out to one to collect information and study the inhabitants. This was my first mission so I was quite excited.
My avatar body had been bioengineered to look like them, I had taken a study course in off world etiquette and I had an artificially intelligent universal translator device implanted which could quickly learn any new language and translate it for me. So I felt reasonably confident that I could blend in with the locals and learn about them.
They had a society based upon the use of fossil fuel as a source of energy. Logically it would run out eventually and their society would have to change and adjust otherwise they could destroy their world and a large proportion of their population in the process. It had nearly happened to my world but in the end we were saved by science and a popular uprising against the financial monopoly that controlled the world. I was going there to investigate whether they were aware of the danger.
My avatar entered their physical reality a few kilometres from a small farm located several kilometres from a rural community and approaching the people working there I asked if I could do some work for them to earn some food. They seemed quite happy to accommodate me and soon had me working at harvesting one of the grain crops.
The other workers seemed quite happy and talkative. We all sat around a fire in the evening whilst a story teller told tales of great heroes and imaginary monsters and we all had a good laugh.
I shared a common room with several other males each night and we chatted about which female we liked and discussed their virtues. It was here that I learnt that one was particularly interested in me. Her name was Sara.
One morning I woke at the normal time to find that my co-workers had all left the room. At first I thought that I must have slept in so I hurried outside but they were nowhere to be seen and there was no activity in the fields. What I did see was a person approaching wearing a uniform curiously similar to an ancient one from my own dimension. He had a serious look on his face.
'So you’re the new worker are you? I’ve heard that you’re not from around here. That doesn’t give you any excuse not to be at the temple at dawn to give thanks to Our Lord for the fine harvest.' He said.
'Oh , Sorry.' I replied. 'I didn’t know the owner of the farm held a service to honour his benevolence or I would have come. It’s certainly lovely working here.'
'Not the farm owner you idiot, the Lord, our God, Zexon.'
'Oh, your god Zexon. I don’t believe in gods. I’ve seen a lot of amazing things but I’ve never seen a god in all my travels.' I replied.
'You don’t believe in Zexon? Who makes the sun rise? Who makes the crops grow? Who brings the rain? Who gives us love and children? Are you mad?' he replied.
'I had to take a battery of psychology tests before they let me visit here. If I was mad I’m sure they wouldn’t have let me come.' I replied.
'Hmm ...so not believing in Zexon means that you won’t want to pay the 15% tithe on your earnings. Is that what you’re on about? You want to visit our country and not pay your dues to Zexon.' he replied.
'Oh no, not at all. If they are normal taxes I don’t mind paying and I’ll go along to your service if you want. It should be interesting. I don’t want to upset anyone. It’s just that I don’t believe in gods.' I replied.
'Hmm ... you can’t come to the service or even work here on the farm unless you’re devoted to Zexon.' He replied 'It’s against the rules.'
'But I won’t be able to eat unless I work?' I replied.
'That’s not my concern.' Said the priest of Zexon. 'If you’re not one of us you don’t exist. You’re just another animal like all the others and our god said quite plainly that we have dominion over all the animals.'
'Oh. I don’t want to be declared an animal that doesn’t sound like a good option.' I replied. 'So what are the good and bad points about joining your religion?'
'That’s not a very positive attitude to start with. You should be happy to have your soul saved by Our Lord Zexon.' Replied the priest.
'What’s a soul?' I asked.
'You really are ignorant of the glories of our faith aren’t you?''Sorry.' I replied.
'Well, in a nut shell you are made of two parts, one is flesh and the other is spirit. The flesh part of you is bad and will do all sorts of nasty things if it gets a chance but the spirit part is there to advise it not to do those things and watch over it. It also keeps a record of all your good and bad deeds throughout your life.'
'When you die the spirit part of you will go to a place in another dimension called heaven where Zexon lives and present your record sheet to him. If he thinks you’ve been a good servant to him and mainly kept by his rules then he’ll let your spirit stay with him to serve him there.'
'On the down side if you break his rules and let your body rule over your spirit then he’ll send your spirit to a place called hell where it will live in pain and agony for all eternity.'
