Lars smiled. The bullet had done its work, and his victim – his third opfer in as many months – toppled over backwards by the force of the impact, lay on the dark green late Spring grass, eyes open, limbs akimbo, and quite dead.
His vantage point had been the old Quince tree on one side of the ornamental lawn of the large Edwardian house, and he was soon back, past the wrought iron railings, on the pavement and walking under the bright May sunshine toward where he had parked his motorcycle, the wide ring road a few streets away making his escape from the town quite easy. Less than three hours later he was back in his own city, in his own modern, small, if expensive, Apartment overlooking the river. The smallness, the uncluttered clean newness, the view of the river, all pleased him, and, opening a bottle of Chablis, he raised his glass and gave his customary toast: “To presencing the Dark.”
For Lars – not quite twenty-three years of age, of medium if muscular build and with a mane of not quite curly almost long chestnut-coloured hair – was entering the second year of his dark, sinister, quest.
Months ago he had shed the once obligatory black clothes for stylish wear obtained through his new hobby of credit card cloning, just as he had exchanged the room he shared in a rented house with friends for his pleasing Apartment, and just as he had given up his dreary city office job. It was meant to be new start, after his successful completion of the Rite of External Adept, and it was. Even his own sinister group had begun to flourish, and tonight, his dark gods willing, there would be a new woman for him to sexually initiate.
The small bookshelf near his plasma screen contained a large quartz crystal and only a few books, all of which dealt with his dark quest, and he sat in his comfortable chair – set to give the best view of the river – to read from his favourite book, a compilation of Satanic articles.
“It is of fundamental importance – to evolution both individual and otherwise – that what is Dark, Sinister or Satanic is made real in a practical way, over and over again. That is, that what is dangerous, awesome, numinous, tragic, deadly, terrible, terrifying and beyond the power of ordinary mortals, laws or governments to control is made manifest. In effect, non-Initiates (and even Initiates) need constantly reminding that such things still exist; they need constantly to be brought “face-to-face”, and touched, with what is, or appears to be, inexplicable, uncontrollable, powerful and “evil”. They need reminding of their own mortality – of the unforeseen, inexplicable “powers of Fate”, of the powerful force of “Nature”.
If this means killing, wars, suffering, sacrifice, terror, disease. tragedy and disruption, then such things must be – for it is one of the duties of a Satanic Initiate to so presence the dark, and prepare the way for, or initiate, the change and evolution which always result from such things. Such things as these must be, and always will be, because the majority of people are or will remain, inert and sub-human unless changed. The majority is – and always will be until it evolves to become something else – raw material to be used, moulded, cut-away and shaped to create what must be. There is no such thing as an innocent person because everyone who exists is part of the whole, the change, the evolution, the presencing of life itself, which is beyond them, and their life only has meaning through the change, development and evolution of life. Their importance is what they can become, or what can be achieved through their death, their tragedy, their living – their importance does not lie in their individual happiness or their individual desires or whatever.”
Slowly, as Lars read, drank his wine, listened to his favourite modern music, twilight descended as it does in England, bringing a strange aethereal beauty to the river and the mutely lit buildings on the opposite bank, and he lay down his book to begin to plan his next deed. For there grew in him even then a desire for something beyond the clean almost emotionless efficiency of his killings, and he stood, outside, on his small balcony, glass of wine in hand, wondering what he might do.
His assignation with his sinister group was still some hours away and he spent one of those hours walking along by the river in the warmth of the early evening, half hoping that someone, or some gang, would attack him, for he had yet to try out the swordstick umbrella he carried. But all the people he passed seemed happy or absorbed in their own affairs, and he returned to the large, new, building that housed his own Apartment still considering what his new plan of action might be. Maybe it was this which made him err. Or maybe it was something else.
There was music in the room of a type he had not heard before, and he was scrutinizing the pile of CD’s which lay beside the player when a female voice surprised him.
“It’s Schubert’s Piano Trio in E-flat.”
She did not seem concerned to find a man in her Apartment, and stood, by the door to her bedroom, slightly smiling, her long auburn hair trailing over her shoulders, her nipples straining against the thin fabric of her revealing purple dress.
