By Lothar Tuppan
A seemingly average man, is drawn into a Halloween night adventure with his eccentric friend, a real-life Indiana Jones type with a fascination for forbidden grimoires. As they embark on a outwardly juvenile and spooky ritual, the story takes a dark and unexpected turn, leaving you questioning the true nature of the characters.
Rob Proscenia didn’t believe in demons or devils until the Halloween night that he slit the throat of his best friend Greg and remembered that he was one.
How had he forgotten something as important as that?
For years he believed that he was a fairly average man. He worked in a finance department of a pharmaceutical company, he was married to a wife he loved, he had a couple of teenage kids who equally amazed and frustrated him on a daily basis, and he collected model horses which he had done since he was a little kid (it was the closest thing to a geeky obsession that he had).
His (now dead) friend Greg, on the other hand, had always been a bit more eccentric. Greg had never settled down or had a “boring” job. He was an anthropologist and ethnobotanist, like his hero Wade Davis, and, doing his best to follow in Davis’ footsteps, was about as close to a real-life Indiana Jones as one could get.
Greg had come back from some exotic expedition with an actual copy of the (thought to be a hoax) forbidden Swedish grimoire, Djävulbok (or “Book of Devils”) and convinced Rob to do a “spooky ritual” with him on Halloween night.
“Why in the world, do you want to do something like that? We’re not 15 anymore.”
“I know!” Greg exclaimed. “It’s been way too long since we’ve done something fun, and stupid, and completely juvenile!”
“I don’t know man…” Rob found himself nervous for some reason. More so than was probably warranted.
“C’mon Rob! Linda’s leaving you at home to take care of her mother, your kids will be at parties, and I think we’ve watched Night of the Living Dead enough times on Halloween to last a Vampire’s lifetime!”
“I don’t know why I let you talk me into this stuff Greg,” Rob sighed.
“Yes! That means you’ll do it!”
His memories of that night were a bit jumbled. He remembered kissing his wife Linda as she apologized for having to be away. He remembered hugging his kids and telling them to be safe as they headed out. He remembered his daughter rolling her eyes at him when he asked her if she thought her costume was appropriate for a girl her age. He remembered Greg showing up with a plastic tub full of candles, incense, and other strange ritual paraphernalia.
Between Greg showing up, and the awakening of his true nature, he only remembered shattered remnants of events.
He remembered a pounding in his head as Greg chanted in Latin.
He remembered Greg handing him a sheathed ritual dagger.
He remembered Greg yelling, “Don’t hesitate Rob! Just do it! OROBAS RISING!!!”
He remembered pulling the dagger from its sheath and slashing resolutely through his friend’s neck.
He remembered Greg smiling and pulling an envelope out of his pocket as he fell to his knees, his lifeblood pouring out.
He remembered everything snapping back into clarity when Greg fell on his face, dead.
Rob looked down at his friend’s body. He saw the envelope still in Greg’s left hand and gently pried it from his dead fingers.
On the envelope, written in Greg’s handwriting, were the words, “To Rob, my great friend and Great Prince.”
Calmer than he had any reason to be, Rob opened the envelope and read the letter held within.
By now your memories should be returning. I know you won’t be feeling guilty but, if there are any lingering human conscience-like reflexes, please know that I have done this—gladly! Enthusiastically even!—of my own free will.
We have been friends since you turned six years old. Our family was assigned to watch after you and help you awaken when you entered puberty. Unfortunately, your mother felt something was wrong with you when you lashed out at those bullies when we were nine (you were fucking brutal man, it was awesome!). She had a priest perform an exorcism on you. You’ve been pretty meek and mild ever since then.
The problem was that you didn’t have a demon in you. You are actually the Great Prince of Hell, Orobas born in human form now that the end-times have begun.
“Of course!” Orobas (once Rob) exclaimed, his voice reverberating with the voices of the twenty legions of demons under his command. “Rob Proscenia: Prince Orobas. I am Prince Orobas, a Great Prince of Hell!”
He continued reading.
You were sent to material existence, along with a few others of the Goetia, to prepare the way for the Antichrist, who will be born to YOUR daughter! What an honor! Your son will perhaps take a little persuading to help, but its in his blood and I’m sure you are remembering your powers and knowledge again so that won’t be a show-stopper. Linda… well, I think she could go either way to be honest.
But, I digress.
I’ve been working for years to find the ritual to undo the fetters put upon you by that idiotic priest (my dad hunted him down years ago and destroyed his life by framing him for multiple counts of rape and murder, so we got your back and got revenge for you my Prince!). Finally, after years, I found a lead to the Swedish Djävulbok and knew we were ready.
It was my honor and privilege to be your friend and guardian all these years. And I feel so proud to be able to be the sacrifice that awakens your soul.
Until we see each other again in Hell! Remember me my Prince!
Your Faithful Friend and Servant,
“Rob” folded the letter carefully and felt himself change into the form of a demonic horse. He remembered. He remembered everything.
He knew he had lots of work to catch up on but, looking at his friend’s smiling face, he thought, Tonight, for old times’ sake, I’m going to do a little “trick or treating” to honor your memory Greg.
It was time to create some unique Halloween memories for all of his neighbors and, perhaps, all of the world.