***** Those exceedingly dark years of my life -- between the time of the death of my first true love, Olivia Crowley, and her eventually rebirth as she who became my wife, the wonderful Lady Katrina Rumanos -- were an era in themselves. It was a time of bizarre suspicions, strange exploits, and hardboiled occult detective mysteries. Here begins the story of those times. These are… THE YOUNG DANIEL RUMANOS CHRONICLES!!! *****
I could hear the traffic sloshing through the rain-swept streets of the city of Baltimore as I sat in the offices of Gargoyle’s Occult Investigations; located, as it was in those days, there in the Charles Village neighbourhood a short distance north of downtown. The client with whom I had an appointment was a tad late and I was dozing a bit behind my desk. To my left were a few bookshelves, on which rested a collection of reference volumes, whilst a small refrigerator, microwave oven, and coffeepot stood behind me to the right.
I had left the door open and the young woman quietly entered without knocking. I did not open my eyes until she began speaking.
“Hello, Doctor Rumanos?” she enquired. “My name is Kittie Lagore.”
“I must be dreaming,” returned I, awakening from my lethargy. She was exceedingly beautiful: tall and very young looking, slender yet shapely with gorgeous shoulder-length red hair and sapphire-blue eyes. She wore a dark-blue skirt and an immaculately white blouse. I recognised the outfit as the type of uniform worn in the elite educational academies of the privileged.
“Welcome, Miss Lagore,” I continued, rising and motioning for the girl to take a seat. “Would you care for a cup of tea?”
“Oh yes, please,” she said with a slight smile, brushing back her ginger hair with her thin white hand. “I’m so sorry I’m late. With the rain and everything, it took longer than I had expected to find your office after school.”
“Think nothing of it,” I returned, pouring a shot of creamy-white milk into the girl’s steaming hot cup of tea. It barely occurred to me that I should have asked her first if she wanted it. “I was just thinking over the outline of your case as you told it to me over the telephone. You say your friend has gone missing?”
“Yes,” she said, taking the tea from me with a look of thanks on her lovely face. “She hasn’t been to classes since last week, and I am worried about her so. No one else seems to even care.”
I sat back down behind my desk and attempted to focus on the case rather than on the young lady’s beauty. It was rather hard, but I managed it.
“Please, Miss Lagore,” I said, “do give me some more detail concerning your missing friend, and why her absence so disturbs you.”
“Her name is Mia Fleming, and we are best friends; like sisters actually. But she has recently gotten really into the local music scene, and met a man with whom I believe she has become quite obsessed.”
“And you think she may have run off with him, perhaps?”
“Yes,” she answered, “or more likely, I would say she has been kidnapped. The man is very creepy really, and I do not see why she would be attracted to him except that he seems to have some weird power over her and others. But he is supposed to be such a popular area musician, and no one will believe me when I try to tell them that I think that Mia is with him. Even her parents and the police really just don‘t seem to care.”
“Do not worry, Miss Lagore,” said I, with a rising comprehension of what was going on. “We will get to the bottom of this mystery. That I promise you.”
“Oh, thank you, Dr. Rumanos! It so reassures me to finally hear that somebody will help!”
“Tell me then,” I enquired, “who is this strange ‘local musician’ whom you suspect of having ensnared your friend?”
“His name,” answered the girl with an insuppressibly genuine shudder of horror, “is Dan Deekin.”
Oy! I knew of this Dan Deekin character. A particularly odious individual he was indeed. Still, he would not have come under the notice of my particular area of expertise had it not been for some very specific activities on his part. But perhaps I should explain.
My name is RUMANOS -- DANIEL RUMANOS, Occult Detective, Doctor of Demonology, Interplanetary Man of Mystery, and all of that. Though I have the appearance of an alarmingly handsome human gentleman -- 6’3” tall, muscular, with long, wavy black hair (these being the days before I started letting it go grey for effect), piercing brown to blue-black eyes, and oddly pale skin -- I am actually not a mortal being at all. For I do carry within my blood the amazingly-superior genes of the Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, those mysterious Masters of all Time and Space that centre their vast cosmic domains on the planet Daemonia, ninety-three light-years from Earth.
