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Cassidy is a young tattoo artist living in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta.
She’s always suffered terrible nightmares, and sometimes the hideous creatures seem to follow her out of her dreams and into her waking life, though she’s the only one who can see them. Drugs and alcohol can blot them out, but never entirely chase them away.
When a demonic cult begins to take control of the people in her life, including her younger brother, Cassidy discovers that the unseen world of monsters is very real. She can no longer avoid it.
To protect those she loves, she must accept her own hidden supernatural talents and face the forces of evil before the sinister cult achieves its twisted goals and casts the world into darkness.
Genre: Paranormal Fiction/Horror
Content/Theme(s): Urban Fantasy, Demons, Psychic, Witch, Thriller
Release Date: October 31, 2013
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Years later, Cassidy would remember the night of the party as her first encounter with the unseen world. It began with broken glass, blood, and a homemade Ouija board.
. . .
. . .
“Are you fucking serious right now?” Reese asked. “Let’s break out that Ouija board, ladies.”
“No! They can make people crazy. There’s demonic possession, ghosts...if you really read up on this, Reese, you’d know. It’s dangerous,” Tamila said.
Reese and Barb looked at each other, then burst out laughing.
“Dangerous? They’re made by Parker Brothers,” Reese said.
. . .
. . .
“We can make one!” Barb, who knew Cassidy’s room as well as Cassidy herself, stumbled across the room and opened the door to Cassidy’s tiny closet.
. . .
. . .
“You could draw an awesome spirit board, Cassidy!” Barb carried out poster board and a shoebox with markers, glue, scissors, and bottles of glitter, which Cassidy had used to create the colorful, shimmering flowers on her dresser drawers back in middle school. “It would be so much better than the store-bought ones, anyway. You know it would.”
“You want me to make it?” Cassidy smiled, a little excited by the idea of creating something new. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she wondered if they might contact her father’s spirit, wherever it was, but she certainly didn’t say it out loud.
“We’d better not,” Tamila said.
“Come on, Tami, it’s something we can all do together. What goes on a Ouija board? Just letters and numbers, right?” Cassidy asked.
“You also need a YES and a NO so the spirits can answer questions, and a GOOD-BYE so they can leave when they’re done,” Barb said. “Use the glow-in-the-dark markers.”
“Good idea!” Cassidy replied. Barb hopped up to light the three scented candles in Cassidy’s room. Tamila frowned.
Cassidy carefully wrote out the alphabet in three rows of green letters, then added numbers from zero to nine. She wrote YES and NO in the upper corners and GOOD-BYE at the bottom.
“And maybe a big FUCK YOU in case they get annoyed,” Reese suggested, and Cassidy snickered and added FUCK YOU between the YES and the NO.
“This isn’t a joke,” Tamila said. “I’m not doing this.”
“Blah, blah, blah.” Reese rolled her eyes.
“Now we just need to decorate it,” Barb said. “There’s usually a sun and a moon...”
. . .
. . .
“Maybe I should go,” Tamila said quietly.
“Maybe you should!” Reese snatched the newly made board from Cassidy’s hands and tugged Barb down to the carpet with her. “Come on, let’s call up some dead people.”
“What do we use as a pointer?” Cassidy asked.
“You mean a planchette?” Barb drained her wine glass, then placed it upside down in the center of the board. A few droplets of red wine dribbled down and blurred the glowing letters M and N. Barb and Reese laid their fingertips on the base of the inverted glass.
“Let’s do this!” Reese said.
Cassidy slid down from her bed and sat across from Reese. She placed her own fingertips on the glass along with the other two girls.
“One spot left,” Cassidy said to Tamila, who had made no move to leave the chair.
“I’m not doing it.”
“Come on, Tami. It’ll be fun. Please?” Cassidy resorted to a begging tone, locking eyes with Tamila. What she wanted to say was: I am desperately trying to make you part of the group here, so please stop acting like such a tromboner tonight. “As a favor to me?”
“It does work better with four people,” Barb added.
Tamila sighed, looked at the board, and reluctantly left her chair to sit next to Cassidy, while offering a shaky, frightened smile to no one in particular.
