A Novel by Carl S. Plumer
HOW TO SAVE A WORLD FROM DYING
A Demon Apocalypse Love Story
Top of the World
The view from the summit of the Empire State Building was beautiful to behold, even for a satanic being from the center of the universe. Malum Regnator-Infernus was as out of proportion to the structure as King Kong once was. The demon stood eighteen and a half feet tall. Its wingspan was more than twenty feet across. Scales covered Malum Regnator-Infernus, not like a snake, but like a disease. Small hairs the size of rose branches grew at random all over its body.
The eyes on the first of its three heads had a serpent's split pupils, puke green. The eyes on the second head (which grew not beside the first head but on top of it the way a cyst would) were as red as a poison frog's. The third head was stacked on top of its brothers, but this head was not worth talking about. It was a baby's head-and it was dead.
The teeth of the bottom-most head were filled with slime and bits of everything it had ever eaten. The head above it contained teeth that, while rotting, were virtually free of debris. Just sharp wolf's teeth, with gums as rosy as Christmas ribbon.
The first head also sported huge, elephant bat ears (if there were such a creature). The head above had no ears at all, but it was the head that wore the "crown," so to speak. That is to say, it displayed antlers, the kind you'd find on a creature's head hanging in a gentlemen's club. Only this one was diseased, bloody, wormed-up, with the larvae of various insects from throughout the universe wriggling around inside and out.
The breath of the head at the bottom reeked of rotten, putrid flesh, of blood ill-gotten, of stolen life. Of lies and treachery, of colluding with the Nazis, of voting for the other side. Of gossiping behind your back and later lying to your face. The head in the middle smelled, by contrast, of fire and, of course, brimstone. And oddly of gasoline, too, or maybe kerosene or, perhaps, ordinary lighter fluid.
Malum Regnator-Infernus clawed at a pimple on his back with one hand, while reaching around and scraping hardened poo matter off his rectum with another. With yet another hand, it picked its nose and ate it with a third. The demon gazed stupidly out at the night's landscape, though the thing was not stupid at all. This beast was, in fact, the leader of the pack of satanic beings. It led them to Earth years ago. Found the parents and killed them. Not just killed them; tore them asunder.
Malum Regnator-Infernus, the same demon that-though changed now, morphed as these demons do, accumulating and absorbing other demons into themselves-had searched the intervening years. Searching for the son she bore, who should have been destroyed, as intended. To have been eaten and digested and ultimately crapped out on the world. Malum Regnator-Infernus was unlucky that day, while his prey had somehow escaped. Exactly as the Oracles said the boy would. Les Prophéties Démoniaques, which they had chanted and sung for generations.
All blood under the bridge now as the boy would be found before long. The demons felt it-sensed it in their bones and their boners. Earth's so-called savior was here, in this city, and close by. He wouldn't run, because he wouldn't know he was being hunted.
The "one" would be caught, tortured, and torn apart as his parents were. At that time, the real feasting could begin, the celebration. Because, according to the Prophesies, without killing that boy first, they could be interrupted, taken off track, even destroyed if he were to suddenly appear. Best to destroy the boy of the Prophesies first.
Then, and only then, could their job begin: the annihilation of Earth.
"This was fuckin' amazing Thai, man!" Timmy Jimmy shouted. He flipped his hair out of his eyes. Meanwhile, hot sauce (heat level 5 of 5) oozed down his narrow goatee, which was really more of an extended soul patch than any kind of beard.
"Tell me about it," Bryan said, burping, his eyes crossing just a bit.
"So, girlfriend," Helena slurred, talking to Dani, "who was that hunk you were draped over all night, anyway?"
"That motherfucker? He was hot, sure. But he had a strange look in his eyes, y'know? Not to say I wouldn't have let him do me. Just not boyfriend material. I mean, a girl has got to have rules to live by."
Both girls giggled. Dani farted a quick little "frrrp!" by accident from the chuckling. They stopped laughing, sitting in awkward silence until they broke into chortles, even louder.
"No way! Did he know you aren't a girl?"
"What are you talking about, bitch? I am a girl."
"You're a tranny, honey."
"A 'transgender woman,' please. A little respect."
"Okay, okay. But while you were flirting and all that, he didn't notice your, uh, well, 'other' assets?"
"He was too drunk to see straight, and I kept his hands away from the southern regions. Not that it would have mattered. It's all sheathed in steel anyways."
They both started laughing again, which morphed into ping-ponging hiccups. Which caused even more laughter.
"Jeez, you two. What the hell-" Mallory shoved Helena, getting a bit of peanut sauce on her shoulder, and joined in the chuckling. "Ha ha ha!"
She splashed wine on Helena's blouse, which only caused all to laugh harder. Helena's blouse was wine-colored; fortunately, it was the exact shade of the stain. She may as well have spilled water on herself.
"Okay, I'm outta here," Zachary said, standing, swaying a bit. "Volunteering at the food bank again tomorrow. Early."
A chorus of groans, protests, and mocking comments.
"Yeah, whatever. I'll see you around," he said. "Anyone want to share a cab?"
Mallory stopped laughing and wiped at the wet stain on Helena's blouse. "She do," she said. "I mean, I do." She snorted. Her girlfriends giggled themselves dry.
"I didn't mean you, babe," he said. Turning to the group again, he said, "Anyone else?"
"In that case," Zachary said, turning to Mallory. "You ready to go?"
