Halloween II.


 

Halloween II is a direct continuation of a story I wrote for AD's Halloween Thing in 2014. You're not required to have read the original, but it might be a jolly good idea: A. Because I rather like it, and B. You'll meet the characters. However, far be it for me to insist. Suit yourself. Just don't say I didn't warn you. ;)

Like smoke in a breeze, the visceral terror I had felt talking to Mrs Alala faded as I slowly tromped back up the stairs to the flat, clutching the large wad of cash she'd given me. I kneed the door. It swung open with a groan, revealing my life as I’d chosen to live it. Pathetic.

My fiefdom comprised an L-shaped room, a shabby bathroom, and Jack, a bastard boyfriend who’d stolen my heart, and, earlier this morning, my wallet and motorbike (Oh, Jack. Where are you when I really need you?).

I was an idiot. I was a fucking Idiot!

I slammed the door with my heel, sat on the edge of the bed, examined the cash, started to giggle, then thumbed through the notes again, just to be sure.

The money was real. Mrs Alala, the canniest landlady I’d ever met, had gone off her trolley. She was obviously an idiot, too.

I looked around the place and nodded. I could get pretty much everything I owned into my rucksack. I’d leave the raggedy posters, the kettle, and the old microwave and fridge Jack and I’d salvaged from the tip. Mrs Alala was welcome to them.

Maybe I’d send her and Jack postcards when I got to wherever it was I was going.

Yes! I’d pack my stuff up and be gone well before I had to chaperone her two bloody nephews around the local area, trick-or-treating. I’d vanish, and Jack could take the flack when—or if—he decided to come back. Perfect!

Humming, I moved from the bed to my stool at the small table where Jack and I ate. The dining room, Jack called it, where ‘room’ meant the corner where the table and two stools lived. When Jack had his poker parties the table moved to the middle of the floor and the flat became ‘Jacko’s Gaff.’

I spread the notes out on the chipped veneer table top and counted them. There was more money than even the grandest of Jack’s casino nights had raked in. Daft old Alala—not that I had the slightest intention of giving her her money back.

Almost two grand! Two thousand smackers! W00T! I grinned in triumph, and was reaching for my rucksack when there was a loud whoomph and a bang from somewhere below, followed by a wailing scream and a horrendous crash.

Then the rumbling started, and the house began to shake. Gently at first, the lightbulb over the table swaying to and fro as if in a light wind, then more severely as a motherfucker of a gale came out of nowhere and began to tear the flat apart.

A mini-tornado formed by the fridge and what crockery we had was hurled into the bathroom to smash against its tiled walls. Luckily, I was holding the cash in my hand and shoved it deep into my trouser pocket, then I stumbled about emptying the dresser and bedside table drawers into my pack. Avoiding the kitchenette, I grabbed my coat and was just about to open the front door and flee, when everything stilled.

Complete silence. Not even the ever-present muted roar of traffic that Jack and I had accepted as a part and parcel of living in Mrs Alala’s poxy flat. I swallowed, trying to clear my ears, then raised a hand and clicked my fingers. Not a sound. It was almost as if time was holding its breath…. Then, there were footsteps coming up the stairs and the chattering and laughter of two boyish voices.

The world seemed to shudder as the roar of traffic on the main road reasserted itself, and time crashed back. As the footsteps started up the last flight of stairs, I looked around and nearly fainted.

The flat was immaculate. Three coffee cups sat waiting on top of a folded tea towel on the counter next to the kettle, which merrily came to a boil and switched itself off as I watched. I leaned to my left so I could see into the bathroom, which I would have sworn—on a stack of bibles—had been spectacularly demolished. Now, it was spick and span and gleamed with an otherworldly cleanliness.

I blinked furiously, then slapped myself hard on the face. Once: nothing changed. Twice: I’d seen the destruction, I’d seen it happen… yet now….

The footsteps stopped just as I was heading for the window to see if I could fit through and climb down the drainpipe.

There was a polite knock on the door. I froze. The moment seemed eternal, then there was another knock, a giggle, and I found myself appallingly, inconceivably, irrefutably hard. Obviously, too, I thought as I glanced down. Lucky I was wearing an oversized pullover.

“Told you, Marby,” a young voice said, evidently pleased.

“So you did. You also agreed to play fair, Bell.”

“Poop: You’re no fun.”

“Cheating’s not fair, Bell. If you play on someone else’s turf you follow their rules.”

“Marby?”

“Hmm?”

“He’s not….”

I grabbed the lock, turned it, and yanked the door open, glaring. Then I gawped. Light and shade and stunningly beautiful, two boys in their early teens stood before me, the blonde with a studious, serious expression, the raven sporting a wicked grin that spoke volumes.

“Hello, Marby,” I said to the blonde, then nodded to the other one whose grin was wavering. “Bell.

“Your aunt said six ‘o’ clock. You’re a bit early.”

“We are not….” Bell snarled as I held up a finger to silence him.

“Not in costume yet, no,” I said. “But I do appreciate you both flogging up the stairs to introduce yourselves.” I glanced at Marby, who gave me a small smile and a nod.

“Right then,” I said, briskly rubbing my hands together. “Please tell your aunt I’ll be down soon, and I’ll see you both downstairs. Off you go, now.” With that I shut the door in their faces, sank to my knees and inwardly wailed.

Suddenly, two thousand pounds didn’t seem like a lot of money at all.

