A Visitor From Hell

Oman was an apprentice sorcerer who studied under the Grand Master of Upswich.

While practicing a spell one night something went wrong, because instead of summoning up his girlfriend, he got a visitor from Hell whose name was Dumas.

Like most demons, Dumas was fierce-looking and smelled like death. He was also thirsty.

“So where’s you good whiskey?” he asked while taking a seat at Oman’s crude table.

The only experience Oman had with demons was when his master summoned them to perform tasks. This was the first time he ever dealt with one by himself. He was wary, but he knew enough not to show fear. That was rule number one.

“I’m a poor man. All I have is beer,” he replied.

Dumas’ tail thumped the wooden floor hard, and he rolled all three of his eyes upward in exaggerated despair.

“If that’s all there is, I suppose I’ll suffer through it. Bring me a mug!” he demanded.

“Hold on there! This isn’t how it’s going to work. I won’t order you around, and you don’t order me around. As a visitor, it’s my obligation to offer drink and food. Is that clear?”

There was a sparkle of admiration in the demon’s eyes as he agreed to Oman’s terms.

After draining four large mugs of beer, Dumas was feeling groggy and agreeable. He politely listened to Oman’s stories for hours before his heavy head hit the table and he was snoring.

When he was sure that Dumas was sound asleep he got up and went over to the book shelf his master built, and stocked, with books on magic and guides for successful sorcerers.

It didn’t take him long to find what he was looking for – Enslavement Spells. After deciding on one, he prepared himself for when Dumas woke. It wasn’t long before the demon stretched, belched, and opened all three bloodshot eyes.

Oman stood before him and recited words from a lost civilization that came before mankind. The woozy demon focused his eyes in surprise and asked, “What’s this shit?”

Oman kept chanting.

The demon farted, and scratched his hairy ass.

Oman continued to chant.

“All right, already! Don’t you get it? That babble your spewing isn’t doing anything to me. Oh, by the way…it’s damn rude of  you to treat a visitor like this.”

Oman stopped. He felt slightly embarrassed. Obviously his crude attempts were ineffective. To top that off he had to agree it was a hell of a way to treat a visitor.

“I’m sorry. I guess I have a lot to learn.”

“About what? Casting spells correctly, or how to properly treat visitors?”

“Both.”

“Fair enough. Have you got any more beer?

“No, that was all I had.”

“Any drugs? How about some killer devil weed?

“I do have some Witchy Kush that I recently cured. Pipe, or joint?”

“Let’s roast a bowl. I don’t like the taste of paper.

Oman got his wooden pipe out, and blew into it to clear any ash out. He plucked a chunk off of a fat bud and stuffed it in. Then he handed the pipe to Dumas who snapped his claws and lit it.

They quietly passed the pipe back and forth until only ash was left. Oman started to pack another one and Dumas said, “Whoa there! That was some good shit. Let’s take it easy huh?

I wonder what my master would say if he came in here right now?”

“You know what I’m wondering?” Dumas asked.

“What?”

“How did you ever manage to bring me here? I can see you’re just an apprentice, and a young boy at that.”

Oman’s face grew red with embarrassment. “I’m not a boy!”

“Okay fine. Let’s just agree you screwed something up, and now I’m stuck.”

“Your stuck?”

“Yes, damn it. You closed the door on me. I can’t get back until you open it again.”

The consequences of what he’d done hit him like a thunderbolt!

He brought a demon into the world and couldn’t send it back. His master’s anger would be terrible to behold. How could he explain it? He wasn’t supposed to be looking at that book of spells without him around.

As if reading his mind, Dumas asked, “How long until you expect to see your master again?”

Oman coughed nervously. “Any time,” he admitted.

“He’s a famous sorcerer who will make short work of me. What will he do to you?” Dumas asked.

The thought made him tremble involuntarily. “I have to find a spell to get us both out of here,” he proclaimed. The tension in the room increased as Oman looked through the book of spells.

“Here! This should work!” He quickly intoned the sacred words from Solomon’s Book of Knowledge.

Suddenly it grew dark and they could hear rushing winds. They were outside in a storm. Unfamiliar vegetation surrounded them. Something huge let out a roar that shook the ground!

A Tyrannous rex stomped into view and stopped to look at the man and the demon.

