THE ADVENTURES OF DAEMON-STAR by Daniel Rumanos

DEVIL ANOTHER DAY


In an alley-alcove behind 36th Street in Baltimore stand two businesses. One is a porn and sex-toys shop called “Honey”, which does not concern us here. Next to it is an establishment named “The Cauldron”, a small witchcraft store selling, as one would suppose, crystals, candles, and cauldrons to the city’s would-be Wiccan community.

The shop’s proprietor, Mrs. Shelly Clem, is very much the stereotypical “white witch”: middle-aged, overweight, and with a constant look of abject fear on her flabby, aging face. A decidedly boring individual indeed.

Her daughter, on the other hand, is quite another story. Caitlyn Clem is seventeen, medium height, nice body, with dark green eyes and raven hair. She was adopted, which explains why she resembles neither Shelly nor the latter’s rather worthless working-class husband, Mark, in either looks or temperament. So it was an interesting surprise when Caitlyn called me one day asking to meet in order to discuss a matter which was troubling her. No, I do not spend every bloody day going around giving my phone number to teenage girls, no matter what you’ve read in the bleeding tabloids. Sod off.

So I met with the chick one afternoon in a local café to see what my particular expertise as Dr. Daniel Rumanos, Supernatural Swashbuckler and Intergalactic Man of Mystery and all of that, could do for her. It was no great stretch to assume that none of the regular patrons of her mother’s “occult” shop (which had previously been located in the hideously-decayed Dundalk area of Baltimore County until a local drug-dealer had forced Shelly at gunpoint to light a candle and cast a spell to help his business. A bit cheeky, that.) could be of any assistance in any issue concerning the authentically supernatural.

I must admit Caitlyn was really cute as she looked at me over her small caramel-vanilla hot latte, but my heart belongs only to my beautiful and eternally-youthful wife, Katrina, so I listened to Caitlyn’s odd story with a purely professional curiosity.

She said her mother had recently fallen under the spell of a strange woman called Meredith Moises, who had moved to Baltimore a few months previously, claiming to be a “shaman” and impressing all the rubes with her mysterious manner and Creole accent. Whether this individual was of any genuine occult power other than con-artistry Caitlyn couldn’t say, but it was obvious that the ever-gullible Shelly believed every word of Meredith’s grotesque spiel. The hideous woman had even talked Shelly into going in debt in order to buy an old church-building, the long-abandoned St. Sebastian’s Old Catholic Church in Baltimore’s Brooklyn neighbourhood. This place of worship, the legends concerning with which I was familiar, had never been authorized by the Vatican, and had been shuttered after its priest had been taken away to an insane asylum in the 1920s. He had died soon after under peculiar circumstances which had been kept rather quiet. Some claim that he had been inexplicably ripped to pieces whilst locked up alone in his padded cell.

Caitlyn then revealed to me that that very night the loathsomely bizarre Meredith Moises would be taking Shelly and her coven to that church for a “Witches’ Sabbath”, at which she promised them that an extraordinarily-powerful spirit would be evoked -- a spirit which would provide answers to all of their problems. But what particularly concerned Caitlyn was that her mother, under the enigmatically monstrous woman’s guidance, was insisting that she accompany them, and that this evening would see her daughter’s initiation into the most sacred “feminine mysteries”!

Talking Caitlyn out of going was not possible. She was still a minor, and her mother was so much under Meredith’s control that she was afraid not going would lead to even more dire consequences than her attendance. Fortunately, however, Caitlyn had already had the wisdom to secretly make a copy of her mother’s key to the church building, which she then gave to me with the request that I sneak into the back-entrance that night and observe the occult ritual surreptitiously. I was honoured that she so fully believed in my ability to protect and save her from whatever abysmal horror might be in store for her during the coming hours of darkness. Oy…

After our talk I proceeded immediately to the large public library downtown, in order to look up old newspapers and find out what I could about St. Sebastian’s Church and its scandals. It took awhile but I finally found something in some 1922 issues of The Baltimore Sun. The priest’s name was Father George LaMartina, and the story at the time was that he had secretly renamed his church as the Fane of the Deep Ones, and was using it to bring up some sort of monster from Hell. At least that’s what the people of the surrounding community had said at the time. Fr. LaMartina was shortly thereafter found to have become a raving madman when the police had gone to the church in order to question him concerning the corpses of several adolescent prostitutes which had been found buried in a nearby refuse dumpster. An autopsy had discovered communion wafers inserted in their vaginas.

Then I saw a photograph which had been taken after the priest had been put away. It was of the church’s nave, and the strange defacements that had been done to it. The crucifix had been inverted, and below it had been painted, in what appeared to be blood, a horrible name in a rare medieval Latin font. Apparently, the dreadful name of the hellishly eldritch creature the insane Fr. LaMartina had been attempting to call forth from the deepest depths of Satanic perdition. I couldn’t suppress a shudder as my body filled with cold dread at the sight of it. It was the name of an infernal being I had encountered before, in some of the most dangerous and unspeakably hazardous adventures of my long career -- and now it threatened to return and devil another day. It was the name of the destroyer demon, evil spirit of lust, rape, and unspeakable debauchery. An immensely powerful alien devil whom this new coven was going to use innocent young Caitlyn to call forth into full, ravening and horrendous sexual depravity.

The name was ASMODEUS!!

I practically ran all the way to the former St. Sebastian’s Church, now the Fane of the Deep Ones, only stopping at Cross Street Market to purchase a certain item which I then concealed in an inside pocket of my long,  leathern greatcoat.

Darkness had fallen by the time I got to the “church”, its ominous neo-gothic architecture looming down out of the city night. I slipped quietly into the back entrance, listening closely to hear if the “Witches’ Sabbath” had begun. Indeed, it had! As I entered the nave area and hid myself behind a column to observe, I saw the numerous black candles that had been lit, and the small but grotesque company that had assembled. Caitlyn’s mother, Shelly, was there, along with two regular patrons of her store, one a morbidly obese woman and the other a grotesquely effeminate young man. Caitlyn was there as well, and the short, nearly-transparent bridal dress they had made her wear would have been quite charming under other circumstances. As it was, the hideousness of the situation was paramount. A nice day for a white wedding, indeed. Blooming Hell.

But dominating the room was the repulsive figure of Meredith Moises, deathly-thin with utterly disgusting facial features as if the worst elements of every human type had been thrown together in one ugly eldritch amalgamation. Her head was shaved bald, and leprous white patches of vitiligo marked her winkled black skin. I was glad that the hideous old hag’s shapeless ritual robe kept me from seeing more of her. She turned to Caitlyn with a look of utterly revolting religious ecstasy.

“You have been chosen for the greatest honour, my lovely!” she cackled in her bizarre accent at the poor, trembling girl, “Humankind shall now accept their insignificance before the Cult of the Deep Ones, and the mighty Asmodeus himself has chosen you… and tonight you shall conceive his child!”

With that, the other worshippers took Caitlyn and laid her on the altar before the inverted crucifix, as the close proximity of the copious narcotic incense smoke shattered the last remains of her already-weakened resistance.

Meredith began the unholy evocation in her uncanny intonation: “We call upon the chief devil Asmodeus the Destroyer, Creature of Judgment, Enemy of All Life, Lord of Suffocation, demonic spirit of lust who seduced Eve! Appear before us now and manifest our desires…”

As she continued, the whirlwind of infernal energy grew in the room and the horrible form of Asmodeus began to manifest, huge, three-headed, its appearance a mixture of distorted humanity and grotesque animal forms. The stench was terrible, and the cacophonous howling beyond mortal description.

The creature hovered over Caitlyn, it’s gigantic essence engorged as it approached her. Already she was gasping and moaning as if in the throes of vigorous pain, yet unable to escape as if her very self were held down and bound by invisible iron chains.

Seeing there was no time to lose, I stepped forward and removed the object I had hidden in my pocket. It was the liver of a fish. I threw it upon the burning coals of the incense burner and spoke the ancient words of exorcism as its scent filled the air, being as they are a form of the science of my people, the Watchers of Algol. The demon screamed and the building quaked with the unholy force of its wicked, malevolent rage. It looked at me with its six dreadfully glowing crimson eyes and wailed, “Rumanos! Daemon-Star! Hell Hell Hell Hell Hell Hell!” before suddenly vanishing as if it had never been.

Then a rather curious thing occurred. The gruesome, horrific Meredith Moises, as if her only existence had been as an agent to bring forth the demonic spirit, simply exploded into shreds of flesh and blood, splattering against the walls of the cultic church. By now the other worshippers were cowering in the corner, having been driven irrevocably insane by the sight of the hellish fiend they had helped to evoke.

Caitlyn had by now mercifully fainted, and I swiftly but gently picked her up and carried her to safety away from the unsanctified Fane of the Deep Ones.

Yes, that is the story of how I, well, “blocked” the demon Asmodeus with a fish-liver. It is an Arabian Nights  thing. You would not understand. The city of Baltimore once again shuttered the old church building. When the police analyzed the blood-stains sprayed around the nave, they found that they were not from a human being at all, but were a previously unheard-of hybrid of canine and swine DNA. Such was the evil Meredith Moises.