“Okay. Let’s get it over with,” Tamila whispered. She placed her trembling fingers on the base of the upside-down wine glass. “We should say a prayer first.”
Barb and Reese found this hilarious, and Tamila frowned at their peals of drunken laughter.
“Let’s go,” Barb said. She closed her eyes. “Are there any spirits—”
“Come talk to us, spirits!” Reese interrupted, closing her eyes and also swaying from side to side. In her best drama-club voice, she projected, “Speak to us, give us messages from the world of the dead...”
The glass trembled under their fingers, and Cassidy gasped. Everybody leaned in for a closer look, but the glass became still again.
“You should say only good spirits,” Tamila whispered. “Or we could end up talking to demons, or evil ghosts, or dead murderers...”
“Calling all demons, evil ghosts, and dead murderers!” Reese cried out in a slurred voice, then doubled forward, laughing.
“Be serious, Reese,” Barb said. In a louder, more formal voice, she asked, “Are there any messages from the Other Side? Like from our spirit guides or totem animals?”
“Totem animals,” Reese snickered.
“We all have one. Mine’s a frog,” Barb told her, and Reese laughed and shook her head, tossing her blond hair.
“You look like a frog!” Reese said.
“Sh! It’s moving,” Cassidy told them.
The wine glass shuddered again, and this time it began to slide over the poster board, the lip scraping and smearing a few of the still-wet letters, gathering glowing paint around its rim.
The glass moved across the alphabet to the word YES in the upper left corner of the poster, scraping up glue and glitter from a sparkly red pentagram along the way.
“Who’s doing that? Are you doing that?” Reese asked Tamila, who shook her head, her wide eyes fixed on the board.
“Hello? Are you a spirit?” Barb asked.
The glass slid half an inch, then right back into place. YES again.
“Who are you?” Barb asked. “I mean, to whom do we have the pleasure of speaking?”
The wineglass lay still for a moment, then vibrated and hummed as if someone had plinked it with a fingernail. The glass slid over the alphabet.
Cassidy felt her heart racing. She hadn’t expected it to work at all, and it was starting to freak her out. She wished they hadn’t turned off the lights.
The wine glass smeared its way across the board, its entire rim glowing green now. It stopped at the letter N, and didn’t move again until Barb said the letter aloud. It stopped again on the I.
“N...I...” Barb said.
“Nipple?” Reese suggested.
The glass continued on to the B, then H...A...and then it stopped on Z.
“N-I-B-H-A-Z,” Barb said.
“It’s just nonsense,” Cassidy said.
The wineglass jerked under their fingers, then flew to the word NO, dragging their fingers with it.
“Who’s doing that?” Reese asked. “Is it you, Cassidy? Barb? It’s you, isn’t it, Barb? You big Goth girl.”
“Sh,” Barb said. “Nib...haz? Is that right?”
The wineglass zipped over to YES.
“What does that mean?” Cassidy asked.
The wineglass spelled out N...A...M...E.
“Your name is Nibhaz?”
“Sounds like a demon’s name to me,” Tamila said in a soft voice.
“Pfft, shut up,” Reese told her. “Like you would know.”
“Do you have a message for someone here, Nibhaz?” Barb asked.
“For who?” Barb asked.
Cassidy felt her blood turn cold.
“Oh, shit, for Cassidy?” Reese asked.
“Nibhaz, what is your message for Cassidy?” Barb asked.
The four girls watched as the glass crept back and forth along the top row of text. D...I...E...
“Die? It’s telling her to die?” Tamila gasped.
“Sh, it’s not done yet,” Barb told her.
“Yeah, it’s not done yet,” Reese echoed, her eyes fixated on the glass.
Cassidy shivered, trying to think of any non-scary word that started with “die.”
“Diesel?” Cassidy asked in a shaky voice. She expected someone to laugh at her, but nobody did.
The glass moved back to the letter D.
“Died,” Barb said. “He’s saying he died, I think. He’s a ghost.”
The glass whipped over to the word NO, then returned to the letter D.
