GIRLS ON FILM

The sign on the mailbox said “Midnight Crew Productions”, there on the 3600 block of Jones’-Fall Street in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. The studio loft apartment to which said mailbox belonged was actually the home of an individual by the name of Christopher Lamartine, amateur filmmaker best known for the excruciatingly-bad “horror sex comedy” entitled _The Dunwich Whore_.

On the morning on which our narrative begins, however, Lamartine (known to his friends as “Chris La”) -- a man of about thirty, dressed in a black T-shirt, blue jeans and white sneakers -- is not yet indulging in his penchant for cinematic stupidity. He is instead to be found kneeling in cringing reverence before a man cloaked entirely in black. The strange figure’s face is hidden behind a cowl, and he is seen to occasionally shimmer as if it were only quasi-corporeal.

“To do your will is the only law, my master,” said Chris Lamartine, trying vainly to hide the fearful quiver in his voice. “As you have taught, so do I obey.”

“Report,” said the man, his voice clear despite an underlying layer of seeming white-noise. “I need your report on the campaign against Dr. Daniel Rumanos.”

“It’s going well, Master,” replied Lamartine. “We have continued the false rumours that he is a paedophile and a racist.”

“Lamartine, remember that they are not ‘false’ rumours if I say they are true. Reality matters not at all. Only my will, my orders, my teaching -- they are your only truth.”

“Yes, Master,” shivered Chris Lamartine. “I’m sorry.”

“Continue your report.”

“We have spread the rumours and…”

“Whom do you mean by ‘we’, Lamartine? While I have empowered you to use others, I must know their identity.”

“Some members of my old film crew, and my wife, Melissa. Even though we’re separated, the bitch is still under contract. She’s especially happy to help against Rumanos. Like so many women her age, she is crazy jealous over his fondness for younger girls.”

“’Fondness’!” thundered the other. “’Fondness’, indeed! Be careful of your words, Lamartine! You are to claim that he is a child molester!”

“Yes, Master. I’m sorry. Oh, we have had another problem…”

“What is it?”

“In trying to say that Rumanos is secretly a Nazi. It’s difficult when he’s such a well-known friend of the Jewish community.”

“That matters not at all. Repeat it often enough, and it will be believed.”

“Yes, my master.”

“Continue the campaign, Lamartine. I have given you and your associates a portion of my power for your own defence. Do my bidding well, and you will stand in an honoured place when I take complete control over this planet. Fail, and I will smite you with pain beyond your puny imagination!”

“Yes, Master,” cringed LaMartine. “To do your will is all pleasure; to fail you is pain and death.”

“Soon, my servant, soon the forces of Spectral Paranormal will spread across this country and we will take control.”

“Yes, Master. Today America, tomorrow the World!”

“The method of science…” spoke the dark one.

“The aim of religion,” said Christopher Lamartine, completing the cultish formula.

With this, there was a louder blast of the white-noise, and the shape of the one Lamartine called “Master” flickered and vanished.

Chris Lamartine then stood up and wiped the cold sweat from his face with the palm of his hand. His hair and eyes were both brown, with his features evidencing a strong infusion of Latin blood despite the pallor of his complexion.

There is a knock at the door; a light, tentative knock. Christopher Lamartine’s oleaginous countenance suddenly takes upon a lustful appearance as he realises it is his noonday appointment.

Lamartine opens the door and beholds a pretty girl of about thirteen or fourteen. She is of medium height and slender, blonde and blue-eyed, clad in a short, flowered dress.

“Mr. Lamartine?” she enquires.

“Call me Chris, babe,” he replies. “You’re Stacie O’Brien, I presume?”

“Yes,” affirms the young girl, as Lamartine takes her arm and pulls her into the room. “I’ve really been looking forward to this audition. I‘ve wanted to be a movie actress since I was little, and I saw your ad online and couldn’t resist trying out!”

Chris Lamartine glances into the hallway before closing the door, obviously to confirm that the girl truly came alone.

“Would you like a drink before the test shoot, Stacie?” he leers. “I have some good Italian wine here. Wait, I think I have some left…”

“Umm, no thank you,” the girl answers. “I would like some water, if that’s OK. It’s kind of hot today and I had to walk over here.”

“Of course, of course,” says Lamartine, disappointed but undaunted. “Just a sec.”

Christopher Lamartine takes a glass from the cabinet and fills it from the sink-tap. He then glances over his shoulder to be certain the girl is not watching him too closely. He deftly removes a small tablet from his trousers-pocket and quickly dissolves it in the water.

“Here you go, babe,” he says, proffering the glass to the girl. “Bottoms up.”

Stacie O’Brien drains the glass and then sets it down on a near by table.

“Now,” announces Lamartine. “Let’s get you on film.”

“OK. Umm, do you have a script or anything for me? I’ve done Shakespeare with my school theatre group, and I also know some modern stuff…”

“Never mind all that, Stacie,” Lamartine says as he adjusts his camera on its tripod, and turns the studio lighting to best highlight the girl‘s alabaster skin. “We do mostly improvisation here, but I’ll let you know if I want anything in particular.”

“Oh, OK,” the girl replies. She realises she is starting to feel a bit dizzy, but brushes it off as a result of nervousness.

“Now, the film is running. Look up at the camera and slowly lick your lips.”

The girl does so. As the effect of the drug increases, she feels her will leaving her.

“Now, run your hand through your hair… slowly. Yeah, just like that.”

Stacie O’Brien finds that she is having increased difficulty in staying on her feet.

“And now, Stacie,” says Chris Lamartine, his oily features darkening with lechery. “Take off your dress.” …

My name is Doctor Daniel Rumanos, Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being, I am actually far more than this. For within me are the vastly-superior genes of the mysterious Watchers of Algol, Masters of all Space and of all Time, forsooth the most technologically-advanced species in the known Universe. This otherworldly heritage grants me numerous powers and abilities that appear as “magic” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites keep to themselves, merely observing the going-on of the rest of Creation, I am an operative for a secret service organisation known as the KOSMIKOS, or Cosmic Intervention Department. Assigned to the planet Earth, I utilise my extraterrestrial abilities to protect the human race from all manner of threats. I am the Daemon-Star!

Now, I had actually been investigating the activities of the horrid individual known as Christopher Lamartine for some time, but had been called away on other matters before I could close in and take appropriate actions against him.

First, I had had to deal with the hideous homosexual horror of a certain Steve Coop in the hideously-debased small town of Cabin John, Maryland. Coop, who worked as a graphics designer for Wildthings Press, a publisher of badly-formatted third-rate eBooks, had been using the obscene energies of his sickening pederastical proclivities in order to enhance his reputation as a “white wizard”. Going by the magical names of “Phoenix Rising” and “Linthal“, he had begun to assemble a group of followers who had even gone so far as to announce their presence at the Washington, DC Gay Pride Parade!

Needless to say, I succeeded in destroying Steve Coop and his disgusting cult of nefarious nancy-boys there in the town of Cabin John (which was indeed as much of an outhouse toilet as it sounds like). A rather queer case it was, indeed, and it had left me feeling rather fagged.

Following this, I was called even farther afield by having to stop the criminal plots of a group of redneck “paranormal investigators” known as the East Tennessee Ghost Chasers. These hideous hillbillies had hoped to spread chaos across the country, beginning with their own despicable state, by use of certain ancient incantations they had found on some backwoods relics. These spells were, of course, actually remnants of the science of an ancient civilisation that had existed on the North American continent before the development of even the earliest of human ancestors.

Tracking down and eliminating each member of the East Tennessee Ghost Chasers had taken some time, as well as a good deal of energy. By the time I had returned to Baltimore, and to my scrutiny of Chris Lamartine, his seemingly-unnatural powers had somehow greatly increased.

Then, on the day that I had finally gotten to take action against Lamartine, I suddenly found myself waylaid by one of his closest associates.