“I don’t suppose you brought the book with you?” Dumas asked.

As It Stands, this tale was a lesson on etiquette, and unlikely friendship.

The Abby of Little Horrors

When Ivan went to school Friday night he had one thing in mind; to get even with his classmate, Miles Newton.

Their rivalry had taken on new heights in the last week when Miles visited Ivan’s girlfriend, Celia, uninvited; while Ivan was taking an exam in the world spells department.

That was the incident that crossed the line.

There’s a saying among monsters, that if you mess with another lupine’s bitch, you better be prepared to eat silver. Touch a wizard’s woman, and there’s going to be hell to pay.

Ivan wasn’t as physically big as Miles who was a werewolf, but he was smarter. He was the son of a wizard. He wasn’t going to attack Miles without some help. That’s where the Jackson twins, who were vampires, came in. They were always ready for an adventure.

Because school hours were at night, it was easy to conceal oneself in the overgrown ruins of the ancient Abby that was their school. Dusky corridors echoed with the screams of monks that were brutally murdered by Viking invaders in dark days past.

Great stones still held up the roof of the Abby, unlike the outlying buildings that were in worse repair and roofless. Stars shone down on the venerable structure and it’s strange inhabitants like curious bystanders.

The creatures of the night that attended the unusual academy of learning at the Abby, were children of werewolves, vampires, and wizards. They were taught by their elders to abide by the laws of the school without question.

Generations of little horrors were prepped for their lives by savvy teachers descended from the most powerful warlocks, witches, werewolves, and vampires of lore. For hundreds of years it had been thus.

Things were about to change.

Ivan and the Jackson twins were waiting for Miles as he rounded the corner smack dab into the three waiting attackers. No words passed. The savage brawl that followed only ended when Ivan pulled out a silver knife and drove it into Mile’s chest!

The law was broken.

When Miles body was discovered, a general alarm went off among the students and teachers. Ghosts wailed pitifully.

Magic crackled in the air angrily. New dimensions opened up. Supernatural electricity darted though the Abby’ stone walls seeking culprits for the outrage.

Chaos was taking over.

The one main rule was violated – Thou shalt not kill a fellow student.

The Abby of little horrors depended upon dark magic and ancient spells for it’s existence. The meanings of the curses and spells were long forgotten, by the central message was always crystal clear. It was a safe zone.

No longer.

A very human emotion, jealousy, was the undoing of all the little monsters. They would never be safe again anywhere. Their universe shifted slightly. A new crack grew between the real world and the supernatural one.

The difference between man and monster narrowed.

As It Stands, the line between the supernatural and the real world is a very fine one.

Hot Tubs In Hell and Other Guilty Pleasures

“Those boobs up top sure got things wrong preaching about how bad hell would be,” Anton said between sips of Bushnell’s Irish whiskey.

“Goes to show you the power of propaganda,” Damon added.

The two lost souls, as they laughingly called themselves, got up from their table and left the waiter a big tip. As they strolled down the well-paved main street they decided it was time to take a hot tub and to smoke some killer Purple Kush.

Hot tubs in hell are huge. The two joined a group of ten people passing LSD tabs around and singing songs of freedom. The multi-colored lights in the hot tub danced off the faces of the happy revelers.

Anton passed a blunt to Damon, who took a big hit, and passed it on. Jim Morrison was singing the long version of The End while making suggestive sexual moves with his microphone.

Janis Joplin was explaining why hell always got such a bad rap to a group of eager-eyed rock and roll fans. In a nearby wading/walking-pool the size of New Jersey, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler kept looking over their shoulders in fear while paddling around the perimeter.

“I’m not sure I should be in the same room with those two murderous dictators,” Anton ventured. “I was no angel, but…”

“I get your point,” Damon replied. “We need to find someone who can explain this oddity. Neither of us are mass killers. A drunk, and a politician, but not killers.

An hour later, Anton and Damon entered through the bat-wing doors of the most popular bar around – The Hot Spot. Both bellied up to the bar and called for Scotch.

Billie Holiday, with Jelly Roll Morton on the piano, were performing Lady Sings The Blues on a small stage in the rear of the bar. The dance floor was expansive, providing room for fifty gyrating couples.

