2 Summoning Gone Horribly Wrong

Ted was no professional occultist. In fact, he did not know for sure if such people even existed. If witchcraft had ever existed as a massive social force before, it had been thoroughly eradicated before he had even been born, not by violence, but the sheer amazing progress that was happening in the scientific field. If the same thing could be done with steam and a bit of metal, then there was no sense in using more expensive materials and more expensive labor.

Ted was not a professional occultist, that much was true. He was, however, the best occultist he knew. That was not much. He was not even sure if the others he knew were still alive.

He knew a staggering dozen men and women who practiced the hidden arts.

The dice were loaded, but not in the regular sense. Instead, the roll of them revealed new and exciting possibilities. There were thirty and six results, each one more outrageous than the last one. It was also within the realm of possibilities that these dice were actually more developed than any ancient witchcraft had ever been.

They had the power to summon demons, or whatever the entities were. Ted was not sure of their origins, but he had summoned three of them earlier. He was on good terms with the Lico Demon, the Devil of the Crossroads, and Enkl, too, who was the only one with the decency to announce his name. Then there was the one in thirty and six that was not, in fact, a demon or a similar being at all, but some kind of a minor deity. This was true if there were such things as deities. The being could be some alien creature merely posing as a deity, and this made Ted very hesitant to use the dice to gain small favors.

To throw the dice and have the action truly result in something being summoned, he would have to speak out the so called magic words. That meant doing it in secret, or in the restroom.

The demon could carry out the murder of the horrible, disturbed woman who had killed the innocent animal. Ted didn't want to delegate the act to Eknie. She had more than enough eyes on her already. She had to keep a low profile for now.

"Come," Ted whispered to her once he felt himself drunk enough and mad enough. "I can't wait for that hag to have an internal hemorrhage right here, in the middle of this lowly crowd. It will be scandalous and it'll be just."

"Who gives a damn about just, it was your dog," Eknie said, sounding pleasantly outraged about the matter.

That girl knew how to hold a grudge. Ted liked how she handled her emotions, burying it like an assassin buried a knife in silk and velvet.

They disappeared from the crowd, into the vacant men's restroom. No one would think twice about that. The obvious assumption was that any couple occupying the restroom would have some good loving there.

Eknie locked the door and checked her reflection.

"Oh, seeds of godly wheat…my hair…"

She sighed, apparently resigned to look like whatever she thought she looked like.

Ted was greatly amused. Even though he did not consider himself an expert of gendered behavior, he knew what Eknie was going through now. The slight, displeased tilt of her head, fingers that tried in vain to conceal more bountiful cleavage than the dress wanted to reveal – Ted had his own, masculine versions of these little things that told him all about Eknie's current state of mind. Of course she wanted to look her best for the demon. Ted wanted to be presentable, too.

After all, he would be asking for a big favor tonight. While the demons were technically obligated to do as he told them to do, a feisty one could refuse and cause some trouble.

Ted checked himself in the mirror, too, just to be safe. Chiseled cheekbones, dark and menacing features with a touch of such pleasing symmetry that he could have been mistaken for some eternal entity as well – yes, he was looking good in his dark suit. Good enough.

"Are we ready?" he asked his friend.

"Oh, yes, the door is locked and it stays locked until you say otherwise."

"Aether, lightning, death, rebirth, furnace, bring them all to me," Ted whispered and rolled the dice on the dressing table of the restroom.

At first it looked like they were going to get the Devil of the Crossroads. That would have been nice, but the movement of the other die took the result into the territory of uncharted lands. Ted did not know who they were summoning.

Then he saw a blinding light in the mirror.

His heart skipped three beats and made a leap inside his chest.

His stomach dropped and he had to swallow to remove the vile taste of defeat in his mouth.

The light got a bit dimmer and formed some kind of a face.

Then the entity started to push through the surface of the mirror.

Ted felt his teeth starting to hurt – his eyes felt sore from looking into the light and he realized that he had never thought about how hostile brightness could be. There was nothing pleasant about the appearance and the general aura of this being. The rays were pure solar horror to look at. The mere presence of the deity felt so threatening that Ted almost ran away.

Eksie was glued to the doorknob. Her eyes were wide, her mouth agape, and her hair was quickly falling from the ornate braided bun that she had partially undone earlier.

"DISGUSTING THING," the god said and pushed its body of light into the realm of mortals. "YOU DARE."

"Yes, I dare," Ted said, amazing himself with the raw courage he had summoned along with the infuriated light deity. "I have a mission for you."


Ted was not impressed by its vocabulary. It was not impressed by him, either.

Suddenly Ted realized that he was unable to move a muscle on his own. Without his specific command, however, his arms started to rise above his head, forcing him into a position fit for the victim of a gruesome traditional pole execution.

He was in trouble, he knew that much.

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