Sunday, January 6, 2008

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 13

“How do you pay him?” I asked, as we got in the car. I had showed her Lex’s hidey-hole. She thought that I was a pretty considerate guy. Now, Lex sat upright on her lap, peering out the car window, occasionally nuzzling into the Boys.

“I told you, I do my little tinkle trick.” Jayne had knocked back a couple more tumblers of rye while I got ready. She was loose and mellow.

“Well I’m sure LaVey doesn’t care to see me make water.”

“No, he does things for favors to be called in at a later date. He’ll do this for you because I asked, because he hates Scream and for a pledge from you that one day, when he calls, you will drop everything and come running to do his bidding. Actually, he’ll make you sign a document to that effect in your blood.”


“Oh yeah. You’re a writer. You know that saying, writing is easy, all you do is open a vein. Well, at LaVey’s it’s true.”

Fair enough I figured.

We pulled up in front of the black Victorian house. “Should we leave Lex here?” I asked.

“No. Let’s take him in to his old stomping grounds. He’ll want to say hi to Zoltan.”

The small front yard sported a carefully disarrayed show of weeds, not a blade of grass. “Nice lawn,” I cracked.

“Anton says, ‘Why create something artificial? Let the land be true to its nature. These are the plants of the Los Angeles area. Except for that,” she said, pointing to a clump of devil’s club, “that’s for show.”

The windows had been blacked out, which made the house stand out on the working-class residential street. Sharply peaked dormers gave the place a cathedral-like facade. The black wrought-iron fence had spikes along the top. Someone had impaled a doll’s head on one of the tines. Flanking the top of the stairway, two concrete horned and winged gargoyles snarled at visitors.

LaVey opened the door, his patented glower in place. Until he saw Lex, whereupon his face broke into the most incongruous grin of glee. “Ah, Lex,” he said, taking the cat from Jayne and holding it to his chest, burying his moustaches into the black fur. When Lex’s full throttle purr began, I felt a pang of jealousy.

LaVey showed us into a living room. Then he called, “Selena, can you see what our guests would like to drink? Rye for Miss Mansfield, if I’m not mistaken.” Then he turned away. “Give me five minutes with Lex and I’ll be right with you,” he said, walking out of the room.

I looked at Jayne. “He likes animals better than people,” she said. “He says there is no hypocrisy in animals, that they are true to their savage nature. Lex is a valued companion. They’d been together a long time. Before...”

Before she could finish, a young woman entered the room. She had wavy blonde hair to her shoulders and a pale, pretty face, though with striking bone structure and luxuriant lips. She wore a black gown to her feet, which were bare. She smiled graciously and introduced herself and took our drink orders, then swooshed off efficiently.


“No. Selena is LaVey’s current girlfriend and acolyte. She’s nice.”

“Just a real cozy little homestead here in Transylvania.”

Our drinks came and Selena smiled and asked how I was enjoying Lex, before she slipped away to other pressing matters. I killed time by looking around the room, which was studiously dim. I jumped a bit when I noticed that the coffee table was made of a large headstone. The walls were all draped in what looked like black velvet and on little tables were small grotesque statues. Many, I noticed featured prominent penes. On the walls were several framed prints that I identified as being from etchings by William Blake. On framed item was a calligraphy quotation from Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. “Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.”

After five minutes, LaVey entered the room. He certainly played up his part with his shaven skull and meticulously manicured jet black Vandyke beard. He wore a long-sleeved black shirt buttoned to the neck, black trousers and slippers.

“Mr. LaVey, the reason I’m here...”

“No need to explain, Mr. Holcomb, I understand the situation completely. You wish to experience the most sublime pleasure known to man: revenge.”

“Yes, that’s true, but...”

“No need, Mr. Holcomb. I possess an ability to understand the language of animals. Lex has told me of your situation.”

He waited for that to sink in.

“He also says that, though weak, you are a man of whom he has grown fond. He likes his hidey-hole very much.”

I was speechless. How could he have known about that? I was willing to believe that he saw that Lex was happy in his new home, but beyond that....

“Ariana is not to be underestimated, Mr. Holcomb. She is a drug addict and an alcoholic, but, for all that, she sees into other realms more clearly than most. She is a most powerful sorceress.” Then, he grinned maliciously and I was taken aback by the two feral fangs that protruded past his other teeth. “But, I believe I am more powerful.

“Now, we will need a link, something to connect us to Ariana. A piece of hair, an article of clothing....” He looked expectantly at me with raised eyebrows.

“I have photos of her.”

“Yes, of course you do, and Lex told me that you brought them with you. May I see them?”

I handed the manila envelope into his extended long-nailed hand. I had figured on something like this, though not Lex’s complicity, and I had removed the pictures that showed Stirling.

“Ah, yes,” he said as he leafed through the shots. “The lovely Ariana, careless with her graven image. Tut, tut, such a flaw. Oh, how dearly she will pay for this indiscretion. Now, from you I will require something as well. Blood or semen make for the most powerful spells. As Jayne has no doubt told you, a modicum of either is to be let for this transaction, thus rather than sequestering you in the bathroom with a Playboy magazine featuring your lovely companion, I suggest you let me take a little blood.”

“I agree, but how will you do it?” I asked.

He opened a drawer on an endtable and withdrew an ornate silver dagger and a small glass vial. “Just a small nick below the crook of your arm will suffice,” he said.

He may have been evil, but he was not messy and he put a small plastic funnel in the mouth of the vial to catch the trickle of blood from my arm. When he caught enough, he handed me a tissue and a Handy-Tape bandage. The essence of cool.

LaVey ushered us downstairs. Though again barely lit, I could feel that the area was large. As my eyes adjusted I saw several doors closed off from the central hub section. LaVey opened one and we entered a room lit by candles, black, naturally. He indicated large cushions on the floor where we could sit.

“We are about to enter a realm which no man can accurately predict. Not me. Certainly not you. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that you do nothing, unless instructed by me.” LaVey waited for no response. That his statement might be questioned was not countenanced. Withdrawing the eight-by-tens from the envelope, he selected one and snipped it so that Ariana’s head was neatly bisected from her shoulders. Then, he smeared the cut edges with my blood. He placed the blooded photo in the pentagram around which we were seated. Then, he withdrew from his robe an onyx dagger. I almost leapt out of my skin when Jayne grabbed my hand and gave me a hold-onto-your-hat look. LaVey took the knife and raised it to the uppermost point of his skull and gently pierced it. He drew the knife down his brow, between his eyes, down the center of his nose and, as he did so, it seemed his corporeal form parted like so much whale blubber. And what was released...little golems, lizard-like things , shadows delineated by a paucity of light, simulacrums that sucked light out of the air to become perfect darkness. Trudging things. Dusty, though from a moist body.

Flames atop the candles began to writhe and I felt a breeze slap my pantlegs and lapels. And the little beings trudged on, dissipating as they reached the edges of the pentagram lifting upward as swirls of dust and aggregate, slipping through the ceiling and out of sight.

I looked over at LaVey. He sat, whole, his bare head and face bathed in sweat. He offered me the meekest, mildest smile I ever thought he would be capable. Then his eyes rolled back in his head and he fell to one side in slow motion, his shoulder taking the impact, his head contacting the floor with a soft smack.

I jumped when Jayne touched my arm. “It’s all right. It was a success. It just takes everything out of him. Jayne found blanket behind him and pulled it over his huddled form. “We should leave him now. He needs to rest, protected in the pentagram.”

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