“…feed meee…” the greasy voice moaned
Zebul gave the silver disc a hard, cold stare “You’re weak, brother”
The crescendo of the groans from the coin disgusted Zebul. He closed the lid of the ornate box where Molech festered. Placing his palms on the surface, he felt the edges of the grisly relief that muted his brother’s groans of pain.
His eyes lingered on his hands.
My hands? His face contorted into grotesque mask of rage.
“Pathetic skin draped over weak flesh!” Zebul seethed, “Melqart will suffer.”
He stopped speaking and clenched the gnarled hands into fists so tight that the bones nearly snapped like dry twigs. He snorted thickly, envisioning Melqart’s possible punishment at his hands.
So many options, so much time. The thought rolled through his mind as ancient memories returned.
“Worship me,” the Shining One announced “and I will make you lords over the cities of men!”
Many of the brothers followed the Shining One, and ruled the vile parasites that HE spawned. In Ekron, where Zebul was called ba’al, they worshipped him with their blood and flesh, killing each other for just an audience.
The voice under the lid of the carved box screamed in pain. Zebul patted the top of the box.
“Do you long to return to Carthage?” Zebul cooed to his brother. “Do you miss the incense of the children that your insect slaves burned to sate your hunger?”
A muted roar of anger and desperation shook the box.
Cowering, pathetic insects of Ekron! A black smile slithered across his face. How they cowered when the slaves mocked me with the name “ba’al Zebub”. How fitting a title for the lord over the worthless parasites of Ekron.
The Shining One was right. They were worshipped by the cities of man: Molech ruled Carthage, Chemosh reigned in Sodom…even the weak Anat ruled as queen in Avaris! All was as it should be, until HE sent those…insects…to deliver the fruit of HIS wrath. Many of the brothers were forced to flee from their cities to live in the dead place.
Zebul remembered pain, and hunger, separated from the weak humans that fed him…that fed them all!
And then Melqart betrayed us all! Rage once again coursed through Zebul.
Melqart knew the end of his reign in Tyre was fast approaching. He devised the plan to encase all of them in the coins. Once hidden in the coin, Melqart promised, they could travel to the very heart of HIS temple as the only coin which could be used for the tax! Then, by mere contact with skin, they could devour the putrid lives of HIS chosen insects, controlling their empty husks.
“How fitting, we will become parasites to HIS parasites! We will destroy them and reclaim our thrones!” Melqart promised.
We fell for Melqart’s betrayal! He sealed our fate in those blasted pieces of silver!
The growls and screams from Molech had retreated back to long guttural moans. Zebul stepped away from the box, his silver eyes flashing angrily.
Zebul’s brothers quickly regained their power. With just a touch, the insects were overtaken, and, lacking HIS residue, they were easily devoured and controlled. So deep was the depravity of the insects they invaded that they had no defense against the onslaught.
“Until…Jesusss…” Zebul spit the name out like decaying gristle.
Jesus became their impenetrable defense against Zebul and his brothers, and Melqart’s betrayal was revealed. Where, before the coin of Tyre, they could all feed on whichever insect they wanted, anytime they wanted; now, imprisoned as they were, and at the mercy of whoever stumbled upon the coin, they were painfully cast back into their prisons by his name alone.
That vile name spread, and their pain intensified. Their imprisonment extended, sometimes for years, until they could find a host who had not spoken the name.
They began to select for their imprisoned brethren suitable hosts, the Argentum. The Argentum were not infected by the name, in many cases they had rejected him outright, which made them perfect for devouring and then tossing away like chaff.
The sound of moaning from Molech began to increase again.
Zebul pulled from his pocket a photo of a man and a young girl. The deep sadness in their eyes betrayed their smiles.
He opened the ornate box where the coin lie, quivering, on a bed of blood-stained silk.
“Soon brother,” Zebul whispered, staring coldly at one of the insects in the photo.
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