There done, all I need to do is post then hope. That’s the problem with being a
budding author no-one wants to know, there’s so many of us. Still this last short
story was good if I do say so myself, and its not like no-one has read my work
before, I have plenty of fans sadly most won’t pay to have my work printed or do
so with their own printers.
I call up my jobs list and cross of the chores I have completed, all that’s left is
to walk the dog, and iron some shirts for work, I can post the letter while I walk
the dog. The dog ambles in, he’s not mine, he’s my mothers and he never lets me
forget it. A weird cross between a dachshund and a basset hound four tiny little
legs a long body and immense ears. He has by the look of him been digging in
my land lady’s garden, but as she is a friend of mum’s and she is looking after
the dog while I’m at work, there’s nothing to worry about.
Or nearly nothing to worry about; Fred, named rather originally for Fred
Basset, has something in his mouth, again, and once again it’s a small bedraggled
bird of some variety, for a dog who can’t get more than about 3 inches of the
ground he seems awfully adept at catching flying things. I take it and as I did
with the last one I place it in a sheltered spot next to Mrs Harkins’ window box, if
it’s dead when we return I’ll put it in the bin if not it’ll have gone away, or been
eaten by a cat.
The walk to the letter box is a pleasant stroll, Fred does what he always does,
and we wend our way home, manuscript safely in the post. Home is the ground
floor of a huge Victorian house in a row of huge Victorian houses, Mrs Harkins’
house is number four of nine, house ten belonged to some druggies and burnt
down, in about 1950 or so I have been reliably informed by our neighbour on
Mrs Harkins is just arriving back from the Casino, not that that should in
anyway imply she’s rich, though as far as I can tell she is, but she likes to take
her afternoon drink in the bar there, she has a taxi each way and one of the local
cabbies has rather taken a shine to her. Hope he doesn’t find out that she calls
him ‘that common oik driver’. Mrs Harkins is as far as I can tell rather mad, she is
for instance no more a Mrs than I am, having never been married, or as far as
even my mother knows engaged.
She and Mum met in Peru years and years ago, Mrs Harkins was out there
doing something with guinea pigs, and my mother was doing research into a
novel about Che Guevara who she’d been a fan of since university, she still has a
poster up in her study. However she met Mrs Harkins while stuck in hospital with
appendicitis, and the rest as they say is history. The book of course was a great
success and she went on to write several more including an official biography of
Anyway we get back from the walk, to meet Mrs Harkins arriving back in the
taxi, she is as ever rather sozzled, as she drinks rather like a thirsty fish. I
completely forgot to look at the dead bird, as I helped her up to her own door,
and politely declined a small drink, knowing as I do she drinks out of buckets
when imbibing alcohol. Fred decided that her living room would be better than
mine which also meant one less job in the morning.
Monday morning is not my favourite of days, we have a sales meeting at nine
am, and the sales director is still new so likes to make an impression on the staff.
Which means that I have to be there for eight am to let him tell me what he’ll tell
them at nine, bearing in mind I have to be in that meeting too. What it does
mean is that my Monday mornings are pretty much done before I do any work,
breakfast has to come later as I can’t eat too soon after getting up or I’m ill all
With Breakfast out of the way, I have my own planning meeting to attend with
the other directors, after which I have my last meeting of the day, with my boss,
Madeline Cloche. Madeline is no younger than fifty and some of the office wags
put her closer to seventy, she is a demon in the board room, and one of the
scariest people I know. Today’s meeting goes well; sales are up, thanks in no
small part due to the new sales director. Who while too keen for a Monday
morning was a damn good find.
After Madeline has left I have some letters to answer before heading home,
tomorrow will mainly be in the car, as my three clients work about as far away
from each other as possible. Home is as ever welcome, by now with a good salary
I could easily afford my own place, but over the last twenty years I have rather
got used to living below Mrs Harkins and looking after mum’s dog while she goes
off on another adventure.
This year it’s another South American dictator, they of course love her because
she always make them look human in the books. She loves them as each book
sells well and makes her more money. Not mercenary at all, my mother.
After sorting out some food for myself and laying out Fred’s biscuits I wander
into the back garden where sure enough Mrs Harkins is lounging in genteel
splendour reading a cookery book, in her left hand while in her right she holds a
bucket of gin possibly with a small amount of tonic.
