“DANIEL AND KAT: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF DAEMON-STAR”
“You… you can’t do this, Mr. Huffines,” stammered the Reverend Edgar Walls, Pastor of Central Bible Church, whilst fidgeting with fright in his dark-blue, tailored suit. “It’s blasphemous! Positively blasphemous!”
“I can and will do it, Pastor,” replied Mr. Bruce Huffines with a strange grin. “Your church grounds adjoin the Essex Heritage Museum, of which I am Director, and we shall be using your property for our upcoming festival.”
“But that thing you want to celebrate here,” returned Rev. Walls with a decided shudder. “There is just something ungodly about it, something downright… demonic!”
Even though this meeting was being held in the comfort of the Pastor’s own office, Rev. Edgar Walls felt increasingly uncomfortable. Perhaps the presence of Huffines’s bodyguard, an huge redneck-type individual known as Bubba Johnson, with his heavy arms folded across his sleeveless shirt whilst he stood behind the seated Mr. Huffines on the other side of Walls’s desk, had something to do with that. Nevertheless, there was more, far more, that troubled the harried Reverend. He just sensed something supernaturally wicked about Huffines, and even more so about this object that the latter wished to honour upon church property.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Pastor Walls,” Huffines went on. “It is a meteorite, and this festival marks the one-hundredth anniversary of its arrival in our little town of Essex, Maryland.”
“Arrival?” exclaimed the frightened minister. “Do you see what I mean? You even speak of this thing as if it were alive!”
“Walls, your opinion is of no consequence. Bubba!”
With this, the gigantic hillbilly henchman stalked out from behind his boss and crossed the room, then immediately lifting Rev. Walls from his chair. The Pastor had only the chance for a slight, strangled cry of horror before the hideous Bubba Johnson took his head between his own giant, apish hands and proceeded to crush the preacher’s skull, killing the unfortunate clergyman instantly!
“Excellent,” stated Bruce Huffines with a demoniacal chuckle. “Dispose of the body. Our lord the Seskhyon Awareness will be pleased. Nothing shall stand in its way of conquering this planet!” …
My name is RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS, Occult Investigator and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the appearance of a tall, strikingly-handsome human gentleman; with Anglo-Semitic features, brown eyes, and long, dark hair; I am in reality no mere mortal. For I do carry within my blood the vastly-superior genes of the enigmatic Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, this extraterrestrial heritage granting me numerous abilities and powers that appear as “magic” to the people of Earth. Whilst most Algolites prefer to remain hidden, only observing the goings-on of the remainder of the Universe, I have made it my ongoing crusade to utilise my alien gifts to defend and protect others from any and all that would harm, harass, or exploit them.
In order to pursue this goal, I have taken up residence on the planet Earth, specifically in the State of Maryland on the continent of North America. I live in that Gothic-styled edifice known as Gargoyle Castle (amongst other names), which serves as my mansion and fortress, perched as it is atop a lofty escarpment in the exact centre of the posh Roland Park area north of the hideously-debased city of Baltimore.
It was shortly after the events chronicled in the account entitled “I Was A Teenage Gargoyle“, and I had become much attached to that beautiful girl with the full name of Katrina Olivia Crowley, herself descended of a noble and titled Scottish family. This lovely young woman; tall, slender, with gorgeous ginger hair and enchanting azure-blue eyes; was a student at Roland Park School for Girls, an exclusive private preparatory academy in the near by neighbourhood. Olivia’s beauty proved indeed to be matched by her intelligence (she sometimes was called “Livvy the Kat“, both in reference to her otherwise rarely-used first name -- as a little girl she had preferred “Olivia” because it was Shakespearean -- and because of her feline-like curiosity), and she quickly became a star reporter on the staff of her school newspaper, The Gleaner.
Indeed, the girl’s journalistic efforts had led to my uncovering the horrid devil-worshipping cult known to infamy as the Order of the Shaitans, and to my defeating the sect’s hideously unmentionable high-priest after a long and terrifyingly-dangerous psychical firefight. This was an experience which was to have profound and continuing effects upon both of us, as you shall here see.
