His Cyclops eye trembled with rage, blazed fury red. Drool, hot and black and viscous as tar, sprayed from his maw, hung in ropes from his maggoty gums and serrated fangs. Gashes from arc angel sword strikes criss-crossed his muscled form like road maps, festering, stinking, bleeding. The barbed talons that tipped all eight of his hands were splayed, ready to rend anything and everything before him into bite sized, gore drenched ribbons.
There was just one problem.
He had no idea where he was. Had he been summoned? The last thing he recalled, he was settling in to eviscerate a firm of dead lawyers, then POOF! What plane was he on? Hell plane? Earth plane? He couldn’t be certain. Wherever he was, it was dark, and constrictive, and foul smelling. Not quite Hell foul mind you, but foul just the same.
“I don’t get it,” Becky whined. She sat cross legged, staring down into a weathered book the size of a tombstone. With her black hair, black eye make-up, and black pajamas, she would have made a very serviceable ninja. “A great, big, Vengeance Demon should be right here.” She pointed at the pentagram, inked with washable electric lime Crayola marker on her bedroom carpet. Her rings glinted in the candle light; the silver one with the screaming skull, the onyx one with the cursed gemstone, the pewter one set with the genuine iron maiden spike, and the pink plastic glittery one Billy Scranton gave her last fall for letting him get to second base.
Guulrag slashed at the gossamer darkness that bound him, grunting with frustration. Where was he? How was this gauzy nothingness actually holding his giant form? Could he have somehow wandered into Anathema’s madness web? He considered it. No, that didn’t make any sense. Anathema the Spider Mother only stalked prey on the Fifth Circle of Hell. Guulrag was a Vengeance Demon. A tenured Vengeance Demon. He killed Alexander the Great, after all. He was responsible for the fall of Rome, twice. He broke up N’SYNC. He wouldn’t be caught alive slumming on that amateurish Hell plane.
“I don’t think you were pronouncin’ the Latin right, Becky,” Charlene spat through her mouth guard. Spittle drizzled down her purple lips, passed her infected chin piercing, dripping onto her pajamas that were even blacker than Becky’s.
“Shut up, Char!” Becky snapped. “I totally know Latin. My mom got me Rosetta Stone like, three weeks ago.” She waggled her neck. “Also, I told you, my names not Becky anymore. It’s Mistress Drusilla Nightshade.”
“Come on you guys, can we do something else already?” Emily asked irritably. “Truth or dare? Netflix? Facebook, maybe?”
Was that a voice Guulrag heard? A harpy’s voice? A witch’s? He ceased struggling for a moment. Facebook? No. It couldn’t be. Did the wench dare speak of the Book of Faces? Impossible. The Book of Faces was banished to Purgatory eons ago. Guulrag was sure of it. If the witch that had bound him here possessed it, possessed that kind of power, Guulrag would need to be very-
Guulrag fell, tumbling through the nothingness.
Emily was bored. Reluctantly, and mostly because “Gossip Girl” was in re-runs, she completed the bedroom carpet power circle. The unholy, junior high trinity. While the other two girls sat stoic, cross legged, she lay on her belly, kicking her feet out absently behind her. She wore yellow pajamas covered in smiling Disney characters. A dozen, multi-colored friendship bracelets. A heart shaped locket with pictures of Jesus and Harry Potter inside. Her strawberry blond hair was tied back from her face with a pink scrunchy big enough to choke a hippopotamus.
“Drop dead, Emily,” Charlene snapped. She glared at the sunshiny girl through a wall of greasy bangs that brushed her pimply nose. “What’s she even doing here, Becky? I don’t care if she’s your cousin. She’s not one of us. She’s not a Disciple of the Night.”
“It’s Mistress Drusilla!” Becky barked. “And I told you Char, it takes three to make the circle. To summon the demon. Plus, she was comin’ over anyhow cuz our moms are at happy hour.” She smacked the book, pluming dust. “I don’t get it. We followed the instructions perfectly.”