In control again, Lars said, “Beautiful.”
“Yes, what a tragedy he died so young.”
He was referring to both the music and the woman. “I believe I’m in the wrong Apartment.” He guessed her age to be early thirties, and it was his turn to smile.
“I must be on the wrong floor.”
“You are. You’re right at the top, aren’t you?”
“Better view?” She gestured toward her window and balcony.
“A little. Would you like to see?”
She was on his balcony, intently gazing across the river, and he stood so close to her their shoulders were touching. His dark quest had given him a confidence with women that his previous years lacked, and he allowed his hand to briefly touch hers as he turned and said: “Would you like some wine?”
“Yes,” she smiled and followed him back inside.
He noticed her interest in his small pieces of electronic equipment, resting on the glass table he used as a desk. But she surprised him again by knowing what they were. “Cloning. Interesting,” she said as she took the glass of wine he offered.
“It’s just a hobby,” he said and tried to hide his smile behind his glass as he drank.
“And one which can be quite useful. To interesting hobbies!” She raised her glass.
“To interesting hobbies!”
“You have a contact, I presume, who supplies some useful and necessary details.”
For a few moments he looked at her suspiciously. Jared, one of the members of his sinister group, had indeed proved quite useful, employed as he was in an hotel. “Well…” he began to say in reply, trying to make some reasonable answer or excuse.
“Don’t worry!” And she came toward him and touched his arm. “I’ve been looking for someone like you.”
For a second he found her confidence, her attitude, her interest perplexing, but it was only a second. She was waiting, and he knew she was and he did not disappoint, taking the glass from her hand and placing both his and hers on the glass table. She did not resist his embrace: instead, she welcomed it, pressing her body into his and embracing him with a strength which surprised him. Then they were kissing, tongue to tongue, and removing each other’s clothes.
Soon, they were on the floor, her dress pushed up around her shoulders, his shirt undone, his trousers and underwear removed. She was naked under her dress, and their sexual passion was intense. And when they were satiated, they sat, stretched out on the floor leaning against his sofa, drinking wine.
“You must have some interesting friends,” she said.
“Not as interesting as you,” he quipped, then winced at his use of a cliché. But before he could make some clever riposte in compensation, she spoke.
“You enjoy it, then?” she asked, “the game?” And she gestured toward his electronic equipment.
Her perspicacity amazed him and as he looked into her azure-coloured eyes he felt a brief contraction in his stomach as if she had reached out to him on another, darker, level. “Yes! Care to join the game?” He said the words quite without thought, instinctively, his face flushed with excitement.
“I would love too!” she replied, and kissed him. “When can we start?”
“Excellent! Anything in particular in mind?”
“Well, there is this meeting, tonight.”
The Temple of his sinister group was a large converted room of a large house in Lars’ chosen city, and it followed the precepts laid down in the Black Book of Satan as did the ritual of Initiation. Unusually, Lars did not participate, but sat with Arleen, his new lover, on cushions to one side of the altar, and as the ritual progressed Lars knew Arleen was unimpressed. So was Lars, despite the dramatic rendering of the ritual, and for the first time it occurred to him that such theatrical games had served their purpose and belonged to his past. He must quest forth into new realms, new sinister experiences.
It was many hours past midnight and Lars and Arleen left to stand for a while, in the garden of the house, in the still warm air of the night.
“You found it boring, then?” Lars asked.
“It lacked that vivifying ecstasy – that excitement, that danger – we need and crave.”
“It’s still early.”
“My thoughts exactly!”
She stood smiling at him, and her presence, her eyes, the memory of their passionate, sexual, encounter earlier that evening, affected him in a reckless way. “I’ve got an idea,” he said, satanically.
“This one,” she said with an air of knowledge.
She had broken into, and started, the car parked in some nameless city street, in only a few minutes. “A youth, well-spent,” she smiled as he looked at her quizzically.
