It was a sunny day on November 1st, the day after Halloween. Jack had heeded his parent’s instructions and went to their old house, which was now being rented out to a young couple. He had called ahead and advised the wife that he needed to come by to collect some of the things that had belonged to his parents. He stopped at the foot of the driveway and just sat there in his car admiring the old place. So many memories, so many good times, now just that – memories. Jack was kind of hesitant to go inside and gather up his parents books, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to learn about the Occult, wasn’t even sure it would be of any real help after what he had gone through the night before. It seemed that if it hadn’t been for his parent’s intervention, he would’ve been a goner, and doing it on his own wasn’t something that he thought he could do.
After sitting in his car for a couple of minutes, he finally decided that regardless of his fears, it would be best that he did learn. It was better to know and be able to protect oneself as opposed to not knowing and being in the predicament that he had been in. He opened his car door and made his way up the flagstone pathway towards the front door. He rang the doorbell and waited patiently for one of his tenants to answer the door. Once inside, he felt a rush of old emotions and memories come flooding back to him. He saw himself as a child playing on the area rug by the fireplace and his mother sitting in her favorite chair reading her book. His dad always had something to do around the house, it’s a mystery how either of his parents had any time at all to dedicate to the Occult.
After reminiscing for a while, Jack finally decided to head downstairs to look for the key. He walked around the basement taking a look here and there at the old junk that he had left there for storage. The basement was sectioned off so that the tenants didn’t have access to the main part of it, only to the laundry and some minimal space. The house itself was an old Victorian style house, very large and spacious. Plenty of bricks to look at; which made it really difficult to be able to find the loose one. With that thought in his mind, he began looking, thinking that the task might take some time. He started from the left and scanned quickly through a section of bricks. All of them looked solidly in place, but he still ran his hand through each brick individually to see whether any of them were loose. To his disappointment, none were. He continued on his journey to find the one loose brick and looked at the length of the wall with dismay. This could very well take a couple of hours if he had to go through every brick, so instead he decided to step back a little and scan small sections of the wall at a time, looking for bricks that had cracks in the mortar.
He started once again from left to right, wanting to give another look over. He didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Moving onto the next section, the bricks showed their age, with chips, cracks and some drill marks in some of them, probably from old shelves that had once hung there, but no sign of broken mortar. More searching and tapping certain bricks that looked as if they were loose produced nothing, until he came to the section of the wall near the partition that separated the main room and the boiler room. There he found what he had been looking for, the magical loose brick. He pulled out the brick, and sure enough, right behind it was the small key that would open up the locked chest in the attic. Tension and fear came flooding in as he picked up the key, Jack could only speculate as to what he would find in those books that his parents mentioned. Part of him still wasn’t sure whether he should go through with it, thinking that it would open him up to more attacks instead of the opposite.
“Jack, you have to get the books, it’s the only way you can protect yourself. We can no longer help you; our battle with Zorauck drained us almost beyond healing. Please Jack; this is for your own protection and your family’s wellbeing.”
With those last words, Jack felt a renewed sense of purpose, his family meant the world to him, and he would be damned if anything happened to them. He also got the impression that he wouldn’t be hearing from his parents any more, or at least not for a long time to come. After grabbing the key, he made his way upstairs to the attic to look for the buried treasure. Turning the light on and walking through all the old junk that was kept there he found the chest he was looking for. He slipped the key into the keyhole and turned the lock. After some struggling the lock disengaged. There were all kinds of junk in there, but what he was looking for was at the bottom, old books bound in leather and bearing weird insignias. He wiped the dust off of them and opened the books to take a quick look. In there, there were more weird symbols, along with scribbled notes and what looked like recipes. Since Jack was new to this, he didn’t know what to make of this, so he figured the first thing he should do is head to the nearest New Age store and get some advice.
Jack sifted through some of the other stuff in the chest, but found nothing that interested him, so he closed the chest and locked it once more. He figured he had no need to take the chest home with him now that he had what he came for, so decided to leave it behind and take the key home with him. On his way home, he couldn’t help but think of his parents and what they had told him as a child. They couldn’t stress enough the fact that the Occult was something that people used to make themselves feel empowered, that nothing of the sort should be taken seriously. Now Jack’s world had been completely turned upside down, and his parents, the same people who once told him not to take the Occult seriously were now saying the opposite. No sense worrying about this now, what had happened to him recently was proof enough that this sort of thing really did happen.
