Horror Crime Speculative

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

“Yeah, get her a blanket or something; she’s probably just fiending. Thanks, Kerry.” John pulled the door shut behind him and stepped into the windowless interrogation room. He strode to the only three pieces of furniture in the otherwise barren room, a metal table and two chairs, and sat across from Asmo.

“Well, Mr. David Asmodeus, I just had a very interesting conversation with a former assistant of yours.” 

“Oh, really?” Asmo’s cherubic face, which had grown a five o’clock shadow since arriving the day before, remained unchanged save for a mockingly raised eyebrow. He possessed a healthy amount of youthful arrogance, spurred on by his early rise to internet stardom with his viral videos of a magic trick no one could explain. He’d moved on to stadiums and cable TV specials since those early days, and his ego matched his bank account in size.

“Yes, and she told me a couple of things that I’ll need you to clarify, give me some additional details on.”

Asmo sat up, leaning towards the detective. “As I told you all day yesterday: I want to find these girls as much as you do.” His voice rose and fell in an exaggerated theatrical performance. “If I can help in any way, please let me know. My assistants mean to world to me.”

“Well, I want to believe that, but I've got a young lady sitting in that next room whose life took a nosedive after working with you four years ago. She went from church every Sunday to the streets, to drugs and prostitution. I don't think you care at all about your so-called assistants.”

Asmo shrugged. “I use so many temps as assistants, I couldn’t possibly keep track of all of them, could I? Wait, why are we even talking about this? I thought we were here to clear my name on this whole missing women situation.”

“That is what we're here to get to the bottom of; let's start with The Mid-Air Teleport.”

Asmo rolled his eyes and flopped back in his chair. John had asked this very question at least four times the day before. The Mid-Air Teleport, the trick that made Asmo a viral sensation, was the last time each of the four missing ladies were seen - alive or dead. 

As always, Asmo refused to reveal any information on the trick, only saying that each girl was medically cleared before leaving the venue on the nights of their disappearances.  

“Are there any other questions, or am I cleared?”

“No, not by any means. I have at least two things I need clarification on. First, can you explain why, when hiring temps for the role of assistant in your act, you required the hiring agency to get them medically cleared for, and I quote, 'sexual purity'. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I understand this to mean they couldn’t have had sexual encounters prior to being your assistant?”

Asmo’s eyes widened for a moment, a fleeting hint of surprise. “She… my former assistant, the one in the other room, she said that?”

“Yes, Mr. Asmodeus.”

“Oh…” Asmo trailed off, looking down at the floor.

“We’re currently working to confirm with the temp agency, so it’d be in your best interest to be open and honest about…”

Asmo’s eyes rose slowly to meet John’s – with the smirk returned. “Oh, there's no need to go through all that trouble; I’ve got nothing to hide. Yes, I requested virgins specifically.”

“Oh, alright.” John scribbled a note in his pocket notepad.

“Wait, did you really think that you got me? I hate to break it to you, but you won’t be getting me because I didn’t do anything to get gotten on. And what does this even have to do with the missing girls?”

They’d done this exact song and dance a number of times already. Every inquiry, every path of questioning, Asmo would ask what it had to do with the missing girls. Deflection, obfuscation – he’d try to keep John on the back foot. Asmo seemed to derive pleasure from the frustration it caused the detective. 

He wouldn’t get that satisfaction today.

“Oh, I think it has everything to do with the missing women, and I think you know it too. The way I see it, these young, impressionable ladies were pimped out to you by the temp agency. Maybe you have a preference, or even a fetish, for innocent girls. It doesn’t take a genius to make the logical leap from that to what may have happened to them.”

Asmo looked up, as if searching for an answer. “Hmm, yeah... I can see how that might look bad in this situation now that you mention it. Oh no…”

“You continue to make light of this situation, but I’m going to need a legitimate answer on this one. For what purpose did you require your assistants to be virgins, Mr. Asmodeus?”

