How Best to Deal With That Lowly Hellbeast You Accidentally Conjured

By Matthew Stott

Caleb Latimer wasn’t exactly sure what he’d done wrong. He’d drawn the pentagram accurately to the specifications depicted in the Book of Suffering. He’d written the sacred words on his naked torso 666 times with his specially prepared mix of goat blood and semen. He’d burned the three ceremonial candles fashioned from the fat of a sacrificed virgin.

He was certain he’d done everything correctly, but what he discovered when the smoke cleared was not a High Demon, now in thrall to Caleb’s every awful whim and wicked desire, but, well… whatever this waddling, squirming assembly of offcuts was that looked balefully at him with sixteen haphazardly placed eyeballs. The creature, whatever it was, certainly came from Hell, but clearly not the nicer part. It stood no taller than Caleb’s waist and smelled like an alleyway that was a popular pausing point on the way home from the pub.

‘I’m afraid there’s been a bit of a mistake,’ said Caleb, dabbing the blood and semen from his skin with a towel. The creature continued to stare at him as fleshy tendrils erupted from the top of the thing and thrashed around in an irritating fashion.

Caleb flipped through the Book of Suffering for the quickest way to send back a conjured being. ‘Aha!’ He found a penknife in the kitchen and then made his way back down into the cellar. The creature hadn’t moved from inside the pentagram. Caleb glanced again at the instructions, sighed, clenched his teeth, and then began to carve the word ‘Back!’ into his forearm. Once completed, he let some of his blood drip onto the creature.

‘Back, foul beast of Hell! Back to the eternal fire from whence you came!’ Caleb really gave it everything he had. 

Nothing happened.

‘Well that didn’t work,’ said the disappointing fist of meat, all sixteen eyes rolling. ‘Why am I not surprised?’

‘I beg your pardon?’ replied Caleb.

‘Don’t worry, I’m sure some women find flaky scalps a real turn on.’

Caleb tried the ritual a further three times, until he ultimately passed out due to blood loss. When he awoke some hours later, the creature tutted in a manner that made clear what a disappointment he was.

***

‘You’ve done what?’ asked Gerald Harker, Hell Priest.

‘I wanted to prove a point, so I tried to conjure a High Demon, only something else turned up and now I can’t get rid of it.’

Gerald had been a Hell Priest with The Order of the Quivering Flesh for twenty years now and knew a flunker when he saw one, and Caleb was definitely never going to be Hell Priest material, no matter how enthusiastic he was about Satan, sacrificing, and general wickedness.

‘Can you help me, before the Burning Bishop discovers what I’ve done and kicks me out?’

Gerald sighed and followed Caleb back to his cellar. The beast nodded at the Hell Priest as he entered. ‘Got you roped in, has he? Can’t say I’m surprised. Never can do anything himself.’

‘Will you shut up!’ said Caleb. ‘He’s been like this ever since he arrived.’

‘You’ve got really weak wrists.’

Caleb gave the thing a kick to its middle, bursting one of its many eyeballs.

 ‘And your penmanship is subpar at best.’

Under Gerald’s instruction, Caleb travelled England, collecting the Six Knives of Beelzebub. ‘You get the knives, you bathe them in the spit and piss of a newborn baby, then you stab them, one after the next, into the Hellbeast. That should send it back quick-smart.’

Caleb really enjoyed stabbing each of the knives into the creatures oozing flesh. He’d always been fond of a good stabbing, but sticking it to this obnoxious pile of damp meat gave him extra satisfaction. Once the final knife was in up to the hilt, Caleb waited for something to happen. Waited for a puff of sulphurous smoke. Waited for the Hellbeast to just piss-off already.

‘Your mother always thought you were a bit of a useless tit,’ said the still very much there monster.

***

‘We could throw it down The Well of Screaming Souls?’ suggested Alistair, friend of Gerald’s and a fellow Hell Priest.

‘Oh, good idea. I once threw a possessed car down that thing, problem solved,’ replied Gerald.

And so Caleb stuffed the Hellbeast into a large trunk and the pair boarded a ship bound for Mexico. The ticket cost him his savings, but it would be worth it to be rid of the rancid thing once and for all.

Once they hit land, Caleb suffered through a fifty mile bus ride and a ten mile hike beneath a baking sun, before finally reaching The Well of Screaming Souls which, to the untrained eye, looked a lot like an ordinary well. To the trained eye, too, in all honesty. 

Coated in sweat, and with his every muscle trembling, Caleb managed to inch the trunk over the lip of the well. 

‘There are five-year-olds with more impressive upper body strength,’ came a muffled voice from inside the trunk.

‘Yeah, well… Well! This Well!’

‘That was very poor.’

Caleb gave the trunk a shove, and down, down, down it tumbled.

A month later than planned, and after several weeks in a badly equipped hospital being treated for exhaustion, dysentery, and some kind of infection that made passing water feel like he was pissing razor blades, Caleb finally made it home. He was broke. He felt like weak old crap. But at least he was free at last.

‘That moustache makes you look like a child molester,’ said the Hellbeast, waddling past.

***

The next few weeks were not the highlight of Caleb Latimer’s squalid little time on Earth, especially after Gerald washed his hands of the situation. It was now all up to Caleb, and Caleb, frankly, wasn’t up to it.

He tried burning the creature to ash with Witch Fire, which made his home smell like barbecued vomit for a week but did little more to the creature than make it even less appealing on the eye than it already had been. A troll’s axe was said to be able to cut through a mountain given a hard enough swing. It managed to slice off a chunk or two of flesh, but the creature barely seemed to notice. Caleb even attempted to blow it up with bog-standard dynamite, which took care of three more of the Hellbeast’s eyeballs, but little else.

‘I give up,’ said Caleb finally.

‘That should be your catchphrase. Well, either ‘I give up’ or ‘My breath smells like a wet ditch full of rat farts.’

Then, one evening, Caleb found himself alone. He went from room to room, in case the thing was toying with him. Surely it was too good to be true? Caleb was certain he’d let his guard down only for the wretch to appear and utter its latest withering putdown.

But no.

A week passed.

Two weeks.

A month.

It was really true.

Ding-dong, the prick was gone.

***

The doorbell roused Caleb from his bed. Tossing his dressing gown on, he shuffled, bleary-eyed, to the door.

‘Who is it?’ he asked, irritably.

The doorbell rang again.

Caleb swore under his breath, picked up his home protection (a cricket bat with plenty of rusty nails banged through) and opened the door. Before him stood a figure he’d only seen illustrated in wicked books. The late night caller stood eight feet tall, with thick horns that rose from its forehead. It had hooves for feet, and blood-red skin that rippled with flames.

A High Demon.

Caleb fell to his knees in supplication. 

‘Oh wonderfully foul denizen of the underworld, to what do I owe this great, great honour?’

It was then Caleb saw a familiar amalgam of rotten flesh waddling towards him, a leash leading to the demon’s claw.

‘What the hell did you do to my dog?’ growled the High Demon.

‘Ah,’ said Caleb, ‘shit.’

As far as final words go, they more or less said it all.

END

AUTHOR BIO: Matthew Stott is an author, publisher, and screenwriter who once wrote for a BBC kids show about a talking dog. Yes, he’s very impressive.

TWITTER: MattStottWrites


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