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“Mary, I know it’s a big ask, but, erm, do you think I could borrow your mom’s corpse for a bit? I’ll bring her back.”

Mary stared at him. Lips clenched. Eyes angry. Nose twitching. But she didn’t say no. 

“I know, I know, you probably don’t want to take any chances with her body getting all ruined and whatnot, but I promise we’ll take really good care of it. Her.”

More staring. 

“You think on it then,” Marcus said, slowly backing away. 


“I can’t believe you asked her, you flippin’ idiot,” said James. “You actually asked her.” He shook his head.

“I didn’t think it would hurt to ask,” said Marcus. 

“Now if they find the body missing, they’ll know who to come after.” 

“Oh. Right. Let’s do this quick then.” 


“’Leastways she wasn’t embalmed,” Marcus said.

“Yeah, but I think we might’ve been caught on camera. That funeral home didn’t have many locks, but there was no shortage of cameras. I don’t think our masks worked in our favor.”

“You took yours off,” Marcus said. “That’s why it’s not going to work.”

But there, on the floor, in the middle of the pentagram lay Mary’s mother.  


“Well,” said James, “it says here that we need to draw another circle around the pentagram now that she’s in it. Then these symbols.” He held up the book to show Marcus.

“I can’t do that,” Marcus said. “You’ll need to do the fancy work.”

“You got a better grade than me in art. You do it.”

Marcus tried to copy them exactly, but what with cutting open his hand to get the blood, the artwork wasn’t his best.

“How bad is it if we got the drawings wrong?” Marcus said.

“We are trying to summon a demon, so I’d say it would be very bad.”


“This thing is in Latin. Do you know Latin?” Marcus said.

“I thought you did.”

“One, two, three, not me,” Marcus shouted.

“Shit,” said James. “Are you sure the symbols are right?” 



“suscitare daemonium

custodire exercitum

da nobis votum

tum abire


tunc inhaero circuitu”


Mary’s mother’s hand twitched. 

Blood started to drip from her closed eyes, her pale lips, her unhearing ears. 

The blood increased in flow, pooling around her.

She sat up.


“Woah,” said Marcus. “Do you think it worked?”

“I dunno. Do we get our wish now?”

Mary’s mom laughed. It wasn’t a happy laugh or an excited laugh or even a good laugh. It sounded like the kind of laugh that would echo in a tomb.

“No, no, no,” Marcus said. “I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to grant us our wish and then go away. Otherwise, how can we return the body?”

“I don’t think we’re returning the body,” James whispered. 


The demon gained control of the body. It rose from the ground, head levitating and then the body following. It hung, suspended on nothing. The blood dripped, sounding like raindrops on a stormy day. The smell became overpowering – smoke, filth, copper. 

It continued to levitate until it hung right beneath the ceiling. It spread its arms like an angel’s broken wings.

“Come to me.”


“What’s happening?” Marcus hissed to James as they were both pulled forward. Their bodies were lifted to their toes, barely touching the ground with their Vans. They were dragged forward, the tips of their sneakers running over the carefully drawn lines. Cracks appeared in the ground.

“I think we’ve lost control.”

Marcus nodded mutely. He could acknowledge when things went wrong, and this had gone very, very wrong. 

“I don’t think we’re getting any wishes,” he said. 


“Mary,” the demon said, checking for its voice. “Mary. Mary’s Mother.”

Her fingers turned to claws, and she clicked them together, the sound unnaturally loud and sharp. She stretched and turned, her figure flexing out and in again, reforming. Her burial gown ripped, exposing mottled, grey flesh. 

The demon crashed through the ceiling, rising through the destruction and into the night. The stars burned red, and the clouds were black. She twisted in the wind, and her hair blew out behind her, the only light in the darkness.



Katherine Sanger was a Jersey Girl before getting smart and moving to Texas. She's been published in various e-zines and print, including Baen's Universe, Spacesports & Spidersilk, Star*Line, and RevolutionSF, and edited From the Asylum, an e-zine of fiction and poetry.



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