Shelly and the other two demon-worshippers were committed to Spring Grove State Psychiatric Hospital. Caitlyn recovered as well as could be expected, and now runs The Cauldron witchcraft shop herself. You may see it if you are ever in Baltimore, if for some damned reason you would want to do so. Its sign features a “dragon” which would actually look more at home in a Chinese restaurant, and declares the establishment “A New Type of New Age Shop”, whatever the hell that means.

But Caitlyn’s idiot adoptive father, Mark, misunderstood the whole thing when he heard of it, and made it quite clear that I would be meeting with his assault rifle if he ever heard of me attempting to enter his store or his daughter. I say, there is bloody gratitude for you, eh?

*****

The snow was just beginning to fall as young Mr. Antony Minutella turned up the Stony Run Nature Trail in northern Baltimore. He pulled his coat closer around him against the winter cold, but otherwise ignored the weather. He had other things to think about; things that profoundly troubled him, and he rather hoped that taking a walk would aid him to clear his mind.

Mr. Minutella, a student at the nearby campus of Loyola University, was undergoing a crisis of faith. He had entered that great Jesuit institution as a divinity major, and hoped to soon join the local seminary and study for the priesthood. But Antony had been quite upset and shocked when his dormitory roommate had attempted to coerce him into an homosexual relationship. Antony Minutella knew full well that this was condemned as an abomination by the Catholic Church, and so did nobly refuse and resist the unwanted advances of the sodomite.

However, it is when Minutella reported the activities of the boy to the administration that he obtained the first real setback to his Christian faith. They completely refused to take action against the homophile student, only instead transferring Minutella to a different dorm-room and warning him against mentioning the matter further. It could easily be ascertained that the problem was not that the university was in any way accepting of such activity, but that they were afraid of reprisals should it become known that they religiously disapproved of homosexuality -- the “LGBT Community” being a singularly powerful influence on local (and indeed, national) politicians. There could even be some possibility of Loyola’s tax-exempt status being put to the question should the institution become branded as “homophobic”, and for not supporting “same-gendered relationships” (or whatever the current euphemism for buggery might happen to be).

Antony Minutella pondered deeply on these matters as he walked down the otherwise-deserted nature trail that cold, wintry day. He did not even notice the snow beginning to accumulate in the leafless trees and on the ground beside the stone pathway of the trail.

But then, all of a sudden, young Minutella did indeed notice something -- or somebody. For standing a few yards in front of him was a beautiful nude girl. She was very young-looking and slender, with long, blonde hair and skin as white as the snowfall itself. Her eyes were a pale, Nordic blue, and she smiled a beguiling grin at Antony as she beckoned to him.

It was then that Antony Minutella knew that he wanted the girl beyond anything he had ever known before. He lusted for her, he needed her, he had to have her, to touch her, to hold her, to ravish her in his arms. He immediately, impulsively, unthinkingly began to move towards her.

The young woman then began to move away from Minutella, whilst continuing to smile and beckon to him. She did not walk upon the earth, even with her long and perfectly smooth legs, but seemed to float a few inches above it. The snow swirled around her lovely body as if it were a slight gossamer garment loosely draping her otherwise-naked, gorgeous and fantastical figure. A mirthful girlish giggle escaped her luscious lips as she winked at Antony and caressed her firm white breasts in her hands.

The enchanted young man known as Antony Minutella continued to reach out towards the seductive nymph, his mind and body now completely overcome with desire for her. Nothing else mattered to him. Not life, not safety, not pain. Only her and the pleasures he would enjoy in ravishing the beautiful, stunningly-formed being that now danced in the air before him, ever just barely out of his lustful reach.

It seemed forever to Minutella that he had desired the exquisite female apparition, there in the falling snow, and that they had somehow traversed endless reaches of arctic wilderness, the snow growing ever deeper, the cold more intense, whilst his only cognisant thoughts were of the mesmeric young woman, the beautiful dancing Frost Girl who beckoned and laughed her beguiling laughter and as she continually eluded his needful, passionate grasp.

In time, the cold began to overcome Antony Minutella, though he never truly perceived it. He sank to his knees as the youthfully delectable dryad continued to flit playfully about before him. He fell down prone in the freezing ice and snow as consciousness, and perhaps life itself, began to pass way.

Nevertheless, young Antony Minutella has but one further vague memory before he became fully unconscious. One final impression before fully falling into the seemingly insentient blackness from which he would awaken several hours later in an hospital bed. He remembers perceiving a tall, dark figure suddenly appearing before him, silhouetted in the icy whiteness of that horrible winter’s day.

He then heard a commanding, masculine voice issuing forth from the figure:

“Be gone, thou foul temptress and sluttish spirit! I exorcise thee from this place by the Mighty Power of Algol! I do cast thee out! So it is done!!”

This imperious statement was followed by a snarling shriek of distinctly feminine rage and disdain -- and then, silence. …

As you know, my name is DR. DANIEL RUMANOS, Supernatural Swashbuckler and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the appearance of an human being, I am actually far more than any mere mortal. For I do carry within my blood the superior genetic material of that mysterious and enigmatic race of extraterrestrial beings known as the Watchers of ALGOL. This heritage grants me numerous powers and abilities that appear as “magical” and “miraculous” to the people of planet Earth. Indeed, it is even rumoured that the science of the Algolites is actually the very source behind all of the Judeo-Christian/Islamic beliefs and traditions of this planet.

Whilst the majority of Algolites live in elitist isolation from the lesser peoples of the universe, it has become my mission, as an agent of a secret service organisation known as the KOSMIKOS, to utilise my gifts in order to defend and assist the innocent against all forces that would enslave, oppress, exploit, or otherwise molest them.  

I had sensed the presence of that being, known as “The Frost Girl”, in the Baltimore area. This hazardously-beautiful nymph (one of the myriads of eldritch beings that populate the “spirit-world” whilst usually remaining unseen to humans), who is remembered in legendry and lore as the very daughter or granddaughter of Jack Frost or “Old Man Winter” himself, has become a form of lust-elemental, luring men to their demise amid the ice and snowstorms of wintertime. She is the personification of that bizarre sense of warmth that is said by some to be experienced by those who freeze to death.

In reality, Antony Minutella was only a few hundred yards along the Stony Run Nature Trail that day, though the nympholeptic effect of the presence of the Frost Girl had made him feel as if he had been pursuing this unattainable ideal for countless miles and for an incalculable length of time. As the snow had by then commenced to accumulating rather deeply, however, it is indeed likely that he would have died that grotesque day -- yet another victim of the lustful enticements of that hot yet frosty femme fatale of the phantom realm.

Fortunately, I arrived just in time to properly exorcise the alluring creature, using an appropriate invocation of the Highest. 

Young Antony Minutella recovered well from his experience, and -- wonderful to relate! -- it all actually had a positive effect on him in due course, serving to cure the doubts, the crisis of faith that he had been experiencing. Knowing now of the spiritual evils that exist alongside the purely human ones he had experienced up till then, he afterwards diligently applied himself to his divinity studies!

DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN

THE UNIVERSE IS NOT ENOUGH


Dundalk is a small township in the south-east part of Baltimore County, upon the shores of an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay. You will often hear of it euphemistically referred to as “blue-collar” and “working-class” in order to conceal its true decadence and unspeakable hideousness. 

As its name suggests, Dundalk was originally settled by Irish immigrants. Good, decent people who just wanted to do well for their families. Others soon followed: Germans, Polish, Italians, Greeks, and so forth. All “salt of the earth”, hard-working folks, many of whom saved up the money they earned labouring at the local steel mill and used it to send their children to college. 

As the fine immigrant families began to improve their lot and move away, another element started to invade the Dundalk area. During the period between the two World Wars, horrifically inbred “trailer trash” types from the American south and Midwest began to move in and take over the vacant mill jobs. Grotesquely ugly, very mentally deficient, and criminally inclined, these appalling people turned Dundalk into the terribly dangerous slum it is today. Things got even worse when the steel mill began to close down as the Industrial Age came to its natural end. The illegal narcotics trade, prostitution, and child pornography becoming the major commerce of Dundalk. 

It is out of this latter component of barely-human grotesquery that the true Dundalk horror began. 

Among the people of Dundalk exists one extended family, with Curwin being the most prominent of the several different surnames they use to cover their existence, who are quite proud of the fact that they have all been born with webbed feet. Not just an occasional deformity, but actual, completely-webbed membrane between each toe of both feet. This has become such a thing of pride for them that any girl who gives birth to a child without this trait is immediately “disowned”, and banished from the area -- due to the suspicion that she has committed what they consider the unforgivable crime of having had sexual intercourse outside of the family

Not to imply that this bizarre mutation is simply the result of inbreeding, as many would suppose. Inbreeding indeed! Show some people the Devil himself and they would try to dismiss him as a common Dundalk scandal! 

No, the members of this repugnant family show other definite traits of being amphibians in addition to the webbing: their hideous, blotchy skin, round, protruding eyes, and a horrible, nearly-hopping gait which is wholly repulsive to observe. However, the revolting rough areas on the sides of their necks just below the jaw-line appear to be rudimentary gills, suggesting that they may have some sickening relation to marine life as well. 

One wonders indeed what horrible, hybrid monstrosity came forth out of the mill-polluted water and was welcomed by the citizens of Dundalk, Maryland literally with open arms -- among other things. 

