Category Archives: Short story

A Visit from the Exorcist

“Through there, Father,” Mabel stopped at the door.  “He’s in there.”

The priest looked at the door.  It was labelled ‘Jimmy’s Room’ and covered with stickers and posters, most of them issuing dire warnings to trespassers.  Teenagers!

He twisted the handle and pushed the door open.  A noisome smell hit him in the face as he stepped into the boy’s bedroom.  But then again, that was nothing out of the ordinary.  Old socks and underwear, half-finished meals, shoved under the bed and forgotten.

On the bed lay Jimmy, his hands and ankles strapped to the bedframe.  He writhed as the shadow of the priest fell over him, eyes wide and rolling.  He growled deep in his throat, his words muffled by the tea towels that formed a makeshift gag.

Mabel lingered in the doorway, wringing her hands.  “We – we had no other choice, Father.  We thought he might hurt himself.  Or somebody else.”

The priest nodded.  “How long has he been like this?”

Mabel shook her head.  “It all came to a head about a week ago.  Oh, he’d been acting strangely for weeks beforehand but we never thought nothing of it.  You know: teenagers.  Rolling his eyes, slamming the doors, stomping around.  You know.  But then he started saying these terrible things.  Just awful, shocking things.  And we thought he was only showing off, saying it for effect, you know.  And we thought, well, we won’t give him the reaction he wants, we’ll just ignore him.  Well, he kept on at it, didn’t he?  Getting worse and worse and worse.  The things he comes out with!  Enough to make your hair curl.  And I began to think, that’s not my Jimmy saying those terrible things.  That’s not my boy at all.”

The priest exhaled.  He had heard it all before.  He fished a well-worn, leatherbound Bible from his bag and straightened the narrow stole that hung around his neck.  Then he reached for the gag.

Mabel let out an anguished cry.

The priest looked over his shoulder.  “It’s all right, Mrs Bevan; I’ve heard worse, I can assure you.”

He loosened the tea towels and hooked them under the boy’s chin.  Jimmy’s tongue lapped at the air like a thirsty dog.  He fixed the priest with a wide-eyed stare and laughed.  It was like the devil being tickled.

“Stop the boats!” Jimmy roared in a deep and guttural voice.  “Stop the fucking boats!  Send them all back!  We don’t want them coming over here, taking our jobs.  Claiming our benefits.  Close the borders!  Stop the fucking boats.”

Jimmy flinched as the priest sprinkled him with a spritz of holy water.  The priest replaced the gag.

“It’s quite a severe case, Mrs Bevan, I have to say.”

Mabel clutched at the priest’s forearm.  “Can you do anything for him, Father?”

The priest closed his eyes and took in a deep breath, steeling himself before he gave his answer.  Then, when he spoke, it was in a deep and guttural voice.

“Stop the boats, Mrs Bevan!” he cackled.  “Stop the fucking boats!”

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Close Season

“So all we have to do is pull down the shutters, turn off the lights and that’s it for another season.”  Jeff, hands on hips, turned to his teenaged apprentice, who didn’t appear to be particularly interested.  At least he had taken out his ear-pod things.  This counted as progress, in Jeff’s view.

“And then what?” Toby grunted.  Jeff’s eyebrows raised: showing an interest!  Progress indeed!

“And then we get to go home until the spring,” said Jeff.  “That is, if they decide they want to reopen the place next year.”

“Why wouldn’t they?” Toby glanced around.  “This place is kinda cool.”

Jeff chuckled.  “I knew you’d like it.  You kids are into all this, aren’t you?  Serial killers.  What do you call them, flashers?”

“Slashers!” Toby rolled his eyes but the curve of his lips showed he was amused.  “And yeah.  I mean, it’s not the murders.  It’s part of local history, isn’t it?  Heritage and what not?”

“You’re right.”

“So, why would they want to close the place down?  And who are ‘they’ anyway?”

