Mythos 002 - Revenge Is A State of Mind
DISCLAIMER: This Mythos entry is a compilation of multiple entries. The limit for each Mythos entry on Reddit is 1000 words.
Frank Gordon woke to discover two things; he had a headache, and he was lying on a wooden floor. The first was expected after last night’s bender at The Blind Tiger. The second, not so much. Especially since he passed out in the alley behind the bar.
He cracked his eyes open. He was sprawled next to a stack of firewood in a corner of what looked like a rundown cabin.
The two robed figures turned at the noise. Their hoods were pulled back, letting Frank see their gaunt, dirty faces. But what really got his attention was the knife one of them held. “He’s awake!” the other cried out. With that they both rushed Frank.
Frank desperately reached behind him to the stack of firewood. His hand grabbed a piece, and he threw it at the weirdo holding the knife. It hit the weirdo in the face with a satisfying crack, and he went down howling and clutching his nose, knife spinning away to a corner. The other robe-wearing fruitcake froze at the sight of his partner’s shattered face, long enough for Frank to get up and tackle him. Frank punched the squirming figure beneath him then got up and kicked him in the face, stunning him. Frank grabbed the piece of wood he threw earlier, and bludgeoned the screaming man with the shattered face until he stopped screaming. Frank did the same to the squirmer.
Once he was sure they would never move again, Frank whirled and faced the door with his firewood held like a sword, waiting to see if any more nuts would enter. After a minute of silence broken only by Frank’s heavy panting, he finally dropped the piece of wood and let himself relax slightly. “I’m never gonna ‘just find a comfy spot in the alley for a minute’ ever again,” sighed Frank.
The cabin was sparse. Dusty shelves took up one wall while a fireplace stood on the opposite wall. Tattered curtains covered broken windows that let the wind in. Except for the wooden table his kidnappers stood at earlier, the cabin had no other furnishings. A quick walk around it told Frank the building was on a hill in the woods just outside Farmouth - he could see its buildings in the distance.
Frank walked over to the table, it was painted with bloodstains old and new. Several pieces of chalk, a black book, and a thin copper bowl burning pungent incense lay on it. Weird symbols Frank didn’t recognize were drawn on the table with the chalk. He could easily guess what the two nutjobs in cheap black robes wanted to do with him. Fucking cultists, Frank thought. A lance of pain shot through his head, staggering him. Closing his eyes, Frank put his hands down on the table to steady himself, waiting for the pain to subside. When he opened his eyes, he saw his hand was on top of the book. What kinda garbage do idiots like them believe in, that makes them wanna swipe drunks from back alleys? Shrugging, he picked up the book and put it in his jacket. Should make for some funny reading at least.
Frank straightened and turned towards the door. His head was pounding double-time now that the adrenaline was wearing off, and there sure didn’t seem to be any aspirin in the place. Better head home and nurse the coming hangover there. He took his jacket off to hide the blood on it, folding it on his arm. As he did so, he saw the cultist’s knife sitting on the ground. Darker thoughts briefly ran through his head. Maybe… maybe I should have just let it happen. Frank sighed. Well, too late now, kicking one of the bodies as he staggered out of the cabin.
Frank stared at the tiny locket in his hand, even though it was barely visible in the dim moonlight. It wasn’t open; it didn’t need to be. He already knew the faces that would stare back at him.
A beautiful face framed by wavy brown hair, with green eyes whose warmth could never be fully captured by a photo.
A young boy with messy hair despite his parents’ best efforts, awkwardly grinning for the camera.
Elise and Johnny, his wife and son, years gone and buried. And it was all because of Thomas Perotta. A mob boss, the self-styled “King of Farmouth.” Everyone knew Perotta was involved in the Planton shootout that killed Frank’s family, but he had enough cops and judges on the payroll to ensure justice would never be served.
Frank used his free hand to pull the book from the cabin out from his jacket pocket. He really didn’t take it seriously at first. But as he read the book more and more over the months, he saw what those nutjobs did - a means to power, to love, to anything he could want. And what he wanted was a possibility - a path to something he didn’t think he could ever achieve. Frank Gordon could actually get his revenge on that Perotta bastard.
