Things had actually been fairly quiet so far as demons and monsters go for a couple of weeks. The closest thing I had gotten to a new case was a story my niece Miriam had told me about the hospital here in Baltimore where she volunteers. It seems they had a vengeful spirit in the basement there, the ghost of an old man -- a patient who had died of cancer at the establishment. His ghost was apparently upset because the young female nursing assistant with whom he had somewhat bonded during his last days no longer worked there.
The problem was taken care of, however. Not by a paranormal investigator or a priest or whatever but by an old Greek lady who worked in the hospital kitchen. She went down to the cellar with her silver cross and said a few words and the spirit was never heard of again. There is just nothing else like Mediterranean folk-magic!
So anyway the comparative quiet gave me a chance to finally do some research into something that had been bothering me for some time. I should say, rather, someone. The individual named Zef Bazans, host and star of the shitty TV “reality series” Ghost Escapades.
Bazans, along with his two co-hosts on the show, are obviously fakes. They have no educational background or real knowledge of occult lore and all the things necessary to really do such work. Yet they appear on a weekly basis as “ghost hunters”, visiting presumably-haunted historical locations and presenting faked “evidence of the supernatural” to their gullible audience.
But something else had happened a while back. While visiting Poveglia Island, Italy, Bazans had briefly claimed to feel “possessed”. Poveglia, you see, was a place where the bodies of plague victims were burned, and demonic entities are still attracted, even centuries later, to the residual energies of pain, suffering, and death which linger there.
Zef Bazans soon said that he was again fine, and the “possession” was forgotten. But something had changed about him. You see, Zef was a singularly unattractive middle-aged man who insisted on dressing, and generally acting, like a teenager. Part of the early popularity of his show was just what a laughing-stock he really was. It was also generally known that he was a closeted homosexual.
But now Zef Bazans suddenly became known as a ladies’-man extraordinaire! Women and girls everywhere were throwing themselves at him and he was meeting them in hotel rooms for illicit sexual encounters wherever he traveled to produce new episodes of the TV series. Some of the girls were obviously way underage, and Bazans even boasted of this on his various online social-media accounts. But he seemed somehow immune to any criminal prosecution.
What I found out via my research was that there were rumors -- substantial ones, given the circumstances -- that Bazans had met with some hoary old cult while in Italy and had sold his soul to the diabolical entity they worshipped in exchange for fame and sex.
Obviously, something had to be done about this. I had gone out for a walk that afternoon to consider a course of action. My wife, Katrina -- The Wonderful Heaven’s Hell -- was busy at the University of Maryland, where she had recently enrolled. So when I returned alone to our apartment I settled down to continue my research until she got home from her classes.
I had accordingly just sat down with my computer when there was a decidedly loud knock on the door. I was of course quite annoyed that whomever it was hadn’t used the doorbell, but got up to answer it anyway.
I opened the door to see several large, uniformed members of the Baltimore City Police Department.
“Daniel Rumanos?” asked one of them.
“Yes, of course,” I answered, “What can I do for you officers?”
“Come with us, please,” he answered, producing a pair of handcuffs, “You’re under arrest.”
“On what charge?!” I said in astonishment.
“Several counts of statutory rape and sexual molestation of underage girls, in connection with your running of a Satanic cult.”
Well, this was unexpected.
So I found myself being arrested by the Baltimore City Police Department, falsely charged with statutory rape and sexual molestation of underage girls, in connection with allegedly running a Satanic cult. Bloody fucking Hell.
Now, far be it from me to do anything to harm Baltimore’s Finest, so I accordingly waited until we were outside the apartment building before making my escape. Of course I had already secretly freed myself from their handcuffs, Houdini-style. As soon as we were out on the sidewalk, approaching the squad car, I levitated quickly upward and away from them. I was well out of sight before they could even react.
But I had to think about what to do next. Obviously, this was all a set-up. For me to be falsely accused of the same very charges of which I had just discovered TV “ghost-hunter” Zef Bazans to be guilty was certainly not a coincidence. The evil entity possessing him had to be a Goddamned powerful one, to say the least! It/he had influenced numerous people and institutions thousands of miles away from Bazans’ Las Vegas location to persecute me after having divined that I had discovered the eldritch being’s existence. This was certainly something far more than an ordinary Hell-demon, but what?!
