He had always liked the occult. Even if he believed that a lot of it was rubbish, it still felt good to have knowledge that most other people did not have. It made him feel special like he was elite and set apart from his fellow man.
He had never been the most athletic or popular kid in school, but one day hiding in the library he had found a dusty old book with references to other dusty old books. It had piqued his interest, so he had found another one. Seeking out and reading these books had become his hobby.
And from the Witches Bible, the Emerald Tablets, the Satanic Bible, the Wiccan Handbook, he had begun to piece his internal image together.
It had even begun to be slightly hip to be a Wiccan, so he felt like he was going in the right direction. Like vegetarians or those people who do Crossfit, own iPhones or electric cars, he could bring up his occult religion, Wicca, at dinner conversations. It not only scared people, but it gave him a sense of power. People in these circumstances would be forced to listen and open-mindedly smiled and nod.
He would wait until those vegetarians and other social constructs had announced themselves–as they always did–before announcing himself.
He loved stealing their limelight.
He would usual pour himself a glass of wine and propose a toast to one of his old gods. He would then let his pentacle accidentally be revealed around his neck and answer the inevitable question that someone would ask.
“Oh, I’m a Magi in the Golden Dawn, dear. We practice the Great Art. How much do you know about the Occult?”
The answer was almost always nothing, and from there he would control the conversation.
Afterwards, he would go home and light the candles. He would then mumble to the old gods and look at the moon in self-induced wonder. He was in control. He was special. He was apart from and above his fellow man.
There was not a huge lot of believing that actually went into it. It was kind of like an interesting hobby that made him feel unique; draw the circle, sprinkle the dust and light the incense while sitting in the glow of candlelight and feeling special.
One night he played out this well-rehearsed dance, before returning home. The one Christian woman at the table had looked particularly shocked, which had made him quite happy with himself. He had found that a little bit of shock and awe did wonder to elevate himself in society.
It was the Dark Moon far above. The night sky hid the pale face of Isis in a bed of twinkling stars. He lit the incense and candle before muttering the incantation he had found in the Book of the Dead. It was old and sounded most exotic as the strange words rolled off his practiced tongue.
Something felt different, though. It was like someone was watching him. But he ignored it and took a sip of his wine.
“And Osiris, brother of Set, answer my call in the darkness of Isis’s closed eyes…”
Suddenly the candle went out. The room fell into a heavy darkness and there was a moment of absolute silence. It was then that he felt a presence unlike anything he had experienced before.
“ALEISTER, I HEAR YOU CALL FOR MY BROTHER, BUT IT IS I THAT YOU DESIRE. I WILL GRANT YOU THE WISH YOU HAVE ASKED FOR, BUT I WILL TAKE FROM YOU THE PRICE OFFERED.”
A number of nights later he was at another dinner party.
The conversation tired of a young woman explaining how she was lesbian. She had only just come out to her parents. Everyone had nodded, smiled and told her how brave she was. The guests were mentally patting themselves on their back for being so open-minded.
He tried to smile reassuring to her and reached forward with his glass. His pentacle accidently slipped from under his black shirt and sparkled in the soft light.
“Oh, is that a pentacle?” a young man asked, “Are you one of those occultists? You simply must tell me about that, I find these new beliefs fascinating. Or are they old beliefs? You see, I just don’t know anymore. Which school do you practice?”
He fumbled and stuffed the amulet back under his shirt. Back away from prying eyes. These people had no idea what they were messing with. It was dark and dangerous, not fit for a dinner table. A cold shiver ran down his spine. He felt like he was being watched again. The corners in the room suddenly looked especially dark.
“Uh, it is,” he began, not sure what to say, but then he remembered the cold, powerful voice in the darkness and shivered again, “It-it is nothing. Just jewellery I wear. Tell me, though, did you say that you do Crossfit? How’s that work? Is it worth going?”
And somewhere, not-as-far-away-as-you-would-think, something old, cold and powerful smiled in the darkness.