Rachel's hand brushed against the old leather-bound volumes. She had never seen this section of the bookstore before. Come to think of it, she had never seen the woman behind the counter before, and it was strange how she had pointed to the back of the shop before Rachel had even spoken.
"You will find your heart's desire in the shelves at the back," that is all she had said.
Rachel shrugged her shoulders and made her way to the back of the shops. She had only come in for a tacky romance novel, something to take her mind off her own sad, lonely existence. How was she going to find her heart's desire among these old crusty volumes?
She pictured the muscled heroes in the books. The heroine always got swept off her feet and enjoyed endless nights of mad, passionate sex. The best Rachel could hope for was a good book, a glass of wine, and a session with her favourite vibrator.
Lost in her thoughts, it took Rachel a second to realise that something was in the way of her hand. She dragged her attention back to the bookshelf. One of the books poked forward further than the rest.
She pulled the book from the shelf. Its cover felt different to the others. Its leathery texture was familiar, though she couldn't quite place what it reminded her of. She opened the book carefully and turned a few of the worn, browning pages, frightened that it might turn to dust in her hands. They were full of words she didn't understand.
"Guess you are written in Latin or something," she said, turning another page.
A newer-looking page fluttered to the floor in front of her. Rachel scooped it up. Unlike the others, it was in English. 'Spell to summon your' someone had crossed out three different words before a fourth attempt read 'heart's desire.'
Rachel continued to read. Her eyes flitted from the book to the page. It was a partial translation of the page; it had to be.
'To work, you must read the words as they are written in the book. Prepare your circle carefully and be accurate in your desires. Work as nature intended for the best results.'
Rachel pondered the meaning of 'as nature intended,' slapping her forehead with her palm as she realised.
"Naked, I need to complete it naked. Guess it makes sense if it's a love spell. Right?"
She laughed to herself and took the book to the counter. There were only a few things on the list that she didn't have at home, and they were easy to find at the local store.
Rachel handed to book over to the cashier, "How much?"
The old woman smiled, "A high price to pay, very high, but the book is a gift. Use it wisely." She thrust the book back into Rachel's hands and walked away from the counter.
Rachel shrugged her shoulders, shouted, "Thank you," and left the shop, her mind full of visions of the love she would conjure.
Rachel raced home and slammed the front door shut behind her. Finding no other sign of life, Rachel bounced around in circles before locking the front door and closing the curtains in her bedroom.
She read through the translated instructions and collected the items she needed. As she began placing the candles, Rachel realised she risked setting her bedding alight if she tried creating a summoning circle in her bedroom.
Her housemate was due home until the morning, so she shouldn't get laughed at if it all went wrong. Sweeping everything up, she moved to the lounge. She checked the door and windows once more before stripping her clothes and creating the salt circle. Rachel took a deep breath. Once she pricked her finger and said the words, there was no going back.
Rachel shivered as the cool air hit her body. Her nipples hardened in anticipation, and goosebumps ran down the length of her arms. She knelt at the edge of the circle, the book open by her side. She made a small cut across the palm of her hand and let the blood drip into a glass. Placing the glass in the circle, she wrapped her hand and began reading from the book.
She was so focused on stuttering through the ancient words, pronouncing them phonetically, as clearly as she could; she did not hear the front door unlock.
"What are you doing?"
Rachel's head shot up. Leaning against the door frame to the front room was Melissa, her housemate, stifling a laugh.
"Reading a love spell. Stop laughing. I've tried everything else," she sighed.
"You know magic isn't real, right?"
"Says who? Now let me get this right. I don't want to end up summoning a toad or something."
Melissa threw her coat and bag in the corner and propped herself up against the wall. Rachel returned her attention to the book, struggling to get her tongue around the script.
The candles flickered and blew out, grey smoke rose from the centre of the circle, and a defending roar forced both girls to cover their ears.
