Pentagramatical Put Down

The incantations were read. The chicken slaughtered.  

And Deborah waited, trembling. For a thunderous crash, the stench of brimstone and then-she hastily touched up her lipstick, she would be his. To do with as he pleased. Whenever he pleased. 

And in exchange: power. Beauty. So no man would dare spurn her again. Never. Oh how she’d make them grovel. Squirm. Beg to be her slave.

Starting with Dominic in accounts. That prick-

It was begun.  

Inside the pentagram a small grey cloud had appeared. Every second it grew larger, fizzling and crackling as it coalesced and took shape.

Finally, after months of painstaking preparation her moment had come and shit, she hoped he wouldn’t be too rough.

Too late now. The cloud had disappeared. There he stood. Her master. Lover-

Yawning, a can of lager in one hand, fag in the other. In jogging bottoms and a faded t-shirt.

Frowning, Deborah said, ‘You’re the…?

A belch. A nod.

Deborah threw open her robe, ‘Then take me,’ she gasped, ‘Body and soul I am yours.’

The Devil sighed, said, ‘No thank’s love,’ and vanished.


Forgive and Forget

Tim knew kids could be bastards, but Christ- the way the little shit kept turning up, like a fucking jack in the box. Sometimes Tim’d be watching the match and the cunt would pop out from behind the telly, nearly giving him a heart attack and making him spill his Chinese all over the sofa.

Or he’d be desperate for a shit, but couldn’t go because the kid would be sat in the bathroom sink. The other day Tim found him hiding in some rubbish-pale face grinning out of a slit in a black bin bag with coffee grains in his hair and half a chip squashed on his head.

The little fucker.

Honestly, it was too much.

No wonder he drank. And now he’d read in the paper that the kids mum had done herself in.  Jumped off a motorway bridge. Caused an almighty pile up. Bit selfish that really. 

‘Course she’d probably try to blame that on him too. And it’d be just his luck if she starting turning up too. Then there’d be the pair of them giving him evils.

Not his fault. The kid should have been looking where he was going.  Everyone said so.

Try telling that to him though. Little bastard just stares- head all fucked up and at the wrong angle. And he wouldn’t accept an apology. You could scream sorry till you were blue in the face and nothing.

Well enough. He had  a plan. A moments pain and he’d never have to see that little face again. And speak of the devil. There he was, sat across the table. Full of spite.

So do it.

And Christ it hurts. It hurts like fuck but it’s done. And let the tears come. Not ’cause of the pain but the relief, God that relief. Like nothing on earth. And see, the dark isn’t so bad.

It’s a fresh start that’s what it is. Everyone deserves that don’t they? No matter what terrible things they’ve done. Forgive and forget. Wipe the slate clean.

He’ll have to get one of those canes. Learn to see by touch: there, it’s not too bad. Wooden table top-the surface greasy, grains of dirt caught in the grooves. Empty bottle, glass still warm in places. Ash tray. Cup-

A hand. Tiny cold fingers locking onto his. Tight. Like they’re never going to let go.





He’s hankering for a tip. Going on about how I’m the last pick up of the night and how lucky I am because most taxi drivers would never stop in this neighbourhood, what with all the bag heads and crack whores and-shaking his head, what was I thinking walking around here in a nice suit like that?
Business trip I tell him. Needed a walk after a long flight. Got lost.
Our eyes meet in the rear view mirror. I look away.
That’s when I see her, face down in the middle of the road. I scream stop, but it’s too late. The taxi jolts like we’ve gone over a speed bump. He slams the brakes and we skid to a stop.
His face is white. I guess mine is too. We’re both breathing hard.
I reach for the door handle.
He asks me what I’m doing. He says he has four kids. A mortgage. He can’t afford to lose his licence over some smack head and think about it-she’s probably dead. Maybe she was dead before we hit her.
Then, quietly, he says they’ll be questions. It could make the papers. And they’ll want to know what I was doing in that part of town.
I want to tell him that she’s a human being-that we have a moral obligation to help, that if we do nothing then we’ve as good as murdered her, but my mouth is so dry the words won’t come out and then it’s too late anyway because the taxi is pulling off and the next morning, when my hands won’t stop shaking, I tell my wife I must have caught a cold.


