“A Writer’s Demon”
Mark Anthony Brennan
The blank white screen stared back at him.
"Hmm, let's see. 'The polar bear wandered in the snow storm
searching for a tissue.' Ha ha, very funny."
Mark sighed and rubbed his face. What was he doing? How could he write a
Halloween story? Horror just wasn't his thing.
The night outside was howling. Rain was lashing against the window of his
basement study. It was brutal out there - a good night to be inside writing. If only he could
Mark liked to write in the dark. Aside from
the computer screen the only thing visible in the room was his face bathed in
the bluish glow of the monitor. He liked to write with the temperature down
too. He had the heat vents in the room closed so it was almost cold enough to
shiver. Mark figured it kept him on edge.
But it wasn't working tonight. He desperately
wanted to get a story in for the Halloween contest. Unfortunately, the
only thing coming to him was that old demon known as writer's block.
A sudden stomping noise made him jerk his head
upwards. It was someone running around upstairs. Fuck! What were they doing,
having a parade? How was a guy supposed to work?
Mark typed in the title "A Halloween
Tale". After a second or two he backspaced and erased it all. Shit! This
really wasn't working.
What was that crap that Jack had e-mailed him
yesterday? That guy was a flake. He was always sending over voodoo,
Mark shuffled through the pile of papers on
his desk. Oh, there it was. He'd printed out Jack's message.
"Hey, dude," read the message.
"Having trouble with the Halloween story contest? Check this out. I found
it at the Satanic Cultist website. It's a pagan incantation from
pre-Roman Britain. Maybe you can use it in your story. Supposedly the Britons
used it to raise evil spirits…." Then there followed several sentences in
"Hmm, sounds more like a mythical folk
tale," muttered Mark. "Besides, that won't work, Jack, you dumb
shit. The ancient Britons wouldn't have spoken Latin. This is just a later translation."
Mark stared again at the screen and sighed.
Oh, what the hell, he could afford to sacrifice a few minutes. He wasn't
getting any writing done anyway.
He pushed back on his steno chair and wheeled
backwards into the room. With a bump he came to a stop by the large bookcase
that took up most of one wall. His collection of books was his most prized possession.
"OK, where is it?" Mark ran his
fingers along some large textbooks on the bottom shelf. "Aha, there you
He pulled out an old volume with a faded purple
cover and wheeled himself back to the computer. He slammed the book down on the
desk. Its cover read: "Languages of Ancient Britain".
Having studied languages in college, doing
translations was one of Mark's passions. After several minutes of leafing back
and forth, jotting down words, scribbling them out and jotting them down again,
he finally held up the sheet of paper in triumph.
"Nantu ferata indogfa," he read
aloud. "Bathshu id raccalgi innush. Laotun omma jo. Ind acatu gan."
In the gloom behind Mark's chair the darkness
began to swirl and then it took shape. It was a large hulking shape that almost
reached the ceiling. Then slowly, slowly the shadow in the dark began to move
But Mark did not notice. He was too engrossed
in the paper in his hand.
Hmm, weirder than shit. Those thirteen
words sounded pretty cool actually. Maybe he could use it.
As the shape in the gloom edged closer to the
light of the computer screen more of its outline could be discerned. It was a
shaggy outline formed around a massive bulk. Now the head could be seen - a
grotesque thing with large nostrils and a jumble of fangs. Glowing like hot
embers, small beady eyes were buried in the upper part of the head.
Mark continued to look over his translation
with pride. "Jack, you're one strange fuck, but you just might have given
me what I needed. A tootsie pop for you, guy."
He picked up Jack's message again. After the
Latin passage it read: "At the website it says that the Britons used the ritual
to raise demons to fight their enemies. However, these spirits were hostile to
Christians who later tried to use it in medireview prayers. That is,
unless the spirit is raised on the eve of All Saints Day. Then the spirit must
do the bidding of anyone who raises it."
Mark glanced over at the bottom right-hand corner of his computer screen:
"October 31, 2001"
"Oh, really?" Mark laughed derisively. "Bite me."
Behind him the fangs parted. The maw was huge - capable of swallowing up
a small human child whole. As the thing in the half-light moved forward its
heavy paw landed on a loose floorboard.
Mark's nostrils flared in anger. How dare someone enter the room
while he was working?
"God damn you to hell," he yelled and then spun around in his
There was nothing but the darkness.
Mark strode over and turned on the light. The room was indeed empty. He
thought he could see a haze in the air, but it was probably just his eyes
getting accustomed to the light. He caught a whiff of something putrid. Maybe a
mouse died down here.
He shook his head. How could he be so silly? Of course no one would come in while he was working. They all knew that anyone disturbing him while he was trying to write would get their head bitten off.