Lohirtak’s Big Night.
A crime caper, a pub crawl and a prizewinner...
Everyone gathered for the evening briefing. Right on time, an official voice cut through the noise in the room.
There was silence, then a chorus of laughter.
‘Yes, it never gets old.’ Chief Superintendent Vogdran smiled weakly, knowing he had difficult news for his demonic foot soldiers. But they always loved Item 666; he wanted to warm them up a little before blasting them with cold water.
‘Sssh!’ The room fell silent again but he couldn’t help himself. ‘Item 666 - Save Our Souls!’
Shrieks and howls filled the air. Some pounded the floor with laughter, others pounded on each other. Vogdran’s smile was stronger now. He was fond of his bunch of ugly screw-ups, but time was moving on and he needed to get them out on the streets.
‘Order! Order! There is the matter of a complaint from the higher-ups, concerning the lack of productivity in this department. Some of you, obviously, are more productive than others. Some of you, are unforgivably unproductive. Particularly you, Lohirtak,’ he said, looking straight at a shrivelled up, knotty-looking demon. Glancing at the clipboard he added, ‘You’ve missed all your quotas this month.’
In a quiet voice Lohirtak said, ‘But Golmoth, he steal my bag!’
’And that is your problem, not mine. Golmoth gets his quotas whichever way he chooses.’
He turned to the group. ‘As a matter of policy, I must remind you all, that those of you who don’t make the quota will be sent to Goreki 5.’
The room fell silent. Even Golmoth, who had started bragging to his neighbours stopped talking. If you could call it talking - demonic foot soldiers didn’t really discuss much, they preferred to fight it out. As Lohirtak knew all too well, Goreki 5 was code for the worst torture they could imagine, and as torturers themselves, they could imagine quite a bit.
‘Let’s try something different. You’re working alone tonight. Each of you must bag 100 souls - more is better. Spend less time fighting and more time doing your jobs, and we’ll all be “rollin’ in the clover”, as they say.’ Superintendent Vogdran was looking straight at Lohirtak while he spoke. Lohirtak shivered.
‘Okay. Remember, be careful out there’
Lohirtak hit the streets. He was seething after the formal dressing down in front of his peers.
‘I show him. Lohirtak do better tonight. No Goreki 5 for Lohirtak.’ He sighed. He knew he’d have to try something different if he was to be successful.
He hefted his backpack over his gnarly shoulders and caught his one elongated earlobes in the strap, pulling it accidentally until the flesh almost tore. He fished it out with a long, knobbly finger, and his yellow and black pointed fingernails flicked it back into place.
‘Lohirtak good soldier. Lohirtak bring 100 souls, 1000 souls! Lohirtak get promoted. Lohirtak show them.’
Walking with determination he made his way deeper into the night, looking for prey. In a dark corner he noticed a man wearing a tuxedo leaning over, using the wall for support. An empty whiskey bottle lay on the ground beside him.
Lohirtak crept over slowly, keeping distance. He looked left and right, there was nobody else around.
‘Good. I take now.’ He pulled a twisted, jar-like contraption out of his backpack. It was made of glass and iron, and had a symbol stamped upon it made of triangles. He deftly opened the neck, took an iron rod out from his inside pocket and attached it. He then climbed up the wall like a monkey and placed the rod directly at the back of the man’s skull, just where the neck and skull conjoin. He tapped it gently. With a slurping sound, a pale white light was drawn from the man’s spine and disappeared into the rod, then a wisp-like object appeared inside the glass. Lohirtak removed the rod, screwed the jar lid on tightly, flicked the symbol and the jar shrank down to the size his thumb. He placed it into his backpack and scrambled away from the now crumpled, envelope of a man.
Lohirtak crept back, picked up the whiskey bottle and smelt it, savouring the sensation. He placed it to his lips, then winced and threw it violently across the alleyway. It shattered into smithereens. ‘No get drunk tonight. Lohirtak must work. But…’
He looked again at the body up against the wall. ‘More drunks! Yes! Lohirtak go get drunks!’
The street was alive with the sound of reels, dancing and laughter. Into Pub house after pub house he went, dipping in, claiming souls... It was too easy. ‘Why not Lohirtak think of this before?’
Whenever there is a chink in a person’s armour, a slight vulnerability, demons can get inside. What they do there depends on their brief. They can infiltrate and change that person’s behaviour, using their body for their own nefarious reasons. Tonight, Lohirtak was in the stealing business. Not whole souls, no - just enough to render that person incapable of joy, listless or depressed verging on suicidal. He took the light behind their eyes, turning people into proverbial zombies.
He began to have fun - so many people became vulnerable when they drank. He hid in the toilets, BAM! He snuck around the tables helping himself - all you can eat. BAM BAM BAM! Just for fun, he jumped onto the top of a door as someone walked past and BAM! Lohirtak’s collection of souls that night superseded anything he’d ever previously gathered.
‘Lohirtak works better alone.’
Six people sat around a circular table holding hands. The tablecloth was emblazoned with symbols and letters, incense burned and the room was in darkness but for a candelabra on the table and a candle on the altar. A middle-aged woman in a silver dress was muttering under her breath, eyes moving quickly under closed lids.
‘Are you sure you can hear my Leo?’ asked the elegant man of Mrs Fenchurch. He pulled his hand away, breaking the circle.