Once home, he kissed his wife and showed her the book. She took it off his hands and began looking through it, periodically stopping to take a better look at some of the diagrams and chants. She closed the book, placed it on the dinner table and looked at Jack with a confused look. “I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s all new to me. But, I do know someone who might be able to help, my old university professor, he studied symbols and the like for a good part of his life.”
“Are you sure he can help? I thought my co-worker would be able to help also, and he just seemed to disappear.” Jack explained to his wife with a frown.
“I don’t know whether he can actually tell you exactly what all of these symbols are, but it’s a start. I’ll give him a call and see if he’s willing to meet with you.”
Jack’s wife went to the cupboard to search for her address book. She came back showing Jack the professor’s name, Dan McClean. “I’ll call him first thing Monday morning. I just hope he still teaches at the university, otherwise I have no other means of getting a hold of him.”
Jack couldn’t help but ask the question with a smirk on his face, “Why do you have your professor’s number?”
His wife punched him lightly on the shoulder and responded in kind, “How else do you think I passed the class with such high marks?”
Jack looked at her and smiled. He loved the fact that he could joke around like this with his wife and not worry about her getting offended. He thanked her for helping him, gave her another kiss and told her that in the meantime he was going to go to the New Age store in town to see whether they could be of any help.
Jack got back into his car and drove off, destination, New Age store. After driving for about thirty minutes, he found the location that he had seen awhile back while shopping with his wife. Walking into the store, he could smell the strong scent of incense; he also saw candles lit on a makeshift altar. This is almost sacrilegious, he thought to himself, but, he maintained that he needed to have an open mind. He greeted the lady behind the counter and proceeded towards the bookshelves to see whether he could find any books on Occult symbols. Scanning through the myriad of books, he came across a couple that proclaimed to be able to decipher Occult symbols, but none of them had any symbols that even remotely looked like the ones in his parent’s book. At some point, the lady behind the counter had ventured towards Jack, probably to see if he needed any help. Before she could ask him if he was in need of help, Jack produced his parent’s book and asked, “Do you by any chance recognize any of these symbols?”
“Let me see. Hmmm, I don’t remember ever coming across symbols like this. What are they?”
“Well, that’s what I had hoped you’d be able to tell me. This book belonged to my parents, and they claimed to come from a long line of witches and magicians.”
“Sorry sir, I’ve never seen these symbols before, but maybe we might have a book that might be of help.” The confused looking lady from the New Age store helped Jack scan through their inventory of books but wasn’t able to find anything that could decipher the symbols. Jack, now beginning to show his frustration, thanked the lady and walked out. Not even a few paces outside the store, his cell phone rang. It was his wife, “Hi honey, listen I called my old professor because I wanted to leave him a message, and he was actually there. I told him about your book and he said he’d be willing to meet with you this Friday evening.”
“That’s great, but what time and where?” Jack was relieved that he might finally be able to have someone help him.
“I actually took the liberty to invite him to our house for dinner; it’ll give me a chance to catch up with him as well. He’ll be over at seven thirty.” His wife’s excitement was incredibly evident.
“Did I ever tell you how much I love you?” This was more of a statement rather than a question.
“No, I can’t recall the last time you told me that.” The chuckle in her voice was borderline laughter.
“Funny girl. Anyway, I just got out of the New Age store, can’t believe what a waste of time it was. The lady that worked there had no clue about the symbols, nor was she able to be of any other type of help. Anyway, I’m heading home now, I’ll see you soon.” Jack hung up the phone and made his way to the car.
Once home, he and his wife sat there talking about the situation, she reminded him that the book wasn’t just about the symbols, but also spells and incantations. He looked at her with a startled and somewhat annoyed face. “I still don’t understand why you waited until recently to tell me about this interest you have!”
“Oh come on, I thought we discussed this already. Besides, it’s just an interest, it’s not like I’m an expert.”
