Santa Monica, Angel City
Sunday, December 22, 2013
The campus directory showed that the Art Department was only two buildings away.
David quickly made his way and entered the large three-story building just as a loud clap of thunder reverberated overhead.
Inside, the Art Department had brightly lit wide hallways and a lot more glass cases on walls displaying the latest information about nearby coffee houses, local bands, and upcoming art shows.
David turned down a narrower hallway to try and find a directory of offices when he ran into a campus police officer standing in front of a bulletin board.
The officer turned to regard David with a strange look. “Can I help you, sir?” the officer asked.
“I could use your help,” David said noting that the officer’s name tag read Patrick Koontz. “I’m looking for Professor Ellis Fairchild and I believe Dr. James Lindon may be in danger.” David went on to tell Officer Koontz about everything, from the time he received the frantic call from Dr. Lindon to his arriving in the professor’s rummaged office. He intentionally left out the attack from the crazed woman. Besides, he couldn’t quite figure out how to explain the woman’s body dissolving.
The officer didn’t quite know what to make of David’s claim. He tried to get on his radio to call another officer, but all he got was static. “Damn this storm,” Officer Koontz cursed. “It’s somehow messing with our radios.”
After the officer asked to see his identifications, David asked if he can go see Professor Fairchild and ask her if she knew where Dr. Lindon was. The officer said he would accompany David to see the professor who happened to be working in the gallery on the third floor.
On the third floor, Officer Koontz stood in front of the doors leading into the gallery. He looked through one of the door’s small window and motioned for David to stay put.
“What is it?” David asked. “What do you see?”
“I’m not sure,” Officer Koontz said as he tried his radio again. It still wasn’t working. “I think there’s something weird going on in the gallery. Stay here…for your own safety.”
“I’d like to go.” David insisted.
“Suit yourself.” Officer Koontz said as he unlocked the door and quietly stepped inside the gallery.
Inside, the gallery was spacious. Large display stands took up half of the gallery floor. A strange glow dimly illuminated the back half of the large gallery, while overhead lights flickered on and off throwing shadows across the gallery’s front half. David could just make out a large walk-in kiln built into a corner on the other side of the room.
David walked past abstract bronze sculptures sitting on top of the display stands. David, not one for modern art, couldn’t make anything of what he saw.
Why can’t artists just sculpt statues that look like people? David thought. He recalled admiring the detailed miniature figures he and his friends used for playing Dungeons & Dragons when he was a teenager. Now those were sculptures!
In front of him, Officer Koontz motioned for him to hang back for a moment.
“Professor Fairchild,” Officer Koontz said out loud. “I’m Officer Koontz with campus police. Are you in here?”
There was no response.
David and Officer Koontz both made their way deeper into the room and saw a sight that stopped both men in their tracks.
Professor Fairchild was standing in front of large pentagram painted on the gallery’s wooden floor. She was dressed in a dark gray robe. She held a carved wooden staff in one hand and a dagger in the other. Three abstract sculptures similar to the ones on the display stands David saw earlier were placed on three opposing tips of the pentagram. One was shaped to resemble wind blowing. The next looked like a large clump of dirt, while the third resembled a large wave. A fourth, sculpted to look like a fiery blaze stood just outside the pentagram.
Opposite from where Fairchild was standing, David saw a thin, hunched individual gently rocking back and forth. Long, black hair covered the strange figure’s face. Like the woman who attacked him earlier, this person was also holding a knife in his hand.
Suddenly Fairchild looked towards where David and Officer Koontz were standing.
“You are not welcome here!” Fairchild yelled. “The summoning is almost complete. My master will soon walk upon the earth and he will turn me into the greatest artist this world has ever known!”
Officer Koontz had his hand on his sidearm holster while pointing to the professor with his other hand. “Professor, please put that knife down,” he ordered.
The professor gave Officer Koontz an angry glare. “You will not ruin my plans!” she yelled. She then turned to the disfigured person on the other side of the pentagram. “Kill them both!”
The disfigured figure shuffled towards Officer Koontz and tried to stab him. Officer Koontz ducked under the deadly slash.
David desperately tried to assess the situation he found himself in when he heard someone screaming from the direction of the kiln. It sounded like Dr. Lindon calling for help. And he was inside the kiln!
David ran to the kiln and quickly looked through the small window built into the thick steel door. He saw Dr. Lindon inside. The professor was coughing; clearly he was having a hard time breathing. David tried the door handle but found it was locked. He turned to the kiln’s control panel and discovered that it had been turned on full heat and was then tampered with.
There was no way David was going to turn off the kiln!
“Dr. Lindon!” David tried to yell through the door’s window. “The door’s locked and the control’s destroyed.”
Dr. Lindon, who was slowly succumbing to the kiln’s intense heat, limped to the door’s window. “Fairchild has the key!” Dr. Lindon yelled.
