Site icon Alexander Hammil

The Walls of Pandemonium

this is number 400; today is my last day of college for better or for worse

These are the things Viviane has laid on the periphery of her circle: a pigeon’s feather, pearl-grey; a plastic cup filled with vinegar and urine; four copper pennies from the 1930s; half of a ticket stub from Portland to Seattle; a hand mirror in a cheap pink plastic frame. The other half of the stub is in her pocket. She speaks the words of power, calls upon Solomon ben David (praise be unto him!) and upon Jesus the Nazarene, upon Elijah and Ezekiel and the head of John the Baptist (which can speak no lies).

Her familiar demon rises before her. Hir name is Raphael, like the archangel. She only looks at hir in the mirror.

“Hello, again,” flutes Raphael.

“I would see Nimrod,” Viviane says. “The last giant and the mightiest.”

In the mirror Raphael looks downcast. How exactly this is expressed Viviane can’t say — the demon has hir bull head forward at the moment — but somehow she knows.

“This is forbidden,” xie flutes. “By the Ancient of Days is it forbidden.”

“Dante,” she begins.

“Dante was an allegorist!” snaps the demon. “This is forbidden.”

“By the Names of Power I compel this to be,” says Viviane. “In exchange I offer one day of my body.”

Raphael hesitates and hir eagle head is toward her. “Very well,” xie flutes, so quietly she almost cannot hear hir. “May all the Thrones and Dominions watch over you.”

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