Fantasy Fiction Horror

 “How much for the Sumerian antique mirror, Gibbs? The elderly proprietor of Artifacts, Curios and Relics Emporium slowly walks over to Saxon rubbing his chin.

“That's a new piece Mister Frost, recently acquired from a Turkish shipment last week. For you, three thousand dollars.”

Saxon whistles softly. “It is a nice piece. Ebony-wood filigreed in ivory and obsidian; polished silver and iron pyrite. I agree, you are giving me a deal.” Saxon pays the owner and they load the antique in Saxon's car. “Thanks again, Gibbs, if you get anymore middle-eastern pieces, give me a call.”

“Yes sir, Mister Frost.” They shake hands before Saxon drives off to his office.


Startled, Saxon stands defensively from his executive leather chair and draws his gun aiming it at a shimmering, ghostly haze, partially phasing in and out of the Sumerian mirror. It quickly vanishes before he can fully refocus his vision. Walking cautiously throughout his large office eyeing the antique, the only sound is his footsteps making creaking noises on the worn, knotty-pine floor. “Ya know Saxon, only you would have a ghost in an apparent need of your services.” Saxon muses about the office a bit before getting his car keys. He thinks, 'Casino time, before I call Deja and see what the tarot says about my ghostly visitation.' While placing a reminder on his cellphone to call his friend and spiritual medium, he heads to the underground garage.


Noticing his cellphone reminder alert him while cashing out at the money cage, Saxon goes to the cafe and orders coffee with breakfast before calling Deja.

“Saxon...I was expecting your call.”

“Good morning Deja, how've you been?”

“I've been doing well. Yourself? Dreaming of ghosts?”

“Uncanny, you always have insight about me.”

“You're easy to predict, you have the gift...you walk in our plane and in the plane of the afterlife, a rarity. You have dual citizenship both in the natural and supernatural universe.”

“Not by choice.” Saxon grumbles as he sips his coffee.

“Seldom do any of us have the choice to dwell in the planes of life and death; prognostication and premonition my dear friend. Now tell me of this ghost you saw...”

Saxon sips, pauses then exhales, “It was a shimmering ghost, reflective really and very brief with no contact or message.”

“You threatened the ghost with that big, baptized gun of yours, didn't you?”

“Hey...I was startled out of a good sleep and felt threatened. Instinct had me draw on the apparition.”

“I'm sure the ghost realized you have the capability of harming it with your special weapon and supernatural ability so it vanished out of self preservation.”

“What do your intuition and the cards tell you about my encounter?”

There's a pause and the sound of shuffling cards while Saxon continues to sip and eat while awaiting his reading.”

She clears her throat, “Seven of Pentacles, upright: your hard work, perseverance and due diligence place you in great favor with the universe...”

Saxon listens with intent, Deja has always given him credible information from her readings. “Continue...”

Ace of Pentacles, upright: opportunity, new ventures and prosperity await you with this undertaking Saxon...The Magician, reversed: treachery, deceit and illusion will befall you while venturing forth.”

“Finally, The Hanged Man, upright: sacrifice and release of an adversary leading to your martyrdom in the spirit realm.”

Saxon scoffs quietly, “We shall see about me being a martyr.”

“That's not a bad thing, having a connection and distinct talent to see the other side is a true gift. I can read and contact the supernatural but they seek you out and reward you with knowledge only a handful of people on the planet are privy to receive.”

“If you say so, Deja. Any clue as to what, where or how I am to engage this ghost?”

A metal rattling sound like wind chimes being moved in a gentle breeze echoes over the cellphone. The chiming stops and Deja resumes speaking, “The ghost is timid. Communicating when you are between the twilight of your rest and awakening is when it wishes to contact you.”

“Great. When I feel most vulnerable.”

“It's more that people are their most honest and trustworthy then.”

“I see. We can agree to disagree on that one. How much I owe you for this psychic hotline call?”

Deja laughs. “Owe? I owe you everything, you saved my life on a couple of occasions, this is the least I can do for you.”

“Thank you very much.”

“You're welcome.”

They disconnect.

Saxon leaves the cafe heading to his suite where he falls quickly into a deep sleep.


The bright, full moon cascades throughout the luxury suite stirring Saxon slowly awake. Rubbing his eyes while scanning the room, he sees a shimmering figure floating in his wardrobe dressing mirror.

“There you are...” he mumbles while rising and cautiously approaching the apparition. “What is it you want from me, ghost?”

“I am the mirror maiden, protector of the realm that keeps ghosts within and I am in peril. A spirit was summoned from here, the death shepherd, he possesses a man in your world. A man that will use arcane black magic to unleash wickedness and terror upon the living.”

“Why me? Why am I so fortunate to be approached for the task of banishing this death shepherd?”

“You're well-known in the world of the supernatural, Saxon Frost, one of a few people in your world able to influence, connect and affect the after-life realm.”

“Ohh, lucky me.” voiced with both disdain and cynicism.

“It's not luck, but a rare gift, bestowed upon very few, but I digress; the death shepard is an evil spirit of possession and has plagued mankind for millennia.”

