“Something is transpiring on the third planet of the system known as Sol,” said the first of them, as they stood in one of the awesome secret observatories from which the Watchers of Algol keep benevolent vigilance over all the civilizations in existence throughout space and time.
“Yes,” said the other, “I see that one of the beings of the species known as ‘human’ is attempting to perform the Crimson Miracle. This is an unspeakable danger to all of reality.”
“This must be prevented, but we cannot officially intervene. Rumanos is currently serving his exile upon the same planet, that which the humans call Earth. We shall transmit to him the information necessary to empower him to deal with it.”
“It is agreed then. This shall be done, and we must trust that he will manage to control the situation as is essential.”
I myself am the aforementioned Rumanos -- Dr. Daniel Rumanos, that is. Though exiled to Earth by my people, the Algolites, I maintain their powers within me -- the psychic-energy which humans generally refer to as Magick, and am myself therefore generally known as Demon Star. I reside in the city known as Baltimore, Maryland with my beautiful wife Katrina, AKA Heaven’s Hell. She is a wonderful young lady who was originally the creation of a mad scientist who made her from the DNA of a deceased Satanic Sorcerer. She has a certain power of her own -- the ability to generate and control Infernal Flame.
Katrina and I had been investigating the case of the serial killer which the local media had begun to call the Night Crawler -- due to the odd circumstance that witnesses had claimed to see a large, grotesque, worm-like creature in the areas of his murders.
But there was another oddity about the killer’s two (so far) atrocities which neither the media nor the police knew about: Both of the victims had been known to me. The first was Denise Archer, the young woman who had brought to my attention the case of the missing pentagram amulet some time ago. The second was a gentleman named Terrance Cunningham, whose life had been plagued by a succubus until I had exorcised the creature from his home.
Why was this killer targeting my former clients? At first I thought it might be an elaborate attempt to frame me, but that didn’t seem to be the case since no suspicion had come my way. The victims had been quite ritually slaughtered -- Denise in her home and Mr. Cunningham outside taking a walk near his. They had been murdered two weeks apart, on the nights of the New Moon and Full Moon, respectively. Both had occult symbols carved on their bodies by the killer’s knife, who had obviously also taken some of their blood away with him, probably catching it in a jar or other container as it spurted from their dying bodies.
Katrina and I were home that evening discussing this case and trying to make some sense of it when I suddenly received the transmission from Algol directly into my head.
“Oh shit!” I stammered. “Oh bloody fucking shit!”
“What is it baby?!” said my wife in alarm, “Are you hurt?! Are you alright?!!”
“I’m fine, sweetie,” I reassured her, “But I’ve just received information from the Watchers concerning the true nature of the Night Crawler murders!”
Indeed I had, and it was as far as possible from being good news.
Elsewhere, the young man who was the killer known as Night Crawler stood in his small Baltimore row-home smearing the saved-up blood of his victims on his nude body. His soul belonged to the demon Vermiis, and that evil spirit kept its side of the bargain by protecting him while he carried out his murders. Even the stories of the witnesses who had glimpsed the grey, slimy, worm-like form of the demon had only helped to throw a veil of obfuscation on the killer’s activities.
“Soon,” whispered the murderer to himself in hideous ecstasy as Magical energy began to spark around the room, “Soon I will complete this work. Only two more deaths to accomplish and I will be prepared to take unto myself a power beyond anything found on this earth. A power with which all that I desire shall be mine. The power of Daniel Rumanos!!"
His name was Ronald Suydem. The Baltimore-based serial killer who had so far taken the lives of two individuals who had been former clients of mine. He had made a pact with a demonic spirit known as Vermiis, selling his soul in exchange for the demon’s protection while Suydem carried out his murders. Vermiis appeared in its hellish form as a gigantic slithering worm guarding the area where the killer struck. Oy vey, first I had to deal with giant roaches and now a bloody great worm from Hell -- and some people continue to think that this city’s biggest problem is street crime!