To all of this should also be added that those entities which humans refer to as “devils” and “demons” are, for the most part, the disembodied spirits of certain immensely-powerful alien races that the Watchers of Algol destroyed in unspeakably-ancient times, after seeing these creatures as threats to the well-being of Time and Space due to their having begun to develop advanced technology without having achieved the ethical superiority necessary for proper use of it.
These ancient races include the cruel Cacodemons of the old Empire of the Andromeda Galaxy, and the aforementioned Shaitans of the planet Eblis (the destruction of which led to the formation of the asteroid belt that now exists in Earth’s solar system between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter). In fact, it is when the Algolites perceived that such demoniacal forms were being created that they inaugurated their official policy of non-interference in the affairs of other races. Notice that I said “official” policy, for a certain secret service organisation does exist within the Algolitish government know as the Kosmikos or Cosmic Intervention Department in order to continue to covertly deal with such threats. Plausible deniability, and all that.
(The word “demon”, incidentally, is not really to be confused with Daemon, which is related to my own home-planet of Daemonia and the Daemon-Star, and has come to mean a “spirit of inspiration” in the ancient Greek language -- that great culture, as with others in human history, having been secretly influenced in its development by the Daemonian CID for their own purposes. As a matter of fact, certain of the prayer-formulae of the various Earthling religions -- Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and others -- contain numerous hidden elements of Algolite culture and power.)
As I looked forward to once again seeing the lovely Katrina Crowley (I had quite taken to calling her “Kat“ or Katrina, for reasons even I did not as yet understand. In any event, she seemed to like it -- which is all that really mattered), little did I know that she and I were once again going to plunge into a confrontation with an unspeakably ancient and unnameable eldritch evil -- in an adventure that was going to lead to certain revelations of undreamed-of importance, significance, and incredible magnitude; revelations of secrets that would indeed affect our lives, our futures, and our very being -- forevermore!! …
“A meteorite?” I said. “They are having a festival to celebrate a meteorite? That is interesting indeed, love!”
“Yes,” answered Katrina Olivia Crowley from the other side of the table at Starling’s Coffee Shop, “it’s called the Essex Heritage Festival, and I am supposed to cover it for The Gleaner.”
“But what does this meteorite have to do with it?”
“Apparently, the area considers it in some way to be the source of their prosperity,” replied the beautiful and intelligent girl. “They date their success as a township from its landing there exactly one-hundred years ago.”
“’Landing’?” I enquired. “Meteors do not ‘land’, Kat. They generally burn up in the atmosphere, or otherwise leave craters. It seems rather odd that this small town could have had this object from outer space ensconced away in the back room of their tiny museum for a century.”
“I know, Daniel, but that’s what the press release says.”
“So, you say the festival is this weekend? Hmmm. Essex is in eastern Baltimore County -- not generally a nice area, ‘prosperity’ or no. You know what, Katrina Olivia? I should accompany you.”
“Oh,” Katrina replied with a delightful smile, her wonderfully opalescent blue eyes sparkling, “I was hoping you would say that, babe!” …
At that same time, in the back room of the Essex Heritage Museum, Bruce Huffines stood before the aforementioned “meteorite”, an oblong rocklike object about two metres across -- which pulsated with a sickly green radiance.
“I am at your command, my lord,” said Huffines.
The man heard a deep voice issuing forth from the object: “There is one remaining enemy upon this planet that could stand in the way of our designs. His name is Daniel Rumanos, and he is a being of power, not a member of the species commonly inhabiting Earth. He shall be attending the event that we have planned to use for the announcement of our ascendancy. He must be eliminated.”
“Yes, my lord,” replied Huffines. “I swear to destroy him -- but I am in need of the increased power you have promised me.”
“It is yours,” intoned the voice as a portion of the shimmering green effulgence entered Huffines’s body. “We are the Seskhyon Awareness, and having issued forth an unspeakably vast distance across the Universe from our own world, we now shall complete our plans to enslave the corporeal beings of this planet to our superior will. You shall become more-than-human as our emissary and representative, now and when we hold supreme and unrivalled power over this world and over the human race! But first, you must utilise the strengths with which we have gifted you to destroy Dr. Daniel Rumanos!!”
