Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 3

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on February 11, 2016 by Occult Detective

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leap of faith

3

Michelle Hawkes stood by the fireplace, head down, one hand resting on the mantle for support while the other raised four fingers of Glenfiddich to her lips. She was an exotic beauty, with cat-like eyes and feline eyebrows. A real head-turner in every sense, but those eyes shone with more than just grimalkin curiosity. There was pain reflected in those eyes. And fear.

“You remember Agent Crane,” she said. It wasn’t a question. She knew damn good and well he did.

“Elizabeth,” Connors responded. He was sitting on the edge of his desk, nursing his own Scotch and giving his crippled leg a rest. His mind flashed to a time three years prior. What should have been a routine case of possession involving a lesser demon went south. A child died. Then another. Special Agent Elizabeth Crane and her partner, Gilbert Finch, were called in. Nine more children died. Countless lives were ruined. By the time Connors was brought in to assist, Finch was being hauled off to a permanent vacation in a psychiatric hospital and Crane was a broken woman.

With Connors’ help, the tavara, a malevolent spirit that feeds on nightmares, was exorcised and cast back into the Nevermore. He spent considerable time with Elizabeth Crane after, counseling her… consoling her. They became lovers, but it ended badly. Despite her position in the Paranormal Operations Division, Crane was ill-prepared for the intricacies of Connors’ esoteric proclivities and for the menagerie of confidants and confederates that were a part of his world.

He recalled their last meeting, when she’d screamed at him, “Your god damn best friends are a fallen angel and a talking cat!” He laughed and corrected her, adding, “Fallen archangel, actually, but that was a long time ago.”

She wasn’t amused.

“Yes,” Hawkes said, draining her glass. “Elizabeth.” She sat the empty lowball on the mantle and crossed the room to stand before the detective. They had been lovers too, Connors and Hawkes, not so long ago. It too ended badly, but for altogether different reasons.

He reached out and took her hand.

“What is it you’re so desperately trying not to tell me?” he said, but deep down, he sensed what was coming. Three years ago he had shown Elizabeth Crane just how far down the rabbit hole went. She’d been unprepared for it, especially after her partner’s psychotic break. It haunted him to this day.

“She’s switched teams,” Hawkes answered. She took Connors’ Scotch and downed it, leaning into him, her lithe body pressing into his. He felt something stir as he almost succumbed to the memory of past pleasures.

“Elizabeth Crane has left the Bureau,” Hawkes continued. “Word is, she’s been recruited into the Order of the Black Spire.”

“The Spire?” Connors snapped, rising to his feet. He fumbled for his cane, stepping away from the desk. Something altogether different was stirring inside him now. He chain-lit a fresh cigarette and cast the spent butt into the fireplace, exhaling slowly.

“My contacts have informed that she is being groomed as their new hierophant.”

“No,” Connors said, “that can’t be right.” He turned back to Hawkes now. Hobbling over to her, shaking his head. “She hasn’t the talent for it. She’s not blessed with the Sight. I would have known.”

“Well,” she replied, leaning forward and kissing him softly on the lips. “It seems your father feels differently.”

to be continued

More next week (I expect). In the meantime, you might head on over to Tim Prasil’s The Merry Ghost Hunter and check out his interview with me regarding Landon Connors if you’ve not done so already.

Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 2

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on February 5, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith

2

Few people realized it, but rural Indiana was full of magic of the most dangerous sort. It was the kind of place on ancient maps that would have been marked with a “Here Be Dragons” warning.

Michelle Hawkes knew this better than anyone.

She was a Hoosier, born and bred. She knew all its monsters, some of them intimately.

She’d been driving for days to get back to the place where she’d been spawned, across the back roads and past long forgotten places only barely recalled by the locals themselves.

She beat a path through the Mississinewa Forest, cruising along the river, out past the ruins of Old Cairnwood and New Somerset, the long, dark shadows of fading winter a grim reminder of the secrets these places held.

Over the Wabash and into the small city that shared its name, she lingered by the derelict building on West Market where a demon once hung his shingle.

But her destination was still two blocks further north.

She left her Dodge Journey in front of that devil’s old haunt, its boarded up windows doing their best to hide the soul of the place. But she still felt his presence, even if he was soul caged some 1600 miles away.

Walking along Cass, Michelle Hawkes parked herself on the corner of West Hill. She had stood in the shadow of the Carnegie Public Library, her eyes intent on the Second Empire across the street, for over an hour before she mustered up the courage to approach it.

Her heels clocked against the cracked and uneven sidewalk, up the short steps, and onto the porch of 208 West Hill Street, home of Occult Detective, Dr. Landon Connors.

In many ways, Connors was more devilish than his mentor had been, despite a human soul residing within his prison of flesh.

Landon Connors always meant well, but the road to hell was paved with good intentions.

A pretty young thing greeted her at the door, of course, and led her, eventually, to the detective’s library where he waited patiently. He was loaded. He was always loaded, pupils dilated and seeing more than mere humans were meant to see.

He asked, “What fresh hell has caused you to darken my door?”