“Mirror maiden, How does one kill a spirit?”

“Banishment is a form of killing it. Use holy water or similar blessed effects to have the evil leave the possessed.”

“Where is the death shepherd located?”

“He has possessed Ina Manhattan at...”

Saxon interjects, “...One Viceroy Lane. Thee Ina Manhattan of philanthropic and industrial royalty...geez, just great!”

“I wish you success, your world is depending on you.” The mirror maiden vanishes.

Saxon heads to shower thinking of a plan.


The morning is dreary with misting rain as Saxon drives to the rectory to enlist the aid of a friend that is an exorcist priest he rescued a few years ago. Passing by several old, small, clay-tile manors, he arrives at his destination. Pulling his fedora down and trench coat collar up, he gathers his leather case, goes into building seven and knocks. A young-looking, handsome man dressed in black clerical garb holding prayer beads with a jeweled silver cross looks out the curtained window smiling. Moments later he opens the door.

“Saxon, my good friend, how are you? Please come in.” The priest's abode is a humble, four-roomed place with simple furnishings: a wardrobe, dresser and praying area.

He wipes his feet and proceeds to follow the priest inside. “I am in need of your help Ezra.” Saxon sits at the small kitchen table opening his case which houses various electronic tools, surveillance devices and weaponized holy items.

The priest whispers a small prayer over the table before sitting across from Saxon. “It must be serious business, what can I do to help you?”

“I need you to exorcise an entity known as a death shepherd from a prominent man in this city, Ina Manhattan.”

Ezra's eyebrow raises. “Thee Ina Manhattan, socialite and multi-millionaire?”

“That very same one, I'm afraid.”

Ezra goes over to his library of scrolls, tomes and old books sifting through pages of Latin text. “I've never heard of a death shepherd but it probably goes by many other names throughout the centuries.” Placing a tooled leather manual on the table in front of Saxon, Ezra deciphers the text.

“In the time of the first dark age, an evil servant of Malbolge was tasked with the harvesting of human souls to transition from the living world to hell. Using temptation and the seven deadly sins, the harvester was able to gather the damned and usher them forth through runic, cursed portals. It manifests them by conjuration of black magic.”

“Could these portals be mirrors?” asks Saxon.

“Absolutely. In fact, mirrors have long been a medium used by both good and evil to implement travel across planes or banish certain evils like vampires, ghosts, banshees, etc.”

“What do we need to combat and expel this death shepherd, Ezra?”

“God is on our side...always, Saxon, that's first and foremost. Also I have holy water from the Red Sea and strips of blessed cloth from the Pope John Paul the Second and a couple of weapons used during the Crusades that were later blessed by Joan of Arc.”

Saxon looks the priest over with slight amazement. “Geez Ezra, you're like a Dungeons and Dragons paladin with all that stuff!”

“I've certainly been ordained with purpose and these holy items attained by the grace of our Lord.”

“A few strips of the pope's cloth should serve me well and oh...bless these bullets please.”

Ezra performs the necessary rituals anointing Saxon and his cache of items then adorns a bulky, tactical, black leather rain coat and padre hat. “So what's the plan?”

“As providence would have it Ezra, there is an event at the Manhattan Mansion where the proceeds for attending are being used to open a historical artifacts emporium newly built on the grounds. The lead security chief on the estate is a good friend of mine from our college days; he will get us in.”

Both men finish gathering their tools of the trade and leave heading to the Manhattan Mansion event.


Gaining access inside the mansion through Saxon's security contact they proceed to mingle with the crowd, which readily accepts them as a novelty. Ina Manhattan sits on a stage with several local socialites and politicians discussing matters that pertain to money, power and influence. Ina seems healthier, younger than his mid-eighties age represents and is more personable than he has been at past public events or on television.

“The possession has enhanced him Saxon, can you see it? Sense it?” whispers Ezra as he stands, sipping on a bottled water next to the P.I.. “And, by the way, the punch bowl of sangria is tainted with cursed blood: lamb, sheep or ram, I would suspect. Meant to pollute the souls of drinkers and make them more susceptible to possession. This is an indoctrination more than a special event. These people are unwittingly being brought into the sacrificial fold of the death shepherd.”

Saxon scans the crowd and notices a couple of people growing ill and excusing themselves.

“I blessed the sangria with a vial of Red Sea holy water and prayer, ruining the black magic effects for sure.”

“Good move, Ezra.” “It has also caused some of the patrons illness.”

“An unfortunate side-effect when evil is purged from the body of weak-spirited folks, Saxon.”

“I'm gonna see if we can seek audience with Ina alone as a special donor to his cause.”

“I like that idea, Saxon.” Ezra reaches in his coat pocket and gives the P.I. an eighth century, antique, Spanish gold doubloon. “Tempt him with this little trinket.”

Saxon takes the coin and approaches the dais where an attractive, statuesque greeter meets him at the base of the stairs.

“Hello Mister Saxon Frost, here to rub elbows with one or more of our distinguished panel?”

“Well, well, you know my name, but I don't know yours.” Saxon casually flips the gold doubloon in the air and catches it deftly before tumbling it across the fingers of his hand in a playful manner.

