Monday, December 31, 2007
Six tall pillars in a wide circle characterise the Georgian aspect of the mausoleum. Harold pushes the door open, aware that the daylight is slipping away into dusk and he really doesn’t want to be here at nightfall. The creak of disused hinges echoes down the staircase and is complemented by a cascade of dust from the sepulcher above. Harold treads carefully, aware that noise upsets the occupants and he’d rather remain on the very best of terms with them. At the bottom of the steps he takes the lantern from the niche in the supporting column and lights it from a zippo carried for the purpose. He raises it high enough to reveal the three occupants of the tomb, their faces expectant though their bodies have long since rotted away. Harold smiles: “Happy New Year.”
Sunday, December 30, 2007
“My dad had one of those, back in the seventies.”
Winston looked up, using the distraction as an opportunity to fold the chamois over whatever miniscule dust motes it had picked up from the waxed surface. “One of these?” he said, looking up at the speaker. He took in the long legs and the briefcase and relaxed. Henry Gardner, from three doors down, was no-one to be afraid of.
“Yes, a Ford Zephyr, if I’m not mistaken.” Henry pushed his glasses up his nose. “Mark three?”
“Six.” Winston stood up and gave the wing a last wipe. “I picked it up for fifty quid, spent three hundred on parts and now I’m selling it for three grand.”
“Sweet.” Henry opened his briefcase. “Then you’ll want accidental damage insurance while it sells,” he said. “Neighbourhood like this one, anyone could drop a can of paint stripper on it from a high rise.”
Winston looked up at the clear blue sky. The nearest block of flats was in White City, thirty miles away. His eyes narrowed. “Was that a threat?”
Henry grinned. “Just an observation.”
“Good.” Winston read through the sheet and altered the figures with Henry’s own red pen. “Four grand cover for a fiver premium?” he said. “I’ll take it.”
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Jasfoup frowned and turned away. “There’s nothing I can do,” he said, handing the parchment to Harold. “He has the cachet from Lord Belphegor.”
“So that’s it?” Harold smoothed out the parchment and read it over. “You’ve just been recalled to Dis with this chap as your replacement?”
“In a nutshell.” The new demon clicked his heels together. “Nice to meet you, Sir. The name’s Lifkadil.” He held out a hand that Harold ignored.
Harold glared at him. “I don’t care what you’re name is. You’re not staying. I’ll ask my dad for a higher cachet to make you stay.”
Friday, December 28, 2007
It was a mark of Harold’s good nature that he retained his temper despite the frustration offered by a post office clerk who insisted that he should pay an extra £1.16 to receive his mother’s Christmas card four days late. “Don’t you have a duty to deliver them?” he asked, “I know for a fact that my mother would have put a stamp on it.” He looked at piece of paper thrust at him through the slit in the reinforced glass. “It was in an outsized envelope?” Harold stared at the beady eyes of the clerk. “My mother is seventy six,” he said, “I doubt she would have been able to tell the difference in the stamps.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
“What are you wearing, Harold?” Jasfoup put down his plastic-covered tuxedo and did his best to stifle the laughter. “Those look like pantaloons.”
“I feel a right loon an’ all.” Harold risked a glance at himself in the mirror. “When I agreed to the leading part in the village Boxing Day play I didn’t realise they were staging Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein.’ Van Helsing has a lot to answer for.”
“I don’t think Helsing is in Frankenstein,” said Jasfoup. “Are you sure you have that part?” He picked up the program and thumbed through it for the cast list.
“Who else could it be? Doctor Khan has the role of the deranged scientist.” He lowered his voice. “Typecasting, if you ask me. Why are you laughing?”
“You’re still peeved about him taking your tonsils out,” said Jasfoup.
“I was eleven years old and they were perfectly healthy. Anyway, I’m not peeved at all. They grew back.”
“I’m not laughing about that,” said Jasfoup. “I’ve looked at the casting. You’re not playing van Helsing. You’re playing the monster.” He laughed again. “Look on the bright side. You won’t need make up.”
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The imp’s forehead creased in utter puzzlement. “For me?” he repeated, his paw hovering over the golden paper and ribbon of the gift wrapped box. “But nobody ever gives a gift to an imp.”
“They do now.” Harold grinned and nodded at him to open it. “I’ve got gifts for Delirious and John, too.”
“More fool you.” Devious sliced through the ribbon with a claw and stashed it in his pouch. There was no telling when it would come in useful. The foil paper went the same way, leaving him with an uninterrupted view of the box.
“Belphegor’s Finest Selection,” he read. “Our luxury box of mixed chocolate-dipped live rodents.” The imp looked up at his master and grinned. “Thank you Master,” he said, pulling off the lid to expose the tiny cages. “Can I tempt you with a marzipanned gerbil?”
