Monday, December 31, 2007

Ritual Chant

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

West Wind

“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

The Boxing Night Play

“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

Difficult Selection

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.”

“Try me.”

“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

Book Cover -  Abaddon Rising "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

Floods of Tears

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.”

Friday, November 30, 2007


Gillian was the sort of woman who could make the Maitre-D at the Savoy feel uncouth and shabbily dressed with just a look from her classic wardrobe. None of your avant-garde catwalk chic for her; if this tears look took off she would adopt it in five years when it had moved from nouveau-riche to chic.

She didn’t walk with a silver spoon up her arse though. If desired she could don jeans and a tee-shirt and fit right in with the lads at the Docker’s Arms in Ludgate Street, knocking back pints and catcalling the bar tenders.

Gillian was so far past being classy she was classless.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Moral and Spiritual Dilemma

Jasfoup threw down his telephone in a fit of pique, though he made sure it was onto the sofa where it wouldn’t get damaged. It had taken him hours to program all the telephone numbers hr knew into its memory. “Gotta go,” he said, enjoying the intrinsic wickedness of the contraction. “I have a level three explosion risk to attend to.”

“What’s that then?” Harold grabbed his coat, hurrying to catch up with the demon.

“It’s someone who has diametric viewpoints with regard to good and evil, however you wish to define those arbitrary terms,” Jasfoup said. “This one is a vicar who thinks that women ought to be allowed freedom of choice when it comes to abortion.”

“They should, though,” said Harold. “There are hundreds of reasons why a woman shouldn’t be forced to carry a foetus to full term.”

“You know that and I know that and even this vicar knows that,” said Jasfoup, pulling on Wellingtons as he ran. His momentary hopping gate would have been comical in other circumstances. “But God disagrees and made it perfectly clear in his anthology.”

“The Bible, you mean?”

“Yes, the Bible. Unfortunately, what this leads to is the logical and mythical parts of the good vicar’s brain warring with each other until one reaches critical overload, which it has now.”

“What will happen?”

“If I don’t talk him down, get him to drink the sacramental wine or swear at a nun or something, his soul will explode, sending shards of spirit in a three mile radius. That’s what causes random acts of violence-”

“-and kindness,” said Harold.

“Exactly.” Jasfoup picked up a brass crucifix and thumped it experimentally into his palm. “That’s the last thing we need.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Harold took his tie rack to the bed and emptied it onto the Spiderman duvet before calling for Jasfoup. “What’s happened here?” he said.

“Ah.” Jasfoup picked up Harold’s favourite: a ribbon of hand-woven silk in shades of blue and yellow. It, like the rest, had been cut in two. “Sharp as a bread loaf,” he said, almost to himself.

“Who did? Do you know who attacked my wardrobe?”

“Someone with fashion sense?” Jasfoup grinned. “It was Sam. Since you’ve bought a controlling share in his company I suggested he sever ties with you.”

Harold nodded. “He took you literally.”

Monday, November 26, 2007


Jasfoup frowned as Harold thumped on the steering while and swore. Despite his protestations, the van ground to a halt in the centre of the carriageway, causing the traffic around them to honk in annoyance and derision.

“What’s wrong?” the demon asked.

“All the power’s gone,” said Harold. “We need a garage.”

“Pass me your phone.”

“There’s no signal available. 999 only.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Jasfoup made a quick call and within moments a cacodemon appeared, picking up the whole van and awaiting instruction. Harold guided it to the manor.

“How did you arrange that?” he asked.

Jasfoup shrugged. “Emergency transmission.”

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Minor Quest

“So it’s a kind of quest?” Eyes that the head would one day – hopefully – grow large enough to hold stared up at their father.

“I suppose.” Winston shrugged “If you can count a task that doesn’t involve rescuing maidens from trolls and dragons a quest. I’m only going to the chip shop on Brick Kiln Street to get your mam a battered mars bar.”

“There’ll be mythical creatures, though?” Case ran his fingers across the picture book on the table. Elves and fairies and vampires?”

“Not vampires, no.” Winston looked at the cloudless day outside the window. “Werewolves though. There’s be a werewolf.”

“You mean Aunty Felicia,” said Case. “That doesn’t count.”

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Gillian watched through the kitchen window as Sam walked to his car. “I don’t trust that bloke,” she said. “He’s a liability.”

“What harm can he do?” Harold stood next to her and put his arm lightly around her waist. “He was Winston’s friend before he was his brother in law.”

“He’s not one of us.” Gillian twisted so that her black-in-black eyes locked onto his. “He sees us through techno-wizardry.”

“What is magic except something that the viewer doesn’t understand?” Harold smiled and kissed the end of her nose. She rubbed away the dampness.

“That’s an old argument,” she replied, “and one that goes on to argue the case that vampires are mortally with a blood disorder.” She watched Sam’s car roar off down the drive. “I still want to bite his face off .”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


There was a sandbox at the park when Harold was a child. An enclosure two feet high on three sided and six inches on the fourth enabled the toddlers of Laverstone to play to their hearts content. The play pond, six inches deep and fed by a shallow stream that was home to minnows, was next to the sandpit, enabling temporary moats to be added to magnificent castles with toffee-paper flags.

Harold was reluctant to leave his masterpiece. It had taken him all afternoon and was the object of many admiring glances but Ada was adamant that it was teatime. Imagine how pleased Harold was the next day when his sandcastle was still there, the silicon particles fused into glass as if in the heat of a kiln. The papers called it a freak accident of weather, and thanked the Council (who closed the park at dusk) that no-one had been killed by the freak weather.

Ada caught the eye of a long-haired, leather-clad Jasfoup and nodded a smile.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Jasfoup leaned over the pot and inhaled the scent of his curry. He looked across at Harold. “Pass me the after shave, would you?”

“After shave?” Harold picked up the bottle. “This is years old,” he said. “I remember Mr. Satterthwaite wearing this when I was little. It was dead posh in them days, and came with Carina Burana in the adverts. Why are you adding it to a curry?”

“It’s a celebration curry,” said the demon. “I last made this in 1982 when your mother was thirty. She wanted exactly this curry for her birthday this year.”

“So why the aftershave?” Harold asked. “Did you use aftershave in that one?”

“No,” said Jasfoup. “I used new spices then.”

Sunday, November 18, 2007


“What’s this gizmo then?” Jasfoup picked up the cylinder and tossed it from hand to hand. It weighed about the same as a pepperpot.

Gillian barely glanced up. “Detonator,” she said. “A Goodfellow’s 37E. Even without adding it to an explosive it’ll take your arm off as cleanly as a surgical saw.”

Jasfoup put it down again. “Why has it got a clockwork mechanism on it?”

Gillian grinned. “Two reasons. One, it’s impervious to an EM pulse that would knock out most detonators and two, a wind-up toy fascinates idiot guards.”

“Sorry?” Jasfoup looked up. “I was watching the monkey.”

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Golden Age

The golden age of Hell mirrored the golden age of the mortal plane above. It was true that modern times were more populous, and the growth of technology had brought more people through the gates than ever before: partly due to the increased ability of the mortals to attempt genocide and partly because computers and social security numbers allowed the bureaucrats of Hell to keep track of everybody.

Still the demons – those that, like Lucifer and Azazel, had been witnesses to the pomp and grace of the expanding Catholic Church – looked back on those times with a wistful smile. Those were the days when you’d spend half a century ensuring the damnation of a single soul.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


It was the sweet simplicity of life that attracted him to the position of gardener at Laverstone Manor. In those days it was not the sprawling mass of outhouses and debt that constituted the bulk of the kitchen garden now but an ordered layout of raised beds and greenhouses; a far cry from his beloved Florence where the streets ran red with blood for a mispronounced ‘Good Morning.

His tactical advice on the safeguarding of the Manor from incursions by the Faery Rebels proved invaluable, and Lady Gertrude Waters, Melissa’s mother, hired the devilishly handsome Mr. Jasfoup on the spot.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ABLS vignette

Pennie felt suddenly light, free from the cares of her body. She no longer had any desire for soft cheese and celery spread thin over oat crisp breads; her love of plastic-bottled spring water with a hint of meadow flower faded, and her concerns about the merits of eco-diesel over regular faded like petrol fumes.