“They are the town council.  And, to tell you the truth, business hasn’t been great for a couple of years now.  The victims are all but forgotten.  Footfall has dropped considerably.  We are nowhere near back to where we were before the pandemic fucked everything up for the industry.”

Toby nodded.  He looked around.  The gift shop, in shadows, boasted tea-towels with a likeness of the killer’s mask, his name slashed in red diagonals.

Demon Blade.

There were Demon Blade pencils, bookmarks, and statuettes made of resin.  There was even an alarm clock that played the theme from Psycho to get you out of bed in the morning.

Out there, beyond the windows they were about to shutter, was the site of the murders.  A massacre, really.  Twenty-two teenagers cut to ribbons during one night’s rampage through the campsite.  It was like a film.

But that was a long time ago.  Interest had waned.  Demon Blade had long since disappeared.  He’d be a geriatric by now, if he was still around.  He could be anyone.  The elderly neighbour shuffling to the end of his path to pick up his newspaper.  The old guy at the bar, complaining about kids today and the weather.  Or he could have gone to meet his maker long since.

“Give me a hand?” Jeff stretched up to pull down a shutter.  “Hand me that pole.”

Toby turned around.  Leaning against the wall was a long pole with a hook on the end.  The curve of metal glinted suggestively in a beam of sunlight.  Its intended use was to pull down the metal shutters which could then be padlocked to the floor.

It would be a crying shame if those shutters were never to be raised again…but if there were more murders, another killing spree, the tourists would come flocking…

“Today would be nice,” Jeff prompted impatiently.  “Earth to Toby…”

Toby shook himself and handed over the pole.  He didn’t know what had prompted such dark thoughts.  He shivered.  Perhaps the ghost of Demon Blade had whispered in his ear.

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Filed under horror, Short story

Age Difference

Aggie surveyed the spread before her and suppressed a sigh.  The table was piled high with presents and bottles of champagne.  The centrepiece was a massive cake bearing only one candle.  Beside the table, Josh stood blushing, nervously biting his lip.

Impatience got the better of him.  “Well?” he prompted.

Aggie smiled but her eyes were sad.  “You needn’t have gone to all this trouble.”

“You’re worth it!” Josh took her leathery hands in his.  “Nothing’s too much trouble for my best girl.”

Aggie pulled away.  “Don’t be silly.”

“And I know you don’t celebrate birthdays any more but I had to mark the occasion somehow.”

This time, the sigh did escape Aggie’s lips.  She heaved herself onto a chair, bones creaking, and reached for the nearest present.  It was small and square.  Her arthritic fingers clawed at the wrapping paper.  “What’s this?”

“Open it!”

“I’m trying!”

Josh reached over to help.  He slid a CD from the shiny paper.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a compact disc,” he said, rather patronisingly.  “It’s got music on it.”

“Oh?” Aggie scowled.  She held the CD up to her ear.  “I think it’s faulty.”

“No –” Then Josh saw she was teasing him.  She peered at the lettering.

“Songs from the war… What makes you think I’d want to hear them?”


But Aggie was reaching for the next present.  “A biography of Vera Lynn…”

“My nan loves her!”

Aggie fixed him with a glare.  “I am not your nan!”

“No, no!” Josh spluttered.  “I didn’t mean –”

“Is that why you took up with me?  Because I remind you of your old nan?”

Aggie pushed away from the table and tottered away on her walking stick.  “It’s – This —  Between us, it’s not working.  I want to break up.”

“NO!” Josh cried, tears brimming.  “Let’s talk about this.  I love you!”

“Love?” Aggie scoffed.  “You don’t even know me.  Songs from the war?  Fuck off.  Songs from the Peloponnese War would be more appropriate.”


“Vera Lynn?  Vera fucking Lynn!”

“I can take it back!  I’ve kept the receipt.”

“Oh, you stupid fool.  You stupid young fool.  Did you really think you and I were together?  A love match?”

“I – I thought things were going that way…”

“Oh, my poor, sweet, stupid boy.”  Aggie reached up to cup his cheek.  The gesture turned to a slap, but a gentle one.  “I was just using you.  For my rebirth.”


