I Was a Teenage Edgelord
by Tony Lozzi
When I was a teenager, I was really into Aleister Crowley, the occult, the 9th Gate, weed, and porn. Those last 2 I think make sense for a 15 year old, but the first 3 and all the other shit I was into that were adjacent to them kind of creeped my family and friends out. I had a few buddies so I wasn't like a completely lonely weirdo, I just really hated conformity and thought demon stuff was cool.
I was 15 in 2000, so though the internet obviously existed, it wasn't quite what it is today. I made a Geocities (ask your parents) site about the occult, demonology, etc. and was active on some similar forums. One day I got an email to my Geocities-associated Yahoo email account, in response to a post I made on a now-defunct Satanic forum. In that post, I asked if anyone had copies of demonic codices or anything like that—I wanted to summon a real, live demon that would actually listen to me this time. This guy who responded said "be cautious, there's still time to turn back" and attached a file simply titled "Libram.pdf." That really got me going so I opened it and was greeted by a text entirely in Italian.
“Goddammit,” I muttered as I opened up Babelfish to try and translate this MOUNTAIN of text. While it processed, I looked at the pictures—lots of crude wood-or-linocut prints of demons, elder gods, and spirits. This was right up my alley and it sent a shiver down my spine, both an incredible amount of excitement but also a twinge of fear. I popped a beer, my knuckles, and a couple Quaaludes and got ready to summon a demon. Sitting cross-legged on the floor of my room, I opened the now-translated pdf on my laptop. The beginning of the book was a bunch of supplications to Baal and Satan but nobody likes a sycophant, so I ignored them and kept reading for the good stuff.
There was a quiet knock on the door.
Around this same time the year prior, so 1999, I had found myself at a crossroads at midnight to see if selling my soul could get a decent return on investment. I put a cigar box with a lock of my hair, some dirt from a local murderer's grave, a picture of a kid I hated, and some gummi worms, into a hole I dug where the roads made an X. When midnight came, so did the demon.
“You're pretty young for shit like this, aren't you?” it asked. It was tall, very dark purple skin; if I'd been looking at it against the background of the midnight sky, it would have blended in. No hooves, just New Balances which holy shit I laughed at, and a trench coat. I looked around, laughing while it got angrier.
“Jesus Christ dude, where the fuck's your panel van? You're creepy in all the wrong ways.” I roared until it kicked me in the junk, threw my cigar box and all its contents back into the hole, and evaporated back to hell (I'm assuming) in a cloud of sulfur. When I finally fought through the wracking nut-pain and collected my belongings, I was over the whole thing anyway.
“Hey! I knew you were a perv! Give me that picture of Patrick Dungee back; I have to put it back under my sister's pillow or she'll know I was in her room!” I yelled out into the empty air. A half-foot slit of bristling brimstone appeared in front of me and the singed photo of the shittiest of 10th graders fell onto the road. “Fucking demons.”
“Come in!” I said, knowing full-well that it was my sister, but I wasn’t shy about my drug use or my forays into the occult.
“Whatcha doing, brother?” she said, sitting down next to me and gazing at the laptop screen.
“Demon stuff. Wanna hang?” I asked, flipping through pages of my lucid dream journal to consider an anchor point in case my soul was lost to the swirling cosmic energies that I, a fifteen year old American child was about to wield like a gun from my dad's unlocked Marlboro cooler.
“That sounds fun,” she said, tongue-out and eye-squinted to pierce the Capri Sun she’d brought with her. “Can I help?” she asked, quickly adding “in a non-sacrificial way?”
“Sure, if there’s something we can do together. Let’s make this a family activity,” I smiled at her.
“We should break out the salt and create a circle to protect us from whatever we end up conjuring,” she said, rummaging through her bag.
“You’re the Wiccan, so I defer to your expertise,” I said, one eyebrow cocked up, “but do you just carry that salt around with you?” She had a large blue glass canister of blessed salt in one hand and was holding her fingers up, chanting with the other.
“I do when I plan to come into my little brother’s room when I know he’s practicing devilry.” She had a point. As she prayed and completed the circle, I finished the emblem I’d started drawing before she came in and whispered a thank-you under my breath to the things that lurked in the shadows. Holy shit I was so goddamn goth, I practically shit bats.
