The sign on the mailbox said “Midnight Crew Productions”, there on the 3600 block of Jones’-Fall Street in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. The studio loft apartment to which said mailbox belonged was actually the home of an individual by the name of Christopher Lamartine, amateur filmmaker best known for the excruciatingly-bad “horror sex comedy” entitled _The Dunwich Whore_.
On the morning on which our narrative begins, however, Lamartine (known to his friends as “Chris La”) -- a man of about thirty, dressed in a black T-shirt, blue jeans and white sneakers -- is not yet indulging in his penchant for cinematic stupidity. He is instead to be found kneeling in cringing reverence before a man cloaked entirely in black. The strange figure’s face is hidden behind a cowl, and he is seen to occasionally shimmer as if it were only quasi-corporeal.
“To do your will is the only law, my master,” said Chris Lamartine, trying vainly to hide the fearful quiver in his voice. “As you have taught, so do I obey.”
“Report,” said the man, his voice clear despite an underlying layer of seeming white-noise. “I need your report on the campaign against Dr. Daniel Rumanos.”
“It’s going well, Master,” replied Lamartine. “We have continued the false rumours that he is a paedophile and a racist.”
“Lamartine, remember that they are not ‘false’ rumours if I say they are true. Reality matters not at all. Only my will, my orders, my teaching -- they are your only truth.”
“Yes, Master,” shivered Chris Lamartine. “I’m sorry.”
“Continue your report.”
“We have spread the rumours and…”
“Whom do you mean by ‘we’, Lamartine? While I have empowered you to use others, I must know their identity.”
“Some members of my old film crew, and my wife, Melissa. Even though we’re separated, the bitch is still under contract. She’s especially happy to help against Rumanos. Like so many women her age, she is crazy jealous over his fondness for younger girls.”
“’Fondness’!” thundered the other. “’Fondness’, indeed! Be careful of your words, Lamartine! You are to claim that he is a child molester!”
“Yes, Master. I’m sorry. Oh, we have had another problem…”
“What is it?”
“In trying to say that Rumanos is secretly a Nazi. It’s difficult when he’s such a well-known friend of the Jewish community.”
“That matters not at all. Repeat it often enough, and it will be believed.”
“Yes, my master.”
“Continue the campaign, Lamartine. I have given you and your associates a portion of my power for your own defence. Do my bidding well, and you will stand in an honoured place when I take complete control over this planet. Fail, and I will smite you with pain beyond your puny imagination!”
“Yes, Master,” cringed LaMartine. “To do your will is all pleasure; to fail you is pain and death.”
“Soon, my servant, soon the forces of Spectral Paranormal will spread across this country and we will take control.”
“Yes, Master. Today America, tomorrow the World!”
“The method of science…” spoke the dark one.
“The aim of religion,” said Christopher Lamartine, completing the cultish formula.
With this, there was a louder blast of the white-noise, and the shape of the one Lamartine called “Master” flickered and vanished.
Chris Lamartine then stood up and wiped the cold sweat from his face with the palm of his hand. His hair and eyes were both brown, with his features evidencing a strong infusion of Latin blood despite the pallor of his complexion.
There is a knock at the door; a light, tentative knock. Christopher Lamartine’s oleaginous countenance suddenly takes upon a lustful appearance as he realises it is his noonday appointment.
Lamartine opens the door and beholds a pretty girl of about thirteen or fourteen. She is of medium height and slender, blonde and blue-eyed, clad in a short, flowered dress.
“Mr. Lamartine?” she enquires.
“Call me Chris, babe,” he replies. “You’re Stacie O’Brien, I presume?”
“Yes,” affirms the young girl, as Lamartine takes her arm and pulls her into the room. “I’ve really been looking forward to this audition. I‘ve wanted to be a movie actress since I was little, and I saw your ad online and couldn’t resist trying out!”
Chris Lamartine glances into the hallway before closing the door, obviously to confirm that the girl truly came alone.