Their target was several miles away in the sodium-lit darkness – an all-night garage on the edge of the city – where they, both dressed all in black, stopped, away from prying surveillance cameras, to assume their disguise of demon masks which Lars had borrowed from one of the members of his sinister group. There were no other customers, a tribute perhaps to the lateness of the hour, and Lars brandished his revolver while the thin, gaunt, and male keeper of the till with the face and clothes of a student, went even more pale. Lithe, Arleen vaulted over the counter, pushed him aside and took what cash there was. Less than a minute later, their first deed was done.
The money was irrelevant. It was the sheer excitement that roused them, that captivated, exhilarated, and after they had abandoned the stolen vehicle they sat in her powerful, sleek, car, laughing. Then they kissed, passionately, before she speedily, recklessly, sped them back to his Apartment and a night of physical passion.
It was only the beginning. For some reason Lars did not understand, but did not then bother about, he and Arleen not only inspired each other in a sinister way, but also complimented each other. He knew little about her beyond the few unimportant things she said about her past and present circumstances, but the truth was he was not that interested. What mattered for him was that he found her company vivifying. He felt stronger, more confident, more Satanic, as he knew she did. Quite without expecting to, or even wanting to, it seemed to him that he had found his perfect sinister partner, and he felt that with her he might Presence the Dark in exhilarating practical ways, bringing dark magick to the Earth in a manner far beyond the mundane rituals, and cullings, he had previously used.
They spent the morning of that cloudy, rainful day, in his Apartment planning their next deed. Once, after they broken bread and drank wine, she browsed through his small collection of Satanic literature, all of which emanated from the Order of Nine Angles and all of which did not seem to interest her.
Taking down one of the books, he read for her his favourite quotation, and, after he had finished, she smiled and said: “That certainly expresses the essence. We two are more than mortal, for we are ready by our combined will and life-force and through our deeds to forge the next link in our evolution to inspire those who will admire us.”
It did not seem a pompous thing for her to say given the circumstances, for Lars knew then with perfect clarity that she understood and it seemed to him for one indefinite, although brief, moment that she was darkness come alive.
“We might even become infamous,” she added as a coda to his thoughts.
Now that, thought Lars, would be good. With this, his conversion was complete, and he showed her, locked away in aluminium cases and hidden behind a false back to his wardrobe, his small collection of guns, collected and bought from his sinister friends and contacts over the past two years. She said nothing, but the way she touched them pleased him.
Their planning completed, they left in her car to purchase the few items, and extra clothing, they needed, returning only to change into their new black outfits and affect a minimalist, but reasonably effective, disguise. They kissed passionately before setting forth into the typical rain of typical English middle afternoon.
An hour, and one stolen car later, they arrived at their destination: a Building Society in a fairly prosperous suburb. Three customers of indeterminate personality, and several staff, were inside. From his bag, Lars produced a shotgun, firing into the ceiling. One stocky middle-aged man, in a checked shirt and jeans, rushed toward Lars as a hero might, and Arleen drew the pistol Lars had given her, and shot the man dead.
“Money!” Arleen demanded to the terrified woman clerk nearest her, who duly if nervously obeyed, stuffing the small bag Arleen held out with a collection of banknotes.
Then they were gone, amid the sound of an alarm and a delayed, female, scream.
That night in Lars’ Apartment – after a celebratory meal in an expensive restaurant paid for by Lars’ hobby, and the customary toast to Presencing the Dark – their sexual passion and excitement attained new levels, binding them even closer together.
The morning sun found them tired, but joyous, and they lay together a long time in bed, drinking wine, touching, and talking of deeds they might – and should – do. Once, Lars left to return with one of his books, from which he read, and once they wandered to his sitting area to watch the news on his plasma screen. Their deed was there, if only briefly reported, and both smiled when they heard their deed described: “…callous…cold-blooded…”
“Those people, at that ritual, would they dare to do what we have done?” she asked.
“Then they are still in chains; held back by their own feebleness, their inertia.”
“So, it’s only a pose for them, is it?”
That day of dark joy, killing, exuberance and passion became the archetype for the next part of their life together. Their next plan took them away, to another city, and although their modus operandi was almost the same, the dark intensity of their deeds increased.
