Chapter 21: 1932
“Your father would not approve of you visiting me.” The old woman’s voice was harsh. “Even though he would not be where he is today without my help.” She looked the visitor up and down through the crack in the door. The disgust on her face was not even attempted to be concealed.
“Yes, Grandmother Raven. He has truly been wrong…”
“I may have given birth to that ungrateful whelp; that does not make us family,” Raven hissed, opening the door slowly. “You want something from me? There is a price,” she muttered, turning her back to him as he entered. She turned and looked him over again. Her bony hand emerged from beneath her filthy shawl. Her fingers rubbed the inexpensive fabric of his coat. “A price I doubt you could pay,” she cackled.
“Listen, you old crone,” he spat, dropping all civility. “I know more than you think I do; I am more than you think I am.” Before he could explain, he was cut off.
“If you know so much, then why come seeking my help?” she demanded. “You and yours have done all you can to deny me, shun me, push me away. Now you insult me?” A ball of flame erupted in her hand. She tossed it from one hand to the other. “You would do well to leave now.” Without further warning, flames sped across the room, exploding beside the man’s head; he barely flinched.
The man was laughing now as he calmly advanced on Raven. “You cannot hurt me,” he mocked her tone. “You will assist me.”
“Young fool,” she hissed as a flutter of wings erupted from the corner of the room. Black ravens emerged from the darkness. Like angry black darts, they flew at the man. The old woman’s laughter urged their flight. Taking a step back, he reached into his pocket, quickly drawing out a small pouch. Pulling the string, he threw a powder into the air. The ravens burst into black dust. Coughing, the man brushed the dirt from his shoulder.
“That was a warning.” Raven’s voice betrayed a hint of fear. Blue flame simmered in her cupped hands. “This will destroy you.”
Fast as lightning, his hands disappeared into his jacket again, pulling forth a vial containing a red liquid and a silver dagger. “You know what I have here?” He held out the vial. “All I have to do is drop it.”
The blue flames continued to crackle. “And if the bottle doesn’t break?” Raven demanded.
“Then the blade of Baphomet will do the trick.” He flicked the end of the dagger. A cut appeared on the old woman’s face. “In all actuality, I don’t actually need you.” Another flick of the blade. Raven cried out as a deep cut appeared on her arm. “I really just need your books.” Another flash of silver, another cry of pain. “Oh, and blood, so maybe I do need you after all.”
After the cries of agony died away in the night, red-black flames erupted through the circle, surrounding the star on the floor. Angry fire danced through the room, sending red-yellow light through the filthy windows of the old shack. The blaze tore through the already-crumbling roof. In the center of the inferno, a voice filled with menace and hate asked, “What is it you desire?”