Monday, June 6, 2022

MY FICTION: The Night Blogger: Demon In Lace

Al Bruno III
May 10th …Cyrus Finkle never learned the essential cliches we live by- 'forgive and forget', 'if you cant say something nice don't say anything', 'patience is a virtue' and of course, 'never hit REPLY ALL'. Cyrus was one of those guys that treated life as a series of entitlements and equations – he got into a good college so he expected to get a good job, he made a lot of money so he expected women to flock to him, he became a high-paid member of the local Republican Party so he expected the path to public office to be an easy one.

And who knows? Maybe he might have gotten all the things he felt he deserved someday. If only he hadn't forwarded those racist emails about the President to everyone he knew and a lot of people he didn't. Like I said, 'never hit REPLY ALL’.

That stuff might fly in the red states, Hell it might even get you elected, but the NY Republican party has always had a  troublesome shred of dignity. The long and short of it is that Cyrus found himself out of a job faster than you could say 'Tea Party'.  So much for 'if you cant say something nice don't say anything'.

People who find themselves suddenly unemployed have many options; updating their resumes, applying for welfare or moving back in with their parents. Cyrus Finkle didn't bother with any of that, he was an 'outside the box' kind of guy so he decided that revenge against those who had wronged him via demonic summoning was the way to go. 'Forgive and forget'? Not a chance.

Who knows where he obtained that PDF file of that blasphemous elder scroll? Who knows where he found a bone from a saint and the tears of a jackal? I mean let's be honest here, even has its limits. Long story short, he locked himself in his apartment- number 233 in the Parkwood Towers- and, once he'd properly defiled himself, he began the dark chant to summon Druagga the Possessor, thrall of Moloch.

When the chant was completed all Cyrus Finkle had to do was wait, and he did wait for almost forty-five minutes before starting the chant over again. He performed the chant multiple times within the next twenty four hours. Trust me on this, I have statements from the annoyed and terrified neighbors to prove it. After twenty four hours Cyrus Finkle fell silent, fell being the operative word because he'd hung himself using a rough noose fashioned out of the silk draperies.

Poor Cyrus, if only he'd read that PDF file more carefully, if only he’d known that ‘patience is a virtue’...


...I was still a little sore from my one-sided slugfest at Locust Park and I was trying to distract myself from the charges of necrophilia said slugfest had resulted in. The lawyer Mrs. Vincenzo hired wanted me to take a plea deal but damnit I want to world to know I was beaten up by a dead man not beaten off by one.

My investigations led me from Delmar to Albany, from the state capitol to a dive bar with a failed health inspection proudly displayed on the wall. Finally my search led me back to Parkwood Towers, to apartment 231. I knocked on the door and the now familiar face of Johnny Dennis answered. “Brian Foster?” he said, “I didn't think I'd see you again.”

How do I describe Johnny Dennis? 'Pretentious meth-head trend-chasing sociopath’ covers all the bases. Despite those drawbacks he manages to hold down a job and mix with polite society. In fact the sonofabitch thrives in it.

Now what does that say about polite society I ask you?

“A few more questions have come up,” I shouldered past him into the apartment, “I need a little more of your time.”

An annoyed look crossed his features but he closed the door and ushered me into his living room, “After you left I found your blog.”


“You think your some kind of a Ghostbuster or something?” he said with a snort.

“No proton packs here,” I faked a chuckle, “Maybe a few silver bullets and holy water, but only on special occasions.”

He offered me a seat but I decided to keep standing. On one wall there was a reproduction of Van Gogh's 'Portrait of Dr. Gachet'. A fairly obscure example of the artist's work, just the thing to tickle the fancy of a post-modern middle class Bohemian.

Damn hipsters, ruining straw fedoras for everybody.

“I don't think I can tell you much more. I started to smell something foul. I knocked on Cyrus' door, it was unlocked so I went in and found him hanging there. He'd tied the drapes to a ceiling fan. I pulled him down but he'd been dead for days.” Johnny shrugged, “Actually I am surprised the fan held his weight. These apartments are so damn cheap.”

“Are you sure you didn't see anything odd while you were in there?” I asked, “Black candles, ancient scrolls or worrisome stains?”

“No,” he looked at me like I was crazy, “are you just here to waste my time Brian?”

I wandered over the the sliding glass door that led to the balcony. It was unlocked. “Did you see his enemies list?”

“Enemies list?”

“It's all in the police report,” I pulled out a ragged sheet of paper and handed it to him, “Before the end he wrote down the names of everyone he felt wronged him.”

He didn't bother to read it, he didn't even give it a cursory glance, “Am I on here?”

“Do you think you should be?”  I asked. “Don't worry your not, but just about everyone else he ever met is. Even his fifth grade teacher.”

And that was completely true. I bet Cyrus' nipples were sore from nursing all those grudges. I went on to explain to  Johnny Dennis that a good portion of that enemies list had died recently in all sorts of ways; strangulation, suffocation, falling down a flight of stairs. “It's really quite bizarre,” I concluded.

“And what?” He said, “You think I'm killing people for him? I barely knew the guy!”

“True,” I said with a raised finger, “but you were the one that found the body and the police report also states that some things were missing from the apartment.”

