Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 4

leap of faith

4

Connors sat with his eyes closed, the rhythmic drip of the steam heater resounding in his mind alongside more distant sounds – the uncomfortable laughter of the two women now occupying the parlour; the rattle of tools, metal on metal, thundering in the garage out back; cars, normally silent from within these walls, now passing on the street outside with a cacophonous roar. Slowly the detective unraveled the common thread of these intrusions, unfolding space and time and raising a mental barrier between himself and the world at large. He found himself within a silent space, made sacred by spells divined untold centuries before, passed down from magician to magician through the most powerful of all magics — that of the written word.

About his circle, books filled with such words lay open, the sum of their knowledge consumed time and time again, rekindling the internal fires of the weary detective.

He had to be careful. Even now, dark tentacles reached out from some of these blacker tomes, testing the strength of his magical construct. Were they to find a weakness, those cthonic tendrils would rend him limb from limb.

Such were the ancient powers of darkness, always hungry to find a way into this world through the flesh of the men and women who would tempt the very gods themselves.

But Landon Connors knew well the dangers, had been trained by a parade of sorcerers, alchemists, mystics, mages, and more. He mentored at the feet of saints and sinners, angels and demons, philosophers and madmen.

And of course, there was his father, a man whom he had placed on a pedestal, whom he had loved beyond all reason, whom he had mourned to the very brink of madness following his “death”in the antarctic.

He was still haunted by that misadventure, even after discovering his father’s ruse.

His ruined leg and the cane he needed to support it were a constant reminder of his own flirtation with the Grim Reaper. At night, when the world had grown quiet but sleep was slow to come, it was that ancient and diabolical creature that sat heavily on his mind, that terrible, indescribable thing that had slithered over the glistening ice floor, its tentacles toppling the ice columns and burying them in that algific cavern…

He could still recall it all so vividly as Ashton Connors was seemingly crushed beneath the collapsing ice and his own cries of pain as his knee was pulverized.

Landon gritted his teeth at the memory of his conjuring up the spell that repelled that fell monstrosity and at the anguish he’d felt in failing to save his father.

Learning years later that Ashton had been in league with those very same powers he had been raised to combat was sobering and in many ways more crippling than his shattered appendage.

And now, here he was, preparing to face off once more against the man who had raised him, had set him on this esoteric path, the legacy of his forefathers.

Somewhere, a bell tolled. Not on this plane of existence, but out there, within the Nevermore…

“It’s time,” a voice spoke from the shadowed recesses of the library.

Connors’ eyes blinked open and he stared at his approaching familiar. The cat paused before the detective’s magic circle, resting between the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum and the Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm.

“I’ve not found him yet, Boo,” the occult detective said weakly.

“Fear not, dear Landon,” the cat replied. “I have.”

to be continued

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