She turned to him and smiled thinly. ‘Mr Yeats, sir, please. Give me some time, I need you to stop talking.’ This man was such an annoyance. Surely a man as accomplished as Mr Yeats would understand? She held out her hand for him to close the circle again.
Mr Kennedy cleared his throat and nodded at her hand, then looked at Yeats expectantly. Yeats hesitated, then took it, his face looking pained.
He never wondered with Mrs Wreidt. She was a professional. But he was in Dublin this month, and thankfully, his meetings with the new Rosicrucian order were going well. He knew Leo needed to talk to him, it was important and relevant to his work. He needed an interpreter to ensure his deliberations were correct. Mrs Fenchurch had come highly recommended by Mrs Wreidt. However, now he was here, he felt he had made a terrible mistake.
Lohirtak was watching them from behind the closed door. He had felt an irresistible pull up the stairs after he bagged his 105th soul - pubs really had been an inspired idea. He had some time left before dawn. Considering the success of his night, a little side entertainment wouldn’t hurt now, would it?
A drunken man who had lost his way stumbled into the room by accident, leaving the door ajar. Lohirtak took advantage, slipped inside the room and hid behind the curtain. Then the man at the door recognised Yeats.
‘You? You’re that man who won that award, what was it?’ he said.
‘The Nobel prize,’ Yeats said, flatly.
Mr Kennedy got up and escorted the intruder out the door.
Yeats became incensed.
‘Leo! Is that you? Leo? Please, Mrs Fenchurch, how much longer will this take? If you can’t connect to Leo then I’ll leave, I’ll find someone else…’
Mrs Fenchurch suddenly contorted her body, and screamed. It was a terrible noise. Even Lohirtak was taken aback. She started coughing, crumpled into a heap, then rose and spoke with a cracked, deep, masculine voice. ‘YEATS!!!’
Behind the curtain, Lohirtak sniggered. There was no other presence in the room bar his own good self. He could tell this was all a farce. Even he, a lowly demonic foot solider, with limited comprehension, could tell this woman was double-dealing. ‘Is no spirit here but me,’ he smirked to himself.
‘SHH!!’ exclaimed Yeats, now going out of his mind. ‘I can’t hear anything - Leo? Is it really you?’
Suddenly, the candles flickered, then went out. The other women at the table jumped with fright. Lohirtak could see Mr Kennedy had blown them out surreptitiously when he thought nobody was looking. He must be pulling strings somewhere as the candelabra on the table crashed onto the floor.
Mrs Fenchurch whispered, ‘Yeats? Is that you?’
‘Are you sure that’s my Leo? He never calls me Yeats...’
Lohirtak could feel a change in the woman - her anxiety was becoming intoxicating and he was beginning to forget his purpose. ‘No. Remember? Lohirtak not get drunk tonight. Take the soul. Then go. The beautiful one. Big prize of soul this one.’
Mrs Fenchurch began speaking in a language Lohirtak recognised from his time on Gholhoult 7. ‘Lohirtak not like this, not one bit.’ He became agitated. This man in his fine suit, the one called Yeats, his energy was what brought him in here, yes it was clear. He was the one. He had to have his soul. It was worth 10 of the others.
‘This is a debacle!’ Yeats cracked with irritation and frustration and BAM! Lohirtak was in, grabbed Yeats’ soul and sucked it into a jar. But no, it was too much, too strong… Quickly he decanted it into the biggest jar he had, yet the essence was so effervescent that it spilled over. He grabbed two more jars. Yes! Three jars full, and there you have it. Yeats was in the bag.
Yeats’ body crumpled into his chair. The others in the room thought it was due to his frustration with Mrs Fenchurch. Mr Kennedy called it a night, but Lohirtak had already gone. On his way back to headquarters he grabbed the soul of a cat, a rat and three dogs, and put them into his pocket for snacks for later.
Feeling proud of himself after checking in his loot, Lohirtak tossed his empty backpack into his locker, patted his snack-filled pocket, clocked out and went towards the exit when he felt a large presence behind him.
'The boss man wants to see you.’
Shivers went down Lohirtak’s back. ‘Me?’
‘Yeah, you. Now. Follow me.’
The large Sergeant brought Lohirtak down six flights of stairs, across a long corridor and into a waiting facility.
‘Sit there. He will be with you in a moment.’
Lohirtak sat, fidgeting, feeling the animals in his pocket. ‘They catch me stealing these? What has Lohirtak done?’
The office door eventually opened and a well dressed man beckoned. He wore a blue suit and silver cufflinks. He oozed charm, which was lost on Lohirtak, but it wasn’t meant for him. Lohirtak shuffled in, and sat.
‘You’ve been the bane of your superintendent these past months. But you did incredible work tonight. Tell me, what was your secret?
‘Pubs,’ Lohirtak said, sitting up, feeling that perhaps he wouldn’t be whipped after all.
‘You went on a pub crawl. Ingenious,’ said the demon, writing something down. ‘Commendable. Well done.’
Lohirtak got up to go.
‘Just one thing, that gentleman you took, Yeats, his name was.’
‘Big soul? Extra points for me?’ asked Lohirtak hopefully.
‘Put him back. Before you go for the night.’
Lohirtak was crestfallen. ‘Back? Why?’
‘He’s one of us.’
‘But, he so white!! Soul so strong? Good strong soul!’
‘Ahh. yes, we have a new trick. He is unequivocally one of us. If we can fool one of our own, our method is working very well. Good work Lohirtak, no Gorecki 5 for you. Not this week.’
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