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Beelzebubís Curse - Norman A. Rubin
Ghosts are usually pictured in one's imagination as a mere shadow, a disembodied form; but to Old Jacob the nefarious ghost that haunted him in his misery was the mocking spirit of the devil himself. Beelzebubís curse had fallen upon him through his ill-fated wish to rid himself of his bickering wife Bella.
True, he had shown love and affection for his beloved in the eyes of the beholders when she was seen in her living form. True, he had wept copious tears and beat his breast upon her demise, but within his heart it was the sign of relief from the tedious years he had shared with her.
Old Jacob was not always old in years and slightly bent with age, nor was his wispy hair gray to their roots and his thin face creased in wrinkles. In fact, throughout his long life his roly-poly body tripped in joyful pace as he carried on in his daily duties; his figure was now in the elder years paunchy and fleshy. His clear brown eyes now dim with age, was in the past shown in brightness as he offered prayer and study in devotion to the Eternal One. But, a curse had entered his life at the blessed end of middle age, namely his wife Bella, a corpulent woman matched to him by his concerned kin in their pity of loneliness in his single life.
Ohh, they cajoled him in the thought, which in the coming age of his elder years would be one of emptiness without a carrying wife. Bella was presented to him as being a soul of concerned nature, handsome in her early forties despite a chubby appearance. Ohh, they lauded her so-called beautiful florid face with dimpled cheeks, crowned with shining curled brown locks. Pressure mounted and Jacob relented and agreed to the match.
Jacob's first impression of Bella was one of promise. To his eyes, she was of interesting countenance, attentive to his words. He dismissed the looks of her short stout appearance and only saw her laughing blue eyes. Love, if you may call it, entered into Jacob's heart and he asked the question.
It was shortly after the ring was placed on the third finger and the glass broken did Bella show her own true being. Namely she returned to a shrew of a woman who had driven two of her past husbands to an early grave with her bickering tongue. Jacob, in the misery of the knowledge, committed a sin of sacrilege, by blaspheming his meddling kin for this curse. Through their insistence the righteous one hadn't found the promise of a content and blissful life for his remaining years, but one of a lashing tongue full of scorn or complaint.
The evenings after a day of work and religious study were filled by the loud voice of Bella as she found bickering words. Nothing was spared her tongue, even the very appearance of Jacob. Nothing was right in her mind and she expressed it quite loudly in many words. Jacob, at first, took the stream of her tirade patiently, but as time crept in its slow pace, he invoked an act of devilry, namely praying to the heavens above to rid him of this plague.
The good angels only shook their heads in sympathy as they listened to his prayers, but didn't carry his message to the Creator, who was wise in his peaceful ways. Only Beelzebub, the demon of darkness, heard his prayers and he schemed and plotted in his evil ways. He rubbed his hands in glee as he thought of the chance to snare the soul of a righteous one.
The elder Jacob was disturbed in his evening study of the sacred books by the smell of brimstone and the flash of fire and smoke. The good man rubbed his eyes in disbelief in the sight of the Devil in all his finery standing in the middle of the flames. His mocking laughter and cunning words that told of his offering to him stunned the puzzled creature. It was namely the bartering of Jacob's soul for the opportunity to have a peaceful life in his remaining years. Beelzebub, the cunning one, painted a tempting picture of contentment, with quiet hours devoted to the pursuit of study.
Jacob heard the tantalizing words of the Devil mixed with the raucous bellowing of his bickering wife calling him from afar. Temptation crept into his soul and he weighed the words of the offering for some time. The scales were set with the pro and con of the offer but only a negative answer to Beelzebub was received in his thoughts.
The good man, being a righteous man and believer in the faith, dismissed the offer of Beelzebub. He surmised that it was better to live in misery with a shrewish wife than deal with the devil. The glowing yellow eyes of the Viper of Evil told of his anger upon the refusal to his offer. The wicked eyes revealed the boiling anger churning in his cold heart.
Beelzebub fumed and cursed the very form of Jacob as the sight of the sought-after soul vanished from his grip. He lifted his bony, sharp-fingered hands and pointed a vile incantation at the good man, "All evil tormentors, from evil eye, from spirit, from pure spirit cast a continuing sound of scornful words forever and ever." With an evil laughter to his lips, the devil disappeared in the burning flames. Jacob uttered a beseeching prayer and the sight and sound of fire and brimstone vanished in the void.
Jacob in the continuance of his elder years had, again, the blessing of a peaceful and a contented life. It came shortly after the unpleasant visit of the vile devil. Bella, his wife of twelve years, met her untimely demise through a failing heart. Tears were shed as the shrouded body was laid to rest. Old Jacob felt the burden of the taunt period in life lifted from his weary shoulders; he looked forward to his remaining years in peaceful pursuits.
