In my forthcoming urban fantasy trilogy, I wanted to create a global demonic system, using myths and legends from around the world. The eloko demon, the grassy-haired gnomes, were a legend from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and seemed to be a perfect fit for the Demon Spring world.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Elokos live in the Congolese rainforest, and carry a bell with them to lure wives into the forest and kill them. I loved that imagery of a bell, and the hypnotism that came with it fit perfectly into Demon Spring’s existing world. Some myths had the creatures looking more like crocodiles, others had them looking more gnome-like. I went with the gnome with grassy hair for Demon Spring.
Getting Suckered In
In the book, the eloko magic uses vibrations to hypnotize victims into a false sense of security. When Jack goes to an eloko stronghold, you see him slowly get hypnotized.
“Mm,” she said. “Lord Parras is expecting you. I’ll walk you up to his office.”
Jack had seen his share of old mansions, having grown up in one. But Jack’s house paled in comparison to this place. The tinkling of a bell above put Jack at ease, reminding him of the pleasant days of his childhood. Everything began to look familiar, from the oil paintings on the wall to the oriental rugs on the floor. Even the furniture in the quaint sitting room sent Jack back to summer afternoons climbing on the antiques in his house.
“Air is thick in here,” Cam said with a frown.
“Well, it’s been a while since we’ve had humans,” Fallonne replied with a casual glance back at Jack. “And it’s been so dreadfully rainy, we haven’t had the chance to open the windows.”
Fallonne slid a single finger along the pane of glass as she ascended a grand staircase. The creak of the stair under his foot took Jack back to sliding down the bannister and getting a talking to by his father.
“You okay?” Cam asked, taking him by the arm.
“Yeah?” Jack replied. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
Fallonne led them to a pair of double doors, which she opened with little fanfare.
“Lord Parras,” Fallonne said with a deferential nod of her head. “The Division agents are here to see you.”
The man who stood seemed familiar, or at the very least, he looked like a cool guy. His ebony skin and white smile put Jack in a fine mood, as did his deep, melodious voice.
“Welcome, Agents,” said the man, clapping his hands. “I’m so very glad you could join us.”
Why were they even there in the first place? Jack couldn’t remember, but the wallpaper looked exactly the same as back home in Charleston. He opened his mouth to speak, but Cam tugged at his hand roughly. He couldn’t understand why she looked so upset until something cold and metallic pressed into his palm.
The veil lifted from his eyes and he coughed in the miasma. He blinked once, twice, then reality snapped into focus. The office walls were splattered with stains and yellowed by smoke—the stench now burning Jack’s nostrils. The carpet, too, was brown and dirty, the comfortable pattern gone.
But the man at the center had kept his slick smile and perfect suit, as well as the deep baritone voice.
“Did you bring a rookie with you?” he drawled, his voice laced with the same ringing bell that had ensnared Jack at first, but now it just sounded like a mosquito in his ear.
The little coin Cam presses into Jack’s hand is a talisman. There are five total, one for each demonic species. Cam’s family has been using them for generations, although most see them as an old wives’ tale. But the coin idea actually came from the eloko myth, where hunters would carry talismans into the forest to keep the elokos away. I ended up carrying that thread a little further in the second book, too.
Demon hunter Jack Grenard’s life changed three years ago when his wife was brutally murdered by the very demons he’d been hunting. At the urging of his partner Cam Macarro, he’s starting a new life in Atlanta, hoping he’ll find the man he used to be. But on a routine hunt, they come across a new type of demon–one that saves instead of kills.
Meanwhile, demons across Atlanta are preparing for the quadrennial uprising of their Underworld brethren. Worse yet, there’s a rumor the so-called king of the demons, Bael, will appear for the first time in over a century. Jack and Cam must uncover the truth about the mystery woman before all hell–literally–breaks loose.
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