I had recently been corresponding, as part of my investigation of Zef Bazans, with a young actress named Clara Osborn who lived in Los Angeles. She had known Zef Bazans, having fallen under the spell of the entity within him and had a brief sexual relationship with him nearly a year before. It therefore seemed like a good idea to go to LA and speak to her in person, before going to Vegas to confront Bazans himself.
So I immediately used my Algolitish teleportation powers to appear just out front of Clara’s rented house in California. Clara was a Hollywood ingénue claiming, like most of them, to be over 18. I knocked on her door (there was no bell) and she answered wearing only a brightly-colored towel. She had just gotten out of the shower and her long hair was dripping wet. She was a gorgeous blonde, medium-height, thin, with blue eyes, large, firm breasts and long, lovely legs. She recognized me right away and smiled.
“Dr. Rumanos!” she said, “Wow! Come in!”
I did so and sat down on her couch. She offered me a glass of iced tea and I gladly accepted. I briefly accounted to her the information I had uncovered about the notorious Zef Bazans and all that had recently occurred.
“I hate that bastard for using me the way he did!” she told me, “I don’t know a lot about this occult stuff but I do believe he is a worthless douche-bag! If you are going to fight him, I want to see it.”
“I kind of thought you would say that,” I said, “It could be extremely dangerous, but because of your previous relations with him, your being there might help to give me a tactical advantage.”
“Ooh, military talk!” she said, licking her full, red lips, “Sexy!”
Clara then went to get dressed before we could leave for Las Vegas. While waiting, I flipped on her TV.
"MASSIVE NATIONWIDE MANHUNT FOR SATANIC PEDOPHILE!, screamed the headline, FBI and other authorities are on the lookout for perverted cult-leader Dr. Daniel Rumanos!" Then they showed the photo of me from my old Gargoyle’s Paranormal Investigations website.
"MASSIVE NATIONWIDE MANHUNT FOR SATANIC PEDOPHILE!, screamed the headline, FBI and other authorities are on the lookout for perverted cult-leader Dr. Daniel Rumanos!" Then they showed the photo of me from my old Gargoyle’s Paranormal Investigations website.
Jesus cocksucking Christ on a Goddamned motorized motherfucking skateboard!!
Clara finally finished getting dressed. She came in wearing a hot, low-cut blue tank top, mini-skirt and high heels. Not exactly the best protective gear against the dangers into which we would be going, but she looked good.
So, we teleported to Las Vegas in order to face the evil TV “ghost-hunter” Zef Bazans. We had to find out exactly what grotesquely demonic entity was possessing him, and how it had influenced so many people -- to do everything from having illicit casual sex with the unattractive Zef (in Clara’s case) to causing the police back in Baltimore to falsely charge me with various heinous crimes.
Night had just fallen when we appeared just outside of the Coliseum Casino and Hotel, the one which was made to look like an establishment of the Roman Empire in its glory days. I would have rather been seeing Criss Angel’s new show at the Luxor, but unfortunately I had work to do.
Zef Bazans had rooms at the top floor of the Coliseum, paid for by the cable network which produced that execrable show of his, so we entered and walked directly past the gaming floors and the signs advertising the Palatine Buffet and entered the large, golden doors of the main elevator.
We got off the elevator and stepped into the long, spacious hallway of the hotel’s top floor. There were several doorways leading off to the sides and a tall, Roman-style column decorating the center.
At the far end of the hall we saw Bazans’ two henchmen from his “Ghost Escapades Crew” -- Aaron Goodrich, an overweight man with a shaved head and an hideous lazy-eyed look, and Mick Groph, a rather skinny person with closely-cropped hair and army-surplus fatigues.
These two rushed down the hall towards Clara and me. The energies beginning to glow around them showed that they were Magick-users, though humans. Obviously they had been sent in order to attempt to weaken me some before I had to face Zef Bazans himself.
They then began shooting small burst of occult energy, Goodrich from his eyes and Groph from his hands. These would have been quite painful striking a human being but I managed to shield them off easily. It was, however, annoying, so I decided to rid myself of these two as quickly as possible.
I hit Groph with a blast of my own energies and, before he had a chance to recover, reached into his brain with my will and caused several blood vessels there to burst, killing him instantly. He dropped to the floor.
This unfortunately gave Aaron Goodrich a chance to get around behind me and hit Clara with a blast that sent her crashing into the wall and into unconsciousness. But before he could turn back around I hit him with three magical volleys in quick succession, causing him to thrice ram his head into the wall. He slipped to the floor to die with copious amounts of blood spurting and warm grey matter oozing from his head.