Nevertheless, whatever nameless horror spawned those gruesome deformities, I know now that there was something of even greater eldritch terror lurking in the Dundalk area. Something I encountered while investigating the district. 

While exploring one of the many caves, which dot the shoreline of the region, I found one with a dark tunnel reaching far underground. My only light being from my small pocket flashlight, I nevertheless followed the tunnel into its dank recesses, which were dripping with dreadfully slimy substance from the nearby water and growing with oddly mutated lichens. 

Then, from perhaps a couple hundred yards ahead of me, I heard movement. Something, large, very large, was in the cave. I shut off my light and noticed a strange phosphorescence ahead, and began to notice a noxious, indescribable odour. 

The movement I heard can only be described as a shambling, unearthly sound, as of something propelled by shocking limbs of a type not known to this Earth -- or to any type of sane wakefulness. Then, out of the darkness of that spectral, fiend-haunted tunnel I heard the chilling, awesomely monstrous cry of the creature: 

TEKELI-LI! TEKELI-LI!” 

I knew of the Shoggoths, those horrific alien servitors of certain unholy cults and ancient demonic beings. However, who or what in the Dundalk area could possibly have the power and ability to call one up, much less control the hideous thing? 

I had no time to take finding out. I just had the chance to put up a minor Algolitish shield-field to keep the misshapen phantasmagorical horror from advancing towards me in the darkness, and then I escaped from the cave. 

I did not wait around Dundalk after that. The way the locals looked at me was significant, and it was quite obvious that they somehow saw me as an unwelcome visitor. 

As for the abominable horrors that lurk in Dundalk, it would certainly do the United States government well to take some kind of covert military action against the entire area. Unfortunately, fear of disapproval from the large voting block of hideous lower-class Americans makes that highly unlikely. Knowing this, I duly returned to the area in proper time and dealt with the hideous Shoggoth-empowered cult in my own inimitable, awesome, and absolutely peerless fashion.

*****

Miss Sheena MacGillan’s beauty is only matched by her intelligence. A tall, slender, strawberry blonde of seventeen years, with eyes the colour of most exquisite sapphires and with the fairest of skin, she had become my student and an important contact in the ongoing battle against the forces of cosmic horror.

Although Scottish by ancestry, Sheena MacGillan had grown up in the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where her father is assigned as a member of the British Secret Service. Sheena had been inspired to establish herself as an “occult detective” in order to investigate the growing influence of the hideous extraterrestrial beings pretending to be the Celtic “gods”, fairies, and various other subversive spirits. Worship of the dreadful infernal phantasms had become shockingly rampant in neighbouring Ireland; often, but not always, in the form of the secretly-corrupt false “religions” known as Wicca and/or White Witchcraft.

Indeed, superstition was increasing in the land of Eire -- in a way which seemed to mock and belie the advances in knowledge and technology of the Twenty-First Century (Though it still had not reached the level of stupidity found in that horrid land of satanic evil known as the United States of America). To combat this, Sheena -- herself a devout Presbyterian gifted with remarkable abilities due to her pure, illustrious Caledonian heritage -- had dedicated her life and energies. She had dutifully guarded her virginity, and had trained extensively and intensely in order to hone and properly-control her powers. The young lady was deeply schooled in various forms of physical self-defence as well as in the mysterious arts of what is known to the outside world only by such terms as magic and mysticism.

With this had also come much reading; reading in the obscure, often bizarre and disturbing texts of occult lore, supposed psychical phenomena, and legendary mythologies.

Indeed, it only speaks to the seriousness of the spiritually-unholy and unhallowed situation in Ireland that Sheena MacGillan so soon received her own very first darkly dangerous and incredibly perilous case.

It all began with stories that had been circulating concerning a strange young girl in the village of Durwick, on the west coast of the troubled Irish island. The girl, who was sixteen, was named Joni O’Doyle and was apparently possessed -- possessed by a Banshee.

A decidedly unattractive young woman, Joni O’Doyle had never had any friends and had dropped out of school during Grade Seven. She was almost dwarfishly short, and the skinniness of her figure only tended to emphasise her grotesquely fat face. A black-haired child with a particularly ugly mole on her right cheek which looked more like a cross between a leprous sore and an infected wart, Joni’s odd, dimly-brown eyes seemed to constantly be in motion, shifting back and forth as if observing the passing-by of things or beings unseen by any sane human being.

But there was more to Joni O’Doyle’s madness than this -- something sinister and supernatural to a degree that it had led her undereducated, backward parents to turn her out of their home (a move fully supported by the fearful country priest who ministered to the family), this occurrence leading to the strange girl now spending most of her existence wandering and roaming through the dark peat bogs surrounding the tiny village of Durwick.

The fact of the matter was that Joni O’Doyle had seemed to have developed certain baneful powers herself; preternatural powers of levitating objects, of psychic premonition, and the ability to inflict an intense, terrible pain upon others while a faintly-shimmering, blood-red glow could be discerned surrounding her form.

Indeed, it was on the very night that Miss Sheena MacGillan set out from Belfast to travel to the fenlands surrounding Durwick that the hideous Joni O’Doyle, skipping as was her wont through the dismal constant darkness of the sickening bog, could be heard, if indeed there had been any nearby to hear, cackling and muttering to herself:

“Better than ye! Better than ye I be! Come here to be playin’ games with me, will ye, girlie? Hahaha! A bloomin’ fool ye be, ain’t ye? But ye shall come and lead to me the one I be wantin’! Hahaaa! Ye will show the way to me that bloody ol’ wizard -- blimmin‘ bloomin‘ blimmin‘ Daniel Rumanos!!”

And with this, all alone in the dismal bog, the mad, possessed girl-child known as Joni O’Doyle let out a waling cry, a baleful, howling call of death, doom, and demonic disaster -- the hideous, eldritch wail of THE BANSHEE!!

The light of the waning gibbous moon shone down eerily upon the Durwick bogs when Sheena MacGillan encountered the Banshee-possessed, mad Irish girl known as Joni O’Doyle.

“Hahahaaaaa!” cackled the demoniacally-insane Joni. “It be Sheena MacGillan then, innit? Haha! Sure an’ beggora, ye come here to play games with me an’ all! Ye be the student o’ that bloody Rumanos an’ all! School sucks! Horror rules! Gingers suck! Highlanders suck! You suck! Joni O’Doyle rules!! Jo-Jo-Jo-Jo-Joni O’Doyle ruuuuuuuuules!”

“I have come to seek your deliverance from demonic possession, Miss O’Doyle,” answered Sheena, her ankle-length, proper navy-blue skirt and immaculately-white blouse conflicting tellingly with the utterly mad Joni’s filthy and torn garments.

“Ye be a fool then, girlie! Haha!” continued O’Doyle. “I be better than ye! Better than ye! Ye be come only to lead another to me! He! He! The Man Who Walks Between Worlds! Daniel Rumanos! Ye do be his latest girl-toy an’ all, innit!”

“How dare you speak of Doctor Rumanos that way!” returned Sheena indignantly. “He is always an absolute gentleman.”

“Oh, does that be so? Hahahaha! He must really be gettin’ old then. Maybe ye should be callin’ him Daniel Rheumatism!! Hahaha! Doccy Rheumatism!!! Heehee! Hahaha!”

“Get thee behind me, Satan!” continued Sheena in an attempt to banish Joni O’Doyle’s evil thoughts.

Joni grew angrier at the sound of the holy rebuke. “Aye, girlie, ye would like to be havin’ some demon behind ye, then. Or some… Daemon-Star!! Haaaaa!”

Sheena MacGillan tried her best to ignore the sinful thoughts that the demonic Banshee was attempting to cause in her. Remembering the proper sacred formulae (descended, as is much of the Judeo-Christian/Islamic Tradition, from the science of the Watchers of Algol), she raised her hand and made the Sign of the Cross towards the possessed girl, saying:

“I take power over you, foul fiend, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!”

With this, the possessed teenage girl known as Joni O’Doyle howled with the hideous, baleful call of the Banshee -- a sound which, in its horrid despondency, caused the creeping sensations of despair to enter the mind, the heart, and indeed the very soul of Miss Sheena MacGillan.

However, Sheena had been trained with the appropriate preparation for such things and, calling forth the great mystical abilities of her heritage, generated a blast of magical power which streamed forth from her lovely eyes as two beams of intensely enchanted, white-and-blue supernatural light.

The rays of magical radiance hit Joni hard, and the possessed girl flew backwards into the trees with a further scream and howl of pain and anger.

“Ye be doomed, Sheena!!” shrieked Joni O’Doyle from out of the darkness. “Sheena be a doomed girlie! Sheena be -- Sheena be a doomed girlie, now-now-now-now-now! You suck! Joni O’Doyle rules!! Better than ye! Better than ye!! I be the forest dweller -- I be the forest siddhe -- I be the doom-bringer -- I be THE BANSHEE!!!”

Suddenly, Joni sprang forth again from the Cimmerian darkness of that dismal swamp, her body now surrounded with a dully-burning, phantasmagorical red light -- a dark illumination which then shot forth directly at Sheena MacGillan, filling her with excruciating pain as, at the same time, the baneful powers of the possessed Irish teen caused branches from the nearby trees to break off and fly through the air to pummel the beautiful Scots girl.

