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82

N ightingale finished speaking and he stared through the acrid smoke wondering what form Frimost would take. He hadnt been able to find any descriptions of what the devil looked like, never mind a drawing or illustration. And he hadnt wanted to ask Proserpine because every question meant another attack on his life. She had told him about Sugart and how to summon Sugart and Frimost, and that was all.

There was a blinding flash of light and a deep rumbling sound, the air shimmered, folded in on itself and crackled, and then Frimost was standing outside the pentagram. He was black and massively obese, just five feet tall but twice as wide, with a dozen or so chins, thick tubes of fat around his midriff and rolls of fat around his ankles.

Frimost was wearing a brightly coloured man-dress, red and green with splashes of gold, and a pillbox hat of the same material. Around his neck was a gold chain from which hung half a dozen small skulls that looked like the skulls of monkeys or small children. Nightingale tried not to look at them. Frimost was holding a wooden stick with a gold tip on the bottom and a handle that appeared to have been formed from a human shoulder blade. He grunted and banged the stick on the floor, three times. The walls of the room juddered with each blow.

Who has summoned me? he asked, in a deep, booming voice.

My name is Nightingale. You are Frimost? The devil who gives men power over women?

What is it you want? asked Frimost icily. Why have you summoned me?

To do a deal.

Frimost looked at him with contempt. So you want what I have to offer, he said. You want sex; you want women to desire you. Like all men, you yearn to have your urges satisfied. He laughed and his body rippled like jelly. I can help you, Nightingale. I can give you what you seek. For a price, of course.

Thats not why I summoned you, said Nightingale.

Then what? Do not waste my time, Nightingale. I bore easily.

What I have to say wont take long, said Nightingale. I want to do a deal for my sisters soul.


| Midnight | c