Thursday, 18 April 2013

Also provides children's entertainment.

This was originally printed in a children's magazine called Spellbound and I'd totally forgotten about it until someone contacted me asking for it. But here it is now. If you have small people and think they might like it feel free to copy under CC.



It was an odd scratching sound that made Timothy look under the sink. Of course, mother had been expecting him to clean under there but he never did, it was too damp and cold. The scratching noise had Tim’s curiosity piqued so he made a rare venture into cupboard, one eye closed and the other only half open, brush held at the ready in case a spider tried to jump on his arm.

 They do that.

 It wasn’t a spider under the sink, Tim wasn’t sure what it was.

 At first he thought it might be an escaped monkey. It was about monkey sized but the more he looked, the more it seemed a strange sort of monkey. It had no fur for a start, just brown wrinkled skin like it had stayed in the bath long after mother had told it to get out. It also seemed to have wings, though they weren’t very big, more like little rags suspended from knitting needles on its back. It definitely didn’t have a monkey’s face. In fact it looked more like a turtle, all flat with big round eyes.

 Whatever it was, it was trying, rather unsuccessfully, to eat through a pipe under the sink.

 Tim wondered if turtles had big teeth like this creature did. He didn’t think so.

 “What are you doing?” Asked Tim politely.

 The creature stopped chewing on the pipe and looked at Tim, it made a sort of tutting sound and moved its mouth like Grandpa did when chewing gum.

 “You can see me?” It asked, in a voice similar to his father’s car engine on a cold morning.

 Timothy thought this was an odd question as he wouldn’t be talking to it if it were invisible.

 “Yes.” Said Tim, a little confused.

 “’Appens.” Replied the creature, “children and animals, sometimes they can,” it started to head-butt the pipe quite vigorously.

 “What are you?” Asked Tim rather bemused, he was sure he had never seen a creature like this on television. Tim liked to watch all of the nature programmes, though he liked foxes best.

 “I’m a demon ain’t I?” Said the creature.

 “I thought demons had horns,” replied Tim.

 “Well some of ‘em do, mostly when you get further up the ladder, and a right snooty bunch they are. I’m ‘appy me, minor demons like us get easy jobs like this. No goin’ up against the forces of good for me, no way. Dangerous that is.”

 Tim had no idea what it was talking about but nodded anyway.

 “And what are you?” Asked the demon in a rather impolite manner.

 “I’m a boy.” Answered Timothy. The demons eyes lit up and it dived at Timothy mouth wide open, ivory teeth extending.

 Tim hit it with his brush.

 “What was that for?” Asked the demon rather sulkily from where it had landed amongst the empty paint tins and cleaned out jam jars.

 “You tried to bite me.”

“Of course I did, I’m a demon, that’s what we do and I wasn’t trying to bite you, was trying to eat you, so there! Given me headache now.” Moaned the demon as it resumed futilely bashing its head against the pipe.

 “Sorry,” said Tim. “I’m a boy, we don’t like being bitten or eaten. Why are you banging your head against that pipe?”

 “It’s what we do, ruin people lives. All the numbers went in Jack Scratch’s hat and your fathers came up. I’m here to ruin his plumbing.” Said the demon with an evil grin, although Tim thought the demon was a bit too small to look really evil.

 “What good will that do?” Inquired Tim.

 “Well once I break this pipe, it’ll be gushing out everywhere. Then all it needs is one spark, and boom! Your dead, your mum’s dead, your dads life is ruined. Then the salesdemons move in and we get his soul. Pretty smooth operation eh?” The demon winked and resumed blunting its teeth on the sink pipe.

 Timothy wasn’t entirely sure that water was explosive and had an idea that the demon may be chewing the wrong pipe. He decided it would be foolish to question the forces of darkness and said nothing.

 “What’s your name? I can’t just keep calling you demon.” Asked Timothy whose mother had instilled good manners into him at an early age.

 The demon looked at Tim, “you wouldn’t be able to say my name, it’s a demon word.”

 “I could try,” said Tim who firmly believed that if you ventured nothing, you gained nothing.

 “Well don’t blame me if your tongue falls out when you try to say it.”

 Tim pondered this thought and decided he would try anyway. “What is it then?”


 “Alfred?” Replied Tim sounding rather surprised.

 “You speak demon then? Well that makes things easier,” Alfred was now hanging from the pipe, swinging slightly.

 “You don’t seem to be damaging that much,” pointed out Tim, who always tried to be helpful.

 “No.” Alfred sat down looking rather unhappy. “I was meant to have help, don’t suppose you’ve seen another demon about have you? Looks like me but with antlers. Strong Scottish accent?”

Tim shook his head.

 “Just wait ‘till Bert gets here, real nasty piece of work that one. I’m evil but he’s really evil. Probably eat you, errr?”

 “Tim.” Said Tim.

“Yeah, be rooting around in your entrails as soon as look at you Bert will.” Alfred started happily munching on a stray sock that had been in one of the jam jars. “Tim? That’s a demon name, sure your not a demon?”

 Tim thought about this for a moment, “I don’t think I am.”

 “Didn’t think so, all that ‘orrible smooth skin, get laughed out of hell you would. As I will if I don’t get this job finished. I hate banks.”

 “Banks?” Asked Tim, rather confused with the conversations sudden change of direction.


“Yeah, banks. Bane of my life banks are, used to be so easy.”

 “What did?” Tim was by now thoroughly lost.

 “Ruining lives of course, didn’t even have to kill anyone.” A tear of nostalgia rolled down Alfred’s grizzled little face. “See Tim, before banks everyone used to keep their money at home in boxes or underneath the bed. Easy! Wander in, eat the money, life ruined. Job done. Not now, oh no, now everything goes in the bank.” Snorted Alfred disgustedly.

 “Daddy hates banks too.” Said Tim.

“He does?” Alfred’s eyes narrowed in what he fondly imagined was an image of utmost cunning. He started to nonchalantly clean a claw. “So, er, where does your Dad keep his money then?” Alfred chewed on his tail as if nothing important was happening.

 “Oh he keeps it upstairs in a box. Would you like to see?” Said Tim. Alfred bit off the end of his tail in excitement.

 “I’d quite like to see yes. If it’s not too much trouble Tim.”

 Tim took Alfred by the hand and, ignoring the rather clammy feel, led him to the stairs.

 “Er, Tim mate. You wouldn’t mind carrying me up would you? Never been very good with them.” Said Alfred.

 “Don’t they have stairs where you come from?” Asked Tim as he carried the demon upstairs

 “Only in the disabled access areas.” Answered Alfred. “So where’s this box then Timmy?”

 “In my bedroom, through here,” Tim led the deoon into his room.

 “Is this the one?” Alfred pointed to a large box in the corner and smugly thought to himself how angry Scottish Burt would be when he turned up to find the job done.

 “Yes it is.” Said Tim helpfully.” Before Tim could say anymore, the demon ran across the floor and dived into the box, cackling with glee.

 As Alfred fell into the bottom of the box he could barely contain his excitement and only half registered the sound of a key turning. It was at this point that he noticed there was a distinct lack of money in the box, he was about to ask to be let out when a Scottish voice said.

 “Ach, I see you fell for it too laddie!”

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