“Does it stand for something?” Cassidy guessed, trying not to sound scared. Her heart was thundering inside her chest.
“Is it somebody’s initials, Nibhaz?” Barb asked.
“He’s telling her to die! Are you people blind?” Tamila snapped. She took her fingers off the glass and stood. “I’m gone. Forget this craziness.”
“You can’t let go until the spirit says GOOD-BYE!” Barb yelled at her. “That’s how people get possessed!”
“Oh, now you believe in demons?” Tamila asked, brushing off her knees.
“Please don’t leave me, Tami,” Cassidy whispered. She was genuinely scared now. “Not until this is done, okay?”
Tamila looked at her a long moment, then sighed and reluctantly sat on the floor again.
“Make it quick.” Tamila returned her fingers to the glass. “I mean it.”
“Nibhaz, is there more to your message?” Barb asked.
“What?” Cassidy whispered.
The glass flew back to the top row of letters.
It moved faster, back and forth, never leaving the top row.
Cassidy watched in horror, spellbound as the glass raced back and forth, smearing the top row of letters into an illegible green streak, but still sliding back and forth, back and forth, touching the spots where the three letters D, I, and E had been.
She wanted to let go and pull away, but her fingertips felt glued to the wine glass. The glass became icy, burning cold under her fingertips, a crust of smoking frost forming inside the bowl and along the stem.
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So you’ve cast a circle and you’re ready to bring an infernal spirit into your home for a visit. Or are you? Summoning demons takes care and consideration—it’s nothing to jam in between doing the dishes and catching the new episode of Walking Dead.
These simple tips will help you put together an exciting evocation, without all the messy embarrassment of getting your soul ripped from your flesh and devoured.
DO offer a blood sacrifice. Your guest has traveled across endless darkness from the lower pits of Hell and will be expecting a snack. Chicken or lizard blood will do nicely for a lesser spirit. For an archdemon, you’ll want to sacrifice a human being instead—anything less is considered rude. Virgins are still preferred, but no longer expected by more modern demons. Finally, an activity you can do with that annoying neighbor you’ve always wanted to eliminate from the earth!
DON’T call up the wrong kind of demon. Incubi and succubi will arrive with certain expectations, because these unholy hornballs only have one thing on their evil minds at all times. If you’re not ready for a swingers’ sabbat, avoid them. If you do summon them, you’re going to need a little more protection that the typical enchanted circle provides—the beasties get around. Also avoid gluttony demons, because these corpulent creatures not only look like disgusting mountains of flab with enormous mouths, they’ll also destroy your snack bar and leave an unpleasant flatulent odor that takes weeks to remove from your carpet.
DO be polite. Powerful demons resent being summoned by mere mortals, but minding your manners can go a long way towards creating a more pleasant evening. When you say, “I bind thee and summon thee, foul Mephistopheles!” and the enraged horned demon appears in a flash of fire and brimstone, don’t forget to add, “Thank you!”
DON’T expect them to bring wine or a hot dish. Again, they’ve come a long way and can’t be expected to carry host gifts up from the abyss. Also, demon food tends to be rotten and vermin-infested, so how badly did you really want that casserole, anyway?
DO remember to take pictures! Remember, the only reason to do anything extraordinary in life is so you can brag to your friends on Facebook. A picture of you and Beelzebub with his host of flesh-eating flies will totally shut up that one friend who’s always bragging about the time she met Colin Farrell on an airplane.
DON’T forget to banish! If you don’t send that demon right back to Hell when you’re done, it may move onto your couch and stay there for months. Demons don’t pay rent, they don’t do chores, and they never, ever give up control of the remote. They will, however, watch home shopping channels twenty-four hours a day and max out your credit card to ordering useless knickknacks. They won’t take subtle hints to go home, either, no matter how many you drop—you have to order them out. Exercise your right to excorsize!
Following this list is sure to make your demonic encounter a more successful one! When you summon horrific spirits from the fiery underworld into your living room, you don’t want it to ruin the rest of your weekend.
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J.L. Bryan Amazon author page
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