THE ADVENTURES OF DAEMON-STAR by Daniel Rumanos

THE HAND OF BISHOP JAMES SHORT


***** WARNING: The following account, concerning as it does a new phase in the activities of Bishop James Short (alias BEELZEBUB‘S BISHOP), includes material that may be offensive to fake bishops from Louisville, Kentucky. Sodding off is advised. *****

The baba ghanoush was excellent, and the flatbread warm and perfect for dipping, as it should be. My wife and I were quite enjoying this appetiser as we awaited the lamb kabobs there in the Cairo Café restaurant in Rockville, Maryland. Our iced Egyptian coffees (shaken, not stirred) were also superb.

“This is such a nice place, Daniel,” said my lovely wife. “I am so glad we chose it for dinner tonight.”

“I am happy you are enjoying it, my wonderful Kat,” I replied. “Yes, I do think that Middle Eastern cuisine is quite my favourite food on Earth.”

However, little did we know that our pleasant culinary experience was soon to be interrupted by an unnameable horror, a terrible wickedness of ungodly villainy!

My name is RUMANOS -- DANIEL RUMANOS (AKA Daemon-Star), occult detective, psychic investigator, literary illusionist, and all that. Even though I have the appearance of a tall, good-looking human gentleman, I am in reality no mere mortal. I do carry within my blood the vastly superior genes of the Watchers of ALGOL, this extraterrestrial heritage granting me numerous powers that appear as “mystical” or “supernatural” to the people of Earth. Such is the origin of my own apparently paranormal abilities as the most powerful living Master of Cabbalistic Magic.

My incomparably-beautiful and eternally-youthful wife’s name is KATRINA (AKA Heaven’s Hell). She is tall and slender, with gorgeous red hair and beautiful azure-blue eyes, her skin the pure white of finest alabaster. Katrina was created in a laboratory from DNA infused with certain abilities gathered from a famous sorcerer, and therefore has the power of generating and controlling the Mystical Flame.

We reside in the Roland Park neighbourhood of northwest Baltimore City at the Temple of the Starry Wisdom -- a towering, Gothic-styled edifice atop a lofty escarpment. From these headquarters, we use our abilities to help and defend the innocent against the forces of “spiritual” evil.

The Rumanos Files, which are safely kept in a secure location within the Temple, guarded by spirit servitors, contain countless numbers of these bizarre tales of weird adventures and grotesque experiences in the world of the occult sciences, with titles like The Cauldron of Fear; A Study in Crimson; Mortal Sins; The Amazing Spiral of Doom; Might is Right; The Web of Terror, or Sasquatch in the City; A Department Store Horror; The Hag in High-Heels, or The Lounge Nazi's Curse; The Corned Beef of Death; The Dream-Quest of Unknown Towson; The Creepy Cagliostro; The Shadow Over Hampden; The Dundalk Horror, or Scream of the Shoggoth; and many, many more.

Nevertheless, Katrina and I had attempted to put all this aside for the evening, and to enjoy an idyllic meal at one of our favourite eateries. But as I have before said, it was not to be so. For just as I was extolling the virtues of Middle Eastern cuisine, we were interrupted by a disturbance at the restaurant entrance. Three figures had entered. One was a thin, young man clad in black attire with a white clerical collar. He held a diamond-studded leather leash to which was attached a sleek, black mongrel dog.

As for the third figure, he was someone I -- to my complete and utter disgust -- had recognised immediately. He was a middle-aged man, of average height and grotesquely corpulent, wearing a blasphemously-purple and garishly over-decorated outfit denoted his supposed episcopacy. I quickly put up a barrier of magical invisibility around my wife and myself. Our table was some yards from the doorway, and I hoped that the individual whom I recognised had not as yet seen us. He most likely had not, as he seemed rather busy with the preoccupation of arguing with the headwaiter.

“I am sorry, sir,” the headwaiter had said respectfully. “We do not allow pets in the restaurant.”

“What!” the man had shouted indignantly; his heavy, debauched face pink with anger below his purple zucchetto. “This is my fur-friend, Fuzzie! Don’t you know who I am?! I am the Presiding Archbishop of the United States New Catholic Church! I am BISHOP JAMES SHORT!!”