“I’m dead, aren’t I?” she said.

“I think the fact that your body’s lying there… and there… and there sort of proves that.” The old man with the whippet on a piece of baling twine smiled and patted her back. “It’s one of life’s little surprises.”

Pennie looked at him. “If I’m dead,” she said, “why am I still randy?”

Monday, November 05, 2007


Always vigilant, the gargoyle protects the weathered north face of the church of St. Pity’s. hunched against the wind and the rain. Every year gets harder. The acid in the air eats into his sandstone paws until he’s left hanging on by the shadow of what was once a terrible effigy of a demon. His snout has been chipped off by ice particles forming in the deep of winter and his eyes have been worn smooth by the wind. Still he guards, remembering the time when his wings were fresh and wide and the view was not an industrial estate.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Split Infinity

“So what’s this?” Jasfoup looked at the contraption Harold had constructed from Lego and pieces of skip-recovered timber. He ran his finger down the central strut and smelled it. Definitely not salubrious, though there was a hint of peppermint.

“It’s a time machine,” said Harold. “I figured that if HG Wells could make on a century ago, I could certainly have a stab at it.”

“It won’t work,” said Jasfoup. “Time machines are impossible.”

“So are demons, but you’re here.” Harold grinned. “Pull that lever there.”

“This one?” The demon gave it a cautious tug. “What does it do?”

“It splits infinity into manageable pieces,” said Harold.

“You mean I’ve broken it?”

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Out for a Bite

Gillian was dressed to the nines when she went through the kitchen and picked up her car keys. Harold flicked his gaze from the television, where a frightened American girl ran for her life from a man with an axe, to Gillian and back again. “Where are you going?” he asked, “I thought you were going to spend the night here with me?” She walked over to him, raising one leg onto the edge of the sofa in a display of erotic possession as her dress slid up over the sheer black stockings. “Downtown,” she replied, “I’m hungry and a fancy a Chinese. “Don’t bring me anything,” he said, his teeth retracting; “it’s so hard to get rid of the bodies.”

Monday, October 29, 2007

Raining Cows

Chase’s meeting with the accountant was terminated abruptly by the scream and subsequent squelch. He rushed outside and, upon losing his pint-of-beer-and-Cornish-pasty lunch, wished he hadn’t. The body of his assistant had been spread liberally in a twenty yard radius. Pieces of cow were scattered among the pieces of a girl who had been so full of life that he’d had no time for her, preferring instead the terse business tone of his secretary to Penny’s incessant chatter.

The falling bovine had slammed the girl against the waist-high fence that stopped the goats from getting to Kermit the Pig’s food trough and she’d been sliced – in whatever the word was that meant the opposite of neatly – in two.

His accountant appeared at his right shoulder and surveyed the scene.

Chase turned away, focussing on Mr. Jasfoup’s elegant silk tie. “I can’t believe this,” he said.

The accountant nodded, his eyes calculating damages. “Look on the bright side,” he said. “At least now you have two half Pennys to rub together.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Punning Title

Harold laughed and closed the book, placing it on the table. He leaned back, his hands interlaced between his head. “That was splendid,” he said. “I haven’t read Shakespeare since I was at school and I didn’t have the appreciation for it that I had then.”

“It can be obscure.” Jasfoup looked at the title. “He came up with a different title at first. It took me an hour and three flagons of wine to convince him to change it.”

“Why? What was it originally?” Harold sat forward again and looked at the cover.

“Fussing with Fannies.” The demon gave a snort. “As if that would ever have caught on.”

Harold frowned and scratched his chin, where a fine layer of stubble grew like wiry grass. “What’s that got to do with the play, though?”

“That’s what it’s about,” said Jasfoup. He pulled out a chair and sat. “All these masquerade balls where everybody swaps genders. The only way you could know what sex you were dancing with was with a quick furtle under the codpiece.”

“So how did you come up with the new title? I always thought it rather twee.”

“Easy.” Jasfoup smiled and pulled the teapot towards himself, scowling when he found it far too light to have anything in it. “In sixteenth century English ‘nothing’ and ‘noting’ had the same spelling. Thus it became a pun: ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ and ‘Much Ado about People Watching’.”

“And the… front bottoms?”

“At the time, ‘noting’ was an obscure slang term for a woman’s genitals. Even the Queen didn’t realise the triple entendre.” Jasfoup laughed, lost in reminiscing. “How we laughed at the after-performance party.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Half in the Bag

Lord Belphegor, Jasfoup’s immediate supervisor, frowned at the young demon bent on one knee before his bone desk. Since his desk was a little on the large size, he had to raise himself on four of his legs in order to see over the far side.

“How is your special project coming along?” he said.

“Oh, it’s in the bag, sir.” Jasfoup looked up into the two eyestalks that regarded him. “Well, half in the bag. He’s committed enough sins to be burning in the midnight oil for eternity minus one.”

Belphegor grew another hand with which to scratch his chin. “Eternity minus one? I don’t quite follow.”

“It’s charity, sir. Despite Harold’s avarice, gluttony, lust, pride, sloth and envy, he still does nice things for people.”

“I see.” Belphegor sat and left Jasfoup’s line of sight. All the minor demon could hear for several minutes was the scratching of a quill. The writing stopped and he bade Jasfoup rise. “Here is a letter,” he said. “Deliver it to Mr. Screwtape. Let’s see if a series of mean spirited people cause Mr. Waterman to rethink his charitable demeanour.

“Yes sir.” Jasfoup backed out of the cavern, travelling to his small house on the rim of Circle Six with almost indecent haste. A steaming kettle helped him prise the seal from the parchment and he read it quickly, his lips moving as he translated the Tongue of the Abyss into English. Selecting a number three quill and altering his hand to a claw, the better to reproduce Lord Belphegor’s crabby handwriting.

Dear Mr. Screwtape…

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dread Document

Julie rang through to Harold’s office. The sales of books and antiquities increased in autumn and the winter months, due to the innate nesting instinct of people who hadn’t really evolved that far from just burrowing into a pile of furs and sleeping the winter out.

“Do we have a copy of the ‘Necronomicon’?”

Harold frowned and tabbed into his stock control program. His current game of ‘Apocalypse’ was still running in the background: a glance at the status panel at is flashed past revealed the success of his hell hounds against the Cherubim. It was less of a game, to his mind, than a future outcome analysis.

He typed in Necronomicon and saw that they had two copies in stock; one a facsimile constructed by John the imp and a second, subtly altered one. He picked up the telephone. “Who wants it?” he asked.

Julie flipped open some documentation. “It’s a Mr. Herbert P Lovecraft,” she said. “He’s mortally challenged.”

“Tell him to come back on Tuesday,” said Harold, marking the altered copy for retrieval from the stack. The prospective buyer used to be a writer, and Harold was damned if he was going to give him a real one.

He’d forgotten he was damned already.

Thursday, October 18, 2007



Jasfoup pulled his hands away from Harold’s eyes so that he could see the shop. It had opened a month or two ago in a village six miles from Laverstone.

“Museum of Junk?” Harold stepped forward toward the gaily cluttered window. His emotions warred between a need to buy it all and the desire to step away lest the house become as cluttered as it used to be. Gillian had been ruthless in reducing him to a state of near Zen living. “It’s just like my old emporium only pricier.”

Jasfoup grinned. “I found it by chance yesterday. One of my clients bought a Ouija board from here.”

“Look!” Harold pointed to a corner. “There’s a mirror that’s lost its silvering, and a teapot without a spout!”

He contented himself with a single purchase: a life-size model of Bela Lugosi as Count Vlad Dracul.

Gillian would have a fit.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Harold put his clothes back on, using the folding screen for privacy. “What’s the prognosis, Doc?”

The demon flickered back into human form and pulled on a white lab coat. “It’s terminal, I’m afraid,” he said.

