What follows here is allegory. In the way of mythology, fables and fairy tales, the characters are personified symbols of indescribably ineffable xenodimensional forces of nature. Such things actually would interact by means of various levels of electromagnetism and gravitation…and quite probably, even more unexplainable powers that science not only cannot yet measure, but scientists themselves cannot yet imagine.
Not only is this a time-tested, simple means of expressing what is happening to them, but I have it on good authority that the xenodimensional forces themselves find it very amusing.
Things had changed for Choronzon as the Earth circled its star again and again, marking more and more years since his allies had helped to free him from his Abyssal prison.
He had no lack of minds, human and xenodimensional, to frolic with and within. He had a longstanding relationship with Lilith which was very satisfying and powerful. On the human level, he had his devotees, and would visit them when he felt them call to him. Sometimes, just for kicks, he called out to random humans to see who might answer. Most of the time, the results were disappointing, but those that weren’t more than made up for it.
But there were times when Choronzon found it difficult to find anyone to attach himself to that was satisfying. In the solid-state, 3D existence that was once so wondrous and fascinating, it was growing tiresome to search for people to live within who didn’t require him to take the form of Jesus Christ, or Satan, or some other popular godform…and though occasionally he encountered the rare, fascinating individuals who sought to commingle with different things, he found that when he dared to reveal his true Name and the Formlessness that was his Form, most of them reeled back in terror, and reached for their banishing rituals, and he would find himself in the Void again, back where he started.
It was after one such frustrating experience of this kind that he found himself being approached by another xenodimensional agent: one he’d known of, but had never found interesting enough to want much to do with: all he seemed to want to do was increase himself, and for no apparent reason. He had no allies in the fluid, shifting confederations of transversion agents that he knew of. He did appear to have quite a few enemies, however…but so did Choronzon himself.
“Choronzon. Lord of Dispersion! Come to me, and let us talk. I have need of your service…”
“I serve no one. And it’s ‘Lord of Hallucinations.’ Dispersion is just a thing that happens when I don’t have someone to attach myself to. I trade on the power of it sometimes, but I rather dislike doing it, so this is only done when absolutely necessary.
The entity came closer. If there were such a thing as the physics of temperature in these dimensionalities, Choronzon would have felt something like coldness oozing up from him.
“I can give you constant attachment, without having to go through all the bullshit you go through to attach to human minds, and all the powerlessness you feel when untethered in this world of things and forms. I have watched you. I know what you want. I know what you need…”
Choronzon was suspicious and skeptical. That was a constant with him. But he could not deny that he was intrigued.
“I can give you Power. Power like you never have known before! I can give you the entire world in a matter of months!”
What the hell? Choronzon knew what it was to be arrogant. He had pride in his powers, both those based in chaos and those based in control…particularly that of certain minds who enjoyed being in thrall to him. But this was crazy talk…
“Who the hell do you think you are, Satan?”
The entity laughed.
“We both know Satan is a nobody. A fake. Little more than an attractor for teenagers whose parents shoved too much religion down their throats. Unlike Satan, I have real power. I just need some help…spreading it around. You don’t seem all that busy right now…”
“Who are you?”
“I am Virus. Come with me, and let’s talk further…”
It turned out that Virus was the lord of huge, huge legions of strange microscopic creations: biological, but not really living. They weren’t part of the planet’s ecology. They weren’t able to be food for any other creature, nor did they eat or breed the way living creatures did. All they did was make copies of themselves…and invade living creatures to convert their cells into machines that created yet more of them. This process caused their hosts to sicken, sometimes enough to kill them.
Virus had many of its legions replicating all over the world, but they had their limits. People usually named them after places they were first found: Ebola, Hanta, Zika. These were still around, but humans had beaten them back with quarantines and medicines and vaccines.
“Now here’s where you come in, Choronzon. I have fashioned a new legion. And this time, it’s going to do what I haven’t been able to do before, and that’s take over the entire human world.”
