Spawn of Lucifer.... It all started with the wholesale slaughter of prize cattle at Sam Hinton's ranch at Big Bear Lake. And at the very moment that Sam was calling psychic investigator "Chill" Chillders for help, the broken body of his young son was discovered. The evil was past destroying the Hintons' livestock; it bad begun destroying their lives. Chill was not himself psychic, but his special lady, beautiful Laura Littlefawn was, And so she came with him to Big Bear Lake. Someone among the Hinton family and friends was consorting with Satan-there was evidence of a bloody black mass in an abandoned mine-and it meant a painful trance for Laura to try to invoke the dark forces of the netherworld. But before Chill and Laura could exorcise the devil, more blood would flow, more violence would be committed, and Chill himself would be accused of horrendous crimes, In a shattering finale, Chill and Laura come to grips with an invisible force that operates in a human body-a force that only the ancient elements of fire and flood will finally destroy.
A Hard Shell Word Factory Release
Jory Sherman began his literary career as a poet in San Francisco's famed North Beach during the heyday of the so-called "Beat Generation." His poetry was widely published when he began writing fiction.
He has won numerous awards for his poetry and prose and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his novel, GRASS KINGDOM. He was a Spur Award winner from Western Writers of America for his novel, THE MEDICINE HORN.
He now lives on a prime fishing lake in East Texas.
"The devil gets his due in Chill #1: Satan's Seed, an online supernatural horror whodunit by Jory Sherman that, indeed, has more than its share of chills. Chill #1: Satan's Seed has its diabolically delightful moments. No doubt in succeeding installments author Jory Sherman will better develop the character of Dr. Russell Childers, making him more of a shrewd and savvy sleuth. With a hero named Chill, how can one go wrong."Robert Stricklin -- Dark Matter Chronicles
TWO DAYS before the conjuration, she cut a bough from a wild hazel tree. She cut it with a new knife that she had bought in the village. The bough had never carried fruit. It was sliced free of the tree at the very moment when the sun rose over the hills that sheltered Holcomb Valley.
After this, she took the bloodstone--a chunk of green chalcedony with red spots in it she had purchased from a shop in the village on Pine Knot Avenue, and two blessed wax candles--which she had stolen from a devotional display in St. Catherine's of Sienna Catholic Church in Rialto, near San Bernardino. She took these things with her to the old, deserted cabin near Holcomb Creek, where the conjuration could proceed undisturbed.
A soft, steady wind was blowing. The cabin reeked of decay. The log walls had been rotting for a long time. There was an aroma of dankness, of slow, interminable deterioration, as if the heart of the wood itself had been eaten away by insects, rain, the dry summer winds, and time itself.
The cabin was carrion, a hundred years of neglect turning it into a blighted hulk that had been forgotten for at least seventy of those years. It was a crumbling ulceration, slowly, gradually, returning to the earth from which it had sprung, exuding the musty smells of death, the ripe vapors of a tellurian cancer.
With the bloodstone, she scored a triangle on the floor. She set the candles at the equidistant flanks of the triangle. She drew three circles within the triangle, each of them touching. At the bottom of the triangle, within the larger circle, she inscribed the bold letters IHS. She then etched two crosses on either side of the letters. She drew a deep breath and let it out in a satisfied sigh. The wind died almost instantly. The old cabin became very still.
The woman stood straight, her gown clinging to her body. She wore nothing underneath the diaphanous garment. Moonlight filtered through the vacant windows, the holes in the old froe-shingled roof, and the weathered gaps in the log walls. She flung her head back and looked up at the star-shot ceiling.
It was time.
She stepped into the circle within the triangle, the papers she needed in her hand. She stooped to rake a match along the dry floor. The match burst into flame. She lit the two candles. Their light spread out, illuminating the magic circle with its triangle. A sensuous thrill surged through her loins. She was satisfied. She had come this far.