“Terminal?” Harold appeared from behind the hospital green cloth, his face ashen with fear. “Are you sure?”

“Oh yes.” The demon referred to his notes. “You’re definitely mortal, and that’s always terminal.”

“But what about the… you know?”

“Problem with your water hose?” He put his clipboard on the desk. “It’s a little on the small side but I have some pills for that.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hollow Praise

Miss Camberwick leafed through the drawers. “I have the records here somewhere, Mr. Waterman. I’m afraid that since I retired things have become a little muddled.”

Harold took a slow look around the room. Boxes were piled on boxes, every one of them spilling letters and files onto the floor with chaotic abandon. They must have been stacked here for years. “When did you retire, Madam?” he said. “You hardly look old enough.”

“Flatterer.” Miss Camberwick turned and adjusted her glasses to see his expression. “Last July, officially, although I’m still doing the odd day of relief for the the new headmaster.” She tutted. “Head teacher, I should say now.” She returned to the task of finding the school year book for 1994.

A dislodged box dropped a sheet of paper like a falling maple leaf to the floor. Harold picked it up and read the short note.

Deer Missez Candulwik

Thnx sew much 4 ul yr hard work. I got me 4 a lvls an a plaice at Oxfud. I cudnt hav dun it without yu.

Yu r the gradest techr on the hol wurdl. Yu teched me verey much. I lov yu an I will nevur ferget yu.

Herbert Granger Esq.

“Here it is.” Miss Camberwick stood holding a blue large format book. “What have you got there?” She took it from him and glanced at the writing. “Oh! Young Herbert. He did well for himself, you know. He’s the MP for Potter’s Green.”

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rain Dance

Laverstone High School held a fete every year, where the sixth form students would put on some sort of display. Harold, despite the restraining order made when he proved that God existed (for proof denies faith), watched as the Lower VI performed the Summoning of Rain dance as detailed in Travels in Ubuntu by Professor EW Trawling, 1962.

The youths in their colourful garb finished their performance, the boys’ spears raised at forty-five degrees toward the girls’ feathered head-dresses, symbolising the sun and clouds being pierced by the needs of men. And probably something Freudian as well.

Rain poured down from a clear blue sky, scattering both dancers and spectators.

Harold, still dry under his companion’s invisible wings, tutted. “That was rotten.”

Jasfoup grinned and helped himself to ice-cream. “They’ll be famous tomorrow,” he said. “Their dance worked.”

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mud Pies

I remember Harold when he was six. The park had a sandpit then. Those were the days before EU regulations decreed that sand has to be sterilised before any use involving those not wearing regulation safety gear.

Playing in used sand never hurt Harold. His sand castles, facilitated by the application of several buckets of water into the sand before he started, were the envy of all the other children; most of whom had never even heard of the History Channel.

This went on until someone replaced his model of Tintagel with a mud pie. He never made another after that, not after he’d been trying to effect the reconstruction with the mud only to discover that it had been left him not, as he’d thought, by a kindly benefactor but by an off-the-leash St. Bernard.

Age before Beauty

Ada looks sixty if she’s a day. In actual fact if she drops the spell that maintains her appearance, she looks young enough to be her son’s daughter. As a fae, she can control her ageing – even when she’s in her advanced years (300 or so) she can make herself look as young as a nymph.

Not so in the mortal realm. On a busy street like The Terrace people notice if you don’t age. That’s why it takes her so long to answer the door; she’s quite literally putting on her face – that of a sexagenarian.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Jasfoup smiled.

“You found the genie on September the twenty third,” he said. “After that every wish that was uttered within his hearing became a reality including the one on September the twenty-fifth where we wished it was back in his pocket on the original morning.”

Harold frowned. “But it went back into his pocket, how did we have it to wish it was back in his pocket?”

Jasfoup shrugged. “Don’t knock it,” he said. “It worked, didn’t it? Now pass me that book of Milton so that I can copy it out and send it to him to write in the first place.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pride and Falls

Lucifer sat on the edge of a cloud and watched the world go by. Without interference, the earth slipped slowly around on its axis. He’d taken a brief interest in China when they’d begun to build a wall, first with earthworks and palisades, then with stone. You could see their progress all the way up here.

Gabriel dropped down beside him. “I hear you’ve been conducting experiments with your mortal form,” he said.

Lucifer cocked one eyebrow. “Who told you that?” Gabriel felt it was his duty to report on the off-duty activities of all the angels and would often invent things and then try to confirm them.

“Michael,” he said.

“Oh yes?” Lucifer returned his gaze to the earth below, where the middle ease hove into view. “What sort of experiments?” If Michael had indeed told him, Gabriel would not want to risk the sin of naming it.

“Just… body stuff.” He looked embarrassed, which more or less proved that he knew. “Oh!” you got a loose feather.” He plucked out the offending article and held it out. “Make a wish.”

I don’t need to,” Lucifer said. “I already have everything I want.”

Gabriel let the feather fly. Lucifer watched it before he realised which it was. “Hey,” He said. “That was one of my flight feathers.”

“Whoops! Sorry.” Gabriel’s smile indicated he was anything but. Lucifer felt a sharp pain as he tugged the other one free, and then his push.

Heaven receded as he fell, but he could just make out Gabriel’s voice.

“Michael is mine.”

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Slight Problem

“You did what?” Harold stared at the demon his face a wide ‘O’ of astonishment.

“Gotjulllpnantgen” Jasfoup mumbled, his right foot tracing small circles on the floor.

“You got Julie pregnant again? Harold held his face in his hands. “How?”

It was the demon’s turn to look astonished. “You don’t know?” he said. “What do you and Gillian do all night?”

“I didn’t mean the mechanics,” said Harold. “I meant… I thought you used… um…hats?”

“I did.” Jasfoup pulled it out of his pocket. “It didn’t work.”

Harold stared at it. “You not supposed to make it out of paper.”

Three Rings


Harold clicked the right mouse button another thirty times in case the computer decided he wasn’t worth the trouble.

“What?” The demon came into the office, drying his hands on a tea towel marked A Present from Blackpool. “I’m a bit busy.”

“This website says I’m not authorised to view it.” Harold clicked retry several more times.

Jasfoup peered over his shoulder. “You’ve got child protection on,” he said. “What’s the website?” He leaned over and turned the safety lock off.

Harold at least had the decency to look embarrassed. “I was thinking of getting a piercing,” he said.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Long Shadows

Jim’s shadow never seemed to fit. However close he came to the surface upon which his shadow was cast, his fingers always seemed longer, his head a little too small.

As a child he found it amusing, but his embarrassment grew with age to the point where he would avoid going out in full sun and avoided rooms with harsh lighting. Not that anyone ever noticed. Only Jim could see the antics of his shadow.

By the time he was fourteen his parents had discovered that their beautiful child had a problem. His shifts in behaviour occurred around the time of every full moon. Child psychiatrists were no help and when he killed the family pet they gave up and threw him out. His long shadows had been an early indication of his true nature: Jim was a lycanthrope.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I taught Don Juan Everything...

You don’t often get a demon like me. “Jasfoup?” I’m often asked. “How did you come by your prowess in the bedchamber?

I’m liable to smile and shake my head. Modesty, contrary to popular opinion, is not a virtue. Since it’s designed to draw even more attention to oneself, it’s practically a sin.

“Practice,” I’ll say if pressed. “I’ve had five hundred years of practice, including a stint of being Warden of the Succubae. I studded all of them in the half-century of working there.

Of course, they don’t believe me and that just gives me all the more practice.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Vote for Jasfoup, please.

A note from Rachel - Jasfoup's chronicler:

You can make one vote a day...

Diary entry competition. Hop on over to Discover Adam
and vote for your favourite diary entry. I happen to be number three and a vote for me would be nice (remember, you'd be voting for Jasfoup) but if you prefer another I won't mind. Much.

