Blood Demon.

Fallen by Crisantempo

I was enticed into the world of the supernatural and occult from childhood, as a moth is drawn toward a flame; fluttering so close its wings are inevitably scorched. Were my wings also singed and blackened? I believe they probably were.

I am sure the South of England is not the hotbed of paranormal activity that everyone so romantically believes; those millions of visitors on pilgrimage to follow the ley-lines, sense the imaginary magnetic energy of the menhirs of stone and seek out the ghosts of an ancient past. Yes, we had the occasional sighting of UFOs, and probably the first recorded cases of weird circular patterns formed in the fields of standing corn. The Druids still practised strange rituals among the monoliths at Stonehenge and Avebury. There were also known covens of witches in some of the outlying villages, but stories of “meetings for their unholy Sabats at the full moon” as described in Dennis Wheatley’s novel, The Devil Rides Out are a little far-fetched.

However, there was also my ancestor. I found him, the black sheep in the family tree, on the side from which my father’s grandmother claimed descent. A character from some three hundred years ago, Sir Francis Dashwood, Grand Master of The Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe. Perhaps you know of the order from the more notorious name of the “Hell-Fire Club.” Many half-truths and fabrications to his life story have been invented by the popular media, but no one really knows what rituals took place in the caves below West Wycombe. Perhaps it was only fitting that his family motto “Fay Ce Que Voudras”, meaning "Do As You Will" should be used by the best known practitioner of the black arts, Aleister Crowley.

Many times in my teenage years, I found exhilaration in those underground caverns, feeling his presence, sensing the excitement of the occult in the electrified ambience. I often imagined myself decked in the hooded robe of “deep pure blue that few dare wear,” the black and white handled sacrificial knives placed before me, the wand of destiny in my hand, some naked female vision of lust bound in chains across the stone altar. I would envisage the flickering flame from the black candles gleaming on her oiled skin, Isis in captivity, the virgin sacrifice of unholy rituals performed to appease the gods of darkness. How many times did I practice the release of blood and the summoning of demons? I suppose it was inevitable that I was to become an author of occult fiction—I say fiction, yet unbeknown I suspect to most readers, many of the described rituals I base on actual events, practices and experience gained during my years of study at Bath University.

There are frequent occasions now, that I receive invitations to parties having themes based on the world of the occult. The latest as I write this, is from an author well known in writing circles for her tales of vampires, and is in celebration of her daughter’s twenty-first birthday. The subject for fancy dress as I would expect from her, is of ghouls and blood sucking creatures from the world of the un-dead. I have agreed that it might be amusing to attend although I have no real interest in the fictional characters of film the likes of Count Dracula and his infernal legions. The bloody gore and romanticism of Gothic Carpathian legend does not impress me, for I know there is little correlation with the horrors of reality.

The stark contrast was emphasised during my last summer term at University, I shared an apartment of four rooms on one floor in a five story Georgian terraced town house that the property owner had converted for student accommodation. My co-conspirators, Mike and Aaron, were students of the English language as was I, although they with the intent of becoming journalists. Mike too was an adept in occult practices, strange how such coincidences in the paranormal draws people together.

The residence was also the place we met Grace, with shoulder length hair of honey blond and a body for which a man would willingly die, or a woman would kill. She shared the apartment immediately above with her friend Sue. We three students of mysticism greeted with enthusiasm the suggestion from Grace that we experiment with sex in ritual magic. I often wonder now, did we use her, or she use us for her own pleasure. At an early stage in the relationship, she admitted quite candidly that she was a nymphomaniac. In the six months I knew her, there were many occasions, usually on nights of a full moon, when she would come from Sue’s bed to visit each of us in turn, in her insatiable greed for sexual pleasure.

I was trying to write an article on witchcraft for the university rag late one Sunday evening. The end of an unusually warm day for the fickle English climate in late May, I was sitting by the open window of my bedroom in near darkness. An almost full moon hung low in the sky above the city lights—Bath, being an historic town of Roman origin, there was little of the lurid neon flare so prevalent in other major cities to pollute the night sky. Lost in a daydream world of fantasy as the low hum of nighttime city traffic soothed my senses, I was almost asleep.