“Would you like a drink before the test shoot, Stacie?” he leers. “I have some good Italian wine here. Wait, I think I have some left…”
“Umm, no thank you,” the girl answers. “I would like some water, if that’s OK. It’s kind of hot today and I had to walk over here.”
“Of course, of course,” says Lamartine, disappointed but undaunted. “Just a sec.”
Christopher Lamartine takes a glass from the cabinet and fills it from the sink-tap. He then glances over his shoulder to be certain the girl is not watching him too closely. He deftly removes a small tablet from his trousers-pocket and quickly dissolves it in the water.
“Here you go, babe,” he says, proffering the glass to the girl. “Bottoms up.”
Stacie O’Brien drains the glass and then sets it down on a near by table.
“Now,” announces Lamartine. “Let’s get you on film.”
“OK. Umm, do you have a script or anything for me? I’ve done Shakespeare with my school theatre group, and I also know some modern stuff…”
“Never mind all that, Stacie,” Lamartine says as he adjusts his camera on its tripod, and turns the studio lighting to best highlight the girl‘s alabaster skin. “We do mostly improvisation here, but I’ll let you know if I want anything in particular.”
“Oh, OK,” the girl replies. She realises she is starting to feel a bit dizzy, but brushes it off as a result of nervousness.
“Now, the film is running. Look up at the camera and slowly lick your lips.”
The girl does so. As the effect of the drug increases, she feels her will leaving her.
“Now, run your hand through your hair… slowly. Yeah, just like that.”
Stacie O’Brien finds that she is having increased difficulty in staying on her feet.
“And now, Stacie,” says Chris Lamartine, his oily features darkening with lechery. “Take off your dress.” …
My name is Doctor Daniel Rumanos, Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being, I am actually far more than this. For within me are the vastly-superior genes of the mysterious Watchers of Algol, Masters of all Space and of all Time, forsooth the most technologically-advanced species in the known Universe. This otherworldly heritage grants me numerous powers and abilities that appear as “magic” to lesser beings.
Whilst most Algolites keep to themselves, merely observing the going-on of the rest of Creation, I am an operative for a secret service organisation known as the KOSMIKOS, or Cosmic Intervention Department. Assigned to the planet Earth, I utilise my extraterrestrial abilities to protect the human race from all manner of threats. I am the Daemon-Star!
Now, I had actually been investigating the activities of the horrid individual known as Christopher Lamartine for some time, but had been called away on other matters before I could close in and take appropriate actions against him.
First, I had had to deal with the hideous homosexual horror of a certain Steve Coop in the hideously-debased small town of Cabin John, Maryland. Coop, who worked as a graphics designer for Wildthings Press, a publisher of badly-formatted third-rate eBooks, had been using the obscene energies of his sickening pederastical proclivities in order to enhance his reputation as a “white wizard”. Going by the magical names of “Phoenix Rising” and “Linthal“, he had begun to assemble a group of followers who had even gone so far as to announce their presence at the Washington, DC Gay Pride Parade!
Needless to say, I succeeded in destroying Steve Coop and his disgusting cult of nefarious nancy-boys there in the town of Cabin John (which was indeed as much of an outhouse toilet as it sounds like). A rather queer case it was, indeed, and it had left me feeling rather fagged.
Following this, I was called even farther afield by having to stop the criminal plots of a group of redneck “paranormal investigators” known as the East Tennessee Ghost Chasers. These hideous hillbillies had hoped to spread chaos across the country, beginning with their own despicable state, by use of certain ancient incantations they had found on some backwoods relics. These spells were, of course, actually remnants of the science of an ancient civilisation that had existed on the North American continent before the development of even the earliest of human ancestors.
Tracking down and eliminating each member of the East Tennessee Ghost Chasers had taken some time, as well as a good deal of energy. By the time I had returned to Baltimore, and to my scrutiny of Chris Lamartine, his seemingly-unnatural powers had somehow greatly increased.
Then, on the day that I had finally gotten to take action against Lamartine, I suddenly found myself waylaid by one of his closest associates.
