The stairs were covered in moss, so Diego and I had to be absolutely sure about our footing. As we gingerly descended, we kept having to grab on to vines and other wall protrusions to keep from tumbling head first down the rest of the stairs. I had never felt so foolish going into my basement, but the last couple of days had changed how I feel about a lot of things.
"When we bought this place, did you ever think that this is where we'd end up? Going into the basement to slay a demon, armed only with a whip made of some vine and two axes?" Diego chuckled to himself as he spoke. The situation definitely had a sense of black humor about it. I felt like I was in a very bad B-movie.
At least we'd come out alive, though, so that was good. I had a girlfriend, so she would survive. Cliff and Sal, though.... Well, Sal may already be dead. That snapped me back to the present as I arrived at the bottom of the stairs. There was some sort of low humming coming from around the corner and towards the center of the basement, but I couldn't quite decipher what it was. Either way, it was rather unnerving.
We peeked around the corner and almost fell over in pure shock. What we saw, clear in the exact center of the cellar, was Tandamum with some sort of circle drawn around him on the floor, which didn't really bother me once I realized who the body bound and gagged (still unconscious) at the statue's feet was: Sal. I couldn't really make anything else out, as most of the neighborhood was down here, sitting cross-legged with their backs to us. The low hum was coming from them. Some sort of chanting, I supposed.
"Holy shit, Jay! It's fucking Tandamum!" Diego exclaimed in a whisper when he got around to seeing the demon-worship.
"Don't worry, dude. It's just a statue; it's not like that's actually him! Also, Jay? What the fuck?" I whispered back.
"I don't know, I'm experimenting with new things. Also, it totally could be, dude!"
"What? Are you dumb? Why would you think that?" I was getting kind of annoyed, as we needed to focus on getting Sal away from the statue, and our crazy cultist neighbors, not whether the dead body of the ultimate evil was petrified in front of us, or just a statue. Diego lightly punched me in the back of the head.
"Dipshit! Tandamum, Pacifi, and all of their people were made of stone!" I flashed back to Allendriel's story. Shit, he was right. My right bicep received a pinch.
"Ow! Cut the shit, dickhead! You already made your point!" I hissed, rubbing the impact site with my other arm.
"What the fuck are you talking about?"
"You pinched me! Or bit me. Either way, ow!"
"Dude. Why would I go for such a girly move immediately after punching you in the back of the goddamn head?"
I looked down into my arms again and realized that since entering the basement, I was missing a lot of things that were going on around me. For example, that creepy garden gnome with the smile with too many teeth was the real culprit, having sunk its needlelike teeth into my arm. It grinned at me.
"What do you want? To offer some unwarranted criticism, too? Too bad, I'm full up on that precious commodity. Pick something else."
It seemed to ponder that for a few seconds and then shrieked a "Pik pik!" before sinking its teeth in once again. I screamed and started flailing around.
"Flex! Flex your muscles! It'll make him explode!" Diego shouted, being less helpful than I'm sure he thought he was being.
"It's not a goddamn mosquito, Diego! It's-" I began screaming back.
"Yeah, it's a demonic garden gnome with syringes of who knows what for teeth that works for the Ultimate Evil, and it's trying to kill us! I'm sorry I didn't read the guidebook a million times to get the proper method of killing it!" I wanted to deck him, but I started hitting the garden gnome instead. It just held fast.
"Stand back-I mean still! Stand still!" Diego roared, lifting one of his axes up high above his head. Shit, he was really going to do it, so I did the only thing I could think of doing: act on impulse. I'm going to also take a moment here to let you know that I have always had very, very poor impulse control, which explains why instead of screaming and moving, I screamed and punched him in the nose instead.
"Oh, god! My nose!" He immediately dropped the axe to the ground with a clang, and put both hands to his nose to check for bleeding.
"Relax, dude! Relax! It's not broken!" I went to offer as much assistance as I could, but he waved me away with his elbows. Turning from me and muttering, Diego tilted his head back toward the ceiling. I don't think he believed me about his nose being broken, but one crisis at a time. Before that, I would have to deal with-
"Oh, sweet merciful goodness! I think it sunk its teeth in even further!"