*****

“Bishop” James Short! The unspeakably diabolical, patently false “priest” whom, through his numerous ungodly attempts to gain both worldly and preternatural power through unscrupulous means (often involving black, satanic forces and occult terrorism), has become my most persistent, insidious, and downright bloody annoying archenemy over the years. Usually keeping his evil lair in Louisville, Kentucky, his presence in Rockville -- what with it being a suburb of Washington, DC -- is something I found especially disturbing. It is said that there are no coincidences in my line of work, and indeed it must have been a subconscious psychic premonition that made me think of this restaurant in particular for dinner that eventful evening.

“Do you hear me?!” continued to shout the execrable James Short to the headwaiter, whose name was Mahmud. “I am a man of the cloth! I know what this is about! You hate us for not being Muslim, don’t you?! Well, we don’t have to put up with that!”

“Amen, Bishop,” said the other man, a certain “Father Joseph Pierce -- another fake priest, un-canonically “ordained” by the evil Short. Joseph Pierce also served the function of being the Bishop’s lover, as indeed his brother, “Father” David Pierce, had before being slain during a particularly demonic debacle some time before[*].

[*For the horrific details of this, read the tale entitled Menace of the Paranormal Clerics, if you dare!]

“This is our fur-companion, Fuzzie Short!“ continued Bishop James in his tirade. “She is more than a pet; she is a member of the family!”

Mahmud gave in (with the current political situation, he thought, it will not do to have anybody claiming to have been barred from this Muslim-owned and operated establishment due to being Christian or whatever) and showed Short, Pierce, and the dog to a table.

The owner of the restaurant, an Egyptian-born immigrant known as Happy Habib, came over to our table. As he is a quite decent chap, I allowed him to see through the cloak of magical invisibility I had put around Kat and myself.

“I am most sorry, effendi,” said Habib with sincerity, “for this disturbance during your dinner.”

“Think nothing of it, my good man,” I replied. “I am certain we can handle the situation, eh?”

With a knowing look upon his handsome Arab features, Habib then quietly returned to the restaurant kitchen.

James Short and his companions (yes, the dog had a chair of its own) were studying the menu whilst Short continued to talk on with his usual self-aggrandising insanity.

“Soon, my disciples, we will take supreme power,” he stated. “Soon this country and this world will recognise me as the most holy and supreme Archbishop and Pope of the only true religion.”

“Amen, Bishop,” again replied the priestly pathic Joseph Pierce.

Grotesquely, the dog known as Fuzzie Short barked twice in seeming approval.

After I had made a call on my mobile telephone, I picked up the bowl of complementary cashews that was on our table and walked over to stand next to James Short.

“We will reign supreme,” he went on, his jowly, disgusting countenance glistening with sweat as he grew more excited by his own words, “and I, His Excellency, Bishop James Short, will at long lust… I mean, at long last take my rightful place as God upon Earth! I am the true lord of all existence! I am…”

“Nuts?” said I, proffering the bowl to him as I dropped the cloak of psychic invisibility.

Daniel Rumanos!” shouted Short furiously. “As ever you seek to interfere with my holy plans! Oh, why do you hate me so?”

“I do not hate you, James,” I rejoined. “Well, I hate that your name is James. After all, you do not deserve such a respectable moniker. So many great men have been named James. Indeed, some of my favourite people: saints, kings, starship captains, British spies. Still, it does mean ‘usurper’, eh? So at least it suits you in that respect, you bloody old fake.”

“You will not stop me this time, Rumanos,” he countered angrily. “My friends Father Joseph and Fuzzie are here, and friends are like angels who lift up your feet when your wings don’t work!”

Bloody hell, I thought, this bloke gets madder by the minute.

“Give up now, Short,” I replied calmly. “I have already contacted the proper authorities, and there will be government men here to arrest you at any moment. Since it turns out you are still alive, you need to face charges for your robbery of the Smithsonian some years ago[*]. As you can see, we already have you and your ‘friends‘ surrounded.”

[*See The Mystery of Bishop James Short.]

Indeed, whilst I was distracting the lunatic Short and his cohorts, my wonderful Katrina had generated a ring of her vermillion and violet occult flame around us all, therefore protecting the other restaurant patrons (whom I suspect thought this entire presentation to be some type of bizarre floor-show), and keeping our hideous enemies from escaping.

