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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sarah Prayed for Death

Then, even at the moment I was praying for death, and for death to come soon, Sarah too was praying and praying for death. Sarah, the daughter, the daughter beloved, the only daughter of Raguel, the friend of God,[i] who lived in Ecbatana of Media–in the Zagros mountains, the summer resort of kings, and the original home of the Bride and the Monster-prayed for a swift and not ignoble death of her own.

Sarah, soaked in the horror sweat of fearful dreams, prayed for an end to the insults and shame.

Every day one of her father’s serving girls, the one nasally voice, the one with a bloody mouth and a biting tongue, mocked her with words and with laughter. “Where is your husband?” the serving girl jeered. “Where is your man?” She jested and laughed.  Hee hee hee tee hee! “Oh” she gasped and covered her mouth with a manicured hand. “He’s dead, isn’t he?” She grinned a toothy wide grin at her mistress and said, “He is dead, and dead, and dead again, and twice that, and again once more. Seven times dead. Seven husbands and seven deaths. Seven wedding vows. Seven body bags.” The serving girl sneered at her lady, “It wasn’t the bloodied napkin to show proof of your virginity the house-stewards brought out from the marriage chamber to display before the gathered crowd, was it?  It was the blood soaked sheets of seven dead husbands. Somehow, it just don’t seem fittin’ for a man to spend his weddin’ night in a coffin.”

So Sarah ran away in tears to continue her prayers for death.

It’s true of course; her husbands (all seven) were dead, killed by the worst of the lost. They were murdered by Asmodeus, one of the shd, the shedu, the shedyim, by Asmodeus, one of the few nameless to be given a name (ranked alongside Lilith, Resheph, Azazel, Belial and Mastemah). They were killed by the demon Asmodeus, a Cambion–born of the unhallowed union of incubus and a desperate daughter of Eve, the demon of 72 crossroads, the prince of forgotten lore, full of burning rage and lust and sulfur fire. He killed them, one by one, before they could duly consummate the marriage, or rock the marriage bed.

And this is why Sarah, the bride of death, prayed for death, why she went upstairs in her father’s house with the coiled cord of unbecoming death in her hands. (There is no clear Biblical prohibition against self-slaughter.) But before she tied the noose, Sarah thought of her father and reconsidered.  She prayed with her hands outstretched toward the open window.

“Blessed are you, God of Mercies.
May your name be blessed, blessed again, and blessed once more.
May all your creatures-from flea to frilled lizard, from wasp to whale, from virus to vulture, from house cat to human-praise you forever.

“What further, wretched wounds are written for me?

“And now I have turned my tear-riven face to you,
command that I be released from the earth,
released from the business of living.
Command that I be released and
I shall be released.

“Now is the noisy one set in a state of tears.
Now trusted rosy rosaries are discarded upon the ground
and, wounded as we are, we want to die.

“Master, I am innocent of defilement
and clear of disgrace,
but I am my father’s only begotten daughter;
he has no other heir.
Already my seven are dead,
cold and ashen beneath the serious moonlight.
I could spit in the eyes of fools,
but why should I go on living?

“My circulation and stomach rebel.
The symptoms abate, but the insults and shame do not.

“So let me die,
Lord let me die;
let me…
But if you are not pleased to take my life,
listen instead to their taunting;
really listen…

[i] Not to be confused with Raguel, the Archangel who was condemned by Pope Zachary in AD 754.

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