Jack let out a breath of defeat. He knew she was right, and anyway, they did already discuss this and rehashing it wouldn’t solve any of his current dilemmas. What was he to do in the meantime? There were more than five days till Friday and no one else was even remotely able to help him understand any of the stuff in the book. Jack decided that on Sunday, he would spend some time at the library to see whether they had anything of help. Aside from that, he would enjoy the rest of the day with his wife and son.
The alarm rang loudly and nearly caused Jack to fall off his bed. He looked at the clock, saw that it was eight thirty in the morning and was worried that he was going to be late for work. He scrambled out of his bed and started running towards the bathroom when he finally clued into the fact that it was Sunday and not Monday. After shaking off the last few vestiges of cobwebs from his head, he remembered why he had set the alarm so early on a Sunday morning. He was to go to the library to do some research and hopefully find something that can even remotely explain any of the mumbo jumbo in his parent’s book. His wife stirred a little, and Jack was surprised that she hadn’t woken up with all the commotion he made just a few minutes earlier.
After showering, he prepared breakfast for both himself and his wife. As he was about to start eating, his wife walked into the kitchen holding their son, and looked at him with a surprised look, “You made me breakfast? What’s the occasion, and why are you up so early on a Sunday?”
“What, I can’t make my wife some breakfast?” He chuckled. “I wanted to go to the library for a couple of hours to see if I could find anything of relevance there. Knowing my luck lately, probably not, but I thought I would give it a try none the less.”
“Okay, but don’t be back too late, my parents are coming over for lunch remember?”
“How could I forget, I’ll be back in time, this is why I’m going early.” He finished his cup of coffee and kissed his wife and son before making his way to the front door. As Jack got into his car, he wondered whether it was even worth the trip to the library. If the New Age store couldn’t be of any help, what would a library that was built only eight years ago do? He sat there contemplating this and decided to go anyway. He hadn’t been to the library in a while and if nothing else, maybe he could pick up some reading material to help him fall asleep at night.
The library had been built on an old lumber yard, the area where it was located used to be barren, with the lumber yard as the only resident. Now, there were new subdivisions going up what seemed to be almost every other week. The area where Jack lived was in itself a new subdivision only a few years ago, but now seemed old by comparison. He pulled into the library’s parking lot, got out of his car and made his way to the front entrance. The building was a three story structure, finished with a greyish colored brick and modern design. Inside, there were meeting rooms available, internet kiosks, and it even had a small coffee station. Jack found himself a place where he could sit down and then made his way to the nearest library computer where he could do some research.
He tried looking up books on symbols and found that there were over a dozen of them in stock. His excitement grew as the prospect of being able to find something of relevance increased. He wrote down all of the titles of the books along with their designation within the library and made his way around to collect. Jack was surprised that this library had old books within its collection, but then again, it wouldn’t be too smart to only have new books. Walking back to his table with his arms full of books, he sat down and started the arduous task of sifting through all of them to see whether he could find any reference to the symbols from his parent’s book.
The first two books proved to be of no use as they were books about modern symbols of math and science. He put them aside and flipped through the pages of the next book which proved to be of an Occult nature, but yet again, he was disappointed. It almost seemed hopeless at this point; almost as if something wasn’t letting Jack find out anything about his parent’s book and in turn hopefully find out more about his parent’s secret life. About an hour later and more frustration, Jack gave up on the library as well. He saw that it was getting close to noon, so he figured he had better start heading back before his in-laws came to the house. Placing the books he had removed from the shelves onto the return tray, he picked up his bag and made his way to the car. On the way there, Jack was starting to think that even his wife’s old professor wouldn’t be able to help him, but instead of dwelling on that, he fought hard to think of something completely unrelated.
The lunch that Jack’s wife had prepared for her parents had been akin to a delicacy. He nudged his wife and whispered in her ear, “I’m going to have to invite your parents over more often. This meal was delicious.”
“Don’t get any funny ideas, do you know how long it took me to prepare this roast? I’d like to see you slave over a hot oven like this, and wearing an apron.” She chuckled.
Jack and Peter, his father-in-law, stepped out to the back yard after helping to clear the dishes and talked about what plans were in the works to improve the house and yard. Meanwhile, Jack’s wife Julie and her mother sat down, sipping coffee and discussing the recent events that Jack had experienced. Julie and her mom were always close to the point where they could discuss pretty much anything, and in her younger years, Julie’s mom had been a bit of a rebel in her own parent’s eyes by joining a cult group in the late fifties. As Julie recounted the story to her mother, a strange look of surprise sprang up on her face.