“No no no, Rumanos,” said the evil fake Bishop. “Not this time. Fuzzie -- KILL!!”

At this insane command, the black bitch lunged directly at my throat. The beast’s eyes showed a strange demoniac intelligence, and I suddenly felt the horrid presence of countless spirits of eldritch satanic darkness, and the essence of something strangely familiar. This, indeed, was no ordinary dog!

*****

I cast a bolt of my orange and blue Algolitish energies at the ebony cur, stopping it for the moment. The demoniacal dog was not serious hurt, however, and began to inch slowly towards me with a menacing growl.

“So, Rumanos,” cackled the mad Bishop James Short, “how do you like my fur-baby, Fuzzie?”

“I am not really a dog person, Short,” I retorted. “After all, I am more into pussies. But that is not something you would understand, is it, you old sodomite? -- or perhaps I should call you a FUNDAMENT-alist, eh?”

Me?!” ejaculated James Short, not getting the play on words. “It is you who have claimed to be the Son of God!”

“I have done nothing of the sort, Short,” explained I. “My father was an extraordinarily-advanced extraterrestrial being whom the Earthlings, long ago, took for the Almighty. There is no god but GOD!”

“I am tired of your insolence and disrespect, you dirty magician!” screamed the fraudulent Archbishop. “You are just jealous of me! But puny Hebrew spells will no longer stop me! I have made pacts with the masters of the demonic realm -- with Azazel and Buzrael; with Belial and Beelzebub! You shall yet bow, kneel, and grovel before me, and you will do it in the darkest pits of eternal Perdition!!”

The black, demonic mongrel lunged for me again. Whilst I was occupied with fighting the horrid animal, I noticed that James Short was generating a terrifyingly powerful conglomeration of darksome occult power around himself. As I was kept busy defending myself against his diabolical dog’s attacks, the false Bishop was obviously planning something -- but what?

Meanwhile, the appalling young homosexual known as Father Joseph Pierce had joined battle against my wife, Katrina. You see, Pierce -- as James Short’s boyfriend -- had himself absorbed copious quantities of sinisterly satanic seminal secretions -- and with it had come darkling uncanny powers that he now made use of against my wife’s wonderful mystic flame.

“So, you are Katrina Rumanos,” taunted the abominable Pierce as they fought. “Do your friends call you ‘Trina’”?

“No, they call me Kat,” she replied. “But you are NOT my friend!”

The fight continued there in the Cairo Café restaurant -- Kat versus catamite -- as my wife’s dazzling vermillion and violet mystic fire faced off against the hideous black supernatural forces of Joseph Pierce. Whilst my sensational spouse could certainly hold her own (and then some!) against the curiously queer cleric (perhaps even eventually causing him to burn like a lit fag), the concentration necessary to do so caused the circle of protecting flame she had previously set up to begin to weaken.

Do you comprehend the unnameable horror of this situation, dear reader? As my wife fought the abominable Joseph Pierce, I continued to fend off attacks of Short’s currish canine!

“You will soon see what power I now have!” the hideously bogus Bishop prattled on. “For I am Beelzebub’s Bishop, and the Presiding Archbishop of all Creation!”

You are certifiable,” I countered calmly whilst hurling another bolt of Algolite force at the attacking demon-dog.

“Now,” Short continued, his eyes turning crimson with demonical power, “hear me, dark ones, and bestow your infernal blessings upon me. I do now command: Open wide the Gates of Hell!!”

And then, at the evil prelate’s summoning, the entrance to the great Abyss opened beside us; a black-than-black, yawning chasm into that inter-dimensional prison of the forever damned!

The horrifying sound of the howling and screaming of countless tortured souls was only penetrated by the shrill insane laughter of “Bishop” James Short as he reached out his hand towards me, momentarily catching me off-guard and pulling me in -- to fall directly along with him into that passageway to the very Pit of Eternal Torment!

“And now, ladies and gentlemen,” announced Short mockingly to no one in particular as we together plunged headlong into that phantasmagorical realm of spiritual darkness, “in response to your numerous requests, DANIEL RUMANOS GOES TO HELL!!!”