Sheena fell to the ground, collapsing in total, utter pain and anguish at the searing attack of the terrible and diabolical power of the Banshee she-fiend.

“Well now, girlie,” smirked the wickedly-mad Joni O’Doyle, standing over her fainted foe. “Laters ‘taters. Haha!! N’night!”

However, Sheena’s particular abilities enabled a faster recovery than the insane Joni O’Doyle could ever even imagine. As the grotesquely mad Banshee-child stood over her, Sheena lifted one of her long, silky-smooth legs in a kick, her foot smartly contacting the side of Joni’s ill-visaged head, sending the psychotically evil young girl reeling backwards as Sheena MacGillan quickly jumped up and stood, once again to valiantly face her malevolent foe.

“Awwwww, no,” exclaimed Joni O’Doyle. “You blimmin’ bloomin’ did it now! Now I be an angry forest spirit an’ all! Doom! Death! Doom!! Now bring me Daniel Rumanos!!!”

Nevertheless, before the Banshee-possessed girl could again strike back at Sheena, Joni found herself suddenly hit from the side by an amazingly-powerful burst of blue and orange magical energy that caused her to scream and howl in yet another hideous cacophony.

“I say, did someone take my name in vain?” I stated. “Sorry I am a bit late. I did get a mentalist summons that my student was going up against a Banshee, but I was doing some spiritual counselling for the Orthodox Patriarchate of Istanbul.”

(Indeed, His All-Holiness HIERONYMUS, Hellenic Orthodox Patriarch and Archbishop of Istanbul/True Rome, is an analogue of myself, and so it is necessary that I check in from time to time concerning his/my holy and sacred calling as religious leader of the world’s Eastern-Rite Christians. I am in sooth DR. DANIEL RUMANOS, Supernatural Swashbuckler and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. I am also, as you have no doubt by now supposed, the source of the great blast of mystical power which had just struck the Banshee-infested child.)

“Are you all right, Miss MacGillan?” I said with concern to my embattled apprentice.

“Aye, Doctor Rumanos,” answered Sheena. “Glad you’re here though!”

“Quite right,” quoth I. “Now, do remember the ancient Algolitish proverb against temptation: THE UNIVERSE IS NOT ENOUGH.”

“Hahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” screeched the wicked Joni. “It be bloomin’ bloody Doccy Daniel Rumanos at last! Now we be havin’ some shenanigans an’ malarkey! Shaitans an’ Mephisto! Gargoyles an’ Watchers! Ron Mershon!! Get ye behind her, Algolite --- an’ push soooooooo hard!!”

Doccy? Really?

“According to as you have been instructed, Miss MacGillan?” I said, ignoring the Banshee’s bizarre attempts at insult and perverse innuendo.

“Right, Doctor!” said Sheena, and immediately broke forth the rays of wondrous white-and-blue psychical light from her eyes, creating a magic circle around the eldritch evil which was Joni O’Doyle.

The Banshee screamed and screamed again as I then raised my arms and began the ancient and holy formula of exorcism (it, once again, being in reality a form of the science of my people, the legendary Watchers of Algol):

“O Eternal God, Who hath redeemed the race of men from the captivity of the Devil, deliver Thine handmaid from all the workings of unclean spirits. Command the evil and impure spirits and demons to depart from the soul and body of Thine handmaid and not to remain nor hide in her. Let them be banished from this the creation of Thine hands in Thine own Holy Name, so that, after being cleansed from all demonic influence, she may live a Godly, just, and righteous life and may be counted worthy to receive the Holy Mysteries. For Thou art blessed and glorified now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

“Oh Danny Boy,” crooned the iniquitous girl-child, “Ye doom, ye doom is calling. Fiddlesticks, cheese, an’ pickles! Rumanos, why don’t ye love me? Why did ye unfollow me on Tweeter?!”

Then, with sudden, horrible quickness, Joni O’Doyle began to levitate upwards, as the power of the Banshee gave her the sinister, astoundingly-dangerous ability to rise up and above the magical circle of light that held her!!

“Creepy ol’ Rumanos! Rumanos never stop,” continued to sing the unspeakable Banshee-girl as she began to raise and hover above the mystical circle, “never never stop, such a dirty mind. Rumanos get it up for the sake of the younger kind. My my my Sh-Sheena! My Sh-Sheena! Hurricane Katrina! Blimmin bloomin’ blimmin’ school sucks! Joni O’Doyle rules!! Hahahaaaaaaaaaaaa!!”

“Silence, foul spirit!” suddenly shouted my faithful apprentice, Miss Sheena MacGillan. “For God’s sake will you just be quiet then, you silly wee lass?!”

Then Sheena sent forth another powerful beam of her own magical energy directly at Joni O’Doyle, causing the latter to fall back into the circle. This enabled me to perform the important task of concentrating on and continuing the exorcism without interruption:

“O Thou Who hast rebuked all unclean spirits and by the power of Thy Word hath banished the Legion, come now upon this creature, which Thou hast fashioned in Thine own image and deliver her from the adversary that holds her in bondage, so that, receiving Thy mercy and becoming purified, she might join the ranks of Thy holy flock and be preserved as a living temple of the Holy Spirit and might receive the divine and holy Mysteries through the grace and compassion and loving kindness of Thee Who art blessed now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

“We beseech Thee, O Lord, Almighty God, Most High, untempted, peaceful King. We beseech Thee Who hath created the Heaven and the Earth, for out of Thee hath issued the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, Thou Who hath ordained that the fourfooted and irrational beasts be under subjection to man, for Thou hast subjected them. Lord, stretch out Thy mighty hand and Thy sublime and holy arm and in Thy watchful care look down upon this Thy creature and send down upon her a peaceful angel, a mighty angel, a guardian of soul and body, that will rebuke and drive away every evil and unclean demon from her, for Thou alone are Lord, Most High, almighty and blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

“We make this great, divine, holy and awesome invocation and plea, O Devil, for thine expulsion, as well as this rebuke for thine utter annihilation, O apostate! God Who is holy, beginningless, frightful, invisible in essence, infinite in power and incomprehensible in divinity, the King of glory and Lord Almighty, He shall rebuke thee, Devil! -- He Who composed all things well by his Word from nothingness into being; He Who walketh upon the wings of the air. The Lord rebuketh thee, Devil! -- He Who calls forth the water of the sea and pours it upon the face of all the earth. Lord of Hosts is His Name. Devil: the Lord rebuketh thee! He Who is ministered to and praised by numberless heavenly orders and adored and glorified in fear by multitudes of angelic and archangelic hosts. Satan: the Lord rebuketh thee! He Who is honoured by the encircling Powers, the awesome six-winged and many-eyed Cherubim and Seraphim that cover their faces with two wings because of His inscrutable and unseen divinity and with two wings cover their feet, lest they be seared by His unutterable glory and incomprehensible majesty, and with two wings do fly and fill the heavens with their shouts of "Holy, holy, holy, Lord Sabaoth, Heaven and Earth are full of Thy Glory!" Devil: The Lord rebuketh thee! He Who cast thee down from Heaven in His authoritative power and showed thee to be an outcast to every man. Satan: The Lord rebuketh thee! He Who said to the sea, be silent, be still, and instantly it was calmed at His command. Devil: The Lord rebuketh thee! He Who made clay with His immaculate spittle and refashioned the wanting member of the man blind from birth and gave him his sight. Devil: The Lord rebuketh thee! He Who by His word restored to life the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue and snatched the son of the widow out from the mouth of death and gave him whole and sound to his own mother. Devil: The Lord rebuketh thee! The Lord Who raised Lazarus the four-days dead from the dead, undecayed, as if not having died, and unblemished to the astonishment of many. Satan: The Lord rebuketh thee! He Who destroyed the curse and lifted the flaming sword that guarded Paradise. Devil: The Lord rebuketh thee! He Who dried all tears from every face. Devil: The Lord rebuketh thee! He Who is the salvation of the world, to thy fall and the fall of all the angels under thee. Devil: The Lord rebuketh thee! He Who spoke and the curtain of the temple was torn in two, and the rocks were split and the tombs were opened and those who were dead from the ages were raised up. Devil: The Lord rebuketh thee! He Who granted life to all men. May the Lord rebuke thee, Satan! -- that is, He Who descended into Hades and opened its tombs and set free those held prisoner in it, calling them to Himself; before Whom the gatekeepers of Hades shuddered when they saw Him and, hiding themselves, vanished in the anguish of Hades. May the Lord rebuke thee, Devil!

“May the Lord rebuke thee, Satan! -- He Who is in glory in Heaven, sitting on in majesty upon the throne of glory. Devil: May the Lord rebuke thee! He Who shall come with glory upon the clouds of heaven with His holy angels to judge the living and the dead. Devil: May the Lord rebuke thee! He Who has prepared for thee unquenchable fire, the unsleeping worm and the outer darkness unto eternal punishment. Devil: May the Lord rebuke thee! For before Him all things shudder and tremble from the face of His power and the wrath of His warning upon thee is uncontainable. Satan: The Lord rebuketh thee by His frightful Name!