I was just outside of the local branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library -- wearing my usual silk suit, leathern greatcoat, jungle boots, sunspecs, and panama hat -- when I beheld this individual. He was a podgy young man with fair hair, clad in a grey polo shirt and tan shorts. I recognised him from my investigations as Jamie George, the self-proclaimed “stock-boy by day, screenwriter by night” of Lamartine’s Midnight Crew.
“Dr. Daniel Rumanos,” he proclaimed in his rather squeaky voice, “Your end is coming soon! You will die in shame and dishonour! My friend, the great and wonderful Chris La, has communed with the Master himself, the very Devil, the First Evil!”
“Stand aside, you ridiculous underling,” I warned him. “My business is with your boss Lamartine, not his lads.”
“Chris is in a meeting right now,” he replied with an attempt at businesslike haughtiness. “You’ll just have to wait.”
I moved forward with the intention of physically removing this Jamie George idiot from my presence when suddenly he raised his hand and unleashed a blast of ebony-black demonical energies directly at me. I was driven back several paces by the force. It was indeed surprisingly-powerful, and was to my extreme horror that I realised just what it was.
“Feel a portion of the power that the Dark Master had given us,” mocked Jamie George, “The power only given by the Lord of Darkness himself! Feel the force of Spectral Paranormal! The method of science, the aim of religion!”
Indeed, I recognised the energies as something that could only be achieved by an adept of supreme and masterful power over the forces of darkness. They were, incredibly and amazingly, the combined powers of two of the most evil and ungodly alien races of all time -- they were the combined forces of the Kakodemons of Andromeda and the Shaitans of Eblis!
Can you even begin to recognise and comprehend the unnameable horror, forsooth the obscene and unhallowed terror of this realisation, my dear readers? I do truly hope that you cannot, for full understanding of it could very well send you screaming into total and complete madness for the remainder of your natural existence!
The combined powers of these ancient demoniacal alien beings were indeed potent, and I felt the swirling forces of their eldritch darkness and unholy hatred as they surrounded me. Nevertheless, I realised that they could be easily banished. This was due to the lack of experience and personal strength in my human foe of the moment, Mr. Jamie George.
In other words, this was borrowed power.
“Allah-Hashem! Anthropropolagos!” I spoke the ancient form of banishment and sent a wave of my own Algolitish powers throughout the demonic conflagration. With a sound as of phantasmagorical howling, the combined Kakodemons and Shaitans vanished.
I looked and saw Jamie George standing transfixed, with his slack jaw hanging open. When he beheld me free of the diabolical powers in which he had put his faith, he turned and fled. Unfortunately for him, he did not look before crossing the street.
Jamie George was hit by a passing delivery truck and splattered across the pavement. I quickly left the area before a crowd could gather, hurrying to the near by studio of Midnight Crew Films, and to my confrontation with the late Mr. George’s boss, that unspeakably perverted human scum known as Christopher Lamartine.
I burst into the studio just in time to see Lamartine approaching the young girl, his lewd intentions quite evident. She was wavering back and forth on her feet, obviously under the influence of the barbiturates he had secretly given her.
I pulled the girl away from him and eased her onto a near by cushioned settee.
“It is all right now, love,” I assured the damsel in a whisper. “I shall aid and protect you. I am Doctor Daniel Rumanos.”
“Dr. who?” she enquired groggily.
“No. Dr. Rumanos,” I corrected her.
I then turned back to the evil villain known to infamy as Chris Lamartine. He was trembling with anger and outrage at my interference in his perverse plans. I could tell from his presence that he was at least a somewhat more powerful adept of the “occult” science than his late underling had been. Just how powerful, I could not as yet ascertain.
“No!” he screamed in furious anger. “No no no no no! The Master has given me power, and I am going to use it!”
Then, the sickening Lamartine suddenly unleashed from his person a horrid stream of blackest eldritch darkness. It was again the combined powers of the Kakodemons and Shaitans, those ancient horrors of Andromeda and of Eblis, and I braced myself for the impact of this amalgamation of unspeakably ages-old terror.
