At The Demonologist's by Edward W O'Brien Jr.

One hot and very quiet afternoon

I reached the limit of a certain road

And saw the place so long romanticised:

The dwelling of the demonologist.

The sounds of knocking cut into the silence.

No one appeared to be at home. I looked

Around, observing with respect the signs

Of Danger set about a normal scene

Of spacious house with small connected office.

No mourning dove called out her ghostly moan;

Instead, a child next-door glanced at me.

Nothing seemed portending but those signs

Whose metaphysical intent could not

Be grasped unless one knew their owner's work

It was not dogs that strangers had to fear

But what are called depraved demonic spirits,

Those fallen angels, Bible-witnessed, which,

He said, tormented man by taking shape

As eerie swirling masses, black as ink.

Were they lurking even now behind

This door? If so, how very odd our world;

For only half an hour before, in town,

I had enjoyed a ''thick-shake float'' and watched

The smiling sweaty children come and go

With ice-cold drinks against the summer warmth;

American normality embodied.

Yet, standing here, between the door and windless

Encroaching woods which stood behind my back,

Quite another landscape came to mind,

(Recalling ancient Endor, Saul's undoing).

I knew what he affirmed. Could it be true?

He said he had the facts to prove his case.

Do fierce inhuman spirits, living essense

Of scalding hatred, flit about this place

Because he rankled them repeatedly

By formal exorcisms deftly done?

It's strange that those whose names no mortal lips

Should speak except in dire necessity,

Who brought possession when Jerusalme

Was young, should still exist today, at large;

Must one accept all this on trust, or leave

The hearth of supernatural religion?

Neither, some might say. But I recalled

His words and tapes and photographs. No wonder,

Then (thinking of the various shapes they take;

Deceptive freaks---perverse, sadistic, lewd

I grew uneasy standing there alone.

Upon reflection, solace came to me.

Protection does exist against such beings:

A shining fence is built around our race

Through which no sombre toads or sable masses

May hop or drift except by occult summons;

A cordon sanitaire, seraphic work.

''They shall not pass'' must be the general rule

Or long ago had seen the end of us.

I left that place. No work for me to do.

Demonology is not my field,

Though is has its use. He showed me this.

It sets the captive free; evicts the others,

Sending them to sulk in dark abodes.

Author Edward W O'Brien Jr.

Edward W O'Brien Jr. he wrote essays and short fictions between 1988 - 1998 fanzines called Crypt Of Cthulhu, Fungi, Tales Of Lovecraftian Horror. In 1999 he write fiction for the magazine called ''Pulp Fiction Stories''

And his final work, short fiction called ''The Lady of the Barrens'' in 2002


Young Ronan

1990 - Short Fiction

The Unpleasantness at Marlowe's

1992 - Short Fiction

The Fifty-Second

1993 - Short Fiction

Flawed Blossom and Withered Leaf

1997 - Short Fiction

The Statement of Adrian Steiger

1998 - Short Fiction

Those They Mourn

1999 - Short Fiction

The Lady of the Barrens

2002 - Short Fiction

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