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Office Ritual

Art by AliosArvin (NSFW)

Author's Note: I wrote this story as a way of practicing dialogue.

Eliot Moore returned from his janitorial job at Schwartzstein Inc., an asset management firm headquartered on Vega Prime. He lived in the Graveyard of Dreams, the bad part of Symphonia’s Landing. After he got off the bus, he looked around for any suspicious individuals. Seeing that the coast was clear, he entered the apartment complex in front of him. His rough, bearded face was more haggard than usual. It was exhausting enough to clean up after people for meager pay, but this was different. As he shuffled up the dimly lit stairs, he found his friend Abdul Rangga seated on one of the steps, eating a can of beans while staring at an elaborate piece of graffiti on the wall.

“Hey Eliot,” his friend asked, “what’s wrong? You look like you just witnessed a mob crime.”

“Not a mob crime,” Eliot replied. “Something far more disturbing.”

“Like what?”

“Hand me a can of beans and I’ll tell you more.”

Abdul did so. Eliot sat down next to him, and after a spoonful of beans began telling his tale. “You remember how I told you about that one room on the top floor of the Schwartzstein Inc. Building? The one the higher-ups told me I wasn’t allowed to enter?”

“You mean the one with the double doors with all those creepy face carvings on ‘em? Yeah, I remember.”

“Well, when I was dusting the shelves on the top floor, I noticed that one of the doors wasn’t closed all the way. I tiptoed over there and took a look inside.”

“What did ya see?”

“There were some tall golden candlestick holders – candelabras, I think they’re called – arranged in a circle around a red pentagram painted on the floor, and there were some people in black robes circled around that, about six of them, if I remember correctly.”

“I remember you telling me about those times when people in black robes would come to the building and go to the top floor.”

“Yep. And whenever I asked the higher-ups why those people were here, they would always tell me it was none of my business.”

“Let me guess: they were performing some sort of Satanic ritual?”

“Bingo. Anyway, there was this black altar at the far end of the room and standing behind it was Merrimack.”

“Merrimack Schwartzstein? The CEO?”

“Yep. He started reading an incantation from a large black book. I can’t remember the whole thing, but I do remember a line that went something like, ‘Oh lustful red lady, we call you forth.’ Everyone in the room began chanting. Then red flames emerged from the pentagram in the center. Then they went away and revealed a demon.”

“Whoa whoa whoa. They actually summoned a demon?”

“I couldn’t believe it either, but it happened.”

“What did it look like?”

“A beautiful woman with red skin and long black hair. Two curved white horns grew from the sides of her head. She wore black lipstick and her eyes glowed purple. She also wore a black silk dress that barely covered anything at all.”

“Did this demon have a name?”

“She called herself Gremory, Duke of Hell.”

“Why does a female demon have a male title?”

“I have no idea.”

“You know, this reminds me of something. Do you know about Project Plutonia?”

“The secret project where they tried to invent teleportation technology but ended up summoning demons? Yeah, I know about that.”

“That made me wonder: why did they go through the effort of inventing teleportation when they could have summoned demons through ancient magic?”

“Well, the demon’s body was a bit translucent, so what I think is happening is that when a demon is summoned through magic, they’re doing some sort of spiritual projection instead of manifesting physically. I’m guessing the only way for a demon to fully manifest itself in the material world is through an extremely powerful means such as teleportation or portal technology. Of course, I’m not a demonologist, so I don’t know what’s really going on. Now where was I again? Oh yeah. So they summon Gremory and she said, ‘Who among you shall receive my infernal love this day?’ And then Iris approached her.”

“The sexy secretary you’re always obsessing over? She never seemed like the kind of woman who was into that occult stuff.”

“I thought the same thing. Although, now that I think about it, she and Merrimack were dating for quite some time. Maybe he was the one who got her involved in it. I noticed that she wasn’t wearing black robes like everyone else. She was dressed in her usual business attire: blue shirt, gray pencil skirt, dark pantyhose. She approached the demon and said, ‘I give myself to you, oh lustful red lady. Let me be your plaything on this night.’ Then they started making out. And before you ask, no, I didn’t know she was into that sort of stuff either. Eventually, she pulled up her skirt and got down on all fours. Then the demon got behind her and, uh, started doing it.”

“You’re telling me that female demon grew a-”

“Two of ‘em, in fact. Iris was moaning really loud the whole time she was getting plowed. And then, after they were done, that demon slowly turned to me and smiled. I was so spooked that I ran out of the building and now here I am.”

“Don’t you have a phone? You should have taken a picture so you had proof of what they were up to.”

“I might have, but I was too creeped out by the whole ordeal.”

“So what are you gonna do now?”

“I’m gonna quit my job, obviously. I then need to hope they don’t send people out to kill me for watching their Satanic ritual.”

“I heard research labs are paying test subjects a lot more now.”

“No, I’m not desperate enough to become a guinea pig. Besides, I don’t want to end up like that one guy who lost his mind after scientists made him take pills that gave him visions of the future.”

“Pills that let you see the future? Now that’s ridiculous.”


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