I was just outside of the local branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library -- wearing my usual silk suit, leathern greatcoat, jungle boots, sunspecs, and panama hat -- when I beheld this individual. He was a podgy young man with fair hair, clad in a grey polo shirt and tan shorts. I recognised him from my investigations as Jamie George, the self-proclaimed “stock-boy by day, screenwriter by night” of Lamartine’s Midnight Crew.

“Dr. Daniel Rumanos,” he proclaimed in his rather squeaky voice, “Your end is coming soon! You will die in shame and dishonour! My friend, the great and wonderful Chris La, has communed with the Master himself, the very Devil, the First Evil!”

“Stand aside, you ridiculous underling,” I warned him. “My business is with your boss Lamartine, not his lads.”

“Chris is in a meeting right now,” he replied with an attempt at businesslike haughtiness. “You’ll just have to wait.”

I moved forward with the intention of physically removing this Jamie George idiot from my presence when suddenly he raised his hand and unleashed a blast of ebony-black demonical energies directly at me. I was driven back several paces by the force. It was indeed surprisingly-powerful, and was to my extreme horror that I realised just what it was.

“Feel a portion of the power that the Dark Master had given us,” mocked Jamie George, “The power only given by the Lord of Darkness himself! Feel the force of Spectral Paranormal! The method of science, the aim of religion!”

Indeed, I recognised the energies as something that could only be achieved by an adept of supreme and masterful power over the forces of darkness. They were, incredibly and amazingly, the combined powers of two of the most evil and ungodly alien races of all time -- they were the combined forces of the Kakodemons of Andromeda and the Shaitans of Eblis!

Can you even begin to recognise and comprehend the unnameable horror, forsooth the obscene and unhallowed terror of this realisation, my dear readers? I do truly hope that you cannot, for full understanding of it could very well send you screaming into total and complete madness for the remainder of your natural existence!

The combined powers of these ancient demoniacal alien beings were indeed potent, and I felt the swirling forces of their eldritch darkness and unholy hatred as they surrounded me. Nevertheless, I realised that they could be easily banished. This was due to the lack of experience and personal strength in my human foe of the moment, Mr. Jamie George.

In other words, this was borrowed power.

“Allah-Hashem! Anthropropolagos!” I spoke the ancient form of banishment and sent a wave of my own Algolitish powers throughout the demonic conflagration. With a sound as of phantasmagorical howling, the combined Kakodemons and Shaitans vanished.

I looked and saw Jamie George standing transfixed, with his slack jaw hanging open. When he beheld me free of the diabolical powers in which he had put his faith, he turned and fled. Unfortunately for him, he did not look before crossing the street.

Jamie George was hit by a passing delivery truck and splattered across the pavement. I quickly left the area before a crowd could gather, hurrying to the near by studio of Midnight Crew Films, and to my confrontation with the late Mr. George’s boss, that unspeakably perverted human scum known as Christopher Lamartine.

I burst into the studio just in time to see Lamartine approaching the young girl, his lewd intentions quite evident. She was wavering back and forth on her feet, obviously under the influence of the barbiturates he had secretly given her.

I pulled the girl away from him and eased her onto a near by cushioned settee.

“It is all right now, love,” I assured the damsel in a whisper. “I shall aid and protect you. I am Doctor Daniel Rumanos.”

“Dr. who?” she enquired groggily.

“No. Dr. Rumanos,” I corrected her.

I then turned back to the evil villain known to infamy as Chris Lamartine. He was trembling with anger and outrage at my interference in his perverse plans. I could tell from his presence that he was at least a somewhat more powerful adept of the “occult” science than his late underling had been. Just how powerful, I could not as yet ascertain.

“No!” he screamed in furious anger. “No no no no no! The Master has given me power, and I am going to use it!”

Then, the sickening Lamartine suddenly unleashed from his person a horrid stream of blackest eldritch darkness. It was again the combined powers of the Kakodemons and Shaitans, those ancient horrors of Andromeda and of Eblis, and I braced myself for the impact of this amalgamation of unspeakably ages-old terror.

However, I was to feel no impact. Mr. Christopher Lamartine, in his raging indignation at his foiled plans of molestation, had sent the demonic forces not at me, but at the helpless damsel who lay near by.

Do you see the supreme dread in this, my friends? I looked on in horror as the ebony blackness of the ancient alien demons engulfed the young lady’s slight, vulnerable form!

I quickly cast a bolt of my bright orange and blue Algolitish powers at Chris Lamartine, sending him crashing against the far wall. I then turned back to the poor wee lass.

To my surprise, the demoniacal forces seemed to be having some difficulty in maintaining contact with the girl’s body. It was as if they just could not find anything of her that was of their own provenance.

“Of course,” I said to myself. “Purity. Her virginal purity has acted as a shield against them!”

I could not be certain, of course, how long this defence would last against the incredibly ancient evil of the Kakodemons and the Shaitans. I accordingly uttered the proper formulae to banish the darksome beings into perdition before they could succeed in finding anything, any sin or fault or foible, which they could utilise to strengthen their hold on this reality.

At my command, the dark mass of alien horror vanished into nothingness. All that was left was the sweet young girl, sleeping peacefully upon the settee.

I then turned back to face Lamartine. He had recovered from my quickly-generated blast of energy and was now busy examining his motion picture camera on its tripod. It seems he was rather concerned with an effect that my flash had had upon it.

“You rogue!” he shrieked in trembling, grief-stricken outrage. “You swashbuckling fiend! You… You overexposed my film!”

It was then that Chris Lamartine, Baltimore-area independent filmmaker and legend in his own mind, sunk down to his knees sobbing in sorrow and grief at the loss of his latest attempt at cinematic perversion. He stayed that way until my friends from the Baltimore Police Department (of which I had been made a duly-deputised honorary member following my having aided them in defeating the “zombie” of the satanic filth and drug-pedlar known as Jim Forrester[*]) arrived to appropriately apprehend him.

[*See the _Weird Adventures_ account entitled “Rock ‘N Roll Fantasy”.]

I personally looked after the young girl, the lovely Miss Stacie O’Brien, and made certain there were no lasting ill effects from the drug Lamartine had surreptitiously given her. An ice cream sundae and a couple of highly-caffeinated soft drinks at a local dessert shop did the trick.

I found Stacie O’Brien to be a quite smart and talented young lady, despite her naïveté, and I promised to help her with her budding acting career by introducing her to a legitimate theatre company of my acquaintance who were preparing a season of Moliere. She was, I am pleased to say, quite happy and grateful at this.

Still, I could not but ponder concerning the implications of what I had just experienced, I could not even speculate as to the identity of what dark master, what highly-experienced and unspeakably-evil adept of the dark arts could have been behind it all. The First Evil. Spectral Paranormal. Horror and Hebephilia. I wondered…

Late that night, in his small cell at Baltimore Central Booking, Christopher Lamartine was awakened from sleep by a dark figure standing over his cot.

“Master!” he stammered, cold sweat again breaking out on his greasy face. “Master! Oh, Master, please… !”

“You have failed me, Lamartine,” said the dark one from within his cowl.

“No, Master! Please! Please don’t kill me, Master! Please let me live! I am loyal to you, Master! Hurt me, torture me, sodomise me again if you want, but please let me live!”

But the stranger only replied by slightly raising one black-gloved hand, and Chris Lamartine then choked and clutched his chest as he felt his heart burst open. He fell back dead upon the tiny prison cot, a stream of blood bubbling from one corner of his mouth.

At this, the robed figure voiced a low wicked laugh. It was as if the bringing of pain and of death, even in the destruction of his own servant, brought him great pleasure.

Then, he made a movement as if adjusting some device upon his wrist, hidden under the ebon vestment, and, with the unmistakeable gasping and moaning sound of the activated engine of an Algolitish Space/Time travel machine, the dark stranger faded into the void.

TEENAGE DREAM

Algol -- the “Daemon-Star” - is actually a system of three stars located ninety-three light years from Earth in the constellation known as Perseus.

