Brendan had long since changed his name via deed poll to Breixo Imminent, but in the comfort of his backyard shed with his old buddy Sidney, he was his former self again. It was gross, but this particular ritual called for a sort of regression, a cleansing. And so for tonight only he demanded to be called Brendan over and over like he was on a porno set.
Sidney had complied with dull interest. He didn’t believe in all this demon summoning cockamamie. The staunchest atheist Brendan knew from sea to glorious sea, the man had been caressed by a demon and shrugged it off like a parlour trick.
“Still nope,” he’d said, capping the votive candles.
Sidney had a disposition as spiky as his mohawk. Brendan had once likened him to a porcupine: there was a soft, squishy layer underneath, but you had to get through layers of spines and would probably die trying. Good thing Breixo had made himself immortal a while ago. No pact with the devil needed, just a favor for a lesser demon.
And so over the course of their almost forty year friendship with thousands of weekend summonings, Brendan had finally reached Sidney’s soft underbelly but still hadn’t made a believer out of him. Unfortunately, tonight was not going to be the night either. Before them stood a furry bipedal black thing with comically large horns and eyes that glowed an eerie, sickly white. It was a means to an end rather than the finale; Brendan couldn’t believe what he’d been through just to haggle with it.
“Make your desire known, mortal.”
Across from him on the couch, Sidney rudely propped his Doc Martens on the coffee table. He held a cooling glass of water with a few mint leaves in his hands.
“I ask you for the ritual to summon the dark prince of Hell, Asmodeus!”
The critter looked a bit shocked. “Really? Him? What on earth for?”
Brendan had a hard time putting it into words. To impress my friend? No, that was amateur stuff. “Oh, uh…we owe him a great favor.”
The critter turned its dripping nose up. “What favor could that be? Asmodeus is hardly summoned and hardly set to interact with mortals.”
“Look, I brought you this huge bounty, just take it and give me what I ask for in exchange. ‘Kay?”
Sidney snickered and kicked over the arcane treasures Breixo had spent a week or two hunting down on eBay. The critter poked through them, but soon found its hands rubbing Sid’s cherry leather boots like a worshipful thing.
“Why sir, you have all you need right here.”
Brendan’s eyebrows raised. “Just this?”
“Indeed. Look at this man.” The critter dug around in Sidney’s drink and pulled out a mint leaf he’d meant to chew, much to his dismay. “A sprig of mint. A pinch of barely. Four daggers set for each cardinal direction, chant looking east. Something gold.” It tugged at Sid’s belt. “And something…leathery.”
“Mate, yer friend’s a freak.”
Breixo thanked the demon for its time and sent it back on its way. “Well,” he said after an awkward pause. “Next weekend, we’ll give it a whirl, yeah?”
“As you wish, mortal,” Sidney said and gave a deep, exaggerated bow. Brendan laughed and threw a goose down pillow at his face.
The next weekend, Brendan was back to ol’ Breixo, and he could have sworn Sidney was relieved. He was a few hundred pounds lesser thanks to the black steel daggers he’d had to acquire. He’d arranged his whole den of villainy to face eastward bound and channel energy and all that. On the table, he’d laid out fresh mint leaves, a cup of barely, a scrap of leather, and a gold ring.
“And may he make himself known to us,” Breixo said heavily and the room opened up. A gust of wind wrapped around the corner and the lights flickered. The ring on the table glowed and levitated. There was a great trembling, and then…nothing.
“Ey? Wot?” Sidney put his hands over his eyes and looked around in exaggerated motions. “Where’s he at?”
Breixo looked puzzled himself. “It didn’t work? But the demon wouldn’t lie.”
“Let’s see…” Sid bit the ring and winced. “Real gold alright. That real leather?”
“Checked it m’self.”
Sidney pulled at the material. “Right, right…the daggers? One looks a little crooked.”
Breixo didn’t think so, but to humor his buddy he turned it ever so slightly a degree and tried again. The same pomp and circumstance, but no lord of Hell. The summoner flopped down on the couch in defeat.
“I can’t believe it. Forty years of invoking no less than Lucifer himself, and I can’t get one of his generals.”
“Well, like the lil one said…he’s not apt to dealing with humans. Maybe he just didn’t want to come?”
“Fair enough, but it’d be nice if he warned someone before making them look like an arse.”
“It’s okay, Breixo. You’ll always be my arse.”
Breixo let out a indignant snort and threw a velvet and feather pillow across the room.
The following week, Sidney sent a text that he was out of the country on business for a few weeks.
Byt he time you get this, i’ll be well into Canada. Breixo pouted a little and said he’d come visit, a la supernatural flight.
lol was the response
Alone with plenty of time, Breixo did some more foot work. He called upon old occult friends and masters. None of them had the foggiest. The ritual simply didn’t work. Eventually, Breixo had to give credit to what Sid had said: maybe Asmodeus just didn’t want to be seen. There was nothing in the books of old that said the demons had to come to you, after all, they usually just popped up when they figured it’d be something good for them. The higher up you go, the harder it is to convince them that telling you the spoilers to Breaking Bad was worth their while.
Breixo inhaled the cold, slightly damp air of his shed and exhaled. He hadn’t lost his touch, he knew. He’d just wanted to do something really big to pull Sid over to his side once and for all. He took off his glasses and rested his head in his hands; whatever it was, it’d come to him or he’d had to leave it alone. He adjusted the knives again and muttered the chant with far less enthusiasm. A little spark of light to match his disinterest, and then blank.
“Still not working, eh?”
Sidney ran a hand across the back of the couch and walked all the way around until he was standing in front of the table. He slipped the gold ring onto his finger and admired it in the light.
“Yeah. Probably should just let it drop, eh?”
“Yeah. Let’s try something else.”
Breixo shot up to his feet where he stood, a cold chill running down his back and into his hands, making them sweat.
“Looks it, mate.”
Everything came crashing down like a block castle kicked over by an irate child. Breixo collapsed back onto the couch and stood in the shadow of the creature that was coming closer, growing, its head splitting open to reveal a writhing mass of something red and evil.
“Make your desire known, mortal.”