The daft thing is that I already have a copy of the prize and will give it away afterwards. It's the publicity for Jasfoup that I'm really after. With enough votes I might get a publisher to buy the rights to his blog at

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Jim Shorts


Jasfoup grinned apologetically. “Would you come and have a look at Harold, please. He seems to have passed out from the exercise.”

“Really?” The vampire raised an eyebrow. “That’s odd. He can normally keep it up for a couple of hours without a break.”

“I didn’t need to know that.” The demon led the way to Harold’s suite. “I bought him the Jim shorts you suggested but he didn’t last more than half an hour.”

They reached the room and she rushed to her partner, reeling when she caught a whiff of his breath. “I asked you to get him gym shorts,” she said, her eyes hardening into coals. “Not bourbon.”

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Proof Denies Faith

Harold closed the door and hid behind the frame, peering out between the letterbox and the open/closed sign. “I can’t see her,” he said.

“Who?” Jasfoup sauntered across and stood in full view of the window, supporting his mug of tea with both hands as he inhaled the steam. “I can’t see anyone.”

“Good.” Harold relaxed. “It was a religious freak,” he said. “She wanted me to see God.”

“Oh you didn’t…” Jasfoup looked amused.

“I did.” Harold grinned sheepishly. “I couldn’t help it. I said I’d already seen him and that he cheated at chess.”

“I bet that went down well.”

“Not really.” Harold missed the sarcasm. “She denounced me as a heretic. I’ve got a bunch of Mormons wanting to lynch me now.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Demon's Promise

Jasfoup stared at Father Hastock. “I’ll regenerate, you know. It may take me a century or a millennium, but I’ll be back and when I do I’ll find you and I’ll destroy you. Utterly. No redemption.”

“I’ll look forward to seeing you try.” The elf nodded to the demons captors and they released the mechanism that would pour thirty gallons of holy water onto the demon’s head.

“No!” Vixen took a flying leap and kicked one of his captors away, barrelling into the demon and taking the water herself. With one arm freed Jasfoup backhanded the second elf, four inch claws punching through his eye sockets and into his brain.

He raised his eye ridges at the horrified priest. “Stockholm syndrome,” he said, standing back so that he wasn’t splashed as the nun rose. “I guess it didn’t take a century after all.”

The Monks of the Forbidden Word

Vixen paused in her walk through what used to be the monk’s dormitory. She took one hand out of her robes to point at the arch of the doorway, seven feet above their heads. “If they had no heating,” she said, “Why did they have such huge doors? Surely they let the cold in?”

Jasfoup took the cigar out of his mouth. “The Monks of the Forbidden Word were all nephilim,” he said, “the sons of angels and mortal women. The shortest of them was nine feet in height.”

He gave her a nudge with his elbow. “It was a tall order.”

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Heavenly Debate

Felicia dropped a book on the table. It landed face down, showing the quotation:

"You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backwards" James Thurber

“Isn’t that the dichotomy of Heaven and Hell?” Julie looked up, her mouth full of supermarket brand cornflakes.

“Possibly.” Felicia sliced into her rare steak. “I only took Philosophy as a filler course for my degree, but the concept of looking up to the sky against having you face in the mud is a popular one. It’s elaborated upon by thousands of second class religious teachers who try to terrorise their kids into believing everything from brushing your teeth the right way to not masturbating will get you into Heaven.”

“I suppose.” Julie looked blank. “I actually meant supermarket brand cornflakes as opposed to Kelloggs.”

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Intellectual Thuggery

“Thought cannot be separated from me, therefore, I exist. Cogito ergo sum.”

“But you don’t, old son. Your desiccated remains lie in a small hollow in the Panthéon.”

“But by my argument, I am still thinking and therefore I still exist.” Rene took another swig of his wine and burped.

“Define existence,” said Jasfoup, “without referring to an immortal soul which, by definition, cannot be proved.”

“Senses are unreliable. The only indubitable knowledge is that I am a thinking thing. Thinking is my essence as it is the only thing about me that cannot be doubted.”

Jasfoup snorted.

“Thought," the tortured soul continued, “is what happens in me such that I am immediately conscious of it, insofar as I am conscious of it".

“Rene,” said Jasfoup, filling his glass. “You’re drunk.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

For the Glory

Jasfoup handed Harold an umbrella.

“What’s this for?” said Harold. “It’s bright and sunny outside.”

“You’re going to fight angels,” aren’t you?” said Jasfoup. “You’ve got your rod of Plunging, your Tongue of Obsequiousness and your Candle of Absolute Darkness. This is your Umbrella of Despair.”

“What does it do, exactly?”

“It’s for the glory of the angels,” said Jasfoup. “You’ve seen the radiance of them It’s composed of pure radiation and it’ll burn you if you’re not careful. Here, take the Sunglasses of Casual Indifference, too.”

“Will they help?”

“Yes, just don’t wear them with the Knotted Hanky of Futile Hope.”

Tree of Mourning

Jasfoup peeled a sticker off the newly acquired tortured soul and stuck it onto his notebook. John Yardley was literally rooted to the spot. As a successful suicide he was condemned to spend eternity as a tree of mourning, forever tormented by harpies.

A face forced itself through the bark. “What’s that then?”

“That’s my sticker,” said Jasfoup. “It shows that I collected you. When I get enough of them I get another promotion.”

“How are you doing?” John watched as the demon leafed through several pages all full of the tiny yellow marks. He could see that the book was about two-thirds full.

“Better than you.”

Friday, August 17, 2007

Just Business

Azazel smiled and gestured for Raphael to finish his tea. “Wars will always exist,” he said. “The mortals live by violence and the greater the technology, the faster they die by it.”

“While you profit from both sides?”

The fallen one lowered his head in a mock bow. “Of course.”

“You’re incorrigible,” said Raphael. “Four thousand years you were chained and you haven’t changed a bit.”

“And yet I supply you with troops for Armageddon,” replied Azazel with a smile. “You have all the benefits and none of the blame. I am the eternal scapegoat.”

“So few are Christians, though,” the angel said. “Most of those killed go to Sheol.”

“Thus keeping our friend Lucifer buried in paperwork.” Azazel laughed and clapped the angel on the back. “It’s a win-win situation for you, old friend. Can I interest you in some flaming swords? They’re made of top-grade plutonium.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just Dessert

“What’s this?” Harold regarded the small dish Jasfoup placed in front of him.

“Pudding,” the demon replied, sitting at the opposite end of the table. Devious made it specially for you.”

“I notice you haven’t got one.” Harold picked up his spoon and levered off the top layer.

“I don’t have a cold,” said Jasfoup.

“Nor do I.” Harold took a cautious sniff and pulled away, his nose wrinkled. “I’ve never been sick in my life.”

“But you’re still technically a mortal,” the demon pointed out. “This will stop you dying of pneumonia.”

“In August?” Harold took a deep breath and dipped his spoon in. “What’s in it?”

Jasfoup counted the ingredients off on his fingers. “Orange, lemon, rosehip syrup, coffee, blood, green-bread penicillin, ice cream, Echinacea and gravel, topped off with hot vanilla custard.”

“Gravel?” Harold chewed slowly.

“Have you ever seen a troll with a cold?”

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wishes and Fishes

Harold watched the undulating floor, his picked up and hooked over the stretched bar of the chair, well above the waves of carpet that lapped against the edge of the floorboard-pattern linoleum.

The table shifted under the sway of the moving carpet and a teaspoon dropped into the churning carpet. Harold caught flashes of it as it sank beneath the weaves and put a steadying hand on the table to prevent the loss of his teacup.

He looked up at the walls of the kitchen. Had they always been painted such a deep azure blue with fluffy white clouds? He thought not.

“Enough!” he shouted, his voice almost lost among the clatter of a flight of dinner plates looking for scraps. “I wish I hadn’t had prawns for breakfast.”

The sudden absence of sound was as loud as the noise that preceded it. He put a foot cautiously down on the now immobile carpet. One thought over-rided all others as he crossed the carpet to the cupboards.

He was hungry.

Eye Say!