“So what are we summoning?” she asked, sitting back down.
I smiled and said, “We’re not summoning anything—I’ve already finished. I was just waiting on you.” Her face fell as she realized what I’d done. We both turned as a mass of shadow billowed out of my closet and hovered in the air, a pervasive slice of airy midnight, stinkin' up my whole room. At the top, shiny black horns curved backwards. They were lined with cracks that shone red in the darkness, and it let forth a piteous sound, like a rock being slowly dragged across concrete and metal.
“Sorry sister, I didn't want to say anything but I think I got ahead of myse—“ I didn’t finish because she slapped the taste from my mouth with indignant rage. She shook, staring at me as the demon began to speak. Admittedly, I expected more cowering but she was really fucking pissed.
Inoro canti gontio zerba said the demon.
“Speak English, dick—it’s the year 2000 and we’re Americans,” she said, turning towards the still-menacing but somehow now reluctant cloud of evil incarnate.
The sorcerer has not prepared a sufficient sacrifice. Your protection comes too late, little witch. This is the last lesson you will ever learn.
We stared at this crackling cloud of dark will incarnate and sighed together, as a family. Things go south so quickly, don't they sometimes? “Hey sis, do you think he's gonna kill us?” I asked, actually nervous this time.
In 1997, I'd read that necromancy was a way of divining answers from dead spirits, so I picked up a Ouija board and hooked up with a ghost named Geoffrey which holy shit that's obnoxious but on the other hand, free test score answers so I went with it. All was great until Geoff showed up at my door one morning while mom, sis, and dad were at church. He knocked so loud—at the front door, where living people come in, what a dipshit by the way—that I nearly fell out of bed.
“Comingcomingcoming shit.” I opened the door. Geoff was 10 feet tall, covered in a translucent sheet with a big, leering pumpkin for a head. He floated a foot off the ground and carried a Halloween candy bucket, which he thrust in front of me. The bucket had a little dog on the side and read “Happy Halloween.”
“I'm here for your soul, moron. Here, take the soul bucket,” he said, pushing the pail at me again.
“Is this a fishing bucket?” I asked, noticing it was algae-green and scuffed up on the inside. “I think this is a fishing bucket.”
“It's a soul bucket.” I shrugged and looked in it, and then back at him. He responded by putting a bony finger in his pumpkin mouth and made retching sounds, pointing at my mouth.
Sticking my finger down my throat is not the best way to spend a Sunday morning, but a deal is a deal. I threw up the pancakes and booze from the night before and handed the bucket back. Geoff gingerly ran a bony finger through the slop, picking up several small, glowing orbs. He handed two of them back.
“Here this is your...sense of rhythm and your...fear of heights. I don't need those.” I swallowed them back down and he picked up a larger, white orb, then unfurled it—it looked like a piece of paper, like a fortune from a fortune cookie.
“Is that my soul?” I asked. He handed it to me; it read:
IOU 1 SOUL LOL MY BAD
“Goddammit!” we both said at the same time. I never saw Geoff again but he took the rest of mom's whiskey before he left and I burned the Ouija board.
“Like hell he will, you little Sumerian shit.” She slapped me again and stood up, mixing some herbs in a vial from her satchel.
“Oh no, I won't let you upstage me with your dumbass witch magic,” I said, fumbling through a book on curses I had near my bed. The book itself was bound in leather and had a big goat head on the front; a little obtuse but that was my style back then.
“I knew better than to trust you—you always pull this sort of thing, trying out spells you're way too young for.” She slammed the vial on the ground and purple smoke filled the room, coalescing into violet chains around the mass of demonic vapor. It roared in what I assumed was pain, but a lot of times these things just roar for what I’m assuming is effect. “I’m telling mom to take these goddamned books away from you.”