The night reached out for her. A giddiness assailed her. Her senses flew and fell, soared and skidded, all tangled up in the sensations of the moment. She had been waiting a long time for this. She had searched and studied hard. Now she was almost there. She was ready; her body told her so. She tingled all over, lightning in her veins, fire in her belly. And the wind was still, gone, sucked away by the night itself.
She gripped the hazel wand tightly in her hand as she stood in the triangle. She lifted the papers she was holding to a point where she could read the words. The papers contained the conjuration and her demands. She cleared her throat and began to read, loudly, her voice taking on a chantlike tone.
"Oh, Emperor Lucifer, master of the rebellious spirits, I implore you to be favorable to me, when now I call for your minister, the great Lucifuge Rofocale, as I wish, terribly, to sign a contract with him. I beseech you, also, that Prince Beelzebub may protect my enterprise. Oh, Astaroth, great count, be favorable likewise, and make it possible for the great Lucifuge to appear to me in human form and force, without bad odor, and that he grant me, by the agreement which I am ready to sign with him, all the things that I need. Oh, great Lucifuge, I pray that you leave your dwelling, wherever it may be, to come here and speak to me. If you are not willing to come, I will compel you to do so by the power of the great living God, of the Son and the Spirit. Come promptly; otherwise I will torment you eternally by the power of my mighty words and by the great Key of Solomon, which he used when compelling the rebellious spirits to accept a pact. So, appear as quickly as possible, or else I will torment you continuously by the powerful words of the Key: 'Aglon Tetagram Vaycheon Stimulamathon Erohares Retragsammathon, Clyoran Icion Esition Esition Existien Eryona Onera Erasyn, Moyn Meffias Soter Emmanuel Sabaoth Adonaie,' I call you, Amen."
There was a moment during her speech when she felt that she might die. The blood rose up into her head; she could feel it throbbing at her temples. Her heart seemed to stop. There was a constriction in her chest. Her eyes burned and strained at their moorings, fighting the dim light. Something powerful stirred in her stomach. She felt dizzy and sick.
But the words were done. She waited.
It did not take long before he came.
The odor came first. Fire and brimstone. Faint, but pungent, prickling her senses with little needles of fear. She gripped the hazel wand more tightly and let the sheaf of papers fall to the floor. They moved like waves as they fell, curling like falling hammocks. They settled into a sea of their own and grew quiet--little, useless blankets, quiet autumn leaves--useless.
It was then that he came.
She felt him behind her. There was no sound of his footfall, no warning of him. He had appeared out of nowhere.
"I am here," he said. "As you called me."
She dropped the hazel wand and turned, still rooted to the awesome triangle.
"Yes," she said breathlessly.
And then she saw him.
"Why you're..." she stammered.
"Only an illusion," he smiled. "A body I'm inhabiting."
"But..." she gasped.
His smile smothered her words. He strode to her and picked her up in his arms as though she were a dandelion. He carried her outside, into the moonlight, where she became a pale yellow flower. His grip was strong. Little fires raced in her blood. Her stomach filled with sprayed dandelion seeds, spidery feathers that tingled her deepest senses.
He lay her on a patch of thick grasses within a grove of pine trees.
She surged to his roughness as he took away her gown, drew off his own clothes. Naked, they coupled savagely, moonlight limning their bodies with an eerie glow. Her loins were afire. Darkness seeped in and out of her mind, lit intermittently with flashes of colored lightning.
Once, she saw him as he was.
His skin was leathery, crimson, his hands scaly, taloned, his eyes yellow, then green. Behind him, high above her, huge clawed wings rose for a split second, like flexed muscles. His plunging organ ripped at her, and she struggled for breath, the stench of brimstone tearing at her nostrils, her eyes watering as though sprinkled with shaven onions.
He filled her vessel with his vile seed. She clung to him, pulled him deep inside her.
He rose from her ravished flesh a few moments later and looked down at her with a wise smile. He was again in the body of the man she knew.
"Now," he said quietly, "it begins."