“Oh yes, my lord!” sighed Bruce Huffines in disgusting ecstasy as the horrid alien force of the Seskhyon Awareness empowered his form. “I shall do your will. I shall accomplish your designs: Get Rumanos. Then the world!” …
It was autumn, and the leaves were falling like so many rebel angels as Katrina Crowley and I arrived at the Essex Festival shortly after its commencement that Saturday morning. The event was set up around the parking lot of the Central Bible Church, which happened to adjoin the building of the museum that was hosting the faire. The church’s pastor had taken a sudden leave of absence, hence leaving management of the event entirely in the hands of the Director of the Essex Heritage Museum itself, a certain Mr. Bruce Huffines.
We walked leisurely around the various displays and vendors. The lovely Katrina was wearing a red-and-purple dress with the faces of small white kittens imprinted on it, along with a short black jacket and her silvered cross necklace. I was in my usual dark silk suit, military-surplus boots, black leathern trench-coat, and matching safari hat.
The actual meteorite was, according to the festival’s programme, on display in the main room of the museum, and Kat and I were making our way towards the doorway of the same when I was momentarily distracted by some ridiculous “Ghost Hunter Bill, the Paranormal Tech Guru” display at one of the stands. The booth’s manager was snoozing in a lawn chair behind the table, the items upon which were just a few radio scanners for sale that had been “hacked“ in order to stay on constant loop, thus producing fake “spirit voices“. When I turned back to Katrina in order to make a joke about these things I suddenly realised she was gone.
“Kat?” I said, wondering where she had gotten to, when I was suddenly interrupted by a friendly, familiar voice coming from near by.
“Sure an’ begorra!” it exclaimed. “Doctor Rumanos, ennit! Top o‘ the mornin‘ to ye!”
The voice was that of my old acquaintance Mr. Joe Doyne, and I then perceived his “Pony Rides” set-up that I had somehow overlooked before. There was no pony in evidence, but a strong odour of horse manure gave apparent proof that the animal must be somewhere near by.
“Good morning, Mr. Doyne,” I said, shaking the affable, ever-jolly old Irishman’s hand. “Say, have you seen the young lady I was with? The tall redhead? She seems to have wandered off.”
“Nay, I ‘aven’t,” he replied, “but I be hopin’ the poor lass ‘asn’t gone into that museum by ‘erself then! That meteor rock they ‘ave in there! Sure and beggora, there be somethin’ right bloomin’ devilish about that thing, an‘ all!”
“Ah, well. I should go and check on her then. Nice seeing you again, Mr. Doyne.”
“An’ you, Dr. Rumanos,” he said as I began to politely take my leave of him. “Remember what me dear old mum used to all way say: ’Watch,’ she said. ’Ever should ye Watch when the Stars be right.’”
What an odd thing to say, thought I as I walked away from Mr. Joe Doyne. Still, I had no time for his Celtic superstitions, nice and decent old chap though I was for some reason absolutely certain that he was.
I walked into the museum but did not find Katrina. I did however at last behold this meteoric stone that I had been hearing so much about. It was there in the main room of the building, on display atop a table about waist-high. No one else was in the room until a man entered.
“Good morning, sir,” he said. “I’m Bruce Huffines, Director of the Essex Heritage Museum. I see you are admiring our meteorite, to which we humbly pay tribute as the author of our great prosperity. Please, feel free to step closer and have a good look at it.”
As I did so, I was suddenly struck from behind by the searing force of a phantasmagorical green energy wave that sent me careening towards the far wall of the room. The seeming source of this eldritch power was the aforementioned Mr. Huffines.
“Feel the power, Dr. Daniel Rumanos of Algol!” he mocked madly. “It is the mighty power of our lord the Seskhyon Awareness! So many ages ago, the Seskhyon race was destroyed by the solar flares of its dying sun bombarding their planet on the outer rim of this galaxy! However, by the might of their amazingly-advanced psychic technology, they were able to place the collected consciousness of the Seskhyon population into a meteoroid and thus sallied forth across space, finally reaching Earth exactly one-hundred years ago! Now, the Awareness has blessed me with their powers so that I may assist them in the conquest of the human race -- and you, Rumanos of the Watchers of Algol, will not stand in our way.”
I readied a burst of my Algolitish energies to blast Bruce Huffines. However, before I could let loose with it, he continued on.