“Of course I know you, you're famous in the circles I travel. My name is Delilah, caretaker of the Manhattan estate and these proceedings.” her eyes have an unnatural sparkle to them, nearly hypnotic.

“I was wondering, Delilah, if we could speak with Mister Manhattan about donating this rare gold coin and all that would entail.”

“Of course, we have a little time before festivities begin.” Delilah sensually beckons with her hand for both Saxon and Ezra to follow her onto the stage as she sashays over to Ina, interrupting his conversation.”

“Excuse me, Mister Manhattan, these two benefactors would like to discuss donating to your cause and all the benefits that come with doing so.”

Ina stands. Looks the two men over intently. His eyes narrow, and seem to look through them both. “Ladies and gentlemen of the stage, if you would excuse me, it appears I have business with the church and an important member of the city. “Delilah, the newly remodeled catacomb area of the mansion will be a good place to talk.”

“As you wish, Mister Manhattan. Everyone, follow me please.”

Ina takes Delilah by the arm and walks in front of Saxon and Ezra. Arriving at a stylish, 19th century elevator, all four enter with Ezra closing the scissors gate behind them. Everyone has been oddly silent during the short walk and decent into the catacombs.

The elevator stops after a few minutes. “Follow us gentlemen.” invites Delilah with a sweet voice. Ezra slides his hands inside the large coat sleeves. Saxon begins wrapping the coin slowly, in the holy cloth of Pope John Paul the Second.

Arriving at a door made like a bank vault, Delilah easily spins the cog and grasps the side handle to slide the pneumatically operated door open. Ina raises his hands into the air. Saxon and Ezra are whisked into the room by an invisible force surprising them both briefly. Beneath the Plexiglas floor, a macabre scene of souls being tortured by obese demons and iron clawed creatures of a fiendish nature can be seen.

A deep, demonic, scraggy voice emits from Ina's contorted and paling visage as his limbs elongate unnaturally with a bone snapping sound. “Saxon, are you so bold and foolhardy to believe I would not anticipate your meager attempt to stop me? You are destined for death and an eternity of misery in the afterlife. You think it mere happenstance the mirror maiden came to you!? She works for me earth maggot!” Ina quickly lurches with an awkward gait towards Saxon who crouches anticipating the attack, the holy cloth wrapped coin poised in his open palm to use.

The death shepherd nimbly swipes at Saxon barely missing him as he bobs and weaves the demon's strikes. Delivering a palm heel blow with the holy clothed gold coin to the forehead of the possessed man; a sharp, blinding flash and clapping noise, like thunder, resounds. The death shepherd reels back howling in agony.

“Not liking the taste of the Lord on ya beast?” mocks Saxon as he draws his gun and loads a magazine of non-lethal holy bullets and takes aim firing twice at the chest of Ina. The two, tight grouped shots send the body of the multi-millionaire reeling into the far wall where he slumps to the floor. A black mist exists every orifice of Ina, the demonic manifestation of the death shepherd has been loosed and hovers shrieking in both pain and anger.

Holstering his gun, Saxon addresses the demon as he takes out the holy cloths and lights them. “The end is near, demon!” running and hurling the burning material at the floating evil, they hit and consume it. The death shepherd flies about as the holy flames consume its shadowy form before flashing then exploding into a spectacular bluish-white flame.


Delilah's shrill voice screams as she charges Ezra, her eyes narrow evilly and her face contorts into an unnatural state. Flailing her sharp pointed nails towards him, the priest pulls his prayer beaded holy symbol from his sleeve and twirls it in front of him in a figure eight motion. Before she can reach him, the beads wrap Delilah's wrists together while Ezra moves in placing his hips into her midsection forcibly, flipping and slamming her to the ground. The cross on the end of the beads burns Delilah's arm, the acrid smell of sizzling flesh waifs in the room. Ezra begins chanting as he sits on Delilah's back placing the cross on her skull where hair and flesh begin to immolate: “LORD Jesus, You are the highest authority, and there is no spiritual power above You. Therefore, I hide in You, as You are my safe shelter. I'm confident that in submitting to You, no evil will ever be able to conquer me. Therefore, in Your name, I trust You to send Your messengers and protect me wherever I go. It is not my will Father but Yours that will be done!” In a clap of bright light and brimstone smelling smoke, Delilah is no more. An elderly woman lies in her place alive; naked, pale and shuttering. Ezra covers the woman with his coat while tending to her self-inflicted, torturous looking wounds. “Jesus wept.” exhales the priest as he looks about the room.


Looking down, the room beneath the Plexiglas floor has smoldering ash and embers which begin to slowly dissipate. “You okay over there, Ezra?”

“I am. Stay cautious and vigilante, this evil is bold, willing to present its forms in our world.”

“Agreed.” Saxon exams the room carefully and sees sigils and glyphs of a demonic nature inscribed in blood on the walls and ceiling. “Tend to Ina and the woman, Ezra, while I go talk to my security contact and straighten things out. Given the writings on the wall in this sacrificial chamber, it appears there is more to the tasks Malbolge gave the death shepherd.

November 23, 2023 16:48

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