Loreley, Episode 20: Sempai

Loreley, Episode 20_ SempaiPreviously…

Loreley visited the Lighthouse.

Loreley, Episode 20: Sempai

Simon, still smoldering, stares intensely across the table at Loreley.

Loreley, entranced, can’t look away.

She can feel Simon probing her mind, turning over memories that she was suppressing, seeing parts of herself that she hides from herself…

Suddenly the room seems to brighten. The people and the music fade.

“You can pass between the worlds. Interesting. But you can’t control it yet,” Simon speaks without moving his lips.

Loreley is paralyzed. She can’t even shift her eyes away from Simon’s gaze.

“And the dead- you can see and hear them. … ah. You lost someone, and they went to the bad place, and you’re looking for a white knight to-“

Veronica breaks the spell by slamming a pint glass of ice water onto the table between them.

Loreley jumps and looks up at Veronica who is staring at Simon.

She arches an eyebrow accusingly.

Simon smiles slowly. “Just checking. Not so many normies make it in here you know, Niquey.”

“She is our guest here, Sempai.”

“Hi! I’m Loreley!” She says, clumsily extending a hand.

The music is still going, but the three other women who had been nasty dancing with each other swagger over and surround Simon.

Momoko slips the sharpened metal chopstick out of the bun at the back of her head and shakes out her shoulder-length hair.

Star balls her hands into fists and shrugs a couple of times to loosen up her shoulders, cracks her neck. She sets herself at an angle from Simon, ready to knock him down if he tries to stand up.

Lily leans casually on the back of his chair in her matching purple sneakers and tennis dress.

Veronika says, “This is Loreley. You want to help her, Sempai.”

“Do I though? I mean sure, she’s got something, but I’m kind of busy with my own-”

“You forgot you owe us, Simon?” Veronika tilts her head.

Star is rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet, clearly wanting to knock someone out.

Simon laughs. “Really? You’d call in a favor from me for a Normie? A Normie? You don’t know what I could do for you. What a-”

“This motherfucker-”

Star steps into a punch that sends Simon’s hat flying.

He sees a bright light that pulsates in time with an intense ringing sound. The light resolves into the grimoire, then Loreley’s bright and innocent face. Over the ringing, he hears Mephistopheles say, “…the Grimoire of the Apocalypse. She can take you to it.”

Simon shakes his head to clear it, works the knot out of his jaw, and jiggles his molar back into place with his tongue.

He spits a rich red gob of mucus into his empty martini glass.

“Ok, I’ll do it. I’ll help her get her sister into the other place.”

“Oh! Thank you, Sempai.”

“Don’t thank me yet. I’m going to need your help getting a thing first.”

Simon feels a sharp cold thing at the base of his skull. “Don’t fuck with her, Shimon,” Momoko whispers sweetly in one ear.

“We will fucking end you,” Lilly whispers in the other. “Treat her like a sister.”

Simon smiles at Loreley.

“Ready when you are, sis. Let’s get this show on the road, shall we?”

Meanwhile in the black wasteland known as Sheol:

Simon is flying above the black valley, his astral bubble still tethered to Mephistopheles.

He feels an etheric wave slap into the bubble. It hits him like a slug to the gut. Simon collapses and curls into the fetal position.

On the horizon, Mephistopheles sees a cloud of raging fire and seething black smoke rushing towards them, and he trembles with fear.

Simon’s unconscious hand goes limp and he lets his amulet slip and drop…

…all the way…

…down…

…to the gritty black floor of the valley. Scuttling things scramble up out of the darkness and struggle with each other to devour it.

(The thread that Claire had been following through the void suddenly dissolves leaving Claire falling directionless into the infinite void. “Goddamit! Simon!” She shrieks. He does not hear.)

Mephistopheles stops cold. Simon’s now feeble bubble slaps and collapses into his, and he shapes the resulting node of null space into a swinging 70’s swingers pad. He’s wearing a red knit turtleneck under a red leather leisure suit with a thick black belt with an inverted pentagram buckle and black platform boots with red soles.

Simon is asleep next to him. Lambchop sideburns. White polyester leisure suit. Bold orange and brown rayon shirt with the over-wide collar open three buttons down his chest, Saint Christopher medal, unicursal hexagram and razor blade dangling in his chest hair.

Inside large wooden cabinet housing with a big rabbit ear antenna on a white lace doily on it, a very big crystal ball is tuned to a grainy film of Simon and Mephistopheles flying over the valley. An ominous black cloud is rushing towards them down the valley. Simon suddenly jerks, goes fetal, and his auric bubble drops a bit.

Mephistopheles jabs Simon in the ribs.

“Wake up. Simon! You don’t want to miss this part.”

Simon lazily lifts his head, blinks at the screen.

“Where-” Simon starts.

“Popcorn?” Mephistopheles takes a handful and offers the bucket to Simon, who absently takes a handful.

The music from the crystal ball turns ominous…


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Benjamin Beardsley

If you were blessed with the gift of being able to change human destiny with your words, what would your message be?

Actor, writer, educator

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