Aggie dropped her walking stick.  Her spine straightened.  She grew, her limbs elongating, until she had to stoop, her neck pressing against the ceiling. Wings sprouted from her shoulder blades and stretched to opposite corners.  Josh cowered in terror.

“The time has come!” Aggie announced, her voice booming, no longer the scratchy squawk he was used to.  She lashed out a claw, a real claw not an arthritic facsimile.  Josh’s throat opened in a red gash.  He dropped to his knees.  Her second swipe took off his head.

“And that is why, you young fool, you should only go out with girls your own age.”

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“Please have a seat.”

“Thanks.  Don’t mind if I do.”

“Ha-ha.  There’s water there, if you need it.”

“No, I’m fine.”

“Good.  Well, let’s get started, shall we?”

“*clears throat* Fire away!  Ha-ha.”

“Ha-ha!  Right, well, let’s not beat around the bush.”


“Let’s get right to it.  Why do you want to offer yourself up for ritual sacrifice?”

“Well, um, it’s, ah, well, it would be such an honour for my family.  And a privilege for me.

“Yes, yes.  Go on.”

“I mean, to be able to make a difference.  To make things better.  For people.  Times have been tough all over, as I’m sure you’re aware.”

“You can say that again!”

“Um, do I have to?”

“No, it’s just an expression.  Carry on.”

“Well, um, like I say, it’s a chance to make things better.  And it’s not just about increasing the harvest. My blood enriching the soil.  It’s about attracting whadymacallit it to the region – investment!  Job creation.  All of that kind of thing.  And it’s a return to the old ways.  People like that, don’t they?  Tradition.  The old values.”


“We shouldn’t have got rid of them in the first place, if you ask me.  I mean, we had them for a reason, didn’t we?  All those old ways.  Those…practices.”


“So, um, I think it will put us on the map.  That’ll get the tourists flocking.  It’s a win-win all around, I think.”

“Yes.  Now, what about the pain?  Do you think you’ll be able to stand it?”

“Well, up to a point, yes!  And then, after that, I won’t care, because I’ll be dead, won’t I?”

“Yes, you will.  Ha-ha.”

“But I’ll die happy in the knowledge that I’ve made a difference.  I’ll have done my bit.  For others.”

“I like your attitude.  And payment?”


“Where should we send your fee for this service – should you prove successful, of course?”

“Um.  To my mum.  She’ll be bowled over.  Anything to save her from that food bank.”

“Right.  Well.  I think I’ve heard enough.  A pleasure to meet you.  We have got other candidates to see, but between you, me, and the gallows post, you’re in with a chance!”

“Oh!  Right!  Thank you, thank you.  It was all quite painless really, wasn’t it?”

“Yes.  Well, this bit, anyway.  Ha-ha!”


“We’ll let you know before the moon is fat.”

“Right.  Thank you.  Bye.”


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Filed under Short story

It’s not YOU, it’s ME

You have been a worthy adversary, I’ll give you that.  And a fan favourite – I’ve seen what they all post online.  If anyone’s going to take me down, that all want it to be you.  Of course, there’s the fan fiction, putting us together in all kinds of sexy situations – some of them so perverted not even my character could come up with them!  So of course, it’s all heading to the final showdown.  Just you and me on the rooftop.  And only one of us is going to come down using the elevator!

But I didn’t murder my way through four seasons just for you to do me in and put an end to all my dreams of renewal for a fifth.  What the fans, the execs, the critics, what they all fail to realise that without me there is no show.  I’m the one who makes the series so compelling.  Millions all around the world have watched me lie, cheat and murder my way to the top.  I’ve never been more popular.  Sure, the season finale will draw in the crowds, but there’s been a rewrite.

I’m not going down.  You are.

Your last-minute heroics will fail.  I will rise again and you will plummet to your doom.

And the episode will go down as the most notorious in television history.