I’ve cancelled tonight. Not literally. The sun will still go down, the stars will still come out and heavy clouds will still roll over and soak the crowds from emptied nightclubs at 2:07 AM. What I’ve cancelled is the date Julie and I had planned. It was going to be a dinner at the Savoy followed by a production of “Writing for Shoes” at the little theatre just off Leicester Square and finishing off with cocktails at the Hellfire Club (I’ve been a member there for almost seventy years. Ironic, really, when I had the pleasure of introducing the previous manager to my variation of Hellfire when he fell down a flight of stair carrying a crate of absinthe.

Why have I cancelled tonight, you ask. It’s because of Julie. She’s put her eye out. Not as dreadful as it seems when you consider that her eye is false to begin with, but it’s the only one she can see with. The other, natural, eye is perfectly attached but since she’s a Dead Mage (as in mage of the Dead rather than, you know, not breathing any more) it sees only the spirit world, which is of little use when you’re trying to watch a mortal play.

We’ve spent the last two hours searching for it. She thinks she put it out with the empty milk bottles, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she put it out with the recycled glassware. Have you ever tried to find an eyeball in half a hundredweight of discarded marbles?

It’s not easy, but the cats-eye ones look great on her.

I dissected the poppet today. Not destroyed the enchantment or anything – I can’t afford to do that until I understand exactly what it does. It was an interesting little beastie, sewn together very simply using blanket stitch on a bit of flock canvas. The face was embroidered in yellow thread -- simply eyes, nose and mouth – and the hair made of a stitched-on section of unspun sheep’s wool.

It was stuffed, as I discovered with the aid of a craft-shop scalpel, with the scrapings of a tumble drier trap. Another oddity in a doll purportedly made in the seventeenth century, but not a worrying one, unless you count the dog hair and polyester fibres amongst the blue lint. Why is lint always blue? I (technically Julie or Felicia) can dry a load of albino white towels and the lint from them will still be blue.

No. The strangest thing about this little bit of witchcraft was the hair used to bind it to Harold. When I met him, he had a regulation short back and sides in brown. When I helped him upgrade his image his hair turned platinum and grew down his back. It was these long hairs that bound him to the doll which makes it no more than three years old.

I can’t get over the feeling that the person who placed this here knows Harold really well. I’d suggest an ex-girlfriend if he had any. It’s not Ada’s style and it’s certainly not Frederick’s. To have made and placed it so accurately implies that it was someone in Harold’s family.

That and the fact that the little calico todger is in exact proportion to the real Harold’s.

Later. X

Ten things I like about myself

Ten things I like about myself, without being funny or disparaging, which rather makes my thought of answering with “Ummm…” rather pointless and not at all funny.

1. My dedication to passions.
Whatever my current passion, I throw myself wholeheartedly into it. At present it happens to be writing and Eastern Martial arts, prior to that it was writing and rapier, before that writing and BDSm, and before that Art and BDSm. I can generally sustain a passion for a few years before I hit my maximum level of expertise and look for something else.

2. My memory.
I can consciously delete files from my memory. People that upset me, or people that have no positive impact on my life cease to exist for me. There are several hundred people who will have met me that I no longer have any knowledge about.

3. Selective Hearing
I can tune out a conversation right in front of me, as long as it’s between two other people and not me. Conversely, and to my detriment, I can be driven to screaming pitch if two conversations are going on.

4. My kindness to animals
Do I have to explain this one? I thought not.

5. My ability to see the potential in the writings of others.
It may be a piece of crap, but when faced with a piece of writing I can see through the future drafts to what a truly great piece of prose it could be. I remember how rubbish I was when I began writing and can see a career progression in others.

6. My intuitive approach to construction.
It may not look pretty, but whatever I build will be artistic and well made. I’m planning to build an outdoor office next year. I’ll order a load of wood and build it on the fly without plans, incorporating whatever I can scrounge and find. And it will stand for years.

7. Neither side of my brain is dominant.
I can do mathematics and English. That might not seem like something to be proud of, but I meet so many people who can do one or the other, but not both, that I think it something to be proud of.

8. Internalisation.
I can rationalise my way out of a paper bag. Seriously, if I can avoid reacting to something when it happens, I can think it through until it ceases to bother me. Jealousy for example. I live in a polyamorous family and can rationalise me way past feeling jealous when one of my partners falls in love with another. Conversely, if something upsets me and I have an hour or two to myself, I can avoid being emotional about it until I can explain what the problem was with logical precision.

9. I have an active imagination.
Essential for a fiction writer, I can create three dimensional characters in my head and imbue them with a personality that isn’t my own. Not all of my characters have a little bit of me in them.

10. I am a Jack of all Trades.
I can do pretty much anything I set my mind to, to a greater or lesser degree. I can mend a cistern but not fit a toilet, build a shed but not a house, quote the bible, but not enter a church.

Not tagging anyone with this. It’s a tough one to do.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Son of the Circus*

It was a small bowl of sand that did it.

Harold had had the shivers for days. He kept turning his head to see if there was someone standing behind him and then shaking his head as is there was a mosquito in his ear. Things kept disappearing. Small things like keys and marbles (Harold lost those for days) and then reappearing in unexpected places like on top of the cistern in the third floor toilet.

He set up a shire to Belquus, the demon of hidden things. It was a simple little shrine on the northern wall of the Keats room (he has several handwritten pages of The Fall of Hyperion in frames) consisting of the aforementioned bowl of sand, a 60-hour church candle, and a wad of £5 notes.

The cash vanished instantly but nothing else appeared to happen until the following day, when Harold found something unusual.

The sand had been sculpted into a tiny castle, complete with postage-stamp flags and a matchstick drawbridge. A depression in the sand showed where someone of three inches in height has basked in the warmth of the candle flame. Harold raked the sand down with a dinner fork and let it be.

At a little after midnight he caught the culprit. One of Jasfoup’s employees, the gremlin who played Judy in his seaside tent, had run away from the circus.

*Title from an excellent book by John Irving

Jasfoup's Blog

Jasfoup now has his own blog . If you want to read it through LJ, go here and add it. I won't see comments unless you go to the originating site to leave them, though.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Theater of Parsimony

There were few things that Jasfoup was inflexible about, but paying – actually handing out money kind of paying – for tickets for an amateur dramatics production of Macbeth was one of them.

“Why should I pay to see it?” he said. “I saw it when it was performed at the Globe in 1610. Bill gave me the tickets in exchange for Act II.”

“But your girlfriend is in it,” said Harold. “Julie’s playing the three witches. Well, her and her two glove puppets.

“There you are then,” said Jasfoup. “If Billy Shakespeare could get me a complimentary she certainly should have.”

Monday, August 06, 2007

An excerpt from the diary of Jasfoup the Demon

A satisfactory day today.

Harold says that I’m mean. That’s a start at least. He swore at me when I swapped the sugar and salt dispensers over and said his tea tasted like the underside of a nun’s bedroll. Swearing is such a petty sin. I’ll have to try harder with him, though his avarice is developing nicely, particularly in regard to his stamp collection.

I did manage to damn three souls today. I say ‘I’ but two of them were actually damned by Harold’s driving. When he cut through that red light I swear that trucker almost had a heart attack. Harold had to do a handbrake turn to miss him and ended up doing forty through the pedestrian precinct. He would have got away with it if that toddler hadn’t dropped his ice-cream on the cobbles. His mother referred to Harold as the son of a Babylonian whore. I wonder what she’d say if she knew that Lilith, the original recipient of the epithet, was really Harold’s aunty.

Harold’s mum was nice when we got there. She still thinks Harold and I are an item and pressed a box of condoms into my hand when Harold went to the toilet. I tried to tell he that it wasn’t like that but she just smiled and patted my arm. She’d made us fairy cakes to go with our tea.

She got a bit flustered when the doorbell rang. Two Jehovah’s Witnesses asked her if she realised that the time of the apocalypse was nigh. She assured them that it wasn’t. Her boyfriend had assured her that there were no plans for it until she’d given birth to another antichrist but since she’d just had a coil fitted so that wasn’t very likely. Did I mention she’s dating my boss?