This time, there was a long queue of non-descript people waiting patiently in the non-descript area marked out for such waiting, with the three non-descript serving staff of the chosen Bank seemingly secure behind their screens. The vestibule was large, if poorly lit by high modern lamps, and a non-descript kind of tribute to the time when the Victorian Bank building itself was a symbol for its times. Arleen and Lars, in their now customary black clothes and minimalist disguise – a wig, Egyptian style make-up for her; a flat tweed cap and a moustache for him – energetically entered the building, their guns ready. Arleen shot the last person in the queue – an elderly man – and gestured for the remainder to lie on the floor, which, obedient to her gun, they did as the body of the man lay bleeding and dying near her feet.
The cashiers swiftly handed over money, and it was all over in a minute with Arleen and Lars calming walking out of the building into the street where oblivious people, and traffic, passed. Over the road, and two side-streets later, they were back in their stolen car as, in the distance, a Police siren wailed above the city vehicle noise, lyingly proclaiming a kind of mastery of the streets.
Three days later, Lars and Arleen ventured forth again, to a city even more distant. The drab, dreary building was almost the same, and it seemed to Lars that he already existed on some higher level, taut, waiting, like some dark predator, ready to lunge, to kill. There was no queue, this time, on that dreary rainful morning in that dreary city of copycat shops and traffic – only one customer with a face like an artists’ blank canvas, leaning against the counter while a young woman Bank clerk talked trivia to him, half-smiling. Lars pointed his gun, but it was Arleen who shot him, once while he stood, and twice after he had fallen to the floor. A young man pushed opened the glass door as she did so, and he stood there, unmoving, his hand, knuckles-white, still holding the handle of the door. Arleen turned, raised her gun, pouted a kiss at him, and the young man fled with memories, a face, to haunt his dreams for years to come. Then she was smiling, waiving at the surveillance camera while Lars collected money.
Once outside, several people stood watching them – uncertain what was going on or what they should do – but Lars and Arleen walked calmly away not even bothering, this time, to hide their guns. They had not gone far along the street with its passing traffic when a Police car skidded to a halt.
“Armed Police!” a Police Officer shouted as he swiftly in a trained and masterly fashion exited the car, brandished his gun while using the open car door as a shield. “Put down your weapons!”
Lars turned and in an even more masterly fashion shot the man in the centre of his forehead. Around them, people ran, cowered, sheltered behind anything they could, astonished, afraid, amazed. The other Police Officer, about to aim, was forced to move away from his position beside the bonnet of the car as Arleen fired three times in his direction before brazenly walking around the back of the vehicle toward him as he crouched on the pavement that stood in front of a row of drab High-Street style retail shops. It might have been a scene from some film – except the dead body of the Policeman, the terror, the astonishment, of the people, were real. For a brief moment the Police Officer and Arleen looked at each other, weapons raised, and it was this look that doomed him. He could have fired at his closing target. Instead, he stayed crouching, looking into her eyes, looking at her smiling face, until the first of her two bullets impacted – one in his head, the other in his chest – when he tumbled awkwardly backwards yet sideways before the stillness of death overcame him. The rain had stopped as she had walked toward him, and a small swathe of bright, warm, sunlight came to relieve the scene of its repetitive city-drab greyness.
Lars gestured toward Arleen, who understood immediately and she fastly, recklessly, drove them away from the scene in the Police car which, a few minutes later, they had abandoned in favour of another hijacked vehicle.
Hours later, back in their lair, the television news had pleased them – “…cold-blooded…..ruthless…” but Lars sensed Arleen was restless as they sat on his sofa, having toasted their latest triumph.
“If what you say – or rather, what those books of yours say – is true,” Arleen said, after Lars had read another extract from his book, Grimoire of the Dark Gods, “why don’t we just bring these entities who can cause chaos, disruption, back to Earth? Wouldn’t that be fun! Watch all the morons scurry about in their terror.”
Lars smiled, and continued to read aloud. “I quote: The Dark Gods are means to self-fulfillment, self-understanding and self-divinity…..According to Sinister tradition, it is possible to “open a nexion to the Dark Gods” by certain sinister rites. Some of these rites involve such things as esoteric chant (for which see Naos) combined with a large, clear, pure quartz tetrahedron, while others involve ceremonies of blasphemy, excess and human sacrifice.” He paused to look at her. “We would need a sacrifice, or two.”