Damon noticed Friedrich Nietzsche sitting at the end of the bar and nudged Anton, “There’s the guy that might have the answer to our question,” he said. They got up and approached Nietzsche cautiously.

“Excuse us sir, but we could not help noticing you. We are both big fans of your work and have a question for you.” Nietzsche narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Yes…”

“How is it great thinkers like yourself, or just common guys like us, are in the same place as mass murders like Hitler and Mussolini?”

Nietzsche did something he seldom did up above, he smiled.

“It’s my pleasure to tell you,” he said, and stood up facing them.

“First I must tell you there are many theories why everyone ended up in the same place. Mine, a well-thought out one, centers on the fact that I was right about there being no God, or Devil. 

“Second, there is no heaven (with harp-playing angels and golden gates), but there sure the heck is a hell. That’s why we’re down here together – regardless of what we did above. But there’s no devil directing activities. Just a lot of people who never learned to get along together when they were alive.”

“Finally, and this is the one that’ll rock your world, you fools were in heaven! That’s right. That time you had alive…that was it, my inquiring friends. You were in Heaven.”

As It Stands, just adding to the many ongoing conversations about what’ll happen when we die.

Artist Confronts Daffy ‘Devil’ Duck

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William J. Bernstein was famous for his accuracy as a professional illustrator of animals.

His talent was apparent as early as kindergarten. He drew the best rabbits, puppies and cats in the classroom.

When he was ten he was drawing animals so accurately that his art teacher helped him put together a portfolio of his work. Family and friends were impressed with his artistic flair. In high school he was selling his illustrations to magazines and exhibiting them in art fairs.

His work was popular from the get-go. His admirers talked about how real his animals were. How they could almost walk off the paper they were drawn on.

But William fought an inner war that no one, not even his parents, knew about. It started when he began drawing animals in kindergarten. The first time he drew a rabbit it talked to him!

Startled, he looked around the table at the other kids to see if they heard. They apparently didn’t. He was afraid to reply to the rabbit’s questions and have everyone stare at him.

Even at the tender age of five, William knew rabbits didn’t talk to people. He asked his parents if there were any animals that talked to people? They laughed, and his dad patted him on the head, “My little artist,” he said.

As he got older he became aware that the conversations he was having with animals were in his head. If they were intrusive he would have sought help, William told himself.

The fact of the matter was he enjoyed talking with rhinos and parrots because they shared so much about themselves. The problem was they were becoming his family, at the expense of his real family, and friends.

It was gradual, this transformation from a social little boy to a reclusive artist living in a loft who was awkward around other people. He was an accomplished illustrator that made animals come to life under his pencil but totally lacked any social skills.

When he decided to explore his art – and try cartooning – a new world opened up to him. Literally. The cartoon animals were unpredictable and not always nice, like the realistic ones he drew.

But what an adventure! He’d hole up in his loft with snacks and draw cartoons for hours.

His research included drawing established cartoon characters to “get the feel” of the methods that other cartoonists used. At first, his attempts didn’t say anything. After countless hours of practice however, they proved to be downright gabby.

As the days went by, William made a lot of brand new friends with great stories to tell. Elmer Fudd and Sylvester the Cat had a wonderful sense of humor and he found himself laughing so hard at times his ribs hurt.

One day after drawing Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, and The Tasmanian Devil, he discovered another side to famous cartoon characters; they weren’t all nice. Some were downright mean, and in the case of one…evil.

Daffy Duck: What do you think you’re doing? You’re not a cartoonist!

William: Whoaa! Hold on there Daffy! What’s the problem?

Daffy Duck: “You are, you ugly little creep! Why don’t you go stick your blockhead into the toilet bowl and flush it?

William: I don’t get it. You’re acting more like a devil duck than the funny character who I grew to love while growing up and watching TV.

Daffy Duck: When Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones died, I didn’t see any reason to be happy anymore. So, I went to sleep. And, now you woke me up ass brain! There’s hell to pay now!

William: If that’s the way you’re going to be, I guess I’ll put you in the fireplace,” he warned as he grabbed the piece of paper Daffy was on. A minute later he threw it into the blazing fire.

“So much for you, you damn duck!” he crowed, and laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

When his parents found him during their weekly trip to his apartment, he was sitting in the middle of the living room weakly laughing.