A Crack in Time

Maureen Selby -til number three, took off her do’ers and put on see’rs. She had thought that the group of rampaging down the grocery aisle were on a stag do, in fancy dress. But now that they were in focus, she could how wrong she had been. Especially since one of them had just looped off the security guards head.

She should have known something wasn’t right when that robot had come in earlier trying to shop lift a can of oil. It had kept going on and on about being sucked through a ‘temporal vortex’. She’d just presumed it had been art students playing a prank.

Maureen wondered if she should run for it. She doubted she’d get very far though. Her arthritis had been playing up all week and the Mongolians who had just materialised by the DVD’s were clutching bows and arrows. Not that she thought they’d be too concerned with her, seeing as how they were busy fending off the cave men who had just that second come tearing round the corner from the Health and Beauty aisle, but you never knew.

The cave men, as far as Maureen could tell from the pile up, had been running from a band of Vikings who, in turn, had been fleeing four men in space suits. One of whom pointed his ray gun at Maureen and said, if her ears were not very much mistaken, that he was looking for a ‘wormy hole’.

The cheeky sod.

She had a good mind to go and give him a right earful, but at that exact moment the shouts of battle were silenced by an almighty popping sound that seemed to come from somewhere high overhead. It was followed by a flash of purple light, a gust of howling wind and when Maureen opened her eyes the supermarket was empty.

Maureen stared at the pools of blood.

Management would probably want her to help clean up the mess. Well they could bugger off.

The Well

Hooves pounded the desert sand. The rider said he’d come to drink the waters, that he’d heard the legends and followed an ancient map. And was it all true and was this the place?
Smiling, blind and toothless, the old man led him to a cave in the hills and showed him the well. The rider drank deep. The old man sighed and crumbled into dust.
Later, the rider stood in the porch of the old man’s tent-his tent and listened to the night wind making the canvas awnings flutter and flap. He sat. And waited.


The Fairy Ring

For six cold nights Beth made a bed inside the fairy ring and wept for the return of her lost love.

As the moon rose on the fourth night, whispering voices bade her go and offered her fine things. On the fifth Peter was returned, but he would not leave the circle and when he spoke, his eyes were far away.

On the last night, Beth sang of their home and child and smiling, Peter took her hand. Alas, scarce three steps beyond the stones, he crumpled into leaves which a spiteful wind blew far and wide.

The Serum

‘Any women in here?’ said the little man as he peered into the bar.

The bartender shook his head. The little man rushed in, dived under a table and said, ‘Whiskey. And for the love of God, please lock the door.’

It had been a slow night, so the bartender thought, what the hell. When he heard the lock click shut, the little man crawled out of his hiding place and dashed up to the bar.

‘Hell of a shiner,’ said the bartender, admiring the little man’s swollen right eye. His nostrils were bloodied too. Shirt ripped. Trousers torn at the waist.
The little man gulped back the whiskey.

‘Another.’ he said.

He knocked that one back too. And after about a minute his hands stopped shaking.

‘My life’s work,’ he said, leaning across the bar, ‘A serum, that makes you irresistible to women. Tonight, I tested it on myself. It works. Oh God it works.’

‘Oh yeah?’ said the bartender, ‘Got any left?’

The little man’s eyes widened.

‘You don’t understand,’ he said, ‘It’s irreversible. One swig and your chemical makeup is changed forever. All it takes is for a woman, any woman to get within one foot of me and they will go crazy, literally crazy with desire.’

‘Sounds like paradise.’

‘That’s what I thought,’ the little man began to sob, ‘But there’s a side effect- you can’t get it up.’