Attack on an Evil God
by Ásgrímur Hartmannsson
Maggi, a university student, accepts an offer to join the Lookout Beaver Club for something to do in his spare time. The club is dedicated to thaumaturgical research, which Maggi views with skepticism. He soon finds himself threatened by supernatural creatures, magical robots, and malicious goons working for a high government official who has ties to other entities not of this universe.
Chapter 11: Goat Boy
Goat Boy arrived in the mail. He was in a crate marked “taxidermied animal.”
Freyja and Hansi had managed to get Anna there, to acquaint her with the new, magical animal, and fooled Maggi into coming by offering him coffee.
“Oh, no, not another magical thing!” he remarked when he saw the crate, all prettied up with a candle and bowls of liquid on it.
“You have to see this to believe,” said Hansi.
Anna and Freyja looked at each other. Invading someone else’s dream had been enough for Anna. She believed. She was uncomfortable with the thing, but still liked it better when she was involved rather than perhaps becoming an unwitting victim.
But Maggi went along with the ceremony, if nothing else, to experience what other tricks Hansi had up his sleeve. He figured that, at worst, he was getting a free magic show.
The ceremony involved them rapping something arrhythmic in the case with silver spoons, then making a toast three times from the bowls, which turned out to contain a mixture of tea and red wine with some cinnamon. It was warm, and not quite to Maggi’s palate. He made a face, but he got it down.
Freyja then removed the candles, and Hansi crowbarred the crate open. It was full of packaging fluff. Hansi dug into it and uncovered a goat’s head. It slowly opened its eyes and looked at him. Then it looked at the others.
“It’s alive,” said Maggi.
“How could it survive in there?” asked Anna. “I mean, coming all the way from Nepal in a box?”
“Oh, it’s magic,” answered Freyja.
“So...” began Maggi, “will this thing work like the mara?”
“No, he is autonomous,” said Hansi. “He already knows what to do.”
“He comes pre-programmed?”
“He reads minds.”
* * *
Goat Boy moved very slowly at first. The girls thought he was very cute, and decided to dress him up. They managed to find small pants somewhere, loose-fitting fancy pants and a simple dark blue raincoat. After that makeover, Goat Boy looked like a ten-year old in a funny costume.
“Shouldn’t we feed him?” asked Anna.
“I don’t think he eats,” said Hansi.
“What the hell is that?”
“Goat Boy, obviously,” said Freyja, and Hansi added, “Yeah, you’ve been staring at it for fifteen minutes. Obviously,” he pointed at the thing.
Goat Boy looked at them. He wasn’t very tall, about a head shorter than any of them, with that not-quite-right goat head, with its creepy black eyes. His limbs were a bit short, but the legs bent the right way, even if he was a bit bow-legged. Basically, he looked like what he was: a Goat Boy.
“What’re you going to do with him?” asked Maggi.
“He’s our diversion,” said Hansi, reaching into a drawer and getting the M4 carbine. He checked it, staring long and hard into the action as in a trance, racked it a couple times and found it unloaded.
“What are you doing?” asked Maggi.
“Well, ammunition has been known to magically appear inside these things, so I’m checking it,” said Hansi.
He shortened the stock and handed it to Goat Boy, who took it and started fiddling around with it.
“I don’t like where this is going,” said Anna.
“It is what he is here for,” said Freyja, reserved.
“He’ll be killed.”
“He cannot be killed by conventional means,” said Hans. “Bullets will pass right through him, as if he were a stuffed animal.” He looked at Anna. “He got through Customs, didn’t he?”
“Can’t you just use the night-mara for your evil scheme?” she asked.
“The night-mara only works at night,” said Freyja. “That’s why it is called a night-mara.”
“Is there a day-mara?” asked Maggi.
Goat Boy was aiming the rifle at things: pictures on the wall, potted plants, various ornaments. It had taken a liking to the thing. It removed the magazine and looked at it, replaced it, racked the action, flipping the selector back and forth, from safe to single to auto. It pushed the forward-assist button and became visibly confused by it. It looked at Hansi, who shrugged. The hell if he knew what that thing was for. The only automatic he was familiar with was a Franchi Affinity. Not quite the same thing.
Hansi handed them all magazines and a couple of boxes of ammo.
“I’m not going to kill anyone.”
“No, but he might,” Hansi said, pointing at Goat Boy.
Goat Boy waved at them.
Maggi shook his head. He read the box. 5.56 mm. 63 grain spitzer soft point. Muzzle velocity 2550... too dry for him. He threw the box on the table and got up.
“You leaving already?” said Hansi.
Maggi waved at him and left silently.
Proceed to Chapter 12...
Copyright © 2017 by Ásgrímur Hartmannsson