Ladies of Salem – by Daniel Rumanos

LADIES OF SALEM

by Daniel Rumanos

 

A WEIRD ADVENTURES OCCULT DETECTIVE MYSTERY

 

“I just got off the phone with Sonya Wengo, the Miskatonic Co-Ed!” said I, “She said there is a potentially-serious occult problem there in Massachusetts she wants us to help with.”

“Sonya? Isn’t she the Wizard Don Wengo’s cousin?” said my lovely wife, Katrina, as we spoke there at our business headquarters at the Temple of the Starry Wisdom in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Yes,” I replied, “I kind of wondered why she didn’t call him for assistance. She said it was something about not having gotten the taste of curry out of her mouth from the last time she saw him.”

“So I guess it’s up to us! Let’s go!”

We are very special people. With a rush of my own Magical will-power Kat and I teleported to the Whateley Café, the most popular student hang-out at the storied educational institution known as Miskatonic University. Sonya was already there, seated at a table with an iced latte. She jumped up and smiled when she saw us, brushing back her long blonde hair with her hand.

“Daniel Rumanos!” she said, “It’s so absolutely awesome to see you again, you sexy old genius!”

“Hello Sonya,” I answered, “Nice to see you as well. By the way, I’m only about 6000, give or take a few centuries, so watch it with that ‘old’ talk! This is my wife, Katrina.”

Katrina and Sonya greeted each other with the expected mutual young-girl giggles and we sat down at the table.

“So, Sonya,” I queried, “Speak to us about these supernatural happenings over which you are so concerned.”

Sonya proceeded to fill us in on the problem — which turned out to be a serious one indeed. It seems that in the nearby town of Salem, that ever witch-haunted New England village, trouble was brewing like a seething cauldron of satanic soup. A certain local practitioner by the name of John Dewey Egan, head of a small cult egotistically-titled The Egan Way (formerly the First Temple of Set, until the actual first [modern] Temple of Set threatened a lawsuit), had recently gotten married — to a woman! The reason this was so odd was that Egan had been well-known as a rather outspoken homosexual.

The woman’s name was Julie and she claimed to be a Wiccan or white-witch. Marrying her had served to improve Mr. Egan’s image among some of the more socially-conservative locals. Even the rumors of pedophilia — a far too common charge among occultists — that had haunted Egan’s past had now seemingly been forgotten. In fact, John and Julie Egan had become so respectable that they were going to perform a town-council authorized May Day Ritual in the Salem village square the very next day — which was, by the way, not yet May Day but Walpurgis. The mayor was even going to be in attendance, and was slated to give a speech about how Salem was so glad to be able to show how welcome “alternative religions” were in their fair little city, ad nauseum.

But there was more mystery to all this drek and meshugenah than meets the common eye. In her own practice of the Magical Arts and Sciences, Sonya/The Miskatonic Co-Ed had managed to acquire several good spirit-guides who kept her informed on certain occult matters missed by most. They had warned her of the hideous, insanely-powerful demonic-spirit that the Egans actually intended to call forth in the innocuous-sounding “May Day Ceremony” right at the center of Salem town — an immensely evil, debauched, and wickedly powerful devil I had encountered before — in some of the darkest, most danger-filled days of my long career.

Yes, the Egans were planning to evoke ASMODEUS!!

*****

Katrina and I booked a room for the night at the Salem Village Inn, a very nice 19th Century style establishment not far from the town square. We would meet up again with Sonya in the morning and ready our attempt to stop this hideous madness.

It was nearly midnight and Kat wanted to turn in. I kissed her goodnight, but stayed up myself, wanting to take a look through some historical brochures I had just picked up at the Salem Visitors’ Center. I had hoped to find out something substantially new concerning the Magical past of the area, something that would explain why the bloody Egans were so keen to call up the evil spirit Asmodeus in particular. All I read, however, was the usual story with which I was already quite familiar. About how two hysterical teenage girls had, in 1692, accused so many local citizens of witchcraft and of traffic with the forces of darkness. How they had been believed for so long by the Puritans in power at that time, and how numerous individuals had been hanged, whether guilty or innocent, on no real evidence whatsoever.

As I said, nothing new in this, unfortunately, for Salem or elsewhere. The same lack of education and acceptance of superstition (as opposed to true occult knowledge) that had led humans to all of the inquisitions and holocausts that so sadly mar the history of this planet.