And the truth rolled off Michelle Hawkes’ tongue and the adventure began.

to be continued

A new Landon Connors serial: Leap of Faith

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on February 1, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith

1

Landon Connors lit a cigarette, inhaling slowly as he sat back in the worn leather desk chair that had served his father and his father before him. The library was still; the sort of calm one expects just before a storm arrives. He opened the left top drawer of the executive desk and removed a plastic container, considering its contents: ground amanita muscaria, moistened with a slice of lime and a splash of DeLeon Leóna Añejo. Removing a pinch, Connors placed it in his mouth, packing it between his gum and cheek.

Closing his eyes, the detective savored the slow slide into an altered state of consciousness, his ears detecting minute sounds that would have previously gone unnoticed.

He was relaxed and ready for what was to come.

A woman’s heels clocked on the sidewalk outside, their clamor resounding like a herald’s trumpet. Up the short steps they came, shuffling nervously outside the door, before a gentle knock rapped against the weathered entry.

Connors heard another set of footfalls, light and barefoot, traversing hardwood and rug, then the equanimous creak of the door as it opened to greet the visitor to 208 West Hill Street.

Steeling himself, the detective rose and performed an abbreviated shield rite, addressing the quarters, then, straightening his suit as best he could, awaited the knock at the library door, which came in a fashion he had become more than familiar with. The door opened without his acknowledgement and his assistant, the lovely, though oft sullen, Alethea peeked her head inside.

“You’ve a visitor,” she said, her demeanor giving nothing away.

The poor girl had been out of sorts of late and despite Connors’ inquiries, she had chosen to maintain not only her secrecy, but her distance, at least as best she could and still serve her employer in the manner of which he required.

“Thank you, ‘Thea,” the detective replied. “Please, see her in.”

Landon Connors poured himself a shot of 21 year old Glenfiddich and let it slide slowly down his throat. With a shake of his shoulders, he was as facile as he was apt to get. He turned just as the library door opened wide, revealing a face altogether unexpected.

“Michelle Hawkes?” he said, taking a long drag off his cigarette and swallowing the pinch of fly agaric. “What fresh hell has caused you to darken my door?”

“I’m here…” she said, slithering across the room and taking the cigarette from his lips and holding it up to her own. She inhaled slowly, flashing her eyelashes as she drew him in. “…because I had nowhere else to turn.”

to be continued

Might Mighty Mightor be back for more?

Posted in Media Macabre on January 28, 2016 by Occult Detective

quest

Well, hello again childhood. You’ve been missed.

Word on the street is DC Comics is bringing back Jonny Quest and a whole host of classic Hanna-Barbera properties.

Hopefully that includes this guy—

mightor

Nae, na lû e-govaned vîn

Posted in Liber et Auda on January 27, 2016 by Occult Detective

brent

Robert Brent Smith
May 17, 1966 – January 27, 2015

elfbreak

In western lands beneath the Sun
The flowers may rise in Spring,
The trees may bud, the waters run,
The merry finches sing.
Or there maybe ’tis cloudless night,
And swaying branches bear
The Elven-stars as jewels white
Amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey’s end I lie
In darkness buried deep,
Beyond all towers strong and high,
Beyond all mountains steep,
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.

—J.R.R.Tolkien

Fifty-two

Posted in Liber et Auda on January 26, 2016 by Occult Detective

Robert Brent Smith, my lifelong friend and partner in crime, died 52 Tuesdays ago today.

typemarkTomorrow will be the one year anniversary, but counting Tuesdays always made more sense to me. It’s been a year of them, each one a steely knife.

Tuesday, January 27 was like a dark storm rolling over me. I can still hear his mom’s voice telling me he was gone. It’s as firmly etched into my brain as his and my final words to one another. They walk hand in hand.

I would say that I miss him, but that wouldn’t be the truth, because even though he passed away a calendar full of Tuesdays ago, he’s always been right here with me…

…and he always will.

My thoughts on the #XFiles

Posted in Archive, Media Macabre, Occult Detectives on January 25, 2016 by Occult Detective

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“It’s fear-mongering, claptrap, isolationist, techno-paranoia so bogus and dangerous and stupid that it borders on treason. Saying these things would be incredibly irresponsible.” — Dana Scully

By now you’ve read plenty of mostly tepid if not out-and-out negative reviews of the premiere for Fox’s 6 episode revival of The X-Files.

I’m here to tell you they are all wrong.

I can only assume that these reviewers have been spending the better part of the twenty-first century with blinders on.

Last night’s debut quickly shook the rust off and got down to doing what the X-Files has always done best — dialing up the crazy, sniffing the paranoia glue, and dancing so close to the truth that you can’t help but look over your shoulder from your seat on the couch.

The truth is out there and just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

Duchovny and Anderson eased seamlessly back into Mulder and Scully’s skins and Joel McHale did a pretty good Alex Jones impersonation, albeit a smoother more polished version.

The weak link was the young actress who portrayed Sveta. A lot depended on her performance and I’m not sure she delivered.

Say what you will, but this is exactly what I wanted from an X-Files relaunch. It struck all the right chords and it felt very much like coming home…

I am very much looking forward to seeing what else Chris Carter and Co. have in store for us.

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