Archive for Occult Detectives

Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 7

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing with tags , , on March 22, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith


Nightfall did not come soon enough, but a day spent in meditation, even in a rundown fleabag like the Branding Iron, was a day well spent, particularly considering what the night was to bring.

The stars were vibrant pinholes in the black curtain overhead, a tapestry where stories were written by the very gods themselves.

Landon Connors left the battered old GMC on the deserted back hills road and set off on foot, across the cold, desolate frontier of the South Dakota plains. Magic was his guide. Instinct his sense of direction. And prescient was his state of mind.

Coyotes kept their distance, sensing the detective’s temperament. His aura was a beacon of conflicting emotions, and as he crested the low hill to overlook the ruins of a ramshackle farmhouse, those emotions aligned into a singular purpose.

He sat down then, atop that rise, and crossed his legs, painfully. His palms faced the sky, at rest on his knees, middle finger and thumbs touching while the rest fanned out, creating a magical circuit between himself and the cosmos.

A distant howl split the night, but Connors didn’t hear it. Not really. There was another sound more extant, something ancient, primordial, pre-human. It slithered in the dark, between this world and another, here, but not here.

It coursed along, hungry, circling widdershins about the farmhouse ruin, waiting a sacrifice that was being prepared by a blight on the earth. Connors sensed their presence too, could see them in their black robes with his wizard’s eye.

In the quiet of this desert, there was no place to hide.

The detective opened his eyes then and rose gingerly from the dirt and scrub grass. He lit a cigarette, gripped his skull cane tightly, and set off for his confrontation with the black hearts in the godforsaken hovel.

A tingling sensation wove its way through his body, his fingertips nearly sparking with pent up energies. For a brief second he questioned the wisdom of doing this alone, bereft of assistance from his fellow Outriders or any number of allies he’d cultivated in his years of magical congress.

But no, he thought, this was for him alone.

The single story ranch was little more than a shell. No glass remained in the battered window frames, though tattered curtains remained, shielding much of the candlelight that illuminated the proceedings inside.

Connors could hear them now, the mumblings of madmen in demonic discourse.

But it was one voice that stood apart, the voice of his father, and the detective steeled himself as he was set come face to face with the man who had raised him, had taught him the Craft, and then betrayed him in the worst way.

But it was another voice that captured his attention then, as he prepared to enter the derelict steading. It came from behind him, soft and delicate, carried on the cruel Dakota wind.

He turned to see her standing there, dressed in a white robe stained wetly with fresh blood, a gory athame in her left hand.

“Elizabeth?” Connors said, stepping toward his former paramour.

She held her ground, her eyes locked on his, a sinister smile on her lips, one both cruel and telling. There was murder etched on her face, like a mask wove by angry gods.

“I am Elizabeth Crane no more,” she hissed, raising the knife slowly. “I’ve been rechristened.”

Connors raised his left hand, bringing his middle two fingers together with his thumb. A subtle current of magical energy was spawned by a thought.

“What should I call you then?” the detective asked, but the answer did not come straight away. Distracted, he failed to notice the dark shape that came up behind him, no did he react swiftly enough as a long blade slid through his back and appear out his stomach.

He coughed up blood as he dropped to his knees in shock.

“Welcome to the Inception, my son,” Ashton Connors said, wiping his bloody sword clean on his offspring’s coat. “I see you’ve already met our Creideamh.”

“Creideamh?” Connors coughed. “Faith? I’m afraid… I’ve little of it.”

“Funny, boy,” the father said, kneeling down beside him. “I was just thinking how you’re about to receive all the faith you can stand.”

to be continued

Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Interlude

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing with tags , , on March 13, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith




upon Icarus wings
the black brother’s
is unhung

iron, cold iron


within a circle
of nine flowers
thirteen voices
of the tarot card
and the umbrella
is red with white freckles
and the demon is masked
by a dream

of black spires

me father

within the caws
of a raven
a secret is
heard only by
the wind
and those
by it

a sorcerer
the tower
has subdued
all things
to his


Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 6

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing with tags , , on March 10, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith


Fire sprang to life at the end of a matchstick as Brooks Autry struck it against the stair rail of the Gulfstream G450 he’d just parked on the tiny airstrip in the middle of God Damn, Nowhere. Sullen as ever, the Kentucky native put the flame to good use, drawing fire into the gnarled cigar he held clamped between gritted teeth. The cold of the South Dakota plain was biting and he was submerged as deeply as he could be within the warmth of his wool lined coat, a battered cowboy hat tilted low to shield his face from the illicit wind. Beside him sat Connors’ leather ‘ghost bag’.