The inhabitants of the Algolite system (my own people) are known as the Watchers. Masters of all Space and Time, we are the oldest and most highly advanced civilisation in all the known Universe. In reality we exist as beings of pure ecstatic energy, but maintain a humanoid form for cover and the necessary humility to interact when necessary with the other beings of the Cosmos. Our science appears as what is known as “magic” to mortals.

Now, it should be understood that the Watchers of Algol never interfere in the affairs of other races and civilisations -- well, officially anyway. There does exist, hidden deeply within the government system of Algolitish society, an elite “secret service” organisation known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department. It is the ongoing mission of this agency to defend against the numerous dark and unholy evils that have bred in the darkest eldritch corners of the Universe.

You see, whilst our home planet of Daemonia (the central world of the Algol system) has given rise to the word “daemon”, meaning a spirit of inspiration, some other life forms have become a perversion of this, being what some refer to as “demons” or “evil spirits”, utilising their own technologies for purposes of interplanetary conquest and suppression of weaker beings.

These wicked ones include the Kakodemons of Andromeda, the Shaitans of Eblis, the Maskim of Mercury, the Mutations of Manverkoss, the Leknii Replicants, the Reptilians of Lemuria and Atlantis, and many others. It is these creatures of ungodly malevolence and perverse iniquity that it is my purpose to fight.

My name is Rumanos -- Doctor Daniel Rumanos. Born of the most noble and illustrious family of the Watchers of Algol, I have taken it as my duty to work as an operative of the Kosmikos, assigned to the planet Earth, from which I protect the human race and defend against all manner of threat. I am the living image of Algol upon this world. I am the Daemon-Star! …

I had arrived in the area known as Lutherville, in northern Baltimore County in the State of Maryland, by special request of a young lady residing there. You see, my work has become known upon Earth to a certain extent, publicity actually aiding as a form of concealment in this case, and I am sometimes contacted by private citizens of this planet to aid them in bizarre circumstances that have gone beyond their control or ability to cope. Such was the case here.

The girl’s name was Sarah Porter, age sixteen, and she was a student at the near by high school. I could tell from the telephone conversation that we had had that she was an intelligent and thoughtful young person, though somewhat overwrought by certain experiences she had recently undergone.

A friend of hers, a girl named Nancy, had died some time before under rather strange circumstances. You see, Nancy had been having a series of strange dreams in which she had apparently imagined being molested by an individual known as Andrew Howard-Bee, a convicted sex offender who had died in prison decades before. This execrable miscreant, known to local legend as “Andy Bee” (though he preferred to be known as “Drew Bee“, and had made a big issue of this in his taunting letters to the police and media) was said to have been a practicing Satanist, though this was not mentioned at his trial for fear of “religious discrimination”!

Andy Howard-Bee, after being found guilty of rape and child molestation, had received the maximum sentence for his crimes. He was kept isolated from other prisoners to avoid the moral outrage that even hardened criminals allegedly feel for paedophile types, but nevertheless was found hanged in his cell a few months after the beginning of his incarceration at the Maryland State Penitentiary. Apparently, he had committed suicide by tying bed sheets together and jumping off the unused top bunk of his prison cell.

Howard-Bee’s death was considered good riddance by the people of Lutherville. His remains were quickly cremated and he was buried without ceremony in an unmarked grave. After this, his name was only used as a sort of “bogeyman” to scare local children. “Be a good little girl or Andy Bee will get you”. That sort of thing.

Because if this, nobody thought much of young Nancy’s claims to be having nightmares of Andy Howard-Bee. That is, until she had died from bleeding to death in her sleep, the bleeding caused by a violent rupture as if she had been brutally raped by a monstrously-endowed man.

There was, however, no additional evidence of rape or violation with any other object that could have caused such profuse bleeding. The medical diagnosis, therefore, was that poor Nancy, fifteen years old, had died of natural causes due to some unnamed physical ailment. Rest in peace and let the media move on to the usual political news and community events. Hideous.

And so, you can imagine that when, nearly a year after these horrible proceedings, Nancy’s friend Sarah Porter began having dreams in which the deceased rapist Andy Howard-Bee was chasing her through the woods, the young girl thought it prudent to take them seriously! Having heard of my own work through certain interesting (if distorted) Baltimore-area news reports of UFO sightings and “paranormal” cases, the teenager contacted me as soon as she had a chance.

I had arrived a bit early at Lutherville Station Shopping Centre, where I had an appointment to meet Miss Sarah Porter at noon in order to discuss her experiences. I was clad in my usual silk suit, leathern greatcoat, jungle boots, sunspecs, and panama hat.

It was 11:15 AM by my watch and seeing as I still had some time before the young lady was due to arrive, I stopped at the local bagel joint for a Reuben sandwich. After my luncheon, as I walked back out into the glaring midday sunlight, I suddenly noticed the form of a man standing in the parking lot staring at me. He was of medium height and somewhat obese, wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers -- all black. He looked to be perhaps a mixture of Caucasian and Native American ancestry, and sported a shaven head and a short goatee and moustache. In his dark eyes seemed to lurk unmitigated evil, and I saw hanging from a silver chain around his neck the horrid inverted pentagram of Satanic worship.

It was just as this person unleashed a wave of incredibly-powerful darksome energy at me that I realised whom he was. It was from old mug shots I had seen that I recognised him, for this was apparently none other than the long-dead devil-worshipper and serial rapist Andrew Howard-Bee!

I braced myself for the confrontation with “Andy Bee” when suddenly, to my astonishment, he just faded and vanished. The man, along with the dark energy he seemed to wield, was simply no longer there.

I stood there wondering what exactly I had experienced -- A mentalist projection? An hologram? -- When I heard a pleasant female voice from behind me.

“Excuse me. Are you Dr. Rumanos?”

I turned and beheld a stunning young brunette with enchanting green eyes standing before me. She was wearing a tasteful purple dress which was tight in that delightful way the dresses of still-growing girls tend to become tight.

“Miss Porter?” I enquired, glad to affirm by my knowledge of her name that I was indeed the person she sought.

“Sarah,” she said, proffering her hand.

“Nice to meet you, Sarah,” I said, briefly taking her hand. “Just call me ‘Doctor’.”

The girl was real enough, and I did not mention to her the recent apparent apparition of Andy Howard-Bee, instead enquiring further concerning her own recent experiences and any knowledge of local lore concerning the late criminal.

As it turned out, it was well-known to the locals that Howard-Bee’s home was close by, though no one had approached it in years -- so great was the superstitious fear of this horrid individual, even long after his death.

Sarah Porter was obviously an intelligent and brave young lady, only showing fear or nervousness when she mentioned her recent dreams, along with some tiredness from having lost sleep trying to avoid them. She offered to show me to the location of Andrew Howard-Bee’s house, and I thought it was indeed a good opportunity to unravel the mysteries at hand.

Behind the shopping centre, and on the other side of the tracks of the Maryland Transit Administration’s light-rail train, we came to a path through the woods. Somewhat overgrown as it was, we soon enough made our way to the dilapidated old shack that had been the home of the now-deceased Andrew Howard-Bee (alias “Andy Bee”, alias “Drew Bee”), convicted sex offender and suspected devil-worshipper.

I quickly opened the rusted lock of the dwelling and we entered, with much-suffused sunlight filtered through the surrounding trees and the framework of the broken windows being our sole illumination. Clearing away some cobwebs, we found the only furniture of the one-room shack to be a decrepit old armchair, a decaying mattress on the floor (beside which was a shapeless stack of what had once been pornographic magazines), a couple of broken lamps, and a now-rotting wooden table.

On the table, however, was the most important thing: several old, mouldy books of the “occult” variety. Included were the _Satanic Bible_ and _Satanic Rituals_ of the late Anton Szandor LaVey; the similar _Satanic Scriptures_ of the neo-Nazi dwarf, Peter H. Gilmore; the terrible _Dark World_ by the paranormal pederast known as Zak Bagans; and, worst of all, a sheaf of stapled-together photocopied papers of the horrid _Necronomicon_ of the medieval “Mad Arab”, Abdul al-Hazred. The latter had obviously been made from the edition of that work found at the Eisenhower Library of Johns Hopkins University.