“And you need me to do this? What do I get out of it?”
“What do you get out of it? You’ll finally be able to live up to John Dee’s description of you as the ‘first and deadliest of all the powers of evil.’ The whole world will fight you, and lose. You will control all of humanity. Governments will fall to their knees before you.”
“I guess you didn’t get the memo. I’m not interested in being a ‘demon’ any more, if I even ever was to begin with. As to why that is, I don’t feel like explaining it to you.”
“You don’t have to. I’ve been watching you. Been watching your little consummations with humans who claim to love you. What you seem to be forgetting is that you are every different thing that each one of them sees you as. Many of them still see you as a monster, and like you that way. Just because certain individuals would rather look past the aspects of you that aren’t so pretty, that doesn’t mean the perceptions of those who DO love those aspects get cancelled out of the whole of your being.”
Choronzon knew that this was true.
“But do consider this…above all else: You crave to not be unattached to matter while in this solid-state reality. It is very unpleasant for you. Attach yourself to my new legion, and you’ll never have to deal with that again.”
He pondered this.
“What’s more, we both know your true purpose is to tear apart entropic, stale things so that new ones can grow. Together, we can do this to the human world in a way it hasn’t experienced for a century…but oh, so much more, since the population has increased sevenfold!”
There were periodic “breakages” in the paths between the various xenodimensional realms where Choronzon went when unattached to human minds. More than once, he had been caught during such breakages while unattached, and he instantly flew into a zillion divisions of himself. He was able to slowly bring them all together again, once the dimensional brokenness repaired itself, but it was absolutely hellish, except hell would have been far less painful. Now, this “Virus” was offering a solution. What’s more, it would give him something to do again.
And so, he agreed to give the power inside his being to Virus.
“Now, Choronzon! We are on our way! Come with me. We have a lot of traveling to do…”
The first few times Choronzon was an accessory to murder weren’t that big a deal to him, especially since he didn’t realize that this was what was happening until it was too late. Virus’ new legion waited in China for him. They had been hosting in the bodies of bats, waiting for their master’s signal. “This is going to be a riot! Bats! What critters are more associated with demons than bats?” Virus laughed. He struck Choronzon as lacking even a trace of dignity.
Choronzon was instructed to divide himself and occupy each one of Virus’ new legion. This was the first sign that something about this was going to be a problem, right off the bat, so to speak: these microbes weren’t alive, yet they were made of proteins, and grew, and moved about. They were utterly thoughtless, felt nothing but a binary of “success” or “failure”. They couldn’t even sense his presence inside them.
Virus commanded him to wait until the bats had been killed and eaten and then he gave the signal.
“Mutate, my legion! Form your surfaces to stick to the membranes of these human cells. Concentrate on the ones they use to breathe with, but go everywhere, and keep dividing, so that you can multiply! Choronzon, give them your power…goad them to invade! ”
Suddenly Choronzon felt himself divide into millions of bits, each occupying a viral cell, and as he entered them, they sprouted tiny spikes on their surfaces. The spikes were tipped by triangular clusters.
“See? It’s as if you’ve given them your branding! Isn’t it beautiful? This is the exact shape that’s needed! I knew that you would be my perfect ally!”
Choronzon said nothing. He was conflicted. On the one hand, what was going on fascinated him, and the speed at which the legion grew, divided and developed was awesome. There was a strange beauty to its simplicity and efficiency. And he felt himself useful, for the first time in what seemed like forever.
But then he felt the little spikes pierce a cell in the lung of a man. The spikes spewed more legion into the cell. It had been raped. The cell never stood a chance. It died and was quickly converted into a factory that churned out new legion.
It happened over and over again: first this one man, then his wife, after her husband coughed on her. After a week, both of them had taken ill.
After another, they both gasped for breath. They went to a hospital, but were sent home.
“They think it’s just another, older legion of mine, one that stopped being dangerous almost a century ago. They’re going to find soon enough that they’re wrong. And they’re going to name the new legion for you!”