The JWs weren’t very happy with that. They told her that she was a liar and would be damned to the fires of Hell for all eternity. She called me to the front door and I dropped my mortal disguise for a moment. I’ve never seen Jehovah’s Witnesses cross themselves and pray to Mary before.

When we were getting back into the van to go home, Terry Plank from number 14 asked if I’d got any sweets. I gave him a bag of toffees in exchange for his autograph. It wasn’t cheating or anything. He’s going to be a politician when he grows up so I’m just getting his signature early.

We picked up a balti on the way home. Kali was in the takeaway ordering a take-out for herself and Shiva. She’s lost a bit of weight since I was last in Calcutta; weight watchers is doing her good. She says that the head of an enemy is only 14 points, 16 if he died with honour.

I left him to it. I’m on a double shift tonight because my friend Al-Hasif has a date with Jodie Foster and I offered to do his djinning for him.

Later. X.

I was asked what my...

Online moniker leatherdykeuk

Real name Rachel Green

Age 43

Occupation Chesterfield Housewife (according to the Derbyshire Times)

Location Chesterfield, Derbyshire

What do you write? Satirical Urban Fantasy

What are your current writing goals? To get an agent for books 2-6

When and why did you start writing? About 5 years ago when I began to write about an immortal witch. I still haven't finished that one.

What's your best piece of writing advice? Write. At least 400 words every day.

What three luxuries would you take with you to a desert island? A generator, a computer, and a dog.

What are your Top 5 Favourite:
Films The 300, Blade Runner, Aliens, Hero, House of Flying Daggers
Books The Crow Road (Iain Banks), Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll), The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), The Broken Sword (Poul Anderson) and The Divine Comedy (Dante)
Foods Rice, Fajitas, Enchiladas, Tikka Masala, Apples
Places? The Gower, Aberystwyth, Strawberry Waters, St. Ives and my own garden.

Which is most like you?
a) animal: Dog (Loyal and fierce)
b) plant Lupin (Wild and charming)
c) piece of furniture Bookcase (Full of eclectic knowledge)
and d) piece of clothing A battered Fedora (comfortable but needs replacing)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Mr. Punch's Sausage

Everybody loved the puppeteer on Wigan Pier. It was a mixture of frivolity and trickery, and never the same story twice. The puppets were not limited to being behind a high shelf but moved freely about the impromptu stage, often several feet forward of the Verona backdrop.

Today, Mr. Punch had got hold of some matches and had set fire to the crocodile, who had left the stage entirely to be rescued by a small child with a can of fizzy pop. He returned to the stage one of his cloth legs, charred beyond redemption, between his wooden teeth.

Jasfoup sat to one side, chuckling. The contracts for the troupe of six gremlins, invisible to mortals even without their Punch and Judy costumes, had been worth every sausage.

© Rachel Green 2007

Fast Payoff

Vixen studied the stone building of the Church of Redeeming Designers. The structure had been in continual use from its inception in the late 1700s until 1962 when the Church of England had declined to pay for a replacement roof. It had fallen into disrepair after that until the new owner had bought and refurbished the ancient building.

She opened her pack and took out the four bars of C4 and timer. The building had a structural weakness in the pillar that supported the transept. “Nearer My God to Thee” would take on a new meaning at tonight’s midnight mass.

© Rachel Green 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007


Holy Mackerel! I've actually had a rejection from for my poem 'Dicky Tummy'. They must have heard I was going to enter the Wergle-Flump contest with it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ignoble demise (200)

Even Jasfoup ducked when the portal opened. Expecting the red-striated skies of Hell, he was taken aback by the sight of blue skies and pinewoods.

Herbert felt the pull immediately.

“No,” he said. “Not there. I refuse to go there.” He hooked an arm around the leg of his workbench as the winds began. Retorts and glass tubes were sucked toward the portal, shattering as they hit the rim of the drain and sending shards of glass spinning through the room. Books and papers joined the maelstrom and the bench shrieked as its wooden feet were dragged across the stone flags.

“You go where you expect to go,” said Jasfoup. “This has nothing to do with my people.”

Herbert screamed as he entered the expanding vortex, his blood and lacerated flesh adding to the swirling dervish of the portal, The bench shook apart and was sucked in as well, a series of bangs telling of its splintering and demise.

Slowly the tornado slowed and vanished, leaving the room empty but for Jasfoup and an orange striped tabby.

“That’s the end of him then.” Jasfoup looked down the drain, trying to see a sliver of sky but there was only darkness. “I’m surprised he fitted in at all, “he said. “It was only three inches across and he wasn’t excessively flexible.”

The cat licked his paw and flicked the tip of his tail in agreement.

© Rachel Green 2007

Dead Line Chapter 22

The Plot thickens.
Events began to spiral as the disparate characters begin to cross paths. A murderer is revealed, but he died years ago, didn't he?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dead Line Chapter 20

Today's piece was interesting. Tom's Dad turned up. Odd, since he died two years ago - I always swore I'd never write a zombie yet here he is. I just want to avoid comparisons with Pratchett's Reg Shoe.

Monday, July 30, 2007

In Plain Sight

Mrs. Plunket closed the curtains and lit the single black candle. “There,” she said, laying out the lexicon cards on the parlour table, “We’ll see if your Wilfred’s up to a chat from the Other Side.”

She had the knack, that ladies achieve when they’ve hit seventy or so, of pronouncing capital letters. Her friend Edith nodded. “That was his chair,” she said, pointing to a sagging wingback next to the unlit gas fire. “He used to sit in that for hours.”

“Let’s pull it up to the table,” Mrs Plunket said. “He’ll feel at home then.”

The task completed, Edith went to the sideboard. “Would you care for a tipple?” she said. I’ve got Sherry, port or amaretto.”

“I don’t mind if I do.” Mrs Plunket smiled and helt out her thumb and forefinger. “Just a small amaretto, please.”

Edith poured that and a glass of sherry for herself. They sat on opposite sides of Wilfred’s chair and Mrs’ Plunket began the incantation. “Is there anybody there?” she said, her voice rising into a falsetto trill. “We’re looking for Wilfred Penkerton. Are you there, Wilfred?”

“I am, as it happens.” The voice came through clearer than any she’d ever encountered. Mrs Plunket opened her eyes to see him sitting at the table with them, though Edith’s form had become almost transparent.

“You’ve bin’ at my amaretto, haven’t you?” said Wilfred patting her hand. “She’s a sly one, my Edith. She worked out that the best way to hide the taste of bitter almonds was in almond bitters.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunny Laverstone

Harold opened up the tourist map of Laverstone. It was a simplified birds-eye view of the town with the major attractions picked out in larger drawings. The two churches, the museum and the manor, with its original seventeenth century mausoleum , were depicted with a cartoon gargoyle pointing out the best features.

“Wait a minute,” he said. “The Tattered Moon is on here.”

“Why shouldn’t it be?” Jasfoup asked. “It’s almost as old as the Manor.”

“But it burned down in 1756,” said Harold. “Only those with the Sight can see it.”

“That’s right.” Harold reached across and flipped the map over so that Harold could read the front page. “It’s the supernatural Tourist’s Map.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Say It With Flowers

“I don’t believe it.”

Harold skimmed the remainder of the letter and waved it at Jasfoup.

“What’s up?” the demon asked. “Have they cancelled your subscription to the butt-ugly dating agency?”

“What?” Harold’s forehead creased. “No. This is from the Lawn Bowling Federation. I’ve been banned.”

“For what?” Jasfoup stood up and read the letter over his shoulder. “Complaints have been made? By whom?”

“It’ll be that Mrs. Redd,” said Harold. “I was the only one to criticise her taking over Laverstone Bowling Club.”

“I thought it was her husband that ran it?”

“Ostensibly yes,” said Harold, “but he does whatever she tells him to. He takes his husbandly duties very seriously.”

“Ugh.” Jasfoup held up his hand and turned away. “I don’t need to know any more.”