“Are you sure that all of this wasn’t just a bad dream honey?” Julie’s mom asked with a concerned look on her face.
“No mom, I know when Jack has a bad dream and this was no dream I assure you. He was visibly shaken, and the events of what had happened were just too detailed to be a dream or nightmare. This is the real deal. Plus, how else was Jack able to find the book at his parent’s old house? He knew nothing about his parent’s interest in the Occult until now. Not to mention that as a child, his parents tried desperately to keep all of this from him.”
“Okay, I just wanted to make sure that’s all. What was the entity’s name?”
“Ummm, I think it was Zorack, or something like that.”
Julie’s mom, on hearing the name, dropped her half empty cup of coffee on the ground.
“Julie, do you mean Zorauck? And please try to remember, it’s very crucial.” Her face was now pale as a ghost.
“Ahh, yes that’s the one. Are you okay mom? You don’t look so good.” Julie was starting to be concerned for her mother. She had never seen her this distraught before.
“Julie, Zorauck is a very powerful demon. If Jack had an encounter with him, he’s in grave danger.”
With that last statement, Julie now started to turn pale herself. She picked up the cup that her mother had dropped, proceeded to clean up the floor and sat back down. She had hoped that maybe cleaning the mess on the floor might help her breath a little bit easier, but it was to no avail.
“What do you mean he’s in grave danger? I mean I don’t know enough about the Occult, but are you sure that it’s this bad?” Julie’s concern was now starting to manifest in the way she started to almost stutter and shake.
“Listen to me very carefully Julie. First off, do not, and I repeat, do not tell anyone else about this. The less people know the better. Secondly, I will get in contact with an old friend of mine who is a demonologist and will be able to lend some assistance. If what you told me is correct, then Jack is going to need all the help he can get.” Julie’s mom shot a reassuring glance at her daughter, in the hopes that it would calm her down.
“Okay. Wait, I called up my old University professor and invited him over for dinner Friday night. I wanted him to see the book Jack found at his parent’s house. It’s full of weird symbols, and what looks like spells and incantations.”
Julie’s mom sat there contemplating the situation. She rubbed both her index fingers on her temples, a habit she had picked up from her father many years ago, and then said, “Okay, here’s what you do. Call him back as soon as you can and tell him that the book Jack found turned out to be nothing but your typical spell book that many twenty somethings use to help their love lives. If you still want to have him over for dinner on Friday, go ahead, but do not let him see that book. If he knows nothing about the legend of Zorauck, then he must not see it, it’ll be detrimental to him and his family.” She paused for a few seconds, rubbing her fingers once again on the temples, and continued, “I need to see the cover of the book. If it’s what I think it is, then this book would be of great help to Jack.”
“Wait, if this book is helpful, than why can’t we show my professor?” Julie asked with a bewildered look on her face.
“Because of the legend of Zorauck. The less people know of him, the better this world would be. You see Julie, Demons need energy from us to feed off of, but if no one knows of him, he won’t have any energy to take. The more people know of him and talk about him, the more powerful he gets. It’s a long story honey, and it would be better if my friend explains it to you. I won’t do it any justice. Just promise me you won’t show the professor the book, and for God’s sake, tell Jack not to mention the Demon’s name to anyone.”
Julie was confused but, never the less, decided to follow her mother’s advice. She wasn’t at all sure how her mother knew all of this, especially since her mother never showed any interest in the Occult. “Mom, one more question? How do you know about this?”
“It’s a long story Julie, but I’ll give you the quick version. When I was about your age, maybe younger, I belonged to a society that was heavily involved in the Occult. The organization was into conjuring spirits for the benefits of the members and their families. But as with most organizations, it became corrupt, and the leaders of the organization began conducting dark rituals. Jack’s parents were also involved, and that’s how you met Jack, because we knew each other and we also helped one another get out. One of the rituals that this group performed was the raising of Zorauck, an ancient demon that, legend has, is bent on enslaving the human race for his own purposes.”
Julie was shocked, and her face didn’t hide it at all. “You mean you were a part of this ritual to raise this demom?”
