In a secret assembly room somewhere in the American South, a woman knelt before a bejewelled throne. Upon the throne was a man in a golden robe, his face covered by a black leathern mask of the type once worn by Inquisitors.
The woman’s name was Cathryn Lee Lang, late of the hideously impoverished and debased small-town of Zachery, Texas. She was in her late-twenties, but looked older due to being roughly-visaged and overweight. Her mousy brown hair hung down to almost shoulder-length and her pale-green eyes glistened evilly as she beheld the odd man before her.
“The trust of our cause is upon you as you go forth on this mission,” he intoned with authority. “I send the many-footed spirit-minions of our faith with you to aid in your sacred endeavour, and therefore give unto you the new, powerful name of Ghost-Woman. Go forward now, and destroy he who has been named as our most hated and despised archenemy!”
An eldritch shadow of black occult force drifted from the throne and passed directly into the woman’s thick body. She shuddered slightly with a sickening mixture of ecstasy and pain.
“Yes, my lord,” she answered. “I promise upon pledge of my very life that I shall serve you well.”…
It was sunny and warm that day as I walked around the shopping areas of Baltimore’s Inner Harbour. I was there to have lunch with my wonderful wife, Katrina. Having already earned her degree in psychology, she had now returned to university in order to pursue one in theology as well. I am indeed very proud of her!
It was still early, and Kat’s morning class had not yet let out, so I was leisurely strolling and having a look at the various attractions that the city of Baltimore had set up in what is their most-frequented tourist area when I suddenly heard a strange woman’s voice calling my name from above.
“DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS,” she said. “Fear me, for I have come here for your destruction! I am… Ghost-Woman!!”
The young female was hovering above the nearby HarbourPlace mall pavilion, with a swirling cloud of black-magical energy keeping her aloft. Few people were paying enough attention to even notice the weirdness of this. After all, we were in Baltimore.
“Do I know you, young lady?” I answered. “What is the meaning of this unseemly display?”
I must admit I was more amused than anything else. No matter what she said, this ill-favoured, unattractive person did not look like one who could herself generate any truly formidable “occult” power.
“You will know me, Rumanos!” she continued with rising petulance. “In fact, I am the last thing you will ever know! Your lifelong battle against the most worshipful ones of our faith is now over!”
It became obvious from this that she was the underling of some cult leader, but which one? One thing my long career has taught me is that the depths of pseudo-religious infamy are seemingly limitless (especially among the more plebeian demimonde types), and there was indeed no end to the horrid possibilities of who -- or what -- could have been this misguided person’s superior.
“I strongly suggest you show some wisdom, woman,” said I as calmly as possible, “and do not let this confrontation intensify into a fight. I assure you that it would most certainly not be to your best interest to force it to do so.”
At this, the rather frumpy woman who called herself “Ghost-Woman” let forth a grotesque peel of mirthlessly maniacal laughter. “I’m-a goin’ to kill you!” she screeched in her barbarous southern dialect, “This day is your last!!”
Then, before I could even react, she reached her hands forward and sent out a phantasmal blast of dark, surprisingly-powerful mystical energy that forced me backwards -- reeling at great speed, out-of-control and plunging into the depths of the murky, dangerously-polluted waters of Baltimore’s harbour!!
I didn’t stop careening backwards until I reached the bottom of the Baltimore Harbour, but then soon recovered and swam quickly back to the surface, continuing with a levitation into the air above the shore-line to face the grotesque person known as Ghost-Woman!
I sent a burst of my own Algolitish energies directly at her disgusting person, and she went crashing into the fortunately shatterproof plate-glass of the nearby Aquarium building.
She responded with a further blast of her own dark energy, shrieking at me: “Damn you! I hate you so much! Why don’t you like real, plus-size, curvy women like me, instead of that skinny teen-queen supermodel-looking wife of yours? As sure as my name is Cathy Lee… er, I mean Ghost-Woman, I’m gonna embarrass you and then kill you, Rumanos -- you bastard!”
“I assure you I am nothing of the sort,” I responded, fending off her psychic forces with a quickly-erected shield of my own magical power. “My mother was married to my father, even if they did happen to be a space aliens.”
(This is a fact. My parents were immensely-powerful extraterrestrials from the planet Daemonia, which orbits the star Algol, ninety-three light-years from Earth. It is my own superior Algolite DNA, my people being masters of Space and Time, that grants me abilities and powers that appear as “supernatural” to Earthlings. I myself currently reside upon Earth as its unofficial protector and defender against forces with which the human race is not yet technologically, physically, or mentally advanced enough to cope.)
“You are so friggin’ nuts, Rumanos!” the strange woman responded. Apparently, in her twisted estimation it is perfectly all right to believe in demons and ghosts, but not in beings from outer space. Go figure.
