This week’s prompt:
Chose a line from a favorite song and write a story
I am going to go with Monster by Shinedown for this one. I am also going back to a favorite MC, Adrian. It fits him rather well.
“Leave your weapon on the table
Wrapped in burlap, barely able
Call a doctor, say a prayer
Choose a god you think is there
‘Cause my monsters are real, and they’re trained how to kill
And there’s no comin’ back and they just laughed at how I feel
And these monsters can fight, and they’ll never say die
And there’s no goin’ back, if I get trapped I’ll never heal
‘Cause my monsters are real”
Adrian waited. It would be a lie to say he did so patiently. He never did anything patiently. It was not in his nature. On the desk in front of him was the small bag with the items he had collected from the basement. These were the things he would need from down there, the rest he would let someone else clean up.
The chair was not particularly comfortable. He had assumed the priest spent a lot of time here, but that must not be the case, the heavy, ornate piece of furniture was clearly more for the appearance of gravitas and formality. It was also, clearly, not meant for someone his size. Not that most furniture was.
Foot steps in the hall heralded the arrival of his prey. The circle would not like for him to think of the priest as such, but it was the truth. He had been sent to find out what had been causing the disappearance of the sister’s of the order. He had found the reason. The reason was the man, whose desk he now waited at.
He heard the soft murmur of voices outside in the hall before the door handle clicked and the door swung inward.
Adrian had not seen the priest before now. He was slightly disappointed. The man did not look like he was possessed by an incubus. He looked old., and tired. And now he looked confused.
The name plate on the desk said the priest’s name was Richard, though Adrian doubted he went by that. He was a Dick, if he ever saw one. The thought amused him briefly.
“If you are here for counseling, I would ask that you talk to my secretary. He will set up an appointment for you,” he said coolly. “Though my schedule it quite full so I normally restrict my client list to parishioners.”
“I am not here for your guidance, Father,” Adrian did not stand. “Close the door.” He had to make sure he was right about what the man had done before he killed him. He was certain that someone here had done it, but he had to be sure.
“Listen,” the priest said. “I do not know who you are, but I am going to have to ask you to leave.”
Adrian did stand up now. He knew the effect it would have and could not help but smile as the smaller man backed up a step. At closer to 7 feet tall, than to 6, Adrian towered over the small man. “Close the door,” he growled and the man nervously obeyed, putting his back to the heavy dark wood and swallowing convulsively.
“If you need help, there is another church, across town,” his voice had become thready and high pitched as Adrian stalked closer. The office was not large, so it took only a couple of steps.
“There is nothing you or any of your kind can do to help me, padre” Adrian said, a little surprised to hear bitterness in his voice. It was something he would hopefully not remember to examine later. “Like you,” Adrian dragged the priest by his arm and almost threw him into the chair across from the desk. The one reserved for his sheep. The sheep he preyed upon, pretending to be the shepherd.
“My monsters are not so mundane,” he went back to the other side of the desk and picked up the bag. He watched the man’s face go white.
“I have no idea who you are,” the man said, “or what you think you are doing here.”
“I was brought in by the local circle,” Adrian replied, as if that would explain everything. He had no idea if this man even knew what that was. Some churches were open to knowledge of the real super natural, some were not. The look on the priest’s face told him he at least had an idea.
“I can explain,” the priest said, holding up an hand as if he could stop what was coming. Adrian felt it now, the push and swirl of power. Not human power. It was demonic, and he recognized it. He had been around this kind before. He had not been wrong.
“I am sure you can,” Adrian said. “However, you are wasting your breath. I really don’t care.” He opened the cloth sack and poured the contents on the table. A small silver knife, a notebook, like the kind you might take traveling to take notes, a vial, and a folded piece of paper fell out. The priest scooted the chair back and tried to rise, but Adrian was faster and grabbed his wrist, pulling him back down.
“I recommend you sit still and keep quiet,” he said coldly. “I can make this so much worse if you annoy me.”
Adrian picked up the notebook and ruffled its pages. “This was pretty interesting, though your observations were a little off in a few places,” he said. “But that can be forgiven since you have only been doing this a very short time.”
He picked up the folded paper next. He carefully opened it and placed it on the desk. The summoning circle drawn on the butter soft parchment was beautifully done. He was certain even Gerard would approved of the crisp and precise rune work on it. Though the fussy older man would never approved of the blood and ink mixture used to draw it.
