A Demon Call

Charles manipulated the duo’s massive black car off of the back streets of Kingsport and into the gravel driveway of Abuela Betty’s Chophouse. Abuela Betty’s Chophouse, known locally as The Pink Bitch, was little more than a run-down diner flanked with big-rig equipped gas pumps. Its fame came in the form of Abuela Betty herself, an old white woman of admittedly no Latin descent that wore gold lamé scenic muʻumuʻus and way too much purple eye shadow and silver glitter for a woman of her 70 years, or any age for that matter.

“Abuela Betty’s Chophouse,” Charles read the name aloud questioningly, then the neon slogan, “Truck Stop Diner to the Stars.”

“You want a cupcake, you go to Sugar Plum Fairy’s in Arkham, you want a steak and bitter coffee, you go to Abuela Betty’s Chophouse.” The Professor said.

“Yes, I remember how you feel about this hovel. Does this mean that we want a steak and bitter coffee?” Charles asked.

“Yes it does,” The Professor replied, as he answered his ringing cell phone.

Charles navigated the metal mass of a Lincoln between two colossal old rusted trucks.

“Yes Harry,” The Professor answered into the phone.

“Kenneth called again,” The other end of the phone said. The voice was echoed and tinny as if in a chasm.

“What did you tell him this time?” The Professor questioned with flippant concern.

“What do you think I told him? I told him to fuck off!” Harry proclaimed with frustration.

“Well, Harry, Kenneth is unstable but harmless. Keep him at bay. We’ll get around to him eventually.”

“I’m not sure about that, Professor. He seemed a little… off?” Harry said.

“Off? How so?”

“Well, he was calm. Normally he’s a hot mess, but this time he was, ya know, calm… like creepy calm. God, I hate that little shit. I know I’m trying not to kill anyone, but if I could kill someone, it’d be him.” Freddy answered.

“We’ve all agreed on this. There’s only one person we’re all willing to kill.”

“Right, Professor. Maddie.”

The two chuckled a little at the mention of the name of Maddie McGill. No one was really sure why The Professor and Harry both hated Maddie McGill, but it was well known. One day the duo had left on a basic “bag n tag” outing for some artifacts for the Miskatonic Anthropology Department and when they returned home, they hated Maddie McGill.

“We’ll get around to her, but as I said, we’ll get to Kenneth eventually,” The Professor discarded the topic, “but, for now, take the night off, all seems mellow enough.”

“Will do, Bossman,” Harry hung up the phone.

Harry set his phone down on the nightstand of his room and stretched his arms up in a V while he sat on the edge of his bed. The room was spartan and the walls were concrete.

He stared at the wall for a second. He wore shorts for sleeping and a thoroughly loved Led Zeppelin Houses of The Holy t-shirt. His arms and legs were smattered with poorly done, oddly spaced, illegible tattoos.

For all the strength that Harry had, Harry was in hiding, proof that there is always someone bigger and badder out there.

Harry had met The professor at least two decades prior. At the time, Harry and a partially ostracised Chatloic priest were on the run from Harry’s previous “benefactor”, a dark, scary, and possibly demonic man that went by Incubus. Incubus had an uncanny ability to find Harry and the priest no matter where they went until The Professor found four “Mystics”. The Four Mystics named not for branding but for the utilitarian purpose that it took four to watch him every hour with some days off for shopping and rec time. Each had the similar ability to keep Harry hidden from Incubus.

Harry stood up and grabbed a towel from the lone shelf in the concrete room and walked to the door. The door was massive and metal, with a big wheel on the front that must be turned to open like a cold-war-era submarine. With little effort, Harry creaked the mass of metal open, revealing a long concrete hallway.

Sitting on the floor in the hallway was a monk, an almost black-skinned man with a shaved head wearing yellow Buddhist Shaolin style robes. He sat, calmly muttering a prayer over a shallow wooden bowl filled almost to the brim with water. As Harry stepped from the room, the monk looked up and said, “Rise and shine it’s evening time, Freddy”.

“‘Sup Thelonious? Wanna take a walk and get some grub?” Freddy asked. “The Bossman says we can take it easy, nothing on the docket.”

“Sure,” Thelonious said, getting up cautiously making sure not to disturb the water.

Thelonious’s was one of The Four Mystics. His real name was Felix Toroama, but he was nicknamed Thelonios after the jazz pianist by Harry for the not so creative reason that he dressed like a monk. He dressed like a monk but was not in the strictest sense an actual monk.

Thelonious was born on the island of Bougainville and had a typical young childhood for the area, a quaint life of fishing, farming, and family, until he turned about five, at which point he gained what he would later refer to as “a tether to cosmic consciousness”. Later in life, Thelonious would explain the sensation as his astral body shooting from his body directly towards whatever he was thinking about. Whatever it really was, it caused the young child to rapidly shift between paranoia and panic, to listlessness or even complete catatonia. At that point, with the assistance of The Tribes, the young Thelonious was taken to Aadya Aditih, a Praachi Monastery in Yul where, instead of learning anything of the religion, he was put directly to work controlling his mind.

Upon arrival, the young boy was sat down in front of a rock and told to concentrate on the rock and nothing else for the entire day. The next day and the day after that he was told to do the same, not an easy task for a five-year-old child, but Thelonious immediately found that concentration was better than the chaos that he was experiencing before.

Over the years he slowly learned to split his concentration allowing him to briefly focus on other things. In his twenties, once he became stable at multiple concentrations, he was sent to live with The Professor in a halfway house situation, which is where several of his other skills were discovered, one of which was his ability to hide Harry’s presence from Incubus.

Harry and Thelonious continued down the institutional concrete hallway, their affable voices slapping off the dense walls as they chatted like school friends. At the end of the hallway, they came to a narrow set of metal stairs. At the top, a wooden hatch. Once opened they went up and through, into the living room of the massive and ornate home of Professor Johnathan Whateley.

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