Along with these volumes was a spiral notebook that Howard-Bee had utilised as a diary or journal. As he had pled guilty at his arraignment, this important evidence had never even been presented in court.

I looked through the diary pages, straining to decipher his crabbed, barely-literate handwriting. Here are a few extracts of what was found there (I have corrected his spelling and some of his grammar, and have also slightly censored a few of his more perverse statements):

“They who I worship say they can enlarge and make stronger that part of my body, but I got to sacrifice myself for them to be able to. I don’t like hearing that but guess I will since they say I also first can raise up energy by having some little girls in my bed. Real little ones I hope. …

“They I worship say they are called Chironines. I don’t know what that means but I don’t guess it matters. I just want to have the young chicks and get my thing made bigger. I think me having the Cherokee blood makes this all easier, since they were more psychic or whatever it’s called. …

“Have done another one. Got a little yellow-haired hottie from the school bus stop and brought her here. She ran away after and I hope she don’t go to the cops. It don’t matter though cause I’m about ready to make the transforming, as they I worship call it. That means I got to be dead for awhile anyways. They say I will first come back in dreams and my new thing will tear open the girls dreaming about me. The power from them bleeding to death will be enough after a few for me to come back in the real world. …

“I hear the cops outside. Guess this is it. I’ll be back soon and do them all so hard. Hail Chiron! Hail Satan!”

I pondered in horror what this revealed to me. The “Satanic” force with which Andrew Howard-Bee’s occult delving had come into contact was that of the Chironines! Now, this had originally been a monastic order on the planet Saturn before being forced to flee that world when its society’s then-new socialistic government had suppressed all religious organisations.

The order had migrated to Chiron, a tiny planet that lies just outside of the orbit of Saturn. In time, the monks and nuns of the Chironines, as they came to be called, had left celibacy behind and degenerated into an unusual kind of partially-telepathic sexual perversion. This due to their isolation coupled with the fact that they had, as with most Saturnians, certain mentalist abilities. Physically dying out after generations of inbreeding among their small number, the Chironines were rumoured to have continued some level of existence by appearing in the sexual dreams of others on their former home-world.

However, the Saturnians had soon put an end to this. Their psychiatric expertise along with the technologically-enhanced mentalist defence barrier eliminated all supposed traces of the Chironines and similar threats on Saturn. But now, upon Earth, the dead Satanist and serial rapist Andrew Howard-Bee had contacted what remained of the Chironines and used their power to extend his own perverted life beyond the grave!

I turned to speak to Sarah and saw that the poor damsel had fallen asleep in the old armchair whilst I had been preoccupied examining the old books.

Then I heard her talking in her sleep.

“No. No.” she said whilst squirming in the chair. “Leave me alone. Don’t touch me. No. Please, no.”

“Sarah!” I shouted. “Sarah, wake up!”

But it was no use. She was deep in an unnatural slumber, and dreaming. Dreaming a dream of an horror far too real -- and potentially deadly. For she was, I realised, dreaming of being attacked by Andy Howard-Bee!

Knowing that there was no time to lose, I quickly knelt down and touched my forehead to Sarah’s, whilst using my Algolitish mentalist powers to enter a state of lucid unconsciousness within her already established dream-world.

I immediately found myself in her dream. The setting was a distorted version of the interior of the old shack. I saw Sarah Porter lying helpless on the floor. She was nude, as people often find themselves to be in dreams. Standing over her was the form of Andrew Howard-Bee, his prurient intentions more than obvious.

A midnight-blue energy shimmered around Andy Howard-Bee’s repulsive form -- an energy I recognised as the power of the Chironines.

Howard-Bee turned, distracted by my sudden appearance upon the scene. Nevertheless, as I began to leap to-wards him, I unexpectedly found myself taken away from the situation. I was then in a different dreamscape -- if that is indeed what it was -- entirely.

I seemed to be in a type of limbo, as in the centre of a vast colourless void, filled as it was with the rushing sound as of electronic white noise. 

Do you recognise the sheer horror of this situation, the horrendously unspeakable terror of it, my friends? With no time to left to lose, I had suddenly been taken away from the scene of Howard-Bee’s intended assault upon the helpless girl; an assault which, if I did not succeed in preventing it, would likely result in her death!

I then perceived another figure standing before me. It was as of a man, taller and thinner than Andy Howard-Bee, and cloaked entirely in black. I deep cowl hid his face.

There was a feeling of unmentionable, palpable evil emanating from him.

“Who are you?” I enquired in astonishment. “What is this place?”

The figure raised a hand and pointed at me as if in accusation. I the heard him speak, his voice muffled somewhat by the white noise.

“Rumanos,” he said mockingly. “Doctor Daniel Rumanos. It is over and I am coming for you soon. The Age of Horror and Hebephilia has begun, and the spectral paranormal terrors will be multiplied beyond your endurance. I will destroy you, Dr. Daniel Rumanos! I will kill you and scatter your corpse throughout the very limits of existence!”

I realised that his voice, distorted as it was, held a quality of elusive familiarity.

“Again, who are you?” I insisted.

“Die, Dr. Daniel Rumanos,” he reiterated amongst continued peals of his grotesquely evil laughter. “Suffer and die!”

He then unleashed a wave of demoniacal energy at me, a wave of ebony-black force of the type I knew could only be wielded by those amongst the most powerful of wicked beings. 

I prepared my Algolitish defences to ward of the dark energy, barely managing to do so in time, and feeling the horrid concussion of its undeniably powerful force.

I then sent a bolt of my own bright orange and blue power back at my mysterious antagonist.

I hit him squarely in the midsection, my energies sparkling luminously, and thought for I moment that I had vanquished him. But then, when the flash had faded, I beheld him still standing before me, and heard again his wicked mad laughter.

“You have failed, Dr. Daniel Rumanos,” he shouted. “You have failed!”

To my own horror, I felt the creeping sensation that he was correct.

“I will kill you, Dr. Daniel Rumanos,” the mysterious one again exclaimed, “Do you hear me? But first, I will completely and totally humiliate you! I will ruin your life and your reputation for all time and then -- then -- I will kill you!”

“Who are you?” I again demanded.

I was answered only by further peals of his grotesque, insane laughter.

Again, do you see the unmanageable terror of this situation, dear readers? It is indeed beyond all earthly expression.

Then, I saw the figure suddenly start to fade, along with the surrounding void and its strange white-noise sound. It all soon disappeared entirely.

In a matter of moments, I was back in the dreamscape of Miss Sarah Porter being menaced by the execrable Drew Howard-Bee.

I noticed that absolutely no time had elapsed here whilst I had been occupied with the mysterious figure in black. Apparently, my encounter with the other had indeed taken place outside of any manifestation of temporal existence, even that of dreams.

Howard-Bee was still looking in my direction as he stood over the helpless teenage girl. The shimmering midnight-blue power of the Chironines still played about his dreadful form.

Without hesitating, I hit Drew Bee with a tackle that would have done credit to any rugby football player. This contact, due to my Algolitish powers, caused him to be taken out of the dream immediately. I found myself struggling with him on the floor of the real-world shack and gave him a sharp blow to the face before regaining my feet.

The body of Drew Bee, being as it was only a partially-physical construction, very soon dissolved into nothingness. He had not yet completed enough of his psyche-sexual transference in order to assure his return to any true corporeal existence, and my punch to his ugly face had caused just enough pain for him to not be able to concentrate on escaping back to the dream-world. His form dispersed, and not even dust remained. I knew then that the hideous satanic rapist Andrew Howard-Bee, alias Andy Bee, alias Drew Bee, was no more.

It was then that Sarah Porter woke up screaming. She quickly jumped to her feet and I rushed over to comfort her.

