Could it be? Why yes, it’s time for more Thrift Store Finds, the series that asks the big scientific questions, like “How do you know if you’re dating Satan?” and “What exactly is the link between masturbation and the Black Mass?” Oh sorry, did I make you blush? Well, take a deep breath, because poking the pleasure demon is the name of the game today.
Remember the time your mom found you masturbating? One minute you were just sitting in your closet, wedged between your old stuffed animals, minding your own business, so to speak, and the next you were covering your crotch in horror while your mom served out a laundry list of warnings on just what happened to bad children like you.
Turns out that if you kept up your nasty ways, you’d soon find your palms covered in so much hair you could braid them. But you wouldn’t have to worry about looking at that horrifying sight for long once you went blind. And if you still couldn’t keep your hands off, you’d soon be relieved of your sanity, which would at least take care of the extra hair and seeing problem.
It was a total bummer.
So what did you do? As you wiped your tears on the cuff of the overalls swinging above your head and hugged Mr. Fuzzy for comfort? Did you decide to stop? Did you swear off dinking your downunders forever? I bet you didn’t.
Lea didn’t stop masturbating either. And while she didn’t end up having to shave her palms, she did eventually find herself covered in blood worshiping a demon. Coincidence? I think not.
But Lea wasn’t always a sex-crazed psycho. In fact, at the beginning of Worship the Night she was the model of christian purity. It’s only after her mother dies and she discovers she’s inherited a cabin in the woods that the trouble really starts.
On the insistence of her aunt, Lea heads out to the cabin for a little R&R against her better judgement. Honestly, she’d rather just keep working her job at the library, but after having a full-on panic attack because she accidently checked out a guy’s bulge, she finally agrees to a little vacation.
At the cabin, Lea’s surprised to discover it’s much nicer than she expected. Each room is full of beautiful old furniture, and the bed is covered in red satin sheets. The only weird things are the pentagram wall hanging above the master bed and the boarded up door to the second floor that is noticeably colder than the rest of the house.
While a normal person would probably remove the wall hanging and unboard the door, Lea does neither and instead heads to bed where she drops her Bible and it explodes into a million pieces. When Lea discovers the destroyed book the next morning, she decides to go into town to buy a new one, but before she can do that, she makes the dangerous mistake of listening to some rock music.
All of a sudden, Lea finds herself wiggling around naked and worshiping the pentagram wall hanging in the bedroom. She’s horrified. How did she get here? Weak and stressed, she lays down on the bed. But there’s no rest for the weary, and soon she hears a disembodied voice whispering things like, “Consecrate your being to the God of darkness, the time of pleasure.” It’s a little stilted, but Lea gets the idea, and soon she’s “kneading the flesh of her breasts and thighs” until she begins “experiencing the waves of relaxation and contraction that heralded the commencement of her first orgasm.”
Well, as they say, “Once you commence, the fun don’t go hence,” and soon Lea is spending every night orgasming while her invisible lover yells at her to worship the night. It’s a pretty good set up. The only issue is the whole invisibility thing. But her new god has a plan for that. You see, there is a way for the Lord of Night to become flesh. It just requires a little sacrifice . . . of blood.
The problem with satanic panic books is that the oppressive christian families that the protagonists reject eventually turn out to be right. Evil is real and no matter the immediate pleasure, suffering is sure to follow. As a big fan of the red guy down under, I find this to be frustrating, but there’s no denying that’s the case here.
Even so, writer Mary Vigliante takes the time to throw out a few good points about religion. As Lea wanders around the woods in a post-orgasmic glow, she reflects on her newfound outlook. After a lifetime of not living up to the strict rules of her christian faith, she’s finally found a god that she can please.
“At last she had become a favored child in the eyes of the Lord, an obedient adherent to the law. . . . Lea had finally attained her dream; to love her deity and be loved in return.”
It’s a nice moment. Alas, it doesn’t last.
As Lea’s mania grows, she starts to rack up a body count in an attempt to please her picky invisalover. Turns out, human sacrifice is easy, but the right human sacrifice is harder than it looks. No matter how many cats she kills, campers heads she saws off, or complete massacres she undertakes (“the blood was everywhere, puddled and congealed as if the bedroom has become a slaughterhouse”), there’s always something that keeps good old Lord Night from taking his final form.
It’s clear that things are going to end in tragedy, but it’s not until Lea finally decides to explore the cabin’s second floor and confront her forgotten history that her fate is sealed. It’s a surprisingly sad, and potentially trigger warning-filled, climax. But this is a sexy satanic book, and Vigliante doesn’t forget that. Just when you think this whole episode could be filed away as insanity by way of trauma, Vigliante brings home the final act in glorious horror fashion.
After all, you know what they say about Checkhov’s demon: If you promise a flesh and blood incubus in the first act . . .
Looking for more devilish Thrift Store Finds? Give The Devil’s Footsteps a try.