“Shudder, tremble, be afraid, depart, be utterly destroyed, be banished! Thee who didst fall from Heaven and together with thee all evil spirits: every evil spirit of lust, the spirit of evil, a day and nocturnal spirit, a noonday and evening spirit, a midnight spirit, an imaginative spirit, an encountering spirit, either of the dry land or of the water, or one in a forest, or among the reeds, or in trenches, or in a road or a crossroad, in lakes, or streams, in houses, or one sprinkling in the baths and chambers, or one altering the mind of man. Depart swiftly from this creature of the Creator our God! And be gone from the handmaid of God Joni, from her mind, from her soul, from her heart, from her reins, from her senses, from all her members, that she might become whole and sound and free, knowing God, her own Master and Creator of all things, He Who gathers together those who have gone astray and Who gives them the seal of salvation, so that he may be counted worthy of His immaculate, Heavenly and awesome Mysteries and be united to His true fold, dwelling in a place of pasture and nourished on the waters of repose, guided pastorally and safely by His staff unto the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. For unto Him belong all glory, honour, adoration and majesty together with the Anointed and His all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.”

As I concluded the holy words, I looked and behind the Banshee-ridden form of poor Joni O’Doyle -- and saw that the dreadful red glow around her only seemed to be increasing, as if growing in power, as the demoniacal howling and wailing reached an even-higher level of most satanic intensity!!

The dark-red glow increased in intensity, and the baleful howl of the ungodly spirit grew louder and louder -- steadily increasing in volume until it threatened to reach what would have been without a doubt a quite unbearable level of demonic, discordant cacophony.

However, the Banshee wail then suddenly changed into the sound of what was a very human scream -- the scream of Miss Joni O’Doyle as the unspeakably dreadful and profoundly demoniacal spirit left her tortured body and descended into the darkest depths of that inter-dimensional gaol which is called Perdition. The red glow around Joni’s form then faded from sight and the pitiful young girl’s scream dropped to a sob and then to silence as she fainted on the dismally wet ground of the bog.

I walked over to her and said an appropriate blessing:

“IESUS CHRISTOS, Lord and Saviour, have mercy upon this sinner. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Sancti Spiritus. Amen.”

Thankfully, young Miss Joni O’Doyle would live, and the Banshee would now plague her no more -- but her mind, sadly, would be forever broken -- shattered into heartbreaking madness by the ghastly experiences the girl had undergone.

Nonetheless, most importantly, Ireland -- and if truth be told the rest of humanity -- had been delivered from the horrifying influence of the alien “spirit” which the Celtic legends do term a type of fairy. 

“Excellent work as always, Miss MacGillan,” said I, turning to my young protégé. “Your abilities and control of the situation were indeed most impressive.”

“Do you really think so, Doctor?” Sheena answered with her own charmingly sincere mixture of humility and pride.

“Yes, absolutely. Quite excellent work, really. I am certain you will continue to do such, as you have been well-trained indeed, but remember to never be hesitant about asking for my aid when you feel it may be necessary. As for now, however, I am really going to have to be getting home soon. My wife will be wondering where I have gotten to!”

“Oh… Well, thank you, Dr. Rumanos.”

The lovely and “supernaturally” quite powerful Miss Sheena MacGillan remains as administrator and lead investigator of the Belfast Affiliate of Gargoyle’s Occult Investigations, where she continues to do an outstanding, capital job of combating the numerous Hibernian horrors of the sadly revived paganism of the Emerald Isle. I am quite proud that her ability and competence. Concerning the Land of Eire, it is a beautiful land with many good people, and I pray it will soon overcome its problems.

As for Joni O’Doyle, she is now confined to a private, state-of-the-art mental-health facility there in the city of Belfast, where the poor, sick child receives a most exceptional level of care under the watchful, expert supervision of that most eminent of psychiatrists, Dr. Jonathan Moran.

Forsooth, Joni has just recently developed a somewhat surprising new talent -- of sorts. The now harmless but still-troubled young woman has taken to scribbling what amounts to short stories, utilising the pencils and paper that the rather indulgent hospital staff kindly allow her to have. The plots of these most unusual works of fiction are, for the most part, borrowed from old horror and murder-mystery films, weirdly mixed up with the unfortunate girl’s own strange, disorderly, and ramblingly incoherent imaginings. But all of the bizarre tales feature, as their major protagonist, a really very handsome and heroic “occult private eye” character whom she has named Dan Ruman.

DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN

RUMANOS NEVER DIES


In a secret assembly room somewhere in the American South, a woman knelt before a bejewelled throne. Upon the throne was a man in a golden robe, his face covered by a black leathern mask of the type once worn by Inquisitors.

The woman’s name was Cathryn Lee Lang, late of the hideously impoverished and debased small-town of Zachery, Texas. She was in her late-twenties, but looked older due to being roughly-visaged and overweight. Her mousy brown hair hung down to almost shoulder-length and her pale-green eyes glistened evilly as she beheld the odd man before her. 

“The trust of our cause is upon you as you go forth on this mission,” he intoned with authority. “I send the many-footed spirit-minions of our faith with you to aid in your sacred endeavour, and therefore give unto you the new, powerful name of Ghost-Woman. Go forward now, and destroy he who has been named as our most hated and despised archenemy!” 

An eldritch shadow of black occult force drifted from the throne and passed directly into the woman’s thick body. She shuddered slightly with a sickening mixture of ecstasy and pain. 

“Yes, my lord,” she answered. “I promise upon pledge of my very life that I shall serve you well.”… 

It was sunny and warm that day as I walked around the shopping areas of Baltimore’s Inner Harbour. I was there to have lunch with my wonderful wife, Katrina. Having already earned her degree in psychology, she had now returned to university in order to pursue one in theology as well. I am indeed very proud of her! 

It was still early, and Kat’s morning class had not yet let out, so I was leisurely strolling and having a look at the various attractions that the city of Baltimore had set up in what is their most-frequented tourist area when I suddenly heard a strange woman’s voice calling my name from above. 

“DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS,” she said. “Fear me, for I have come here for your destruction! I am… Ghost-Woman!!” 

The young female was hovering above the nearby HarbourPlace mall pavilion, with a swirling cloud of black-magical energy keeping her aloft. Few people were paying enough attention to even notice the weirdness of this. After all, we were in Baltimore. 

“Do I know you, young lady?” I answered. “What is the meaning of this unseemly display?” 

I must admit I was more amused than anything else. No matter what she said, this ill-favoured, unattractive person did not look like one who could herself generate any truly formidable “occult” power. 

“You will know me, Rumanos!” she continued with rising petulance. “In fact, I am the last thing you will ever know! Your lifelong battle against the most worshipful ones of our faith is now over!” 

It became obvious from this that she was the underling of some cult leader, but which one? One thing my long career has taught me is that the depths of pseudo-religious infamy are seemingly limitless (especially among the more plebeian demimonde types), and there was indeed no end to the horrid possibilities of who -- or what -- could have been this misguided person’s superior. 

“I strongly suggest you show some wisdom, woman,” said I as calmly as possible, “and do not let this confrontation intensify into a fight. I assure you that it would most certainly not be to your best interest to force it to do so.” 

At this, the rather frumpy woman who called herself “Ghost-Woman” let forth a grotesque peel of mirthlessly maniacal laughter. “I’m-a goin’ to kill you!” she screeched in her barbarous southern dialect, “This day is your last!!” 

Then, before I could even react, she reached her hands forward and sent out a phantasmal blast of dark, surprisingly-powerful mystical energy that forced me backwards -- reeling at great speed, out-of-control and plunging into the depths of the murky, dangerously-polluted waters of Baltimore’s harbour!! 

I didn’t stop careening backwards until I reached the bottom of the Baltimore Harbour, but then soon recovered and swam quickly back to the surface, continuing with a levitation into the air above the shore-line to face the grotesque person known as Ghost-Woman! 

I sent a burst of my own Algolitish energies directly at her disgusting person, and she went crashing into the fortunately shatterproof plate-glass of the nearby Aquarium building. 

She responded with a further blast of her own dark energy, shrieking at me: “Damn you! I hate you so much! Why don’t you like real, plus-size, curvy women like me, instead of that skinny teen-queen supermodel-looking wife of yours? As sure as my name is Cathy Lee… er, I mean Ghost-Woman, I’m gonna embarrass you and then kill you, Rumanos -- you bastard!” 

“I assure you I am nothing of the sort,” I responded, fending off her psychic forces with a quickly-erected shield of my own magical power. “My mother was married to my father, even if they did happen to be a space aliens.” 

(This is a fact. My parents were immensely-powerful extraterrestrials from the planet Daemonia, which orbits the star Algol, ninety-three light-years from Earth. It is my own superior Algolite DNA, my people being masters of Space and Time, that grants me abilities and powers that appear as “supernatural” to Earthlings. I myself currently reside upon Earth as its unofficial protector and defender against forces with which the human race is not yet technologically, physically, or mentally advanced enough to cope.) 

“You are so friggin’ nuts, Rumanos!” the strange woman responded. Apparently, in her twisted estimation it is perfectly all right to believe in demons and ghosts, but not in beings from outer space. Go figure. 

I wondered more and more where and from whom this appalling, revolting, and vile person had received her “demonic” powers. It had to be from an advanced black-magic sorcerer indeed, but who was currently operating at that level? I could think of no one with which I was at all currently familiar who could have access to such forces and who would deign to give a portion of them to this sickeningly low-grade character. 

