Doug finds himself annoyed by a couple of Catholic Saints.
Gagged on pop culture, polluted by
depression, comes Mantula!
A special fiction series!
“What the hell are you doing here?” I asked the man, though to be honest I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to hear me or not. Seeing as how Glenn and I spoke via a telepathic bond, I kind of doubted he would get so much as a peep from me. His answer, therefore, came as a surprise.
“I’ve come to give you a hand,” he replied. “And, like your emails, I see your just as obstinate in the real world.”
I laughed. “The real world? Is that what you call this crappy life?”
“Nice to meet you, Doug.”
“Saint Kolbe. What are you doing here? What are you doing with Glenn?” I stared at the young girl. She couldn’t have been more than eighteen. Her mousy brown hair, parted dead in the middle, hugged her face in limp strands. Her sallow, pale face barely looked up from the dead quail in her arms.
Saint Kolbe sighed in frustration. He motioned to the young girl to sit. “Why don’t you first tell me about your night? I can see it’s been a busy one. You two are nothing if not busy bodies.”
I hit an arm against the door to the apartment. It slammed shut, blocking this weird scene from the outside world. I didn’t need the neighbors to talk. Kolbe, wearing a gray turtleneck sweater straight out of the 1970s, black slacks, and white loafers, watched me through his round John Lennon glasses.
“There’s nothing to tell. Just another wonderful night in Mantula’s Crappy Little Apartment,” I answered. “I did kick that bastard reporter’s ass tonight if that’s what you’re talking about.”
He sighed again. The young girl didn’t seem to be paying any attention to either of us. Was she mental? “Why do you insist on calling yourself that? I know you think it’s what you’re son would name you. You’re little attack is just making things worse for you, Doug. You’re setting a series of events in motion that I don’t think I can undo.”
“Undo? You haven’t undone a damn thing. For a saint, you’re not taking care of much. You don’t even send emails in a nice way. And don’t talk about my son.”
I could tell the man struggled to stay patient. “Kip Mooney isn’t your only enemy, but you can now count him among them. Count on that.”
“The crazy witch ghost. Trust me, I’m aware she isn’t a fan.”
“There’s another too. Someone you’ve only met briefly, so briefly you don’t even remember. A man who hates spiders because of you, a common street thug. He’s been haunted by his encounter with you, Doug. He’s been looking for you and the spirit woman knows this. They want you dead.”
To be honest, at that moment I couldn’t care less about some thug I’d never met. I couldn’t give two craps about the wormy witch or Kip Mooney. Were I human I might have communicated that to Saint Kolbe by showing him my middle finger. As a tarantula, it wouldn’t come off right.
Instead I trotted past the odd pair. “I think there’s been enough death for one night. Enough talk too. If you two would excuse me, I’m going to go to bed. Kolbe, I’d appreciate it if you ask your friend to put Glenn back on the couch where she found him.”
“You don’t have any idea who this is, do you Glenn?”
“Right now I could care less.”
“Dymphna? Would you like to introduce yourself to ‘Mantula?’” The last he mutterd in air quotes.
So this young little thing held the lofty title of saintliness just like Kolbe – the quiet, unresponsive saint copied on all of Kolbe’s emails, the patron saint of mental disorders, finally got involved enough to appear in my living room.
“I’d rather not,” she replied. “He seems like he’s in a foul mood. I don’t waste my time on cretins.”
“Cretins? Why don’t you two see yourselves out.”
Kolbe laughed, quietly, but with a hint of stubbornness. “Not just yet.”
“Whatever. Do what you want. I’m going to bed.”
Glenn gets touched by a saint.
“Wouldn’t you like to say hello to Glenn first?”
I stopped, a little taken back by the man’s brazen attitude. Kolbe was no friend of mine, not by a long shot, but I didn’t think he was that cold, not being a saint and all. Apparently I was wrong about that. My only real friend, as anyone in the room could see, hadn’t take a breath the whole time they’d been there.
“Just give Dymphna here a few minutes and you can,” he said.
Dymphna mumbled. She cradled Glenn’s quail body in both hands, but stared directly at me. “Unless you’re too sleepy. Then, by all means, go to bed.” Her eyes, the color of jade, seemed to cut right through me.
“What are trying to tell me here? Are you saying…”
Kolbe whispered just as an orange light began to pour from the young girl’s palm. “She can bring him back, Doug. For what’s coming, you will need your friend’s help I think.”
“Bring him back?” I was spellbound by the warmth of the glow coming from her hand. It pulsated orange, then yellow like a morning sun, then a dark orange.
Kolbe explained things as if he were a doctor talking to a patient. “It’s not as easy as you think. Had we been an hour later, there would have been no hope, but we got here in time. Lucky for us we didn’t have to worry about a locked apartment, with you out getting your anger off, as you left the window open.”
“You can really bring Glenn back from the dead?”
“He won’t be himself for a while. Remember that. These things take time and he will have to rest, heal from the death experience for a day or two, but I’ve taken care of the drugs in his system. I got to that before you arrived. His addiction, however, thanks to the curse’s ebbing strength; that will remain.”
“This is unbelievable!” I shouted.
The glow intensified, filling half the room, and before long I heard an odd “pit-pit” noise. The orange glow intensified, then suddenly faded. The quail in her hands burned a hot white in color, but I could hear him in my head. I could hear his voice in my head!
“It’s my birfday or sumpin,’ right?” he asked. Not sure why but he sounded drunk.
MANTULA WILL RETURN