Mike and Aaron had spoken earlier on the possibility of summoning a “daemon from hell” as Aaron put it, and the two had taken Grace down into the cellar of the house for some experiment, which, I guessed, would involve a lot of naked passion from the girl. I felt no concern being certain that Mike’s knowledge of demonology was equal to mine, even if Aaron was more naive.

I was startled from my reverie by the panicked scream of my name. So sudden was my awakening, so disturbing I jumped from the chair spilling a bottle of beer amongst the papers on the table. There was no physical awareness, yet somehow, I knew that cry had come from Grace, and that something was definitely wrong. With no thought of restraint, I leapt from the apartment and threw myself down the two flights of stairs taking the steps two and three at a time. I was at the door leading into the cellar, gasping for breath before cold logic regained its grip on my reason. A cry audible with such intensity through three floors? It could only have been in my imagination.

There was no noise emanating from the other side as I regained my composure, but knowing all sound would be muffled by the thickness of the wooden panel, it seemed good sense to check, if only for my reassurance. I eased the door open the narrowest crack to sounds I recognised. There was little could be done to disguise the moans of ardour as Grace reached the climax of another orgasm; the only, truly multi-orgasmic woman I knew. The temptation to the tightening muscles in my abdomen was too great, luring me inside. I stood at the top of the steps my eyes struggling to see into the shadows. The flickering glow of candles at the far end of the cellar gave enough light to see two naked figures on the floor.

Impelled by some alien sense of voyeuristic intrigue, I crept to the top of the stairs and then slowly, one step at a time, down into the gloom for better view. Mike was lying on a large white bed sheet, stretched out on the stone floor and held at the corners by an assortment of packing cases. The black lines of a circle enclosing a pentagram were inscribed on the sheet, with four lighted black candles in brass holders set at the cardinal points. The one aligned to the North Pole coincided with the apex of the star, the same direction in which Mike’s head rested. I was unable to see his face turned toward the far wall away from where I stood.

Grace was crouched on top of him, with her face pressed into the side of his neck and her hips and buttocks grinding slow circles in animated rhythm over his crotch. There was no sign of Aaron in the area I could view.

A stench of filth, dead fish that had lain unattended for too long and rotting vegetation, assaulted my olfactory senses. I wrinkled my nose in disgust. It surprised me that both Grace and Mike, even in the throes of such abandoned passion, were willing to ignore what I assumed to be some blockage in the street’s sewage system. For a moment, it occurred to me that the cellar seemed unnaturally cold for early summer, my increased rate of breathing bringing wisps of vapour from my half-open mouth. I shivered.

I had the sensation that reality no longer existed, that I had been drawn into another world where passing of time occurred on a different level of consciousness. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as, at my sudden intrusion, Grace turned her head to look at me. Her mouth was open, lips drawn and twisted back to show her teeth in a snarl. A predator frozen in a spotlight could not have displayed more evil intent. Her eyes half closed she glared at me. Blood trickled from the corner of her mouth. Blood—from an open wound on the side of Mike’s neck.

She wiped the gore from the side of her jowl with the back of one hand, which she then licked as if relishing the taste. She gazed at me, a stare with such malevolent hatred burning into my soul, that it froze the beating pulse of my heart. An eon passed as our eyes locked in challenge, two beings fighting for supremacy in this nether world. I felt a dread, a certainty that I had already lost. Looking back over the events of that evening, I wonder now, why I felt no incredulity that Mike made no protest at my intrusion.

Slowly, so very slowly she stood, revealing to me the full beauty of her naked femininity. From the day I met her, I realised she was not the angel of innocence her parents, I feel certain, would have friends believe, but this was different. I was unable to look away, unable even for a moment to close my eyelids.

Her body seemed to exude an ethereal glow that only enhanced the surrounding shade. She teased me, her right hand gliding down across the pale skin of her stomach, and over the tight curls of pubic hair, while the other fondled the proud, hard nipple of her breast. Her eyes still locked on me as I watched with fascination, the fingers sliding between her thighs, stroking, caressing, and arousing again her animal instincts. Slowly she moved that hand raising it to her mouth. A blackened tongue slid, flicking between sneering lips across her fingertips, while she extended the other arm toward me in beckoning gesture, luring me to her. I felt the constrictions to blood flowing in my lower stomach the almost tourniquet like tightness to the stiffening erection in my trousers.