“Doctor, what… ?” she finally said, calming down at the sight of the real world and the safety of my presence. “What happened? I was dreaming and saw you fighting him and…”

“There is nothing more to fear, Sarah,” said I, putting a consoling arm around her shoulders. “That nightmare is over and will not return.”

I indeed knew, as I led the girl out into the light of day, that neither she nor anyone else would be further molested by the sickening criminal known to infamy as Drew Bee, and that the contact upon Earth of the Chironines had been severed.

None the less, at the same time I could not help but wonder about the other figure; the mysterious man cloaked in black; the one who mocked and threatened and had seemed to have about him an aura of unspeakable evil beyond imagining -- the one only I had encountered. Was he just a figment of my own unconscious mind or something more? Little could I know in what way I would discover the horrifying truth of this in days to come.

Forsooth, little could I even begin to know in what horrendous and unmentionable ways this had already commenced to change my life forevermore!

BEYOND THIS ILLUSION

Rumour has it they originally had wanted to spell the name of the ridiculous place “Ar Haus”, but it was decided that it seemed a bit crypto-fascist, something that gentrification tries to avoid -- well, at least publicly, you know. So it became “R House“, Baltimore’s bloody greatest hipster food court, located in the showroom of a former automobile dealership in the city’s once blue-collar Remington neighbourhood.

My name is Dr. Daniel Rumanos (Intergalactic Gentleman of Mystery and Operative for that secret service organisation of the Watchers of Algol known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department), and it is at R House, one hot summer day, that I (wearing my usual silk suit, jungle boots, leathern greatcoat, sunspecs, and panama hat) was battling an insane dwarf.

The creature was known by the name of Juan Dingo and was more ape than human, having come originally from a tribe deep in the jungles of the Philippine Islands whose members had retained a strong strain of homo erectus blood along with other degenerate traits. Found and taken from his native area by Jesuit missionaries, the thing had been given the Christian name “Juan” for a patron saint and its surname because someone had remarked that its bizarre chattering somewhat resembled the barking of an Australian dingo.

Nevertheless Juan Dingo, four feet tall and hideous of aspect, had proven unmanageable even by the patient fathers of the Society of Jesus (being as violence prone as he was and unable to learn Spanish or any other language besides his babbling native patois), and had eventually been sold to a travelling carnival in exchange for a generous contribution to the missionary effort. From this, Dingo had in time become the servant of an enemy of mine, the now-deceased Satanist and child-molester Ronald “Ron Savage” Seidl of Parkville, Maryland.

Following Ron Seidl’s well-deserved death, Juan Dingo had escaped to eventually resurface here at R House, where he was currently facing me and holding a knife that was glistening with viscid poison -- a poison that I could perceive was impregnated with some radioactive element dangerous to even my own extraterrestrial physiology.

I had arrived at R House that day, not to sample the cuisine but in my official capacity to investigate some odd emanations of energy that my highly-advanced scientific instruments had detected coming from the building. It was late morning, and fortunately the crowd there was not all that large when I suddenly encountered the little monstrosity Juan Dingo, his brown, hairy form clad only in a loincloth and chattering his sickening laughter whilst holding his dangerous-appearing native dagger on me.

I had to conclude that whatever alien force had secretly invaded R House (in the middle of Remington Avenue) was now using the subhuman dwarf as its servant, a sort of guard.

I quickly dodged the poisonous knife as the apelike creature lunged at me. Before I could retaliate, he suddenly turned and, horrific to behold, quickly scaled the near-by wall by use of his atavistically splayed toes. Soon finding himself high in the lofty food-hall, Juan Dingo glared evilly at me with his grotesquely-slanted eyes and bared his horrid homo erectus teeth before suddenly launching himself to-wards me. His intention was to hit me from above with sufficient force to render me defenceless long enough to finish me with his poison dagger.

None the less, it is in this that Juan Dingo, dwarfish prehistoric evil now under control of some as-yet-unknown extraterrestrial invader, made an error. His plunge downwards gave me just enough time to cast a bolt of my bright orange and blue Algolitish energies at him. He veered sidewise from his intended course and in stead crashed into a mass of cables connected to the building’s electrical system.

I then heard Juan Dingo’s final inhuman shriek as his life expired in a brief conflagration of electrical power.

“Shock the monkey,” said I.

The small crowd had briefly shown some interest in what was occurring, but soon turned away. Apparently, this was not as yet enough of a disturbance -- by Baltimore City standards -- to hold their attention away from the overpriced and under-portioned “chef driven” delicacies offered at the R House eateries.

Juan Dingo’s knife had clattered to the floor near me and I carefully picked it up.

“Now,” I said, “Let me see what I am really dealing with here today.”

I took a scientific instrument known as the transonic turnscrew from my pocket and, quickly setting it for alien technology scan mode, held it directly over the glistening poison of the dagger’s blade. The device soon enough showed a readout, and was -- to say the least -- not at all good news.

“Oh bloody hell,” I murmured, immediately recognising the name of the evil alien race I would now be facing, forsooth one of the most formidable species of ruthless invaders in the known galaxies. “The Leknii.”

And then, as if one cue, a sliding doorway opened only a few yards distant, and I beheld standing in it a giant silver figure. It was the metallic form of one of my foes, of humanoid shape but seemingly of a completely mechanical construction.

Then the metallic monstrosity raised its silver hand and fired a bolt of radioactive light directly at me!

The Leknii are an emotionless race of cybernetic replicants originally from the planet of that name on the outer rim of Spiral Galaxy 8675309. At first humanoid, they had gradually replaced their organic components with robotic parts over the course of generations, until there is very little of flesh and blood left in them. At the same time, their home-world eventually became inhabitable due to climate change and the other results of unchecked industrialism. They are now a race of homeless and heartless (both literally and figuratively speaking!) metallic monstrosities who now wander the stars in their small, efficient spaceships searching for suitable humanlike forms to turn into their own kind.

I barely managed to dodge the radioactive light bolt fired at me by the Leknii Replicant. It blasted a metres-wide hole in the floor of the R House food-hall. The patrons of the establishment, thinking all this was just some type of avant-garde performance art, avoided us but were not at all concerned.

I turned and prepared to send a wave of my Algolitish powers at the metal monster, but this was not to be. For directly between my position and that of the Leknii walked, oblivious to her danger, a young girl. To my horror, I saw the Replicant again raise its arm and prepare to fire.

The damsel was exceedingly beautiful, being tall and quite slender. She was wearing a rather brief orange tank-top with a bare midriff, a blue miniskirt revealing gorgeous, similarly-bare legs, and fashionable sandals. Her pure white skin was slightly sun-kissed and her long liquorice hair surrounded a lovely face with big, opalescent azure eyes and a wide, sensuous mouth covered with bright-red lip-gloss, this being the only makeup she was wearing. 

I quickly reached out and grabbed the young lady, knowing I could not allow her to be innocently caught in the crossfire of my battle with the alien Replicant. She briefly yelped as I pulled her to a shelter behind one of the counters of the place’s central “bar-room” area.

“Hey!” she protested. “What do you think your doing Mister? I…”

She stopped suddenly when she looked at me, her shock and indignation subsided, and a sudden smile spread across her beautiful face.

“Oh my God!“ she squealed delightedly. “Oh my God! You’re Dr. Daniel Rumanos!”

“You know who I am?” I queried.

“Of course! You’re the Master of Space and Time! I’m your biggest fan! I try to collect everything I can about you, and I‘ve read all the stories about your adventures! I especially like the ones about your fights with your old enemy, Bishop James Long!”

“Short,” I corrected her. “James Short, and he was not really a bishop.”

(Oy, can you imagine anyone actually being cursed with the appellation “Bishop J. Long”? Everybody would refer to him as “Bishop Schlong”!)

“I have a poster of you on my bedroom wall!” the girl continued. “My mom thinks you’re, as she puts it, ‘one of those silly pop stars’! Hahaha! She’s kind of old-fashioned, isn’t she? I guess I am too, though I’m only fifteen. Oh, by the way, my name is Josephine Shaw, but my friends call me Josie.”