A voice called out from the centre of the smoke, shaking the walls and vibrating through the floor. "Who dares summon me, the ancient one?"
"Seriously, you've summoned an ancient god," said Melissa throwing her hands up in the air.
Rachel's heart banged against her chest as deep red eyes accompanied the voice, their gaze shifting over Melissa before settling firmly on her. "Do not insult me, mortal. I am a demon. Now, what is it you desire in return for your soul?"
"My soul?" stuttered Rachel.
"Yes, you summoned me."
The smoke began to coalesce into the form of a tall human male. He stood over six feet and was well built. His red eyes were set in a pale, angular face that would have looked at home on any non-sparkling vampire. From her position on the floor, Rachel's gaze was drawn to the inhuman bulge barely contained by the jeans that were forming around him as he spoke.
"I came. You tell me what it is you desire, I secure it for you, and in return, I gain your soul on your death."
Rachel shook her head, trying to gain some perspective on what was happening in front of her. She looked around the demon at Melissa, who was slumped against the wall, open-mouthed and staring.
"I seriously need to brush up on my Latin," Rachel managed eventually, glancing at the book in front of her.
"That is Mycenaean, not Latin," said the demon rubbing his temples. "Now, if we could get on so I can leave the summoning circle, I would be grateful."
"It was supposed to be a love spell," whined Rachel, her shoulder slumping forward.
"Silly girl, such things do not exist. Now, what do you desire?"
"How do I know you can do anything?" Rachel challenged, keeping her voice steady and swallowing down the fear that threatened to engulf her.
"Name something. I can do one thing to show my power while trapped within the circle."
"Conjure a zombie, bigfoot, then," said Melissa, finally regaining her senses.
"I'm afraid only the summoner can make demands of me," the demon countered, not even bothering to turn and face Melissa as he spoke.
Exasperated, scared and cold, Rachel threw her hands in the air. "Ok, whatever, what she said."
The demon shook his head and smirked before making a slight movement of his right hand. "There you are. One zombie bigfoot."
Rachel and Melissa ran over to the window. A seven-foot figure stood in the middle of the street. It had once been covered in hair, now patches of hair clung to mottled green skin. Puss oozed from gashes and splits in its hide. The stench wafting up to the third-floor window of the apartment made them both retch.
Worse still were the screams of passers-by as it swooped down and grabbed one, snapping its head from its neck as easily as if it were a twig.
Melissa threw up. Rachel turned back to the demon and screamed. "Get rid of it."
"Why, is it not to your liking?" he chuckled.
"It's killing people," Rachel shouted.
"Yes, what did you expect a zombie bigfoot to do, exactly."
"Get rid of it."
"I cannot, not while I am trapped within this circle."
"Then get untrapped."
"Only you can free me from here by completing the terms of the summoning." More screams echoed down the street, accompanied by squelching and crunching noises.
"Oh dear, I do believe it is starving. I do hope you're not too keen on your neighbours or the local wildlife."
"Fine, fine. I agree, whatever. Just stop it," Rachel cried.
"What is it you desire?" the demon repeated his flickering over her naked body and boring into her soul, leaving her short of breath.
"To find love."
The demon raised an eyebrow. "You are sure you don't want people killed. A nice quick revenge plot, perhaps."
"No, I want love," Rachel insisted.
"You don't normally summon ancient beings from hell to help with love. That is more a creature of light's department." The demon spat as he moved to the edge of the circle, his hand reaching out, causing the air above the circle to crackle.
"Yeah, well, you're what I've got, so guess if I'm going to save people from the abominable stench monster out there, you are going to have to do."
The demon shrugged. "Fine. How hard can it be to find a young woman love in the modern era."
Originally published by me on Medium 28 Feb 22
About the Creator
Professional copywriter and mother during the day. Poet, dabbler in fanfiction and erotica at night. I've been living with a long term chronic condition for over 20 years and I'm not ready to give up the fight yet. Glory or Valhalla.