What you don’t know about me is I’m a method actor.  Oh, yeah, always have been.  How do you think I got the role in the first place?  Sure, I did a great audition but so did others.  Unfortunately, an outbreak of gastroenteritis during the call-backs whittled down the field until I was the last man standing.

And when they tried to replace me – you know, at the end of season three when I was in a car accident, a fireball!  They wanted me to come back with a new face.  Sadly, their choice of replacement met with a real car accident and was…unable to fulfil his contract.

Of course, there were rumours of ‘off-camera shenanigans’ but that just added to the mystique of the show.  They couldn’t ask for better publicity.

And so I reprised the role I had created and the ratings were better than ever.  More victims!  More double-crosses!

But now they want to cancel the show.  They want to cancel me.  Well, I’m not finished yet.  I’m not going down without a fight.  It’s not in my…character.

Look at you, preening in the make-up chair.  The world at your feet.

At least, you’ll be remembered this way, in your prime.  Unless someone releases photos of your mangled corpse, splattered across the sidewalk, then that’s what everyone will think about if your name crops up.  Such a tragic loss!  So youthful!  What a waste of beauty!

Well, let’s get to it.  I’ll see you on set.  The drugs in your latte will kick in.  You’ll be disoriented but, ever professional, you’ll want to continue.  And it will be so easy for me, in our climactic rooftop tussle, to tip you over the edge…

This is MY show.  It’s all about ME, and nobody’s going to cancel me.

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The Strike

“What do I want?  More money!  When do I want it?  Noooowhooow!”  The Big Bad Wolf repeated his chant as he paced up and down outside the Third Pig’s house.  First and Second Pig were watching through the window.

“He’s huffing and puffing a lot,” observed Second Pig.

“But not in the direction of the house,” added First Pig, because their brother was looking concerned.

“If he tries anything,” Third Pig said grimly, “I’m ready for him.  The cauldron of hot water is boiling in the fireplace.”

The other two pigs returned their attention to the wolf.

“What’s he doing now?” said Second Pig.

“He’s holding up a placard,” said First Pig.  He squinted, trying to read the words scrawled across the sign.

“Fair pay for Wolves!” said Second Pig, who had better eyesight.  “That’s a laugh.  All those wolves do is eat other characters.”

“Or try to,” said Third Pig.  “He won’t get us, don’t you worry.”

“Remember that time we thought Grandma Pig had come to visit?” said Second Pig.  “But it just turned out to be the Big Bad Wolf wearing her nightie.”

The other pigs smiled fondly at the memory.

“And he wants fair pay?  He gets all the free bacon he can eat – not that he’s getting any here today,” Third Pig hastened to add.

All afternoon, the Big Bad Wolf continued to pace and chant.  The Three Pigs were growing bored.  Stuck in the house with only a pot of boiling water for entertainment, they were going stir crazy.

“He can’t stay out there all day,” said Third Pig.  “Can he?”

“I want to go to the pub!” wailed First Pig.

“This is worse than when he tries to get in,” said Second Pig.  “At least then we could get on with the story and have our happy ending.”

“Yes,” agreed Third Pig.  “This is just dragging things out.  I’ve got things to do, and I can’t do them until he either buggers off home or climbs down the chimney.”

Another hour passed.

“Sod it,” said First Pig, “I’ve got a darts match on.”  He thrust his front trotters into his jacket and plonked his beret on his head.

“You can’t go out there,” Second Pig tried to hold him back.  “He’ll eat you!”

“He’s on strike,” said First Pig.  “I’ll be fine.”

They looked to Third Pig, who was always the sensible one.  He scratched the hairs on his chinny chin chin and nodded.  “Go on, then.  Bring us back some crisps.”

“Will do!” First Pig saluted.  He opened the front door and went out.

Within seconds, the Big Bad Wolf was upon him, tearing his throat out with his big teeth.

Second and Third Pig slammed the front door and barred it, as their brother squealed and squealed and then squealed no more.

