The name is RUMANOS -- DR. DANIEL RUMANOS, Supernatural Swashbuckler and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Although I have the physical appearance of an human being -- a tall, strongly-built gentleman with dark hair, strikingly-handsome Anglo-Semitic features, and oddly pale skin -- I am in reality far more than this. For I do carry within my blood the superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL; this extraterrestrial heritage granting me numerous powers and abilities that appear “magical” or “miraculous” to the people of planet Earth.
The vast majority of Algolites, Masters of all Space and Time, tend to live in isolation from the rest of the Universe, their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic. However, there does exist hidden deeply within the government of our people a secret service agency known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department. The purpose of the Kosmikos is to covertly intercede in cases that threaten the security of existence anywhere throughout the incalculable reaches of Creation. Plausible Deniability and all that. I am an operative of this organisation, stationed upon Earth where I work undercover as a stage magician/illusionist and writer of fantasy fiction.
I am greatly aided in my tasks by my breathtakingly beautiful and eternally-youthful wife, LADY KATRINA RUMANOS. Tall, slender, with gorgeous ginger hair and enchanting eyes that shine like pale sapphires. Originally a young, nobly-blooded Earth girl, Katrina had been especially gifted with amazing powers by the Kosmikos, in order to stand as my companion and helpmate in our many varied amazing and incredible adventures upon Earth and indeed throughout the unknowable vastness of Space and Time.
The undeniably true story that I am about to relate to you involves my lovely Katrina and her encounter with a certain individual -- a repulsive woman who wielded the unholy forces of VOODOO!!
The woman’s name was Jacqueline Thornton, and she was hideous. Late middle-aged and very overweight, her face was a mass of encrusted pus from her nervous picking at the numerous blotches of pre-cancerous sun-damage that marked her dark skin. But Thornton was a Mambo, an High Priestess of Voodoo.
Jackie Thornton had already kidnapped three young women from local universities to use as sacrifices in her rituals to Damballah, the serpent god. The authorities just assumed that the girls had been victims of the usual street crimes of Baltimore, and there was no suspicion that Thornton had taken them to her secret voodoo temple in the city’s grotesquely-debased Cherry Hill neighbourhood. After the ceremonies, she would throw the beaten-bloody but still living girl into a room, the door of which was otherwise always kept locked. Something was in that room, something that caused the girls to scream in utter terror -- Something that killed them in horribly debased and perverse ways.
But what goes under the radar of the Baltimore City Police Department still gets reported in the city’s “occult” underground, and that is why the beautiful Katrina Rumanos -- the wonderful Heaven’s Hell -- headed one ebon evening to the voodoo temple there in the sickening inner city slum. One of the kidnapped girls had been a student at the University of Maryland, and Katrina also attended that august institution, so she had absolutely insisted on investigating the matter herself. We Beings of Power do not care for having our personal spaces invaded by others.
So, Katrina zoomed through the skies of the city that night, propelled by her fantastic vermillion flame. She flew past the many piles of garbage found in the front yards of the Cherry Hill area, and directly into the window of the run-down hovel that Jackie Thornton used as the headquarters for her hideous voodoo activities.
Thornton was there when Katrina landed, standing next to the horrible altar she kept covered with lit candles made of hog’s-lard, and the numerous skulls -- both animal and human -- which were strewn about the floor. A layer of dirt and swarming cockroaches concealed every corner of this sickening establishment.
“Ah, little one,” hissed Jackie with indignation. “You are here. Yes, the spirits told me of your coming.”
“Your reign of terror is at an end, Jacqueline Thornton!” replied the beautiful Katrina. “No more will you be allowed to harm the innocent in the service of your sick, repulsive ‘religion’!”
“You are so wrong, child,” Thornton continued. “I am Mama Jackie, High Priestess of Damballah, and ruler of my people. Your little white ass is doomed tonight!”
“Your racism only makes you even more repulsive,” said Heaven’s Hell, “and all the more worthy of destruction!”
Jackie cackled maniacally and said, “I would be amused to see you even attempt to fight with me, little one. But, unfortunately that will never happen. My servant will do things to you that will make you unable to move or speak, even if he did not finally kill you!”
The repugnant Thornton then turned to the door of her secret room and shouted, “Kedwaro! Come to my aid!”
Then, the door burst open and the huge, walking corpse of a man who was Thornton’s zombie servant came forth at her command!
Yes, Geoffrey Kedwaro was a zombie. In life, he had been a native of Kenya. Forced by his shamed family to leave his country of origin during the thirty-seventh year of his existence after a sexual impropriety with a baby chimpanzee, he had immigrated to America. He was at first very pleased with the opportunities he found there. The Healthcare Workers Union (good old 1199SEIUchachacha) paid his way through nursing school, the school being thankful that admitting him helped to fulfil several of their quotas, and he became a G.C.N.A. and then an R.N. at Homeland Nursing Home in Baltimore, Maryland. But this didn’t last long. He had soon enough found himself fired after he was discovered fondling the breasts of an Alzheimer’s patient with one hand whilst masturbating with the other.
