Henry lit the thirteenth black candle then, adjusting his hood to shadow his face, couldn’t help but take an admiring peek at himself in the dark wood mirror on the wall. He looked so chic in the black silk gown, with its silver threaded occult symbols.
It had cost an absolute bomb of course, and he still couldn’t believe the price of black candles. It was unfair when at Christmas he could get bargains on red, white and blue candles with all sorts of Christmassy things on, but mention black candles for a black mass and the prices soared. Worse still, if he mentioned he was into black magic he would be directed to the chocolate aisle.
Still it was all worth it he thought as he closed his dark velvet curtains across his bedroom window. His mum was out at bingo then staying over at his Auntie Millie’s. He would have the whole house to himself for his Halloween celebration. A celebration that would lead to him to obtaining ultimate demonic power and all the respect he was due. Girls would flock to him and men would to fear him.
The flickering candle light gave his dreams a thrilling excitement and a brilliant eerie atmosphere. He had even swapped his ‘Batman the dark Knight’ electric chronometer for the hall clock that chimed in very loud clangs. When midnight arrived the tolling of its bells would be really dramatic. Brill.
It was a quarter to midnight and the anticipation was delightful.
He decided to check his equipment yet again. The Devil was in the detail. (how he loved that phrase).
He’d locked the doors and turned off all the lights. His Ottoman was covered in a spare black velvet curtain and he’d made an upside down cross from two black painted twelve-inch rulers stuck in a big ball of plasticine.
On his covered ottoman was his Mothers best silver salver, minus its assorted tea pot and bowls.
On its shiny bright surface, lay his ceremonial knife. Another bloody expense but luckily on sale at his local Tesco’s. It had earned him double points too, although all the fuss and palaver to prove he was over twenty-one had been embarrassing. Once he had been blessed with supreme occult power he would curse the supermarket with a plague of rats or spiders, or make the cheese go out of date.
He had sharpened the knife until it would slice through any flesh it touched. That thought drew him towards Twinky the hamster hidden beneath a mound of straw in its cage. He’d read the stories of young virgins tied to satanic alters, with the spooky chanting of devil worshipers…. chanting Latin things…and other, well… sort of…. chants. But apart from himself he didn’t know of any virgins so he’d thought about sacrificing a black cockerel instead. The price the local farmer wanted was a rip off, especially when you could get a big roasting chicken and trimmings in the supermarket for less than a tenner, and again earn loyalty points. That farm too would suffer his wrath.
However, his funds being low because of the candles, curtains, gown and knife, he had lowered his sights a little.
Alan Roberts, a real wanker from college, had sold him his pet hamster for three quid and half a bottle of his mum’s sherry. Alan had failed to tell him Twinky was one sick hamster. In fact, so sick it was a blessing that in…. yes, eleven minutes, it would be put out of its misery whilst at the same time, Henry would receive the power of all the Hells. Power, power, power. He couldn’t say it enough times.
Now Henry got out his real prize. The grimoire. He’d found it in an old book shop down the high street that was closing down and a lot of stuff was on sale. He’d looked through a lot of books but somehow he’d been drawn to one that proclaimed it was an illustrated ladies medical dictionary. Thinking there would be pictures of women in the nuddy, he had surreptitiously flicked through the pages. He’d been ecstatic when he realised it was a real book on black magic and frightening necromantic spells. Oh joy.
It had cost him £6.66 pence, an odd amount that seemed somehow familiar. He was too relived to consider how lucky he was. Usually magic books would have cost him most of his crap wage he got from the telesales job, which he detested and was also marked, along with Roddy Thomas his idiot supervisor, to be decimated by….by something that was so terrible that he’d could not bring himself to think of it at that moment. But would soon.
Once he’d got it home he realised the book was the answer to all his dark prayers. It was written in a strange language, possibly Latin. However, inserted into the pages were notes written in English. Old style English in flowery handwriting that used a lot of thou’s and thee’s but with an effort understandable. It had taken three months to finish the books translation and make his own notes but at the end he felt he could understand the rituals the book described.
It was five minutes to mid-night. Time for Twinky to realise the great honour he was to receive.
He opened the cage door ready for a sudden rodent escape. Non-came so he delved into the straw for the little animal. His hand touched fur and he grasped the creature, quickly drawing it out of the cage and placing it on the silver salver. Twinky fell over onto its back, its little legs pointing stiffly upwards. It was quite dead.
Henry swore and danced around the room in a rage. He vowed that Alan Roberts fate would be sealed in dark flowing blood and boils. His rage transformed to despair and he fretted about what to do. The ceremony demanded a blood sacrifice at the stroke of twelve, now only two minutes away.
Then Henry remembered Maurice, his mother’s angel fish. It was the lone survivor of a shoal of fish in his late father’s fish tank. It was lovingly fed by his mum, who regarded it as a second son.
He looked at Twinky, in the advanced stages of rigor-mortice. It was a no brainer.
He dashed into his mother’s bedroom, and used the soft sieve to lift out a wriggling Maurice. Another sprint into his bedroom and Maurice was soon flapping about on the silver tray, just as the last seconds ticked down to midnight.
Henry began to chant the ritual, holding his transcribed notes in front of him and wishing his handwriting was better. There was certainly Latin in amongst the words but it also had Greek and according to the old notes from the book, Babylonian. He had no idea what the words really meant, but they sounded really, really cool. He felt so grown up
The hall clock began to sound its chimes of midnight.
Henry’s chant was repeated in a louder voice. He was aware of the candles flickering and strange shadows fluttered across his Iron Man and Hulk posters.
‘Bugger’ he exclaimed in the middle of a chanting phrase. ‘I forgot to light the incense’. ‘Never mind, it probably won’t matter but ooh I said bugger in the spell ritual. I hope that won’t spoil the magic’.
Henry carried on chanting, a little faster now to make up for the time he had lost focus.
As the final chime of the mid-night hour struck, Henry raised his knife then plunged it down towards the purloined fish. As the tip touched the first tiny scale there was a flash of bright green light, then every candle blew out.
There was a black silence.
Poor Henry. The book had chosen well in finding a willing virgin with an IQ only just into the double figures. Its pages slowly closed, trapping its parchment translations. Henrys notes glowed then burnt away to white ash, just as Henrys curtains fell from their pole to lay on a floor of thirteen cooling pools of black wax. Poor Maurice spared the knife, expired from shock and an acute lack of water.
It was dawn when the suns first rays entered Henrys bedroom and touched upon a small fury rodent. Twinky twitched then rolled over onto its paws, its image mirrored in the silver salver. With great fastidiousness, it began to clean its fur with tiny paws, its efforts hampered by the little dark robe with silver patterns it wore, and a little hood covering its cute ears.
As it gazed into its reflection on the silver salver, Twinky stopped its cleaning and admired itself. For a hamster, he really looked quite chic.