General Fiction posted August 11, 2021 Chapters:  ...4 5 -6- 7 

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Joel summons Mullisu

A chapter in the book Looking for Demons


by snodlander

Joel has contrcted to track down a god, but the god is under the control of a criminal. n order to release him he needs the secret name from the god's wife
Joel stared at the outline on the floor.  He’d summoned minor demons, of course.  Spirits were easy to call.  Gods, though, that was a different kettle of fish.  He kept glancing from the picture on the screen to the chalk outline on the floorboards.  Cuneiform was a nightmare to copy.
“Sedit, compare the…”  And then he remembered Sedit was gone.  Whatever Ashur had done, it had scared the spirit enough for him to permanently vacate Joel’s apartment.  Much as he complained about Sedit, having no voice recognition was a pain.  He’d got used to him, in the way you got used to a persistent pimple.  Still, if this all worked, maybe he could get an upgrade.
He realised he was prevaricating.  There was nothing else he could do.  It was now or never.  He read the incantation silently, his lips moving to practice it yet again.  He didn’t want to stumble over a word and find himself metaphorically holding the tail of a tiger.  He really wanted a drink, but for the same reason he couldn’t afford to be anything short of cold sober.  He closed his eyes, prayed a little prayer to anyone who might be listening, and then read the incantation for real, inserting Mullisu’s secret name.
If he was expecting a small explosion and a puff of smoke, he was disappointed.  A creature, not unlike Ashur, silently appeared in the design on the floor.  For some reason Joel had expected her to be smaller than Ashur, so her arms looked pinned to her sides by the chalk circle.  Perhaps he should have made it larger.  Perhaps not.  She swung her head from side to side, sweeping the room, then fixed Joel with a stare so ferocious it could have ignited wet wood.
“Let me go!” she screamed.
“Yeah, that’s not going to happen,” said Joel.
She screamed again, and thrashed like a fish in a net.
“I will kill you!” she screamed.  “I will fill your bones with fire!  I will scrape your skin from your flesh!”  She thrashed again, then stood still.  “You are dead, sunshine,” she said, her voice quiet, and all the more menacing for it.
Joel held up his hand, forming a puppeteer’s mouth with his fingers and thumb.  “Keep your mouth closed,” he said, snapping his hand shut.
Mullisu snapped her jaws shut in imitation.  Behind sealed lips she mumbled oaths and threats.
“That’s better.  I’ve summoned you using your real name, so you know what that means.  You are bound to – “
Someone knocked on his door.  Joel held up a finger to mark his place in the conversation and went to the door.  He slipped the mugger chain on the door and opened it a crack.  It was his next-door neighbour but one.  “Yes?”
“I heard screaming,” said his neighbour, craning to look over his shoulder.  “Is everything okay?”
“New demon.  Just breaking it in.  You know how it is.”  Joel stepped back a step, allowing his neighbour a glimpse of Mullisu.
“Wow.  That’s a scary looking one.”
“No, she’s a kitten.  And she won’t be here for more than a few minutes.  Promise.  Just upgrading my T.V. package.”
“Yes?  Okay.”
Joel smiled and gently closed the door on his neighbour’s concerned face.
He returned to the goddess.  “Where was I?  Oh yes, real name, bound to my will, my slave, yada, yada, yada.  So give me the secret name of Ashur.  Speak.”
“You moron,” she spat.  “You know nothing.”
“Secret name.  Now.” 
Joel felt a pang of fear.  Had he screwed up the symbols?  “No?  But you’re bound to my will.  You have to.”
“In everything else.  Not in that.  That is sacred and cannot be commanded.”
“Silence.”  He snapped his hand closed again.  “Seriously?  Who makes all these stupid rules?”  He indicated the sigils on the floor with a sweep of his hand.  “I mean, Assyrian script, holy circle.  Do you know how much it cost to get candles made of, well, never mind what they’re made of, but they cost a packet, I can tell you.  No?  Fine.  Then welcome to an eternity of being my slave.  I can make you lick my bathroom clean.  I got to warn you though, I have a very unhealthy diet.  Do you like that idea?  No?  You’re very quiet.  Oh, right.”  He reproduced his puppet mouth, fingers and thumb closed.  “You may speak,” he said, opening his hand.
“I will kill you slowly.  You will know pain no other mortal has ever suffered, I will –”
Joel snapped his puppet hand closed again.  “Quiet.  I command you never to kill me.  I command you never to hurt me, nor let any injury to befall me.”  He smiled.  “Now, based on your reaction, I’m guessing you don’t want to be my slave.  That being the case, then we can deal with each other.  I have a problem.  You fix it for me, and I will release you from my will.  To be honest, you’re not really my type anyway.  Are you interested?”
Mullisu stared at him for a moment, then gave a cautious nod.
“Excellent.  Now your old man is giving me a bit of grief.  He knocked me about, he threatened me.  He even wrecked my furniture.  I can’t be having that.  Now, I understand I can’t command you to give me his name, but I hear he’s been playing the field.  Is that right?  Prefers a bit of human tail rather than his wife?  I mean, even a god is going to get a bit bored after a few thousand years, right, but with a human?  It’s almost like he wants to insult you.  Oh, wait.  That’s why you gave his name to The Croatian.  Right?
“His boss, now, I’m not his favourite person.  I can deal with him, but not your husband.  So if you want to voluntarily give me his name, then I swear I will release you.  Not from the no-killing-me clause, but otherwise we need never see each other.  You gave The Croatian his name.  Letting me be his boss is no different.  I mean we’re all the same to you, right?  But you have to make up your mind now, because –”  Joel pulled a face and rubbed his stomach.  “I shouldn’t have had that biryani last night.  Oh, you can speak.”
“How can I trust you?”
“I will make the most sacred oath known to man.”  Joel held up two fingers.  “I swear I will release you from my will if you give me Ashur’s real name.  Scout’s Honour.  Dib dib dib, dob dob dob.”
Mulissu let out a stream of guttural invectives in what Joel could only imagine was ancient Assyrian.
“Do I take it that means it’s a deal?”
Mulissu snarled, then nodded.  Then she told him Ashur’s real name.

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