While I was considering this, and indeed being rather carried away in reverie instead of keeping my mind on research, I gradually became aware that I was being watched. Not by a human being or an animal or even an earwig (which always seem to infest hotels and apartment buildings) but by a spirit. The execrable Egans had sent some minor demon to spy on me!

No need to wake up Kat while speaking to the creature. My opponents had underestimated my power, a potentially fatal mistake on their part, and I could make psychic contact easily enough. I did so and immediately realized that there were actually two entities present! They began whispering to me in seductive little-girl voices:

“We are the concubines of Asmodeus! On Earth we were known as Abigail and Beth. It is our devotion to him that led to the massacre of the innocent of Salem — an ultimate sacrifice that paved the way all those centuries ago for what will transpire tomorrow. Our Lord Asmodeus will come forth to the world and will bring his kingdom — his Empire of LUST!!”

I saw the two spirits, their beautiful faces flushed with passion, their hands continually caressing the lithe, young, nude bodies of each other.

“Come with us now, Daniel,” they continued, “Come with us and thou wilt come again and again and again. Join us and feel the power of our dark lord and the hot, wet ecstasies which thine erect manhood shall find inside of us!”

So that was it! The two pretty young girls of Salem, the ones who had caused the deaths of so many on those false charges of witchcraft, were themselves witches indeed, and devoted sex-slaves of the demon Asmodeus! Upon their deaths he had “rewarded” them with a place in his particular tract of the Infernal Regions. “Minor” demons, indeed they were!

It was only the work of a few moments, a few whispered words of power, for me to send the two female spirits back to Hell. I heard them laugh as they went, as the teasing gasp of a quiet orgasm.

But now I realized that things were even more horribly serious than I had thought. This was going to be a far more treacherous event that my previous battles with Asmodeus. For this was something he and his terrible cult had been planning for hundreds of years. The horrible residue of suffering that still permeates the air of Salem, Massachusetts would be used as a source of power by the Cult of Asmodeus to bring about the total subjugation of the human race. This was the long-planned day when Asmodeus, unless I found some way to stop him, would rule the world!!

Oy vey, the things I get into!

*****

The next morning, Katrina and I went down to the hotel lobby where Sonya was supposed to meet us. It really seemed somewhat deserted, with no one working, but I only blamed that on the early hour.

Then I suddenly became aware that someone was working at the front desk after all. It was rather strange that neither of us had noticed him at first. It was a tall, strong-looking man with dark hair and piercing eyes. “Hello, sir, ma’am,” he said, looking up from the newspaper he was reading, “It’s a wonderful day today!”

“I really hope you’re right about that one,” I replied, “Mr…?”

“Azarias,” he said, “My name is Azarias”

“Nice to meet you then, Azarias. I’m Daniel, and this is my wife Katrina.”

“It is also nice to meet both of you,” he continued in his un-placeable accent, “When we all remember to do the right thing, it is indeed always a wonderful day.”

Before we could say more, Sonya came in and we had to start out for the town square. I glanced back on the way out the door and noticed that this Azarias was nowhere to be seen — as if he had suddenly vanished. Very odd, I thought.

A large crowd of locals had already gathered at the square by the time we arrived. We mingled and overheard some of their talk. Apparently, the mayor had taken ill and wouldn’t be attending after all. It occurred to me that this was likely due to a curse from the Egans, who were certainly the type not to enjoy sharing the stage with a mere politician. They had used him to get clearance to perform the ceremony, and he was now expendable so far as they were concerned.

The Egans soon arrived and began setting up for the ritual. John Egan was in his mid-50s, a big, obese man around 300 lbs. He was half-Irish and half-Armenian, and went by the Magical name of “Lord Ali”. Julie looked much younger, maybe 25, very thin, with long, jet-black hair, dark eyes, and deathly pale skin. They were both wearing black and scarlet ritual robes.

I felt a surge of power as they activated a Magic Circle around the central stage. These two indeed had some mystical strength, some real occult juice, you might say. Fortunately my own small spell of awareness-filtering kept Kat, Sonya, and myself from being noticed by them. I had to see exactly what they were up to in order to be certain of stopping them, and anyway the Magical Circle was a difficult barrier to break, especially until their attentions were focused on other parts of the ceremony.

