'Solomon's Key' - EmpyrealInvective Narrated by Stephanie Swan Quills

I watched the boy with interest as he toyed around with the symbols on the floor. He had cut the inside of his forearm and was smearing the blood on the kitchen tile to create the summoning sigil. I blew out a tired breath over my bifurcated tongue and blinked through the nictitating membrane of my eyes. It was going to be one of those nights.

He was one of those people. The kind that just had to throw in a macabre touch to everything they did. Blood was uncalled for. "Frankly clichéd as well." If he had the means to, he would likely have tried to sacrifice a goat too. However looking over the apartment, it was clear that from his squalid living conditions that he likely couldn’t afford a goat. He had likely spent his earnings on the black wax candles that he had placed around the circle.

I could see him, but he couldn’t see me yet. That was the problem with making the sigil too early. It opened a conduit through which I could see into the mortal plane. You’d be surprised how many times someone accidentally created a demonic sigil while trying to make a haunted park attraction look scary or a Hot Topic ‘edgy’. My summoning sigil is a fairly simple design after all. In this state, I could only watch. He still needed to invoke my presence. Hopefully he wouldn’t try the summoning ritual in Latin-

“Teebee, magnam Inno-mi-nan-doom, seegna stellaroom nigrarum, me vocare tee Akah Manuh.”


He was pacing back and forth reading the words aloud as if trying to figure out the correct accents and inflections. Each attempt was somehow worse than the last. I tried my best to piece together the invocation and make sense of what he was trying to say, but it was jumbled like he had plugged the words into google translate. At around the seventh incantation, I grew tired of waiting and decided to step through.

"It was better to get this over with now than spend my entire night in this dingy apartment."

I spoke, “Seriously? Did you even bother to translate it? ‘Tibi, Magnum Innominandum, signa stellarum nigrarum, me vocare te Aka Manah,’ is this in English: ‘To you, the Great Not-to-be-named, signs of the black stars, I summon you Aka Manah.’ First off, I think you owe Lovecraft royalties for ripping off that line. Second, why would you call me one not to be named and then proceed to name me? What am I, Voldemort? Besides, if you knew you were going to butcher the language, why not just stick to invoking me with my sigil and summon?”

He looked up from his phone where he had googled the words with a deer-in-headlights expression. I tend to get this look a lot at first. Summoners always have this image in their mind of a muscular, red-skinned demon with hooked claws and a goat head. I am none of those things. God was my creator as well, why would we be made in the image of cutting claws, masticating mandibles, and grotesque sucking appendages? God had a pattern that he stuck with. Humans, demons, angels; we all look relatively the same, yet we are so different.

I clarified for him, “Think of it like this. If god is your father, then Satan is your cousin. Why would we look any different from you?”

“S-so you’re like me?”

I made a wry face and shook my head. “You didn’t summon me here to chat did you?”

He spoke, his voice barely above a whisper, “Y-you’re bound to me. You must do my bidding.”

I chuckled, “That’s not how it works.” I stepped over the seal and brought myself closer to him.

He stumbled back and toppled over a chair. He whimpered impotently, “Buh-but I had a demon trap. You were supposed to be trapped there.”

“That’s the problem with writing in blood, one break in the pattern and it’s all void. In this instance, it was those over-priced candles you likely picked up at Hot Topic which resulted in breaks around the outer circle.”

“Puh-please don’t flay me and rape my corpse.”

“What?! Why would I- Nevermind. Not even going to touch that one. What purpose would serve for me to kill you? Word of mouth gets around and suddenly summoning Aka Manah is akin to instant death, no that’s bad publicity, I’m here to make a deal. You summoned me here for that, right?”

He paused for a moment, deciding to bury the initial fear and said, “What do want in exchange, my soul?”

I laughed. “Your soul! Sorry, but what the hell would I do with your soul? It’s an insubstantial thing. It’s about as valuable as your virginity.” He winced; I had hit a sore topic. “Your servitude and pledge are what really matter here. In exchange for my assistance, you will spread the word about me. There’s power to be had in influence and there is strength to be found in the servitude of others.”

He spoke, anger tingeing his voice, “And if I back out of the deal? What are you going to do?”

He was angry about the virginity comment. “A virgin? Or possibly…”

“You would regret it.” I left it at that, knowing his imagination would fill in the blanks and paint tortures worse than anything I could ever manage. Man always did have a knack for ingenuity.

He blanched at the thought, I knew he would be mine, and he would do exactly what I wanted. There was only the small matter of the deal and its components.

He paused as if weighing his words. He had an endless sea of choices before him and the opportunity to select only one. Did he want power, wealth, knowledge? His hands clenched by his sides, his cuticles turned white as he spoke. His anger was palpable, “I want you to torment someone for me.”

I listened patiently as he vented vitriol. “Beth Gallagher. That bitch, I want her to suffer. I want her nights to be haunted. I want her to lie awake in her bed, wondering when it was in her life that everything went wrong for her. I want misfortune to dog her every step of the way until she is so beaten down that the thought of doing anything roils in her stomach like curdled milk.”

He continued, his voice rose and turned bitter, “I want you to turn her dreams, hopes, and aspirations into ashes in her mouth. I want her to suffer every indignity imaginable. I want you to rot her womb so her children are stillborn and every conception aborts in the wasteland that her body has become. I want-”

“What did she do to you?”

His invective halted, “What does it matter? Do we need a reason to hate someone?”

“What a human thought. If God were still interested in what was going on down here, He’d weep.”

“Are you going to do what I ask or do I have to summon someone else?”

His attempt to force my hand would not go ignored or unpunished. I nodded my head and said, “What you ask will be done. I will make Beth suffer innumerable horrors. Truly, the things you humans do for love never ceases to astound me.”

He gritted his teeth so hard, I thought they would shatter and chip in his mouth, “I loved her; she didn’t love me.”

“You say ‘loved her’, but that’s wrong. No one would do this to another person if they didn’t still have feelings for them. Rejection and love, hand-in-hand bred this.”

I stepped back into the ineffective demon trap, ready to be gone from this world. He said nothing, his mouth agape like a gutted fish gasping out its last moments. I didn’t need to stick around. I would carry out my end of the bargain and hex this woman. He would spread word about me and convince more to summon me. He would lie awake at night with the realization that he had done all of this to the woman he loved. The more knowledge there was about me, the greater my influence would grow. Another thrall to evangelize my existence.

The entire ordeal left me drained. It wasn’t the energy I had exerted from being summoned. Slipping into and out of the world was like stepping through a pool of water. Easy, with no resistance; I was a welcome guest here. I had other reasons for my exhaustion. Humans have a tendency to do that to me.

"They can do something like that to the person they love, and yet they call us demons."

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Written by EmpyrealInvective
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