Brother Hayes looked nervously around as he shuffled down the corridor. His candle sent flickering shadows across the walls. In his overwrought imagination they took on the fearful shapes of imps and demons, grasping and clutching at him.
God, please preserve my humble soul, he thought as he scurried down the corridor.
What had they been thinking? For research purposes? Borgnine was mad and he was even more insane for going along with it.
He opened the door and entered the large cavern of the dining room. All the lamps were out and silver moonlight sent fingers of light along the tables and floor.
He might be okay.
He scurried across the floor and headed for the door to the kitchens.
It had seemed very busy with Borgnine when he'd run away. It might still be ... still be ... no best not to think of it.
He heard a noise from above him in the darkness. It sounded like claws scrabbling on stone. There was another sound as well, leathery, like bats leaving a cave at dusk.
Oh God, Hayes thought. He tried the handle of the door.
He fumbled with a heavy iron key ring.
A shadow passed overhead. Something landed softly next to Hayes. He caught the scent of an exotic perfume.
He heard a feminine giggle, sultry and full of malice.
Something leaned over and blew the candle out.
"Carpenter, as your Vatican appointed superior, I order you not to take this case."
Debra Castle's angry face filled the monitor screen.
"I can handle it," Kurt Carpenter said. He put on an ammo belt filled with shotgun shells. He checked his gun and holstered it at his belt. He strapped a holster containing a wickedly sharp knife to his ankle.
When did the church get so full of spineless pussies? There was a demon; he was a demon slayer, ordained by the pope himself. It didn't get much simpler.
"No you can't. This is too dangerous."
"They said that about the Shoggoloth. I took care of it. This is just a minor demon."
Carpenter picked up a silver-edged katana from the rack on the wall and sheathed it behind his back.
He'd heard the same whines when he went after the Shoggoloth.
'It's too powerful. It's too dangerous. We can't risk you. Blah blah blah.'
Carpenter didn't know the meaning of 'can't'
Sure, the Shoggoloth had nearly killed him, but if he'd wanted an easy fight he'd have stayed in the marines to fight the camel-humpers out in Eye-Raq.
Demons were tough but they weren't invincible. You just had to hit them a lot harder.
Carpenter had dropped a church on the Shoggoloth and driven a burning fuel tanker into the crater. Job done.
"This is different," Castle ranted at him from the monitor, her pinched face red.
Carpenter ignored her. He opened up a leather bag and threw in a mace, an axe, an ornate crucifix, a mallet, some stakes and several vials of holy water.
"We've invested too much time and money in training you for you to throw your life and soul away."
Carpenter put on a heavy biker's jacket. A flaming hand with the legend 'The Lord's Vengeance' was painted on the back. He picked up a shotgun and propped it on his shoulder.
"Don't be an idiot Carpenter," Castle continued to rant, an irritating mosquito whine in the background. "It's a succubus. Men can't fight —"
Carpenter switched off the monitor. He put on his shades and stole a glance at himself in a mirror as he walked out of the room.
Yeah, we're bad.
"So gentleman, I hear you have a demon problem."
The two monks stared at Carpenter as if he'd just touched down from Mars. He supposed they didn't get out that much. The brown robes they wore looked like they belonged to some other age about five centuries ago. The older one with the weaselly face was the abbot. The younger man with the ferrety face was the abbot's assistant.
Carpenter hoped they hadn't sworn an oath of silence or anything like that otherwise this was going to be a real fucking pain in the ass.
"I'm the official demon slayer of the church," Carpenter tried again. "I've come to kill your demon."
"The church sent you?" The abbot sounded puzzled, although that could be his normal expression. He looked old.
"Oh thank the Lord," the younger man chimed in. "Our prayers have been answered."
"So what can you tell me about this demon?" Carpenter asked as he followed them both into the brooding mass of the monastery. It had taken him the best part of a day to get here and the sun was already low in the sky, sending out long claws of shadow as it kissed the stone walls.
