Murder on Mars, Chapter 20

Cast a Deadly Spell


A noir thriller set in 1948 L.A., pits Detective Herbert Phillip “Harry” Lovecraft against a cast of horrors in his search for the Necronomicon, a stolen book of ultimate mystical power. “Imagine ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ with witches and zombies instead of toons.” (USA Today). “A great way to spend an evening.” (Entertainment Weekly).


The wall, adjacent to the office door, blurs, monetarily. The First Senator and Lord Wu are acutely aware of a physical presence—i.e., not remote viewing. In their midst, is The Empress, dressed like a judge. She is unaccompanied. Having accomplished the seemingly impossible. Immaterial transient into a hardened room.

The elaborate legislative robe she’s wearing explains in spades how she is able to accomplish this impossible feat. It’s more than just a garment. It’s what the lower races call an encounter suit. This one utilizes very advanced tech of purely Dragon origin, which can only be used to its full capacity by a Dragon with god-like supernatural prowess, for example, it can be wielded to potential by whoever is the rightful ruler of the Dragon Empire.

There are a lot of ways to react to this intrusion. Aggression is clearly not one of them. Instead, the First Senator and Lord Wu show the appropriate restraint and practice the etiquette proscribed by the situation. They stand at attention, heads slightly bowed.

“Please have a chair, my Empress,” the First Senator politely offers, pointing to one of the overstuffed chairs in her office.

“Thank you, very much, First Senator,” the Empress responds as she sits down in the indicated chair.

Lord Wu wisely says nothing. The First Senator and Lord Wu sit back down their chairs. Lord Wu is now just a spectator, the proverbial fly on the wall. As is protocol, the Empress makes the next move.

“They go to very dark places, never quenching their cravings for knowledge and exploration. They boldly go where even the most powerful Dragons and most cursed Fallen choose wisely not to thread. Those ancient places that guard their secrets enviously. In a proprietary fashion, they must continuously re-invent and exponentially improve their tech to … go to these old ‘places’, let alone return more or less safely. It’s why their weapons are so advanced. They are champions of the status quo, and you and your lot represent change, a real credible threat to the supernatural order of things. Beware.”

“We have a strong footing among the Dragons. The Demons are next. The Party will fall, along with the Ladies Council, and the rest of all that,” the First Senator blurts out, forgetting herself.

The Empress smiles in response to the idealistic girl’s outburst.

This foolish, well-meaning girl thinks she has all the answers. When in fact she doesn’t even know what the questions are. I must protect her and her ilk from themselves.

“We [Dragons] and the Angels are the most human-natured of all supernatural beings. The demons are the least, and they dominate The Party, as well as all supernatural institutions. Be very careful of your ambitions. Others before you have tried and failed.”

The Empress gets up and leaves the office via the conventional route of the office door.