“Now look, Miss Shaw…”

“Call me Josie. Wow, reading about you has taught me so much about what exists, as you would say, ‘beyond this illusion’ -- you know, outside of what most people call reality, and…”

“Josie, we are in a very dangerous position at the moment. That large silver thing hunting our position is one of the Leknii, and it is…”

“A cyborg?” she said, in wonder.

“Actually, the preferred term is ‘replicant’, but yes. Anyway, you need to get to a place of safety so I can find out what the Leknii are doing at R House and…”

Just then, the Leknii Replicant, having ascertained our whereabouts, sent a bolt of power that shattered the counter to pieces.

“Do not move,” the Replicant suddenly commanded in its emotionless, electronic voice. “You will be converted or you will be destroyed.”

“Run, Josie!” I shouted as I quickly sent a bolt of my own powers back at the silver horror.

The girl did as I had told her, running for her life across the room whilst I endeavoured to shield her from any harm by covering the Leknii. Incredibly, I found that my energies had little effect upon the metallic monster. It was apparently protected by some sort of radioactive substance, the same as permeated its deadly bolts of energy, and which had been used in liquefied form on the dagger of its now-deceased servant, the savage Juan Dingo.

I nevertheless sent another bolt at the Leknii in order to cover myself whilst I glanced away in order to see to the young girl’s safety. At the same time, she happened to look back at me and, just as our eyes met, she stumbled.

It has been said that fortune favours the brave, and it is perhaps the case that I should not have advised the girl to run away, for, as luck would have it, she stumbled just as she had reached the large gaping hole that the Leknii’s first blast at me had formed. I heard Josie Shaw scream in terror as she fell through the gap to an unknown depth below!

Oddly, I noticed that the Leknii was momentarily distracted by the girl’s fall into the opening. It was as if the Replicant had recognised her entry into the regions below R House as a possible threat or security breach.

During the brief time that the Leknii Replicant was distracted, I sent another bolt of energy at it. This one I aimed directly at the respiratory grating in the very centre of its chest area, the small but necessary section that supplies needed oxygen to the small yet vital organic component of its kind.

I was correct in my deduction that this area of the Leknii would be free of the protective substance that permeated the rest of its form, in order to in no way obstruct the airflow. The Leknii shuddered and, as my energy caused a chain reaction throughout its form, fell backwards to the floor, disassembling into countless tiny pieces as life left it; this being a security measure of its kind to prevent others from cannibalising their technology.

Grotesquely -- though not inappropriately -- the gathered crowd of local hipsters applauded this, still thinking it was all a show being staged for their entertainment.

Nevertheless, I had no time to waste accepting approbation. I had to see to the safety of Josie Shaw, and so I hurried over to the gaping hole in the floor of the R House food court and, without delay, jumped directly into it, down to the unknown depths beneath the surface.

(Unbeknownst to me at the time, a figure stepped out from the group of onlookers; the form of a man shrouded in a black, hooded cloak. He reached out and picked up a tiny fragment of the destroyed Replicant and, with a dark laugh of pure evil, stepped back into the concealment of the crowd. )

I landed about twelve feet below, and found myself in a long, metallic hallway, lighted with the strange ethereal glow of a non-terrestrial energy source.

“Incredible,” I said to myself. “It appears that R House was built over the remains of a wrecked Leknii spaceship. They must have been here for decades, waiting for their power supplies to replenish, and…”

I wave of nausea overcame me when I realised the remainder of what this augured. The Leknii had used this location to attract humans they could then assimilate or convert to their own kind. The patrons of the upscale food-hall were being sifted and used to repopulate an alien invasion force.

“By the Daemonian Spires!“ I swore. “R House is not short for Remington House -- it is Replicant House!”

“You are correct,” replied a voice from behind me, the electronic voice of a Replicant, but deeper, fuller, and more commanding than the other had been.

I turned and beheld a Leknii even larger than their usual height. It was easily over seven feet high and the shone a pure golden hue in the bizarre lighting of the hallway. Several silver Replicants had by now also appeared in the area on both sides of me. I was trapped.

“A Leknii Controller,” I said to the gold one. “More advanced than your comrades.”

“Again, correct,” said the giant cybernetic horror. “You are not of this planet. Instruments show your origin to be of the Algol System. You are unsuited both to conversion and to servitude and therefore must be eradicated.”

“No!” screamed a female voice from farther down the passageway. “Don’t kill him! Please don’t! Do anything you want to me but please don’t kill him!”

Another light went on and I saw Josie behind a cavity in the wall, strapped down with metallic bonds.

“Please don’t hurt him,” she repeated, tears streaming form her eyes. “Please…”

A wave of absolute eldritch terror shot through me as I realised the full horrendous significance of this. My own Algolitish intellect and physique could not be assimilated due to its superiority (just as their servant Juan Dingo’s could not due to his inferiority), but Josie’s human form was perfect.

“You monsters,” I gasped. “You despicable monsters. You intend to take that child, that poor innocent girl, and make her one of you!”

“You are correct,” stated the Controller. “She will be converted. She will become like us.”

“Become like us,” repeated each of the Leknii Replicants after their leader. “Become like us. Become like us. Become like us.”

I was trapped amongst the group of Replicants. There were just too many of them and I could not manage to reach the girl. I watched in horror as the conversion machine was activated and waves of silver energy began to surround Josie’s form. I heard her scream in pain and abject fear and knew that it would only be a matter of moments until the innocent lass was changed into a metallic monstrosity!

Do you comprehend the unspeakably perverse horror, the utter phantasmagorical terror of this situation, my friends?

“She will be like us,” taunted the Controller, a taunting all the more horrid due to its absence of emotion. “Just as we will soon take all the best of this planet’s people and make them as we are. This world will then become our new base from which we will launch an invasion against this entire galactic system.”

However, just then a warning signal sounded from within the Leknii technology.

“Controller,” said the Replicant nearest to the machine. “Something unforeseen is occurring. The subject is somehow resisting the conversion. It is causing a feedback loop throughout the system that will…”

Suddenly, the words of that Replicant were cut short as its head, followed quickly by the remainder of its metallic body, disintegrated into countless metallic shards.

One by one, the same thing quickly happened to all the Leknii Replicants, including the Controller. I hurried over to Josie and took the transonic turnscrew from my pocket, aiming the device towards the machine.

“If I can switch the polarity of the neutronic stream,” I said, “It should… Yes, here we go!”

What remained of the silver energy then quickly flowed through the machine, totally disabling it. I then used my transonic device to release the girl from her bonds. She fell forward into my arms, weakened and shaken, but unharmed.

“What… Dr. Rumanos, what happened?” she queried.

“Something in your bodily functions overloaded the machine,” I answered. “Let me see if I can find out what it was.”

I used my transonic turnscrew to scan Josie’s figure and then looked at its readout with amazement.

“I say, Josie. According to this, you are showing increased stimulation in certain functions of your bodily system. Why, it was just too much for the cold, inorganic replicant conversion machine to endure. Your bio-electrical impulses are way up, extreme pheromone secretion, increased fertility levels. It appears you have recently become quite sensually aroused by being in the presence of someone whom you found irresistibly attractive!”

At this, Josie Shaw looked up at me with a deep blush on her lovely face.

“Oh my…” I said in sudden realisation. “Well anyway, the planet Earth is now safe from this invasion of the Leknii Replicants.”

“But what about R House?” she asked.

“I will make certain all this alien tech is disabled and disassembled, and R House can now go on with being just another ridiculously ‘gentrified’ overpriced hipster hangout.”

“Hey, will you have to make a report of all this to the Kosmikos?” then enquired the young girl, with a look of wondrous awe in her beautiful sky-blue eyes.

“You know of the Kosmikos?”

“Of course! They’re the most famous secret organisation in the whole Universe!”

