Pastor Michael sat in his study, his forehead furrowed in a deep frown. The arrival of Lucy had disturbed him very much, especially in light of the Dennis case. Something here didn't add up, or alternatively, it did add up and Michael didn't like the result. He was curious as to why two young babies had vanished in as many months, in such a small area. Child-stealing was rare these days, although it was prevalent during the War.
The War. Maybe that was the key. Pastor Michael had been very heavily involved in the support of the humans and also the Demon Hunters. He had run messages and held meetings to support the Demon Hunters. In fact, he was one of the original group who contacted the Hunters and requested their help. Pastor Michael knew more about demons than any human man should know.
He cast his eyes across the expanse of bookshelves, searching out a specific title. Finding the book, he pulled it down and opened it to a large colour plate. The picture showed an image of the eternal battle between human and demon. The demon was enormous, without its human form, and sulphurous smoke eddied around it. Large horns protruded from its devilish forehead and its red eyes glinted dangerously. Its hands were enormous with skin of almost a purple hue, which was reflected in his face, and long black claws. The face was a frightening sight. It had the required number of holes; mouth, nose, and eyes, but with the purple skin and horns, not to mention full beard, the demon's face was definitely non-human. It had the human child by the neck, dangling him a good three feet above the ground, and it was clear from the artwork that the child was being garrotted by the beast's hand. It only took one hand to lift the child, the other monstrous claw was digging into the victim's chest, clearly with an intent to disembowel. The picture was entitled 'Demon Meal' and the following article explained the background to the astonishing picture.
'The demon is predominantly and dominantly male. Most demons can take human form whenever they desire, adopting it and shedding it at will. It is recorded that demons live amongst humans for many years without being discovered.
However invulnerable demons may appear they do have weaknesses. Most demons cannot take alcohol or other recreational drugs. Some react with intense violence, some shed their human form involuntarily, and some expire.
Another weakness is the demon's addiction to fresh blood. Particularly when taken in conjunction with a desire to conquer eternal life. The Fountain of Youth, referred to many times in human literature, is considered very real in demonic circles and many demons feel they can gain eternal life from the consumption of the blood of children, particularly babies. The picture (overleaf) illustrates the desire of a demon for the blood of a child, and it excites them to such a degree that they shed human form before killing and drinking the blood. Killing is left to the last minute as demons believe the blood should be warm and still pumping when it is drunk.
Pastor Michael read on, although his blood was chilling with every brutal word. But he knew, almost instinctively, that this was where he was going to find the answer to the unasked question.
The most powerful of all life-giving properties is that of the blood from a demon's own child. This makes the procreation of children a vital part of the demon theology. However, the child has to be half human and it must not be conceived through violence. Demons believe violent conception lessens the effect of the blood. The child must also be nurtured by its mother for a set period before it is suitable for sacrifice.
Michael looked up from the book, his face ashen. Was it possible, he theorised, that there was a demon in their midst? He turned to a later chapter of the book, trying to find the answer to a question that was niggling at the back of his mind.
The demon is the most powerful of all the creatures from other-worlds. It is almost impossible to kill demons without first weakening its power. The triumvirate is still the most potent way to weaken a demon. The Power of Three is a magical essence that will reduce the demon to its weakest and enable victory.
Michael paused. The Power of Three. He considered the implications of the statement carefully. If there was a demon abroad, how would they create the Power of Three? It had to be a trio that had some meaning in the demon's existence. In order to create the Power of Three, one had to see into the life of a demon. Had Michael seen the demon? Had he touched or sensed the demon? Could he, a mere pastor, see into the life of a demon and create the Power of Three?
Michael began making plans to travel. Lucy and Gloria were safe at the farm, and he had some questions that needed answers. The only place he was going to get answers was from his old friend and mentor, Pastor John.