Lucifer: Chapter 7
THE FIRE WAS tall and it was blazing hot, curling and wrapping itself around him on all sides, hissing and undulating like a living being. He looked down at himself, wondering wildly what on Earth was going on. He was an adult now--how could this be happening again?
Damn it, he screamed in his mind, as he very rarely swore, at least in real life, this was fourteen years ago. Fourteen years ago! What am I doing here again?!
When he tried to yell he heard only laughter, and turned to see behind the wall of fire the vague, shadowy outline of a creature--no, a person--with a goat skull on its head. As he instinctively backed away the figure came closer, stepping through the fire, to stand before him; and he saw to his horror that it wasn't a man wearing a goat skull on his head, but rather some hideous monstrosity with a goat skull for a head. As the thing beckoningly held out its arms to him he heard its maniacal laughter, and himself screaming--
And the phone ringing?
Damien rolled over, rubbing his eyes as a shrill ringing cut through the air, shattering the dream. He groggily reached across and switched on the lamp while he searched for the phone with his other hand. It was one of those novelty phones, shaped like a red Lamborghini Countach--just like his own car. (It was one of the few ridiculous luxuries he allowed himself.) He picked it up and put it to his ear, running his other hand over his face as his heartbeat began to slow. "Yeah."
"Damien, I have to talk to you," his uncle's voice said. Damien stirred awake almost immediately. He'd had an idea it would be his uncle, as he was the only one he'd given his private number to recently. However, there was a serious note there he didn't like. "It's very important."
"Important enough to call at--" Damien glanced at the clock "--two in the morning?" But he knew already it must be, and more. Even with the short length of time they'd known each other he knew his uncle wasn't a frivolous person.
"This Derrick fellow you've met," Father Damien said. Of course Damien couldn't tell but he was holding up the occult symbols book and staring at the sign for Scorpio, the M with the spiked scorpion tail. He ran a finger over the symbol as if to trace it. "I believe he knows more than he's telling you."
Damien sat up all the way, rubbing the corners of his eyes. "What do you mean?"
"What I mean is his necklace. That letter on it. The M with the tail."
"Yeah, I saw it too. What about it?"
"M doesn't stand for Maria or Melissa or whatever his old girlfriend's name happened to be. That is, if he even had an old girlfriend. In fact it's not even a letter at all. It's a symbol."
An uneasiness, gnawing at him like some small rodent, grew in the back of his head. "What kind of symbol?"
"An astrological symbol." Now Damien started to get the same cold sinking feeling his uncle had gotten on seeing the sign. "It's the symbol for the sign of Scorpio."
Damien swung his legs out of the bed, facing the opposite wall and the shelf holding his Grammys. The two awards glinted at him in the dim light. "Are you telling me Derrick's with them?" he asked. "He's with Scorpio?"
"I'm not saying that," his uncle replied. Damien tried to tell himself to relax a little. His uncle wasn't jumping to conclusions so easily. "But I am saying that you should watch out, Damien. He's not all that he appears. He knows something we don't."
"Yeah, don't worry, I will," Damien said. I certainly will! "But what should we do?"
"That's not what I'm sure about. I suppose it's up to you. But, Damien--"
"Whatever you do, please, think first. Will you do that for me?"
Damien smiled slightly. I guess he does know me better than I know him. "Sure, Uncle," he said. "Sure I will."
Father Damien had the feeling Damien would be thinking, thinking obsessively, and none of it would be the kind of thinking he himself would approve of. There was nothing he could do about it, however. He just sighed to himself. "Good night then, Damien. And take care."
"I will, Uncle. You too. Good night."
The phone clicked as his uncle hung up, and Damien placed the miniature Lamborghini back on its stand. He got up and went to the wall, picking up a Grammy, and then sitting back down on the bed. He traced a finger over the plaque, reading BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE W/ VOCALS: "SOMEONE IS WATCHING YOU," RADIOACTIVE. He saw his reflection, warped and tinted gold, peer out of the miniature gramophone's horn.
"What would you do?" he asked it, then, as if irritated that it wouldn't answer, set it aside, lay back and closed his eyes and, with a sigh, eventually drifted back to sleep.