"Exactly what are you implying? Hee hee."
More giggles from the female peanut gallery.
"Get ya coat," Zach said, rolling his eyes. "Jeeziz."
Outside, spitball rain pelted the couple. No cabs in sight.
"What the fuck time is it?" Zachary asked, taking out his phone to check. "5:12. Dammit. It will be light soon." He put his arm around Mallory, as much to help himself stay upright as to protect her.
A cab splashed up Broadway.
"Here we go," said Zachary. "TAXI!" He waved.
The cab skidded up to them and Zachary opened the door for Mallory, let her in, slammed her door tight. He rushed to the other side. Before he could grab the handle, though, the taxi pulled away, tires spinning.
"Hey!" Zachary shouted.
But she was gone.
Zachary ran down Broadway, like an idiot. He'd seen this scene in the movies. A lot. He'd read this same passage in many different novels. They all had the identical plot point. Which was: The hero rises to the task, commandeers a vehicle, finds guns and one or two lethal friends to become the kidnappers' worst nightmare.
Problem was, Zachary wasn't secretly a trained assassin or a ninja warrior. Just a regular guy with an ordinary 8-to-8 job. He stood lonely on the side of the road, watching the cab weave its way up Broadway and into oblivion. He stepped back onto the sidewalk.
What was he feeling? Helplessness? Were those tears? This was not how men react. His head spun. He stared at his own two hands. Why was there no sword, no shotgun, no rocket launcher in them?
Instead, Zach pulled out his iPhone 12G14 and dialed the emergency number: 911-912-913-914.
The WERM walked him through the various options ("Note: Their menu has changed."). For murder, press 1. For assault, press 2. For armed robbery, press 3. For kidnapping or other hostage-related situations, press 4. For rape, press 5. For misdemeanors, please press 6 for the misdemeanor submenu. For all other crimes, press 7. To repeat this menu, press 8. If you are in immediate peril, please hang up and call 911-569-000-778-14-188, option 19, star-5. If you estimate that you are about to die within the next sixty seconds, please stay on the line.
If that's not possible, please shove your phone up your own ass and start praying. There's nothing we can do for you. Zachary thought this last to himself; they weren't part of the recording. Could've been, but weren't.
Zachary paused for a minute, not sure he remembered which button to push. Something told him it was 3. No, 4. No, wait… He pressed 8 to listen to the menu again. 1, 2, 3. Yes, he was right. He pushed 4.
Please wait. The next available operator who couldn't give a shit will be with you whenever they damn well want to. Your wait time will be an eternity (Zach was thinking all this to himself, again.).
"Hello, what's your emergency?"
"My girlfriend's been kidnapped."
"Hers or mine?"
"Zach. Um, Zachary Zemeritus."
"Can you spell that?"
"First or last?"
"Jeeziz. Is this really necessary? Can't I tell you what happened first? You can take my personal information after."
"Just following S.O.P."
"Ah . . ." Zachary recited the letters that made up his name.
"Thank you. All right, we place your location at 40.753359° North latitude, by -73.989323° West longitude."
"Broadway and West 49th Street, Manhattan."
"Is that the location of the incident in question, or have you moved on?"
"No, this is pretty much where it happened."
"We are gathering all available video footage as we speak. This includes footage from cellphones connected to the 'net in your current area, for the specific time. Which way did the vehicle travel?"
"For as long as I could see them, uptown."
"We'll focus on those cameras only for now. What kind of vehicle was it?"
"A taxi. A New York City yellow cab."
"A cabbie kidnapped your girlfriend?"
"I don't think he was a legitimate cab driver."
"Okay, what is your girlfriend's name?"
"Spell that please-both first and last."
"Can you please provide me with a description?"
"Um… black, shoulder length hair. Thin. 5-7, 5-8. Mid-twenties. Cute smile, and her eyes twinkle when she-"
"Okay, I think I have enough. You should spot a patrol bot nearby."
"What?" Zach squinted around. Across the street, approaching him above the roofs of the cars, was an NYC BlueBot.™ "Yeah, I see it."
"The bot will take over from here while we analyze the digital data. Do you have any other questions?"
"No, wait. Don't you need my contact information?"
"No, we're all set. We gathered all that from your phone and connected to every database we needed, including GINKS."
"Have a good day, Mr. Zemaroots."
Zach hung up and gazed up at the bot as it descended with deliberation to hover at about Zach's eye height.
"Well now, citizen," the bot squawked. "It would appear we have work to do!"
CARL PLUMER was born in New York City and holds degrees in English and Writing. PLUMER has spent his life surrounded by words. He's delivered newspapers, worked at a printing press, managed a bookstore, taught writing, wrote literary magazine works, published technical and fiction books, and has always considered himself a writer. His first novel, "Mad About Undead You," was a 2013 Quarterfinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and a 2013 Finalist for the Indie Excellence Award.
PLUMER is inspired by his wife Kristen and their four children spread about the globe.
To learn more please visit carlplumer.com.
 Pronounced MAH-lum REJ-nuh-tour IN-fur-nuhs. Loosely translated, it means "the Evil Ruler of Hell."
 The Demon Prophesies.
 The Worldwide Emergency Reaction Menu.
 Smart-ass Operating Procedure. Basically, step-by-step procedure for how things are done. With attitude, and far too often, ineptitude.
 The Googleplex International Network of Knowledge and Society, housed at, and maintained by, the Pentagon. Pronounced "jinx."