Then, while we continued to send blasts of dangerous mystical energy at each other while hovering over the Baltimore Inner Harbour shopping complex, I heard an odd commotion behind me and briefly glanced back to see what it was. 

Unknown to me, while I had been under water, the villainous Ghost-Woman had removed the Constellation (the large antique ship which is one of Baltimore’s waterside attractions) from its moorings and sent the venerable old vessel moving out into the centre of the harbour, where it was on a direct collision-coarse with several of the tiny “dragon-boats” (miniature reproductions of the appearance of the Chesapeake Bay Monster, itself a rather harmless creature after I removed it from the influence of the evil alien Zedgonnim a while back) which tourists were riding. Even worse, the Constellation had a group of local school-children aboard who were there that day on an educational field-trip! 

Somehow, I had to save them, but the hideously evil Ghost-Woman was keeping me far too much occupied with her continued flashes of exceedingly dangerous occultic energy -- and indeed, what further havoc would she cause if I was to turn away long enough to save the children and tourists from a perilous smash-up?! 

So this is what she had in mind when she swore she would “embarrass” me. As our magical fire-fight continued unabated, I heard screams of terror as the ship and the boats neared the horrible point of impact!! 

“You’re finished, Daniel Rumanos!!” continued to shout the insane woman known as Ghost-Woman. “You’re goin’ down!! Rumanos, you are a worthless piece of...” 

Then, as from out of nowhere came a fantastic burst of vermilion and violet flame that hit the disgusting Ghost-Woman broadside, immediately stopping the onslaught of demoniacal energy she had been using to keep me occupied with defending myself against her. 

“Holy Flapdoodle!” said the sweet-but-angry voice of the beautiful young woman who now flew onto the scene. “Don’t be mean to my love, you ridiculous creature!” 

It was my lovely and eternally-youthful wife, Katrina Rumanos -- she who was granted amazing powers by the Watchers of Algol in order to be my companion and helpmate -- she is THE WONDERFUL HEAVEN’S HELL!!! 

Whilst Katrina -- her blue eyes flashing, her long, gorgeously red hair flowing behind her -- held her own fighting against the grotesque Ghost-Woman, pitting her wondrous magical fire against the latter’s dark forces, I managed to levitate out over the harbour, and to stop the Constellation just in time before it could crash into the dragon-boats, saving both the school-children and the tourists from any injury. Using my superhuman strength, I returned the great ship safely to its moorings. 

I then returned quickly to aid my fantastic and wonderful Katrina in the fight against the being called Ghost-Woman, adding my own bursts of amazing mystical energy to Kat’s -- continually pummelling our demoniac foe into total defeat and submission. 

Indeed, Ghost-Woman soon enough saw that she was completely outclassed and, with a look of fear, turned and fled -- soon disappearing into the distance at incredible speed. Psychically trailing behind her was a satanic cover-spell, masking the goal of her departure so that we could not follow her and find out her origins. 

Again, I wondered of what cult she was a member, and what incredibly powerful “black magician” and “necromancer” had given her the powers she had wielded that fateful day. I would have to find out soon.

After we had safely landed, my lovely wife Katrina ran and threw her arms around me and we kissed. 

“Are you alright, my love?” she asked. 

“Yes,” I answered, smiling. “I’m fine now, baby -- thanks to you! So, let‘s have lunch then. Does Italian sound good?” 

“That sounds great, love… But first we need to go into this menswear shop and get you some dry clothes!” 

“Oh, right.” I had completely forgotten that I was still soaking wet from my little dive in the harbour! … 

Back in the secret assembly room of the “Holy Charismatic Assembly” cult in Cuckton, North Carolina, the woman named Cathy Lee Lang, AKA Ghost-Woman, once more was on her knees before the throne. She shivered and cringed in horrendous fear of the man who sat in sickening satanistic splendour upon it. 

“You have failed me,” he intoned. “You have failed us -- You have failed the faith of the God of Lust.” 

“I… I am sorry,” she wept wretchedly. “Rumanos is just too strong. He is… Please… Please spare me, My Lord Reverend Pastor! Spare me!!” 

But the evil man ignored her pleadings as he raised his left hand and sent forth a crimson burst of sinister power which cut off the woman’s screams of terror; instantly reducing her to a small pile of grey dust. 

The man then removed his black mask, revealing a face of depravity -- of one who led a life of sickening profligacy in the name of “spirituality” and false “religion” -- of a fake “minister” who served only the horrible, disgustingly terrible ways of Satanism and darkest witchcraft

“Our time is come,” he hissed hideously. “The time when we shall show the ways of demonolatry to the quivering, lowly human race -- converting them to our faith. But first, our greatest enemy must be stopped, humiliated, killed. First, I, Reverend Brett Larsen, will destroy Daniel Rumanos!” …

Three months later:

I really did not want to visit bloody North Carolina, you know. Seriously, there are enough redneck types around Baltimore, are there not? Nevertheless, there I was in the town of Cuckton, investigating the activities of the notorious “Reverend” Brett Larsen. There had been rumours 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 is one that I, Dr. Daniel Rumanos, had taken care of. “Rev. Brett” 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 had not seen him since. (I did not yet know that he had vowed revenge, and indeed had sent his henchwoman, the execrable Cathy Lee Lang, in a failed attempt to assassinate me. Fortunately, for the sake of the safety of Creation itself, RUMANOS NEVER DIES!!)

Therefore, just a short time after my return from a visit the wonders of my own darkly-splendid home-world that orbits the Daemon-Star Algol, here I was outside of a run-down old building with the words “Holy Charismatic Assembly” written on a wooden sign in front of it. Such is life. Well, my bloody life anyway. 

I was considering how to best approach this case when a pleasantly-familiar burst of Mystical 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 a red and black dress and a matching short cape. It was my wonderful wife Katrina, also known as Heaven’s Hell, who had been away for a while on a secret assignment for the Kosmikos of Daemonia, that extraterrestrial secret service organisation of which we are both Operatives. 

“Hello, my beautiful one!” I said after we had passionately embraced. “I missed you so much! You are fantastically 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 Rev. Larsen’s upcoming conjuration, and had thought it best to check it out and assist me in preventing it, what with it being one of those strange and bizarre happenings that we deal with. Things which go largely unnoticed by most people in this world, but nevertheless affect them in ways they cannot even imagine. 

“From what I have heard,” I told her, “it appears the fake minister is going to attempt to call up a so-called 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, “Larsen failed in his last attempt at evocation because he and his cult did not wear the appropriate occult 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. Of course, we both know that these beings that humankind titles “gods” and “demons” are, for the most part, ancient extraterrestrial entities of hideously eldritch power.

We found a side window of the church that had been kept open for ventilation, levitated up to it together, and quietly crept inside. Rumour had it that the fraudulent “Reverend” 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. Rev. Brett was wearing his scarlet ritual robes and was standing before his group of followers, several young men -- the Reverend’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 cannot get it right? It is as if he just has not done the research necessary to find out about the deities and demons of homosexuality, which would certainly serve his abominable purposes better. In any event, his activities threatened to stir up spiritual turmoil and madness, and we had to stop him. 

Katrina and I began to step forward to prevent Rev. Brett 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, Larsen 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 all right before beginning. She was fine and I began chanting, nearly silently, the words necessary to cause the Magical defences that the cult had set up to collapse. 

Rev. Brett 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 startles 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 and 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. 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 mannikin, maiden, maenad, man -- O Faunus! Come, Faunus! 

“Hail, 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 supernatural barrier. 

Rev. Brett 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! 

However, 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 realise 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! Cannot really say I blame him. 

Whilst the randy old deity approached her, Katrina’s eyes widened with apprehension and she began to shoot out bursts of Mystical Flame to keep him away. They did not completely burn the dreadful god, but they did manage to hold him back. I feared she could not continue this forever, though, and worried about the fact that one touch from Faunus could be the end of her defences. 

Only just in time, I managed to complete the ancient Latin form of banishing (it being, in reality, a form of Algolite science adapted to use upon Earth), 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 paranormal 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. 

“Looks like we got his goat, eh?” quoth I.

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 Rev. Brett Larsen, who was being accused of sexual abuse by several underage boys. I am certain the weird heathen altar they found him and his congregation clustered around that eventful night did not help in his defence. The false minister received an appropriate prison sentence, and I am quite sure the treatment that “holy” child molester received in the North Carolina State Penitentiary was enough to make “Rev.” Brett long for the comparative safety of occultic conjurations. 

As for the exquisitely beautiful Katrina 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 did not want our first night back together to be in bloody Cuckton, North Carolina, so I used my Algolitish abilities to quickly teleport us to Venice -- yes, the one in Italy. I spent three wonderful days and nights there with my lovely wife (forsooth, she being the girl who was too hot for the god of lust!), and we renewed our eternal love, appropriately enough, in the city that Casanova once called his home.

DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN

LICENSE TO KATRINA


The name is RUMANOS -- DR. DANIEL RUMANOS, Supernatural Swashbuckler and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Although I have the physical appearance of an human being -- a tall, strongly-built gentleman with dark hair, strikingly-handsome Anglo-Semitic features, and oddly pale skin -- I am in reality far more than this. For I do carry within my blood the superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL; this extraterrestrial heritage granting me numerous powers and abilities that appear “magical” or “miraculous” to the people of planet Earth.