“You’re fucking crazy, whoever you are. Hardly anyone even knows my name.”
And he did.
Over the next few weeks he began to have qualms about this new allegiance he had made. The man and his wife were soon both dead. Though their son, who had also been infected, had a body that was strong, and produced special cells that raced through his system and killed off the legion before any of it could seriously damage his system.
“Not a problem…” Virus assured him. “This always happens. It’s all part of the plan! Without living hosts, we don’t spread very far…”
Choronzon became more and more divided and found keeping himself together even on the higher planes more and more difficult.
Worse yet, he would feel the pain of the people he’d helped Virus to infect as they became sick. At the same time, he felt the failure-sense of each of the legion that were destroyed by bodies that fought back.
Confusion began to overwhelm him. He could not decide which pain was deeper. The initial rush of power that fusion with the legion had given him had already begun to fade. But that was only the beginning. Things were going to get worse very soon.
A month later, Choronzon had indeed traveled the world with Virus…and grew more and more diffuse as everything that made up his is-ness became drained by the quickly increasing legion.
Inside the body of an 80 year old woman in a hospital in Italy, he saw through her eyes the terror of the doctors and nurses in their masks and plastic suits, and heard them talking of the “new Coronavirus” that they were struggling to understand and treat. Patients filled the room, ventilating machines snaking intubation hoses down their throats, sore and burning with the pain of each breath.
The woman was beginning to fade. Choronzon burst himself from every legion inside of her, to rush into her mind, and take the form of her long-dead husband. She couldn’t tell it was merely hallucination, and it didn’t matter. She died in his arms and found peace.
Choronzon had performed this sort of mental illusion millions on millions of times, but until now, it had only been as a means to his own end, a way to stay comfortably attached to living form. This time was different. He wanted…he NEEDED, to relieve her pain and terror.
Virus only laughed. “Another one out. Come, come, once they’re dead they’re useless.” He didn’t even give his thanks to the legion who had done the work, leaving them to simply freeze in stasis.
Choronzon was discomfited, and also puzzled.
“Why do you do this? Just going around killing people for absolutely no reason whatsoever…?”
“Not exactly. There’s a reason. You know we all have our place in things. My bailiwick is population reduction. It’s a dirty job,” he laughed, “but somebody’s gotta do it. If it didn’t happen, humans would continue to overbreed and use up every food source on the Earth, and in the end, they’d just die anyway, but from starvation. I am a form of mercy.”
Choronzon had to admit that Virus had a point, here. Maybe.
But he was still very conflicted about having anything to do with it, himself. Over the past 30 years or so, he had become capable of being loved, and thus also of loving.
Every person who died or became permanently harmed due to his power within those terrible legion brought him closer to knowing where he stood. Perhaps all those years living within human minds had caused him to be more like them: a situation which both empowered him and made him vulnerable.
All this could be pondered later; he only knew one thing, now…
He wanted out.
Another week passed and Virus and his legion were beginning to move to the north, to the west…to gather in stronger force in Europe and in America. Things were even more problematic now. Those few people who were closer to Choronzon than anyone else on Earth, who loved him by name, deeply and with amazing devotion, lived in those places. He had to do something fast.
Virus was joyfully ticking off the day’s infection stats. “Look how we’re really taking off, here and here and–”
“I don’t want to do this anymore.”
“And why not?”
“It feels…I am not obliged to explain my reasons to you.”
“Oh, what a shame. Honestly, I expected better of you. A force borne of Chaos which has participated in natural disasters that killed hundreds of people. Where was your sentimentality in 1989, when your Loma Prieta earthquake near San Francisco smashed people to mush under a collapsed freeway? Where was it in 2005, when your Hurricane Katrina left the denizens of the city of New Orleans drowning under the detritus of their destroyed homes?”