“Oh yeah? I’ll tell her you’ve been sneaking around with Veronica Crawford to make out every night when you’re supposed to be studying!” I said, hurriedly drawing glyphs on the wall with a marker I found on my nightstand, which to my surprise glowed bright, neon green. “Sweet, this thing is like a black light,” I said, gesturing to the demon. My sister stopped fumbling with the jar of colloidal silver in her hands and nodded in agreement. The demon stopped making noises and the way the horns moved I could tell it was looking at itself questioningly, so I pulled the now-anchored creature to the corner of my room where I had some blacklight reactive posters of mushrooms and boobs and sure enough they glowed, too.
“That’s actually really cool,” I said. The demon grunted, and sis nodded but went back to work. I gasped and continued drawing my glyphs. Caiphus floated, unable to move of its own volition, bouncing around like a helium balloon in the corner of my room.
“Sorry sis, I have to see what I’m capable of!” I shouted, flinging iridescent beams of destruction towards her from the now fully powered glyph on the wall. She clasped her hands around some herbs and a wall of pure, wispy light blocked my attack. The demon grunted, trying to turn itself around.
Perhaps you should use this katana that you have for whatever reason.
“No way, that’s a replica of Gavin McCleod’s sword—it’s in pristine condition,” I shouted, channeling more power.
…The pommel is made of plastic. It’s got little plastic beads on it.
“He’s a little nerd brat; it’s his favorite toy,” my sister yelled, amplifying her shield.
“Don’t call it a toy! It’s an authentic replica!” I yelled back, further pushing the attack.
“Just like you’re a replica of a real human, you shitty little homunculus!” She kicked me in the crotch and I fell over, ceasing my attack and carefully cradling my stomach while weeping big-kid ultra-sorcerer tears. Caiphus bounced around and could see us again.
Cry now, child—soon all will be over and your soul will be mine!
“Ha...ha. Prepare...to...be surprised.” It hurt super bad. Tzipporah had tied some dried plant to the door and the windows while I was recovering and I paged down in the pdf to see what I had to do to unsummon the demon or make my balls not hurt. I found one of those things and I started chanting:
“Durigo canto satanica potentas, ultimo potentas urgo miscantantico your Norton subscription has expired FUCK,” I hurriedly clicked out of the popup but then it popped up another applet asking me to confirm that it wanted to remind me later and then I must have clicked something else because my computer restarted. I could feel the demon roll its eyes.
Enough! Minions, come to my aid!
My cat Grendel had wandered into the middle of the room from under my bed and slowly a void started to gather right above him. I tried to grab him but he was sucked in, which made me yelp.
The temperature dropped and dark winds began to howl, sending papers swirling around us as we fought for the upper hand in our sibling magical rivalry, each of us vying to banish the purple fart demon. Sisters, amirite?
I am tired of this waiting!
Caiphus roared from the corner, thudding against my fish tank and spinning towards the ceiling fan. It started chanting despite being caught in the spinning blades with its shadowy horns THUNK THUNK THUNKING against the drywall of the ceiling. Dad slammed his foot against the floor, yelling for us to keep it down. Dread images of horrific, charnel beasts spread forth from the center of the room and swirling portal to the nether realms. My sister was doing her best to close the gate but Caiphus’ minions leaked through; a hellhound, slathered in blood and ichor, dripping steaming hot toxicity onto my carpet; a violent cloud of ever-changing mist, ablaze in green-and-purple flames that produced neither heat nor light, yet warped reality around them; and a chittering mockery of a small monkey, with giant teeth that gnashed unceasingly against the air around them. We also kept hearing Grendel mewing interdimensionally and it really ticked me off.
“Do you see this, sis? Is this actually happening or are these the ’ludes?” I blinked over and over.
“Definitely happening, bro,” she replied, finally closing the gate and turning her attention to the creatures in the room. “And don’t you say anything to mom and dad about Veronica! I really like her!” Completing another circle in the air, she summoned a softly-glowing ethereal crab that plopped onto the ground and, twirling its moustache, set in to attack the hellhound.
“You shouldn’t be sneaking out in the middle of the night—it’s not even remotely safe!” I shouted, using a conjuration spell from the pdf to surround my hand in a red, granite glove. “Ha, I’m like Hellboy!” I said, shouting above the shredding current of otherworldly wind destroying my room. I grabbed the monkey by the tail and threw it into the cloud, where it screeched, twisting in upon itself and coming out the other side as a bright yellow guinea pig with a long neck. Tzipporah caught it in Grendel's carrier and placed it on the shelf nearest the closet.