The vast majority of Algolites, Masters of all Space and Time, tend to live in isolation from the rest of the Universe, their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic. However, there does exist hidden deeply within the government of our people a secret service agency known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department. The purpose of the Kosmikos is to covertly intercede in cases that threaten the security of existence anywhere throughout the incalculable reaches of Creation. Plausible Deniability and all that. I am an operative of this organisation, stationed upon Earth where I work undercover as a stage magician/illusionist and writer of fantasy fiction.

I am greatly aided in my tasks by my breathtakingly beautiful and eternally-youthful wife, LADY KATRINA RUMANOS. Tall, slender, with gorgeous ginger hair and enchanting eyes that shine like pale sapphires. Originally a young, nobly-blooded Earth girl, Katrina had been especially gifted with amazing powers by the Kosmikos, in order to stand as my companion and helpmate in our many varied amazing and incredible adventures upon Earth and indeed throughout the unknowable vastness of Space and Time.

The undeniably true story that I am about to relate to you involves my lovely Katrina and her encounter with a certain individual -- a repulsive woman who wielded the unholy forces of VOODOO!! 

The woman’s name was Jacqueline Thornton, and she was hideous. Late middle-aged and very overweight, her face was a mass of encrusted pus from her nervous picking at the numerous blotches of pre-cancerous sun-damage that marked her dark skin. But Thornton was a Mambo, an High Priestess of Voodoo. 

Jackie Thornton had already kidnapped three young women from local universities to use as sacrifices in her rituals to Damballah, the serpent god. The authorities just assumed that the girls had been victims of the usual street crimes of Baltimore, and there was no suspicion that Thornton had taken them to her secret voodoo temple in the city’s grotesquely-debased Cherry Hill neighbourhood. After the ceremonies, she would throw the beaten-bloody but still living girl into a room, the door of which was otherwise always kept locked. Something was in that room, something that caused the girls to scream in utter terror -- Something that killed them in horribly debased and perverse ways. 

But what goes under the radar of the Baltimore City Police Department still gets reported in the city’s “occult” underground, and that is why the beautiful Katrina Rumanos -- the wonderful Heaven’s Hell -- headed one ebon evening to the voodoo temple there in the sickening inner city slum. One of the kidnapped girls had been a student at the University of Maryland, and Katrina also attended that august institution, so she had absolutely insisted on investigating the matter herself. We Beings of Power do not care for having our personal spaces invaded by others. 

So, Katrina zoomed through the skies of the city that night, propelled by her fantastic vermillion flame. She flew past the many piles of garbage found in the front yards of the Cherry Hill area, and directly into the window of the run-down hovel that Jackie Thornton used as the headquarters for her hideous voodoo activities. 

Thornton was there when Katrina landed, standing next to the horrible altar she kept covered with lit candles made of hog’s-lard, and the numerous skulls -- both animal and human -- which were strewn about the floor. A layer of dirt and swarming cockroaches concealed every corner of this sickening establishment. 

“Ah, little one,” hissed Jackie with indignation. “You are here. Yes, the spirits told me of your coming.” 

“Your reign of terror is at an end, Jacqueline Thornton!” replied the beautiful Katrina. “No more will you be allowed to harm the innocent in the service of your sick, repulsive ‘religion’!” 

“You are so wrong, child,” Thornton continued. “I am Mama Jackie, High Priestess of Damballah, and ruler of my people. Your little white ass is doomed tonight!” 

“Your racism only makes you even more repulsive,” said Heaven’s Hell, “and all the more worthy of destruction!” 

Jackie cackled maniacally and said, “I would be amused to see you even attempt to fight with me, little one. But, unfortunately that will never happen. My servant will do things to you that will make you unable to move or speak, even if he did not finally kill you!” 

The repugnant Thornton then turned to the door of her secret room and shouted, “Kedwaro! Come to my aid!” 

Then, the door burst open and the huge, walking corpse of a man who was Thornton’s zombie servant came forth at her command! 

Yes, Geoffrey Kedwaro was a zombie. In life, he had been a native of Kenya. Forced by his shamed family to leave his country of origin during the thirty-seventh year of his existence after a sexual impropriety with a baby chimpanzee, he had immigrated to America. He was at first very pleased with the opportunities he found there. The Healthcare Workers Union (good old 1199SEIUchachacha) paid his way through nursing school, the school being thankful that admitting him helped to fulfil several of their quotas, and he became a G.C.N.A. and then an R.N. at Homeland Nursing Home in Baltimore, Maryland. But this didn’t last long. He had soon enough found himself fired after he was discovered fondling the breasts of an Alzheimer’s patient with one hand whilst masturbating with the other. 

Geoffrey managed to escape criminal prosecution for this latter incident by seeking the help of Jacqueline “Mama Jackie” Thornton, the resident Voodoo Priestess of the slum Cherry Hill neighbourhood they happened to share. Mama Jackie was quite please to have a large, strong man like the nearly seven feet tall Kedwaro as a member of her sickening cult, and the old hag soon hatched a plan to insure he would be staying there. 

During one of the ceremonies of the sect Geoffrey Kedwaro had been “ridden” -- that is, possessed -- by the Loa, the horrible gods of Voodoo (actually the disembodied essences of certain alien beings). His own soul had been pushed out of his body and banned from returning. When the ritual was over and the evil god had released him, Geoffrey had become a soulless, mindless member of the living dead -- a terrifying zombie now totally under the command of Mama Jackie Thornton! 

So that is why this particular night found the horrifying Kedwaro called forth to protect Jackie from Lady Katrina Rumanos -- the wonderful Heaven’s Hell! He could see right away that Katrina was quite different from the girls Thornton usually gave him -- the helpless ones she kidnapped from a local university and used in unspeakable ways in her Voodoo rites, then throwing them to Kedwaro in his secret room to dispose of with a dreadfully painful death that involved profuse vaginal and anal bleeding. They also had become a food source to him, and he had, in his own zombiefied way, come to quite love the taste of their tender young flesh. Geoffrey hoped that he would now get similar pleasures with this girl -- her skin was particularly fair, white and beautiful -- but the fact that she was now hovering before him with the power of her jetting vermillion flame in full evidence was quite disconcerting. 

“Holy Flapdoodle!” said Heaven’s Hell. “A zombie!” 

“Yes, you damned Caucasian child,” answered the hideous Jackie Thornton, “and you will not escape the power of African Magic!” 

“Really, ‘Mama Jackie‘?” Katrina answered, turning away from Kedwaro and looking Thornton fully up and down with intense disdain at the wicked woman’s racist hatred and hideously evil deeds. 

The monstrously grotesque zombie began to advance towards Katrina, its huge hand thrust out to grasp her. She ignored him completely and spoke six words to Jackie Thornton: “SH’MA YISHRAEL HASHEM ELOHEINU HASHEM ECHAD!!” 

With absolutely no delay, Mama Jackie Thornton, the High Priestess of the Voodoo Serpent-God, collapsed dead on the floor, totally overcome by the awesome power of the Semitic “Magick” that Katrina Rumanos had learned to make use of -- the power of the eldest and most wondrously potent mystical force on Earth -- a force that has its true origins among the all-powerful Watchers of the Daemon-Star Algol

With the repugnant Jackie now deceased, the zombie Kedwaro also fell lifelessly to the floor, now without a master and just a putridly crumbling corpse. Katrina looked at him. “Blooming weirdo,” she said laughingly. 

Heaven’s Hell immediately set the disgusting hovel aflame in order to burn out the last vestiges of the cult’s baleful influence, and then flew up and away into the night towards her home in north Baltimore. After this experience, she just wanted to take a bath.

Nevertheless, this was but one of the eldritch preternatural horrors that the wondrous Katrina Rumanos has battled in her career as my companion and helpmate. Indeed, it was soon after this that she faced a terror called -- THE AMAZING SPIRAL OF DOOM!!

It was a cloudy, oppressively humid afternoon in Baltimore, and my incredibly beautiful wife, Lady Katrina Rumanos, had just gone to The Spiral Comicbook Shop at the Roland Mall in hopes of finding a nice Birthday present for me. Kat had temporarily powered down her Heaven’s Hell abilities, which somewhat suppressed the mentalist link between us, so that she could surprise me with whatever gift she would choose that day. She looked through the store’s selection of graphic novels and related superhero and science-fiction memorabilia. Katrina knows I sometimes like to escape for a few moments from the mysterious eldritch horrors and extraterrestrial madness of our real lives by looking at similar things in fiction. Please do not even attempt to think too deeply on the pathology of that

But while Katrina was browsing in the shop, its owner, Rick Shelton, was in the back room trying to think out a dilemma. Save for his few regulars, business had been bad for quite a while. Far too many comic book geeks were now purchasing their items via the internet and therefore stores like Shelton’s were suffering because of it. Things had gotten so bad that, several months ago, Shelton had turned to some volumes of Black Magic which he had found in the shop’s used books section. Surely, he had reasoned, he could conjure some demonic spirit or other that could restore some business to him. 

However, these occult rites all required blood sacrifice. Shelton had started with cats, but had to stop that when it hit the local news just how many innocent felines were disappearing from the neighbourhood. He had then turned to little children, luring them with the shop’s weekly “fairy tale night” and casting a spell of forgetfulness over their absolutely clueless parents before abducting them to be ritually murdered. But he had only had the nerve to do this with two of them before deciding it was far too dangerous to continue. Besides, if someone found out they might think he was a damned paedophile instead of a demon-worshipper! You just cannot have that sort of thing. 

