April 5, 2011
“What are you waiting for?” Maury demanded, as I trickled salt atop my chalk circle. This demon wasn’t going anywhere unless I willed it.
“Almost finished. But I need her name now.”
He pronounced each syllable with great care, as if caressing his absent lover. I found it oddly endearing. “Dumah Porai Valyonatha.”
“It’s been a long time since you’ve seen her.”
“Only by your standards,” he muttered. “But I have been away longer than I expected. She will be missing me.”
I tried to sound casual as I finished spreading the salt. “You could go back. I could send you.”
“I think not. Your people call my world hell for a reason.”
“Very well.” Using my athame, I cut a narrow slice in my palm and let the blood drip inside the pentagram. I was careful not to break the circle, however. “By fire, earth, wind and rain, I call you forth, Dumah Porai Valyonatha. I offer sacrifice in your name. As I will, so mote it be. In the name of Solomon the Binder, whose blood I carry, you must obey.”
Unlike the spell I had used on Morales, this one required focus and repetition. My mother had once said: There are no true magic words, only your will behind them. Power sizzled through me, far more than I’d ever held before- more than it took to read a house or a patch of dirt. It felt as though my heart must cook inside my chest. I sent it to the circle and the salt ate it, blackening beneath the heat.
I don’t know how long I chanted, but the air churned inside the pentacle. Not like Caim’s manifestation, but it grew dark with smoke that writhed with signs of life. I saw a glimmer of eyes, a suggestion of a face.
“She’s here,” the demon breathed beside me.
Maury started to go to her, only to be brought up short by the power of my wards. I smiled “My part of the bargain is fulfilled, and you are repaid.”
“That wasn’t the deal!”
“In fact, it was. You specified I had to summon her, not set her free.”
“No, I wouldn’t consent to that. The last part was implicit in the agreement.”
And now I gambled everything. “If you have the power, if I have invalidated our deal, kill me now. Take the knife from my wound. I’m willing to risk it.”