As his eyes slid over the opening text, the words of the dedication – the words of the prayer – formed on his lips, his voice a soft whisper which he himself could not hear.

To that which dwells in the darkness that gathers in the corners of our minds,” There was a strange, sticky-sweet taste in his mouth, thick upon his tongue and faintly tinged with the taste of sulfur...

Ash did not notice that the lights overhead flickered and a sudden chill filled the air around him. He did not notice that the lights outside of the diner began to dim..

which sinks its tendrils down to the deepest depths of our hidden selves,

The lights in the diner dimmed, the shadows deepening. Still, Ash's eyes remained fixed on the words printed in the book that he held in his hands. Outside of the diner, all had grown dark.

we do now pledge our loyalty, we do now give our love, and to thee we grant our very souls,

The only person who sat within the diner now was Ash, every other customer had disappeared. There was no hostess, there was no waitress and there was no light coming from the crack under the doors that lead into the kitchen.

The diner was silent – where before there had been the crackling, far away sound of songs played on the radio, the hum of the air being forced through the heating vents and the soft murmur of the conversation of the other customers there was nothing. Only a quiet, empty void.

Sanctae Tenebrae ad nos veniunt,
Holy Darkness come to us...

There was a pressure growing in his skull now, something that pushed its way into his head from outside, that swelled within his minds and pushed at the edges of his mind...

Sanctae Tenebrae intrant nos,
Holy Darkness enter into us...

Ash's instincts screamed for him to stop. His training in the occult told him to close the book, to stop reading the words. But Ash was not in control of his actions.

Sanctae Tenebrae imple nos,
Holy Darkness fill us...

Something else had taken him. Something else moved his eyes over the letters and something else formed those same words upon his lips and upon his tongue.

“Sanctae Tenebrae consumunt nos,”
Holy Darkness consume us...

The pressure deepened, growing ever stronger. It felt like his head was full of...full of something that squirmed and writhed and buzzed in a thousand voices that spoke in a thousand tongues, none of which he could understand.

It felt like his skull was going to burst. He wanted to scream, he wanted to throw the book away from himself but he could not move his hands and he could not tear his eyes away from the page.

And the words upon the page read: Quia sumus vobis - for we belong to you... but the words that left Ash's lips were:

Ego enim ad Te pertinent!
For I belong to You.