MAKE THE YOUNG GIRLS SPY

My name is Dr. Daniel Rumanos. I battle the forces of darkness. I am the Daemon-Star! …

On the 500 block of Charles Street in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, is an upmarket optometrist’s shop that goes by the name of “Hot Spex”, which somebody probably thinks is an exceedingly clever appellation. Trendy, pricey, and gaudy, it is nevertheless harmless enough. The third and fourth storeys of this same building are made up of residential apartments, usually inhabited, during the semester seasons, by students from the near-by Peabody Conservatory.

However, it is the second floor of this edifice that here concerns us. Some years ago, it had been the headquarters of a rather shady real estate management company known as the East Coast Assets Group. This business was eventually raided and shut down by the police after being exposed as a front for a particularly-vile lesbian prostitution ring. Since then, however, it had come under the control of yet another perverse and decidedly-ungodly criminal type.

Indeed, on the day in which our narrative occurs a quite interesting scene is being played out there.

Seated in an office-space that is decorated with astrological charts and other occult gewgaws (along with an incongruous old midway poster advertising the late stuntman Evel Knievel) a young and perfectly-beautiful girl, tall and slender, with gorgeous blonde hair and sky-blue eyes, dressed tastefully in a white blouse, violet skirt, and pumps, is seated across a table from a bizarrely-attired figure.

“My name’s Lizzy,” said the girl. “Lizzy Martinez.”

“Ah, my child,” said the other figure, that of an elderly woman with a very long nose and dark, piercing eyes, “I know. I know. Madame Teitelbaum sees and knows all.”

The old woman, dressed as she was in colourful pseudo-gypsy attire and a plethora of garish costume jewellery, reached one of her gnarled hands under the table to touch the girl’s leg. Lizzy moved away from the attempt at contact, but her face showed no trace of the disgust she felt at the thought of it.

Madame Teitelbaum then moved her hands to the top of the table and began fingering the deck of greasy tarot cards upon it.

“You come here today because you wish to know the future,” said the old woman, “and also secrets of your past and of others you know.”

“Yeah, that’s right,” said Lizzy, then adding, without a trace of sarcasm: “Wow, how did you know that?”

“The spirits tell me all, child,” answered Madame Teitelbaum. “They dwell within me and all about this chamber. They told me of your coming, and of that which you seek.”

“Madame Teitelbaum, these spirits you speak of. What are they, really?”

“My, you are an inquisitive young thing, aren’t you?” said the old fortune-teller. “The spirits are from far away. They chose me to be their voice in this world, and have revealed to me many great things. Yes, child, many great things of power and of mystery, and the power is exceeded only by the mystery.”

“Whoa, that is impressive. I was wondering, did they tell you that…”

“Yes, child?”

“Did they tell you that I know you’re really a man?”

And with this, Lizzy Martinez lifted her hand and ripped off the grey wig of “Madame” Teitelbaum, revealing, despite his heavy makeup, the countenance of a man of about forty, with short, dark hair and those same piercing eyes -- which now, not surprisingly, grew narrow with anger.

“Why, you little bitch!” he shouted, his voice now an octave lower and decidedly masculine. “How dare you, you Goddamn little bitch!”

Mr. Mitchell Teitelbaum (that being the fake medium’s real name) stood up and, with a sweep of his hand, threw the table out of the way between the young lady and himself.

“We know the facts of your false claims at being a psychic,” said the girl, rising to her feet with no show of fear. “But fake psychics are everywhere. We also know you have contacted something. Not ‘spirits’ or ‘ghosts’ or anything like that, but instead something that really exists and is very dangerous. Something we have to stop.”

“You bitch!” reiterated Teitelbaum. “Who… ? Who the hell are you, anyway?”

“I told you. My name is Lizzy Martinez… and I am of the League of the Daemon-Star!”

“Goddamn it! Goddamn it straight to Hell! You belong to… him! He would! He would make the young girls spy for him!”

Mitchell Teitelbaum could not repress a look of trepidation at this revelation. It was short-lived, however, and soon replaced by a smug smile, a smile filled with evil and diabolical malice.

“But even he does not know what he has gotten you into, kid!” continued the villain. “Those that I have made my pact with will conquer you both, and will bring me to mastery of the world as their representative! They have promised me this, and you will not stop me!”

With this pronouncement, Teitelbaum lifted his hands and cast a wave of scarlet-hued otherworldly energy at the girl. Nevertheless, to his extreme surprise, she not only deftly dodged this attack but quickly sent back a bolt of energy from herself -- a bolt of bright orange power that hit Mitchell Teitelbaum squarely in the chest, sending him reeling across the room to crash against the far wall. He then slipped down into unconsciousness upon the floor.

“Effing cool!” exclaimed Lizzy with a gorgeous smile, as if amazed at her own abilities. “That was easier than I thought it would be.”

The young lady’s feeling of easy victory was soon cut short, nonetheless, when a deep sound began to enter her consciousness. It seemed to emanate from the prostrate form of Mr. Teitelbaum, but it was not a human sound. In fact, it was not the sound of anything properly found upon this world. It was a noise better imagined than described, at once like a buzzing and a howling and a maddening clicking. It quickly grew in volume from barely perceptible to a veritable cacophony.

Then all hell broke loose.

At that moment, Mitchell Teitelbaum suddenly stood up, but he was not awake in any true way. His eyes were open, but he was not aware in the mortal human sense -- for they were now glowing with the same infernal shade of red and then, from his form that was now being used as a conduit, issued forth a myriad of horrors.

They were small creatures of the same hellishly-reddish hue, horned and hideous, an eldritch amalgamation of wickedness. This mass of unspeakable and apparently-demoniacal abominations flew across the chamber and totally engulfed the form of young Lizzy Martinez.

“These are the Imps of Impian-8,” announced Mitchell Teitelbaum on behalf of the infernal creatures. “You, bitch, are now ours!”

It was then that I charged into the room, clad in my usual silk suit, leathern greatcoat, jungle boots, sunspecs, and panama hat. I cast a wave of my own bright orange and blue Algolitish energy at the Impish creatures, scattering them away from the young lass.

“Sorry to be so late, Liz” I told her. “I only just finished taking care of that thing in New Orleans.”

“Oh, that voodoo guy?” said Lizzy, as we automatically took our back-to-back fighting stance against the surrounding hoard of Imps.

“Indeed, that Gilman Ross screwball, alias ‘Papa Gilly’, alias ‘Conjure Botanica‘, alias ‘RossMac Gilbert‘, et cetera,” I answered, these being the various names of the repugnant black magician, horrendously-dangerous madman, and revolting redneck paedophile that I had travelled to Louisiana to face.

“What happened, Doctor?” inquired the girl, as she deftly cast another bolt of her powers at the Imps.

“I left his blasted corpse -- along with that of his hideous hellhound, Juju -- in the bayou as food for the alligators.”

“That is so effing hot!” she exclaimed.

Seventeen-year-old Miss Lizzy Martinez, I should explain, was at this time my latest protégé. She had become so after a rather odd and indeed surprising series of events that I can only summarise here.

Originally from the town of Bradenton in Manatee County, Florida, Lizzy Martinez is of mixed northern Spanish Basque and Dutch ancestry, her mother’s maiden name being Knop. Hence her beautiful blonde hair and exquisitely-lovely blue eyes. Whilst a student there in Florida at Braden River High School, she had been the victim of an attempted rape by a certain Mr. Brad Scarbrough, the principal or head-teacher of that particular educational institution.

The perverse Mr. Scarbrough, after luring Lizzy Martinez to his office by claims that her clothing (in this case, a white t-shirt with no brassiere) was a “distraction” to the other students, had not succeed in his attempt to ravish the beauteous damsel due to her having suddenly displayed a newfound ability to generate and control bursts of otherworldly bright orange energy -- an ability with which she had landed her attacker in hospital.