This extraterrestrial heritage grants me numerous abilities and powers which appear “miraculous” and “magical” to Earthlings. However, unlike the majority of Algolites, who live in a rather hermitic isolation from the rest of the universe, I have made it my ongoing crusade to utilise my inborn otherwordly gifts in order to help those in need -- defending the helpless, the innocent, and the vulnerable against any who would harm or oppress them in the name of false “religion” and “spirituality”.
This mission has gotten me some notice in the bizarre occult underground that exists on the fringes of society, with its grotesque tentacles often reaching into areas much closer to everyday life than most people ever realise. This includes the world of Satanism and Devil Worship. You see, what humans generally refer to as “demons” are, in actuality, really the disembodied life-essences of various extremely powerful but utterly immoral alien races, the physical bodies of which were destroyed countless ages ago by my people, the Watchers. Whilst we maintain that we have the full right to do this, by virtue of a universal principle known as Algolite Privilege, it is when we perceived the spiritually demonic entities being thus formed that the Algolites created the inter-dimensional prison known as Hell in which to eternally incarcerate them. It is after this that the current Algolitish policy of non-intervention was officially implemented.
During the particular time in which this current tale occurs, I had actually powered down many of my Algolitish abilities, along with psychically blocking my memories of many facts concerning the society of the Watchers, in order to live and pursue my work undetected upon Earth. Both of the above continued to ebb and flow with me, however -- hopefully, as needed.
Now, concerning this Dan Deekin individual that the lovely Miss Kittie Lagore had reason to believe responsible for her friend’s disappearance: he was as aforesaid well-known in the area as a figure in the Baltimore alternative music scene, though exactly why he was ever taken thus seriously seemed to be a mystery indeed. You see, he had little or no actual talent, his “music” consisting of a tuneless disharmony of sounds that he created from malfunctioning electronic equipment and antiquated synthesiser keyboards. He was known most of all, however, for the audience participation so often seen during his shows, with, so it would seem, his real talents being in the ability to exploit the fact that fans of popular music basically behave like sheep -- doing any ridiculous dance, call-and-response, or other foolery that the performer would request of them. The use of narcotics, particularly the hideously pernicious weed known as marijuana, aided in their complacency.
Despite all this, the idea that Mr. Dan Deekin could in any way sexual attract anyone was absolutely ludicrous. The man was physically disgusting: middle aged, quite obese, bald-headed, bespectacled, scruffily-bearded and shabbily-dressed.
“Do you have a photograph of your friend?” I enquired of Kittie Lagore.
“Yes,” she replied, briefly searching in her elegant handbag for it. “Here it is.”
She handed me the photo of her friend, Miss Mia Fleming. It showed a young, pretty blonde with wide, blue eyes and a sweet smile. No, there is no way whatsoever that a girl like this could be attracted to an ugly old git like Dan Deekin… except…
The reason I knew so much about the sickening Mr. Deekin was due to a package of information I had received in the post a few weeks previously. It had been sent from a gentleman named Will Beam, who was a paranormal researcher in addition to his vocation as a Minister of the Gospel. Even though we had never met, Rev. Beam had heard of my work in the field and had come upon certain facts that he felt that I should known -- “before it is too late”, he had written. Indeed, Beam had died of a “stroke” -- despite being in seeming perfect health -- directly after sending the package.
What the Rev. Will Beam had uncovered, during some investigations into occult influence upon popular music, concerned Dan Deekin in ways abhorrent and unspeakable. It was this: when certain passages of Deekin’s recorded music were played backwards at a particular speed, words of unnameable blasphemy and obscene demonic invocation could be heard.
Indeed, the use of black magical spells was quite obviously the only thing that could explain Dan Deekin’s strange powers of attraction!
As I pondered this whilst speaking to Miss Lagore, it occurred to me what unmentionably profane and diabolical plans this unspeakably perverted Mr. Deekin likely had in store for young Mia; the loathsome sexual debaucheries for which he could use her innocent body in order to conjure incredible, ungodly power from the forces of darkness. I mentally swore that I would stop at nothing to stop him; that the wicked, unholy man known as Dan Deekin would know absolutely no peace, no rest, and no quarter, until I had brought his demoniacal schemes to an end.
