Here's a little bit of Magic Mischief from SEPTIMA LUNA.
“You can say the words in any language, as long as you visualize the doors opening and what army you want out.”
“What if I say banana and imagine the door, ma’am?”
“It doesn’t work that way because banana doesn’t mean door in any language.”
The infuriated emoticon in her mental text was about to explode. Angel could see the vein throbbing on her temple.
“And what army do I want again, ma’am?”
Angel noticed her effort not to stamp her foot and slap him. He was on his knees (after all), making a diagram to produce the doors of the gate on the temple’s ground with a broken piece of clay from what he assumed was an ancient pot at the appropriate distance to receive the hit.
“You want the Spartan Army that defeated Xerxes.”
“Oh my, like the movie?”
She almost growled, “Angel, after Leonidas was killed, the elders used a gate to summon an army. I need you to focus on the elders’ requested spiritual army.”
Many spotlights had been rearranged to illuminate the area where Angel worked, obliterating the full moon above them. It made him sweat like the proverbial pig, even if he knew for a fact that real pigs didn’t sweat a lot, and that’s why they wallow in the fucking mud so happily.
But a go-go boy was used to being in the limelight, so in a Septima Luna’s-fifteen-minute-break moment of inspiration, he took off his shirt and flung it triumphantly toward one of the armed trolls on his periphery. It landed on his helmet (like an ill-fitting mantilla), and Angel saw the other guards’ trembling shoulders trying to hold their laughter at their comrade’s expense.
Angel scratched his head, pasting the most puzzled face he could command. “Ma’am?”
“If this open sesame thing works, what am I doing with the army again?”
“You’re getting on my last nerve.” She made a signal, and the guards flanking Malachi kicked him on the back of his knees and Malachi crumbled. The butt of a machine gun found his head. “If you have a shred of intelligence within you, you’ll stop your nonsense right this second.”
Angel sprang and poked Tau's sternum with his forefinger. “Listen carefully, you sodding bitch. They touch him again, and the only coordinates that fucking army is going to find is inside your bleached ass. Let him go.” He marched toward Malachi and pushed the helmet-covered faces of the two guards with his hands, making them stagger in their surprise.
By the time every guard reacted and all weapons aimed at them, Tau yelled, “Don’t.”
Malachi wobbled, helped by Angel, toward where the doors had been drawn. “He stays by my side, and you control your gorillas,” he hissed when she was within hearing distance. “Or I’ll use your own weapons against you.”
The pallor on her face showed she had understood loud and clear. She nodded, her eyes narrowed and menacing.
“Are you all right, sweetie?” Angel let Malachi crouch beside him.
“Where is your heavy accent?”
“Gone with the bitch, darlin’.”
Malachi’s chuckle squeezed Angel’s heart. His resolution to destroy Juggernaut grew firmer. He would use their own army to destroy their headquarters and every single motherfucker inside it. The twenty thousand possessed soldiers would make the place confetti in seconds, and then he simply sent back the spiritual army to limbo or released them of their duty, whatever stroked his fancy by the time it was done.
“You.” Angel pointed at Tau, his eyes narrowed too. “Move away. Your face irritates me.”
She glared at him and stepped backward until she was stopped by Martan holding her upper arms and keeping her plastered against his massive chest. She resisted for a second, then stood motionless but never defeated; her furious scowl screamed it.
Using up the abandoned piece of clay, Angel united the bottom lines of the traced opening. He put a hand on each door and concentrated.
“Open, gate of wonders, and bring me the ghost army the elders of Sparta summoned to avenge the death of Leonidas at Thermopylae. The soul of revered Antinous Ephebus, beloved of Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus commands it.”
Angel chanted this for a while, deciding to hold Malachi’s hand and visualizing immense doors (like a cathedral’s) slowly moving open to spill their secrets, over and over again.
A rumor similar to a billion exhausted sighs resonated around them. The clay-outlining emanated a golden glow, its light becoming brighter and brighter by the second, and the ground shook. More than side to side, it trembled in an up and down undulating exhalation.
Until that moment, something inside Angel had hoped this hinky situation was just a bunch of malarkey. That everything was nothing but the opium dreams of mad people. Now, as the earth spread, spewing a vomit green glare, Angel steeled his heart to conquer his destiny (definitively not the time to poop his pants), because the screeches coming from the gate were bloodcurdling.
It was Julius Caesar who said “no one is so brave that he isn’t disturbed by something unexpected”, and this shit surely was bewildering.
The first ghostly figure emerged amidst the puke-like radiance, nothing was discernible but a head and shoulders— the rest of the body was an elongated amoeba. Angel shouted, “The soul of revered Antinous Ephebus, beloved of Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, commands you.”
With a short bow, the apparition acknowledged him and floated toward him, giving berth to the next surfacing soul. The yelp of the first stricken guard made Angel lose some of his concentration, and as more guards fell to the rattling ground, he heard it above the shrieks from the opening.
In similar but green SWAT outfits, men zip lined from almost silent hovercrafts. Malachi gurgled, hit by something and let go of Angel’s grasp, his hands searching his neck. Angel forgot about the spirits and the door and the destruction of Juggernaut, Malachi could not leave him there like that.
“Kai!” Angel beat Malachi’s chest with closed fists. “No, no, no.”
Someone grabbed Angel by the waist; he thrashed and kicked, screaming to return to Malachi. Was that blood on Malachi’s mouth? No, this couldn’t be happening. He would go insane.
As he was pulled to a hovercraft, he saw the green SWATS overpowering the black SWATS. The first luminous apparition did something that Angel could only associate with a shrug and returned to the glowing hole, pushing the other entities down as if they were impertinent children trying to escape a radiantly fenced play yard. The gate morosely closed, its creepy lights and noises becoming mute.
The Neolithic stone complex turned into an amorphous shadow below him. He could not find a trace of Martan or the countess; he could only distinguish Malachi’s unmoving body at an odd angle in the middle of the chaos, shrinking until it was nothing but the luminous drop of a bad memory.
“It will be fine.” The man holding him said in what Angel supposed was a soothing voice; as comforting as a voice coming through a tricked-out motorcycle helmet could be.
Still, the voice seemed familiar, but Angel didn’t care.
As Angel was tucked into the back of a hovercraft, all he wanted was for this to be his day to leave the land of the living and be back on Mnajdra, dying beside Malachi.
*Get your free copy of SEPTIMA LUNA here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/399776