“Christ, Doc, you need me to carry you off this bird,” Autry barked.

Connors’ appeared in the Gulfstream’s doorway, pale and aborted, leaning heavily on his cane. The detective limped down the stair, eyes bloodshot, pupils dilated. He staggered a bit, not quite readjusted to being eathbound once more.

“Jesus, you’re a fucking wreck, hoss,” Autry said, picking up the detective’s bag and shouldering it. “You need to lay off the psillies for a bit. Them boomers got your head in a twist and I reckon you’re gonna need your wits about ya on this one, capisce?”

“Brooks, need I remind you that you were not hired to be my mother?” Connors coughed.

“You need some fucking motherin’ and if I don’t do it, who will? Thea? You’ve got that chica scared shitless of you.” Autry slid an arm under the detective and helped him toward the pick-up truck that was waiting at the end of the tarmac.

“Why is that, Brooks? She’s been timid of late and she’ll not confide in me?” Connors leaned against the bed of the truck and snatched Autry’s cigar from his mouth, using it to kickstart a cigarette of his own before returning the gnarled smoke to its rightful owner.

“Well for starters, dumbass, you’re fucking killing yourself. You’re drinking too god damn much and staying blasted out of your gourd more often than not. And with the spooky critters you play around with, that’s bad business, slick.”

“You said  for starters,” Landon replied, taking his bag from the lumbering Kentuckian and tossing it in the back of the truck.

“Yeah, well,” Autry began, “the rest’s not for me to say. Besides, you need to get to the motel.” He took an envelope from his inside pocket and shoved it into the detective’s coat. “You’re lodged at the Branding Iron Inn.”

“Excellent then,” Connors replied.

“Doc, you sure you don’t need me with ya, watching your back.” Autry spat onto the pavement.

“They didn’t name the town Faith for nothing, Brooks,” Connors said as he climbed into the truck. He fired up the engine and he rumbled with a deep, throaty sound. “Have some in me, my friend.”

“Yeah, well, Hawkes put you up to this, so I don’t see much good coming from it.”

“I’m inclined to agree,” Connors said with a wink and a smile, “but in this case, there’s more at stake than meets the eye.” He leaned on the steering wheel and took a deep breath. “This concerns the Black Spire and my father… you know the ramifications of this.”

Autry put his hand on the window frame.

“Yeah, I get it, doc, but christ-on-a-stick, you nipping at daddy’s carrot is not the brightest of moves. You’re playing into that fucker’s hand.”

“I know. And he knows I know, but I’ve a card up my sleeve he’s not counted on.” Connors revved the engine then put the truck into drive.

“Yeah, what’s that?”

“I have faith in Elizabeth,” the detective said as he pulled away, driving toward Highway 212. He pulled onto the rode, headed west.

Somewhere, out there in the bleak South Dakota landscape, Ashton Connors and the Order of the Black Spire were conspiring to sacrifice a woman he’d once held near and dear. He wasn’t about to let that happen.

As he parked in the vacant lot of the Branding Iron, he wondered if Brooks’ concerns were valid. This was all an obvious trap, a magical game of cat and mouse between he and the man who had both sired and betrayed him.

As he climbed out of the truck, limping toward the motel with his shoulder bag, he knew he had no choice but to face his father.

Connors looked up toward the familiar sky overhead and wished upon a star.

to be continued

Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 5

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing with tags , , on February 29, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith


The apparition held close to the shadows, invisible to all but the most sensitive. Its eyes were focused on the detective moving slowly through the derelict Victorian, wincing at every creak of termite eaten timber. It wouldn’t be long before this ruin was as much a ghost as Greg Mitchell was. And if Landon Connors weren’t more careful, he’d be a shade himself soon enough.

Mitchell came and went of his own accord, at least when the telluric currents were aligned. When not he needed to be conjured, but the course of ancient energies were in his favor and the spirit was able to look after his former mentor. Choosing to do so discreetly would have drawn the detective’s ire, but Mitchell figured that a spook in the wings was better than an ace up one’s sleeve.

Boo, the detective’s articulate familiar, had put Connors on to this place, a once magnificent two-story farmhouse that nature was looking to reclaim. Windows were smashed, the roof’s wood shingles were scarce, and insects were eating the old girl alive. It was doubtful she’d stand through another winter.

Moving up to the second floor, the stairs groaning in protest, Connors continued to press his luck. Mitchell followed by way of incorporeal travel, rising up and through the rotted ceiling, ahead of the detective.

What the eidolon spied would have taken his breath away if he was still amongst the living. As it were, his spectral eyes locked upon the bloody symbol painted on the floor. It was contained within a chalk circle, the nubs of spent elemental candles at the quarters.