You’re really going to do this? A small voice from within his heart, sounding vaguely like his wife. Please, you’re a good man, Frank. You don’t want to do this, do you?
Frank stared at his hands for a long minute, locket in one hand and the book in the other. He clenched the locket tight, then put it in his jacket’s inner pocket. He opened the book and began the ritual, reciting the words in a loud voice.
I’m sorry Elise. But without you two I have nothing left here. What else do I have to lose?
“…Lirach tasa Malphas ayer.”
Finishing the incantation, Frank closed the black book and slipped it into his jacket. As he did so, he reminded himself:
“When invoked, the Great and Powerful President Malphas appears as a Crow, but can be commanded to assume Human form. He builds and destroys Houses and Strongholds and makes Enemies’ Thoughts known.
Malphas will receive Sacrifices kindly and willingly but then deceive his summoner after.”
At first, nothing seemed to happen. But then Frank realized that wasn’t true at all, it was more that a darkness inside the circle formed and got darker. The darkness in the circle grew more and more intense until it finally broke, revealing a crow with bright blue eyes.
Holy shit, it worked. It actually worked! Realizing the bird was staring at him, Frank cleared his throat hurriedly. “Great Malphas, I command thee to assume thy human form.”
The crow shimmered briefly, then a deeply tanned and muscular man with gray wings hovered in its place. The piercing blue eyes stayed fixed on Frank. “Who are you, that dares to summon me and for what purpose?” Malphas’ voice was deep and gravelly.
The book had no more scripted lines for Frank, so he went back to his normal manner of speech. “My name is Frank Gordon, Malphas,” he said, “and I w-
“I am the Great President Malphas!” interrupted the demon. “I have forty legions of Hell to do my every bidding. Kings and countries are as nothing against me, and I stand amongst the highest of the High. What proper work could a mere mortal such as you have for Me?
“Have you not even an offering for a being of my Status, summoner?”
Just as the book warned. Things playing out as it did gave Frank a rush of confidence. “Nuh-uh, pal,” said Frank, wagging a finger at the demon. “I know the rules, I know I’m not supposed to offer you sacrifices!”
Malphas’ eyes narrowed, but he nodded in acknowledgement. “Indeed, wise of you, summoner,” he said in his hoarse voice. “Again, what do you desire of the Great President Malphas?”
Frank lowered his head and put his hand over the locket in his jacket for a moment, before looking up at the demon. “I desire revenge,” he said. “A man named Thomas Perotta took everything from me. I want to do the same to him. I want to tear down his empire. I want him to see everything he cares about to be ripped away in front of him. I want him to suffer and I WANT HIM TO DIE!” Frank’s voice got louder and louder as he went, until he was red-faced and yelling at the end.
Malphas considered the human before him, trembling with rage, and nodded slowly. “A worthy goal, summoner.” he allowed. “Let us enter into our Contract.”
Cal Baker was one of Thomas Perotta’s best hitmen, a widely known fact throughout Farmouth. But thanks to Malphas’s ability to read minds Frank knew that tonight, Cal’s guard was down as he entered his apartment.
Cal’s overconfidence in his reputation and seven shots of The Blind Tiger’s finest would do that. It was child’s play for Frank to catch him by surprise, knock him out, and tie him to his radiator, bound and gagged.
“Summoner, none of this was necessary. I can extract the information as simply as I did his drinking habits,” said Malphas.
Frank knelt down, giving the constrained hitman a hateful glare. “That’s true, pal,” replied Frank. “But this shithead was there when my family was killed. It’s personal.”
The demon’s eyes narrowed, but he then shrugged. “Then might I be granted some leeway in pulling Thomas Perotta’s location from him?”
At Frank’s nod Malphas leaned in, his cold blue eyes staring into Cal’s. Cal’s eyes went wide, muffled screams escaping his mouth around the gag. He tried in vain to put distance between himself and the demon, despite being tied to the radiator.
The demon straightened back up. “Summoner, he believes Thomas Perotta will indeed be at his manor tonight. There- Ah!” Malphas grabbed a small silver ring off of Cal’s dresser. The demon’s hoarse voice had as much excitement as Frank had yet heard from him. “This ring! I would take it back with me.”