“No, Rumanos,” he cackled wickedly. “You will not resist us! Look!”
I glanced across the room and saw, to my horror, a very large and grotesquely-ugly man (whom I later found to have been Mr. Huffines’s redneck henchman, a certain Bubba Johnson). He was holding my dear Katrina in a vice-grip before him, her arms cruelly pinioned behind her back by one of his huge hands, whilst the other covered her mouth to prevent her from crying out.
“Now, Dr. Rumanos,” snarled Huffines, “you will surrender! You will surrender now to the power of the Seskhyon Awareness! You will surrender or my servant shall crush the very life from the girl!!”
I was in a quandary indeed. If I were to blast this Huffines blackguard, the hillbilly henchman would likely murder Katrina with his bare hands. I also could not send a quick burst of energy to disable the hillbilly without risking the possibility of harming the girl. Bloody Hell.
“Surrender now, Rumanos!” demanded the utterly mad Bruce Huffines. “Surrender now and witness the supreme ascendancy of the Seskhyon Awareness!”
I beheld that Katrina’s beautiful eyes were wide with fear as she stood in the cruel grasp of the gigantic inbred filth known as Bubba Johnson. Notwithstanding, it is at that time that a most wondrous and marvellous miracle occurred. For just then, in the girl’s eyes I saw a flash of light; a light of something wonderful and powerful, a thing fantastic and most certainly not of this Earth.
Indeed, as I looked on in wonderment, I beheld Katrina suddenly burst into amazing flame -- a vermillion and violet fire! This fire did not harm the girl, but it immediately destroyed the hillbilly Bubba, who was quickly burned out of existence, totally obliterated as if he had not ever been there. Nothing was left of him save a slight odour as of roasted cracker.
I turned back towards the wicked Mr. Bruce Huffines and saw him agape with astonishment at what he had also just witnessed. Before he could recover, I cast a mighty bolt of my Algolitish energies at him, forcing him back to collide with the meteorite that housed his eldritch lord, the Seskhyon Awareness. He shrieked as this contact caused a switching of the polarisation of the neutronic stream, killing Huffines instantly and causing the meteoric stone to shatter, thence also scattering the evil Awareness into countless particles throughout the vast reaches of outer space. I knew that when Bruce Huffines’s corpse was found, his death would just be considered the result of heart failure.
I ran over to Katrina. The appearance of the flame had lessened to a lambent glow around her, and she returned to her usual appearance as I watched. Even her clothing was not scorched.
“Kat!” I cried. “Are you all right?”
“Yes, I…” she said. “I don’t know what happened. That fire! It gave me power and I felt that I had complete control over it!”
“Wait a minute!” said I in sudden realisation. “I think I know who can tell us the facts about this! Come along, love!”
Katrina and I left the museum building and returned to the church parking lot. The majority of the festival’s attendees were now watching some generic “southern rock” band wailing away on stage at the far end of the lot. They had not even heard a thing of what had only just occurred.
We walked over to the “Doyne’s Pony Rides” stand. Its proprietor was standing before us, a smile on his face.
“I should have perceived that something was just off about you, Mr. Doyne!” I exclaimed. “You always seem to be there to point me in the right direction in these investigations. Even more so, you are always near by when amazing new powers and abilities manifest themselves! Not to mention that stereotypical 'Irish brogue'! So, tell me the truth, right now! ‘Joe Doyne’, who are you really?!”
Suddenly, there was silence as Time itself halted. The Essex Heritage Festival and everyone there -- perhaps the entire world save Katrina, myself, and the individual before us -- were suspended in a moment of their existence.
The appearance of Mr. Joe Doyne had changed. He was still the same man, but he was now incredibly noble in appearance, elegantly clad in a silver coverall garment. I knew now that he was not a mere human being -- and what is more, with the psychic glamour lifted I now recognised him!
“Greetings to you, Master Rumanos,” he said.
“Katrina Crowley,” I said by way of introduction, “meet Master Quaddos, Psychic Weapons Specialist for Kosmikos, the secret service agency of the Watchers of Algol.”
“Holy Flapdoodle!” exclaimed Kat.
"What is this all about, Quaddos?” I continued. “Why are you here, and most important of all -- what is this power you have given to Katrina?”