Seeing as this power appeared to be of Proto-Algolitish origin, most likely the result of one of her ancestors having come into contact with some relic of one of my own extraterrestrial people’s long-ago visits to planet Earth, I had been assigned the task of looking after Lizzy and making certain she learned to use her newfound powers properly.

Now as my apprentice (and as such a member of the League of the Daemon-Star and a trainee-level Probationer-Operative of the KOSMIKOS, that incredibly-famous and amazingly-legendary Secret Service organisation of the Watchers of Algol), the beautiful Miss Martinez had gone on a mission to investigate this “Madame Teitelbaum“, fake Baltimore-area psychic-medium and occult racketeer. In such Lizzy had uncovered the presence of the Imps of Impian-8.

(By the way, it should be made clear that only I am permitted to call her “Liz”. to everyone else she is “Lizzy” or “Miss Martinez”. In addendum, she prefers to pronounce her surname so that it sounds like “Martinis”.)

“I must admit that this is actually quite surprising,” said I as I again held off the Imp attacks with my own sparkling alien powers. “The Imps of the Impian system, despite their devilish appearance, are usually quite peaceful.”

“Well these ones aren’t,” retorted Lizzy. “What could have happened, Doctor?”

“I cannot yet fathom it, Liz,” I wondered. “Perhaps it is the unfortunate result of some accident during their long voyage to Earth. Maybe they…”

However, before I could continue my speculations as to the reasons of the Imps’ sudden turn to maliciousness, Mitchell Teitelbaum, still possessed by the increasing Impish power, sudden lurched forward and grabbed Lizzy around her slender waist, tearing the girl away from me to-wards the far side of the chamber before I could even begin any effort to prevent him.

“Liz!” I shouted in shock. I was quite concerned about her ability to continue defending herself. The young girl’s powers were not yet fully developed, and our battle against the attacking Imps had no doubt weakened them. I worried about what might happen to her in the evil clutches of the sickening and perverse Mr. Mitchell Teitelbaum -- empowered as he was by some apparent pact with the alien creatures.

Nevertheless, I now found myself completely surrounded by the diabolically-appearing Imps. They suddenly rushed upon me en masse, and I found myself propelled through a strange porthole-like orifice that had suddenly opened in midair directly above my head.

When the aperture closed behind me, I found that I was inside a large room filled with bizarre alien technology, all aglow with a grotesque scarlet and purple effulgence. To my horror, I realised that I had been thrown into the other-dimensional reality of an Impian spaceship!

I stood up and looked around. The strange, alien technology of the Imps covered the walls of the chamber completely up to its lofty ceiling.

Around me hovered several of the Imps themselves. They were not openly hostile, but seemed to be expecting something -- something from me.

“Ah, now I think I am beginning to understand,” I said. “Your ship is indeed damaged; crippled in some way, perhaps by collision with a small radioactive asteroid or something. Forsooth, that is it, eh? You want me to repair it!”

It had suddenly all become clear to me. The Imps of Impian-8, upon arriving on Earth after their long journey through interstellar Space, had found their spaceship disabled and had sought out someone possessed of the knowledge necessary to help them fix the problem. They had encountered the execrable Mr. Mitchell Teitelbaum. His boasts to be gifted with “psychic” powers had made him appear a logical candidate (like most space-faring races, the Imps themselves have a form of mentalist ability), and the Imps had made a deal with him, giving him some of their own extraterrestrial powers in exchange for his services.

Teitelbaum, of course, had seen all of this as a classic Faustian bargain, mistaking the Imps for the legendary demons of the infernal regions. He thus saw the deal that he had entered upon as something to exploit for his own benefit, something he could manipulate for the satiating of his own sick, lustful desires.

(Do you recognise the horror, the obscene abject terror of this situation, my dear readers? I actually do most sincerely hope and pray that you do not, as recognition of the full import of this interstellar insanity could make you spiral into complete and utter madness beyond any possible cure.)

Nevertheless, I still was at a loss to comprehend what had made the Imps become hostile to humanity. Their dealings with Teitelbaum would have given them a bad impression of Earth-folk, no doubt, but this alone could not account for it.

“Could the damage to your ship have something to do with it?” I pondered. “Ah, of course! I think I have it!”

I walked over to one of the consoles. I recognised it as the one controlling the artificial atmosphere of the spaceship’s interior and removed the sonar multi-tool, my highly-advanced mechanical device, from the pocket of my coat.

“The atmosphere of your planet, Impian-8, is similar to that of Earth, but not at all identical. You can survive in the environment here, but if certain elements of your air supply were suppressed when your ship was damaged, it could have induced a temporary effect on your intelligence and psychological wellness…”

I activated the sonar multi-tool to scan the console. “Yes, that is it!” I exclaimed, and began the necessary repairs. …

At that same time, outside the other-dimensional confines if the Impian spaceship, a scene of further outrage was being played out in the office of he now-exposed “psychic medium”. When Mitchell Teitelbaum had propelled Lizzy Martinez across the room, empowered as he was by the abilities that he had acquired from the Imps, she had hit her head against the far wall and had then lapsed into partial unconsciousness.

“No, no…” she moaned nearly sub-vocally. Her own developing Proto-Algolitish powers had been depleted for the time by over-exertion. “Leave me alone…”

For even in her near-swoon the girl understood Teitelbaum’s evil intentions as he stood over her, his debauched face and dark eyes filled with lustful glee along with the energies of the alien Imps.

“I’m going to have you, bitch,” he leered at the helpless lass as he began to undo his trousers, “I’m going to have you right now, whether you like it or not!”

Just then, as the wickedly-lustful Mitchell Teitelbaum stood over the helpless girl, the porthole-like aperture of the other-dimensional Impian spaceship suddenly reopened above and behind him. From it I zoomed forth, immediately grasping the perverse import of the situation and casting a bolt of my powers at Teitelbaum. He reeled and fell to the floor, the powers with which the Imps had gifted him now streaming out of his body to-wards the aperture.

I reached down my hand and helped the lovely Miss Lizzy Martinez to her feet. Aided by her burgeoning powers, along with the remarkably rapid self-healing ability of the very young, she recovered quickly from her faint.

The porthole had now closed, and the high-pitched whining sound of the invisible ship’s engines was increasing in volume.

“Hold on!” said I as I took the girl in my arms. I propelled us both through the near-by window, shattering the glass. Then utilising my powers of levitation, I managed to slow our descent and we landed softly on the city pavement below just as a sound like (yet unlike) a sonic boom occurred, signally that the spaceship had now left Earth.

“Are you all right, Liz?” I enquired. “I had to get you out of there before the ship fully engaged its engines. The feedback of it entering inter-Temporal Space-warp will have destroyed all organic matter in that room!”

“Including that old Teitelbaum creep?” she asked.

“Absolutely,” I assured her, “All that was mortal of Mr. Mitchell Teitelbaum is now annihilated.”

“Well in that case I’m doing great, Doctor!” she announced with a smile. “But what was the problem with those Imp things?”

“As I said, they are usually quite nice. Their ship had become damaged and they were stranded on Earth with an atmosphere somewhat detrimental to their mental health. They just needed someone to help repair their craft so they could return home.”

“So you did that easily, of course.”

“Of course,” I replied. “Such elementary interstellar engine design would have been considered antiquated by my people when the Cosmos was smaller than half its current size.”

I noticed that a small crowd was beginning to gather and I took Lizzy’s hand in order to quietly leave the area.

“So, how far away is the planet of the Imps, anyway?” Lizzy queried as we began to walk away from the location of our latest adventure.

“Precisely 4,106,850,700 Impioods.”

“’Imipoods’?”

“Their equivalent of light-years, more or less,” I informed her. “To express the same distance in Earth calculations would take several days, and I would rather go have lunch.”

“Sounds great, Doctor!” she exclaimed happily.

“Come along then, Liz. I know an excellent delicatessen near here, and I shall treat you to a ‘cloak and dagger’ sandwich.”

Daniel Rumanos returns in “Beyond This Illusion”.