“No Julie. Jack’s parents and I left the group before the ritual of the raising. We knew that this wasn’t a good thing, but before we left, we decided to learn as much about the demon as possible. We stayed with the group long enough to discover what it was, and then with the help of another individual, we left. You see Julie, Jack’s parents, along with myself, were born in England. This is where the group was located. The individual that helped us leave the organization and immigrate to America is your father. He was living here already, and he knew that I was involved in this organization. He was always against this sort of thing, so he was more than happy to help when I told him that I wanted out. Your father and I have known each other since we were kids, and your father had always had a crush on me.” Julie’s mom giggled at that last statement.
Julie, looking more like herself now, had one more question that nagged her. “So, who is this person that you know can help? Is it another member of your organization?”
Julie’s mom gave a curt look towards her daughter and said, “I don’t belong to that organization any more Julie, so please don’t refer to it as mine! In any case, to answer your question, yes, it’s another former member of the organization, someone who was very high up and also decided to leave because of where it was going.”
“But how do you know you can trust this person? If this person was very high up, maybe she knows about this demon and also that Jack is a very important figure in all of this.” Her curiosity was now overshadowed by her concern.
“First of all it’s a ‘he’, and I’ve known Mark for a very long time. He can be trusted.” Her irritation was now growing as she now felt that her daughter was drilling her like a mother drills a child for doing something they shouldn’t have done.
“I’m sorry mom, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this is serious. I mean you’re the one who told me not to show my professor the book and told me also about the danger of this demon.”
“This is serious business, and I wouldn’t put my family at risk in any way. I’ll speak to Mark once I get home and see what he has to say. After that, we’ll set up a day where we can meet and Jack can show Mark the book.” Julie’s mom leaned over and gave her daughter a kiss on the forehead as a sign or reassurance.
For all that she was feeling better; Julie still had some reservation about this man her mother new. At least Julie could trust her old professor, but this mysterious man from her mother’s past, she wasn’t too sure about. In any case, something had to be done, and if this guy Mark can help, than she would have to trust her mother to have made the right decision. Just as she was finishing that thought, Jack and her father walked back into the house still discussing what plans Jack had for the house and what help he would need. Upon entering the living room, Jack saw the look on Julie’s face and knew right away that there had been something wrong, he approached her and asked if all was okay. Julie smiled, looked into his eyes and told him that she would tell him after her parents left.
Jack’s face now took on a more serious look as he wanted to find out what Julie had to say. Julie’s mom, seeing that this was the case, told her husband that she thought they should leave soon so that Jack and Julie could tend to their business and their son. “Okay, let me just finish my coffee and we’ll leave.”
Julie, Jack, and their son were outside on the walkway waiving to Julie’s parents as they backed out of the driveway and drove off back to their house. Once they were out of view, Jack turned to Julie and asked her again, “Is everything okay? I saw the look on your face inside and it worried me.”
“I’m not quite sure of that yet. Let’s go inside and put Anthony to bed. After that, I’ll tell you everything my mother and I discussed.” They moved back into the house, went to their son’s room and got him ready for his afternoon nap. Once Anthony was asleep, Julie turned the baby monitor on and motioned Jack to go downstairs. Back in the living room again, Jack sat down and prepared himself to hear what Julie had to say.
“Okay, this is going to sound really weird. And to be honest, I’m not even sure whether I am registering it fully yet or not. Anyway, here’s what my mother told me while you and my dad were outside. When my mother was around my age, she had joined this cult, or as she put it, an Occult organization. When we sat down having coffee, I told her about your experience and when I mentioned the name Zorauck, she dropped her cup of coffee on the floor. Turns out that this organization my mother was a part of actually tried to raise him with one of their rituals, can you believe it? But that isn’t the big news, what she also told me is that she had met your parents in this same organization, and that once they found out what they were up to, your parents, along with my mother got out with the help of my father. Did you know that your parents were born in England?”
Jack’s face turned as white as freshly fallen snow. Again he felt as if his world had come crashing down; like a jet plane that lost its wings. “Yes, I knew they were born in England, but I was under the impression that they immigrated to the States at an early age.” He managed to finally say after he regained his composure. “This is starting to get really weird now. I’m starting to think that everyone around me isn’t what they appear to be. Please tell me you are who you say you are, and if there’s anything you haven’t told me about you that I should know, I think now would be a good time to tell me.”