“Or three!” she laughed. “We should really change our tactics – keep one step ahead. I know, why not a bomb?”
“Why stop at two?”
“One small technical problem.”
“”You don’t know how,” she said.
“You guessed it.”
“Can’t be that difficult. Are we above mere mortals, or what?”
“I suppose the Internet would be a good place to start.”
A meal, a bottle of wine, and several hours later, they had their answers. “All we need now are the materials, and ingredients.”
A week later, they had their materials. Two days later, they had their bombs. They had slept little, and had ventured forth into the real world only to purchase or acquire the materials, the food, the wine, they needed. Their hours were spent studying the texts – the manuals they had acquired via the Internet – talking of deeds they might do, and satiating their sexual desire for each other. Those nine days had affected them both, although in different ways. Lars looked older, and somewhat tired, while with every passing day Arleen seemed to become more passionate, more energetic, more needful of physical passion.
Their city targets were chosen quite at random – a Bank, a street of shops, an Inn – and they left their deadly explosive devices, packed with long nails, in three stolen cars, with their timers set one hour apart. Lars and Arleen were not disappointed by the chaos, the death, the terror, they caused, and they sat avividly watching the television reports of the explosions in Lars’ Apartment, smiling, and making toasts with their glasses of wine to strange-named Dark Gods as the toll of their sacrificial victims rose: Shugara, Azanigin, Gaubni..
Lars was visualizing their victims – past and present – exulting in his deeds, and imagining the life of their lives seeping into, seeding, the large quartz tetrahedron he held in his hand. Arleen was beside him, pressing her warm thinly clothed body into his, and it seemed to him then that her nearness, her warmth, her very presence, not only strengthened him, overcoming his tiredness, but also seeped somehow into the crystal, warming it and his hand.
That night they ventured forth into the darkness of the rural English countryside, traveling hour upon tedious hour until they reached their destination. Lars had been there, already, in the first keen months of his dark quest, and he was not disappointed as they left their car in the lane by The Marsh to walk in the almost full moonlight to the top of Corndon Hill, for it was there that their simple ritual began.
Arleen held the crystal and he chanted his first chant: Nythra kthunae Atazoth. She lay down then, naked, still holding the crystal, and he stood over her, chanting his second chant: Binan ath ga wath am. He lay with her then, naked body to naked body, while a cool breeze came to dry a little of his sweat as he moved upon her. Was there really a change in the light? Or was it just the intensity of his visualization? Was there really something there, seeping through the nexion of their ritual, their crystal, their visualization, coagulated by the blood they had shed, and their own, cold, sinister, desire?
She was reaching her climax and as she did so her shout became a dark exultation: Aperiatur terra, et germinet Chaos. Then, there was stillness.
He had been a little ahead of her as they descended the hill, clothed, and happy, and he had to will himself to stop from laughing, loudly, raucously, for in the moment of her climax he had sensed the worlds, the beings, the dimensions, beyond. So little; so puny – we are….. He wanted to run, to jump – to shout, scream, to share, the truth, and he was nearing the bottom of the hill when he turned around. But she was gone, nowhere to be seen.
Calmly at first, he walked back toward the top, as – calmly – he walked back down again. He waited, then, a long time, before returning to the top. He waited even longer by the car; in the car, even as Dawn arrived to bring the warmth of the Sun to dispel the chill of the last hours of that night. Once, twice, in the bright morning light of that warm morning he ascended that hill; wandered around it, and it was only many hours later that he willed himself to leave, wondering, hoping, she would be there on his return, having played a lover’s jape.
But she was not there, in his Apartment, and he found himself – surprised by his nervousness – knocking on her door, several Apartment floors below. There was no response to his insistent rapping. Her door was unlocked, as he half excepted, and he stood inside the completely bare, empty, spaces, not knowing what to think, and drained of all feeling.
The days, the weeks, past, grave-worm slowly, and even the news of chaos spreading across his planet did not please him, at first.