Frank shot the demon a puzzled look. “That cheap thing? What would you even do with it?”
“‘Tis best you do not know,” replied Malphas, “Allow me this on your behalf.”
Cal suddenly foamed at the mouth and let his bladder go, staining his pants and sending Frank scrambling away. Distracted, Frank waved a hand at Malphas. “Yeah, yeah, sure, pal.”
The demon’s eyes narrowed and flashed briefly.
“My thanks, summoner.”
Frank stood before the high walls of Thomas Perotta’s manor, overlooking Farmouth atop a nearby hill. Perotta’s home had the best security money could buy, and storming the residence would have been a tall task for even the full police force - at least if one pretended that half of them weren’t on Perotta’s payroll. For someone like Frank, it should have been an impossibility.
But that was before. Frank let a nervous grin run onto his face. “Fear the power of Malphas!” Frank loudly proclaimed. Perched in a tree in his crow form, Malphas uttered a long and ghastly CAWWWWWWW.
The walls trembled, then collapsed. The iron gate bent in upon itself, shrieks of twisting metal resounding through the night. Holy shit, that was amazing, thought Frank. We can do this!
Malphas let loose another hoarse shriek as he flew, caving the manor’s walls in. Frank ran past the gnarled gate following the dread bird.
A cacophony of buzzing noises rang in his ears. Frank shook his head slightly to clear it, and the noises disappeared.
A few of Perotta’s security detail spotted Frank charging in and got a few shots off. Frank felt one or two bullets graze his body, but the adrenaline let him ignore the stinging sensations. He gestured to Malphas and the demon summoned blue eldritch flames from the nether, consuming the guards in hellfire. The bird continued to fly about the manor, leaving destruction in its wake.
When Frank reached what was left of the manor, he found Malphas perched on a fireplace mantle - one of the few standing structures he could see. “Your quarry fled downstairs, summoner,” the crow croaked out, pointing a wing at a staircase. “I let him alone survive. Be grateful.”
“Thanks, pal!” Frank called out as he ran down the stairs.
The crow’s eyes narrowed.
Frank entered the cellar, chasing the fleeing Perotta. Unlike the rest of the manor, this room was old and worn, lined with faded brick and stale, musty air hanging about unpleasantly. Frank saw Perotta in a corner of the cellar, desperately scrabbling at the wall as though he were trying to somehow find an opening. Perotta looked over his shoulder at Frank, eyes wide with fear. “No, get away. Don’t come near me!” he pleaded. Perotta tripped and fell, backing away with his arms out as if to ward Frank off. He continued to crawl backwards and beg until he reached the corner.
Frank slowly stalked him, enjoying the sight of Farmouth’s most infamous resident cringing and sobbing. As Frank did so, the sting of his injuries and the buzzing noises from before seemed to return, but he ignored them and focused on Perotta.
Frank smiled cruelly, “What a cliche.” He stood over the cowering Perotta. “Finally. I have you after all this time. You will pay for ruining my life, you bastard. You- ow. OW. AHH!”
Frank dropped to his knees, wracked with pain. Rocking back and forth, he could feel nothing but agony coursing through what felt like every nerve in his body. And to top it off, the buzzing noises came back, stronger and more insistent.
The sounds grew louder, and as they did, Frank could almost make out some words.
Some part of Frank knew he mustn’t listen to the words. No, no, I don’t wanna, I don’t-
And then, Malphas’ harsh voice spoke words to him, and Frank could block them out no longer.
“Your dream is over, summoner. Wake up.”
Frank tried to open his eyes and only managed one, the other was swollen shut. He tried to feel his face with his hands, but they were bound tightly behind his back. Frank’s body felt pain everywhere.
With his good eye Frank could see that he was in the old cellar where he tracked down Perotta. Several people stood around his kneeling form, and at the front was-
“Perotta? How, I-” A fist to the face interrupted Frank’s sputtering.
“Get my name out of your mouth,” Perotta snarled. “You made a fucking mess of my walls, you know how much it’s gonna cost to replace it? And for what? For you to stand there like a babbling jackass after? Buddy, I don’t know who you are and it doesn't matter now. Now that you’re out of whatever delusion bullshit you were going through, I’m gonna make your reality a living hell.”
Delusion? None of that was real? I was… deceived? But that means-
“Welcome back, summoner.” Frank’s eyes locked in on Malphas in his human form, floating in a corner of the room. But despite his raspy voice ringing clearly in Frank’s ears, no one else in the room reacted to it.
The demon noticed Frank’s confusion. “Naught but you can hear me now, summoner.” And my thanks for the offering.”
“Offering? Sacrifice? I didn’t give you a fucking sacrifice, what-” Malphas opened his hand to reveal a small silver ring, killing Frank’s cracked whine mid-sentence.
“Summoner, did you not allow me to have this on your behalf?”
A scene from Cal’s apartment replayed itself in Frank’s brain.
“Allow me this on your behalf.”
Cal suddenly foamed at the mouth and let his bladder go, staining his pants and sending Frank scrambling away. Distracted, Frank waved a hand at Malphas. “Yeah, yeah, sure, pal.”
A line from the book:
If thou makest a Sacrifice unto him he will receive it kindly and willingly, but he will deceive him-
Perotta punched Frank a few times. “Hey shithead, attention over here. I dunno who the hell you think you’re talking to, but I want you here, alright? I want you here with me, so you can fully appreciate everything I’m doing to you and everything I’m gonna do to you.”
Frank ignored his captor and continued to stare at the demon floating off to the side, gray wings flapping idly. “You played me? Since when?” mumbled Frank, mouth full of blood and bits of tooth, “Why, what is that ring?”
A smile made its way onto Malphas’s darkened face, chilling in its lack of mirth. “Destroying his gate was the last true thing you experienced until now. An easy matter to beguile you into thinking your desires manifest when truly, you stood there in place until your capture.
“As for this cheap bauble? ‘Twas nothing, ‘tis nothing but a test that you failed. So… why then, summoner?” Malphas’s alien smile grew and grew, until to Frank’s fevered eyes it became the only thing in the room and he couldn’t help to focus, really focus on that dread mouth and the words coming out of it-
“Because..” A heartbeat of silence followed, an eternity in Frank’s mind.
“Why not?” Blue fire wreathed Malphas’s hand, dissolving the ring to ash. He then slowly disappeared from Frank’s sight until only his cold blue eyes remained. After a moment Malphas’s eyes vanished, but not before his final words rang in Frank’s ears.
“Die well, summoner.”
Perotta was screaming in Frank’s face now, close enough to spray him with spittle. Frank paid him no heed, focused still on what Malphas said to him.
So that’s it? That’s all my revenge, my everything was to Malphas? Something to play with until he got bored?
I was a fool, a fucking moron. I can’t believe I thought I could avenge Elise and Johnny! Heh, I’m so dumb. Hehe, I’m an idiot, I don’t know how Perotta ain’t laughing at me.
Hell, I’d laugh at me! Just like this! Heh, hehehe. HeheheHeHAHAHA-
Perotta peeled off his bloody gloves, frowned angrily as he looked down at what used to be Frank Gordon. Perotta didn’t get the howls of pain and cries of terror he desired. That rat bastard had the gall to laugh and laugh and laugh during his torture. Even after Perotta broke his jaw and ripped his tongue out Frank still wheezed hysterically, making odd hiccuping noises right until the moment his body gave out.
Perotta kicked the lump of flesh at his feet. “Fucking shithead,” he cursed as blood covered his shoe. He reached into Frank’s jacket, looking for a handkerchief to clean his Oxfords. “What’s this?” he asked, discovering a slim black book. Much of the writing was hard to read, but it looked like someone - maybe Frank - made some notes. One word caught Perotta’s attention: “Malphas.”
That fucker was gibbering about the ‘power of Malphas’ when we found him, he thought. Perotta snapped his fingers at one of his henchmen, who handed him a towel. Perotta wiped his face and shoes, handed the bloody towel back, then turned and left the cellar, perusing the book as he walked.