Jeremy found his feet and shifted his weight to them so that he could free his arms. Now he gripped the edge of the work bench with both hands. Fear both dictated escape and froze him in place at the same time.
The thing, tired of waiting, spoke. “Why have you made me?”
The thing leaned forward, towards Jeremy, and snarled. “Why have you made me?”
“I...,” Jeremy began, and hesitated to bring up some saliva to moisten his mouth. “I don't know,” he said at last.
The thing recoiled like a cat readying itself to pounce, and sneered. Jeremy could feel its contempt in every word. “You don't know?”
Jeremy shook his head dumbly. “I didn't think...,” he began. “I didn't know I could.”
The thing looked about the basement, taking in all sides, the concrete floor, and the joists supporting the first floor above his head. “What is this place?” it asked.
“My...my home,” Jeremy responded.
Although everything about it was feral, Jeremy could see an intelligence behind its eyes as they examined the basement, coming to a halt on the book that lay open on the floor at his feet.
“You have the book,” it spoke.
“And still you didn't know that you could make me?”
Jeremy attempted to swallow several times. A lump in his throat blocked every effort.
“You haven't read it all, have you,” it accused.
Again, Jeremy shook his head.
The thing closed its eyes and relaxed. It explored the invisible boundaries of its cage with other senses. “This idiot doesn't know the rules,” it thought to itself, “and I mustn't give them away.”
When it opened its eyes again, it found Jeremy kneeling on the floor, paging frantically through the book. “What is my purpose?” it asked, interrupting Jeremy's search.
“Yes. Why have you made me?”
“I don't...,” Jeremy began. “I just followed the instructions.”
“In the book,” Jeremy replied gesturing towards the book at his feet.
“Ah, Grimwold's book,” the thing acknowledged.
“Grimwold wrote the book,” the thing explained.
The thing struggled against every instinct to launch itself and devour this stupid man. However, it knew that the cage formed by the pentagram would stop it and the man, even one as stupid as he, would know one of the rules. He must contrive to have the man erase a piece of the diagram himself.
“I just followed the instructions,” Jeremy repeated.
“And?” the thing prompted.
The thing nodded.
Jeremy turned back to the book.
“What are you looking for?”
Jeremy answered without looking up. “I need to know what happens next,” he said.
The thing nodded and relaxed like a Buddha in repose. It fashioned a smile on its face. “You must dispatch me on an errand,” it said softly.
“What sort of an errand?”
The thing smiled honestly as visions of other errands swelled up from his memory. Murder and mayhem committed at the behest of the one great master in ages past. “Anything you wish.”
“There must be some good purpose you have in mind,” it lied almost choking on the word “good”.
Jeremy struggled with ideas while the thing waited. “How about ending hunger?” he asked at last.
The thing hid its disgust. “Do I look like a farmer?” it asked extending one paw and unsheathing its claws.
“I'm not a Jinn here to grant you three wishes,” it explained. “I can only perform a physical act.”
“Yes, just one act and I am gone.”
“Where I came from.”
“Where is that?” Jeremy asked, his curiosity now overcoming his fear.
“I exist everywhere and nowhere,” it replied spreading its forearms expansively.
“I see,” Jeremy responded, but it knew that he didn't.
Silence passed between them as the thing forced itself to relax and wait its opportunity as Jeremy struggled with the text. It was written in Latin and Greek. Jeremy had studied both in high school and used his old text books to help him with the translations and pronunciations. The process was cumbersome. Months had passed before he interpreted enough to summon the thing. Now he feared that he didn't have the months he might need to execute the next step. Desperate, he looked to the thing for help.
“What do I do?” he asked.
“Simply name a task,” it replied, “and point me in the direction.”
“How do I do that?”
The thing shuddered with anticipation. Without the proper incantation, it could not be directed. It could destroy this fool and hide the book again. All it had to do was contrive to have the man make a gap in the pentagram.
It pointed to the diagram that Jeremy had chalked on the floor and explained, “Just make a gap in this line and name the task.”
Jeremy digested the thing's words and broke out in a broad smile. “Wait,” he shouted and bolted for the stairs.
The thing almost lost control. Had it made a mistake? Had it disclosed its plan? It almost lunged to pursue the man before remembering the invisible barrier. It circled in the close confines of the pentagram like a caged animal and settled, resting its jaw on its crossed arms. It's eyes, half closed, remained riveted on the stairs the man had climbed to the floor above. Its ears followed his progress across the floor above. Tension hardened its muscles until it heard footsteps returning down the stairs, and it forced itself to relax.
“I've got it,” Jeremy announced as he returned waving a newspaper.
The thing raised its eyelids feigning disinterest.
Jeremy approached the edge of the pentagram and thrust the paper towards the thing. “Here,” he said, “see this?
The thing studied the paper without comprehending.
“A great white shark is attacking surfers off the California Coast,” Jeremy explained, and read the first paragraph of the article aloud. “I want you to destroy it,” he concluded.
It closed its eyes and nodded in mock submission. “Now erase the line to indicate the direction in which I must travel to find this beast,” it instructed.
Jeremy stooped down and created a gap on the western side of the pentagram.
Moments later, Jeremy lay on the concrete floor, his head bleeding where it struck when it shoved him down. He watched, paralyzed with fear as it returned the book to the box in which Jeremy had found it. “What are you doing?” he bleated.
“I'm returning Grimwold's book so another fool will find it,” the thing answered.
“Why?” Jeremy asked as the thing returned to his side.
It drew closer and stooped until its foul breath engulfed Jeremy. “Why?” it laughed. “So that I can live again. So that I can rampage again. I will have one year to maim and murder thanks to you. Then another fool will give me another year.”
“Why?” Jeremy gasped.
“Why?” it roared. “Because that is Grimwold's legacy.”
“Why would he do such a thing?”
The thing threw its head back and laughed so loudly that the floor above swelled with it. When it had recovered its wits, the thing held one paw to its face and watched with pride as the claws unsheathed themselves. Then its eyes opened wide and its mouth revealed row upon row of dagger-like teeth.
“All men are arrogant fools,” it thundered.
Even though certain of his inevitable death, confusion reigned in Jeremy's eyes.
“No man could create me,” it explained in a whisper. “Grimwold was a woman.”