I would, if necessary, destroy Dan Deekin, that disgusting darling of the hopelessly drugged-out Baltimore “alternative music scene”. I would unreservedly destroy Dan Deekin -- the SATANIST!!
Early the next morning, Kittie Lagore and I were having breakfast in a fourteenth-floor suite of the Hotel Royale in Harbour East. I had booked the rooms under the names of Mr. and Mrs. Hamish MacBond (this based upon the code name by which I am known in the work I do from time to time with MI9 -- the British Secret Service Occult Police Agency, whom have given me the honorary rank of Commander and the Special Agent Number 00777). I thought it best to isolate the girl a bit from the possibility of any contact with Dan Deekin and whatever eldritch spiritual forces he was attempting to invoke, and so we were here undercover, posing as a young Scottish couple making the most of an overnight stopover in Baltimore on our way to a holiday in sunny Miami Beach, Florida.
Room service brought up scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, toast with marmalade, orange juice, non-fat milk, and, by my special order, a large pot of very strong coffee. We had refused the complimentary champagne offered us upon check-in the night before. I did occasionally drink alcohol in those days, but it would have quite obviously been inappropriate under the circumstances.
After showering that morning, Kittie had changed into a very nice dress. It was light blue in colour -- a shade that is called azure. I love that colour. Azure-blue.
“It is important for your own safety,” I said as we finished our meal, “that you stay in the hotel until I return today, Kittie. I have to go do some additional research concerning this Deekin miscreant, but will be back as soon as I possible.”
“It’s all right,” replied the girl, leaning over the small breakfast table and giving me a warm kiss on the mouth. “I do trust you, and want to stay safe until you can find out what that horrible man is doing with poor Mia!”
I donned my long, black leather coat over my usual darkly-hued suit and steel-toed military-surplus “jungle” boots, and then left the hotel towards the large central branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library downtown. I knew they had some good archives of the local newspapers and that I could look up information on Dan Deekin therein -- press releases, reviews of his shows, interviews and feature articles.
I arrived at the library and walked through the immense doorway into its main section, ignoring the hateful glances that I always receive from the numerous overweight African-American women lazing behind the checkout desk. That particular type sometimes seems to be the only sort actually employed anywhere in Baltimore. Someday, I pondered, I am going to have to investigate exactly why that is the case.
Finding the appropriate department, I looked over the various news items that had appeared over the years concerning the bizarre Mr. Dan Deekin. The information they contained turned out to be interesting indeed.
Dan Deekin had been born in West Babylon, New York. His family had disowned him shortly after he had finished high school. He claimed that this was because he had wanted to pursue a career in music whilst they preferred for him to attend law school. However, I knew immediately that this was not likely to be the true reason of the Deekin family having cut off young Dan.
You see, at precisely that same time the Long Island area had been terrorised by a series of incidents involving Satanic ritual crime -- occult graffiti, cats being stolen and later found mutilated in the woods, that sort of affair. The group perpetrating these heinous things called themselves The Babylon Boys Club, patterning themselves, to some little extent, after the old English “Hell-Fire Clubs” of the Eighteenth Century.
But the activities of The Babylon Boys Club had only come to a head when they really crossed the line: kidnapping a local high-school girl, then gang-raping and murdering her at their near by hideout. The cult’s leader, Richie Kelso, had been the only member of the group positively identified by a witness who had seen him with the doomed damsel the night prior to the outrage. Kelso, who had flatly refused to name his accomplices, was found hanged in his gaol cell the morning after his arrest.
That Dan Deekin had been a member of The Babylon Boys Club was rather obvious. The times and modus operandi worked out perfectly. His family had known, or at least suspected this, and had felt that banishing him from their home was a far more lenient -- and less humiliating to themselves -- alternative to turning him into the authorities. It is then that Dan moved to Baltimore and began his rise to relative-fame as a local “musician”.
And so, now Mr. Dan Deekin was attempting to accomplish that in which he and the other cultists of The Babylon Boys Club had previously failed: to use the strong paranormal and black-magical energies of the ritualised sexual violation of an innocent young girl in order to gain incredible occult power.
