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Screwtape on the Pevensies

By Violets and Lilies

Other

A Prior Warning

My Dears Garrotte, Brank, Pillory, and Leasprink,

I'm writing to all of you about a matter of grave concern, so I won't waste time on silly pleasantries. The four of you are on the cusp of a very dangerous situation, so listen up. Because of the amusing little war that's going on the little varmints, whose souls you are in charge of bringing down to Our Father Below, are to be sent to the home of one of our Enemy's most vile accomplices. This human is simply a brute. He has done more against our cause than you might believe possible. He has even gone so far as to become a college professor—a profession that we prefer to dominate. Unfortunately, he's been quite successful at spreading the Enemy's message. It's enough to make us sick.

But, where was I? Oh yes...let me explain a bit of the old swine's history, so you'll know what you're up against. As a child, he was amusing enough to watch, although on the whole, he wasn't particularly helpful to our cause. The change for the worse came one day when your colleague, Picquet, who has the task of managing that old jerk's soul for us, lost track of him for but a moment. Let me caution you against a similar mistake. Picquet was punished quite harshly for his ineptitude and, quite frankly, he should have been taken off the job because he's been downright ineffective ever since. Do I need to mention that the four of you will be punished much more harshly if you display similar incompetence?

Now, this is the strange part and I regret to say, we don't really understand it. You see, in that moment, Picquet's little brute and his friend—who I must add is no better than the old coot and must be watched very closely—seem to have met with the Enemy Himself. It doesn't seem possible, does it? Yet, there is simply no other way to account for the change that occurred in those two little beasts. Poor Picquet and Denailion—who watches over the old varmint's friend—have had the most terrible time with their patients ever since, and they often despair over their punishment should their failure be complete. Frankly, I anticipate devouring them.

But I digress. As you might imagine, I'm writing to you so that you may avoid this fate. Of course, I care very much about you and, naturally, I want you all to be able to present your patient's souls, when the time comes, to Our Father Below. You need only to heed my advice in order to make that possible.

First, you must try to keep your patients as far away from the Enemy's accomplice as possible. This is very easily done, even if they are staying in his home. You simply suggest that the old varmint dislikes children and that they will cause trouble if they disturb him. If they start to wonder why he took them on in the first place, suggest to them that he did so out of patriotic duty. Not love. Certainly, never love.

If, through some unfortunate circumstance, your patients strike up a relationship with the old swine, then you must see to it that it is a relationship based on pity for an old coot who is past his prime. Suggest to them that the old swine doesn't really understand their world. You should suggest that they only tolerate the old coot-not believe what he says.

Now, when you've taught them to tolerate and pity the old swine for his backwardness, then you can progress to the next step—teaching them to not tolerate him. This part will be really fun for you, if you're competent enough to pull it off. It will certainly be fun for me to watch, unless of course, you're too stupid to handle it. I'll just blow my top if you can't handle it.

Anyway, all you have to do is suggest to them that the old loon is wearisome. After all, why should they be subjected to his rants day in and day out? Shouldn't they be allowed some peace and quiet? Never forget that making your patients hostile towards the Enemy's accomplices is one of the most effective ways to bring them down to dwell with us for eternity.

As always, keep me informed about the progress you're making and let me know if you need any more of my brilliant advice. Do I really need to remind you what's at stake here?

Your affectionate Uncle,

Screwtape


Author's Notes: The demon names are obviously my own original characters, so let me explain about them. First off, they come from medieval instruments of torture. A Picquet is used a form of military discipline. The victim has their thumb, or sometimes, their entire hand tied far above their head. It generally caused only extreme discomfort, but occasionally it would break the thumb. It also rarely caused death, but it could if the victim was left strung to it for an extended period of time. I chose Picquet as Digory's demon because I picture Our Father Below running his domain with a discipline akin to a military, and I thought that Picquet's ineptness would be a display of his undisciplined actions.

Denailion comes from the torture of denailing, in which the victim's toenails were extracted, or pulled out. Denailion's responsibility, as Polly's demon, is to pull her away from the Enemy, just as denailing pulls the victim's nails away from their toes.

I'll explain the other names as I get to their chapters, so stay tuned!

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