But the symbol itself…

Mitchell let it sink in. The sigil was an Enochian kenning. Moving forward, oblivious to the detective’s approach, he worried over the clumps of rotted flesh inside, the remains of a sacrifice. He chose to believe it was a young swine, but knew better.

“Greg?” the detective said from behind him. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Don’t come in, Landon,” the spirit replied. “I can tell you what you need to know.”

“This isn’t my first rodeo,” the detective said, stepping into the room.

Connors’ flashlight fell upon the protective circle.

“Gods,” he whispered.

Mitchell heard the flip of the detective’s lighter and the deep inhale as Connors drew a cigarette to life.

“Sons of bitches,” he spat. The detective bent to the ground and ran his index finger over the circle, grinding the chalk between it and his thumb . Holding out his palm, he tested the magical discourse. It was still vibrant, pulsing with residual energies.

“I wouldn’t…” Mitchell began, but Connors pushed through the circle’s protective membrane with a dagger drawn from inside his coat.

The detective took his place inside the circle, resealing it by calling upon the tutelary guardians. He began deciphering the spell cast here and was revolted by it.

Mitchell watched as the detective worked, conscious of the pain etched across Connors’ face. He was torturing himself, peeling back the layers to reveal the horrors performed here in evil’s name.

Closing the work and removing himself from the circle’s confines, Landon Connors drew a whiskey flask from his inner pocket and anointed the circle, calling upon the gods to wash away the diabolical scar left on this place.

Removing another container from within his trenchcoat, he poured this liquid about and, with a flick of his near-spent coffin-nail, the accelerant took to flame.

Mitchell joined the detective outside, watching the old Victorian’s consumption.

“You saw the symbol?” Connors asked as he lit a cigarette.

“I did,” Mitchell responded.

“And I read it right?”

“An inversion,” Mitchell said. “An Enochian sigil, reversed.”

“And?” Connors said. He needed the spirit to say it.

“Faith,” Mitchell replied. “It was the Enochian symbol for faith.”

“Yeah,” Connors spat. “That’s what I thought.”

to be continued


Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 4

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing with tags , , on February 21, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith


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

Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 3

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


leap of faith


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 with tags , , on February 5, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith


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 with tags , , on February 1, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith


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

Wyrdtails: A Landon Connors Supernatural Thriller

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing with tags , , , on December 30, 2014 by Occult Detective



I was dressed, after a fashion, as how I thought the deceased would best recognize me — black t-shirt and blue jeans, scruffy jogging shoes, and a red bandana sticking out of my back pocket. I hadn’t really planned it, though it made sense to me after the fact. I just couldn’t be bothered with climbing into a suit. It felt unnatural and pretentious. The day was difficult enough without putting on the accepted uniform of grief. I was confident most of the people in the chapel considered my attire disrespectful, but I was pretty damn sure the deceased didn’t mind.

There was that word again. I mulled it over and rolled it on my tongue. Deceased. As in no longer with us. It had an improper finality to it, I thought. An improper word for an improper occurrence. An improper, and improbable occurrence of a finality. As these and other thoughts collided during my short walk up the aisle of my discontent, I was bemused by the certainty, as certain as any finality, that I was well on my bloody way to cracking up.

That too made perfect sense, as perfect as the imperfection of my working class affectation. It was, after all, madness that put my oldest and dearest friend within the confines of the coffin before me. Our shared experience surely guaranteed a similar reaction to the events preceding the deceased’s demise. I was unsure of a lot of things. This was most assuredly not one of them. In fact, I was so sure that madness, the very same that had taken root within the cranium of my now departed compatriot, was tilling the fertile soil of my most inner being, that I had resolved to take matters into my own hands, if not in the same manner as the deceased, then in a more proactive, and perhaps, more satisfying fashion.

Staring down at the corpse-in-a-box, I knew it not. Lying there, in state, was an unknown and unwelcome shell, a lifeless doppelganger wearing a poorly constructed mask of the man I had loved in life and loved more now with his passing. We had been all but inseparable for nearly forty years. We met on a playground in grade school, bonding over our mutual affections for Marvel Comics, The Six Million Dollar Man, and the hottest band in the world — KISS. As we grew older, we discovered girls together and double dated. We experimented with drugs and fell into arcane literatures and tumbled down the rabbit hole of esoterica. We dropped out of college together, shared apartments, and worked in the same meaningless and menial jobs that fed our addictions to alcohol, psychedelics, and books.

Continue reading

Finally — the conclusion to Wyrdtails

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing with tags , , , on December 30, 2014 by Occult Detective



one  two  three  four  five  six


“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.

The End

%d bloggers like this: