Ethan’s Note

Azazel.  I don’t know why that name struck me when I watched “The Fallen,” but it has stayed with me.  At first I wondered if it was just made up, but then I heard it again in Torah class.  My professor talked about it being like an inversion of divinity in the wilderness, the direct opposite of God.  One goat was given to the Lord, the other to this evil force.

            The King James doesn’t even say Azazel, but then, it has a lot of inaccuracies to begin with.  The scapegoat reference is because that’s what sacrificial goats were, that’s where the term comes from.  They escape carrying the sins of the people.  I did some research, however, and Azazel means more than just being separated for a sin offering. 

Azazel wasn’t just made up for the film, it’s an actual demon in Jewish legends, according to an author named Ginzberg.  I found his book on the Internet, after my prof talked about him.  In some legends Azazel fights with an archangel and seems to be a leader among the demons.  We’re talking pure evil here.


Gwen shivered.  She tucked the note back inside Ethan’s Bible and replaced both translations back on the shelf.

            “Ethan had some weird hobbies,” she said.  “Why was he so interested in all of this stuff?”

            “He believed in God,” Genevieve said.  “Does believe, I mean.  He wanted to know everything he could, that’s all.”

            “I wonder why he left the note in the movie, and in the Bible,” Zoë said.

            “Maybe so we’d find it.”  Gwen postulated.  “He did leave his journals for us.  Maybe there’s something he wanted us to know, or something we’re supposed to figure out.”  Gwen felt a shiver of excitement, for she loved mysteries.  It was something she had in common with Ethan, apparently.

            She turned back to the bookshelf, examining the other films she had never been able to see.  “Have either of you ever watched ‘Seven,’ or ‘Fight Club?'”

            “‘Seven’ is about a mass murderer, I think.”  Zoë said.  “He goes after people who have committed one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and makes the punishment fit the crime.”

            “I remember it being pretty gory.”  Genevieve added.  “And Fight Club had a guy who gets involved in underground boxing, and other crimes, only to find out that the ringleader of it all is really him, the person he thought he was following was more like an imaginary friend.”

            “That sounds so weird!”  Gwen said.

            “Well, it makes more sense if you see the movie.  It’s like having split personalities, only thinking the other personality is a person you can talk to.”  Evie told her.  “You’re unaware that you’re alone.”

            “I remember some psychology from university, the idea of a suppressed personality is in a lot of works.  People tend to repress their darker urges, Jung talked about the ‘shadow’ in people’s lives.”  Zoë added. 

            “That’s like the Dark Half, I told you Evie!  Ethan is bizarrely interested in dual personalities, the dichotomy of being two people at once.”  Gwen said.  “That’s so strange:  Ethan read stories and watched movies about people having two sides to themselves, and now Ethan has his own evil doppelganger.”

            “What are you trying to say, Gwen?”  Zoë asked her.

            “I don’t know, I’m just noticing an odd coincidence maybe.  It’s just that his life is imitating art, sort of.  Like his childhood stories are being lived out.”  Gwen scrunched her nose in thought, trying to process everything.  “Evie, Hope once told me that you all played a Camelot game as children.”

            “That was a very long time ago.  I hardly remember it.”  Genevieve said.  “I’m surprised you remember Hope well enough to recall a conversation with her.”

            “Yeah, well, I guess she left an impression.  In the game, do you remember who played Guinivere?”

            “I did.  And Neal was Arthur.”  Eve and Zoë were sitting on the bed, looking at her as she stood by the bookshelves.  Gwen took a step closer.

            “Who was Lancelot, Evie?”

            “Alexander played him, why?”  Genevieve stared at her sister with a perplexed expression.  “What does that have to do with Ethan’s taste in movies?”

            “Maybe everything.  Did you ever watch ‘Excalibur,’ or read Le Mort d’Arthur?”

            “I guess I watched it when Ethan and I were kids.  I didn’t read a lot of the books he liked, though, and that one was really long.”

            “What happened between Arthur, Guinivere and Lancelot, Eve?  Do you remember?”  Gwen said, and it seemed as if she was getting frustrated with her sister.

            “The two men were in love with her, and fought over her.  When Lancelot took her away, Arthur and his army went to war with him.  So?”

            “Evie, think about it!”  Gwen was definitely frustrated now.  “You were Guinivere!”

            “Sure in the game…” Eve paused, and then a dawning comprehension lit up her face, as it did Zoë’s in the same moment.  “It’s just like the story!”

            “Arthur and Lancelot fighting over Guinivere, Neal and Alex trying to kill each other…” Zoë said, shivers running up her spine.

            “But this is real life, not a storybook.”  Eve insisted.  “How could Ethan’s stories change real life?  That’s crazy.”

            “The whole world’s gone crazy, sis.”  Gwen said.  “The question is, why?  Why is it happening?  Why did your life follow the pattern of a book and a childhood game?  Why does Ethan keep reappearing and disappearing, and why are there two of him?  The question is why, and we don’t have enough answers.”

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Next Chapter:  Intermission

or, if you haven’t already, now might be a good time for reading The Companions