I wondered more and more where and from whom this appalling, revolting, and vile person had received her “demonic” powers. It had to be from an advanced black-magic sorcerer indeed, but who was currently operating at that level? I could think of no one with which I was at all currently familiar who could have access to such forces and who would deign to give a portion of them to this sickeningly low-grade character.
Then, while we continued to send blasts of dangerous mystical energy at each other while hovering over the Baltimore Inner Harbour shopping complex, I heard an odd commotion behind me and briefly glanced back to see what it was.
Unknown to me, while I had been under water, the villainous Ghost-Woman had removed the Constellation (the large antique ship which is one of Baltimore’s waterside attractions) from its moorings and sent the venerable old vessel moving out into the centre of the harbour, where it was on a direct collision-coarse with several of the tiny “dragon-boats” (miniature reproductions of the appearance of the Chesapeake Bay Monster, itself a rather harmless creature after I removed it from the influence of the evil alien Zedgonnim a while back) which tourists were riding. Even worse, the Constellation had a group of local school-children aboard who were there that day on an educational field-trip!
Somehow, I had to save them, but the hideously evil Ghost-Woman was keeping me far too much occupied with her continued flashes of exceedingly dangerous occultic energy -- and indeed, what further havoc would she cause if I was to turn away long enough to save the children and tourists from a perilous smash-up?!
So this is what she had in mind when she swore she would “embarrass” me. As our magical fire-fight continued unabated, I heard screams of terror as the ship and the boats neared the horrible point of impact!!
“You’re finished, Daniel Rumanos!!” continued to shout the insane woman known as Ghost-Woman. “You’re goin’ down!! Rumanos, you are a worthless piece of...”
Then, as from out of nowhere came a fantastic burst of vermilion and violet flame that hit the disgusting Ghost-Woman broadside, immediately stopping the onslaught of demoniacal energy she had been using to keep me occupied with defending myself against her.
“Holy Flapdoodle!” said the sweet-but-angry voice of the beautiful young woman who now flew onto the scene. “Don’t be mean to my love, you ridiculous creature!”
It was my lovely and eternally-youthful wife, Katrina Rumanos -- she who was granted amazing powers by the Watchers of Algol in order to be my companion and helpmate -- she is THE WONDERFUL HEAVEN’S HELL!!!
Whilst Katrina -- her blue eyes flashing, her long, gorgeously red hair flowing behind her -- held her own fighting against the grotesque Ghost-Woman, pitting her wondrous magical fire against the latter’s dark forces, I managed to levitate out over the harbour, and to stop the Constellation just in time before it could crash into the dragon-boats, saving both the school-children and the tourists from any injury. Using my superhuman strength, I returned the great ship safely to its moorings.
I then returned quickly to aid my fantastic and wonderful Katrina in the fight against the being called Ghost-Woman, adding my own bursts of amazing mystical energy to Kat’s -- continually pummelling our demoniac foe into total defeat and submission.
Indeed, Ghost-Woman soon enough saw that she was completely outclassed and, with a look of fear, turned and fled -- soon disappearing into the distance at incredible speed. Psychically trailing behind her was a satanic cover-spell, masking the goal of her departure so that we could not follow her and find out her origins.
Again, I wondered of what cult she was a member, and what incredibly powerful “black magician” and “necromancer” had given her the powers she had wielded that fateful day. I would have to find out soon.
After we had safely landed, my lovely wife Katrina ran and threw her arms around me and we kissed.
“Are you alright, my love?” she asked.
“Yes,” I answered, smiling. “I’m fine now, baby -- thanks to you! So, let‘s have lunch then. Does Italian sound good?”
“That sounds great, love… But first we need to go into this menswear shop and get you some dry clothes!”
“Oh, right.” I had completely forgotten that I was still soaking wet from my little dive in the harbour! …
Back in the secret assembly room of the “Holy Charismatic Assembly” cult in Cuckton, North Carolina, the woman named Cathy Lee Lang, AKA Ghost-Woman, once more was on her knees before the throne. She shivered and cringed in horrendous fear of the man who sat in sickening satanistic splendour upon it.
“You have failed me,” he intoned. “You have failed us -- You have failed the faith of the God of Lust.”
“I… I am sorry,” she wept wretchedly. “Rumanos is just too strong. He is… Please… Please spare me, My Lord Reverend Pastor! Spare me!!”
But the evil man ignored her pleadings as he raised his left hand and sent forth a crimson burst of sinister power which cut off the woman’s screams of terror; instantly reducing her to a small pile of grey dust.
The man then removed his black mask, revealing a face of depravity -- of one who led a life of sickening profligacy in the name of “spirituality” and false “religion” -- of a fake “minister” who served only the horrible, disgustingly terrible ways of Satanism and darkest witchcraft.
