“Are you going to all this trouble because there’s a new moon on Devil’s Night this year?” the cat whispered in the detective’s ear. He glanced at the spread of Tarot cards beside his charge’s body, the twentieth trump the only card face up.
Landon Connors was lying as still as a corpse, naked as the day he was born, within a chalk circle, binding sigils woven in traditional fashion. It was Solomonic by design, but Jungian in practice.
“Entangled,” the occult detective replied. “Entwined within a skein of ragged fate.”
He coughed, his body gently rocked by the intrusion.
“Eviscerated, emasculated by the touch of icy death,” he moaned. “Molted, unfolded before my eyes, the silent form entranced. Romanced by the hearth of the raven’s nest. Shriven, unforgiven for the sin of gallows talk.”
“Landon, my old friend,” the familiar called, “you’re scaring me. Back, lad. Come back to me now. The astral is no place for you, not like this.”
“Engaged,” Connors spat, his eyes snapped wide. The cat took note of the detective’s pupils, like black holes drawing in all the light of the room. “Enraged by the fire 0f unrequited lust!”
Connors rose then, to a sitting position, head on a swivel.
“Boo,” the occult detective asked, “am I dreaming?”
“Of course you are, my boy,” the familiar replied. “But the sleeper must awaken. The temenos has been desecrated. It’s time to come home.”
“In odorem suavitatis,” Connors said. “Tu autem effugare, diabole; appropinquabit enim judicium Dei.”
“Hell is empty,” the old cat sighed. “Let’s see to filling it back up.”