Inspired by this prompt. This is a part of my Adventures of Dar’goth Series, an ongoing series about the Old God of Madness, Dar’goth, as he tries to navigate the modern world.
You saw her on the street corner of Applemath Avenue and Obsidian Drive. Middle aged. Caucasian. Slim stature. Donning a Karen like haircut, dressed in a robe as dark as night, no darker than that, a dark as the abyss. The robe’s blackness sucked in every bit of ray of light. A black hole in the shape of a middle aged woman. Only the crimson colored cuffs as insignia on her back of a tangle of appendages and eyeballs. You had seen the insignia before. A trendy one worn by hipsters, dark-and-edgy teenagers, and grifters nowadays. The symbol of Dark-Wroth, Gar-Doth, or whatever. You never bothered to keep tabs on the latest elder god rumored to have returned, except for that one one stint in high school where you only pretended to be a devotee of Liratonastongmotiaph, the elder goddess of corruption, to impress that one girl. What was her name? Cynthia? Sydney? Cydney with a C? Eh whatever, it never lead to anything, just like how the rumors of the returned gods and goddesses of yore never went anywhere.
You approached her like you approach many of your women these days. Eyes on the prize. Her purse. Except she wasn’t carrying a purse so you just focused on her robe. Something had to be tucked away in there for sure. Your hands tucked away into your jacket pockets. Left hand wrapped around a set of brass knuckles, right hand gripping a knife. Arms sweating beneath your sleeves. Micah said it had gotten too hot for the ol’ jacket trick and it was time to move to shorts and slimmer negotiating tools. Micah said a lot of things like not preying on cultists due to how crazy they are, or never shoplifting on a new moon. Talk is talk. Walk is walk. And you’ve been bringing in more bounty than he had in a while. The woman crossed the street and you followed, waiting for an opening when nobody but you had your eyes on her.
Walking the wrong way into the foot traffic, people seemed to materialize from her robes as the passed her by. A man dressed in a suit and tie and donning a briefcase dashed past you at one point, carrying himself as fast as he could around her as he squeezed through the crowded sidewalk and rounding your mark, his presence disappeared behind the woman shaped void that you followed. Although you knew it to be nothing more than a trick of the eye, for a brief millisecond the heat of your jacket seemed to fade away into a deep chill. Five blocks passed before you could finally make your move.
Distracted by a stray cat she turned into alleyway. You waited a few seconds before doing the same. Fingers curling tighter around your negotiating tools. You heard a voice in the alley, one that didn’t sound like it belonged to your mark. It sounded like a old male smoker’s tossed into a blender with a boiling pot of water.
“… here kitty kitty,” the voice spoke. It came from the direction of the woman as she approached a pile of trash, hunched over. Within the lump of garbage, nestled between two black bags you saw the stray looking at the woman curiously. “Come out. I promise once the March of Madness happens that I’ll spare all feline kind.”
The cat did not respond. The voice continued speaking towards the cat.
“Do you not recognize me familiar? Your ancestors blessed my temples in the forsaken days. It is I, Dar-“
Before the voice could finish speaking you made your move. Retrieving the negotiating tools from your pockets you reached out towards the void and grasped the woman’s robe with your left hand. Pulling her towards you she jumped, knocking her off footing. With the woman’s weight now in your control you reeled her in, placing the knife up against her throat.
“By my name! Who hath defied me whilst I conversed with my familiars?” The deep garbled voice said. Closer. Louder. Clearer.
“Give me everything of value you got,” you said. You take this moment to anchor your mark closer, releasing her robe and wrapping your arm around her upper torso, pulling her closer, but not too close as for her to see any of your face. Perhaps the best piece of advice Micah ever gave you.
“You should have listened to Micah more,” the voice said.
“You have twelve seconds to hand over your valuables or this knife will be in your juggler”, not thinking twice about the fact that mentioned your friends name.
“It’s jugular,” the voice said.
“Juggler, jugular, same difference. Eleven.”
“These fleshy bodies are so fragile.”
“A paper cut to the jugular.”
“A stake through the heart.”
“A bullet to the brain.”
“A twist of the neck.” As the voice said that the woman swayed her head side to side. You pressed your blade firmer against it.
A sound like branches snapping under ice came from her neck.
Her head dangled to the side. Loose and lifeless. You had dealt with many tricks your marks had used against you, but none like this before.