Mesmerised I stepped forward in obedient subservience to her demands. I could do nothing else. I was a captive under her spell of seduction, walking as a man resigned to inevitable death on a gallows. Breath rasped, gurgling as if water babbled over pebbles in my throat, echoing with hollow menace in the silence of the darkened cellar.

As I approached, every step seeming to take an eternity to place, an unbearable sense of depression engulfed me. Horror like waves washed around me. I waded into a sea of icy water, an ocean of grief, the anguish of every tortured soul in hell, screaming for release in the atmosphere of this one small, unlit room. Hands reached out to me, trying to drag me into their sepulchral crypt.

She licked her lips, the tongue seeking pleasure in the taste of drying blood at the side of her mouth. The blood—human blood! Mike’s blood! Bile regurgitated in my knotted stomach. It would also soon be my blood.

This was not the Grace I knew. Something had taken her, possessed her, something that fed, gaining strength from her sexual energy. Something that now resented me, a being whose only wish was my destruction, to gratify its lust for more blood. I felt the sensation of fear, icy fingers drumming on my neck and shoulders. I shuddered, drowning in the depth of this entity’s negative emotion. The dread seemed either to make me smaller, shrinking so that she loomed over me, or perhaps, to make her larger. Was she feeding on my terror?

I can take no credit for the events that followed, I can barely remember. I piece together these memories from the nightmares of the following weeks. I must ask therefore that you excuse the apparent ravings of a lunatic.

A multi-hued radiance seemed to flash from her eyes, like the splinters of light from a prism, bathing me in a rainbow of vivid colour. A soft voice, soothing tones in my ear yet not a voice that disturbed the oppressive silence of the subterranean vault. It, he or she, warned me in the most precise manner to tread no further. That the intention was for me to step into the circle, breaking the invisible barrier thus destroying the energy that held the demon imprisoned.

I felt a sensation of rising through the air, borne upward as if the physical presence of the house did not exist. Imagine if you can the sensation of being lifted in the talons of an immense bird of prey, rising in spirals on warm currents of air out of cold darkness into blinding light. Golden light that poured such intensity of energy into me, I felt invincible. From an un-located source, a sword was thrust into my hands. A medieval broadsword of ridged steel, the hilt plated in gold and embellished with a huge black stone, possibly an opal. With the tip resting on my toe, the hilt would be at the level of my waist. The weight alone could easily slice through my foot.

I was standing again on solid ground, but not the terraced house in Bath. The English city had vanished, replaced by scorched sand under a burning sky. There was no sun, just the searing light flickering in shades from crimson through orange to yellow and back to red. Behind me, rocks piled one on top of another like a staircase to the heavens. No sign of vegetation, only barren wilderness as far as vision would allow the scene to encroach on my senses. The heat from the sand seared the soles of my unshod feet.

Sight assured me the menacing monstrosity standing before me was no longer Grace. It was tall, taller than a man, yet so thin, almost skeletal, and covered in dry, grey skin that wept with mucous from open sores. Its face was a grotesque mask from which multi-faceted eyes glowered, the burning red of burgundy wine, from the shadows beneath its brow. The foul stench I had noticed earlier exuded from this abomination to nature. It drew back on four spider thin legs; as if in sudden realisation, I was not the easy prey it first believed.

The heavy sword felt alive as I raised it two-handed before me in defence. Crouched ready to spring, the creature shambled toward me. It circled, pale razor talons, the appendages to long, three-jointed upper limbs slashed at my face. It hissed a venomous spattering of stinking drool sprayed between jagged, rotting teeth into my eyes. Almost blinded, I tried to wipe the spittle away with the back of a forearm while maintaining a grip on the weapon. A shuddering jolt as something thudded into my chest. I felt bones in my rib-cage break as it threw me onto my back. The blade of the sword falling from my grip, embedded almost to the hilt in the lose ground.