“Sorry.” Harold looked at the letter again. “She claims that I’ve insulted her by suggesting that it’s her that runs the place, so she demanded that everybody send me to Coventry and bar me from playing.”

“Thus proving your point, yes?”

“Exactly.” Harold laughed. “That’s ironic.”

“So you’ve been banned from the bowling club?”

“Unofficially, yes, and there’s a move to ban me from every other club in the country, including the ones run by the Crown Green Association.”

“She can’t do that, surely? What about all your friends in the club.”

“Ah.” Harold sighed. “There’s the crux of the matter. Mr. Redd has stated he’ll disband the whole club if I return. I can’t allow my friends to suffer because she has a problem with me.”

“It’s a tough one.” Jasfoup patted him on the back. “Just a month away from your championship match, too.”

“I think that’s rather the point, isn’t it?” said Harold. “Stop me achieving something I wanted.”

“Send her an orchid,” said Jasfoup.

“Good idea.” Harold smiled. “Everybody loves orchids and she might reconsider.”

“Exactly,” said the demon. “There’s one in the potting shed all ready to go. Her name’s Audrey.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Chapter 18

Done after three days and still only 1700 words. Sometimes non-writing life just gets in the way.

I do like how Vixen is shaping up, though. Saying prayers over those you kill is definitely a quirk.

excerpt from 'Dead Line'

Inspector White looked at the mud from the relative safety of the road. “What’s in this field?” he asked.

“Well…” DS Peters was uncertain of the question. “The body, sir, obviously.”

White scowled at him. “I know that,” he said. “The police cars, crime scene tape and coroner’s van give it away. I meant what crop?”

“Oh.” Peters looked down where several stalks still adhered to the mud on his Wellingtons. “Wheat, I think.”

“And a veritable bog after last night’s rain.” White looked up at the sky and back at the field. “The grass-”

“Wheat, sir.”

“-Wheat has been flattened for quite a distance around the body. Give the Met boys a call and ask them to send a chopper up, would you? I want to see the pattern.”

“Yes sir.” Peters reached for his radio.

White looked at his feet. “Before you do that, Peters, What size shoe are you?”

Peters looked down. “A ten, sir. Why?”

“Then lend me your wellies, lad. I haven’t got any with me and I’m damned if I’m going to ruin my brogues.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Alphabet Project

“What’s this?” asked Harold, looking at an extensive 3D model Jasfoup had spent all night working on.

“I’m designing a housing estate with buildings made of the alphabet,” said Jasfoup. “Look! Here’s an A-frame building, here’s a bee-hive maisonette.”

Harold, examined the model further. “You know this alphabet project…”

“What about it?” Jasfoup looked over his shoulder.

“You’re not the first to make these H-block units.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chapter 15

Writing today went slowly. I have a nagging suspicion that all this chapter is filler up to the point where Winston sees the loa. We shall see. I'd rather have to cut during editing than fill.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chapter 14

I'm still feeling crappy from this cold, but manager 2400 on this chapter today. I haven't analysed it yet, though. Tomorrow will be taken up mostly by reading.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bookarazzi is an interesting site. It's a home of sorts, or rather an anteroom, of bloggers with book deals. The very kindly let me join even though my book won't be out until next year. I go through the site daily, finding the articles interesting or amusing, nodding my head as words jigsaw with experience.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chapter 12 (2K)

1. Winston on the canalside - sets up the existence of the canal
2. Dredging - bottle - Winston's interest in bottles affirmed
3. Latitia and Winston - Latitia mothers him even though he's the elder
4. Mother's secret recipe - establishes an 'us and them' between the male and female members of the family
5. Winston's voices: hook
6. Winston steals a cake anyway - naughty boy
7. Sam - knew where Winston lived - stole the fetiche bottle - was stupid
8. Winston 'big brothers' sam - takes him into town - leaves him alone with Latitia in the bath

a. Why has Winston got a plate in his head? Backstory?
b. How will Winston save Sam from gaol?
c. Winston's voices. Alcoholism?


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dead Line Chapter 11

2270 words

Alas, Harold is in love with Gillian but she isn't in love with him, though she recognises the relative safety of being with him. His treatment of Felicia is tempered by the fact the werewolf is Gillian's lover; besides, John the imp will dry the car out...

I try to run by the medium of every scene is there for a purpose. Since I often write by the seat of my pants, this often means that I have to have a reason, later in the story, for exactly why something happened. Sometimes I don't know at the time. This chapter, for example, shows:

(a) Harold so-very-human jealousy and spitefulness towards his partner's lover, despite their professional and familial relationship (note that he cooks Felicia's dinner)
(b) his warped sense of humour from association with a demon
(c) Julie siding with Harold against her sister because she depends on him
(d) Jasfoup's love of the arts and his cleverness.
(e) Jasfoup's easy friendship with Harold, and his sense of justice when it's him suffering
(f) Harold's unease with Gillian's diet
(g) His love for his mum
(h) Gillian and Felicia's heightened senses
(i) Gillian's genetic fear of mobs with torches (links her back to the cinematic tradition of vampires)

It also raises questions:
(1) Who wrote the crossword and how did they get it into the paper
(2) Where did the opera tickets come from? How convenient that the demon be missing.

and answers one:
(1) Harold stole the first victim's phone.

Only the omniscient view of the reader, and their knowledge of Vixen and her real name reveals the truth of the crossword- Having seen Mackenzie answer it, we know to read it 1 across, 1 down; 2 across, 2 down and so on. H&J don't know this.

I only wish I knew what Harold intends to do with the cream cake he put in his pocket in chapter 9.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Laverstone Manor

I had to sketch out a plan of Harold's house in order to plot Vixen's line of attack. I may end up having to plan out the whole town.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stick Fighting seminar

A little Vigny stick technique - wow do my shoulders hurt - and then, since Neil and I had been talking about it, Canne: Italian stick fighting. What utter fun. We ended with a little Bartitsu, and a couple of throws, and how-to-get-out-of-having-a-knife-at-your-throat. What splendid fun.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sales Target

“Hello there!”

Jasfoup gave a little wave as the door opened and flashed a set of perfect, white teeth.* “I’m Mr. Mugoto and this is my friend Virginia.”

“Virginia?” The woman looked at Harold with confusion all over her face. “That’s an odd name for a bloke.”

Harold coughed. “It’s represents me being born again in the purity of spirit,” he said.

“Born again?” The woman’s tone turned suspicious.

“Indeed so!” Jasfoup waved a pamphlet off her. “If you make a lifetime subscription today you can be born again too, or else spend eternity in the fires of Hell.”

“Not today, thank you.” The door slammed.

Jasfoup made a not in his book. “Another one volunteered for the pits,” he said. “That’s 317 today.”

*Harold still felt sorry the bloke he’d got them off.

© Rachel Green 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How odd.

I'd outlined a chapter of Dead Line to write today which involved Vixen, in plain clothes, going to the church to look up records about Harold. I'd allocated 300 words out of 2000 for this. What actually happened was Vixen and the local vicar, Rev. Mackenzie end up fliting and spending the whole 2.1K in each other's company. It advanced the plot, so I let them be.

I say, did you hear the one about the vicar and the technomage assassin...


Harold waved to the passers-by, their oars dipping into the water against the heavy current. “Lovely day, isn’t it?”

He was oblivious to the hard stares and the terse replies. He was happy to just lie back in the boat.

“More tea, Harold?” Jasfoup had brewed another pot in the bow. “I’ll have the bacon sandwiches ready in a minute.”

“Thanks, Jasfoup.” Harold sat up and accepted the cup. “Do you think the imps need refreshment?

Jasfoup looked over the side. “Nah,” he said to the panting faces. “They’re good for another ten miles.”

“Excellent” Harold sank back again and drifted gently upstream.

© Rachel Green 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Harold gated into the front room where an lady was sleeping in a chair in front of a muted television. Seconds later three imp gates opened at various points in room and Devious, Delirious and John dropped to the floor, their hooves muted by the faded Axminster.

