Mukesh’s Maleficium

I don’t have a lot to say about this narrative poem. It has dark magic and the meeting of in-laws. For many of us mundane individuals, the latter is probably a more reasonable thing to worry about. What do our in-laws think of us? Do they accept us as part of the family? Are we good enough for their child?

But, in some cases, dark magic can be kind of scary too.

Oddly, this is another piece that takes place around Christmas. I’m starting to think the holidays give me major anxiety…

Mukesh’s Maleficium

by Curtis A. Deeter

During my last hours of Christmas shopping,

I grew weary to the bone and

decided to find a seat in a corner

at the south end of the food court.

I had found everything I needed,

including the diamond broach for my bride to be.

I sat my load of gifts down at my feet

and wiped the tired from my eyes.

Then, I realized the sudden heat

washing over me like the fires of Hell.

I looked up across the tiled floor

to see a seedy gift shop I had not noticed before.

At the entrance, a statue of a three-headed dog,

and the sign above read “Mukesh’s Maleficium.”

A gray-bearded old man sat down beside me,

And cast at me the blankest stare.

“My boy, I know what you’re thinking, but

do not enter the Maleficium. Evil spirits lie within.

When you enter passed the Cerberus

Your life will never be the same again.”

Ignoring the old man’s advice,

I stood and gathered my merchandise and

made my way into the shop,

For that is all it could possibly be.

Just a shop. Nothing malign,

nothing even the slightest malevolent.

Inside, the shopkeeper looked up at me

from beyond the cover of “The Book of the Dead”,

and his eyes were filled with black fire,

illuminating the mysterious stock of this store.

Ancient relics, shinning gold and silver amulets,

dusty tomes, tightly rolled “magic” scrolls,

vials of seething red and green, and infinite baubles

lined the walls of the small, light-darkened room.

“Interesting selection of imitation you have here,”

I said. “Are these replicas of the real thing?”

“Imitation? These are the real things, Friend,

gathered, by me, from the depths below the surface.

If you are here to mock the unknown,

perhaps you should take your disgrace with you.”

This is when I knew I had been mistaken

when I chose to ignore the old man’s warning.

Turning away, I felt the burn of an evil eye

in the flesh of my back and heard a curse,

inaudible and spoken at me in harsh whisper,

but I could not conceive what was soon to come.

Had he known my true name,

or carved a piece of me from my own body,

I may have been in real trouble,

but what could this loon possibly do to me now?

Still, a chill rose up from my spine to the back of my head

and a cold sweat overcame me, clouding my thoughts.

I shrugged it off and headed home in the snow.

My knuckles clinched the steering wheel until they were white.

Back at home, I sat my bags down and

started a kettle of water for tea.

The doorbell rang, my fiancé and her father,

dressed one in red and the other in black.

A panic lifted me from my feet and

my mouth became as dry as the Arabian Desert.

Her father, to my utter dismay, was familiar to me.

There the man from Mukesh’s Maleficium stood.

“Hello, my love, this is my father Damien.

Father, this is Chase.” She noticed the terror in my eyes.

“What’s wrong with you?

You look like you just saw a ghost.”

Worse, my dear Aaliyah.

Much worse than you could possibly imagine.