Now, thought Shelton, some new sacrifice was needed. Something better, something exquisite. While he was thinking this, he glanced at the security camera screen and saw the gorgeous young woman looking through the more-expensive trade paperbacks. Oh yes. That was it! 

Shelton turned to Elias, his hulking, mentally-retarded servant. Elias had come into the world  two decades ago, exactly nine months after the night Shelton had escorted his little sister to her Junior Prom, and had been with the family ever since. 

“She’s the one,” said Shelton simply. “Do it.” 

Elias grunted in obedience and lumbered out onto the shop’s sales-floor. He had quite a lot of experience sneaking up behind unsuspecting girls, that being the only way the hideous monstrosity would ever be allowed to touch one, so Katrina didn’t even hear him approaching until he had hit her over the head with a toy “ray-gun” modelled after one from some old sci-fi T.V. series. She was rendered unconscious immediately and fell to the floor. 

When Elias had finished dragging Katrina into the back-room, Shelton looked down at her and rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation of the grotesquely ghastly plans he was formulating in his dark, twisted mind. 

“We shall gather the other members of our Circle right away,” he said with an unspeakably maniacal intensity. “This shall be the time. We shall call forth from the Great Abyss the Arch-demon of Wealth himself to bestow his infernal blessing upon us! Yes… Yes! We shall now evoke the Mighty Devil MAMMON!!” …

The members of Rick Shelton’s small Circle of cult followers were gathered at the decaying, long-abandoned chapel in the cemetery near the Roland Mall. They were all male geek-types who tended to hang out at his comic book store, usually spending their Saturday evenings at role-playing card games all huddled around a table at the mall food-court. The mall management didn’t really care, considering the very large amount of fast-food this rather corpulent group tended to purchase. 

But, this particularly overcast afternoon in Baltimore they had something far, far more dangerous in mind -- The were going to call forth the mighty arch-devil MAMMON (in actuality, one of the Shaitans of the lost planet Eblis) and offer him a human sacrifice, in hopes that the dark demon would use his infernal powers to heighten the financial intake of The Spiral Comicbook Shop. 

The gorgeous young girl they had kidnapped for the sacrificial purpose was named Katrina, and the coven had no idea that she was actually the amazingly super-powered Heaven’s Hell! This had made little difference at the time, though, as she was still quite unconscious, tied up and lying on their horrible altar as the members of the “Circle” stood around in breathless anticipation of the rite. 

“Elias!” shouted Shelton to his oversized, retarded servant. “The book!” 

“Yes, Dad,” answered Elias as he handed Shelton a big, leather-bound volume of black magic. Elias was distracted. He was looking forward to the part later on in the ceremony when he would be ordered to tear the sacrifice to pieces with his bare hands. Elias liked that part. 

“I told you not to call me ‘Dad’ in front of people,” whispered Shelton in annoyance, taking the volume and opening it. The ancient book was filled with the magical sigils which the group had since carefully copied out in the blood of abducted cats and children upon the walls, floor, and ceiling of the now-unhallowed chapel. 

Shelton grinned with wicked malevolence as he began to read the grotesque Magical incantation: 

“Spirits of Darkness open my eyes that I may see Mammon! Spirits of Darkness heighten my senses that I may feel his approach! O Mammon, Lord of Wealth, open wide the Gates of Hell and come forth to grant us great riches!

“Amen. Evil from us deliver but temptation into not us lead and bread daily our day this us give. Heaven in is it as Earth on done be will thy come kingdom thy. Name thy be hallowed, heaven in art who father our!” 

Then, with an unholy howling sound louder than the noise of any hurricane, the awesomely hideous form of Mammon appeared hovering above the altar. It was a humanoid-reptilian form, with immense horns and huge, dreadfully-glowing red eyes. 

“Holy Flapdoodle!” exclaimed Katrina, finally awakening from the stupor she had been under since the sickening Elias had hit her over the head. 

Katrina immediately activated her Heaven’s Hell powers, the incredible abilities she had been given by the Kosmikos of Daemonia. She immediately burned away the rope-cord with which the cult had bound her, and rose into the air with a jetting force of her wonderful vermillion fire. 

Rick Shelton’s group immediately lost their nerve, upon seeing the monstrous form of the demon and the beautiful, red-haired young woman with her mystical powers of Infernal Flame. All together, it was far too much for them, and they fled the scene. After leaving the cemetery and fleeing down the street, the large, heavily-built Elias tripped and fell on top of Shelton, accidentally crushing the latter’s chest into a gory pulp. 

Elias burst into tears and blubbered, “I’m sorry, Dad! I’m sorry!” 

“I told you not to call me Dad, you mutated, inbred frigging moron!” were the wickedly insane Rick Shelton’s final words as blood gushed from his mouth and he died of his sickening injuries. 

Back at the chapel, Heaven’s Hell was face to face with the demoniacal Mammon! 

“Well, it looks like your own cult has abandoned you,” she could not help teasing the great arch-devil. 

“It is no matter, you child!” the demonic spirit answered in its deep, basso voice, “I am Mammon, Lord of all Wealth and Riches, and I have other servants in my employ who shall assist me to ravage the Earth!” 

“Why would you want to ravage the Earth?” Katrina then inquired with concern. 

“Why?!” Mammon answered with loathsomely diabolical mirth, “Because I can! I will certainly not be called forth from the Pit for no reason whatsoever! It is time for some ravaging!! Come forth, my servants! Rise! RISE!!” 

Then, the graves of the cemetery began to break open, as the putridly rotting corpses of legions of those interred there began to arise -- An unholy army of dead-but-walking zombie slaves of the awesomely powerful arch-devil Mammon!!! 

The legion of putridly rotting corpses rose from the graves of the old cemetery near the Roland Mall in Baltimore and issued forth, shambling hideously towards the city streets -- A legion of dead-but-walking servants for the use of the arch-devil who had been called forth that oppressively-humid, overcast afternoon! 

In the graveyard’s long-unhallowed chapel the mighty demon in question, the unholy spirit of greed himself, shouted his commands at his un-dead army, the dark-green scales of his grotesque, reptilian-humanoid form glistening with wicked malevolence: 

“RISE! Rise my slaves! Go forth to ravage the Earth, so that the pitiful human race will feel the wrath of the Hell-Lord MAMMON!!” 

The beautiful Heaven’s Hell, also known as Katrina Rumanos, hovered in the air facing the huge, monstrous form of the eldritch demon, her wonderful jetting red flame keeping her aloft. 

“You know I can’t allow this, Mammon,” she said. “I must stop you.” 

“You stop me, girlie?” answered the unspeakably ghastly Mammon with evil mirth. “I would bloody well like to see you try!! Really, who do you think you are, anyway?!!” 

“I am Katrina of the blood Crowley! I am Mistress of the Mystical Flame and the chosen Consort of the Living Icon of the Daemon-Star ALGOL upon Earth! I am HEAVEN’S HELL!!” she retorted, drawing the Sign of the Banishing Pentagram upon the devil with her fire and then continuing the words of her Algolitish Rite of Exorcism, “Mammon, Spirit of Malevolence, Dark Lord of all Wealth and Greed -- Recognize me now as your superior and be gone, back into the Pit of Tartarus!!” 

The great demon then howled again with a phantasmal sound as of all the winds joined together and vanished as if he had never been there. 

Outside, with no power left commanding them, the horridly shuffling zombies all turned back and returned to their graves, where they became once again motionless in death. 

The demon and his evil cult now gone, the wonderful Heaven’s Hell quickly left the abandoned chapel, only stopping long enough the pick up the large, ancient book which the now-deceased Mr. Shelton had dropped in his urgency to flee. 

Meanwhile, back in the home that I share with my lovely wife Katrina, that imposing Gothic structure hight Castle Rumanos, I was just finishing up some research work which had occupied my thoughts for a while. I turned on the local classical music radio station and tried to relax. They had interrupted the usual broadcast for a news item. Something about a disturbance at the old cemetery near a local shopping mall. Nevertheless, the police were dismissing it as just some teenagers smoking marijuana in the graveyard chapel. 

Katrina came home then, looking as breathtakingly gorgeous as ever. 

“Happy Birthday, Daniel!” she exclaimed, handing me a huge, leather-bound, black book, absolutely ancient in its appearance. 

I opened the volume and looked at the title page. It was the exceedingly rare and notorious Secretius Grimorium of Pope Honorius the Great in the original Medieval Latin! I flipped through it and saw that someone had quite recently pencilled in loose English translations of some of the dangerously and authentically powerful “Magical Incantations” contained therein. 

“Thank you so much, my beautiful Kat!” I said with much happiness. “What a fantastic gift! It will be an excellent addition to my collection, and a great aid in my research! I hope you did not go to too much trouble to get it, though.” 

Katrina hugged me tightly and smiled.

“Don’t worry, babe,” she said sweetly and with complete sincerity. “It was no trouble at all!”

My name is Dr. Daniel Rumanos, and I am the Daemon-Star. What makes me proudest, however, is that I am the only one in all the Universe with a License to Katrina.

DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN