Oh my God! She thought in frustration. If she had to listen to One – More – Asshole yell at her about matters that were utterly out of her control, matters that they were too stupid to understand in even the simplest language, she was going to rip her hair out a fistful at a time.
It wouldn’t be as painful. She sat in her car at the end of her shift at the bank and just took several deep breaths, her feeble attempt at calming herself before she tried to tackle the funhouse ride that was the drive home.
Traffic was even more wretched than usual tonight. It figured. It was the perfect shitty end, to a perfectly shitty day. Why did she have to have such an aptitude for a career that she utterly despised? It was the cruelest irony that she happened to have a talent for, but an absolute loathing of the most mind-numbing (and sex life killing) career ever.
She was an accountant. And just her luck, it was tax season. It wasn’t bad enough that when most men learned what she did for a living, two things happened: Their eyes glazed over in sheer boredom, and the intimidation level of being with a woman with such an analytical intelligence sent them running for the nearest exit.
She stewed for the forty minute commute back to her small, economic little one bedroom apartment. On the way, she’d thought idly about picking up some Chinese to go but then thought better of it seeing as she didn’t have much in the way of an appetite. She figured if she got hungry she’d simply toss a Healthy Choice meal into the microwave and drown her sorrows in a good glass of Pino` Noir.
Unlocking her door, she flipped on the light switch, illuminating the depressing altar to spinsterhood before her. In an effort to be frugal, she’d gone rather Spartan with the decor. It looked more like a bachelor pad then the safe haven of a single woman. The only concession to the fact that she even HAD estrogen was a scattering of embroidered throw pillows she’d picked up in a consignment shop. Okay, so she wasn’t Martha Stewart.
She dumped her purse, keys, and mail on the small bar that delineated the space between the kitchen and living area, hung her coat in the coat closet and proceeded to pour the first of what would be several glasses of wine. She took her first sip even as she was still setting the bottle back on the counter.
She was halfway through the first glass when she started sorting through her mail. There wasn’t much. Some solicitations, the requisite monthly bills, and a small package wrapped in nondescript brown parchment paper and tied with generic twine. Quirking her brow at it, she set her glass down and proceeded to untie the twine.
The return address left her no clue as to who might have sent it. It was a simple P.O. Box with no name attached to it. Probably some ‘bs’ free samples, she thought. Oh well, maybe a free mud mask and moisturizer would at least perk her up a bit with some self-indulgent pampering. With that thought in mind, she tore the paper off. To her surprise, it was a small, ancient-looking leather bound book.
The gold foil script on the cover was chipped and faded, and when she lifted the cover, the binding crackled with age and disuse. The pages were tissue thin and so delicate she was afraid she might damage them. Absently she made her way to the couch and sat down. She switched on the lamp on the table beside her and leaned closer to the light.
The title read: Grimorum Devinctionibus. It was Latin. Loosely translated it meant Grimorum Incantation. What the hell was this? Did someone send her a book of spells? What was this, ‘Harry Potter’? Was she going off to Hogwarts now? She started thumbing through the pages. The majority of the book was all in Latin. Good thing for her it was required coursework in college for her masters. Too many laws were based on Latin origin.
She was about to close the book and set it aside when something caught her attention. It was a passage labeled Decent, The Becoming. Intrigued, she began to read. It was more of a lyric than anything else. And as she sat there reading it, a song began to form in her mind. It was old, familiar, but in a way that stayed elusively out of the reach of true memory. She began to hum it softly to herself.
If she could pride herself on anything other than her mathematical prowess, it was her voice. She’d been singing her entire life. And what was music but notes put to mathematical rhythm? As she hummed, the words on the page drifted into her consciousness and she started singing them to the tune in her head. She felt strange, like a live wire and been threaded through her body making her come alive.
She was singing the passage over and over, louder and louder, each time with increased urgency. She didn’t know why she was doing it and she couldn’t stop. It was compulsive now. Finally, she reached the last crescendo on her latest verse and her voice took on an otherworldly cadence that reverberated off of every wall in her apartment.
Suddenly exhausted, she collapsed back onto the couch. She hadn’t even been aware of standing up, or of her arms being raised to the ceiling with palms outstretched, fingers splayed in open welcome.
She must have dozed. For the next thing she knew, the clock was striking three a.m. But as she sat up and knuckled the sleep from her eyes, she realized that it hadn’t been the chiming of the clock that had woken her. She sensed a presence in the room.
Instantly alarmed, she scanned her surroundings, looking for the intruder. Initially finding none, she slowly stood up and padded silently to the bar and her purse. Being a single Texas woman, she had a conceal and carry license. She quietly pulled the Glock 9mm from her bag and switched the safety to off. Holding it down by her side, she methodically checked every last inch in the seven hundred and fifty square foot living space. Finding no one, she was no less dismayed. She clicked the safety back on the weapon and placed it back in her purse.
She’d been dreaming, she thought to herself. That was all. That was why she’d felt uneasy. Turning off the light in the living room, she headed to her bathroom to clean up a little before she tossed on her nightgown and climbed into bed. She was just finishing rubbing lotion into her arms when she heard a noise behind her. Spinning around, there, standing on the opposite side of her bed was the strangest, most hideous creature she’d ever set eyes on.
It was short, only about three and a half feet tall, with greenish skin peppered with wiry mossy hair, great yellow orbs for eyes, a smashed in nose, like that of a prize fighter that had been broken one too many times, and a wide mouth with thick cracked lips stretched over flat grey teeth.