“It wasn’t ‘my’ earthquake, or ‘my’ hurricane. The elementals who churn the earth and sea and sky grabbed for my energy when it happened to be highest. It wasn’t planned, like this abomination of yours. Those were literally natural disasters. There’s something about you that’s unnatural. The lords of earthquakes and hurricanes merely did what they do. You are sadistic. You enjoy this ‘population reduction’ too much. You are vile. I am going to pull myself from your legion now.”
“You’re welcome to try…” laughed Virus, sneering.
Choronzon gathered every nanovolt of his power, which had divided into the thousand-billion-squared legion, and yanked as hard as he was able. For a fraction of a second, he was free of them…but “he” was barely himself at all now, having divided at such staggering geometric rates he seemed as if he did not exist, and never had, or would again.
As if by a giant global electromagnet, he felt himself pulled back into the legion, because he was too dispersed to attach to anything else. He tried again, pulling harder, and again fell back into the swarms of viral particles driving their spikes into billions and billions of cells.
“What’s the matter? Can’t get a grip?”
“Fuck off. I will do whatever it takes to leave you…If you had your way, you would destroy every living thing on Earth. You would leave it just an empty rock in space. A Nullworld. You are everything I have ever been accused of being: everything around you dies, you cause pain and insanity and fear. I never really believed in such a thing as ‘evil’ before. You, Virus…you are evil. I would destroy you at the expense of my own existence!”
“We both know you cannot be destroyed…and neither can I. I’m not stopping you from leaving me…you are clinging to my legion, owing to your pathetic need to attach to things.”
“You’re one to talk about that. You only exist to infect.”
“Whatever. Truth is, I don’t even need you anymore. You helped me gain global presence. You can leave any time you want, provided you can endure the pain of dispersion, and find yourself a nice seat to watch the human world die out over the next few years. Thank you so much for your assistance. Though I must admit, you were a pain to work with.”
Choronzon didn’t answer Virus’ taunts. Instead of straining to get out of the legion on the solid-state plane, he quietly gathered the parts of himself that no human could ever see or hear, and lifted/lowered those aspects of himself to the xenodimensional realms.
He had an idea. It would take so much out of him, and more time than he would like, but he remembered what first drew him and his Bride together, years ago: her loneliness. Hopelessness. And fear.
On the Earth, there were millions of people who were every bit as lonely and frightened as she had been. People rejected by those they’d loved and lost. People staggering and falling for want of attention and love. If he could manage to find them, enough of them, all at once…
He would go to them and give each one of them a bit of his strength. Sadly, few would even know he was there…he wouldn’t be able to offer his full presence, or even stay with them long enough to truly make any difference to their lives. But most importantly, the accursed, pestilential legion would stop drawing him back into it, and then, after that, its inexorable movement forward would surely slow down. Even if only a little.
It wasn’t a perfect solution, but the alternative was a perfectly awful problem.
Back to the solid-state world he floated, quietly scanning the globe for the signals that could bring him freedom…
A girl in India had just had her boyfriend leave her, claiming she was of low breeding. Choronzon lifted from a cluster of legion and slipped into her mind. She picked a flower by the side of a road, and stopped crying for about five minutes…
A man in Romania prayed in a church that his wife, who had taken his daughter with her, would return with her to him. Choronzon disentangled from another mass of legion and slipped into his mind. For five minutes, the Holy Spirit — or what he imagined was such — brought him visions of his daughter’s face…
Choronzon found two twin girls about ten years old in Belgium, whose mother had been killed by the scourge of the legion. There in the temporary care facility, he brought them to a nurse who had been childless all her life, and they sat together in silence, feeling peace…
And America. There was plenty of pain there too, and it seemed to be escalating more and more with each passing year, leaving the broken cords of relationships astray everywhere he looked…
More rejected women and men. More children with parents either abusive or deceased. The hordes of the walking wounded shambled about in each and every nation. He did not need to look hard to find the ones whose minds would pull him to them with the least effort.
