Terry’s Tale

September 12, 2007

Once, a long, long time ago, they had all mocked Terry. Terry (short for Terrible) was the devil in charge of minor irritations. Compared to his brothers Maim and Foul, who were respectively charged with war and plague, Terry’s domain was a pale imitation of the other lords of the damned.

But the face of the world slowly changed. Wars grew smaller, more precise. Battles were less about grisly mayhem, and more about fear and control – and while there was succor to be had in those things, it could not be denied that Maim was a lesser devil than he had been in the earlier ages of the world.

And Foul! Poor Foul. Plague had all but vanished from the world. Diseases lingered, certainly, even as much as the mortals worked to find cure after cure… but he could remember the days when entire countries were laid to waste by his might. When even in healthy times, odds were against a man growing old without falling prey to one wasting sickness or another. These days, while many might still perish from illness, the quantity only seemed large because the population had grown so full.

But Terry prospered like never before. Other devils bowed to him in the corridors of hell. The Manager himself would often consult with him on the newest ways to pester humanity. Because every single moment of every single day, hundreds of millions of people suffered hundreds of millions of petty aches and irritations, and uttered hundreds of millions of curses for a half-second of their day. And each one was a small thing – a stubbed toe, or a lost letter, or a computer crash, or slow traffic, or a papercut, or a forgotten phone call, or any number of little, meaningless things that all joined together to make the world a worser place.

With all the advancements of humanity – with all the comforts they had gained, and the softness they had developed – they had become vulnerable to Terry as they never had before. And he feasted on their anguish, and allowed himself a powerful smile at the foolishness of all the devils who has treated him so poorly in days before. And the world of man suffered, and Terry prospered, and he knew that all was good.

…well, evil. You know.

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