Standing at the center of the Circle, John Egan raised a ceremonial sword into the air and began his incantation:

“In the name of Satan, Lucifer, Belial, Leviathan, Mammon, Beelzebub, and Set, I do call forth the mighty Asmodeus, arch-demon of lust! Come forth and manifest yourself, O creature of judgment, and do bring into being our most intimate carnal desires!”

Egan continued the chant, with Julie at his side grinning evilly. An unholy sound as of rushing winds and demonic howlings began and grew steadily louder and louder — an obscene cacophony of wicked, other-worldly noise.

Then a form I knew only too well began to appear floating about 15 feet in the air over the center of Salem village square. The grotesque, hideously monstrous form of a huge being with three deformed heads, belching hateful fire from his sickening mouths, and filling the area with a disgusting odor as of a mixture of rotten eggs, cheap cologne, and brimstone!

It was Asmodeus himself!

*****

The moment had now come for us to take action. Mr. And Mrs. Egan were quite busy concentrating on the demonic conjuration, and the hideous Asmodeus had not yet fully manifest. The crowd continued to watch with great interest, thinking that all which was transpiring was only an entertaining show being staged for their benefit. Humans… Sometimes I really do wonder why I spend so much of my life helping to defend them.

I psychically probed the Magic Circle for a weak spot and quickly found one. I then signaled to Kat and Sonya and the three of us levitated up and through the opening. Katrina concentrated her attack on John Egan, Sonya on Julie, while I went to face the evil demon itself!

My lovely Kat activated the fantastically beautiful but incredible dangerous vermillion flame which she wields as the Wonderful Heaven’s Hell. She only had to hit Mr. Egan with a very small blast of it for the heat to knock him unconscious. One down…

The particular Magical energies that Sonya Wengo commands burst forth in great showers of black and purple — the school colors of Miskatonic University! — at the wicked Julie Egan. But, oddly, they seemed to only bounce off the invisible occult barriers Julie had erected around herself. This was really quite surprising, as I knew that the forces that Sonya manipulates as the Miskatonic Co-Ed are indeed very formidable ones. Just who, or what, was this Julie Egan woman?!

I was occupied creating a further mystical fence around the horrid Asmodeus. The evocation had been interrupted, and hopefully I could prevent the ghastly demon from completely coming forth into this dimension. Otherwise, the results would be chaos — as the insanely evil spirit could go into the world and spread his obscene desires and unspeakable lusts completely unfettered by any restraints.

“Rumanos!” the wicked, eldritch Asmodeus taunted me in his booming, thunderous, devilish voice, his six horrible crimson red eyes blazing, “Rumanos!! Demon-Star!! I shall prevail this time against you and your cunting little allies! Hahahahahahahahaha!!!”

By now Heaven’s Hell had joined Sonya in the continuing battle against Julie Egan. Together they had finally managed to weaken the strange woman’s defense a bit, and their continued occult volleys against her seemed to finally be having some slight effect. The real question was why she didn’t even strike back at them. It was as if she were waiting for something. The two girls were too busy with their mystical work to notice the faint, fiendish smile which was growing on Julie’s face.

Asmodeus continued to rage against me, his words turning into disgusting profanities and blasphemies beyond the imaginings of most, but I had almost completed the Magical defense-field around him. With this in place, I could then hope to have time to say the appropriate words of exorcism to send the unspeakable creature back to Hell.

But then, with sudden, unexpected power, an awesome, tremendous burst of dark supernatural energy hit me from behind. It had hit Katrina and Sonya as well, and managed to stun us all with its dreadfully unforeseen force. It had come from Julie Egan!

I recovered and quickly whirled around to face her. Julie had risen high into the air and was laughing maniacally, completely naked, having removed her ceremonial vestment. She had also now transformed somewhat, and at this moment looked younger, sexier, hotter. It was subtle yet quite palpable as the true nature of the horrid, charismatically obscene thing that was Julie Egan revealed itself there in the town square of Salem, Massachusetts that grotesquely eventful, devil-haunted day.

“Behold! I am the Demoness Naamah!” she screamed in ecstatic pride, “I am she who is the mother of Asmodeus!! Now, together, we shall bring our Empire of eternal lust, satanic pleasure, and insatiable desire upon this pitiful world!!!”

