By Sherezada Kent

Once upon a time, there was a land of wealth and prosperity (kind of). All the people were relatively happy (many more than others were), and all seemed fair (to the ones at the top) in this land. There was only one problem (of many): these people were plagued by a nation of Demons. Each and every person had a Demon attached to them, a Demon everybody could see. These were Demons so horrible and so evil that everybody's greatest fear was letting theirs get too big, and therefore be ostracized from society. Those with large Demons bore the mark of Cain himself, lepers who no one wanted near them. These people had their own title, their own style of dress, and were forever mocked by the others, who were really just afraid of them and the fact that they themselves could transform into one of these beasts. The only way for these wretches to be able to join the world of the living again was to be strong enough to shrink their Demon down, and become "real people" again; worthy of love, friendship and self-esteem.

Book after book was written about this plague, about their evil deeds and the harm they caused on humanity. These demons were so visible, yet so very private and personal (considering they varied in size and strength from person to person) which made them even harder to combat. So, society waged a crusade against the Demons, a media-led fight for humanity. People with only trace elements of their Demons became priests and gurus, some even saints. Their images were splashed all around the world, symbols of success and sexuality; for people with moderate-to-large Demons were in no way supposed to be sexual or even remotely attractive. All around, there were corporations and networks designed to exorcise the Demons from all the pitifully damned souls. Some to force the Demons off with muscle, others to melt them off with potions and drugs. Some simply suggested ingesting their magic foods and the monsters would shrink to nothing. At the extreme end of the spectrum, sorcerers were willing to physically remove these demons with consecrated knives and rituals. There were nation wide cults to fight these Demons; people joined in the common goal to get rid of the invasion once and for all. Especially at the start of each year, where all the magical potential of the 12 months was still intact, solemn, sacred vows were made individually to abolish these Demons. These creatures were powerful, however, and managed to break the faithful away with relative ease after a month or two of ritual fasts and self-purification.

From the very onset of their maturity children (especially female children) were taught the sins of the Demons, and the consequences lay upon them if they should let their Demons grow. However, some children were born luckier than others were, with parents who had very small Demons to start with. Parents with large Demons were more likely to pass on that curse to their offspring, and those children suffered at the hands of other children until they could somehow shrink their hereditary curse, if they ever could at all.

Pop literature was full of Demon-fighting tips, always emphasizing the importance of having either no or tiny Demons and how much better those without them were as human beings. It was a moral issue: those with big Demons were being punished for their lack of discipline, laziness and amoral nature; while those blessed were superior beings, what their god had intended for all humankind.The media overflowed with pious lessons of how these inhabitants deserved love and happiness, while no one remotely different to them did. Those lessons ingrained themselves into the conscious of the public, and the populace became desperate to become as "perfect" and as Demonless as their idols.

So many people would go to the greatest extremes to purge themselves of the Curse, many to the brink of death itself. Young girls and older women alike (and a few men as well) performed secret bodily purging rituals, vast regimens of physical restraint, and self-denying fasts in frantic attempts to curb the Demons they were born with, to punish themselves for the crime they had committed upon themselves. Sometimes, though, it became far too much for these poor citizens. The Demon was either too strong in will or the fighters' minds so damaged by the stress of their removal attempts, that many found it best to end their lives rather than live as one of the Damned. Others fell in the battlefield, bravely holding onto their pills and holy fasts until their bodies withered out from under them. Those very same priests and shamans that so many took to heart at times fell prey to the war against the Demons, shocking the entire land back into perspective.

Why do we fight this war? Who is truly the enemy here? What do we gain from all this in the end? But the horror and doubt faded each time and the war continued without a ripple as line after line of brave, frail soldiers fell year after year, day after day, in the never ending quest for Nirvana.

The irony of this all, the frightening factor that no one seemed to see though, is that the enemy they so recklessly fought against and nightmarishly feared was in fact as harmless as their own flesh to them!

In the bowels of this society lays the true enemy of the people, the real bane to humanity. This is a secret coalition, which member by member planned the entire fiasco, the mass paranoia engulfing the population. They are the puppeteers, the lords of fate: the very corporations, industries, and businesses designed to help others defeat their Demons. They masquerade as Generals in the war, but truly are the curse which plagues the land. Perched comfortably above the masses, they orchestrate their covert armageddon of the human spirit. And they do it for themselves. They feed on the fears of the masses, plucking out a scapegoat and blaming it for all of society's ills. "Without a Demon, your life would be so much better. All your dreams will come true. Let us help you . . .for a price, of course."

However, some sharp people have seen the real evil alive in their world, and have begun an underground resistance movement against their puppeteers. Using the weapons of the Coalition against itself (namely the media), they have grown a small but mighty force in the shadows, striking small blows whenever possible. Slowly but surely, they have begun to bring their glamoured kinsfolk to consciousness, to start to face the true enemy before them. The tide of the war is shifting, if only by millimeters at a time. The Coalition still has the upper hand in this fledgling war, but the Rebels will not back down. The second phase of the war has begun; one that is quieter, yet more powerful and ultimately more threatening. For the Rebels to be successful though, they must change all the minds warped for so long, to break the spell of corruption.

And as for the original enemy, the Rebels have allied with them, embracing the Demons and realizing the true innocence of these creatures. They mean no harm and only desire their biological right to exist. In accepting these being for what they are they will no longer be hunted for the monstrosities that they are perceived to be.

Sound like a bad movie plot? Open your eyes. This war wages fiercely right before your eyes, dear readers. In holding this manuscript, you have taken your first steps towards joining the rebel cause. Look around you, learn your enemies, and choose your allies carefully. There are those who would pretend to empower you, but rather attack you self-esteem and wallets.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: make friends with the "demon" inside you. It is time to make that final peace within ourselves; for then and only then can we begin to win this war. Do it a day at a time, until the day will come when you can look that being in the eye and say "you are indeed my friend," or maybe even "I love you," to who was once your greatest foe. They are quite lovable things, once you become aquatinted properly.

So look in the mirror. Touch your belly. Touch your thighs. Touch your breasts and ass. Feel them, and realize that they are not as horrible as you once thought they were. They are a part of you. They are you. The puppets my friends, are us. Stop torturing yourselves. Stop labeling your own curves and bulges as marks of the devil. Kinswomen (and men), realize that the war is really against us and our bodies; and I for one am not taking it anymore.

So whip out your weapons and uniforms. Polish your pens. Loosen your fingers. Warm up your vocal cords. Use you most formidable arsenal: your thoughts, your voice, and your spirit. We can win this. Have strength, my fellow soldiers. Have patience. See you in the trenches.

Copyright 1999 Moxie Magazine All Rights Reserved