Geoffrey managed to escape criminal prosecution for this latter incident by seeking the help of Jacqueline “Mama Jackie” Thornton, the resident Voodoo Priestess of the slum Cherry Hill neighbourhood they happened to share. Mama Jackie was quite please to have a large, strong man like the nearly seven feet tall Kedwaro as a member of her sickening cult, and the old hag soon hatched a plan to insure he would be staying there.
During one of the ceremonies of the sect Geoffrey Kedwaro had been “ridden” -- that is, possessed -- by the Loa, the horrible gods of Voodoo (actually the disembodied essences of certain alien beings). His own soul had been pushed out of his body and banned from returning. When the ritual was over and the evil god had released him, Geoffrey had become a soulless, mindless member of the living dead -- a terrifying zombie now totally under the command of Mama Jackie Thornton!
So that is why this particular night found the horrifying Kedwaro called forth to protect Jackie from Lady Katrina Rumanos -- the wonderful Heaven’s Hell! He could see right away that Katrina was quite different from the girls Thornton usually gave him -- the helpless ones she kidnapped from a local university and used in unspeakable ways in her Voodoo rites, then throwing them to Kedwaro in his secret room to dispose of with a dreadfully painful death that involved profuse vaginal and anal bleeding. They also had become a food source to him, and he had, in his own zombiefied way, come to quite love the taste of their tender young flesh. Geoffrey hoped that he would now get similar pleasures with this girl -- her skin was particularly fair, white and beautiful -- but the fact that she was now hovering before him with the power of her jetting vermillion flame in full evidence was quite disconcerting.
“Holy Flapdoodle!” said Heaven’s Hell. “A zombie!”
“Yes, you damned Caucasian child,” answered the hideous Jackie Thornton, “and you will not escape the power of African Magic!”
“Really, ‘Mama Jackie‘?” Katrina answered, turning away from Kedwaro and looking Thornton fully up and down with intense disdain at the wicked woman’s racist hatred and hideously evil deeds.
The monstrously grotesque zombie began to advance towards Katrina, its huge hand thrust out to grasp her. She ignored him completely and spoke six words to Jackie Thornton: “SH’MA YISHRAEL HASHEM ELOHEINU HASHEM ECHAD!!”
With absolutely no delay, Mama Jackie Thornton, the High Priestess of the Voodoo Serpent-God, collapsed dead on the floor, totally overcome by the awesome power of the Semitic “Magick” that Katrina Rumanos had learned to make use of -- the power of the eldest and most wondrously potent mystical force on Earth -- a force that has its true origins among the all-powerful Watchers of the Daemon-Star Algol!
With the repugnant Jackie now deceased, the zombie Kedwaro also fell lifelessly to the floor, now without a master and just a putridly crumbling corpse. Katrina looked at him. “Blooming weirdo,” she said laughingly.
Heaven’s Hell immediately set the disgusting hovel aflame in order to burn out the last vestiges of the cult’s baleful influence, and then flew up and away into the night towards her home in north Baltimore. After this experience, she just wanted to take a bath.
Nevertheless, this was but one of the eldritch preternatural horrors that the wondrous Katrina Rumanos has battled in her career as my companion and helpmate. Indeed, it was soon after this that she faced a terror called -- THE AMAZING SPIRAL OF DOOM!!
It was a cloudy, oppressively humid afternoon in Baltimore, and my incredibly beautiful wife, Lady Katrina Rumanos, had just gone to The Spiral Comicbook Shop at the Roland Mall in hopes of finding a nice Birthday present for me. Kat had temporarily powered down her Heaven’s Hell abilities, which somewhat suppressed the mentalist link between us, so that she could surprise me with whatever gift she would choose that day. She looked through the store’s selection of graphic novels and related superhero and science-fiction memorabilia. Katrina knows I sometimes like to escape for a few moments from the mysterious eldritch horrors and extraterrestrial madness of our real lives by looking at similar things in fiction. Please do not even attempt to think too deeply on the pathology of that!
But while Katrina was browsing in the shop, its owner, Rick Shelton, was in the back room trying to think out a dilemma. Save for his few regulars, business had been bad for quite a while. Far too many comic book geeks were now purchasing their items via the internet and therefore stores like Shelton’s were suffering because of it. Things had gotten so bad that, several months ago, Shelton had turned to some volumes of Black Magic which he had found in the shop’s used books section. Surely, he had reasoned, he could conjure some demonic spirit or other that could restore some business to him.