“No Jack, you know everything about me. I’ve never lied to you about who I am, and all of this is just as much of a shock to me as it is to you. I had no idea my mother had joined a group that tried raising some demon, I just thought she joined some local Wiccan cult that pranced around a tree every now and again just to piss off her parents.” Julie’s face was just as confounded as his. Jack relaxed a little, but not as much as he would’ve liked. “Well, at least we’ll get to see your old professor on Friday; maybe he might be able to shed some light on this whole mess.”
“Well, here’s the thing. My mother strongly advised against that, she said that the more people who learn about Zorauck the worst the situation would be. She told me that Zorauck feeds off of our energy, so the best thing to do is not tell anybody.” Julie noticed Jack’s frustration starting to mount again and quickly added, “But don’t worry, she knows someone whom she trusts from back in the cult days that can be of help. She’s going to give him a call and find out when we can meet with him, in the meantime, we can either cancel the dinner with my professor, or just tell him that the book you have turned out to be just some weird love spell book.”
“Are you sure this guy your mother knows can help. You said your mother knows him from her cult days, this means that this guy was involved in that same cult that raised Zorauck.”
“I know, I had the same reservation about it, but she assured me that this guy is trustworthy and that he, if anyone, can help. Besides, she didn’t actually say whether the group was successful in raising Zorauck.”
“Well if you ask me, I think they did a pretty damn good job of it. When is your mom going to call you to let you know about this guy?”
“She said she would try to contact him as soon as they got back home. Once she talks to him and finds out his availability, she’ll call me to tell me a date. I know this isn’t going to be of much help, but try not to worry too much, we’ll get through this.”
Jack was in deep thought when Julie made that last statement. He looked up at her, smiled and told her that he would try not to think about the situation too much. Jack got up from the armchair and headed to the kitchen to make himself another cup of coffee. He looked outside to his yard and thought about all the plans he had for the yard, how he was going to build a play area for Anthony once he was old enough and able to walk. Jack’s primary concern in all of this wasn’t for himself, it was for his family. He couldn’t even begin to think what he would do if anything happened to them as a result of all of this. These were the thoughts that crept up since this whole ordeal began just before Halloween. It even got to a point where Jack was starting to hate October 31st.
Jack began to feel as if there was no one in this world that would be able to help him, and felt as if he were completely alone. He knew that his wife would always be there for him, but he also knew that their son came first, and that was that. All these lies, or non-truths really took a toll on Jack, he was confused, frustrated and even saddened by all of this. His parents, the very people he looked up to for guidance and knowledge betrayed him. Even though he knew that they were trying to protect him it didn’t change how he felt.
Why was this THING after him? What did he have that it wanted? Had he done something to provoke it? Of course none of these questions would be answered, but it didn’t stop Jack from asking them. He needed to find some answers, and quick. Hopefully this mysterious guy from the cult would be able to help and not be just another dead end.
Jack, your parents may have slowed me down, but I’ll be back for you soon. Our destinies are intertwined and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. You and I will make a formidable team. Imagine Jack, taking over this feeble world and having all of its inhabitants our slaves.
AAAAAARRRGGGG!!!! ”Get out of my head you monster!!!”
“Jack, what’s wrong?” Julie could see that Jack was at wits end. He was grabbing his head with both hands and looked like he was trying to squeeze out something.
“It’s him! He’s in my head again. We need to do something quick; he’s starting to regain his strength and we won’t have much time before he’ll come after me again.”
He was almost on the brink of exhaustion. Never in his life did he have to endure such torment, and if this kept up, he didn’t know how long he could hold out. His parents were not going to be able to help him this time; it was just him and this DEMON!
Julie couldn’t stand to see him this way. A tear started to form in one of her eyes but she fought back hard. She had to be strong for him, had to be there when no one else could; at least for the time being. She wrapped her arms around him and placed his head on her chest. She didn’t say anything, she knew better than that. Sometimes silence can be more helpful than words.
We will defeat him my love, stay strong!
to be continued…
Written by: Alex Rondini