Bloody fucking Hell.

*****

Naamah — That legendary antediluvian beauty who had seduced the fallen angel Shamdon, by whom she had become the mother of Asmodeus! Naamah — Now the female devil of seduction so infamous in Hebrew lore! Naamah — The SOUL-SUCKER!!

This was the true identity of Julie Egan!!

She flew over beside her son, the wickedly eldritch Asmodeus, and shot forth a blast of power strengthening him — allowing the demon to completely come forth — with a hideously monstrous howling even more grotesquely bizarre than before — into our dimension!

The six crimson eyes of the fiendish Asmodeus glowed horridly, as he and his evil mother laughed with maniacal evilness. The power around them was intense beyond imagining, and I wondered what — if anything — could defeat this obscene, diabolical duo.

Then — suddenly — a different look came into the face of Asmodeus A look odd for a demon. A look of complete and utter fear. He was looking at something behind me. I turned to see what it was.

Stepping forth out of the still-watching crowd was Azarias, the man we had seen in the hotel that morning. He stood fearlessly gazing into the face of Asmodeus — into the face of pure, undiluted evil. Azarias then levitated upwards and transformed himself into a being truly glorious to behold: A man-like being with gigantic, white wings, clad in flowing golden robes and holding a caduceus wand entwined with two fearsome serpents — all surrounded by an enormous halo.

“Greetings again, Rumanos,” said the being in a voice as of thunder, “I am the archangel Raphael, one of the seven spirits that stand in the presence of the Holy One. Your virtue in resisting the two succubi last night has reached to Heaven and I have been dispatched to bind this devil, that he will trouble you no more!”

Then it happened that, with a movement too quick to see, Raphael hovered behind Asmodeus with a thick golden chain around the throat of the evil spirit. With a sudden, great flash of white light, they were gone.

I saw that Naamah/Julie Egan had disappeared as well, and hoped that she had also been taken to a Limbo were she could no longer harass the human race with her insanely evil desires.

With this, the crowd of spectators began cheering and applauding, still thinking this had all been only an entertainment put on for their enjoyment. Katrina, Sonya, and I left the area without taking a bow.

As for John Egan, he recovered consciousness and wondered what had happened. A few weeks later, he would be dead of sudden, aggressive testicular cancer.

Sonya Wengo returned to her studies at Miskatonic University. Before leaving to go back to Maryland, Kat and I inquired at the Salem Village Inn concerning Azarias, but were assured that no one by that name or description worked there. No great surprise, that.

Some time later, my lovely Katrina and I were relaxing at home in our north Baltimore apartment when she asked me a question.

“Daniel,” she said, “Was that guy really an angel?”

“So it appears,” I answered, still finding it difficult to fathom that any “virtue” of mine could bring about angelic help, “But it is difficult to say for sure. So many orders of being: Angels, archangels, thrones, seraphim, cherubim, elohim, bene elohim, and so on.

“In any event, my love,” I continued, taking her in my arms, “I do think we have seen the last of Asmodeus for a very long time.”

Unknown to us right then, at the nearby Incarnation Anglican Cathedral, the Right Rev. Gene Sutter was interviewing someone for the position of his new secretary and personal assistant. The woman was much younger and quite a lot more attractive than the usual “church” types he was sick and tired of looking at daily. Sutter was fiercely proud of being the first African-American consecrated to be Anglican Bishop of Maryland, and was certainly prepared to make use of the privileges of his position. This girl would be a delight to have around. He particularly liked her milky-white skin and long, straight hair, not to mention the twinkle in her eyes — a twinkle which some might even describe as “devilish”.

“Alright, young lady,’ said the Bishop with a smile, “I don’t even see any real reason to check your references. The job is yours. I look forward to having you here.”

“Thank you, Bishop Sutter,” said Julie Egan with a delighted grin and a playful flutter of her lovely eyelashes, “I’m certain I will take a deep pleasure in serving under you.”

***** DANIEL RUMANOS is a professional stage Magician/Illusionist and author of the Weird Adventures of Daniel Rumanos Occult Detective Mysteries. He resides in Baltimore, Maryland, but it is far safer to visit him online at: http://rumanosmagic.blogspot.com *****

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