...upon thy victims." (The Law. Yattering and Jack by Clive Barker)
This tale was a fun short story that reminded me a lot of "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis. It is a fairly old story of the demon who fights to turn an innocent man into a corrupt soul. Barker's approach was a bit different since "The Lord of the Flies" wanted Jack's soul in payment for his mother reneging on a promise to be his and going to heaven instead. I read Clive Barker's commentary on the story, which became an episode adapted for the Television series, "Tales from the Darkside."
Despite the gross visuals of cat deaths, particularly Freddy the III, this story was oddly funny for a Barker piece. And later (as a vegetarian) the Christmas turkey, oozing stuffing, dancing in the kitchen, was a disturbing mix of dark comedy and grim food distortion. I'm not sure I'll ever see Christmas dinner the same way again.
As in Barker's short-story Rawhead Rex, the point of view of characters shifted often, although in this piece there was a protagonist and a main story theme. And similar to Rawhead, I didn't mind the shifts. Didn't bother me a bit. I also liked getting into the head of the Yattering demon, hearing his thoughts and suffering his angry frustrations at Jack.
I found it interesting that Jack thought of Yattering's abuses as an overall 'game'. From the kitty deaths to the spinning Christmas tree, and his daughter's injuries from pine-needles and multiple spinning flying objects in the house... at the end of it all Jack keeps his composure (for the most part) and seems to know just what to do to drive the Yattering to its maddening edge. He pushed the beastie past its point of binding law. And having crossed the line by laying hands on the human, the Yattering suddenly belongs to Jack . A demon held in abeyance by a gentle soul.
"Che sera, sera."