Then, coming from the far end of the long hallway, I heard a bizarrely evil laugh. At the same time, I felt a presence unlike anything I had been expecting to experience. It was a presence obscenely powerful, dreadfully wicked, and strangely familiar even though it was one I knew I had not myself encountered before.
I turned and saw Zef Bazans standing there, his face one of absolute, malignant evil. He was still physically the same common-looking, middle-aged, unattractive individual he had been before -- right down to the idiotic attempt at a “hipster“ hairstyle, yet the palpable presence within him made him to be perceived as something far, far more -- something unbelievably strong, absolutely confident, and supremely masterful. I wondered…
“Ah, Rumanos,” he said, “very good work, I must say. My little minions never looked better. I was quite tired of the whiney little creeps anyway. Keeping up with Aaron’s drug habit was especially annoying. These reality TV shows don’t pay one so much money as most people seem to think, you know.”
“Are you just going to go on babbling, Bazans or whatever you are called,” I answered in disgust, “Or do you have the nerve to face me and finish this?!”
“Really,” he answered, “You don’t yet know who -- or at least WHAT -- I am? Have you truly been away for so long? Because I know I haven‘t been forgotten there!”
“What the fucking Hell do you mean?”
“Well, now, what can I do to show you? Maybe…THIS!!”
Suddenly, he hit me with a blast of Magical energies beyond any I could have possibly anticipated, a blast so incredibly strong it sent me flying at a speed past the sound barrier, crashing right through the roof of the Coliseum Casino and Hotel. A blast which I recognized as made up of an unspeakably eldritch power only available to one race of beings in all of Time and Space.
When the realization hit me, it was much worse than the merely physical pain I was experiencing from the blast. The entity possessing Zef Bazans was an Algolite!
It took getting shot through the roof of the Coliseum Casino and Hotel to do it, but I finally bloody well realized that the being possessing fake TV “ghost-hunter” Zef Bazans was an Algolite -- one of my own people, that immensely powerful race of god-like entities who are masters of all of Time and Space. It was an incredibly powerful one as well, judging from the incredible strength of the tremendous blast of Magical energy which had sent me breaking the sound barrier into the skies over Las Vegas. The eldritch, phantasmal presence I had felt just before being hit was an obscenely ancient one, but not one I had previously encountered.
I had just finally managed to slow my ascent that clear, cloudless desert night when I looked down and saw Bazans following. He had levitated through the gaping hole in the hotel roof which my hurtling body had made, and was obviously intending to continue our perilous combat here, far above the Earth.
As soon as I saw him, I sent down a burst of my own occult energies. I didn’t take time to generate enough yet to even attempt to seriously hurt him, but it was enough to slow him down a bit and show him he certainly wasn’t dealing with an amateur in mystical warfare.
“Not bad, Rumanos!” he sad, still laughing maniacally, “But you cannot win! I am more ancient and powerful than you know, and soon, SOON, I shall have gained all the power necessary to return to our homeworld of Demonia, where I shall confirm my status as supreme and eternal ruler of the Watchers of Algol!!”
“So tell me then,” I queried, “Who were you before you became a bloody sod ‘paranormal’ TV star?”
“I am NEPHAL!!”
Nephal! Of course I recognized that horrid name immediately. Nephal! The most notorious criminal in Algolite history! The one who, countless ages ago, rose to the rank of Universal Overseer of the Absolute Convention of the Watchers, the most exalted position in our mighty civilization. But even that wasn’t enough for him. His next goal had been to force our people through the next phase of our evolution, discarding our physical forms entirely and becoming beings of pure ecstatic energy. To the Watchers of the Demon Star Algol, those beings with a dreadfully strict rule against interfering with the natural cycles of the universe, this projected tampering with our own development had been total and absolute blasphemy. The other members of the Convention turned against Nephal and declared him anathema. By their combined powers they were able to capture and banish him -- to where, exactly, had been lost to our history. Indeed, nothing else was ever spoken of Nephal, the very thought of him bringing a shudder to even the most stalwart of Algolites. Children, when they were taught to recite the list of Universal Overseers, were instructed to go silent and cast their eyes downward a moment when the got to his name, as if the very fact of his ever having existed was personally shameful even to those who had not yet existed in his days.
So here we were, locked in deadly battle, flinging grotesque amounts of Algolitish Magical energies at each other in the star-filled night sky above Las Vegas, Nevada!
Then, after hitting me with a particularly powerful volley of mystical force, Nephal/Zef Bazans flew back downward, disappearing through the hole in the roof of the Coliseum Hotel.
