Poe must die
London, January 9, 1848
Jonathan’s eyes were bright, alert. He stared across the cluttered table at Arthur Lecky, whom he had just hypnotized and would soon kill.
“Tell me about the Throne of Solomon,” Jonathan said.
“I know of no throne, sir.” Lecky frowned at the sound of his own voice. “The American never mentioned a throne to me.”
Jonathan inched forward in his chair, palms down on the table. The little fingers were missing from both hands. “The American sought your services. I know this to be true.”
“To steal books for him, sir. Only books.”
“Tell me about those books.”
Arthur Lecky shivered. “Works of darkness I would say, sir. Books on demons and devils. Books for them what loves Lucifer and the anti-Christ.”
Jonathan thought: This fool reeks of onions, tu’penny gin and bread piled high with lard, and the opium pipe in front of him means as much in his useless life as do the small boys who warm his bed at night. Yet he
Asmodeus, whom Solomon the master magician forced to build the Temple of Jerusalem, who later took his revenge on Solomon, sending him into exile and ruling in his place.
Asmodeus, the fiend of Persian and Hebrew scriptures, who filled men’s hearts with anger, lust, with the desire for revenge.
Asmodeus, whom Jonathan had twice attempted to conjure from the world below, failing to do so each time and who Jonathan knew wanted revenge for those attempts to force him into submission.
Which is why Jonathan desperately needed Solomon’s Throne; without it, he was doomed to a horrible death for having dared to enslave the king of demons. The throne was survival and it was more. It was immortality and power equal to that of Lucifer, power surpassing that of all demons including the dreaded Asmodeus.
Spiritualist, psychic, devil worshipper, hypnotist, doctor, murderer.
Conjurer of demons and a witch, a master black magician who exalted evil above all good, a man with an obsession for dominance and supreme power.
But even his powers could not long resist those of Asmodeus, who would never stop seeking vengeance on Jonathan for trying to subjugate him. To get Asmodeus to bow as he had once bowed to Solomon, Jonathan had to possess the throne and the books of magic hidden beneath it.
Solomon’s Throne. Hidden for thousands of years, its untold wealth and power eluding all. But it wouldn’t elude Jonathan, who now knew how to obtain it, who now knew how to bring it from the other world into this.
But first, he needed those books that Arthur Lecky had stolen and passed on to the American. Lecky was a kidsman, the manager of a band of child thieves whom he forced to climb down narrow chimneys where panic meant being trapped and suffocating to death. Ugly little Arthur Lecky, with his toothy, squirrel-like face pitted by smallpox and framed by a shoulder-length red wig.
A wooden leg was attached to Lecky’s right stump by a thick, brown strap, whose brass buckle was polished daily by one of his tiny thieves. Tonight, his unwashed bony body was wrapped in a filthy, lice ridden brocaded robe of yellow silk and like others living in Victorian slums and eating the poisonous foods of those harsh times, Lecky looked much older than he was. He was thirty and looked sixty.
Some of his child thieves were purchased from parents too poor to raise them or from other kidsmen; the rest were street orphans willing to steal in exchange for food and a place to sleep. Tonight, only two were in the dirty, cluttered room used by Lecky as living quarters and storeroom for his stolen goods. Barefoot and in rags, the pair slept on the floor in front of the dying fire, drugged into sleep by “Godfrey’s Cordial,” a combination of molasses and opium used to quiet children.
To the right of the fire and half in darkness, a gray rat, its eyes pinpricks of light, silently watched the sleeping children and waited.
Jonathan and Lecky were on the second floor of a decaying tenement in
“Books belonged to Sir Norris Davy, sir,” said Arthur Lecky. “The American come to his house and he seen ’em and he requests that I pinch ‘em for ‘im, me and me little ones. The American told me where they was, the books, and he told me when Sir Davy and the missus would be gone and where the servants slept. Sent in one of me little ones, I did, and she come down the chimney, opens a door and the others they come inside.”