Again, Asmo just smiled. “It’s simple: we wanted our assistants to be young, innocent girls – just like you said. You see, the more innocent they are, the more naïve they tended to be. You can’t teach that level of naivety in acting school. We needed them to show awe, even fear, when they were raised up above the stage; the other ones, the sluts, their facial expressions were just so over the top and unbelievable. Nah, we wanted authenticity. Does that answer your question, detective?”

John again scribbled in his notebook: BULLSHIT, all caps.

“That doesn’t explain the need for a doctor’s note to confirm their virginity. If all you needed was authentic reactions, that’s not really a strong enough reason that you’d need to have girls get medically cleared.”

“Geez man, you really want to pin this on me. Just grasping at anything, huh? Look, we had them get tested because, if you’re a skank who really wants a job with the biggest magician walking the Earth, wouldn’t you lie about it too? We have shows every night, I didn’t have time to personally vet all of them.”

This guy seemed to have an answer for everything, and he could throw them back at John a split second after being questioned. John jotted down how many times has he rehearsed THAT answer, then he flipped the pad shut.

“I’ll have some additional follow-up questions on that when my partner returns from the temp agency. Unless there was anything else you wanted to add…? No? Alright, let’s move on.” 

John paused; he could tell that Asmo felt in control of the situation, and he wanted to revel in the last bit of misguided arrogance before dropping the hammer. The magician tilted his head, eyebrows raised, and gestured with his hands as if to say what is it?

“Let's talk about The Nothing.”

This time, Asmo’s eyes widened a bit less dramatically but for far longer. A drawn out “wooooow…” was all he could manage. John fought back the urge to smile.

“If you would, tell me about The Nothing. What is it? Or rather, let's just cut to what I need to know: where is it you keep the girls during Mid-Air Teleport?” John flipped his notepad open again, pen staged against the tiny page, and stared at Asmo. “And please, be specific.”

“That dumb bitch.” His tone was closer to disappointment than anger or frustration.  “She really told you?”

“I take it that you know what I’m referring to, then?”

Asmo sat silent, staring down at the table. John knew he was likely searching for another lie, but he took satisfaction in the fact that he’d finally found a question for which the kid didn’t have a prepared response. He waited, allowing silence to fill the space between them and resisting the urge to break the tension with further prodding.

“I’m curious, what else did she mention? Besides The Nothing.”

“How about you tell me what you know about The Nothing, then we can talk about what may or may not have been discussed with other witnesses.”

“No, it’s important, trust me. Did she tell you about anything else – or rather, any­one else?”

“Mr. Asmodeus, I’m asking the questions here. Tell me about…”

“Did she tell you about The Don?” Asmo’s voice rose gradually as he finished his question, dragging out the last two words in an almost playful tone.

“We can get to that later. For now, let’s focus…”

“The Don,” Asmo cut in. “Did she tell you about The Don?” He spoke in a syncopated, sing-songy rhythm, but it was obvious he wasn’t going to let the topic go.

“I’m aware of a Don, yes. A mister, um…” John flipped back a couple of pages, “Mr. Don, Abba Don.”

“Oh shit, she really did it!” His excited laughter caught John off guard. “She really told you his name! Oh, and it’s not Mr. Don; that’s got to be the first time I’ve ever heard that. It’s Abaddon; one word.” 

John’s pen pressed to the notepad, correcting the previous misinterpretation of his questioning of Cindy earlier. “Ok, what does this Abaddon have to do with The Nothing? And what do either have to do with the girls?”

“Oh, you’ll find out soon. Very soon, in fact. Any moment now…”

A frantic knock on the door caused John to jump. Asmo tilted his head towards the door, raising his eyebrows as if to say you might want to get that. John approached the door slowly, keeping one eye on the magician at the table. How the fuck did he do that? 

John wonder who in the hell could be interrupting his questioning of the suspect in the department's biggest case in, well, ever?

John opened the door just enough to fit his head through. “What?!

Kerry appeared in front of John. “Sorry for interrupting, but that girl, Cindy, something’s really wrong. She’s wrapped in three military-style wool blankets but still said she was freezing. Now, she’s talking to herself in the room. She seems terrified, but we have no idea of what.”

John looked back at Asmo who watched his conversation intently. There was an actively increasing chance in John’s mind that Asmo knew exactly what was going on. “Ok, get her to a hospital,” he whispered. “Her testimony is going to break this case wide open, and I need her to make it to trial. Anything else? I need to get back in here; I’m making progress.” 

Kerry shook his head and turned to leave; John called out. “Hey, actually one more thing. Can you also run a quick search for me? Can you look up something called The Nothing? It seems to have something to do with this case. Oh! And look up the name Abaddon as well. He's involved, working under a stage name it seems, but it’s like pulling teeth with this asshat to get any information. It's one word, A-B-A-D-D-O-N. I need a real name if you can get it. And check with Vice, see if the hookers have heard about a suspicious guy by that name.”

Kerry nodded, said that he would do his best before heading down the dimly lit hallway.

"Did you guys turn up the A/C?” Asmo stared at John, waiting for an answer with the corner of his lip slightly curled up.

John sat down, rubbing the bare skin of his arms just below his short sleeves on his button up. “It seems they must have; it's freezing in here. We’ll press on, and I’ll talk to them after…”

“Oh, we'll be done soon enough,” Asmo said in a tone that was far less playful. “But to speed this along, and because I don’t get to talk about it much, let me share with you how the Mid-Air Teleport is done."

John stopped rubbing his arms and just stared at Asmo. It was too good to be true, surely; just another game the young magician was playing on him. Still, John responded, “Yes, please provide as much detail as possible.” He pressed his pen to pad and prepared to write.

“Oh, that won't be necessary. It’s actually fairly straightforward; I can explain it in one word. It’s Abaddon. That’s it; the entire trick is just Abaddon doing his thing. The levitation, the disappearance, the reappearance... its' all him. Well, it's not really a reappearance, at least not the same girl."

"So Abaddon is controlling whatever you use to lift the girls and move them?"

"You don't seem to get it... I'll lay it out in small, plain words so your feeble mind can grasp it: Abaddon is a demon. D-E-M-O-N. Demon, that's one word if you need to write it down. And he’s my demon – well, we have a pact. I get to be rich and famous; he gets all the girls. He wants them pure, innocent, so he can feed on that innocence. Says it’s a delicacy for him. Sucks them dry, then spits them out the next night when he gets a new dish. And if they aren't pure? Well, you can ask those four lying sluts what happens. Actually, I guess you can't anymore. "

John had begun writing when Asmo offered to explain, but within the first five seconds he put the pad down and just stared. The more the kid spoke, the further his story traveled away from what John’s brain deemed feasible. 

“So if any of that’s true, why tell me now?”

“Because I can! Do you have any idea how much it sucks to have this power and not be able to tell anyone? You see, you already know about Abaddon, so I can talk about him all I want. Someone already revealed his identity to you. Oh yeah, that’s the other thing: Abaddon hates it when people find out about him even more than he loves the taste of innocence. Really hates it..."

A guttural scream caused John to jump before abruptly ending a moment later. He leapt to his feet, hand instinctively jumping to the handle of his standard issue Glock, just as a heavy thud came from the direction of the room where Cindy Evangeline was sitting, wrapped in three blankets.   

John burst out of Interrogation Room 3 and sprinted to Room 2. He threw open the door, the acrid smell of blood filling his nostrils. All around, still-trickling blood spatter decorated the otherwise sanitized room, with droplets all over the walls, floor, and ceiling as if a bloody rag had been spun in the air. 

He scanned the room, looking for the 23-year-old junkie who had spoken to him just 20 minutes before. She had to be in this room, they were going to have her go to the hospital when the ambulance arrived, but there were no signs of her other than the blood. If this was her blood, where was the body?