However, these occult rites all required blood sacrifice. Shelton had started with cats, but had to stop that when it hit the local news just how many innocent felines were disappearing from the neighbourhood. He had then turned to little children, luring them with the shop’s weekly “fairy tale night” and casting a spell of forgetfulness over their absolutely clueless parents before abducting them to be ritually murdered. But he had only had the nerve to do this with two of them before deciding it was far too dangerous to continue. Besides, if someone found out they might think he was a damned paedophile instead of a demon-worshipper! You just cannot have that sort of thing.
Now, thought Shelton, some new sacrifice was needed. Something better, something exquisite. While he was thinking this, he glanced at the security camera screen and saw the gorgeous young woman looking through the more-expensive trade paperbacks. Oh yes. That was it!
Shelton turned to Elias, his hulking, mentally-retarded servant. Elias had come into the world two decades ago, exactly nine months after the night Shelton had escorted his little sister to her Junior Prom, and had been with the family ever since.
“She’s the one,” said Shelton simply. “Do it.”
Elias grunted in obedience and lumbered out onto the shop’s sales-floor. He had quite a lot of experience sneaking up behind unsuspecting girls, that being the only way the hideous monstrosity would ever be allowed to touch one, so Katrina didn’t even hear him approaching until he had hit her over the head with a toy “ray-gun” modelled after one from some old sci-fi T.V. series. She was rendered unconscious immediately and fell to the floor.
When Elias had finished dragging Katrina into the back-room, Shelton looked down at her and rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation of the grotesquely ghastly plans he was formulating in his dark, twisted mind.
“We shall gather the other members of our Circle right away,” he said with an unspeakably maniacal intensity. “This shall be the time. We shall call forth from the Great Abyss the Arch-demon of Wealth himself to bestow his infernal blessing upon us! Yes… Yes! We shall now evoke the Mighty Devil MAMMON!!” …
The members of Rick Shelton’s small Circle of cult followers were gathered at the decaying, long-abandoned chapel in the cemetery near the Roland Mall. They were all male geek-types who tended to hang out at his comic book store, usually spending their Saturday evenings at role-playing card games all huddled around a table at the mall food-court. The mall management didn’t really care, considering the very large amount of fast-food this rather corpulent group tended to purchase.
But, this particularly overcast afternoon in Baltimore they had something far, far more dangerous in mind -- The were going to call forth the mighty arch-devil MAMMON (in actuality, one of the Shaitans of the lost planet Eblis) and offer him a human sacrifice, in hopes that the dark demon would use his infernal powers to heighten the financial intake of The Spiral Comicbook Shop.
The gorgeous young girl they had kidnapped for the sacrificial purpose was named Katrina, and the coven had no idea that she was actually the amazingly super-powered Heaven’s Hell! This had made little difference at the time, though, as she was still quite unconscious, tied up and lying on their horrible altar as the members of the “Circle” stood around in breathless anticipation of the rite.
“Elias!” shouted Shelton to his oversized, retarded servant. “The book!”
“Yes, Dad,” answered Elias as he handed Shelton a big, leather-bound volume of black magic. Elias was distracted. He was looking forward to the part later on in the ceremony when he would be ordered to tear the sacrifice to pieces with his bare hands. Elias liked that part.
“I told you not to call me ‘Dad’ in front of people,” whispered Shelton in annoyance, taking the volume and opening it. The ancient book was filled with the magical sigils which the group had since carefully copied out in the blood of abducted cats and children upon the walls, floor, and ceiling of the now-unhallowed chapel.
Shelton grinned with wicked malevolence as he began to read the grotesque Magical incantation:
“Spirits of Darkness open my eyes that I may see Mammon! Spirits of Darkness heighten my senses that I may feel his approach! O Mammon, Lord of Wealth, open wide the Gates of Hell and come forth to grant us great riches!
“Amen. Evil from us deliver but temptation into not us lead and bread daily our day this us give. Heaven in is it as Earth on done be will thy come kingdom thy. Name thy be hallowed, heaven in art who father our!”
Then, with an unholy howling sound louder than the noise of any hurricane, the awesomely hideous form of Mammon appeared hovering above the altar. It was a humanoid-reptilian form, with immense horns and huge, dreadfully-glowing red eyes.
“Holy Flapdoodle!” exclaimed Katrina, finally awakening from the stupor she had been under since the sickening Elias had hit her over the head.
Katrina immediately activated her Heaven’s Hell powers, the incredible abilities she had been given by the Kosmikos of Daemonia. She immediately burned away the rope-cord with which the cult had bound her, and rose into the air with a jetting force of her wonderful vermillion fire.
Rick Shelton’s group immediately lost their nerve, upon seeing the monstrous form of the demon and the beautiful, red-haired young woman with her mystical powers of Infernal Flame. All together, it was far too much for them, and they fled the scene. After leaving the cemetery and fleeing down the street, the large, heavily-built Elias tripped and fell on top of Shelton, accidentally crushing the latter’s chest into a gory pulp.
