Father Knows Best (Part 4) — Waking the Dead

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FATHER KNOWS BEST

PART FOUR

“WAKING THE DEAD”

There was a wind-chime hanging above the carnage, spiraling in the slight breeze that invaded through the broken basement window. The soft, ethereal music it made was like a preternatural dirge played by unseen spirits, lamenting the death of the fragile creature who’d met her end at the hands of primordial violence. Blood painted the gray masonry carmine, filling the small space with the overwhelming stench of death  and decay. In the midst of the abattoir, the occult detective knelt, examining the crude sigils drawn on the cellar floor mere inches from the young girl’s ravaged body.

“Damn it, Parker,” Connors said, rising from the body, “what have you got yourself into?”

Landon Connors was no stranger to the scene before him. He was born into a world where magic was a part of his everyday existence and his mentor, Private Detective Sam Hill, specialized in occult mysteries and ritualistic murders. No, he’d stood in far too many places just like this one, marked by the cruel hand of unmistakeable and unfathomable evil. It weighed heavily on him, leading him down dark paths few could escape from, but when people he cared about were caught in the cross-hairs of the kind of black magic he found here in this dank basement, then the pressure was nigh unbearable.

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The detective reached into his jacket pocket and drew out a silver flask, taking a slow and methodical draw of soothing bourbon. He circuited the room, looking for clues, pausing to light a cigarette as he examined blood splatter near a broken down workbench. The young girl, in her late teens or early twenties, had been struck here by a blunt instrument, then drug into the center of the room and ritually disfigured. The sigils circling the body were a common enough magical language, a variant on the Transitus Fluvii alphabet. A quick translation and it wasn’t hard to surmise the ritual’s purpose. The sacrifice, however, was extreme for what the black magician was attempting, which could only mean that the entity called up was a major player.

He thought about the frantic phone call he’d received from Allen Parker slightly more than an hour before. Allen had hurriedly explained how he and that fiery little redhead, Sarah, had got themselves into a bit of trouble while trying find Allen’s father and brother. Connors and Stephen Parker had been friends and colleagues for more years than either would care to admit. The occult detective was quite fond of the Parker brothers, and had even become attached to their red-tressed tag along and her cousin, Cassidy. They were all like one big dysfunctional family… and now that family was in danger.

Connors snuffed out the near spent cowboy killer on the basement floor and took a deep breath. Reaching into his metaphysical bag of tricks, he began reciting ancient words of power, drawing forth the tortured spirit of the slain girl. He needed answers, and fast. Waking the dead seemed the quickest route to his most pressing question, what the help was he up against?

Slowly, a shadowy form began to manifest above the dead girl’s body, like a mist rising from a lake. It twisted about, writhing with an eldritch energy that sent shivers through Connors’ bones. Something wasn’t right. This girl, she wasn’t a victim. She was a willing participant. Suddenly, it dawned on the detective — this was no mere black magic ritual to conjure up some infernal spirit for gods knew what, this was a trap… and it was set for him.

***

NEXT WEEK:
PART FIVE
“HELL HATH NO FURY”

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