First Monday Free Fiction: Rude Awakening

Demon Summoning for Beginners by Cora BuhlertWelcome to the October 2022 edition of First Monday Free Fiction.

To recap, inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who posts a free short story every week on her blog, I’ll post a free story on the first Monday of every month. At the end of the month, I’ll take the story down and post another.

October is the spooky month, so let’s have a spooky story. This one is a story from my collection Demon Summoning for Beginners and  recounts what happens when a college student accidentally summons the eldritch forces of Cthulhu.

So follow Billy Choi as he experiences a…

Rude Awakening

It had been a long day and an even longer night for Billy Choi. A long night full of beer and pot and potato chips and attempting to decipher ancient manuscripts for his MA thesis on occult beliefs in New England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

So when Billy finally fell asleep in his dorm room amidst scattered potato chips, empty beer bottles and scrolls of parchment — not even aware that the ancient scrolls and grimoires he’d analysed for his thesis had started to glow eerily in the dark — he certainly deserved a good night’s rest. Too bad he didn’t even get that.

For his dreams — and a really sweet dream of finally getting to third base with Melanie Simmons it was, too — were roughly interrupted by a wailing noise, as if a hundred cats had decided to get amorous all at once. The wailing was following by a persistent scratching sound, like the world’s longest nails on the world’s biggest chalkboard.

“Go away,” Billy mumbled, for in his dream, Melanie had just invited him to a round of skinny dipping in the lake by the campus and she was just about to take her top off and Billy was just about to get a good look at what he’d wanted to see and touch ever since he’d first seen Melanie in the Fantastic Literature of New England class earlier this semester.

However, the sounds did not go away. On the contrary, they grew even worse, even louder, noisier, impossible to ignore. In Billy’s dream, Melanie paused on the cusp of taking her top off and instead began to speak in a deep rumbling voice of death and doom and finally coming home to Earth to devour all that defiled it.

Even in the middle of the best dream he’d had in ages, Billy thought that the pot he’d smoked last night probably hadn’t been a good idea. Instead of going to a reputable dealer — insofar as there was such a thing as a reputable drug dealer — Billy had bought the pot from Jason Whitmore instead. And Jason was known all around campus not just as a notorious stoner but also notoriously broke. So it made sense that he’d tried to sell bad pot to Billy.

And still the wailing, the scratching and the deep rumbling voice did not go away, though Melanie did, swallowed up by a gigantic mouth sprouting monstrous tentacles. So Billy finally, reluctantly opened his eyes.

The sky outside the window was red, blood red. Must be one hell of a sunrise, only that sunrise usually came far too early for any civilised person to be awake to see it. And the scratching sound was someone knocking on or rather scratching on the window of Billy’s dorm room.

“Go away. Leave me alone.”

He turned over in bed and was just about to close his eyes again, when a thought occurred to him.

“Unless you’re Melanie. But you’re not Melanie, aren’t you?”

Of course not. Because if it were Melanie who was knocking on his window in the middle of the night — or dawn or whatever this was — it would mean that finally something would go right in Billy’s life. And the universe just didn’t like him that much to make anything in his life go right.

“You sssummmoned ussss,” the voice outside the window said. Definitely not Melanie. Unless she’d turned into a basso profundo overnight that was.

With a sigh, Billy turned over in bed again and forced his eyes open.

“Go away,” he repeated.


This story was available for free on this blog for one month only, but you can still read it in Demon Summoning for Beginners. And if you click on the First Monday Free Fiction tag, you can read this month’s free story.


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