Old Jacob shared his wishes with a blessed creature, his faithful housekeeper, employed to care for his needs in his retirement. The good woman had accepted his board and lodging and considered her wage acceptable. She was a simple woman, wise in her ways. She was called Rachel and was seen in his eyes in the form of the Biblical figure, strong in stature and plain in features. She attended to his needs as a caring wife and listened attentively to his words of knowledge during the relaxed hours of the evening. Jacob also understood her needs; he allowed her time to visit her small family and to attend services on the day of rest.
Then, the curse of Beelzebub was heard suddenly without a warning. Jacob's sleep was disturbed by the smell of fire and brimstone and a wicked laugh. It was followed by the muted sound of a lashing tongue full of bickering and complaint. Only after a beseeching prayer did the terrible sound of the shortly spirits vanished from his mind. But, at the following nights they reappeared in all their fury, causing unease in Jacob's mind and all efforts in prayer were in vain.
The continuing nights was full of nightmarish sounds turning into flickers of ghostly shapes. They capered on his bed and flickered back and forth in the wavering air. First it was in the form of his bickering wife turning into the frightening sight of open mouth with a wagging tongue. Then the ghostly spirit appeared in the damning red figure with an evil grin to its features. The ghostly figures turned from spirited forms to a kaleidoscope of jumbled mixture of colors and shapes.
He prayed to the Most High for salvation. His pleas were answered in the form of a tired swoon that wasn't invaded by the sight and sound of the torturing spirits. Jacob found his blessed rest protected by the belief in the good messengers. Only, at the crow of the cock in the early morning he awoke, but not refreshed from the toll of misery of the night's devilish sights and sounds. His facial features told of its toll by reddened eyes and its fleshy bags. His worst curse was tiredness, which disturbed his study of the Word; he cried out in anguish of not being able to fulfill his sacred duty.
Rachel, his faithful servant took heed of the haunted look on Jacob and inquired of his trouble. The good man, at first, tried to hide the agitation of his mind from her, but the tide of misery welled up, and he told all from the beginning to end. Rachel understood his dilemma and listened quietly to plaintive words. When his words ended in tears did she offer comforting phrases? Then the good woman formulated an address to the nagging problem. She worded her plan and Jacob agreed despite his misgivings.
The good woman, unknown to Jacob, was well versed in 'White Magic'. She understood the written amulets and sacred incantations for curing and healing; she was aware of her powers to charm away evil spirits. But being a righteous woman she obeyed the edicts of the ancient sages that imposed a limit to her powers, and only at times of deep distress did she call in her knowledge.
That very night, Rachel, in the guise of Jacob, covered herself in the blankets spread on his bed. Jacob was seated quietly in an armchair in the corner of the bedroom. He waited with trepidation to the return of smell of fire and brimstone, the hellish laughter and the whispered fury of a scornful tongue full of damning words. True, to his expectations the smell and the call returned.
Evilness was spread over the hidden form of Rachel hidden in the covers of Jacob's bed. She smelled the burning and heard the cursed devilís laughter and the nagging words of a bickering tongue without the sign of fear. Beelzebub was shocked by the silence in the room and the lack of entreating prayers from Old Jacob. But before he was able to act, Rachel, jumped from underneath the covers, searched out the devil with a piercing glance and uttered the incantation of the ancients, "May the curse of the devil in the soul of Jacob depart, go away, wash away, be loosened, be annulled, be broken. I call in the name of Abrasax who is appointed over you to uproot your path of evil. Abrasax, Yah Yah, El El El."
Beelzebub heard the damning words and saw her searching green eyes of the inner light. Rachel's orbs turned into a Single Eye, the one that sees all that is known to be beneficial in righteousness. No power in his weapons neither of evil, nor of his words of violence turned upon his adversary could he turn the damning Single Eye upon his figure. He tried to block the reflecting beam of light from Rachel's glare with bolts of fire; and he called out desperately to the lords of the nether world to blind the mocking eye. It was to no avail. Beelzebub screamed once in his agony of defeat and within a flash, disappeared from sight and sound, leaving a faint smell of a burnt offering.
Rachel, in turn, went to Old Jacob, clutched him to her bosom and uttered a prayer of the Psalmists in his name, "Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night... " She ended the verse with a prayer for forgiveness to the Most High.
As for Beelzebub, well, he was in a burning fury after another rejection of a soul. He roamed about the nether regions cursing and fuming for days on end. Until...
Norman A. Rubin