“Our time is come,” he hissed hideously. “The time when we shall show the ways of demonolatry to the quivering, lowly human race -- converting them to our faith. But first, our greatest enemy must be stopped, humiliated, killed. First, I, Reverend Brett Larsen, will destroy Daniel Rumanos!” …
Three months later:
I really did not want to visit bloody North Carolina, you know. Seriously, there are enough redneck types around Baltimore, are there not? Nevertheless, there I was in the town of Cuckton, investigating the activities of the notorious “Reverend” Brett Larsen. There had been rumours in the “occult” underground for a while that he was planning a very dangerous invocation, one that would top his conjuration of a demon a while back. That is one that I, Dr. Daniel Rumanos, had taken care of. “Rev. Brett” ran like Hell -- appropriately enough -- after I had foiled his plans to bring chaos upon the world in service of his sick libido, and I had not seen him since. (I did not yet know that he had vowed revenge, and indeed had sent his henchwoman, the execrable Cathy Lee Lang, in a failed attempt to assassinate me. Fortunately, for the sake of the safety of Creation itself, RUMANOS NEVER DIES!!)
Therefore, just a short time after my return from a visit the wonders of my own darkly-splendid home-world that orbits the Daemon-Star Algol, here I was outside of a run-down old building with the words “Holy Charismatic Assembly” written on a wooden sign in front of it. Such is life. Well, my bloody life anyway.
I was considering how to best approach this case when a pleasantly-familiar burst of Mystical Flame descended from the sky like a sexy little meteor and turned into a very beautiful girl with gorgeous red hair and shining blue eyes, wearing a red and black dress and a matching short cape. It was my wonderful wife Katrina, also known as Heaven’s Hell, who had been away for a while on a secret assignment for the Kosmikos of Daemonia, that extraterrestrial secret service organisation of which we are both Operatives.
“Hello, my beautiful one!” I said after we had passionately embraced. “I missed you so much! You are fantastically breathtaking as always!”
“Thank you, love!” she said with a smile that could melt my heart.
We talked for a few minutes. She had heard the talk of Rev. Larsen’s upcoming conjuration, and had thought it best to check it out and assist me in preventing it, what with it being one of those strange and bizarre happenings that we deal with. Things which go largely unnoticed by most people in this world, but nevertheless affect them in ways they cannot even imagine.
“From what I have heard,” I told her, “it appears the fake minister is going to attempt to call up a so-called pagan god this time: Faunus, the Roman god of lust!”
“Holy Flapdoodle!” Katrina answered. “He must be so naïve to think he can get away with that.”
“’Gods’ are much more difficult to control than ‘demons‘, at least initially.” I continued, “Larsen failed in his last attempt at evocation because he and his cult did not wear the appropriate occult regalia. If he had taken the time to read the Key of Solomon and related Goetic works he would have found out why that is particularly insulting to the evil spirit he had conjured.”
“It’s handy knowing a demonologist,” she answered with a wink. Of course, we both know that these beings that humankind titles “gods” and “demons” are, for the most part, ancient extraterrestrial entities of hideously eldritch power.
We found a side window of the church that had been kept open for ventilation, levitated up to it together, and quietly crept inside. Rumour had it that the fraudulent “Reverend” was planning his unholy invocation that very evening, not in the church’s sanctuary but in the cellar underneath it.
We entered the basement just as the ceremony was beginning. Rev. Brett was wearing his scarlet ritual robes and was standing before his group of followers, several young men -- the Reverend’s addiction to pederasty being well-known. It occurred to me that once again he was attempting to invoke and control a supernatural being known for its particular attraction to the female gender. What is it about this chap that he just cannot get it right? It is as if he just has not done the research necessary to find out about the deities and demons of homosexuality, which would certainly serve his abominable purposes better. In any event, his activities threatened to stir up spiritual turmoil and madness, and we had to stop him.
Katrina and I began to step forward to prevent Rev. Brett and his cult from continuing in their grotesque plan when we were both thrown to the floor by a sudden impact like an electric shock. Apparently, Larsen had learned something after all since my last encounter with him. He knew how to set up a “Magical Circle” anyway. It would be possible to break through it, of course, but it would take a few minutes to complete the correct conjuration. I checked to see if Katrina was all right before beginning. She was fine and I began chanting, nearly silently, the words necessary to cause the Magical defences that the cult had set up to collapse.