I followed as soon as I had recovered enough to do so, and got inside just in time to see Nephal carrying the now semi-conscious Clara, who was feebly struggling against him, to the center of the large hallway. Just as they reached the tall Roman column there, a round passage-way opened in it, closing again after Nephal stepped through, still carrying the helpless young girl. Immediately, an odd hissing, moaning noise began which I recognized, to my extreme horror. The column was actually a disguised DiTraS -- a Dimensional Transport Sphere -- a device used by Algolites to facilitate travel through the Space and Time Current! We could enter the Current -- a incalculable, swirling grey area outside of what lesser beings consider reality -- by force of will, but use of a DiTraS helped when traveling because it already had the necessary energy stored within it.
Obviously, I couldn’t just let Nephal escape. So, I jumped forward and held on tightly to the DiTraS as it faded from this world -- taking me with it to an unknown destination which could be anywhere in the universe and anyplace in the unspeakably vast ages of Time!!
Nephal -- The most infamous and notorious criminal mastermind in the history of the planet Demonia, indeed in all the unspeakably long annals of the Watchers of Algol the Demon Star. When the Algolite Ultimate Convention captured him all those countless ages ago, they first removed his spirit from his body but were then left with a problem: Algolitish souls are truly immortal. So they banished him, leaving his eternal spirit imprisoned inside volcanic rock on a lifeless world many light-years from Demonia.
But on that world, now known as Earth, life later came into being, and much, much later that particular bit of rock became part of an island off the coast of a nation known as Italy, on a continent called Europe. The people of this continent were suffering from an hideous disease which they called the Black Plague, and this particular island became a burning ground for the bodies of those dead of this horrible ailment.
Due to this, the island became infested with evil, demonic entities from various planes of existence, attracted to the residual suffering of those who had died of the plague. The spirit of Nephal, awakened by this after unspeakably long eons of waiting, gathered these wicked spirits around him. Recognizing his Algolitish superiority, they became his unholy worshippers, giving him their power.
After the centuries of plague were finished, humans migrated to the island, some of them attracted by the stories of the historical sufferings that had gone on there. One of these people was the fake TV “ghost-hunter” Zef Bazans, the producers of whose show thought that the island’s story would make a shuddery little episode for their gullible, mostly pre-teen audience.
The spirit of Nephal had by now gained enough power to be able to escape his prison and take over a new body, and it chose Zef Bazans at its new host. Carrying on with his occult plans of domination was easy now for Nephal, anyone who even noticed thinking it was just more fakery for Bazans’ cable TV show. He even managed to locate an old DiTraS (Dimensional Transport Sphere, a machine facilitating quicker travel through the Time and Space Current) abandoned by some Algolitish scientists who had visited ancient Egypt -- they had planned to come back and get it, of course, and only a few thousand years had passed -- these being like minutes to Algolites.
It was to the outside of this DiTraS that I now found myself clinging, Nephal/Zef Bazans having just kidnapped a teenage girl named Clara and gone hurtling through the continuum in it to an unknown location -- his attempt to try to escape from my work at thwarting his nefarious plans!
I held on tightly to the DiTraS as we traveled through the swirling mists of the Current. I noticed the machine was keeping its disguised appearance as a Roman column, as Nephal had made it look to hide it at Zef Bazans’ apartment at the Coliseum Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. They usually revert to their true appearance when traveling through Space or the Current continuum -- that being a rather classic “flying saucer” shape. But my holding on to it was likely interfering with that. I wondered if anyone, even in the nearly-eternal history of the Algolite Watchers, had traveled in quite the way I was doing now. Sodding Hell.
Then I felt the DiTraS shudder as it materialized in its next location -- breaking back through into the material universe. When I felt we were fully back in the physical realm, I released my hold and fell to the ground. I stood up, but my legs were shaky with exhaustion from having just passed through the Current at such speed.
I looked around me. We had appeared on a strange, alien world, likely countless light-years from Earth. It was desolate, barren and rocky, and the very few stars in its black, eerie sky showed that it was located on the most outer edge of some galaxy far, far remote from others. The only light came from the reflection of the planet’s sun off its three grotesquely misshapen moons.
Then the circular door of the DiTraS opened and Nephal strode out, carrying the struggling, now-fully-conscious Clara over his shoulder. He dropped the girl to the ground and she screamed with terror at sudden realization of where she was. She cowered in horror beside an outcropping of rock and I noticed the look of oncoming insanity on her beautiful face.