After he was admitted to a mental institution, William no longer talked with people (his parents included) and he showed no interest in drawing animals anymore. After a year William was deemed harmless, and allowed in the general population.

On his first day, an orderly put cartoons on the big screen TV. When Daffy Duck appeared William screamed…and screamed…and screamed.

As It Stands, horror is where you look for it!

Global Warming Affects Hell

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The devil was furious! Hell was frozen over!

Tortured souls were no longer being burned in hellfires because they were snuffed out by freezing temperatures.

The volcanos stop spewing lava, and became encrusted in ice.

Lost souls were having a good time skating on the ice that formed over the rivers of fire throughout hell.

What made it especially galling for the devil was that it was all his own doing that caused the situation!

For decades, he worked with his minions on earth to infiltrate governments and to cause as much havoc as possible. One of the devil’s pet projects was convincing gullible humans that they weren’t polluting the planet, and that climate change was fake news.

He hand-picked, pliable, politicians told people global warming was just an excuse to hold back progress.

All the politicians had to do was deny facts, sell their souls, and make sure fossil fuels continued to spew into the atmosphere unabated.

For eons, the devil’s tactics bore fruit and the planet became so polluted people could no longer eat fish from the ocean or rivers. Gray blankets of smoke smothered cities from New Delhi, India to Los Angeles, California.

The smog became so thick people could taste it. Those who could afford it wore stylish gas masks, while the poor had none.

The oceans rose eight-feet in some parts of the world, leaving places like Florida little more than half the land size it had two decades ago. The east and west coasts of the United States were completely reconfigured by the rising waters.

Massive rogue electrical storms in the sky and stratosphere made plane travel treacherous. Intense heat spurred fires across the globe. Water tables dried up in heavily populated desert areas like Palm Springs, California.

But in hell, the changes were welcomed by the suffering souls. The parts of hell that didn’t freeze over were warm with tropical climates, lush fruit trees, and plants.

The devil had outsmarted himself.

As It Stands, I always thought the devil and global warming might have a connection.

A Visit To A Pet Store on Uranus

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Pet Paradise, Ganth Mall,

Iloth, Uranus, circa 3210

“Fetch! Good boy!”

“That’s when to start them,” Lord Veturan complimented the trainer/trader Daid-Et.

“Three-year-olds can be very trainable with the right routines.”

The little boy went over and sat at massive Lord Veturan’s feet, waiting for a treat. The Jarian Knight pulled out a thick cookie from a bag hanging from his side, and tossed it to the boy who deftly caught it with his mouth.

Now off with you Ra Ra!” Daid-Et told the boy, as he skipped off with his cookie.

“What breed is he again?”

“Asian, my Lord. Comes from good stock. He’s got the blood of a couple of Chinese emperors of note.”

“But what kind of pet will he make?”

“A very entertaining one, My Lord, his breed is famous for their acrobatic powers and willingness to obey any command.”

“When will he be for sale?

“In one more year, great lord.”

“What else have you got that’s ready to go right now?” Lord Veturan inquired.

“Thank you for asking Lord. I have a set of twins from earth’s Zion Park in Utah, USA. They’re nine-years old and have had all of their shots.”

Males, or females?”

“Males. They’ve were neutered two years ago and are very calm. They have good bone structure and will surely be very strong. Here’s their cage. Ne Ne…Obo…wake up! You have visitors!”

The two boys stood up while trying to wipe the sleep from their eyes.

“I see what you mean. Good bone structure. What kind of pets do they make?” 

“The best, wise Lord. They’re known for their loyalty, strength, and playful disposition. As you know, twins are very hard to find these days.”

“How much?” Lord Veturan asked.

“For you kind sir, a mere 300 Uranium Qutreels.”

“You old bandit! Here’s 200 Uranium Qutreels. Have them delivered to my ship before nightfall.”

On the way back home to Saturn, Lord Veturan watched the two boys playfully wrestling over a toy he tossed to them. He thought about his wife and what a great birthday present he was bringing her.

He was hopeful they would live longer than the her last pet, who only made it sixty years. It was hard to part with the lovable beasts. They were almost like family.

As It Stands, humans could make good pets…with a little training.

Doctor Dark and Mr. Moore’s Case of a Lifetime

 

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Alternate Earth, Circa 2017

London, England

“If we take one more case about spying on cheating spouses, I’m quitting!”