"It arrived three nights ago," ferret-face said. "I fear two of our juniors decided to experiment with forces far beyond their knowledge and summoned it. We found the remains of Brother Hayes in the dining room and Brother Borgnine in the library. The library is where the demon has taken up home. Every night it pollutes our dreams with ... vile images. Two more of our junior brethren were unable to resist temptation and gave themselves to the demon."
"The demon is a succubus," the abbot said, "a vile spirit of lust and lasciviousness. It is a sexual vampire that tempts men into sexual congress and then consumes their souls."
They took Carpenter through a large open court and then into a large dining area with long tables. Carpenter saw very little activity. Men in brown robes watched him from the shadows and spoke in hushed tones.
"Many of the brethren have fled," ferret-face continued. "I fear for the monastery's future if we are unable to get it to leave."
"You can stop being afraid," Carpenter smiled wolfishly. "Your little demon is about to get a first class ticket back to hell."
They left the main dining room and walked up a small flight of steps, entering a cold stone corridor just inside the monastery walls.
"Um, are you gay?" the younger monk asked.
Carpenter preferred to let his fists answer that question. He punched out two of the little faggot's teeth and watched him spin into the wall before slowly collapsing in a heap.
The abbot's eyebrows raised a little, but that was about as expressive as his face got.
"I think what my younger assistant was trying to point out — albeit crudely — is that the church never sends a male demon slayer to fight succubi. They are purported to have a legendary ... ahem ... arousing affect on men."
Carpenter wondered what books the abbot had been poring over in the wee hours of the morning. Dirty bastard.
Carpenter smiled. "There's no need to worry about me," he said. "I'm a man of the world. I don't think it'll be able to offer me anything I haven't already done."
They stopped outside a heavy wooden door. This place was positively medieval, Carpenter thought. That was the problem with the crusty church types; they never moved on.
Never send a male slayer, what kind of stupidity was that. Some old bishop had probably spouted it in a drunken stupor centuries ago and everybody since was too afraid of change to countermand it.
"Is this the place?" Carpenter asked.
"Yes," the abbot replied.
Carpenter drew his shotgun and faced the door.
"Um. You appear to be carrying a lot of weaponry," the abbot said. "I don't want to sound as if I have the wrong priorities..."
Carpenter lifted up a heavy boot.
" ... but the library does contain a number of very rare — priceless even — books. I would like to ask you to please take this into account when..."
Carpenter kicked the door in with a spray of splinters. He charged in, keeping low with the shotgun primed and ready.
"Please be careful," the abbot called plaintively after him.
Shit, the room was bigger than Carpenter expected. He'd expected some poky little room with bookshelves along each wall. Instead the library was a stone hall about the length of a running track. Rows and rows of books stood like dominoes on either side of a central aisle.
He spotted the demon immediately. It was hanging upside down from a wooden beam like a bat, its black wings folded around its body. The setting sun sent shafts of light through the narrow windows behind it. An elaborate chalk circle was drawn on the stone floor beneath it. This must have been what the monks used to summon it.
Carpenter's loud intrusion had already woken the demon. It snarled at him before unfurling midnight black wings.
Carpenter brought up the shotgun and fired in one smooth motion. There wasn't a lot he could do at this range though. The demon dropped down from its perch and took cover behind one of the bookshelves.
So much for having the element of surprise, Carpenter thought as he sprinted down the aisle. He reached the last bookcase, turned and...
... the demon was a babe.
She leaned against a bookcase, her hips pushed forward as she struck a provocative pose. She wasn't wearing a stitch of clothing. Her voluptuous figure was completely naked. Carpenter marvelled at the full swell of her ample breasts, her long legs and the elegant features of her face. Black hair cascaded down her back in waves.
The babe was a demon.
Her skin was a deep blood red. Two black wings were folded behind her back. A tail, complete with a little arrow point, flicked back and forth between her ankles. Her ears were pointed, she had two horns on her head and her eyes looked like two doorways into the abyss. Despite this her face was still more beautiful than the most exotic model.
She was a demon babe. No, she was a demon mega-babe.
"So you're the big bad demon hunter come to send me back to hell," she pouted.
.... There is more of this story ...