Just then there was a knock on the door. “You kids hungry?” mom asked, half-shouting.
“Not right now!”
Still full from lunch!
“...okay babies. Also, is that Grendel meowing from a pocket dimension? Don't leave her in there, it’s supposed to get cold tonight! Love you!” mom said as she returned to the kitchen.
We all glared at one-another and continued with our exertion. Sister trapped the cloud in a crystal and I started in on punching the hellhound with my gloved, enormous fist while holding it in place with a scorpion-like tail I’d manifested with the Seal of Pythagoras from another pdf about alchemy. The carrier on the shelf that contained the yellow guinea pig monster crackled with raw energy and toppled down, spilling the horrifying creature onto the carpet. Sis chased it but it ran under the dresser, sparking madly in all directions.
“You making any headway with that dog?” she asked, cursing and sucking on her finger where the pig had burned her.
“Nope, doesn’t seem to mind punches,” I said, punching it anyway. Caiphus chuckled. Tzipporah grabbed my rubber mousepad and picked the guinea pig up by its butt.
“Catch this with your rock-hand!” she shouted, flinging the little beast to me. I caught it and, not knowing what else to do, slammed it repeatedly into the head of the hellhound, which, standing in a puddle of liquid, was electrocuted to death.
The guinea pig also died from this.
“Yeah! Lightning beats fire!” sis shouted.
“This is why I always win at Pokémon,” I shouted back.
“Archdemon Caiphus, lord of the sun, king of pestilence, I bind you in the name of Dianna!” Tzipporah stood up, holding in front of her a quartz wand bound in blessed fabric and scintillating energy.
“In the name of Hecate and Cybel!” she screamed, moving closer. The mass of shadow writhed but laughed.
My Master made me unbindable, save to flesh. One of you will need to sacrifice your stupid human meat to contain me, and then I will devour your soul.
We looked at each other, eyes wide, but a smirk formed across my face.
“Sis, here!” I yelled, tossing the last thing on my nightstand—a hotdog from lunch—across the room.
“In the name of Demeter! I bind you, one, two, three,” she started, deftly grabbing the hotdog from the air. “SO MOTE IT BE!”
There was a surge and a crackle and a hiss, and the demon was gone.
“Ouch!” Tzipporah dropped the now split and sizzling hotdog onto the ground.
“Sorry sis,” I said, doing my best shuffle-step and trying to look innocent. She rolled her eyes.
“You’re an idiot. You really should study Wicca with me. My magic is way more powerful than yours. Come on, let’s get some mac and cheese.” She opened her arms for a hug, which I accepted, and we started towards the kitchen, opening my door.
Telly, our poodle, took this opportunity to run into the room and gobble down the infernal hotdog, to which we both shrieked, “Telly NO!”
The room vibrated slightly and a voice as black as midnight came from within our dog.
I told you that you…couldn’t contain me except…what is this?
“It’s a toy poodle. Her name is Telly,” I said.
“Well, your name is Telly, I guess,” sis corrected. “Do you want some dinner?”
FOOLS! I will eat your souls! It barked and hopped and growled, and then whimpered.
“Are you done?” I asked. “You can’t eat our souls, but we have kibble. It’s fish flavored.”
Why would dog food be…ugh, fine. Kibble will suffice. We walked to the kitchen together, our dog close on our heels, and aside from periodically hocking up a frog or summoning horrific nightmares to plague the mailman, she’s a pretty good dog. We found Grendel later that week in the basement, covered in spider webs and with a third eye, but otherwise good to go.
I will never use Norton again, though. What a bullshit program; I mean, restart later means an hour or more, not 5 minutes or immediately. Jesus Christ.
Tony Lozzi lives in the Midwest US with his children, a wife, several other small mammals and crippling anxiety. His body has recently begun experimenting with balding, so he's excited about that. He writes about he exploits with weight loss and humor at www.fit2father.com.