“Ah.” Harold rubbed his stomach. “I’m still full from the Christmas Morning breakfast but it’s a difficult decision to say no.”
Monday, December 24, 2007
“Where’s Harold?” asked Jasfoup, staggering through the kitchen door with an armful of presents. “I need him to give me a hand.”
“He’s otherwise occupied,” said Julie. “Can I help?”
“I doubt it,” said Jasfoup. “Some of these are a bit heavy for a delicate soul like yourself.”
“I’d rather not,” said Jasfoup. “Not with carrying presents, anyway.” He winked, causing Julie to blush. “Where is he then? In the toilet with a magazine?”
“Actually,” said Julie, “I think he’s shagging Gillian.”
“Yes?” Jasfoup took out his notebook. “Do you think that ‘with a vampire’ counts as necrophilia?”
Saturday, December 22, 2007
"Abaddon Rising," my new book of poetry is available HERE for FREE download or paperback printing at cost (I take no revenue from it at all). It actually costs about £10 for printing and postage to the UK - I don't know about other countries. If you do order a copy - either free download or paid printing, or even if you just click the link to look at the pretty cover, please click on the rating and give me a few stars. You know you like the poems; 99% of them are reprints of my morning poetry over the last year.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Gillian lay back against the chaise-longue and dropped a tidbit into the mouth of the silver-grey wolf at her side. Harold turned away, reluctant to see his would-be wife lick the red stain from her fingertips before selecting another morsel from the bloody bowl at her side. She was interested in the meat only as a means for transferring the viscous, still-warm liquid to her mouth, much as a soup-eater might use bread to eat his soup without consuming the bread itself. “Really, Gillian,” he said. “I find it difficult to ignore your unsociable desires when you take blood in such a fashion. Can’t you take it from a glass like everyone else?”
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
“I think Gilbert has become unbalanced. I can’t say I’m that surprised – it can’t be easy giving up everything you’ve ever known for the sake of spending a little more time with your loved ones – especially when you’re barely on speaking terms with them.”
Edith poured two cups of tea, holding the pot high in the air to encourage bubbles. “Not on speaking terms? Of course we are. He just hasn’t realised yet that I’ve stopped not talking to him.”
“Is that really wise?” asked Julie. “Your husband has passed on. He should go into the light rather than remain down here.”
“I don’t think he wants to dear. I think he wants to make my life as miserable as his was.” Edith looked up. “Sugar?”
“Yes please, just the one,” said Julie. “He’s gone again. He’s not listening to a word you say.”
“Eh? What?” Edith stirred her tea, chuckling. “That’s because he’s probably still deaf from the skewer I stuck through his ears and into his brain.”
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights Genesis 7:12
It wasn’t just rain.
When God reversed the polarity of the earth and caused the waters to fall, Lucifer wept for the loss of Creation. Eden, long since abandoned and overgrown since the fall of man, was swept under the waves as the four rivers swelled, the twin trees of Life and Knowledge lost forever beneath the waves. With the waters pouring in from the Ur valley, the whole delta that witnessed the birth of humanity would rest forever under a mountain of silt. He wept for man, for the Wretched, those experiments abandoned by God and cast out from the garden to suffer, immortal, on the backs of the Red Sea and the animals. He wept for the dragons and the unicorns and the children of the angels. He wept for the loss of his children.
“Wait a minute.” Harold held up a hand to stop Jasfoup in the middle of his tale. “The flood supposedly killed everyone except Noah, his boys and their wives didn’t it?”
The demon nodded. “That’s right,” he said. “It’s scripture. So it is written. You can’t argue with it because that would be like trying to knock down a brick wall with your head when you know that behind the brick wall is another brick wall.”
“Right.” Harold creased his brow in concentration. “And we know that the flood occurred after Noah’s sons were married but before their children were born?”
“So it is written,” said the demon, grinning.
“But Methuselah was born before Noah and lived until after Noah’s grandkids were born. He wasn’t on the boat, so that means he survived the flood.”
Jasfoup nodded. “Well spotted,” he said. “But try telling that to the Church and you’ll be branded a heretic quicker than you can say ‘What’s that petrol-y smell?’”
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Valerie pressed herself flat against the wall and used a silvered fingernail to see around the corner. He was there, crouched behind the arm of a sofa, his gaze fixed on the opposite end of the hall. She looked up. The hallway was too wide for her to comfortably brace herself across but the picture rail running above her had had possibilities if she was willing to leave fingerprints. Shucking off her gloves, her fingertip hold on the antique rail was enough leverage to swing her whole body up until she was stood on the half-inch rail, her hands exerting just enough pressure on the ceiling to keep her balance as she inched around the corner and dropped down on him. She pressed two fingers to his temple as an imaginary gun. “Caught you,” she said, “now it’s your turn to hide.”