Flash Fiction: THE SUMMONING

The short below was written as a test doc for a freelance project that I got involved in.  I wrote it a few weeks ago and it’s been gathering dust on my hard drive since then.  I decided to share it now with anyone who cares to read it, just to see what folks’ reactions are.

It’s something set in the far future, long after the world has come to an end, and at the moment stands on its own.  It was actually pretty fun for me to write, so I hope you enjoy it.

Story below the break.


The Summoning

Just keep breathing.

Fingers gritty from the nub of chalk she’d used to seal the circle, she shoved the bit of precious white gypsum into her pocket and cleaned her hands on the seat of her threadbare jeans. The sun rose like blood in the east and she stared at it for a moment, heart thumping loud enough to wake the dead.

Just keep breathing.

No one thought she could do it. She’d show them, wouldn’t she?

The rune at the center of the circle was the name of one of the Lesser Demons but still one of the Host, one of the Named. No more imps or drudes or Minors. She was capable of more.

She had to be. It was the only thing that would save Aidan’s life.

The knife was sharp as it bit into her palm. Squeezing her hand into a fist, she let the blood dribble down over the rune.

“Echimoth, Kaela Brighteyes summons thee. Echimoth, she of the bright eyes summons thee. Echimoth, I summon thee, be bound to my circle and my will.”

Electricity crackled through her, from the soles of her tired sneakers to the crown of her head. Blood hissed where the drops hit the rune, smoke starting to slowly rise. Here, in the shattered shell of another forgotten city, they’d made their stand against the wandering hordes.

Their magic and their arms hadn’t been enough.

Never again. I won’t be weak again.

We won’t be weak again.

“Echimoth, I summon thee! Come forth, I command it.”

A spark flared at the center of the circle. Her heart beat faster, pounding against her breastbone. It was working.

Power flared through the chalk circle. She pulled her arm back beyond its boundary just as a ring of heatless flame erupted from the ground. Binding her bleeding palm, she watched as the smoke that had started to rise from the rune coalesced into a figure, darkly handsome with eyes that shone like amber.

“A child,” the demon said as their gazes met. “A child summoned me.”

“There’s no such thing anymore,” she said, standing her ground. “You’re bound, Echimoth. By my blood and by my will, you are bound.”

“We shall see.” He stared down a slender nose in distaste. “And why have you called upon one of the Named, pixie?”

She bristled, shoulders tightening as she drew herself up taller. “I am the last Warlock of the Freehold of Grand Rapids and you will respect my authority, Echimoth. You will submit.”

“Is that what this place was called?” The demon’s nose wrinkled. “I thought it stank of Calvinists.”

She wanted to ask what he was talking about, but the words died on her tongue. The times before didn’t matter anymore—what mattered was the here and now, and she needed him and his power.

She needed his sight.

“Enough,” she hissed. “You’ll give me what I want, Echimoth. I summoned you and you’ll bend to my wishes. Now tell me what I want to know.”

“And what would that be, pixie? Ask your questions three. You’re entitled, after all.”

Was he calling her that to raise her hackles, or was it something else? She bit back the urge to strike him or worse—though striking him would break the protective circle and that as a recipe for disaster if she’d ever heard of one. She took a deep breath, exhaled it slowly.

“The Hordes,” she said. “Do they return?”

“Yes.”

“When?”

“Time on this plane is so hard to precisely measure.”

“Damn you! Tell me, and truthfully.”

“I’m already damned, pixie.” He gave her a razored smile.

Her eyes narrowed, wounded palm clenching.

What I wouldn’t give to wipe that smirk right off his face.

Be calm. He’s trapped in your circle, bound to your will. You can win this. Command him.

Her eyes fluttered shut for a moment and she thought of Aidan. He’d taught her everything he knew, including this. He needed her now.

Her eyes flicked open again. “Tell me.”

There must have been something in her voice that gave the demon pause. He regarded her with a long, silent look, then said, “Three weeks. They’ll lay waste to this wasteland and there will be nothing left of you and yours when they’ve gone. I’ve seen it.”

Have you? A faint smile touched her lips despite the demon’s words. They couldn’t lie in answer to a question when they were bound, but she hadn’t asked what the Hordes would do when they returned.

The only question had been when they would return.

We have three weeks.

“Your last question, pixie?”

“You’ll regret calling me that,” she said, toying with the hilt of her knife, studying the faint scrim of her own blood that still spattered the blade. Her gaze met his once again. “How do I cure a Devil’s bloodcurse?”

Echimoth stared back at her for a long moment, his eyes widening slightly in surprise. “Why would—”

Answer.”

“A vessel, a blessing, and a tincture of Angel’s Foil and demon’s ash.” His nostrils flared. “But a warlock can’t cast a blessing and you’ll never find a demon willing—”

“I have someone for the blessing.”

Echimoth’s eyes flew wide as pure white fire penetrated the circle and his scream echoed off the shattered buildings and into the dawn.

Kaela stared at her left hand, the hand she hadn’t slashed for the summoning, studying the Celtic cross branded into her flesh.

“A warlock can’t,” she murmured. “But I’m not a warlock.”

The scream had died away and the demon had burnt down to ashes. It had been quick, quicker than she’d imagined it might be. She stooped to gather the fine black-gray powder into a jar. They had what they needed now.

One corner of her mouth curving into a wry, wicked smile, she walked into the shadows of her shattered city and away from the dawn.

There was work to be done.

There was always work to be done.


The Summoning is copyright 2014 by Erin M. Klitzke. All rights reserved.

I love feedback, so feel free to drop me a comment here or email me at emklitzke (at) gmail (dot) com.

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