She scrutinized the spell ingredients jumbled at the pentagrams center. White willow bark. A desiccated bat wing. A lock of hair from their intended victim: Billy Scranton’s new girlfriend, Madison Montgomery. A sprig of hemlock. And finally, a “WORLD’S GREATEST DAD” coffee mug brimming with ram’s blood.
Guulrag landed awkwardly, snapping a femur, tearing off an arm, splatting bile and black blood across the dark, alien surface. He didn’t mind. Pain didn’t hurt. He had another femur and seven other arms after all. He hardly even noticed. What he did notice however, was light. Finally, something to focus on amidst all the blackness. A crack of hazy crimson on the horizon. It was time to reveal himself to whomever dared summon him. With a roar, Guulrag lumbered forward.
“Emily,” Becky began warily. “You were in charge of the ram’s blood, weren’t you?”
Emily smiled happily and nodded. Her train track braces glinted in the candlelight.
“Well? Where’d you get it?”
Emily stopped smiling. She sat up.
“Okay, here’s the thing,” she said. “I went to the butcher shop like you told me too, but the man working there was really scary looking and I guess I chickened out.”
“Okay,” Charlene spat. “So where’d you get the blood, dork?”
Emily sighed, tugged at a loose pajama string between a happy Mickey Mouse and a happier Pluto.
“Frm uh pickige uh grin bfff.” She mumbled.
“Huh?” Charlene grunted.
Emily sighed deeper.
“I said. From a package of ground beef.”
“EMILY!” Becky and Charlene shrieked in unison.
“WHAT!?” Emily whined. “Mom was making tacos. The meat was like, super-duper bloody.”
“I told you, Becky!” Charlene yelled. “I told you she shouldn’t have come.”
“Hey,” Emily snorted. “Blood is blood, right?” She dug a “TEEN BEAT” magazine out of her Hello Kitty back pack and began pawing through it. “Who the hecks sposed to know what a ram is anyhow?”
Becky rubbed her temples.
“Emily,” she sighed. “The Necronomicon makes it very clear. If the offerings are incorrect, even slightly, things can go very, very wrong. There could be, like, dire consequences and junk.”
“Ugh!” Emily ignored Becky, scoffing at her heart throb plastered magazine. “Can you believe Justin Bieber?”
Guulrag paused at the edge of the light and cocked a rotten ear. A demon slug squiggled out and just as suddenly burrowed back in. What in the Seven Kingdoms of Hell was a Justin Bieber?
“Well, this was a huge waste of time,” Charlene spat. “Pass me my clothes, dork. I’m outta here.” She stood up. “I’ve heard rumors there’s a vampire working in the home and garden department at the twenty four hour Walmart. Think I’ll check it out.”
Emily reached over, snatched up the pile of cigarette stinky, grim reaper rags that made up Charlene’s outfit, and tossed them at her. Black “Marilyn Manson” t-shirt, shredded black nylons, skinny jeans, and lastly, a black training bra with a screaming, lady bug sized Vengeance Demon tangled up in the support wire.
Guulrag howled as his broken body was sucked up into the unknown, violently jostled, and just as suddenly smashed back down to the strange, plush surface. He lay there writhing, a mass of mangled limbs, bone shards, and blood bubbles, when out of the corner of his pus-glazed eye, he spotted a colossal, hairy beast—worse than anything festering in the depths of Hell–stalking towards him.
“BRIAN!” Becky shrieked. “Ugh! Snuffles got in my room again. She’s your dumb kitty. Come get her, puh-leeeeeze?”
As the mountainous, whiskered nightmare devoured Guulrag, tearing him to pieces, sending him spiraling back to Hell on a whirlpool of sulphur and brimstone, a mysterious, wrathful, incantation boomed like thunder above him.
“SHOO! SNUFFLES! SHOO!”