Elias burst into tears and blubbered, “I’m sorry, Dad! I’m sorry!”
“I told you not to call me Dad, you mutated, inbred frigging moron!” were the wickedly insane Rick Shelton’s final words as blood gushed from his mouth and he died of his sickening injuries.
Back at the chapel, Heaven’s Hell was face to face with the demoniacal Mammon!
“Well, it looks like your own cult has abandoned you,” she could not help teasing the great arch-devil.
“It is no matter, you child!” the demonic spirit answered in its deep, basso voice, “I am Mammon, Lord of all Wealth and Riches, and I have other servants in my employ who shall assist me to ravage the Earth!”
“Why would you want to ravage the Earth?” Katrina then inquired with concern.
“Why?!” Mammon answered with loathsomely diabolical mirth, “Because I can! I will certainly not be called forth from the Pit for no reason whatsoever! It is time for some ravaging!! Come forth, my servants! Rise! RISE!!”
Then, the graves of the cemetery began to break open, as the putridly rotting corpses of legions of those interred there began to arise -- An unholy army of dead-but-walking zombie slaves of the awesomely powerful arch-devil Mammon!!!
The legion of putridly rotting corpses rose from the graves of the old cemetery near the Roland Mall in Baltimore and issued forth, shambling hideously towards the city streets -- A legion of dead-but-walking servants for the use of the arch-devil who had been called forth that oppressively-humid, overcast afternoon!
In the graveyard’s long-unhallowed chapel the mighty demon in question, the unholy spirit of greed himself, shouted his commands at his un-dead army, the dark-green scales of his grotesque, reptilian-humanoid form glistening with wicked malevolence:
“RISE! Rise my slaves! Go forth to ravage the Earth, so that the pitiful human race will feel the wrath of the Hell-Lord MAMMON!!”
The beautiful Heaven’s Hell, also known as Katrina Rumanos, hovered in the air facing the huge, monstrous form of the eldritch demon, her wonderful jetting red flame keeping her aloft.
“You know I can’t allow this, Mammon,” she said. “I must stop you.”
“You stop me, girlie?” answered the unspeakably ghastly Mammon with evil mirth. “I would bloody well like to see you try!! Really, who do you think you are, anyway?!!”
“I am Katrina of the blood Crowley! I am Mistress of the Mystical Flame and the chosen Consort of the Living Icon of the Daemon-Star ALGOL upon Earth! I am HEAVEN’S HELL!!” she retorted, drawing the Sign of the Banishing Pentagram upon the devil with her fire and then continuing the words of her Algolitish Rite of Exorcism, “Mammon, Spirit of Malevolence, Dark Lord of all Wealth and Greed -- Recognize me now as your superior and be gone, back into the Pit of Tartarus!!”
The great demon then howled again with a phantasmal sound as of all the winds joined together and vanished as if he had never been there.
Outside, with no power left commanding them, the horridly shuffling zombies all turned back and returned to their graves, where they became once again motionless in death.
The demon and his evil cult now gone, the wonderful Heaven’s Hell quickly left the abandoned chapel, only stopping long enough the pick up the large, ancient book which the now-deceased Mr. Shelton had dropped in his urgency to flee.
Meanwhile, back in the home that I share with my lovely wife Katrina, that imposing Gothic structure hight Castle Rumanos, I was just finishing up some research work which had occupied my thoughts for a while. I turned on the local classical music radio station and tried to relax. They had interrupted the usual broadcast for a news item. Something about a disturbance at the old cemetery near a local shopping mall. Nevertheless, the police were dismissing it as just some teenagers smoking marijuana in the graveyard chapel.
Katrina came home then, looking as breathtakingly gorgeous as ever.
“Happy Birthday, Daniel!” she exclaimed, handing me a huge, leather-bound, black book, absolutely ancient in its appearance.
I opened the volume and looked at the title page. It was the exceedingly rare and notorious Secretius Grimorium of Pope Honorius the Great in the original Medieval Latin! I flipped through it and saw that someone had quite recently pencilled in loose English translations of some of the dangerously and authentically powerful “Magical Incantations” contained therein.
“Thank you so much, my beautiful Kat!” I said with much happiness. “What a fantastic gift! It will be an excellent addition to my collection, and a great aid in my research! I hope you did not go to too much trouble to get it, though.”
Katrina hugged me tightly and smiled.
“Don’t worry, babe,” she said sweetly and with complete sincerity. “It was no trouble at all!”
My name is Dr. Daniel Rumanos, and I am the Daemon-Star. What makes me proudest, however, is that I am the only one in all the Universe with a License to Katrina.
DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN