Minutes to Midnight

Submitted into Contest #55 in response to: Write a story about a meeting of a secret society.... view prompt



Official Minutes of the Cult of Korbosh, Swallower of Suns and Devourer of Light. Autumn 2019


Brian (President)

Susan (Treasurer)

Alan (Vice President)

Katie (Inhuman Resources)

These minutes have been deemed as accurate and official. All Hail Korbosh, the absence of hateful brightness.

I - Attendance

Brian: Okay everyone. It’s good to see you all again.

Alan: We haven’t taken attendance yet Brian.

B: There are four of us Alan, it’s obvious everyone’s here.

A: I appreciate that Brian but bylaws are bylaws; you wouldn’t want to invite the wrath of Korbosh would you?

B: I hardly think your little citations can be compared to the wrath of our all powerful ruler but fine. Announce your presence and humble thyself afore the altar of Korbosh. Art thou Present Brian?

A: I present myself humbly in deference to Korbosh.

B: Art thou present Susan?

Susan: Yes.

A: Susan, can you do it properly please?

B: Shush Alan. Art thou present Katie?

K: Here.

II- Stationery Order

B: Excellent, can we get on with this please? Our first order of business is the ordering of the stationery. Now Katie, I know your role was advertised as ‘summoning of the dark minions of Korbosh from the umbral side’, so I appreciate this was a little outside your comfort zone. However, I do have some issues with the new letterhead. 

K: I’m sorry Brian, but what exactly is the problem? Alan said they’re brilliant. 

B: Don’t get me wrong, the paper stock you’ve chosen is divine and the font is absolutely stunning. I just have some issues with the wording. 

A: Everything on there is absolutely accurate though!

B: I appreciate that. I just don’t think that the letterhead of our secret organisation should read “We are the cult of Korbosh, many faced beast of the abyss. Kneel before him as the sun finally dims and our pitiful existence ends in his onyx embrace.” Just how much did we spend on these entirely unusable letter heads Susan?

S: Well, they were 25 for £15.

B: Well that doesn’t sound too bad.

S: And there was a 10% discount for bulk buying.

B: Wait, how much bulk are we talking about here?

S: So the total cost was £5,400. 

B What!? That’s insane, why would we ever need 10,000 letterheads? We are a secret organisation - how on this soon-to-be-doomed-earth could you possibly approve such an expenditure? Our only income stream comes from membership subs from us and the other 13 people who have been shown the lack of light! 

15 minute recess taken.

III - Emergency Budget and Fundraising. 

B: Okay, we have a new agenda item that we need to resolve urgently, how can we raise the funds necessary both to cover our debt to PaperChase but also gather everything we need to finally summon Mighty Korbosh, absence of brightness and bringer of hope? There are a lot of rare and esoteric objects we need to complete the summoning and they don’t come cheap. Let’s dig deep here everyone. What can we do to make some money? 

K: Well the Korbosh Twitter and Instagram accounts are starting to get some traction, maybe we could become influencers, build a following and turn that into some sponsorships?  

B: First of all, I’ve told you to close down those accounts. We are a shadowy cult dedicated to summoning a horrific deity from beyond - we don’t need nor want a social media presence. Secondly, what company in their right mind would agree to sponsor the insta account of Korbosh, the herald of truest night? 

A: Nestlé?

B: I’m not sure that we’re quite on brand even for them, to be honest. 

A: How about a bake sale? My wife is a dab hand with a whisk, if I do say so myself.

B: I hope you won’t take this the wrong way Alan but I’m not sure that’s going to raise enough money to cover what we have owing.

A: But you said you liked that Victoria Sponge!

B: I did, and your Mary’s fruit cake is one of the highlights of my Christmas. I’m just not sure that selling her banoffee cupcakes at 25p a throw in the village hall is going to get us the funds necessary to acquire, for example, the Ephreety Emerald, which was recently valued at a quarter of a million dollars! Not to mention any of the other dozen relics we need! 

S: I did some research and B&M have a very similar shaped decorative glass oval for £3.75 we could use as a substitute. Plus you never know what you’ll find in the middle aisle of Aldi. 

B: Do you honestly think that a knock off pseudo-emerald from a budget retailer is going to convince the dark one to tear a portal into this dimension, extinguish all light and bring true calm and peace? Also, where was your bargain hunting when Katie ran amok on an order from Paperchase? Was The Works closed?

K: Okay, before this meeting goes completely off the rails, I do have an idea but it is a little bit out there.

B: Well at this point in proceeding I’ve got to assume that ideas can only improve from this point. What are you thinking Katie?

K: How about kidnapping?

B: Kidnapping! Clearly I spoke too soon, what do you mean kidnapping?

K: Just some light kidnapping, nothing too serious. How about a couple of children of some exceptionally wealthy people and ransom them back for a cool half a mil each? It’ll make more money than the other ideas and I could finally use some of the dark magic you hired me to perform? So far I’ve only been allowed to summon an imp to warm up the coffee urn for these meetings. 

B: Okay, let’s just assume for a moment that we lose our collective minds and kidnap some children and demand our ransom. What would we do if the parent’s care more about their money than their children? I have no intention of taking care of any children - especially teenagers, they’re just so bleak and maudlin.  

K: Well we could always sacrifice them in the name of Korbosh? 

B: Sacrifice them! They’re children Katie! We might be a group that works in the shadows to end all existence but we’re not monsters! No we are absolutely not doing any kidnapping. There must be another idea - come on!

S: GoFundMe?

B: (Brian emitted a noise which began as a low ominous rumbling but increased both in pitch and volume until it resembled the screech of an exceptionally insistent tea kettle.) Fuck it! We’re doing a bake sale! 

Brian had to retire from the meeting early. As per the bylaws, Alan took over chairship of the meeting. 

IV - Any Other Business 

A: Now that Brian is having a lie down and a well earned sedative, we can move onto the final agenda item. What baked goods shall I get Mary to make for Saturday’s bakesale in aid of the end of existence? 

August 21, 2020 14:38

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Elle Clark
14:54 Aug 21, 2020

This is hilarious! I loved the little digs at Nestle and the middle aisle of Aldi but made me laugh out loud. The characters are very clear and the whole story is structured really well. The humour of this is clever and sharp - I laughed a number of times. This is really good writing; I really enjoyed it!


Paul H
15:04 Aug 21, 2020

Thank you for the very kind words! I really appreciate it.


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Brittany Gillen
12:35 Aug 25, 2020

Paul - Thank you for sharing your story. It was super funny! It had great pacing, and all the characters had distinctly different personalities. All of the plays on a secret society losing its secrecy were great: the letterhead, the social media accounts, and the sponsorship. Brilliant! I also really enjoyed the alternate format. The presentation as minutes was a fun take on the prompt. Well done!


Paul H
18:59 Aug 25, 2020

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and the lovely feedback. It’s very much appreciated.


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