Her head flenched upright. Twisting, the flesh of her neck grew taut and coiled. The head rotated about the neck and did not stop until her eyes met yours. The rest of her body still facing forward. Still under your control. Or so you hoped. She looked at you with soft kind eyes, and for a moment you wondered if she would forgive you.
“Micah was right. You shouldn’t mess with cultist. That is good advice. What he forgot to mention is that you especially shouldn’t mess with their god given human flesh,” the garbled voice said coming from her mouth. Under any sort of circumstances you’d probably be freaked out hearing that voice coming out of that mouth. Your brain would fight to accept that a voice so horrific and demonic could be produced by the mouth of a woman who’s eyes reminded you of your mother’s. But after this woman had snapped her neck and twisted it around, the voice didn’t bother you much.
“Are you reading my brain?” You say, pressing the knife closer to her jugular. You wonder if it’s even there. You wonder if cutting it would even make a difference. You press closer and grab her tighter just to have a sense of control.
“Only the brains of the naive and dimwitted,” she says. “They make for perfect drones.” She smiled. “Say ‘Dar’goth.’”
“Fuck off,” You say.
Her mouth opens into a void as dark, no darker than her robes. You weren’t even sure that that level of darkness was possible. But this is no time to question the optics of the abyss. An appendage reaches from the void grasping your face. You feel no pain. No agony. No terror. Just emptiness. And then you are in in the void.
The apartment had begun to grow too crowded. Even though Dar’goth had assumed the form of his landlord he seemed to have taken on her desire for filling every old god damn apartment with paying tenants with good credit in order to maximize profits. Sure it was for funding the greater good of Dar’goth’s triumphant return to the mortal realm with the funds mostly going towards the construction and permitting of the obsidian chapel of unspeakable horrors on top of the apartment complex, but it meant that Anthony had to find room within his two bedroom apartment for ever new non-paying recruit Dar’goth brought into the fold. Anthony had already had to sacrifice his room and queen sized mattress for Dar’goth to turn into his own personal chamber of hell-on Earth, and then once Dar’goth’s devout priestess and high architect of his temples had been snatched through time and brought into the present Anthony then had to pack up his work-from-home office and move into the dining room to work, not far from the couch where he new slept. So when Dar’goth came back home with a mindless drone in tow Anthony wanted to rip his hair out. But like any good devoted follower, he obliged.
“Looks like your old god still has it,” Dar’goth said walking into the apartment. A tall man in a blue hoodie followed behind him. The tall man had the blank lifeless expression upon his face, more lifeless than a mannequin’s.
“Have what, master?” Anthony asked.
“The Bannishers might have sent me to the abyss for an eternity and a half but look what I can still do,” he gestured with both hands to the strange man.
Anthony had no idea what to say.
“I can still turn fools into drones!” Dar’goth said.
“That’s amazing,” Anthony said. Unsure of the implications of what his chosen god meant.
“It is amazing!” Kiria said walking out from Anthony’s old office now her room. The old ancient architect who had built structures with impossible geometries and alters that had sacrificed so many human lives approached the drone. She wore a black pantsuit two sizes too big for her. She always wore a pantsuit two sizes too big for her. No matter what. She had taken the idea after seeing one of Anthony’s fellow attorneys dressed in one, but protested a fitted outfit. She liked the baggy one because it reminded her of the robes she wore in the past, but adorn a pantsuit because she believed it to be a symbol of status and professionalism in the modern era that she had been dragged into. But since Dar’goth did not protest, neither did Anthony, although the old gods were not really known for the their sense of fashion.
“Do you know what this means master?” Kiria asked. “With more drones we’ll be one step closer to building your Final Temple, again!”
“Then we’ll be one step closer to the March of Madness,” Dar’goth grinned. “Hey, Anthony? Could you find a place for our drone to hibernate until summoned? I think your coat closet might be tall enough.”
“Are you sure you can’t hide him in the janitor’s office?” Anthony said.
“Nah, don’t want to take up Ian’s space. He’s a hard worker. Very thorough too.”
“Uh okay, I’d just like you to consider it. How many drones will we need to complete the Final Temple?”
Kiria scrunched her face in contemplation. “Perhaps somewhere in the hundreds. Maybe thousands if we’re want to expedite it.”
“I’m going to need a bigger coat closet,” Anthony sighed.