A small shadow behind the metal table provided the answer. John rounded the table to see Cindy’s expressionless face near the far wall. Her head, no longer attached to a body which could support it, laid flat on its side. Her neck, attached to her torso just a few minutes before, was now in tatters. John had seen severed heads before in his 27 years on the force, but each of them had relatively clean cuts to the neck. Who - or what - ever did this, they didn’t bother cutting.

Above Cindy's disembodied head was a blood spatter pattern that the veteran detective had never seen before, a crimson sunburst patter with an indentation in the brick wall at the center. 

John looked around for the body or, at the very least, a blood trail that would give him an idea of where it was taken, but to no avail. A chill traveled down his spine. It could've been caused by how much colder he felt since walking into Room 2. Or maybe it was the shock of the scene in front of him. But John knew the reason, he just didn't want to, or couldn't accept it.

He shuffled back to Room 3 without bothering to call in the situation with Cindy. His heart sank with each step he took, getting closer and closer to Asmo. When he walked in, Asmo was standing beside the table, rubbing his wrists where the cuffs had been. Of course he could slip the cuffs.

“I take it my lovely assistant is no longer there?”

“What the fuck is going on?”

“I tried to tell you: Abaddon’s not like me. He doesn’t want to be famous. Hell, he doesn’t want anyone other than me to know about him. Miss temp-assistant lady over there brought this on herself.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do I really have to spell it out for you? Nom nom nom, get what I’m saying? Remember how she was feeling cold before you came in here? And how you got cold after telling that other cop about Abaddon? Well…”

Kerry burst through the door, not bothering to knock. “Cindy! Cindy Evangeline! She’s… she’s been… I don’t even know. But she’s dead! They found her head….”

Kerry kept talking, but John didn’t hear anything else. The light seemed to get sucked out of the hallway, the space behind Kerry turning pitch black before making its way into Room 3. John felt as if he’d been dropped in the middle of the Arctic, the temperature dropping as the darkness approached. He couldn’t move, his muscles felt frozen in place. 

The last thing John ever saw was Asmo’s smile.

The last thing John ever heard was Kerry asking, “why is it so fucking cold in here?”

July 22, 2023 03:42

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Kara Niccum
17:41 Jul 26, 2023

Fantastic! Love it!


Michael Martin
21:06 Jul 26, 2023

Thanks!! Really appreciate the positive feedback :)


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Tommy Goround
03:50 Jul 24, 2023

Good. Everything worked. Clapping


Michael Martin
15:59 Jul 24, 2023

Thanks! That's really great to hear, I truly appreciate the kind words!


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Michelle Oliver
12:25 Jul 23, 2023

Shudder! This was creepy. The story gripped my from start to finish and I’m not a horror reader or writer, so well done. I like the way you presented Asmo, he was sufficiently annoying and insufferable, and I get the feeling that he may not be quite as in control of his demon as he thinks. Way to leave us hanging in the end. Thanks for sharing.


Michael Martin
22:35 Jul 23, 2023

Thanks! I've never tried to write horror before, so I'm sure that horror writers could show me some things that could be cleaned up, but I was happy with the first attempt. I'm glad you found it enjoyable :)


Tommy Goround
03:52 Jul 24, 2023

It was very interesting how you took the prompt and made it your own. I agree with M. Oliver: you made horror interesting and accessible. (I am horror handicap myself). :)


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Kevin Logue
14:07 Jul 22, 2023

Damn but Asmo comes across as a complete numpty, would have been nice to see him get his just desserts. Nice play on how it passes on, now the question becomes who did Kerry talk to about Abaddon, has the angel of abyss been granted a feast. Nice take on the prompt Michael, well done.


Michael Martin
18:24 Jul 22, 2023

Thanks! The original idea waa the Asmo made all this happen on purpose to feed Abaddon, increase its power for bigger and better tricks. That kind of fell to the wayside, but i would imagine that Kerry would head back to the office and mention it to someone else, given the magnitude of the case.


Tommy Goround
03:53 Jul 24, 2023

I don't know if it's maxed out. Very good in present form. Many stories lose their raw beauty when they get edited to death. You are probably in a very good place right now.


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