The thought of this person, along with the overly-heated library room, nauseated me. I briefly thought of removing my coat but thought better of that, as it is permeated with paranormal protective energies due to some of my past experiences whilst wearing it (along with other factors). I instead left the library and stepped into the blessed coolness of that late-February day. I had certainly completed my research anyway, and with the relief brought upon me by the brisk air came the thought of picking up some Chinese take-away for lunch and then returning to Kittie at the Hotel Royale.
However, I had only walked a couple of blocks from the library when I suddenly found myself sprawling on the concrete, having been hit from behind by a powerful surge of black magic energy. Fortunately, my abilities allowed me to recover quickly and I turned to face my attackers.
They were a couple of young men; skinny, identically dressed in scruffy sweatpants and T-shirts, obvious narcotics addicts with sallow, pock-marked faces -- but they were both surrounded by grotesquely pulsating ebon-black demonic energies.
“Dr. Daniel Rumanos,” stated one of them contemptuously, “our master, the brilliantly gifted Dan Deekin, has psychically sensed your intentions to interfere with his plans! We, his loyal Satanic slaves, have come in his defence! And now, meddler Rumanos, we will annihilate you!!”
So, this bloody Dan Deekin must indeed be more powerful than I had figured. Such was the thought running through my mind as I faced his two henchmen on that Baltimore street.
“By the mighty Satanic powers of Master Dan Deekin,” continued the young occult hoodlum, “we will now destroy you!”
I quickly dodged another flash of black magical energy that they shot at me and, then turning to stand sideways like a duellist in order to make myself a more difficult target, I hurriedly generated a vigorous bolt of my own inborn, seemingly-miraculous Algolitish energies, casting it forcefully towards the horrid twosome.
My blast of energy shimmered in brilliant orange and blue as it hit the two Satanists squarely. They obviously had not prepared for it, as it shot them upwards into the air. They managed to regain some self-control just as they reached the top level of a near by parking garage building, and alighted onto it whilst I levitated up in pursuit of them.
As I reached the rooftop, I perceived that one of the duo had now had it. My defences had immediately been too strong for him, and he now lay prostrate, panting laboriously in an exhausted near-death, his body and psyche both broken, shattered by my awesome extraterrestrial abilities.
The other had not taken the brunt of the flash and continued his attacks on me, but he did not last long. Another blistering bolt of my powers sent him reeling back off the roof, falling to the pavement five storeys below. His body crushed, the horrid henchman died instantly.
I then turned back to the first of them. He had only a very few breaths of life remaining in his worthless criminal body, and I lifted his head -- not so tenderly I might add -- as I began a psychic probe. Whilst the Satanic scum yet lived, I could use him to ascertain the current whereabouts and plans of his maniacal master, the execrable occult criminal known as Dan Deekin.
I sought in his mind for this information, and mentally heard the words “Printer’s Devil” and “Dark of the Moon” before my would-be assassin slipped into death. I briefly felt his diseased soul plunging into the Hell of the damned, where he will suffer forever in torment in the place prepared for the hideous devils he chose to worship.
Before leaving the area, I dropped this henchman over the side of the building to fall beside his fellow. Let the police authorities think it was some kind of homosexual lover’s leap suicide pact for these two. Serves the abominable filth right.
It then occurred to me that the wicked Deekin, if he indeed had the paranormal perceptions that he appeared to possess, would have known that these scummy henchmen of his could not succeed in murdering me. Why had he then bothered to send them? Apparently, to keep me occupied whilst he carried out some nefarious purpose. But what?
Then, it suddenly became quite obvious: KITTIE!
I rushed at my full speed back to the Hotel Royale and hurried quickly up to our fourteenth-floor suite, ignoring the lift in favour of the stairs. My heart sank when I saw that the girl was gone, with a smashed lamp and overturned table and chairs showing evidence of a struggle. Then I noticed a scrap of notepaper taped to the wall, bearing a taunting message inked in black, underlined block lettering:
“HULLO RUMANOS,” read the brief missive. “YOUR BIRD HAS FLOWN.”