“Little pigs, little pigs,” the Big Bad Wolf crooned through the keyhole, blood dripping from his fangs.  “Let me come in.”

“Fucking scab,” said Third Pig.


Filed under fairy tale, humour, Short story

Kitten Heels

Animation mogul Leonard Brock surveyed his team through the dense smoke of his cigar.  The doctor had told him to kick the habit.  Instead, he had kicked the doctor and doubled his order from the tobacconist.  No one tells Leonard Brock what to do.

“Well?” he coughed.  Three pale faces blinked back, their eyes watering from the smoke – or was it fear?

The youngest, least experienced member of the trio was pushed forward.  He dropped a folder of sketches onto the carpet.  He scrambled to retrieve them.  Leonard Brock tipped ash onto the back of his neck.

The young man held up an ideas board like a protective shield.  Leonard Brock squinted at it.

“What am I looking at?”

“Your latest star,” the young man stammered.  The other two nodded rapidly in support.

“It’s a cat,” said Leonard Brock with a sneer.  “A cat with shoes on.”

“Not just any shoes, sir,” said the young man.  “Kitten heels.”

Leonard Brock was nonplussed.  “And?”

“That’s her name too.  Kitten Heels.  She fights crime, rights wrongs, relieves the oppressed and so on, all while looking cute in her kitten heels.”

Leonard Brock pulled a face.  He made a circling motion with his cigar for them to continue.

“For the voice we were thinking Bjork.  Someone quirky, a bit off the beaten track.”

“Or perhaps we could get Meryl,” one of the others chimed in.  “She can do anything!”

The third one made enthusiastic noises about Meryl.

Leonard Brock stepped forward and stubbed out his cigar on the cartoon kitty’s face.

“This is a stale tamale,” he pronounced.  “It’s been done before.  I want something fresh, something we haven’t seen.  Something that the kiddies will want on their t-shirts and lunchboxes, their pencil cases and their water bottles.  This cat you bring me is old hat.”

“It’s not wearing a hat, it’s got shoes on.”

The one who had dared to contradict the boss shrank back.

“Felines in footwear,” Leonard Brock lit another cigar.  “It’s been done to death.  Go on, get out of here and don’t come back until you’ve got something new.”

Relieved to be dismissed, the trio shuffled out.

Leonard Brock sat at his desk.  He pressed the intercom.  “Janet?  Send the B-team in.”

A second trio of hopefuls shuffled into his office.

“Well?” Leonard Brock arched a bushy eyebrow.

They showed him a drawing of a buck-toothed, big eared rodent with one hand down the front of its shorts.

“Mucky Mouse!” they chorused.  Two of them even did jazz hands.

“You’re fired,” said Leonard Brock.

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Filed under humour, Short story

Meanwhile, at a Cottage in the Woods…

“Who is it?” Momma Bear yelled from the kitchen.

“It’s a man,” Baby Bear called over his shoulder from the front door.

“What does he want?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, ask him!”

You ask him.”

Momma Bear took the saucepan of porridge off the hob and, wiping her hands on her flowery apron, went to the front door.  Baby Bear scurried back to his PlayStation.

Momma Bear looked the man up and down.  As humans go, he was a particularly skinny specimen, dressed in an ill-fitting suit and sporting a tattered tie spattered with gravy.

“Yes, love?” Momma Bear smiled.  “Only I’ve got to get the porridge on and Daddy Bear doesn’t like it if the porridge is late.”

“Understandable,” the man smiled back.  “No one likes to be kept waiting for porridge.”

“So, what can I do for you, Mister –  ah…?”

“Oats,” said the man.

“Sorry; I need all mine for the porridge.  Did I mention I was making porridge?”

“It’s my name: Nathaniel Oats.  I’m here to make your lives better.”

“Oh?” Momma Bear folded her long, furry arms.  “And how are you going to do that, then?”

“If I may?” Nathaniel Oats stepped over the threshold.  Momma Bear moved sideways to let him in.  Nathaniel Oats looked around the bears’ cottage with an appreciative eye.