Rev. Brett and his followers were paying no attention to our presence at all. They were too busy gathering around the altar with its shockingly obscene phallic idol surrounded by the glow of seven large red candles. The evil bishop then began the hideous invocation:
“Thrill with lissome lust of light. Come careering out of night. Come over the sea from Sicily and from Arcady! Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns, pards, nymphs and satyrs for thy guards. On a milk-white ass, come over the sea to me -- to me! Come with Apollo in bridal dress, shepherdess and pythoness. Come with Artemis, silken shod, and wash thy white thigh, beautiful God, in the moon of the woods, on the marble mount, the dimpled dawn of the amber fount! Dip the purple of passionate prayer in the crimson shrine, the scarlet snare. The soul startles to watch thy wantonness weeping through the tangled grove and gnarled bole of the living tree that is spirit and soul and body and brain. Come over the sea, devil or god, to me, to me, O Faunus! Come, Faunus!
"Come with trumpets sounding shrill across the hill! Come with drums low muttering from the spring! Come with flute and pipe! Am I not ripe? I, who wait and writhe and wrestle with air that hath no boughs to nestle my body. Weary of empty clasp, strong as a lion and sharp as an asp. Come, O come! I am numb with the lonely lust of devildom. O Faunus! Come, Faunus!
"Thrust the sword through the galling fetter, all-devourer, all-begetter. Give me the sign of the Open Eye, and the token erect of thorny thigh, and the word of madness and mystery. Do as thou wilt, as a great god can. I am awake in the grip of the snake. The eagle slashes with beak and claw; the gods withdraw. The great beasts come. I am borne to death on the horn of the unicorn. O Faunus! Come, Faunus!
"I am thy mate; I am thy man; goat of thy flock; I am gold; I am god; flesh to thy bone; flower to thy rod. With hoofs of steel I race on rocks through solstice stubborn to Equinox. I rave, rape, rip and rend mannikin, maiden, maenad, man -- O Faunus! Come, Faunus!
“HAIL, FAUNUS!” echoed back the worshippers as an uncannily perverse form appeared above the altar in answer to the incantation. The huge, lewd figure of a bearded man with the horns, pointed ears, and hairy, cloven-hoofed legs of a goat. It was indeed the ancient Roman god of lust, fertility, depravity and debauchery himself -- Faunus!!
Just then, I succeeded in breaching the Magic Circle, and could only trust I would have time to say the appropriate utterances to banish Faunus before the eldritch monstrosity issued forth through the very gap I had just made in the cult’s supernatural barrier.
Rev. Brett and the members of the cult rushed forward in an attempt to prevent me from approaching the altar. Just before they could reach me, Katrina sent out a burst of flame causing them to back off in fear. I adore having her by my side!
However, Faunus was already heading for the opening in the Magical Circle, preparing to go forth into the world which would be helpless before him, a world which would soon be enslaved, its people used as his mere playthings. I shuddered to realise I just did not have time to prevent this from happening.
Then a remarkable thing happened. Katrina’s flame, which was still burning like a magnificent vermillion halo about her lovely body, caused Faunus to turn and look at her. The horny old goat-god then obviously forgot all about his plans to rule the world and focused his attention on the stunningly attractive young woman known as Heaven’s Hell! Cannot really say I blame him.
Whilst the randy old deity approached her, Katrina’s eyes widened with apprehension and she began to shoot out bursts of Mystical Flame to keep him away. They did not completely burn the dreadful god, but they did manage to hold him back. I feared she could not continue this forever, though, and worried about the fact that one touch from Faunus could be the end of her defences.
Only just in time, I managed to complete the ancient Latin form of banishing (it being, in reality, a form of Algolite science adapted to use upon Earth), speaking it thrice in the proper vibratory tone. Then Faunus, the deity of perversity himself, vanished as quickly as he had arrived. With this, the remainder of the Circle collapsed as the arcane paranormal energies in the room passed outward, and the candles were suddenly extinguished, leaving the moonlight coming in through the small, high-set windows as the only illumination.
“Looks like we got his goat, eh?” quoth I.
Katrina and I left the building as quickly as possible. Outside we saw police cars arriving, but managed to get away unnoticed. They were there to arrest Rev. Brett Larsen, who was being accused of sexual abuse by several underage boys. I am certain the weird heathen altar they found him and his congregation clustered around that eventful night did not help in his defence. The false minister received an appropriate prison sentence, and I am quite sure the treatment that “holy” child molester received in the North Carolina State Penitentiary was enough to make “Rev.” Brett long for the comparative safety of occultic conjurations.
As for the exquisitely beautiful Katrina and myself, as soon as we were clear of the church area she threw her arms around me and we began kissing. It was obvious what was going to happen, but I really did not want our first night back together to be in bloody Cuckton, North Carolina, so I used my Algolitish abilities to quickly teleport us to Venice -- yes, the one in Italy. I spent three wonderful days and nights there with my lovely wife (forsooth, she being the girl who was too hot for the god of lust!), and we renewed our eternal love, appropriately enough, in the city that Casanova once called his home.
DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN