Author : Desmond Hussey, Staff Writer

“… Mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell.” – St. Augustine

Numerals flow in random digital pulses around a wide black band high in the perilous chapel’s white marble walls. Each numeric chain makes a full rotation before disappearing into its own beginning point, like a snake devouring its own tail.

A cabal of twelve ebon-clad Mystics, their robes finely detailed with glimmering stars and moons, are aligned like sentinels around the circular perimeter of an intricate tile mosaic occupying the center of the main gallery. The mosaic’s design is a mesmerizing mathematical fusion, depicting colored rays, radii, circumference ratios, triangles within squares within circles. Imaginary numbers. A thin line of red tile carves an elegant spiral path through the entire motif.

A thirteenth figure, a woman, naked and bound, every inch of her pale skin tattooed with alien cartography, hangs suspended inches above the locus of the circle by a rope which vanishes into the overhead shadows. Her blue eyes glisten with terror.

Silently, each Mystic produces a heavy, linen sack from within their robes and proceeds to dust the mosaic in a thin, chaotic layer of salt.

Then they begin their chant.

Quietly at first, nearly inaudibly, the heinous invocation multiplies and rolls over itself like an approaching thunder clap until the vast chamber is filled with a reverberating chorus of harmonized frequencies. Subliminal numeric equations weave themselves together within the esoteric warp and weft of dark tonalities, evoking foul attention from the Realms-Between-The-Spaces.

Awakened by the hypnotic din, the salt begins to dance, moved by invisible forces until it has gathered into a vibrating pattern of circular and curvilinear lines on the floor, and when the chanting shifts octaves suddenly, the pattern of salt changes. Circles bud like dividing cells into smaller, twin circles forming a more complex pattern.

Darkness gathers like a noisome cloud above as, once more, the surreal chant shifts octaves. Again the trembling salt sketches out a more compound geometry, levitating from the ground and twisting into a three dimensional spiral which rotates around it’s anchor point, the woman. Her long, auburn hair floats freely from her body now as if underwater, stirred by eldritch currents. She struggles weakly against her restraints.

In a bone-shuddering climax, a sudden bass tone resonates throughout the chamber scattering the salt into a loose dome above the mosaic and silencing all other sound. The darkness beyond the dome is complete, shrouding the miscreant wizards behind a protective saline field.

All that remains visible is the woman hanging within a malevolent emptiness by a spidery thread. She has ceased moving. Her eyes, only a moments ago staring in wide-eyed horror, are now drained of color, becoming slick, shifting voids, like twin pits filled with oily, black serpents.

With the deliberate, agonizing pace of an emerging butterfly, the skin around her eyes, mouth, nose, navel, vagina and anus begins to fold over itself, her body inverting and contorting into a shapeless mass of pulsing muscle and viscera. One by one, each bone is excreted and drops to a gruesome pile on floor.

Numerous mismatched eyes and prehensile, snake-like appendages emerge at random points from the hideous, crimson flesh-beast. Still suspended from the rope, the mass splits across its middle, forming two massive, bloody lips which begin a gross mockery of speech.

“A go-go lap dancer, a pip, was able to peel in a zip, but she read science-fiction and died of constriction, attempting a Mobius strip.”

The confused Mystics stand in muted bewilderment.

“Sheesh, Tough crowd.”


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