Full of his seed, she shuddered with the sudden knowledge of what he meant.
Then he was gone.
THE SCREAM carried on the night wind. Terrible, full of a frost that jellied the veins.
There was nothing human about it.
The scream rose high in the air and whipped like a flag through the valley. A red flag of death.
Sam Hinton stopped in his tracks, the hackles stiff on the back of his neck. He stood in the corral like a statue, listening to the notes unwinding on the evening breeze, each one a dart into his nerves.
Something grabbed at his stomach, knotting it up into a tight mass that shut off his breathing, as it rose upward into his lungs.
"Jesus," he gasped.
The terrible wail rose in intensity until Sam thought his ears would burst. He looked around wildly. The sound was like a siren, unearthly, penetrating. His eardrums throbbed until he thought they would burst. He thought he had never heard anything so terrible.
Until the next sound came.
This was a thick-throated bellow that ripped at him, a monstrous claw digging at his bowels with frantic talons. The sound echoed throughout the boulder-strew canyons, bounced off the hills and sank over the high grasses, tattered in the upper register, a groaning curdle in the lower end of the scale.
There was nothing human about this, either.
"Ralph! Earl!" Sam shouted. "Get the hell out here. Something's got to the cattle!"
Hinton threw his currycomb down, dropped the halter rein, and climbed over the rails of the corral, the sorrel shying away at his sudden movement. The horse went in to the stable, half-curried, nostrils distended, flanks heaving. The other horses whinnied and stomped in fear. Some of them kicked at the boards in their stalls. The sorrel's terror was contagious. The awful sounds frightened them.
A lanky scarecrow of a man came running from the bunkhouse. He all but tumbled over himself. Behind him, slower and less awkward, a pimply adolescent tried to keep up.
"What the hell's that, boss?" Ralph Loman asked, his pale eyes wide with surprise, his pointed chin quivering.
"Something's gettin' at the cattle, Ralph," Hinton said. "You and Earl get three horses saddled. Quick!"
Earl Dickens didn't bother to ask what was going on. He, too, could hear the awful bellowing. His blondness seemed to make him even whiter as he listened.
"I wish't Tony was here," said Loman.
"Well, he's not. He's down in the village," Sam said. "Get to it. I'll get the rifles. Earl, you give him a hand."
The bellowing rose to a high pitch and then stopped, as if someone had sliced the sound off with a knife.
Lights appeared in the ranch house, pouring through a hundred years of wood.
Bernice Hinton watched her husband from the doorway as he walked across the yard with three loaded rifles in his hands. Their daughter, Donna, stood behind her, apprehensive.
In another room, Jimmy Hinton, Donna's brother, spoke over his CB set, oblivious to the turmoil. He was putting out five amps of power and working the skip to talk to people. He used the handle "Grizzly Bear," and his antenna stood up forty feet above the ranch house. His base set was only a Realistic, but it put it out.
The horses were saddled, ready.
Sam mounted and rode out in the direction of the horrible screams.
It took the three men ten minutes to arrive at the site of the slaughter. The prize bull, a white-face, was dead--disemboweled. The genitals were ripped away, the guts strewn over several yards of turf.
Sam dismounted, sick to his stomach. He looked at the dead animal. Ralph and Earl dismounted, as well, going to his side. They both drew deep breaths.
The bull was a bloody hulk.
What had once been a proud and muscular animal was now a torn and reeking bloody carcass, entrails streaming in all directions, massive head thrown back, neck broken, legs extended.
"My God!" exclaimed Ralph Loman, who was holding the flashlight.
Earl Dickens vomited. Sam slapped him on the back when he gagged on his puke.
Hinton looked at the animal's exposed crotch and saw where the magnificent bull's private parts had been torn away.
That was not the worst part.
On closer examination, Sam found that the bull, weighing over 1,600 pounds, had been totally drained of blood. The huge animal was dry as a bone.
When he saw this, he, too, was sick.
And this, he was soon to discover, was only the beginning