Sorcerer’s Supreme

June 1, 2019

I wrote this little thing for an upcoming collection of pizza-themed horror stories. Surprisingly, the competition was fierce and I was politely rejected. Like it as I do, it seems unlikely to find another home. So, I’m presenting it here for the hell of it. I was thinking of Clark Ashton Smith as I wrote it and I hope it shows. I gave it a quick tune-up, but if the formatting looks a little weird, I blame WordPress . Enjoy.


The aged necromancer staggered across the dusky highlands with the pizza carton pressed firm to his chest, wrong-wise so that it’s greasy contents sagged and dripped, for he knew not well the ways of pizza.
“Mozeroch the Black will be pleased,” he rasped. “I have travelled far indeed to bring to him this rare and precious treasure, this token of my devotion, back from the height of the age of man…”
He recalled with amusement the shop in the city of the past where the portal had led him—the smoky garish atmosphere, the loud aggressive music descending from seemingly everywhere, and the bemused and haughty glances of the workers. He was immediately fond of the place and of one worker in particular—a purple-haired mistress in a flattering black chemise. He had inquired of the occult associations of the many colorful markings covering her arms and neck. But she was shrewd and instructed him to ‘fuck off.’ Nodding, he then paid from his leathern purse perhaps an overly generous amount of raw gold and sat chanting in one of the stalls until his order was called.
A dark man in a dirty apron approached the stall carrying a large flat carton. ‘One extra-large Sorcerer’s Supreme?’ he said.
‘Mozeroch the Black thanks you’ said the necromancer as he rose to collect.
The dark man looked back at him askance, ‘Whatever, dude. You’re welcome.’
The necromancer smirked and leaned closer. ‘Oh, I am not Mozeroch the Black,’ he added.
‘No shit,’ said the dark man.

Back on the ruddy rocky highway, he pressed forward, black robes clinging heavy to his frail body, redolent with spiced meats and pungent vegetables with names unknown to the necromancer. He rounded a jagged outcropping and there he was startled to see that he was no longer alone. A band of robed men armed with swords closed around him.
“Stand down thieves!” burst the necromancer. “I am on an errand for Mozeroch!”
There was a murmur among them, then a man stepped forward, unmasking himself. He was swarthy from sun and filth and a good portion of his nose and upper lip was missing revealing a raw scar and a ruin of teeth. He prodded the pizza carton with the tip of his curved and rusty blade.
“We are not afraid of you, necromancer,” lisped the lead thief, “nor your lies.”
“And that shall be your fatal mistake,” said the necromancer, smiling cruelly.
The thief thrust his blade through the carton but the necromancer pivoted to avoid injury. The carton disgorged its contents into the red dust and landed in a mangled shape tenting the wreckage. The thief moved to strike again but stopped cold. The necromancer held in his own hand the forearm of a human skeleton with its forefinger pointed accusingly at the thief. The entire length was etched with black sigils and patterns and around it swirled a faint black mist. The other thieves called for their companion but he stood transfixed as he watched the bony fingers unfurl. A low howl stuck in the villain’s throat as the necromancer scratched his cheek. Instantly, the man’s flesh, as well as his robes, sloughed into a ghastly heap around his glistening skeleton, which, in turn, also fell.
The remaining thieves stood silent. Feeling that he was no longer threatened, the necromancer collected the sad remains of the pizza and deposited them with two hands back into the righted carton. He raised it before the thief’s liquid remains could touch it. The skeletal arm he had returned to its place beneath his robes. He had turned to resume his journey when from behind he heard a battle cry.
He ran as fast as his spindly legs would allow but it became apparent that he would never outrun his pursuers. Instead, he began a mad scramble up one of the larger rocks. If he could find a defensible position then perhaps he may yet survive.
As he climbed, he called out, “Mozeroch! I know you watch! Does it amuse you to see your faithful acolyte tortured so?! Will you not aid?! Before your prize is irredeemably spoiled?!”
The necromancer wondered why he must suffer such indignities. He could have just as well stayed in the age of men and lived like a king—nay! A god!—but he was too sensible. He knew that the universe had a way of punishing such hubris; that far more powerful forces than he lurked everywhere and the very last thing he ever wanted was to tempt their notice. At least with Mozeroch he was protected. His home was among the ruins of mankind, and never again would he know the blissful ignorance of a race so far beneath the concerns of actual gods, nor the comfort of a benevolent and conveniently invented god.
The necromancer had attained a high flat spot among the rocks and savagely he kicked at the reaching thieves. Very soon he would exhaust himself. There he noticed a peculiar shadow gathering on the dust around him. It was a barrier sigil and quickly he drew all parts of himself inside. Outside the circle, tendrils of shadows began to rise and writhe. They cohered into a smoky fog and then into an inky mass that swirled and swelled behind the invisible barrier. There were screams and then the blackness faded less quickly than it had appeared. Where the thieves were gathered at the base of the rock, there were now only mewling heaps of wet flesh and twisted bones.

Beneath the starless night, the necromancer at last came within sight of the camp and the faint green glow of the spectral fire. Whether it was actual night or the darkness that always surrounds Mozeroch, he could not be certain. It had been a long excursion and there was little left of his sunbaked senses. Not that it mattered much if it was day or night. Mozeroch never even slept; he simply sat, pondering the universe, making imperceptible changes as it suited him.
When the necromancer neared, the demon sorcerer sat so large and still that he melded with the landscape. Mercifully, he was covered by his robes. The necromancer never liked looking at his face; it always changed but was invariably hideous in ways that, he was certain, was meant to provoke him deliberately. Most times, the demon sorcerer lacked even a mouth. What interest he had in a delicacy from the ancient past was well beyond the necromancer’s understanding. Likely, it was necessary for some exotic and esoteric ritual. One doesn’t examine too closely the whims of Mozeroch.
“Part of me was a man once, long ago.” The voice came from Mozeroch but was startling in its clarity. He drew back the hood of his robes as the necromancer winced, then relaxed. Mozeroch’s face, though large and dark as an obsidian statue, also appeared sad and wise, and disarmingly human. “Before the Unraveling,” he said.
A man? The necromancer’s mind flooded with questions. He nodded gravely and set the pizza carton on a raised rock near the fire. Everything became clear. “The pizza,” he said, “is your only attachment to the forgotten world and former humanity. As a symbol, it must be destroyed if you are to continue on The Shaded Path.”
The necromancer opened the carton. Mozeroch sighed and slowly drew his hood back over his head. The pizza, of course, was an unrecognizable mess. Realizing his oversight, the necromancer closed the carton, chanted briefly, and turned it once around the rock. He opened it again and the pizza was restored and steaming as if just from the oven. Voila! he gestured.

Mozeroch sat unmoving and unimpressed. At last, he spoke in a low rumble that echoed like distant thunder, “I asked for the vegan option!”