But the goal of Suydem’s murderous activities was something far darker, and far, far more dangerous than even this. Suydem was attempting to perform The Crimson Miracle, that legendary attempt to gain the powers of one of the Watchers of Algol -- in this case, myself. It is said that the “Miracle” can only be achieved once every 6,666 years (according to Earth reckoning of time), when the stars come around and are right. Now was such a time, and Ronald Suydem was killing persons who had known me and witnessed my Algolitish Magicks. He would then bathe in their blood, absorbing the residual occult energies to which they had been exposed while in my presence, energies which most likely otherwise would have gone unnoticed for the rest of their natural lives. His deal with the demonic forces would have included the information necessary for him to learn to control and use these energies for his own nefarious purposes.
The locations of his murders were tracing a large Celtic Cross over the area of Baltimore. The first had been in the Belvedere area, to the extreme north of town, while the second had been in the south bordering Glen Burnie. In order to keep the pattern he would have to strike next in East Baltimore -- specifically, Patterson Park.
But when? The first two killings had been according to the phases of the Moon. But now that those particular energies had been added to the equation, he would look for something else. My wife Katrina and I drew up an Astrological Chart and studied it -- and there it was! A night when not only was Jupiter in conjunction with the Sun -- signifying the birth of greatness -- but also when the Demon Star Algol would itself be rising! Surely Suydem would not miss this chance to carry out the last two murders -- and then to make the final challenge to me in his diabolical attempt to destroy me and gain all of the powers I hold as an Algolite, powers which he could then use to bring the human race to its knees before him!!
This was that very night!
Shortly after sunset, Katrina and I teleported directly into Patterson Park. I was in my all-black outfit with my long leather coat and the silver Inverted Pentagram I now wore as token of my Demon Star powers. She was in her red and black tights, emblazoned with a silver Inverted Cross between the curves of her full, perfect breasts, and matching cape -- Heaven’s Hell!
The demon Vermiis was already at the park to defend its evil worshipper’s murderous activities by casting a spell of forgetful enchantments upon any mere mortals who may have strayed too close. The dreadfully wicked spirit was seen by us in its true form as a gigantic, undulating worm -- grey, with bluish vein-like structures underneath its slippery, disgusting skin.
Vermiis moved its grotesque bulk towards us. It was over 20 feet in length, squirming, slithering in hideously eldritch motion. It hit us with a blast of its demonic energy, and I countered with one of my own. Then Katrina struck the horrid thing with several volleys of her wonderful vermillion Flame. While it was dazed by this I spoke the Latin words of Exorcism necessary to send this particular type of fiend back to the Abyss of Tartarus. With an horrendous shudder and a piercingly otherworldly scream made even more chillingly insane by the fact that the creature had no tongue, it disappeared in a spectral flash of deepest black.
The phantasmal demon was gone, but its work had already been done. It had distracted us just long enough that Suydem had murdered another victim and escaped. We saw the girl’s body as soon as we had gotten a few yards into the park. She was face down, and steam still rose into the cool night air from the open wounds caused by the killer’s cruel knife-thrusts and slashes. I reached down and turned her over with some trepidation. Which one of my friends or clients had been the one fated to meet such a horrible death while just walking through a park this night? When I saw her face, I felt something catch in my throat. It was Luna Gardner, the dark-haired young woman who had once called me to investigate the case of the Lust Elemental at Frostburg University. She had since transferred to Towson State University, and had probably just been out clubbing this evening when she had met her untimely, horrifying death.
This was worse than I had feared because, though they had wiped her memory of it, in the course of her former adventure with me Luna had glimpsed the Algolite spaceships which had arrived to take me to my trial on the homeworld. She would have been exposed to residual energy from others of my people as well as myself, and that power was now Ronald Suydem’s own!!
The unholy Suydem was already on his way, and very well empowered, to perform the final murder necessary to possibly bring about The Crimson Miracle -- and his final showdown with ME!