It was signed “D.D.“
Christ on a bike!
In Baltimore, a neighbourhood is considered “gentrified” when rich white kids start going there to buy drugs. Such is the case with Station North, so called due to its location a few blocks north of the train station. Long one of the worst crime-infested ghetto stink-holes in the entire city, this slummy area has in recent years become a hangout for the hipster “arts” crowd.
On the outskirts of Station North, in fact located where the black ghetto gives way to the more white-trash Remington district, is the Printer’s Devil Building, so named after a print-shop that was located there decades previous to its current use as an apartment building. It is here that I journeyed in search of the ignoble felon known as Dan Deekin, having psychically extracted its name as the location of his current hideout from one of his now-deceased henchmen.
I knew that this was the night of the Dark of the Moon, when certain rites of Satanic sexual magic are celebrated. I also knew I had to stop the debauched scoundrel Mr. Deekin from thus using the two young ladies in his attempt to greatly increase his occult powers!
Accordingly, I investigated the hallways of the Printer’s Devil Building. Few of the residents seemed to be at home in the flats. It was by now just after dark, and the local hipster types were likely congregated, as is their wont, at the near by openly-communist bookshop and café.
Then, at the end of one of the cockroach-infested corridors I empathically detected a strange, darksome glow; just a hint of what had to be a passageway leading to black-magical activity. I approach and touched my hand to the wall, and was not surprised to see it pass directly through the seemingly-solid woodwork. I stepped through entirely and found myself drifting downwards towards a subterranean chamber far below the Printer’s Devil itself. This then was the secret lair of the hideously evil Dan Deekin!
The passage debouched into a large cavern, lit by a series of black and red candles in wall sconces and strewn about with numerous electronic musical instruments, pornographic magazines, and narcotics paraphernalia. At the far end of this grotesque chamber was the horrible villain Dan Deekin himself, a wicked smirk upon his ugly face.
“So, Daniel Rumanos,” he sneered. “Guess you got my message.”
“Blimey, Dan Deekin,” I replied. “I had heard you were an underground musician -- but this is going a bit too far! By the way, you shouldn‘t sign yourself ‘Double D‘. It makes you sound like a bloody great brassiere.”
His dark eyes narrowed with a glint of anger. Despite the pallid complexion of Dan Deekin, his broad, flat nose and thick, slobbery lips both denoted traces of non-European blood in his ancestry. This caused me to wonder at what horrible generational evils and loathsome ethnic recidivisms this sickeningly contemptible individual likely carried within him.
“Where are the two girls you have kidnapped?” I continued. “In any event, Deekin, I have come here to stop you, but if you have harmed Kittie or Mia I do swear that your ending shall painful beyond all belief.”
“Oh, Rumanos,” he replied, continuing his disgusting smile, “I assure you the two little hotties are quite happy.”
With this taunt, he flicked a switch on one of his antiquated electronic devices and a curtain opened, revealing the two young women chained to the wall beside him. At the same time, a loudspeaker system began to blare out a recording of some of Deekin’s worthless, dissonant excuse for “music”.
I ran over and examined Kittie and Mia. They were alive but barely conscious -- obviously the result of drugs that the criminal had forced into them. Both of them were bruised about the face and arms, and Kittie’s dress had been torn to shreds in her struggle against the wicked Dan Deekin.
“Hahaha!” shouted Deekin suddenly, foaming flecks of saliva dripping into his unkempt beard. “The redhead did put up quite a fight when I took her from your holiday hotel hideaway -- or should I say love-nest? Naughty naughty, Doctor! Naughty naughty!”
“Oh shut up, Deekin, you bleeding twit,” I rejoined. “This ends now!”
I cast a bolt of Algolitish energies directly at him. To my surprise, it only sent him a short distance backwards before he recovered. Yes, it appears that this Dan Deekin reprobate was indeed more magically attuned than I had ever imagined him to be. There then immediately began to flow forth from him a stream of demonic entities -- and they were coming directly at me!
The ebony mass of cacodemons halted in a circle of obscenely-black power less than a metre about my person; a hovering phantasmagorical ring of eldritch horror. I heard Dan Deekin, that perversely unholy Satanic malefactor, laughing with hideous mirth.