That got him angry, “I think you should leave.”

“You're probably right but I want to read this list of stolen items to you first. Let me know if anything sounds familiar.”

“Look asshole I'm not going to-”

I began, “One laptop, one iPhone, a complete collection of Radiohead's discography and  the very set of draperies Cyrus Finkle used to kill himself. Quite the eclectic mix.”

Now confusion was in his eyes, and maybe a little twitch of fear, “I didn't steal his drapes.”

“Well maybe,” with my right hand I pulled my smartphone from my jacket pocket and took aim, “his drapes stole you.”

There was a long pause.

“Come on…” I said, “show yourself.”

There was a wet, gurgling sound. Johnny Dennis’s mouth snapped wide open and his eyes rolled back to the whites but his posture didn’t change at all, he just trembled ever so slightly. His torso hitched once, twice and then a tendril of yellowed fabric wormed its way from between his lips.

It was slick with bile, some parts were twisted and knotted, other parts were frayed and each lose thread made skittering motions in the air like the legs of an upended millipede. It was a parasite, a parasite made from fabric and a curse.

I can’t imagine Cyrus Finkle or Druagga the Possessor had ever expected things to turn out like this. I reached into my other jacket pocket and pulled out a flask. The top popped open easily.

“Hear me Druagga!” I cried, “The supplicant is dead, you have no purpose any longer.”

Johnny Dennis toppled over. His face had turned purple and he was convulsing. I suspected he was for all intents and purposes already dead but I had to try and do the right thing and save the poor bastard.

I liberally splashed the contents of the flask over the unclean spirit and its hipster host. Then I muttered the exorcism rite I had committed to memory just this morning.

The only response I got was a scream of outrage, a scream of outrage that had come from neither man or demon but from somewhere very near them both.

Was that the way it worked? Was the true essence of Druagga somewhere nearby playing puppeteer? I didn’t know then and I don’t know now.

The scream was replaced by a wet sound, a tearing noise. The full length of the drapery pulled itself free. Long ugly bits of the poor bastard’s digestive track were dragged out along with it but by then Johnny Dennis was too dead to notice.

The thing darted cobra-like towards me. I had to throw myself across the dining room table to get away. I gave the holy water and exorcism rite one more try but the demon’s only response was to bloom outwards, uncurling, taking a shape that mocked and mimicked the proportions of a genie; human on the top, squiggly on the bottom. I tried to throw myself back the other way over the dining room table but wasn’t fast enough.

The lacy fingers that wrapped around my throat stank of intestinal juices and brimstone. I kicked and pulled but it held me fast. I tried to find some kind of hold on its bile-slickened body but I couldn’t. When I gasped for air it hooked one puke-tasting hand onto my lower jaw and pulled my mouth open as wide as it could go.

The tail end of the thing slid up my body heading for my face. I knew then that it was going to force itself down my esophagus and into my waiting stomach. I was to be its next host.

Oh HELL NO! I thought.

It dove in, it didn’t get all the way down my gullet but it got deep enough that I’m afraid I’ll never be able to taste anything good again.

Because luckily, at that moment, my fingers found purchase in the moist, tattered fabric. Once I had a grip on the thing I pulled it away and flung it across the room. It smacked against the wall.

Then I ran, somehow I ran and got sick over myself at the same time. I got onto the balcony and closed the glass sliding door just as it righted itself and lunged after me…


…there is no doubt in my mind that my story has left you with a lot of questions. I’ll try to answer them all in no particular order.

Where did I get my information? A blogger can’t reveal all his sources but I can tell you that I owe it all to my network of contacts, hours of research and the realization that someone high up in local law enforcement uses ‘Password11’ for their password.

How did I get away? Thankfully Druagga, Thrall of Moloch, had even less patience than the man that had summoned him and gave up after about ten minutes of trying to get through the sliding glass door I was desperately holding closed. I’m sure the fact I was not one of the people on its hit list helped save my incredibly bruised ass. After one final thump on the door it slithered back into Johnny Dennis’s body. You never get used to seeing a dead man stand up and walk away but every time is a little different. Like this time for instance; the way Druagga/Johnny paused to lock the balcony door before disappearing into the night was fairly unique.

I screwed up my bad knee and broke my iPhone climbing down from the second floor balcony but at least I got clear of Parkwood Towers before the police showed up to investigate the commotion.

Why didn’t my exorcism work? I don’t know. Maybe Father Vincent of St. Casmir’s church does a really bad job of blessing water or maybe I do a really bad job of memorizing exorcism rites. Then again maybe Druagga the Possessor, a being with a history far older than the Catholic Church, isn’t really a demon at all. It’s at times like this I really miss Jasper.

Actually I miss Jasper most of the time. If you’re reading this please call, even if it’s just to tell me you think I’m an idiot.

Enough of that. I need to wrap this up so I am going to conclude with a warning.

If any of you readers out there ever managed to piss off Cyrus Finkle at some point in your life be careful. Watch out for men that shamble like something out of a George Romero movie. Learn how to draw the Sign of Ninazu and carry around a bit of charcoal with you at all times.

Most importantly of all be aware of every room you enter, examine the decor carefully because if the drapes clash with the rug it just might be curtains for you.

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