“…And you will not get it,” Fairchild said. The art professor quickly dropped her carved wooden staff to the floor. With her left hand free, she began to move it in a pattern while simultaneously chanting words that to David seemed gibberish.
Suddenly, a strange gray mist began to form in her hand and coalesce into a sharp thorn-like shape about the size of a dagger. With a flick of her wrist she hurled the thorn at David who leaped against the kiln to avoid being struck.
From across the room where Officer Koontz was busy fighting against Fairchild’s minion, David heard gunshots.
knowing he was in no less danger than the officer, David took out his gun, a 9mm Glock 19 he bought for protection. “Office Koontz!” David cried out. “For the record, I have a license for this gun!” David turned the safety off and took two quick shots at Fairchild.
His shots went wide.
David didn’t want to know what it felt like to get hit by the bolts Fairchild was throwing, so he ducked behind a steel rolling tray.
Fairchild began chanting again and waving both of her hands. Her gray robe suddenly began to move as if blown by an unseen wind. Loose folds of her robe began to move around as if forming a kind of textile barrier around her.
David took two rapid shots and struck the professor. Unfortunately, one of his shots only managed to graze her. The other was, amazingly enough, deflected by a piece of Fairchild’s robe which were flailing around her like dozens of tentacles.
Seconds later, David heard Officer Koontz take two more shots at the minion. David heard a scream of pain and saw the minion drop to the floor. He then saw Officer Koontz step towards the professor, his service piece aimed at Fairchild.
A painful scream from inside the kiln reminded David that Dr. Lindon’s time was quickly running out.
Fairchild screamed in fury and hurled a deadly bolt at Officer Koontz who barely managed to avoid the attack. Officer Koontz quickly raised his gun at Fairchild and fired.
Fairchild dropped to the floor. Blood began to flow from where she had been shot.
David ran to the professor’s side. A pained groan escaped her lips. David was surprised to find that she was still alive. He quickly searched her for the keys to the kiln.
The Santa Monica police arrived soon after Officer Koontz was able to call for backup.
Dr. Lindon, grateful to David for saving him, explained that he suspected Professor Fairchild was dabbling in the occult when he dropped by her office and noticed books she had on the subject. His suspicions led him to reexamine the recent suicide and accidental deaths that seemed to lead back to the art department and in particular, Professor Fairchild. When he confronted Fairchild, she denied his claims and threatened him should he continue to delve into her affairs.
Dr. Lindon added that the professor was angered over her being skipped when the college president hired a new chair to oversee the struggling art department. According to Dr. Lindon, Fairchild believed that summoning the Dark God, Jjrikillimsg, would give her the power she needed to exact revenge on those who, in her mind, had hurt her career.
After listening to Dr. Lindon, David vowed to investigate the possibility that Professor Fairchild’s involvement in the occult and attempts at summoning Jjrikillimsg may be larger in scope. He wondered if there aren’t more cultists out there, all trying to bring into the world the apocalyptic return of the Dark Gods.
David had experienced enough supernatural events to know that putting the Russian mafia’s attempt at mixing demon-tainted blood with normal people, the recent zombie invasion on Catalina Island, and other strange phenomenons aside, cultist trying to summon Dark Gods into the world was definitely going to be a game-changer for everyone on Earth.
Dr. Lindon handed David a card with a name and phone number on it. Dr. Lindon suggested that David contact the name on the card should he need help with any future investigations.
David looked at the name on the card. It read, John Philips Dante.
Dr. Lindon said that Dante was one of his former students and like David is very much interested in the investigating the bizarre and the supernatural.
David knew Dante—as he liked to be called.
He and Dante had worked together on a few cases involving zombies at Teleport Industry’s corporate office, an attack by a creature at the city morgue, and another case where a Grimlock—a subterranean creature right out of an H.G. Wells novel—terrorized an apartment building in Santa Monica.
David knew that Dante worked as a private investigator, but considered himself a Shadow Chaser on the side. Shadow Chasers were people dedicated to finding and eliminating malevolent supernatural creatures.
When the paramedics arrived, Professor Fairchild—who had survived her gunshot wounds—was taken to the hospital under police escort. Her minion, however, did not survive the encounter.
Dr. Lindon was taken to another hospital where he urged David to drop in and visit him soon. Meanwhile, David and Officer Koontz were questioned by the police. At Dr. Lindon’s urging, Officer Koontz’s report did not include any mention of any supernatural occurrences he had witnessed. David’s report was similarly lacking in details involving incidents the public should not know or more accurately, was not ready to accept.
After the paramedics cleared David, he left Carthage College, but not before he took out his iPhone and pushed the contact number for Debra.
Perhaps the holidays could turn out merry after all, David thought.
(Investigative Reporter for The National Inquisitor)
Special Appearance By:
Dr. James Lindon
(Expert on Parapsychology and Tribal Religious Practices)
Officer Patrick Koontz
(Carthage Community College campus police)