'So The spirit part of me is to stop the flesh part of me from having fun otherwise it won't have fun after the flesh part of me dies. Is that the concept?' I asked.
'That is a very selfish way for your flesh self to think. You should be ashamed to even suggest that!' he said quite annoyed.
'I know my flesh part can feel pleasure and pain. How do I know my spirit part will feel pleasure and pain after my flesh part dies?' I asked becoming quite interested in this novel concept.
'We don't ask questions like that. We have faith that what the Lord has said is the truth.' he replied.
'How do you know all this about Zexon if he lives in another dimension.' I asked carefully.
'He has sent his servants here to tell us of course. It’s all here in this book.' He replied.
'Can I have a copy of the book to read?', I asked.
'It wouldn’t do you any good. It’s written in a strange language that only people like me can read. I actually went to college for several years to learn how to understand Zexon’s holy words.' He replied indignantly.
'Did you learn other knowledge like mathematics, science, philosophy or perhaps even art?' I asked curiously.
'No. Why should I? This book contains all the wisdom that a person needs to live a happy life in the service of Zexon.' He replied. 'So are you going to join our faith or not?'
'Umm.. Can I think about for a few days.' I asked.
'I’m not unreasonable. You have until next week. I want to see you at the dawn service and ready to sign up to our easy pay deduction scheme. You won’t even notice the money gone.' He replied with a smile as he left.
That evening the young female named Sara came and sat beside me while we were sitting around the fire drinking some of their local brew and chatting.
'I’ve heard that you come from a place where they don’t believe in Lord Zexon.' She said.
'Yes.' I replied intoxicated by her beauty.
'That seems strange not to believe in a god. What makes the sun come up and who put the stars in the sky. I love to know more about everything that God has done. It all seems so wonderful.' She said with a happy smile.
'Well I could tell you a few things but you probably wouldn’t believe me.' I replied.
'Try me! ' replied Sara, 'I have an open mind.'
I guess I should have known better and followed the instructions of the field guide to trust no one. But she was beautiful and seemed so innocent and wishing so fervently to learn so I opened up a little.
'Well for a start your world is a ball shaped not flat as it might seem and revolves around the sun up there in the sky not the other way around. The earth spins so it only seems that the sun is rotating around the earth. The stars are other suns just like your sun only a very long way away.'
'That’s sounds so amazing. Is that what they believe where you came from? They must be all very primitive. It sounds like you should learn about our Zexon and go back and tell them about his wonders.'
We discussed other concepts as well. After she left, the discussion around the fire was quieter than normal that evening so I went to bed early that night thinking that it might be prudent to move on as the priest might get the owner of the farm to tell me to leave unless I join their cult.
I had only been asleep a few minutes when I was roughly awoken by several males wearing hoods who bound me and gagged me then dragged me down the road for about a 10 minutes to where we met Sara the demon hunter, wearing a robe with the logo of one of the fossil fuel companies from my home dimension emblazoned across her back.
'So here you are unbeliever. We don’t like you demons in this dimension', she said as they bound me to a pole on top of a pile of logs and stood around smiling as the she lit the fire.
'You come here from another dimension to try and to corrupt our faithful. I am going to send your soul to meet Zexon. Soon you will believe in our god. This will teach you to meddle where you’re not wanted. I’m also going to send a prayer to Zexon who will probably contact your boss about this intrusion into our affairs and I might even get a promotion for catching you.'
As my avatar body was wracked with unmentionable pain from the fire, I woke up in in my own body in the University’s extra dimensional travel machine.
Field work can sometimes dangerous when you’re a scientist. I certainly should have read that section on the dangers of alternate world religions in the field manual.
More importantly, we hadn’t realised the oil barons had got there already. Another world in another dimension is already being exploited! What the rich will do for more wealth is unbelievable!We haven’t found any evidence of any gods in our multiverse yet only demons in the form of greedy banks and giant fossil fuel companies. They nearly ruined my world. It looks like they’ve moved elsewhere to ruin other worlds. I wonder how long it will take the people to learn that Zexon’s dogma has enslaved them and only science and reason can free them.
I had better write up my log book about this experiment. I'm due out again early next week. Next time I keep my mouth shut!