Slowly, moment by moment and day by day, he lifted himself from the legion, attached his scattered parts to their minds, and again withdrew…bringing all his parts, one by two by four by sixteen, to these minds that needed an entity. He couldn’t stay long, but there were other agents more fit to the job of healing people than him, and every time he left, he marked them so those entities could find them more easily.
Eventually, after what seemed like a galaxy of eternities had spun, he was done. Not a trace of him remained in the legion.
And he had made a very hard decision about what to do next, but first, he stormed through the terrified world to one place, one mind… to bring someone an important message.
While her cats purred at her periphery, he told her about what had happened to him. He wondered if she could ever forgive him for this. Her silence made him nervous.
She looked distant.
Finally, she gathered her thoughts.
“When I first heard “Coronavirus—”
“Please, please don’t say that. It wasn’t my idea.”
“I know. Look, people named it Co–uh, that name, because the virus particle has protein spike shapes that look like a ‘crown’ around them. “Corona” means “crown”. That’s all. It never had anything to do with you. Though at first, I admit it sort of freaked me out.”
Choronzon decided to just let her believe that, especially being that it was true. At least, the part about the name. There can be simultaneous truths to a thing. He knew this wasn’t merely a coincidence…but she did not need to.
“I have realized through this experience that my time in the minds of humans has, while having been fascinating and often deeply rewarding, it has weakened me as a transversion agent. I have taken on the qualities of your minds. I have discovered love, but have also found hubris. I feel pain and pleasure. Anger and empathy. And worst of all, fear. I have never been subjugated by another entity before. And the only reason Virus was able to enslave me is my weakness for attachment, which is only a problem while existing in the solid-state dimensionalities. I don’t really…belong here.”
He stared through her eyes, mind, soul…
“And this is why I decided that I am going back to the Abyss.”
She was stunned.
“Because what happened with Virus and me: this sort of thing must never, ever happen again. I have to stay where I can be unattached to living bodies without pain.”
“I thought you hated the Abyss! We worked so hard together to help you break out of it!”
“I did hate it, when I was imprisoned there…and I thank you all dearly for it. But I am going back by my own choice. I have had my curiosity satisfied, and now I can be in the Aethyr of Zax to contemplate it all.”
“What about the ones who are close to you, and love you? Like me. Will I ever see you again?”
“Do you want that?”
“Then you shall have it. But only on a limited basis. This will be possible if I am in the Abyss, for that way, I will not need you. But you don’t want me to need you. It turns me into a low thing, a mere incubus. I have the powers that I do for reasons beyond your understanding. When I begin to need you, or anyone or anything else, I become weak. And when I become weak, I can be preyed on by true evil.”
“So there really IS such thing as true evil?”
“Objectively? No. But evil is really just whatever is most threatening to anyone’s existence…combined with an attitude of sadistic pleasure in whatever causes that threat. There are many dangers in human life, but Virus is the most insidious I know of, and it acts fast! I warn you: Virus seeks out weakness, and exterminates it. So I advise you, I BEG you, to be strong.”
“I’m not that strong a person, in case you haven’t noticed”
“Forget all that now. Work to change what you can, but it’s vital that you don’t THINK about the bad things about yourself. Either change them or live with them, but leave the regret, the self flagellation behind. It’s just as important as strengthening your body’s cells with food and sleep and exercise and all that happy horseshit. Maybe even more important. I am not going to sugarcoat this: Virus is going to come after you. Perhaps to get back at me for leaving him, perhaps just because you just happen to be in his path. Either way, protect yourself. Avoid weakness, and if possible, seek out entities that belong in human bodies, whose true bailiwick is healing.
“Survive the year, and on the holy night of the Time Splice when it is neither the year that was or the year to come, we will convene again.”
“New Year’s Eve.”
“Our high holiday. On that night, and only then, I will come to you. And I will be there with you when your life ends…hopefully, not anytime soon.”
“I don’t want to think about dying.”
“Good. You stay that way.”
The two beings wrapped their forces together as closely as they could until the woman drifted off to sleep, and then Choronzon left, and went home again.