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91


N ightingale took his phone out of his pocket and rang Jenny.

Its on the news, she said before he could speak. They had her picture and said that she could be dangerous.

I know. Chalmers picked me up this afternoon. Im at the house.

What if they find her?

They wont. That was the deal she did. Escape and freedom. They searched my flat and Gosling Manor and theyll have her red-flagged at the airports and ports but shes already fled the coop.

Do you know where she is?

I dont want to know, said Nightingale.

Now what?

Nows the hard part, he said.

Do you want my help?

You cant help, kid. I have to do it myself. Tonight, at midnight.

Be careful, Jack.

Always, he said, and ended the call.

He walked downstairs to the hall, switching on the lights as he went. He pulled open the panel that led to the basement. He flicked on those lights too, then went slowly down the wooden stairs.

He had taken careful notes of what Aleister Crowley had written in his diary about summoning Lucifuge Rofocale. The pentagram was identical to the ones he had used when calling up Proserpine and Frimost, but the mixture of herbs was different, the candles had to be black and not white, and the incantation was longer and more complex. But the crucial part was a parchment that had to be prepared and burned at one of the two north-facing candles at the stroke of midnight.

The parchment had to be prepared from a virgin goat, and luckily Mrs Steadman at the Wicca Woman shop had been able to supply him with some. On the parchment there had to be a drawing that looked like a pentagram but with various rune-like scrawls in the centre and below it. Nightingale had sketched it from the diary and Crowley had stressed that it had to be copied perfectly onto the parchment on the day that it was required, ideally within an hour of the ceremony. The drawing could be done in the blood of a sea turtle, or the blood of the person summoning the devil. Mrs Steadman had laughed when hed asked her if she had any sea-turtle blood and told him that there wasnt much call for it.

Nightingale sat down at the book-strewn desk, opened one of the drawers and took out a new razor blade and a swans feather. He used the razor blade to clip off the end of the feather to make a workable nib, then slowly drew the blade across the tip of his left index finger. He winced as the blood flowed.


| Midnight | c