“What now, Deekin?” I calmly enquired of him. “Do you expect me to surrender?”
“No, Dr. Rumanos,” he chortled wickedly. “I expect you to DIE!”
At his command, the throng of myriad evil spirits then rushed inwards -- totally engulfing me in a spiritually-suffocating miasma of absolute ungodly terror!!
The awful ambuscade of demoniacal spirits engulfed me in a blacker-than-black haze. Even with my enhanced abilities, it was difficult to retain consciousness amongst the spiritually-suffocating influence of such unnameable horror.
I reached deeply, deeply inside myself, to the very core of my being, for what was necessary to escape this terror. I found a spark in the centre of my soul -- a buried glimmer of remembrance of my origins as one of the Watchers of Algol. Indeed, what I found was even beyond this. For in hiding my memories as an Algolite, I had put them in psychic safekeeping within a place containing also the remembrance of the secret origins of the Watchers themselves -- of our own beginnings beyond the barriers of known existence; our origins as the Aeturnusians, those very beings of supreme power who are termed angels by the religions of planet Earth. It was a portion of these beings who ventured into the realms of physical life and formed the society of Algol itself, led in their journey by the greatest of all Aeternusians; the one who is remembered as the Creator, the one named YAHWEH -- He who is my Father!
You see, for that short time necessary to escape the demoniac onslaught thrust upon me by the villainously wicked and obscenely perverted Dan Deekin, I remembered my past existences, not only as a Watcher of Algol, but even countless aeons before when I was the one known to Algolitish history only as THE OTHER, the only-begotten son of Yahweh. The Other, who -- along with Sesom and Dammahum, saved the Watchers from the possible ignominy of being remembered as “fallen” and therefore allowed Algolitish science to maintain the balance of all of Space and Time. The Other, Saviour of the Universe!
I accordingly invoked the powers of the Almighty within me with the appropriate words in a moment of supreme power that even I may only call forth under certain fantastically extreme circumstances:
“EL SHADDAI ELYON ADONAI YAHWEH!!!”
With this, a tremendous flow of pure white light came forth from my inner self, immediately dispersing the demons and then targeting the hideous criminal Dan Deekin.
I heard the wickedly diabolical Deekin give a brief but poignant scream of absolute, abject fear as the light made contact with him. His voice was then immediately cut short as death overcame him, as the very skin, flesh, and viscera of this totally ungodly individual melted away until only a bare skeleton remained.
The light then disappeared, leaving only peace and silence in that underground cavern that had once been used for such evil purposes. Even the sickening “music” had, thankfully, stopped playing.
I walked over to the skeleton of the wicked Dan Deekin, that disgusting Satanist, and gave his dried-up skull a derisive kick with one of my steel-toed boots. It hit the wall and shattered into a million tiny shards.
“Bloody fat bastard,” said I.
I freed the two girls from their bonds and saw that they recovered. Fortunately, Deekin had not molested either of them, having been saving his perverse sexual energies for the horrid Satanic ceremony he had planned for later that night.
Mercifully, Miss Mia Fleming had little memory of the entire affair; the human mind being quite capable of shutting out potential mental harm caused by remembrance of contact with what is generally known as the supernatural.
I saw the beautiful Kittie Lagore a few tines after that. She always thanked me profusely for having saved her and her friend; kindly never mentioning the fact that the execrable villain had kidnapped her when she was under my protection (something for which I could not help but to feel a bit of shame). Nevertheless, we eventually drifted apart after Kittie had gone away to attend university in another state. I have often thought of her, and of how she in many ways reminded me of someone whom I had once loved and lost -- and of one whom I knew I would find and love again in years to come. This resemblance I perceived in Kittie Lagore, however, is certainly only a coincidence -- or, more properly stated, an illusion.
***** Daniel Rumanos will return in our next exciting episode of The Weird Adventures!!! *****
Author Notes: DANIEL RUMANOS is a professional stage magician and author of the long-running WEIRD ADVENTURES series of Occult Detective Mysteries. Visit him online at http://rumanosmagic.blogspot.com/