“Easy, Doctor Dark, there are reasons why we take those cases. They pay well, and we have certain expenses…like rent and food, that we must met,” Mr. Moore explained.

“Well, I’m sick of them. Can’t we work with Scotland Yard?”

“We could, I imagine, if they wanted us. But they don’t.”

“And, why not?”

“For two reasons; the first is your background – you’ve been arrested numerous times for public drunkenness you sot. That doesn’t set too well with those blokes. The second reason is they don’t even pay as much as our “domestic” cases do.”  

Damn,” Doctor Dark uttered in a subdued voice.

“Chin up old boy, I may be onto something big. Our contact in Scotland Yard said there’s a murderer roaming the streets of London who has easily eluded authorities for three months now.”

“How’s that? I’ve seen nothing about a serial killer on the news?” 

“Apparently, he’s so clever that he makes each murder look like the victim died from an accident, or by natural causes. It was a stroke of pure luck that the authorities even found out about the Mastermind Killer.”

Mastermind Killer. Quite a sobriquet for a cold-blooded murderer,” Doctor Dark observed.

“Quite so. I have a summary of the murders, dates, times, locations, and detectives notes here,” Mr. Moore said, as he handed a thick file to Doctor Dark.

The two would-be criminal sleuths spent all of their spare time investigating the Mastermind Killer. Days turned to weeks, as they tirelessly roamed the city streets at all hours.

Finally, there was a breakthrough.

They witnessed a cloaked figure purposely throw a woman over a balcony. One moment the two were standing on the balcony of the five-story apartment complex across the street; the next, the woman was silently falling to her death, making a sickening thud on the cobblestones.

The killer wasn’t aware of them, as they lingered in the shadows watching him. Minutes later a cloaked figure came out of the apartment complex and started walking towards them.

At the last moment they jumped out and tackled the tall figure. Then something strange happened. As Mr. Moore pulled on the cloak in an attempt to get a better grip, it gave way and revealed an alien being!

Despite their shock, both men used their combined weight to hold the alien down. It’s pupiless black eyes blinked in anger and surprise. It’s skin was translucent, showing a complex network of veins and odd-looking internal organs.

“Blinking hell! Mr. Moore! What are we going to do with this thing?”

“Hold on…I’m going to put handcuffs on it.”

Once that was accomplished, they stood the alien up and duck-walked him to their van. It was an old modified paddy wagon that still had one bench seat, and a set of shackles wielded into the side behind it.

Doctor Dark sat directly across from the alien on the salvaged back seat of a 1960 Cadillac they bought in a rummage sale.

“We’ll interrogate this bloke when we get home,” Mr. Moore said, as he pulled out onto the street and accelerated.

Once inside the house they took the handcuffed alien down to the basement and hooked him up to a device around his thin neck that looked like a bark collar for yappy mutts.

Cheerio! Time to use your translation software Doctor.”

A bank of computers suddenly came alive behind Doctor Dark. He adjusted some dials, pushed a couple of buttons, and turned the speaker system on.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Kiss my tushie!” the alien rudely replied.

Now there! There’ll be none of that. You see those metal rings on your ankles? I can flip a switch…like this (the alien screeched in pain) or you can be civil.” 

Tears ran down the alien’s black eyes and it stuttered a response, “Whatever you say master.”

“Why are you running around killing humans? Shouldn’t you be in space somewhere?”

“I was a stowaway on the Martian Cruise Ship that offers tours of the planets in the Milky Way. The passengers were allowed to step outside the ship, according to international protocols, for ten minutes to experience your atmosphere.

“Just my luck that one of the crew members checked the baggage hold where I was hiding. I managed to get past him and ran outside. I didn’t stop running until I found this place.”

So that doesn’t tell use why you’re going around killing people,” Mr. Moore said.

“It’s all I know,” the alien explained. “I’m wanted on three planets for multiple murders. What else was I going to do?” 

“This won’t do at all! Doctor, throw that switch again, and let’s see how long it takes to electocute this monster!”

The next day.

“It’s not my fault that the body melted into a bloody mess,” Doctor Dark contended.

“No one is going to believe us now. We could have been famous.” Mr. Moore moaned.

As It Stands, my sorry slueths may be back again some day.