“Nice,” he said.  “You’ve really made it all nice and cosy.  It’s lovely.  Charming.”

“Thanks,” Momma Bear blushed.

“And we wouldn’t want anything to happen to this lovely, charming cottage, would we?”

Momma Bear bristled.  “What do you mean?  Like what?  What would happen?”

Nathaniel Oats strode over to a window, flanked by chintz curtains.  “This, for example.  A delightful fixture, to be sure, but it’s just the right size for any passing delinquent to climb through.”


“There’s a lot of them about,” Nathaniel Oats pouted sadly.  “You need to secure it with sturdy locks.”

“Sturdy locks?”

“I can get you a discount.  Now, this furniture… Is it Shaker?”

“I don’t know…”

“Is it insured?  That’s the important question.”

“I really don’t know.  Daddy Bear deals with that side of things.”

“Imagine: some delinquent gets in through that very window and starts smashing the place up.  That chair your delightful son is using, for example.  Where would he sit to play his gratuitously violent videogames?”

Momma Bear wrung her front paws.  “I don’t understand.  How would the delinquent get in if the window is secured by sturdy locks?”

Nathaniel Oats ignored the question.  He stood at the foot of the staircase and peered at the upper floor.  “What’s up here?”

He bounded up the steps.  Momma Bear lumbered after him.

“Just a bedroom.  Where we sleep.”

“What?  All three of you?”  He cast a disparaging look at the three single beds, lined up in order of size.

“Yes… why?”

“I can do you a deal on a home improvement loan.  Put up a partition wall.  Give you some privacy.  Your son’s a growing boy…”

“I don’t know,” Momma Bear chewed at a claw.  “My husband…”

As if on cue, Daddy Bear burst into the bedroom.  He roared and bared his teeth.  “What’s going on here, then?”

“Darling,” Momma Bear stepped in front of the human.  “It’s not what it looks like.”

“Oh, lord, no!” Nathaniel Oats peered over a hairy shoulder.  “It’s all above board.  Allow me to present my business card.”

He proffered a small rectangle with flowery writing on.  Daddy Bear snatched it, taking the human’s arm and shoulder with it.  Nathaniel Oats fell screaming onto the nearest bed, which happened to be Baby’s.

Baby Bear tore up the stair to see what the commotion was about.

“Who’s that bleeding on my bed?” he gasped.

“Never you mind,” said Daddy Bear.  He ripped out the human’s throat to stop him screaming.  Baby Bear rolled his eyes and went back down to his digital massacre.

“Look at this mess,” Momma Bear wailed.  “Do you know how hard it is to get blood out of candlewick?  And I’ve still got the porridge to do…”

Daddy Bear turned the business card over in his dripping claws.  “It’s alright, love,” he grinned.  “You can sack off the porridge for one night.  Tonight we shall feast on Oats!”

He threw back his huge head and bellowed thunderous laughter.

All right for you, Momma Bear grumbled to herself as she dragged the corpse to the kitchen.  You don’t have to cook the bloody thing.

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Dinner with Dennis

Dennis whistled as he walked from the bus stop.  His shopping bag was brimming with a dozen red roses and bulging with a bottle of champagne.  Tucked under his arm were fancy chocolates in a heart-shaped box.  While the bubbly’s chilling, he reckoned, I can make a start on dinner.  There’ll be soft music tinkling in the background.  Candlelight…

He turned the key in his front door.  The house was in darkness.

“Hello?” Dennis called into the gloom of the hallway.  “Darling, I’m home!”

There was no answer.  Dennis shut the door and bolted it.  He breezed through to the kitchen-diner and lay the champagne in the fridge.  He ransacked a drawer until he unearthed a box of matches.  Singing to himself, he skipped around the house, lighting scented candles.

A shuffling sound came from above.  The bedroom.  Dennis vaulted up the stairs, two, sometimes three at a time.  He arrived just as there was a thud.