The slavering beast fell on me, while tearing claws tipped as if with sharpened steel ripped at my throat, and then my vision cleared, with the most amazing site I have ever perceived. An Angel! The only word I can find to describe. Shoulder length hair of honey blond, framed her sweet face, she stood naked, with wings, feathered wings that shone with a golden radiance. Her eyes glittered with every colour in the spectrum. Grace as I had never seen her even in my most erotic fantasies.

For one moment, I felt from her a love so powerful, as if a flame had ignited an explosion in my stomach. The emotion we refer to in this reality I can describe as nothing more than a shadow of the real thing. With apparent disregard for her own safety, she attacked the fiend with her bare hands, dragging it from me. She stood no chance. It turned on her, lifting then hurling her to the ground. Feathers tore from one wing as it crumpled with a sickening crack of bone in unnatural angle beneath her. I watched with horror as the devil’s talons ripped her flesh from breast to groin in one move. Its claw reached inside her ripping entrails from her living body as her scream was cut to a gurgling sob of vermilion froth.

The pain of damaged ribs vanished, I was filled with such intense rage. I was on my feet with sword raised above my head in a flash. I brought the blade down with such a force the creature’s head split from cranium to jaw. Yet it did not die. It turned toward me; I guess shock could convey an impression of the look it gave. My second blow caught it across the throat. The weight of the blade sliced through its neck. The head spun twice through the air before rolling across the sand. I kicked its body to fall away from my angel, yet it still clung to the torn bloody remains of the contents of her stomach.

What could I do? I knelt beside her. I held her hand. She looked at me as the light faded from her eyes. At that instant I would willingly have submitted my soul to an eternity in purgatory to save her. I wept, for I had always believed angels were immortal.

***

I was lying on my back against the wall, a stabbing pain in my side. Figures were milling about in the cellar of the house in Bath. Some were dressed in dark blue, some in plain white. Two of those dressed in white uniforms, carried me on a stretcher up the stairs and out of the front of the house. Red and blue flashing lights dazzled my eyes in the yellow glow of streetlights. I have no idea who telephoned the emergency services. It all seemed like a dream as, I guess, I drifted in an out of consciousness.

Two days I spent in hospital, the damage diagnosed as four broken ribs, then the questions. There was little I could tell, little that anyone would have believed. I was not even sure if the police were interested. They had a perpetrator for the crime; the blood on her lips and hands was evidence, incriminating enough to ensure conviction. At the time, they told me nothing about the condition of the others.

Eventually the law-enforcement officers released me, but a week had passed by. Mike had been put on a life support system, but three days later, he was pronounced clinically dead from lack of oxygen to the brain. The doctors had tried transfusions to replace the lost blood, but it appeared his organs rejected the attempt. He remained in a coma until the life support was turned off.

Aaron was not in the cellar. His body was discovered two days after the event in a wood somewhere south of the city. How he got there, I never knew. The newspapers reported it to have been a somewhat grizzly discovery by a woman walking a dog. I understand she fled the scene in traumatised state requiring sedation to calm her nerves before she could divulge the whereabouts of the cadaver.

He had been decapitated!

I say his body was discovered, his head was never found. Identification was made from the driving licence and university ID card found in his wallet.

Grace was committed to a mental institution for the criminally insane. I visited her four times before the end of the year. She never showed sign of recognising me. She sat in a chair in her padded cell, arms folded across her chest in a straightjacket even though she never showed sign of violence to anyone near her. Silent and unmoving, she stared at a point in oblivion somewhere beyond infinity. It was as if she was just a shell, a mindless husk with no sense of awareness, only waiting death.

The last time I visited her in early January. a week or so before she surrendered to the inevitable, she wore no restraining bands. Her hair, once golden blond, had been shaved and she was dressed in a surgical smock. She sat with hands folded in her lap still staring. The burns and scorch marks visible on her pale skin through rents in the smock told a tale of brutal therapy in the form of electric shock. The vision haunts my memories and nightmares to this day. Her parents forbade me to pay my final respects at the memorial service prior to her cremation at the end of that month.

And me?

Welcome to my world of dark shadows, where angels tremble in fear of dreams;
Where nocturnal hunters prowl the nightmare realms,
Their sharpened claws raking the naked flesh of innocence…


© 2009 Robert A Read. aka Mysteral.

 

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