A serial killer named Ronald Suydem was murdering my friends and former clients. He had made a pact with a demon named Vermiis that would enable him to perform The Crimson Miracle -- absorbing the residual Magical energy from certain individuals who had encountered me while I was performing Invocations, Exorcisms, and the like. This energy could eventually enable him to take my very power as a Watcher of Algol. Suydem, who was called “Night Crawler” due to the worm-like form of the evil spirit he worshipped, had hit it big with his last murder -- a girl named Luna who had been there when the Algolite spaceships arrived to take me to the homeworld. She would have had the energies of numerous of our people lingering about her, and now it was all the murderous maniac’s to use in his attempt to destroy me and then to use my powers to conquer the planet Earth!
Suydem had been tracing out a large Celtic Cross through the city of Baltimore with his killing spree, and he now had one more to go. It would be in the deserted parking lot of an old, now-closed department store in west Baltimore. My wife Katrina, also known as the wonderful Heaven’s Hell, and I teleported there as quickly as possible.
Thankfully, it appeared we had arrived in time that dark, unspeakably eventful night. The viciously criminal Ronald Suydem was there, but no one else was to be seen in the vicinity -- living or dead. It looked like we had prevented the final murder from taking place.
Suydem stood in the center of the abandoned lot. He was shirtless, and had already smeared the blood of his last victim, the unfortunate Luna Gardner, all upon his face, neck, chest, stomach, and arms. He seemed to be absolutely glowing with pitch-black Magical energy. He was a young man, medium build with brown hair and pale, grey eyes. He grinned with obscene, totally lunatic glee when he saw us approaching.
I didn’t waste any time. I hit him with a huge blast of my own magical energy which sent him crashing straight through the concrete wall of the old department store. He recovered so quickly it was frightening, levitating up and out of the rubble around him. I followed and we were soon both up in the air throwing bursts of power at each other. I was still more powerful, of course, but his speed and endurance were quite impressive, and his control of the powers which he had stolen was measurably imposing. The demon had taught him well.
I glanced back to see if Katrina was alright and saw her hovering a few yards behind me, small spurts of her Infernal Flame just keeping her aloft. I thought it was quite odd that she wasn’t helping me in the fight but didn’t have time to inquire as Suydem continued his mystical volleys against me. Perhaps, my pride made me reason, she just thinks that I can handle the situation well enough myself.
“Soon, Rumanos,” Suydem suddenly taunted, “I will take all of your power and then -- THEN -- the pitiful human race shall grovel at my feet! I will achieve what even you and your kind have never quite had the nerve to accomplish! I shall be the one supreme GOD of this and countless other worlds!!”
“Your ridiculous arrogance will be your downfall, Suydem,” I responded, “Like it or not, you are yourself part of that ‘pitiful human race’, and the power that we hold will never truly be yours. I am the image of the Demon Star upon Earth, but I have much better things to do than to get pathetic people to worship me.”
“You will be nothing, Rumanos! I will not be stopped!”
“You forget, ‘Night Crawler‘. We have already stopped you, having gotten here before you could carry out the final atrocity necessary for you to achieve your goal! You have no victim, and no fourth murder means no Crimson Miracle!”
Suydem then relaxed his guard and smiled evilly at me. “You speak of arrogance, Demon Star! It is you in your arrogance that have brought my final victim here and delivered her directly to me! The ultimate victim! She who has been exposed to more of your Algolitish power than any other being in all the universe! YOUR WIFE KATRINA!!”
I looked again at Katrina, Heaven’s Hell, my one and only love, and realized in that supremely hideous moment why she hovered there transfixed in the air. Suydem, in his absorption of my energies, had tapped into the psychic bond that exists only between my wife and myself, and was able to use it to confuse her senses.
“She will die, Rumanos!” mocked Suydem as he drew from the scabbard at his side the large ceremonial dagger with which he had committed his horrible crimes, “and the glorious power of the Watchers of Algol shall be MINE!”
Then, before I could even begin to move to stop him, Suydem sent a vast current of black Magical energy through the dagger and directly at my beautiful Katrina, sending her thin body to the ground with a sickeningly loud thud and skidding terrifyingly across the parking lot.
Ronald Suydem, the grotesque serial murderer known in the local press as “Night Crawler”, intended to complete and assure his performance of The Crimson Miracle by killing my wife, Katrina. After all, she had been exposed more to my Algolitish occult powers than any other person in existence. Powers that he could then take as his own and use to conquer the human race.