“Now, Dr. Rumanos,” said Nephal, now face-to-face with me, “Our final confrontation begins, and only one of us shall leave this planet alive!”
There I was, face-to-face with Nephal, the most notoriously dangerous political criminal in the entire history of the universe, on a desolate planet countless light-years from any civilized world. Having gotten there by clinging to the outside of Nephal’s DiTraS (Dimensional Transport Sphere, a machine capable of facilitating travel through the Space/Time Current, invented and used by our people, the Watchers of Algol) had considerably weakened me.
Clara, the young girl whom Naphal had kidnapped during his attempt to escape -- either for companionship or, much more likely, just for the spite of it -- was cowering against a nearby outcropping of rock. The absolute terror of the realization of where she was and what was happening showed on her pretty face.
The ultimate absurdity that Nephal was wearing the body of fake “paranormal investigator” Zef Bazans of the TV series Ghost Escapades was not lost to me.
“This is our final confrontation, Rumanos,” sneered Nephal, “and only one of us shall leave this planet alive!”
“Yes, you already said that,” I replied, “Running out of cliché super-villain threats or something, you old sod?”
Nephal angrily hit me with a burst of eldritch psychic energy, sending me vaulting several yards backwards. I was expecting it, though, and recovered more quickly than he thought I would, sending him a blast of my own phantasmal force in return.
I looked at Clara. The poor girl was becoming irrevocably insane with the horror of what had befallen her. I looked back at Nephal and, with hideously grim determination, began my final ploy to hopefully defeat him forever.
Before Nephal could fully recover from my blast, I psychically reached into his mind. Of course, his Algolitish defenses went up immediately, and he blocked me from any real mental probing, but it was enough. I immediately then switched my focus and forcefully entered Clara’s mind, penetrating deeply into her subconscious.
Suddenly, the link for which I was looking took hold, and a great, onrushing force of awesome Magical energy began to flow from the Nephal-possessed form of Zef Bazans directly into Clara’s body.
Nephal howled in torment and fell to his knees as his occult powers were drained from him. “Rumanos,” he stammered, “How…?”
“Oh, it’s just that I knew something you didn’t, Nephal,” I answered, “When you had your little sexual encounter with Clara some time ago, you made her pregnant. She had an abortion, so no one else knew about it, except she told me when I was investigating Zef Bazans. Now, you see, when you possessed Bazans’ body you totally linked your psyche with his DNA, destroying his comparatively weak human consciousness to make room for your own superior Algolite one.
“But whenever an Earth female becomes pregnant, traces of the DNA of the male who did it are always part of her. Any bloody dog-breeder knows that. Well, it works with humans, too. So when I linked your two psyches together your powers immediately recognized the presence of Zef Bazans within her DNA strand, and started to try to take over her according to the imperative which you had previously given them.”
The mystical power continued to flow into Clara’s tortured body. She screamed in pain and began aging quickly, as the force of an unspeakably long-lived Algolite entered her poor human self, far too quickly and without her having undergone any preparation. She dropped onto the ground of that barren planet, dead. Her flesh rotted away in seconds, leaving only a skeleton, then a pile of dust, and then even that faded away, and the power of the notorious Nephal with it. A shame, I suppose, that this beautiful young actress had to die in order to save the universe from the tyranny of Nephal, but at least I delivered her from the horrors of the Hollywood casting couch.
His power now gone, the consciousness of Nephal remained within the weak, pitifully human body of Zef Bazans. Nephal stared at me in total horror of his own helplessness, the desperation of absolute hatred for me looking out of his now-mortal eyes.
I left him there, alone on that deserted world remote from any civilization. I used the DiTraS to return to Earth. The machine turned out to have more problems than staying disguised as a Roman column. It had a faulty guidance circuit as well, and I only made it back to Earth in the proper Time by closely following the reverse residue of its earlier trip. No matter, since the Algolites had intentionally blocked some of my knowledge of Time/Space travel coordinates as a necessary part of my exile. The DiTraS now waits immobile in the abandoned church building that was once known as the Temple of the Starry Wisdom, until the day comes that I can again use it.
Without the obscenely-powerful psychic influence of Nephal, the false criminal charges the Baltimore Police had against me were instantly dropped. However, my reputation was bloody-well ruined by the national news coverage of the whole thing, but what else is fucking new?
Of course, I could take some consolation for this in the fact that the TV series Ghost Escapades was cancelled.