*****

I fell rapidly, hideously, down down DOWN into the depths of Hell itself -- the very Gehenna of the damned, accompanied by the execrably awful arch-villain and occult terrorist James Short and his shrieking peels of maniacal laughter.

My mind reeled with the thoughts of what -- and whom -- I would meet down there in that putrid Pit; the damned souls of so many that I had myself sent into that everlasting prison of Perdition. The desiccated husk of what had once been the soul of the perverse sorcerer Michael Cantorini. The formless horror that is the intensely demoniacal spirit of the disgusting Chezed Breswicz. The sickeningly satanic Mershon Brothers; the sinister psychic Chip T. Baggin… and indeed so many others.

All this in addition to the loathsome legions of the Cacodemons, the Shaitans, and the other ancient races of alien horror for which this other-dimensional gaol had been set up so many nameless aeons ago!

Nevertheless, just as I began to face the terrible thoughts of this, with the hideous hands of Bishop James Short dragging me body and soul with him into that horrid Abyss, there was suddenly another hand reaching down towards us. It was a dark, phantasmal, yet somehow friendly presence, that seized us both and raised us back out of that hellish chasm, back to the physical realm of Earth and to the dining room of the Cairo Café!

I looked around the room. My wonderful Katrina had defeated the fey Father Joseph Pierce, whom she had captured within her marvellous circle of fire as if it were a lasso. Then I turned and beheld whom and what had saved me from the Pit. It was an huge Afreet, standing next to its master, Happy Habib!

Habib, when a young boy playing near his home in Egypt, had found this creature (a phantom revenant of a species of being that had ruled Earth before humankind existed) and released it from the antique lanthorn in which the spirit had been trapped for millennia. In gratitude, the powerful Afreet had become his obedient servant. Indeed, its influence had been what had allowed Habib to come to America and fulfil his dream of becoming an highly-successful restaurateur.

Bizarre, eh? The hand of a false “Bishop” had attempted to drag me into Hell, and the hand of a supposed “evil spirit” had saved me. Go figure.

James Short was trembling in terror -- or anger -- at the sudden halt to his plot, and I accordingly set up around him a sphere of Algolitish energy to keep him from doing any further harm until the officials from the ESF (Executive Security Force, that secret paramilitary organisation, answerable only to the President of the United States, which had been founded to deal with threats to national security that involved the paranormal) arrived to place him under arrest.

The ESF took the villainous pair of Short and Pierce away to their highest-security facility. “Fuzzie” had disappeared, apparently having run off during the melee. Nobody bothered to look for her. After all, she was just a dog, was she not?

I telephoned the best five-star Washington, DC hotel and booked their finest room for the night. Kat and I would have to be at ESF headquarters in the morning to meet with their commanding officer, the ever-redoubtable Commodore Jack Hickman, and to be certain the magical wards necessary to jail Short and Pierce were properly strong.

I thanked our good friend Happy Habib and his ancient Afreet for their invaluable assistance. The giant spirit nodded in response and then faded from sight to await any future summons from its master, Habib. The latter insisted upon apologising profusely for us having experienced the unholy presence of the evil Bishop Short there in his restaurant, though we assured the good man that it was in no way his fault. He added a gratis order of flatbread pizza to our dinner, as well as two extra servings of his excellent Egyptian coffee.

“Well, my little ginger-girl,” I said playfully to Katrina whilst sipping the strongly-caffeinated drink. “After this, we will likely be awake all night.”

“It’s OK,” she answered me with a sexy smile, her wondrously-opalescent blue eyes flashing. “I’m sure we will find something to do in the hotel room, my big magic-man.” …

In a gloomy woodland a few miles away, as the leprous light of the waning gibbous moon shone down between the eldritch shadows of the trees, the black mongrel known as Fuzzie Short halted its running and suddenly transformed. The dog changed into the shape of a young, brown-skinned woman, totally nude saving for the studded leather collar she still wore.

“It is not yet over, my father,” whispered the dusky girl into the gloom of night; her dark, dangerously-striking countenance breaking into a smirk of depraved, utterly debauched wickedness. “I remain free, and we will in time still accomplish our plans that you, Bishop James Short, will become supreme ruler of this world. I, your daughter MARCELINE, do swear it!!”