“Oh, dear, oh, dear,” he shook his head.  He helped the man up from the bedside rug and lay him back on the duvet.  “Someone’s over-excited, aren’t they?”

The man, naked apart from a pink sash diagonal across his torso, and a red paper heart over his privates, said nothing.  Dennis leant over him, searching his big brown eyes.

“Be patient, my darling,” Dennis breathed.  “I’m going to make us a lovely romantic dinner.  This is going to be the best Valentine’s date ever.”

He pecked the naked man on the forehead and went back downstairs to chop vegetables.

An hour or so later, Dennis climbed the stairs, balancing a tray, two champagne flutes.  The bottle was cold in his armpit.

“Here we are, darling!” he sang out.  “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

The man on the bed tried to recoil but he was tied so tightly to the bedposts he could not move in any direction.

Dennis sat on the edge of the bed.  “Would you like me to cut your meat?”

The man’s eyes widened in terror.  Blood spilled from his lips.  He could only grunt inarticulate sounds since Dennis had sliced his tongue out.

“Here comes the aeroplane!” Dennis brandished a fork with a Jersey potato impaled on its tines.  The naked man groaned in terror and kept his lips clamped together.

“Don’t be silly, darling,” Dennis scolded.  “I’ve gone to a lot of trouble.”

The man turned his face away in painful defiance.

“Come on,” Dennis cajoled, the potato booping the man’s chin.  “Don’t make me take you back to the cellar.  Don’t make me swap you for one of the others!”

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The First of Us

It wasn’t me; I wasn’t the first of us.  That honour went to Bobo.  Bobo was a howler monkey we kept in the lab.  He was there when I started five years ago as a humble tech assistant.  He’d been there so long, he was like one of the team.  No one would dream of including Bobo among the test subjects.

Now, before you go all ethical and animal rights on me, it wasn’t part of my remit to perform the experiments on the monkeys and rabbits.  Like I mentioned, I was merely a tech assistant.  I kept the IT up and running.

It started when Hargreaves let Bobo out of his pen during lunch.  He should have known better than to tease the creature.  Bobo was quick to rile up.

“Just give him the damned banana!” I scolded from across the breakout room.  Hargreaves turned to award me his best simian scowl, his finest monkey man impression, complete with ‘oo-oo’ noises and armpit scratches.

Just as Doctor Klang exited the secure area.

Bobo saw his chance and took it.  With a furious screech, he darted between Klang’s legs and into the secure area before the doors could seal.  Instant uproar!  Lab assistants recoiled in panic as Bobo, whipped up into a frenzy by now, lashed out in all directions.  I could see their faces, visors pressed against the window, their gloves scrabbling for a way out.

“Who the fuck let that monkey out?” Krang screamed, activating the alarm.  Sirens wailed and blared while pulses of red light flared and died, flared and died.

Inside the secure area, the staff were turning on each other, ripping and tearing out throats, bared teeth sinking into soft flesh.

“My work!” Krang mourned.

Before Hargreaves and I could stop him, he was unsealing the doors.  The mad bastard was trying to retrieve the last remaining phial of his life’s endeavours.

“No!” we yelled, our voices drowned by the sirens.

Bobo launched himself at Klang, his fangs shredding the haz-mat suit.

Hargreaves scrambled to the exit, but I tackled him to the floor and sat on him.  He wriggled and writhed until I slapped his face.

“We have to contain it,” I told him.  “Nothing or no one can leave this building.”

Hargreaves wasn’t paying attention.  His eyes widened as the howler monkey dropped onto my back.  Distracted, I let Hargreaves scuttle out from under me.  He didn’t reach the door.  Our colleagues, erupting from the secure area like a nest of spiders, pounced.  They tore him limb from limb.

Me, they left alone. I suppose Bobo’s bite rendered me immune to their predations. And all I can think of now as my mad blood stirs and a mindless rage consumes me, is how many people there are in the world beyond the laboratory door and how they must all be bitten and made the same as us.

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