Finally — the conclusion to Wyrdtails
“Why?” I pleaded. “Why, in the name of all that’s holy, are we doing this?”
The occult detective stared up at me from the freshly dug grave and returned a spiteful look.
“Because you fucked up, Professor Murdock,” he spat. “It may have been when you wore a younger man’s clothes, but they were your clothes just the same.”
“Wyrd,” I heard a disembodied voice add. My skin crawled at the thought.
“Not that,” I replied. “I full well understand my culpability in this matter. What I don’t understand is why we’re digging up the grave of Thaddeus Sexton? If this devil is loosed upon the world, released from my departed friend’s vessel, then what possible reason could you have for desecrating his final resting place.”
“Because,” Connors said, clearing away the last bit of earth from the vault lid, “this was the sub-prince’s last known address. He spent a helluva long time trapped in the Honorius, but he got soft and fleshy for a bit in your pal, and it’s recent enough that there’s still a bond there. When I’m through calling, he’ll come running.”
“And then what?”
“Well, Professor,” he replied, grunting through the work of lifting the vault lid and revealing Thaddeus’ coffin, “then we use this.”
Connors had drawn from his trenchcoat a dogeared trade paperback. It had been well read, with a dark patch along the fore edge that had discolored by the reader’s oily touch. I knew the book well. It was one of Thaddeus’, a collection of cosmic horror tales that conjured up images of dark and forbidden knowledge and esoterically veiled menaces from otherworldly realms.
Connors returned to the business at hand, exposing the body of Thaddeus Sexton to the elements. A cold, nasty rain began to fall, as if the gods mourned and cried for our defiling of his remains. I longed to weep alongside them, but I was bereft of tears.
I marveled as Connors was helped up from the earthen tomb by his disembodied compatriot. They whispered together and then Connors became a force of nature.
He began by tracing a circle around the grave site, using a vile of some argentate liquid. Then, he meticulously carved runic symbols in the earth, filling each one with a red phosphorous powder. He opened Thaddeus’ collection up to page 93, the beginning of the short story “A Devil by the Tail”, and laid it upon the dirt mound, propped open like some perverse heathen relic atop a pagan altar.
Then, adjusting a silver ring he wore on the middle finger of his left hand, he called down the thunder and the lightning.
“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Take heed! Come, Amaymon! By the virtue and power of your King, by the seven crowns and chains of your Kings, all Spirits of the Hells are forced to appear in my Presence before this Circle of Honorius, whensoever I shall call them. Come, then, Amaymon, at my orders, to take up residence in these consecrated pages, as commanded. Come, therefore, from whatever hole you’re hiding under! I conjure and command you, by the virtue and Power of Him Who is three, eternal, equal, Who is God invisible, consubstantial, in a word, Who has created the heavens, the sea and all which is under fucking heaven!”
For a brief moment, as lightning flashed overhead, I saw a man standing beside the detective, a sad pale reflection, but pious and resolute. Mitchell’s face was racked with anguish as Connors fed off his spiritual energy to enforce this magical act.
Then, the demon came, a swirling black shadowy mass of pure, unadulterated evil. I dropped to my knees, hid my eyes, and covered my ears. I couldn’t bear any more. The eldritch energies at Connors command battled the infernal might of the compelled demon and all I could do was cower before this awesome spectacle, incapable of witnessing the final act, because I was already consumed by madness.
Then, it was over. The rain and thunder and lightning ceased and the world grew calm. I opened my eyes, looking up at the disheveled detective.
“Now what?” I muttered.
He picked up Thaddeus’ book and threw it into my chest. I caught it there and hugged it as I wished I done with Thaddeus before his unnatural demise.
“Now you eat,” Connors spat, exhausted and near-spent. He leaned even heavier on his cane now. “Page 93. Chew it good. Choke every last bite of it down. Then,” he continued, ” on Midwinter’s Eve I’ll come for you. I’ll cut out your heart and burn it, sending Amaymon back to Hell and your debt will be paid.”
He took no joy in his commandment. It was a matter of fact. This was my Wyrd. And now I’ve come to the tail end of my misadventure. I have written this final testament as a way, I suppose, to prepare myself for what is coming.
There’s a demon inside of me, but not for much longer. Soon it will be sent back to Hell and I will join those I loved in life in whatever waits beyond. At long last, I too shall become Autumn.