So it occurred, as we faced him in a deserted Baltimore parking lot on that evil night, that he hit my beautiful love with a horribly strong burst of eldritch Magical energy, channeled and amplified through his ceremonial dagger, as she stood transfixed due to the psychic link that he had already achieved by absorbing my power from other of my friends and former clients whom he had murdered. She hit the ground hard and skidded several yards away. I knew it wouldn’t be enough to kill or permanently harm her, due to her own powers as the wonderful Heaven’s Hell. But it must have caused her intense pain, and I perceived that she was rendered unconscious immediately.
At any cost I had to prevent Suydem from attacking her further in her currently weakened state. So I accordingly began striking him with continuous bursts of blackest Magical energy. He did the same in return, his phantasmal power now being greatly amplified by the dagger he held in his hand -- the very knife which had been covered in the blood of his victims. We rose up, up, high into the air, levitated by the force of our mystical faculties as we remained locked in hideously mortal combat. We whorled round and round in countless circles as the battled raged on. It was an unholy maelstrom of hate, a swirling whirlwind of darkest supernatural forces.
Finally, he seemed to be tiring a little. Just enough that I could dare to relax my guard sufficiently to accomplish what I had been planning. Because there is one important thing the demon had not told Ronald Suydem about my powers. Evil spirits can be real bastards that way.
When my once-future self, the vampire Thaskales, had saved my life by relinquishing his own life-force to me, my powers as an Algolite had greatly increased. Suydem’s three victims had known me before this had happened, and I had not encountered any of them since. Now, with my own life, and, infinitely more importantly, that of the woman I loved being threatened, I took the awesome responsibility upon me of tapping into those spectral powers. I called them forth from deep within my consciousness -- powers beyond good and evil, powers beyond imagining. I then reached forth with my mind into Suydem’s inner being, and drained from him the forces he had absorbed from his unfortunate victims -- from my friends, from those who had at one time or another trusted me to help them.
Suydem’s eyes grew wide with shock as he felt himself growing weaker. I did not stop until only the most feeble human component was left within him. Then I released him to fall to the ground.
I wonder if, in those moments when he felt himself hurtling to his death, Ronald Suydem realized why Algolites do not use their powers to rule the universe, to subjugate all of time and space to our wills, as we could so easily do. It is not because we are too “good” or too “moral” or any such nonsense. It is because we are too far above and superior to the other races of the universe. The interaction necessary to rule over them would only cause us to despise the weak, sniveling filth that make up all of the so-called “civilizations” of creation. It would only lead to us to totally destroying the countless species that would immediately kneel and grovel before us if they knew of the incredible power we hold. We would soon enough be left with nothing to rule.
So Ronald Suydem, the Night Crawler, hit the ground and died instantly. A much more merciful death than he deserved. Katrina was released from her thrall as soon as I had drained my powers back from him, and she soon was back by my side, her own Heaven’s Hell abilities having returned and healed her injuries immediately. She used her Infernal Flame to burn Suydem’s corpse -- along with the cruel ceremonial knife with which he had committed his atrocities -- completely out of existence. Because for even a single cell, a mote of dust or ash of him to remain would have been the greatest danger the cosmos had ever known. For he had, indeed, been a being that had come within closing-distance of performing The Crimson Miracle.
After it was over, I held my wife, my lovely Katrina, in my arms. She was crying.
“I’m so sorry, Daniel,” she said, “I don’t know what happened. I love you! Please don’t be angry.”
“Oh, my sweet, wonderful Kat. I could never be angry with you, my beautiful one.” I consoled her, “You are my wonderful Heaven’s Hell. You are my love -- the only one I will ever have. The only one I could ever want.”
I stroked her soft, red hair, looked into her beautiful light-blue eyes, and kissed her tenderly on her sweet, gorgeous lips as the first glow of dawn touched the eastern sky.
I am Dr. Daniel Rumanos, the living image of ALGOL upon Earth. I AM THE DEMON STAR.