What the fuck had I done? I’d been terrified by ‘The Exorcist’ yet here I was trying to control two actual, incarnate, Demons.

What was I supposed to do? And what had Mrs Alala been thinking of?

If I wasn’t extremely careful trick or treat 2019 would be the first example of a real demonic bloodbath in South London’s history.

I got to my feet, then realised I hadn’t heard any footsteps going back downstairs. I was about to open the door and confront them, then thought better of it. Fuck ‘em. If they wanted to stand there, listening, what did I care? I felt, rather than heard, Marby chuckle and Bell curse—though how I knew which was which stumped me. I held my breath and wished them away… and heard giggles and footsteps running down the stairs.

A loud banging, raised voices, a slam, then blessed silence. Slowly, I breathed out.

Much as I wished I could wind back time to before Jack had left, and much as I wished I’d slept with my wallet and bike key firmly clasped in my hand, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I had to face facts, and the facts were these: I’d done a deal with Mrs Alala, and it was more than likely Alala equated to the devil. A devil? The Devil? I didn’t know, but I had a strong suspicion that if I didn’t fulfil my side of the bargain I wouldn’t end up a happy chappy―or any sort of chappy at all―come the end of the day.

I looked out of the window, longingly. Note to future self: the window is big enough to get through and there is a drainpipe. I sighed, had a wash, then put on my black jeans, black t-shirt and black leather jacket. I kept the money with me—because who knew what sort of chances might offer themselves up while taking two demons trick-or-treating—and went downstairs.

“Ah, there you are, dear,” Mrs Alala said as she opened the door, ushering me in. “Bell was getting worried, weren’t you sweety?”

Bell glowered at us from next to the piano. I almost laughed. He was wearing a white Angel's toga along with matching leather sandals and belt from which a short sword hung in an ornate golden scabbard. As a costume it was fine. The oddity was a collar around his neck, from the back of which a rod stood up, supporting a gold halo suspended high above his raven hair. As I watched he locked eyes with me and I knew I’d made a terrible mistake.

Bell wasn’t glowering at Alala.

Bell was seething with hatred for me.

My blood began to rapidly heat; my heart started pounding, and from it I felt small creatures begin wriggling down my arteries. More and more, and faster and faster they inundated my body, until my blood had been exchanged for the living, writhing embodiment of Bell’s evil.

His eyes held me―a rigid, quivering, wreck of a man―until I was so damaged my body began to destroy itself from the inside out and the outside in. My hair dropped off in large clumps, my face erupted in boils that exploded as the surrounding flesh began to melt. And the pain… the pain! I couldn’t move, couldn’t scream, couldn’t….

Bell’s head jerked hard upwards and as his eye contact broke, a warm hand slid into mine suffusing me with power. With a gasp, I snapped back to reality and the pain vanished as if it had never been.

Marby, wearing the exact opposite of Bell’s costume, slid his other arm around my waist and squeezed. “I’ll look after you, Brian,” I heard, though his lips didn’t move. He let me go and stood back.

“You witnessed this, Alala,” Marby said, his voice suddenly much deeper. “Bell broke the compact. Remove him.”

“I… I cannot, my lord.” Alala said, cowering and backing to the door.

“Cannot?” Marby asked. “Cannot? You allowed this to happen, Alala. In this, a sacred space granted to you and yours by my father.” Marby grew in stature until his horns hit the ceiling, gossamer black wings unfurling behind him and shielding me from Bell.

“Tell me, Alala, why shouldn’t I have you removed from this plane?”

“Because you don’t have the power!” Bell said, growing rapidly to a stature matching Marby's. Together they almost filled the room. I sidled over and stood next to Mrs Alala, who had, quite sensibly I thought, her hand on the door knob.

“Eighty five to thirty six, Marbas,” Bell's deep voice sneered, “Eighty five to thirty six!”

I looked up at Marby, who didn’t seem worried in the slightest. He winked at me!

“Eighty five to thirty six, Beleth. I grant you you’re right. But you forget where you are.

“We came here for a night of frolics and fun, and yet you always want more.” Marby sounded sad. “You never play the game, Bell.”

“But I….”

“Too Late,” Marby said, then waved his hand. “Begone.”

With what I heard as an indignant squark and a loud pop, Bell vanished.

I turned to Mrs Alala who seemed to shake herself and become, once again, the landlady I knew. Then, somewhat timorously, I looked at Marby and watched him change back to the teenager he had been when we first met, minutes—or hours?—before,though he was still wearing his devil's costume and sporting a cute pair of horns.

The house seemed to breathe in relief.

“Umm... shall we go trick-or-treating, then?” I asked. Grinning, Marby nodded.

“If that’s okay with you, Aunt?”

“Go, go, the pair of you,” Mrs Alala said. “But promise to be back before the witching hour.”

“Promise,” Marby and I said in unexpected unison, and laughed.

I opened the door and waved Marby through.

“After you,” I said.

“No, no, no,” Marby said. “Age before beauty.”

“Why, thank you,” I said walking out in front of him, and snickered. “Remember: doggies follow their masters.”

Marby growled. I swear to god, he growled, and in my head I heard a smiling ‘just you wait, Brian. Just you wait.’

 




'Halloween II' by Camy
(written in October 2019 for the AwesomeDude.com Halloween thing.)

With thanks to those who know who they are.
Any mistakes are mine, and mine alone.

*****

Feedback would really be appreciated!

You can email me at: camy.sussex[at]gmail.com

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