“It is known as the Mystical Flame,” he replied. “A special modification of Algolitish abilities with which we have now gifted her. She is also now ageless and immortal. You see, Rumanos, it has become important to us, indeed to the very existence of the Universe, that certain aspects of your future be changed. You are a covert agent of our service, under special and direct command of Master Emmos, the Chief Operative. Your code name is Operative Eleven, that being the file number for certain forces which you shall fight against -- those forces that the humans refer to as ‘black magic’.
“As for this girl, your attachment to her is and shall be such that for you to lose her would be detrimental to our agenda. Therefore she is now immortal, just as you are as an Algolite. She shall be known as Heaven’s Hell, and indeed accounts of her origins will be varied in the years to come. It may be believed that she obtained her powers after being resurrected using the DNA of a ‘sorcerer’ named Howard Zandor LeVay, or some such. In any event, in time the truth will out, the various cosmic dimensions will correct themselves, and your own memories of today’s events shall become clear.
“Indeed, is she not called KATRINA, her name itself signifying the Purity of the Flame?”
“One last thing, Quaddos,” I rejoined. “One final question before you disappear through the Inter-Dimensional Current back to our home planet and return these humans to their proper Time sequence. Is it not proper for you to enquire of the young woman as to whether she accepts this mission?”
“By the Stars!” swore Quaddos with a wink. I was pleased to see he had more wise humour in him than most Algolites. He turned questioningly to the girl.
“Yes,” stated Katrina, a wonderful smile spreading across her lovely face as her eyes flashed and she put her hand in mine. “I do accept.” …
Many years have passed since the weird adventure I have just related to you. We are still here, my wonderful Katrina/Heaven’s Hell and I. She is now my wife, something of which I am very proud, and we have been through much together. Our secret archives abound with tales both told and even untold concerning my confrontations with that silly old mamzer Bishop James Short, my battle with the bizarrely erotic Carmilla Karnstein, the campaign against the Daughters of the Horse-Leach, against the demon Asmodeus, the Shoggoth-Cult of Dundalk, mad scientists, alien invaders, and the marvellous account of our incredible experiences in ancient Atlantis, amongst so many others.
Many of these tales have been made public; the best method of concealment often being the broadest publicity, as somebody once said. Indeed, I have recently even been in contact with a quite talented artistic team from Santa Monica, California, who are interested in publishing a comic-book series based upon these adventures. Now imagine what that will be like!
However, for now, on this night, the eternally-youthful Katrina and I sit peacefully atop one of the high turrets of Gargoyle Castle (now also headquarters of the Temple of the Starry Wisdom), looking out over the city far below us.
“It has been quite a life for us, my beautiful one,” I say to her.
“It’s been a fantastic life, my love,” she answers sweetly. “You have made me so happy!”
“That is all I have ever really wanted, Kat. You are my life and inspiration; my only love -- and will be for all eternity.”
Indeed, my immortal love Katrina Olivia Crowley-Rumanos saved my life, really. For it is she who gave me purpose and focus, and we will truly be together forever.
“I love you so much, sweetie!” say I.
“Awww! I love you too, Daniel!” she replies. “I can’t even say how much!!”
She kisses me and I hold her close that night, there atop that stately edifice we call home, thinking of the past, and wondering about the future.
I look up at the stars sparkling above. Ninety-three light-years distant, our noble son, Ehrich, now reigns benevolently as Prince-Regent of the Watchers of Algol, alongside his wonderful bride, Princess Flavia. Our darling little daughter, Karen (who likes to refer to herself as “The Daemon-Starlet“), has there started her first semester at Daemonia Academy.
Meanwhile, Katrina and I remain as guardians of Earth, and things are quiet for the time being. There have not been any evil extraterrestrial invasions or demonic incursions to fight against in a while. Kat and I both know that shall not last, however. There will be more enemies to fight, but be certain that they will find us ready, my lovely, fantastic Heaven’s Hell and I. Always ready to use our powers to defend the weak against those who would bring about tyranny, oppression, and spiritual chaos. We know that we shall continue to have strange adventures and bizarre experiences beyond what most could imagine -- even in their wildest dreams.
However, for the moment, for now, we are at peace. Until next time, good night.