“This,” he held it up briefly. “This is interesting. “ I would actually love to know how you got your hands on this evil little piece of work. Definitely not something you would find in a church library I assume. Not that I spend much time in churches,” He admitted.
“I’ve never seen that before,” the man stammered, lying. His brow was now covered in sweat and his hands trembled. Another wave of the power brushed him. Luckily he had not only had time to prepare a small protective circle, he knew a little bit how to protect himself from the worst of this type of demonic magic. It was clear the priest did not understand why it was not working on Adrian.
“Just stop with the bullshit,” Adrian sighed. “It won’t work on me,” he said. It was partially true at least. Had he been unprepared, this conversation would have been going a lot differently.
“I don’t know what you mean,” the other man stammered.
“An incubus?” Adrian asked. “Why would you call up an incubus? That never ends well.”
“Incubus?” the priest asked. The surprise in his voice was not feigned.
“What did you think it was?” Adrian asked. “What did you think was happening?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” the older man said again.
“Of course you do,” Adrian said calmly. “No one accidentally draws a summoning circle, with blood,” he held up the knife and vial.
“That you were somehow unaware that it was an incubus you called up I might be willing to believe,” he added.
“Stop me if I am wrong here,” Adrian set the two items back down on the bag. “I assume you thought you were doing something to help your little church here,” he indicated the cramped office. “Church attendance is down nationwide, and getting worse.”
“I just wanted people to come back to the church, to come back to Jesus,” Father Richard said. “I never meant for anyone to get hurt.”
“They never do,” Adrian said.
“However, the problem is not just that you let a demon into your body, you used blood magic to do it.” He picked up the silver knife again. It was quite small and wickedly sharp. The ornately carved handle was almost pretty.
“How long have you been a practitioner?” he asked. It was extremely rare to find real magic users with enough power to complete a summoning, blood or not, outside of a circle, and this man did not show up on any rolls. He did not get an answer. He had not really expected one. Usually untrained magic users with that kind of power self destructed long before they got this far. He should know. He had tried and almost succeeded even with a circle mentor.
“I don’t think your church is very friendly when it comes to the use of magic. I seem to remember there was a whole Inquisition thing.
“You shall not suffer a witch to live,” the priest spat at Adrian. “I am no witch.”
“Suit yourself,” Adrian shrugged. “I have all the evidence I need. The circle will be notified of my findings and will send someone to clean up the mess in the basement. I already broke the circle so nothing else comes through in the meantime.”
He took the items and placed them back in the bag. He pulled a marker out of the drawer in the desk in front of him and was happy to see it was a nice thick black one. He drew a rune on the surface before capping the pen again. With a couple of words, and a push of power the bag ignited into flame, burning to black ash almost instantly. Even the silver knife was no longer usable. It was one of his favorite spells. It actually took a lot more energy than it looked like, but he had gotten good enough at it that he could make it look almost effortless.
The priest stood up with a short cry, but Adrian was on his feet just as fast.
“You are a witch then,” the man’s watery gray eyes were wide.
“Call a spade a spade, I guess,” Adrian admitted and covered the priest’s mouth with one big hand before he could cry out for help. He wrapped himself around the man and pulled his head back so he could see his face. “It will do you no good,” Adrian said quietly in the man’s ear. His voice was soft, almost calming now. “I already made sure they would hear nothing.” He watched the wide eyes and felt bony cold fingers clawing at his hand and arm.
“You killed those women,” he said. “Most of them were sisters from your own order.” He smiled, feeling the man’s heart beat wildly. It was risky, he was not in his protective circle any longer and physical touch made the incubus stronger. He could not spend any time gloating. Already he could feel its influence clawing at his self control. With a sharp jerk, he snapped the old priest’s neck and let the body fall to the floor. Immediately the pull of temptation from the demon began to fade, with no body to anchor him here and the circle in the basement destroyed it lost its footing in this world rapidly.
Adrian checked his pocket. The summoning circle diagram was still there. The man had not even noticed him slip it away instead of into the bag. He had no interest in summoning an incubus, but this particular spell was a work of art. He had no interest in destroying it. Unlike the man who had used it.
He pulled out the same marker he used earlier and used it to draw the same symbol on the forehead of the rapidly cooling body. It took a much larger amount of power to create the fire this time, but just as rapidly the body vanished in flames, leaving only ash and a greasy soot on the ceiling. He was done here. The circle could take care of the rest.
Adrian left the study and casually walked back out to the street. No one acknowledged him or even seemed to notice him.
Time to go home.