“Split up and find it.” Harold looked at each of them in turn. “We’ll take a floor each. I’ll take the cellar. If this old lady wakes up she won’t be able to see any of you lot but she’d see me.”

Devious prodded the woman. Ruby Blesset shifted position and began to snore. Harold narrowed his eyes. “You had to push it, didn’t you?” he said. “No pudding for you tonight.”

Harold had hardly begun searching the cellar when Delirious appeared with the shell in his hand. “Where did you find it?”

“Up yer’ bum.” Delirious grinned, showing his triple row of sharp teeth. “It was on his bedside table. Easy peasy to just take it back.”

“Excellent.” Harold paused, his gaze lingering on the eight foot battlefield set out with troops of elves and goblins. There was something familiar about the terrain depicted, but he couldn’t think what. He shook his head and went up the stairs into the kitchen to let himself out of the back door. Portal use was tricky and he didn’t want to wake the old lady.

The three imps followed him.

One thing left to do,” said Harold, handing Devious a large sack from the back of his van. “Nip inside and put that in Tom-tom’s bedroom.”

“Is it dangerous?” asked the imp. “What’s inside?”

Harold smiled. “Cats.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

An Ungodly Child

An excerpt of "An Ungodly Child" is online at Discovered Authors
click on 'Library' and look for 'Regional Winners': Rachel Green

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dead Line

First draft of chapter five done. It was a bit of a mundane chapter - lots of talking and I kept thinking: "What's the point of this chapter?" The answer was to introduce the character of Julie, Felicia's sister, the existence of imps and to establish the idea that ghosts were self-sentient beings, able to socialise and gossip.

An Old Cliché

now online at Norm Blog

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lucrative Trade

Coliniel flicked through his book, a frown creasing his normally beatific features. “That’s odd,” he said, a lopsided grin of anxiety curling his lips. “You don’t appear to be in here.”

“P’raps I’m not dead then.”

The angel looked down at the mangled corpse. “I think we’re safe in assuming you’re dead,” he said. “I just don’t understand why you’re not in the book.”

“Nor mine.” Jasfoup scrolled through his pocket PC. “He’s not due downstairs.”

“I can answer this.” Harold Waterman, the businessman mage, held up a handwritten sheet of paper. “He sold his soul on e-bay for £1.76, collection only. I was the highest bidder.”

“Impressive.” Jasfoup nodded, kicking himself for not setting up automated notifications on search criteria.

“Stupid.” Colinial glared at the spirit.

“Come on,” Harold said. “I’ve already got you a six month contract with Disney. They pay me £200 a day to hire you.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Polite Company

“One should never do anything that can not be talked about after dinner.” Jasfoup smiled and stirred his tea three times counter-clockwise.

“So you’re not going to have sex with my sister again then?” Felicia’s face was a mask of innocence. “Ow!” She glared at Julie.

Jasfoup laughed and shot a glance at Harold. “That rather depends upon who I have dinner with,” he said. “Certainly I should avoid eating with those of a sensitive nature.”

“That’s a relief.” Harold held out his plate. “Dump a few more tentacles in there, would you.”

“We call it calamari here,” said Julie, dishing out the battered squid. “Tentacles are most certainly never discussed in polite company.”

Felicia caught the glance she shared with Jasfoup. “Not before lights-out, anyway.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

cignette from Dead Line

Harold shrieked when the demon sat down and slid to the far end of the bench. Jasfoup sat in quiet contemplation for several minutes, watching the ducks squabble over bread that a small boy was throwing inexpertly into the water.

“I can’t begin to understand what’s happened if you don’t talk to me, Harold,” he said at last. “You’ve changed so much over the last twenty four hours.”

“I wish you’d just leave me alone.” Harold stared moodily at the edge of the water, where the waves from the rowing boats were more like piebald donkeys than white horses.

“But why? What’s happened, Harold? We used to be so close.”

“No we didn’t.” Harold stared at the demon. “I’ve never met you before in my life.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dead Line.

Should chapter two be this boring? It's 1700 words about Tom and his ailing mother, his desire for magic to return to the world (He doesn't know that it never went away) and his love for Ruby, though he mistreats her to stop her carping at him. He comes across as a little simple but cunning, which is good.

Maybe it'll liven up when I go back to it.

Scene 73

Scene 73

Julie crouched with her back against the low wall and glanced at the demon. “Did you get the firecrackers set up?” she asked, accessing her well and readying a sleep dart.

“You’re joking.” Jasfoup peered over the parapet, waiting for the explosions to distract the guards. “This is England in September. You can’t get fireworks until at least next week.”

“Yes you can.” Julie tried to remember where she’d seen them. “There were some in the Chinese supermarket.”

“Were there?” Jasfoup hunkered down again. “I wish I’d known.”

“Why?” Julie felt suddenly afraid. “What did you use instead?”

“Claymore mines and thirty wind-up robots.” Jasfoup grinned. “That should take their minds off us.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

‘Like a Native’

“Tea? Before I even asked for one?” Harold was pleasantly surprised but took the proffered cup and saucer. “Thank you Devious.”

When he finished it, the empty cup was whisked away to be replaced by a full one, sugar already added and a little froth in the centre still rotating from the stir.

This went on all day.

“Pinch me Jasfoup,” he said. “I must be dreaming. No sullen looks, protestations of being too busy or grumbling about menial tasks.”

“From whom?” Jasfoup pinched him.

“Devious.” Harold rubbed his arm. “You didn’t have to pinch me that hard.”

“You asked me to. Devious is on vacation, anyway. You’ve got an impostor.”

“I have?” Harold looked carefully at his servant. “You’re not Devious,” he said. “Who are you?”

“Anna, sir.” The woman, indistinguishable from the imp apart from the increase of 4’ in height, the skin colour (Caucasian rather than grey) and the species (human instead of imp), smiled. “I’m from the Domestic Agency.”

“I’m glad you pointed that out, Jasfoup, said Harold, smiling at the woman. “I might have embarrassed myself by not noticing.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Dead Line

I re-wrote the prologue that I wrote yesterday. Now it's leaner, tighter writing. I then went on to write chapter one, which turned out to be 1840 words. I'll edit that tomorrow and see how it pans out. So far it's quite exciting, though I've glossed over a lot of the police work and concentrated on the characters instead.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Long, Long Road

Harold looked out at the featureless plain. A road stretched from where he stood to the far horizon, lit by an ochre son and bordered on each side by arid brown plains. He gave a long sigh and looked to the ancient walnut of a man beside him.

“I’ve got to walk that?” he asked. “It seems awfully long way.”

The man gave what appeared to be a laugh, although Harold worried that he might have an asthma attack instead. “You sure do.” the old man said. “Either walk it or stay put.”

Harold clapped the old man on the back. “Thanks old-timer,” he said. “I don’t know where I’d have been without you.”

“You’d be right here,” said the walnut. “Just as you will be when you’ve finished.” He moved off, his body still juddering with laughter. “You can get here from anywhere,” he said, his voice fading as he walked back to his shack. “You just can’t get anywhere from here.”

© Rachel Green 2007

A Shilling Wasted (170)

A Shilling Wasted.

Jasfoup laid the book on the top of Harold’s tomb. “He loved his books,” he said. “Let’s hope he enjoys this one from beyond the grave.”

“It’s unlikely.” Frederick looked at the title. “I don’t think he’s read Mills and Boon since he was in junior school.”

“It’s the thought that counts.” Jasfoup turned away and began to walk back to the house. Gillian hurried after him. “Weren’t you bound to Harold?” she asked.

The demon nodded, extending his chin forward in a show of solemnity. “That’s right,” he said. “I was bound to him until his death.”

“Then why are you still here?”

Jasfoup’s brows furrowed. “You have a point, you know.” He looked back towards the tomb. “While he was alive I could coma and go as I pleased. Now that he’s dead…” He frowned at looked at his arm as if he expected it to disappear. “I should have gone straight back down again and only come back if I was officially summoned.”

“Which means that we’ve buried him alive.” Gillian turned and began running.

© Rachel Green 2007