However, I was to feel no impact. Mr. Christopher Lamartine, in his raging indignation at his foiled plans of molestation, had sent the demonic forces not at me, but at the helpless damsel who lay near by.
Do you see the supreme dread in this, my friends? I looked on in horror as the ebony blackness of the ancient alien demons engulfed the young lady’s slight, vulnerable form!
I quickly cast a bolt of my bright orange and blue Algolitish powers at Chris Lamartine, sending him crashing against the far wall. I then turned back to the poor wee lass.
To my surprise, the demoniacal forces seemed to be having some difficulty in maintaining contact with the girl’s body. It was as if they just could not find anything of her that was of their own provenance.
“Of course,” I said to myself. “Purity. Her virginal purity has acted as a shield against them!”
I could not be certain, of course, how long this defence would last against the incredibly ancient evil of the Kakodemons and the Shaitans. I accordingly uttered the proper formulae to banish the darksome beings into perdition before they could succeed in finding anything, any sin or fault or foible, which they could utilise to strengthen their hold on this reality.
At my command, the dark mass of alien horror vanished into nothingness. All that was left was the sweet young girl, sleeping peacefully upon the settee.
I then turned back to face Lamartine. He had recovered from my quickly-generated blast of energy and was now busy examining his motion picture camera on its tripod. It seems he was rather concerned with an effect that my flash had had upon it.
“You rogue!” he shrieked in trembling, grief-stricken outrage. “You swashbuckling fiend! You… You overexposed my film!”
It was then that Chris Lamartine, Baltimore-area independent filmmaker and legend in his own mind, sunk down to his knees sobbing in sorrow and grief at the loss of his latest attempt at cinematic perversion. He stayed that way until my friends from the Baltimore Police Department (of which I had been made a duly-deputised honorary member following my having aided them in defeating the “zombie” of the satanic filth and drug-pedlar known as Jim Forrester[*]) arrived to appropriately apprehend him.
[*See the _Weird Adventures_ account entitled “Rock ‘N Roll Fantasy”.]
I personally looked after the young girl, the lovely Miss Stacie O’Brien, and made certain there were no lasting ill effects from the drug Lamartine had surreptitiously given her. An ice cream sundae and a couple of highly-caffeinated soft drinks at a local dessert shop did the trick.
I found Stacie O’Brien to be a quite smart and talented young lady, despite her naïveté, and I promised to help her with her budding acting career by introducing her to a legitimate theatre company of my acquaintance who were preparing a season of Moliere. She was, I am pleased to say, quite happy and grateful at this.
Still, I could not but ponder concerning the implications of what I had just experienced, I could not even speculate as to the identity of what dark master, what highly-experienced and unspeakably-evil adept of the dark arts could have been behind it all. The First Evil. Spectral Paranormal. Horror and Hebephilia. I wondered…
Late that night, in his small cell at Baltimore Central Booking, Christopher Lamartine was awakened from sleep by a dark figure standing over his cot.
“Master!” he stammered, cold sweat again breaking out on his greasy face. “Master! Oh, Master, please… !”
“You have failed me, Lamartine,” said the dark one from within his cowl.
“No, Master! Please! Please don’t kill me, Master! Please let me live! I am loyal to you, Master! Hurt me, torture me, sodomise me again if you want, but please let me live!”
But the stranger only replied by slightly raising one black-gloved hand, and Chris Lamartine then choked and clutched his chest as he felt his heart burst open. He fell back dead upon the tiny prison cot, a stream of blood bubbling from one corner of his mouth.
At this, the robed figure voiced a low wicked laugh. It was as if the bringing of pain and of death, even in the destruction of his own servant, brought him great pleasure.
Then, he made a movement as if adjusting some device upon his wrist, hidden under the ebon vestment, and, with the unmistakeable gasping and moaning sound of the activated engine of an Algolitish Space/Time travel machine, the dark stranger faded into the void.