by Daniel Rumanos
I really didn’t want to visit frigging Kentucky, you know. Seriously, there are enough redneck types around Baltimore, aren’t there? But there I was in Louisville, investigating the activities of the notorious “Bishop” James Short. There had been rumors in the occult underground for a while that he was planning a very dangerous invocation, one that would top his conjuration of a demon a while back. That’s one that I, Dr. Daniel Rumanos, demonologist and paranormal researcher and all that, had taken care of. “Bishop James” ran like Hell — appropriately enough — after I had foiled his plans to bring chaos upon the world in service of his sick libido, and I hadn’t seen him since.
So, just a short time after my return from the wonders of the darkly-splendid worlds orbiting the Demon-Star Algol, here I was outside of a run-down old building with the words “Mt. Calvary New Catholic Church” written on a wooden sign in front of it. That’s life. Well, my bloody life anyway.
I was considering how to best approach this case when a pleasantly-familiar burst of Infernal Flame descended from the sky like a sexy little meteor and turned into a very beautiful girl with gorgeous red hair and shining blue eyes, wearing red and black tights and a matching short cape. It was my wonderful Katrina LeVay, also known as Heaven’s Hell, who had been created by a mad scientist from the DNA of a deceased Satanic Sorcerer, and had been away for awhile on a sort of voyage of self-discovery.
“Hello, my beautiful one!” I said after we had embraced, “It is so fantastic to see you again! You are breathtaking as always!”
“Thank you, love!” she said with a smile that could melt my heart.
We talked for a few minutes. She had heard the talk of Bishop Short’s upcoming conjuration, and had thought it best to check it out. Looks like she had decided her life was going to be employed peering into these particular problems as I do, those strange and bizarre happenings which go largely unnoticed by most people in this world, but nevertheless affect them in ways they cannot even imagine.
“From what I’ve heard,” I told her, “It appears the fake bishop is going to attempt to call up a pagan god this time: Faunus, the Roman god of lust!”
“Holy flapdoodle!” Katrina answered, “He must be so naïve to think he can get away with that.”
“Gods are much more difficult to control than demons, at least initially.” I continued, “Short failed in his last attempt at evocation because he and his cult didn’t wear the appropriate Magical regalia. If he had taken the time to read the Key of Solomon and related Goetic works he would have found out why that is particularly insulting to the evil spirit he had conjured.”
“It’s handy knowing a demonologist,” she answered with a wink.
We found a side window of the church which had been kept open for ventilation, levitated up to it together and quietly crept inside. Rumor had it that the fraudulent “bishop” was planning his unholy invocation that very evening, not in the church’s sanctuary but in the cellar underneath it.
We entered the basement just as the ceremony was beginning. Bishop James was wearing his scarlet ritual robes and was standing before his group of followers, several young men — the bishop’s addiction to pederasty being well-known. It occurred to me that once again he was attempting to invoke and control a supernatural being known for its particular attraction to the female gender. What is it about this chap that he just can’t get it right? It’s like he just hasn’t done the research necessary to find out about the deities and demons of homosexuality which would certainly serve his purposes better. I really couldn’t care less about his sexual orientation, but laziness and stupidity does not a good Magician make. It is because of this that his activities so threatened to stir up spiritual turmoil and madness, and why we had to stop him.
Katrina and I began to step forward to prevent Bishop James and his cult from continuing in their grotesque plan when we were both thrown to the floor by a sudden impact like an electric shock. Apparently, the bishop had learned something after all since my last encounter with him. He knew how to set up a Magical Circle anyway. It would be possible to break through it, of course, but it would take a few minutes to complete the correct conjuration. I checked to see if Katrina was alright before beginning. She was fine and I began chanting, nearly silently, the words necessary to cause the Magical defenses which the cult had set up to collapse.
Bishop James and his followers were paying no attention to our presence at all. They were too busy gathering around the altar with its shockingly obscene phallic idol surrounded by the glow of seven large red candles. The evil bishop then began the hideous invocation:
“Thrill with lissome lust of light, Come careering out of night. Come over the sea from Sicily and from Arcady! Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns, pards, nymphs and satyrs for thy guards, on a milk-white ass, come over the sea to me, to me, come with Apollo in bridal dress, shepherdess and pythoness come with Artemis, silken shod, and wash thy white thigh, beautiful God, in the moon of the woods, on the marble mount, the dimpled dawn of the amber fount! Dip the purple of passionate prayer in the crimson shrine, the scarlet snare, the soul that startles in eyes of blue to watch thy wantonness weeping through the tangled grove and gnarled bole of the living tree that is spirit and soul and body and brain — come over the sea, Devil or god, to me, to me, O Faunus! Come, Faunus!
“Come with trumpets sounding shrill across the hill! Come with drums low muttering from the spring! Come with flute and pipe! Am I not ripe? I who wait, writhe and wrestle with air that hath no boughs to nestle my body, weary of empty clasp, strong as a lion and sharp as an asp. Come, O come! I am numb with the lonely lust of devildom. O Faunus! Come, Faunus!
“Thrust the sword through the galling fetter, all-devourer, all-begetter; give me the sign of the Open Eye, and the token erect of thorny thigh, and the word of madness and mystery, I am a man: Do as thou wilt, as a great god can, I am awake in the grip of the snake. The eagle slashes with beak and claw; the gods withdraw: the great beasts come, I am borne to death on the horn of the unicorn. O Faunus! Come, Faunus!
“I am thy mate, I am thy man, goat of thy flock, I am gold, I am god, flesh to thy bone, flower to thy rod. With hoofs of steel I race on rocks through solstice stubborn to Equinox. I rave, rape, rip and rend everlasting world without end, mannikin, maiden, maenad, man — O Faunus! Come, Faunus!
“HAIL, FAUNUS!” echoed back the worshippers as an uncannily perverse form appeared above the altar in answer to the incantation. The huge, lewd figure of a bearded man with the horns, pointed ears, and hairy, cloven-hoofed legs of a goat. It was indeed the ancient Roman god of lust, fertility, depravity and debauchery himself — Faunus!!
Just then, I succeeded in breaching the Magic Circle, and could only trust I would have time to say the appropriate utterances to banish Faunus before the eldritch monstrosity issued forth through the very gap I had just made in the cult’s mystical defenses.
Bishop James and the members of the cult rushed forward in an attempt to prevent me from approaching the altar. Just before they could reach me, Katrina sent out a burst of flame causing them to back off in fear. I adore having her by my side!
But Faunus was already heading for the opening in the Magical Circle, preparing to go forth into the world which would be helpless before him, a world which would soon be enslaved, its people used as his mere playthings. I shuddered to realize I just did not have time to prevent this from happening.
Then a remarkable thing happened. Katrina’s flame, which was still burning like a magnificent vermillion halo about her lovely body, caused Faunus to turn and look at her. The horny old goat-god then obviously forgot all about his plans to rule the world and focused his attention on the stunningly attractive young woman known as Heaven’s Hell! Can’t say I blame him.
As the randy old deity approached her, Katrina’s eyes widened with apprehension and she began to shoot out bursts of Infernal Flame to keep him away. They couldn’t burn the dreadful god, of course, but they did manage to hold him back. I knew she couldn’t continue this forever, though, and worried about the fact that one touch from Faunus could be the end of her defenses.
Only just in time, I managed to complete the ancient Latin form of banishing, speaking it thrice in the proper vibratory tone. Then Faunus, the deity of perversity himself, vanished as quickly as he had arrived. With this, the remainder of the Circle collapsed as the arcane Magical energies in the room passed outward, and the candles were suddenly extinguished, leaving the moonlight coming in through the small, high-set windows as the only illumination.
Katrina and I left the building as quickly as possible. Outside we saw police cars arriving, but managed to get away unnoticed. They were there to arrest Bishop James Short, who was being accused of sexual abuse by an underage boy. I’m certain the weird heathen altar they found him and his congregation clustered around that eventful night did not help in his defense. The bishop received an appropriate prison sentence, and I’m sure the treatment that “holy” child molester received in the Kentucky State Penitentiary was enough to make Bishop James long for the comparative safety of occultic conjurations.
As for the exquisitely beautiful Katrina LeVay and myself, as soon as we were clear of the church area she threw her arms around me and we began kissing. It was obvious what was going to happen, but I really didn’t want our first night together to be in bloody Louisville, Kentucky, so I used what was left of the residual Magical energy darting about to help teleport us to Venice. Yes, the one in Italy. We spent three wonderful days and nights there, just me and the girl who was too hot for the god of lust, and I declared my love for her, appropriately enough, in the city that Casanova once called his home.* Daniel Rumanos is a Master Magician/Illusionist, dark fantasy author, President of the Dracula Society of Maryland, and fiction editor for Honeysuckle Magazine. Visit him online at http://www.danielrumanos.com *Illustration: Lupercalia by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1890s)