“My dear boy, back so soon?”
“Evening Mrs Harkins how was your day?”
“Oh very nice, thank you Timothy, I had a pleasant chat with the Major, he told
me all about his latest theories as to why Genghis Khan didn’t manage to rule the
“Really and what is his latest theory?”
“Something to do with Aeroplanes, he was rather drunk I fear.”
“The Major? Surely not.”
“Gosh he’s an old lush, you’d have though his body would have packed up
before now, but no every time I see him he’s either recovering from a hangover
or working on his next.”
“Anyway I came looking for Fred.”
“Oh he’s around somewhere, digging up my nasturtiums no doubt. FREDDY,
here boy, Timmy,” I winced, “has your din dins for you.”
“Not to worry I’ll have a look for him.”
“I think he’s down by the raspberry rows.”
Its always frightening going anywhere with Mrs Harkins as she sometimes just
can’t seem to help making out that I am still three years old. Fred is as ever up to
something, it’s a warm summers evening yet he isn’t panting. Instead he walks
past me with his ears down, tail down and obviously with guilt on his mind.
“Okay Fred what have you got?” He doesn’t answer, which is not surprising but
the way he is carefully avoiding my eyes speaks louder than words. I crouch
down and hold my hand out in front of him, “okay drop.” He does, another damp
feathery bundle is deposited into my hand. “Oh Fred can’t you just leave them
alone?” His eyes track from my hand up to my face than back down. “No, now go
and have your tea.” He gives me one last beseeching look then heads for his
Not sure what to do with the bird I, take a closer look to try and discover if it is
already dead or just in shock, the former can go in the bin while the latter I’ll find
somewhere warm for in the hope that it can recover. The bird is a sort of reddish
orange, and really strangely shaped for a start it appears to have a tail like a
monkey and its feet, hang on its got three feet. I do a quick recount definitely got
four feet, and two wings, it appears to be dead or perhaps unconscious but now I
don’t want to throw it out with last night spud peelings. I find a box to put it in,
carefully putting the lid on and placing it out of danger of our low flying mongrel.
Using a computer all day rather turns me off using one at night so most
evenings I either work on my next book, or read one. Tonight is definitely a
reading night. I have just reached chapter two and I hear a voice, not a loud
voice so quiet I can’t make out the words, yet most certainly a voice. After a
moment of quiet listening I decide that I imagined it and go back to my book. I
hear the voice again, again its too quiet to make out the words, this time
however I manage to track it as the voice continues.
Okay so call me slow on the uptake but the voice is definitely coming from the
box. Which I am in the process of reaching for when the door bell goes. With one
last look at the box I go for the door instead. In one of those classic comedy
moments I open the door and fail to see anything, until that is I look down.
Standing on my doormat, hat in hand is a rather grubby and battered dwarf,
this one is either leering at me or possibly smiling nervously, what it does reveal
is the poor dental hygiene. “Hello?”
“Ah Zir, Oi beloive yous has a fing of moin.” The accent is hard to understand a
sort of mix of Cornish and cockney with a little ompa lumpa mixed in.
“Ar yez zir yous moight well do.”
“And exactly what might this thing of yours be?”
“Ar Oi don’t loik spoikin’ af such tings on th’ doorstoop.”
“Well you had better come in then.” Now I know what you’re thinking, why
would I invite a disreputable looking dwarf into my front room knowing as I do
nothing about him. And to be quite frank I have no idea. Fred appeared in his
friendly way to give the stranger the once over but wouldn’t go near him, another
clue that something odd was going on. Mind no hysterical barking or suddenly
turning savage, just a look a sniff then a dignified retreat.
“Now what is it the you’re looking for?” I ask.
“Hurm peraps it’d boi somting dat yur dawg wud bwing in wid it. Oi saw im
“Oh the bird monkey thing, yes the dog brought it in. What is it?”
“Hurm Oi don’t thonk oi shud tell ee, it boi dongroos fur yoi humanananansss
“Woll u see ifn youz tuch it itn be bound to youz fur loif, um youz didn toich oit
“Um yes I’m afraid oi,” damn thing has me doing it now, “…I’m afraid I did, I
took it from my dog and put in the box there, um when you say bound how do
you mean? Like a pet or something.” The dwarf had gone exceedingly white, then
“Jesus Christ don’t you humans ever bloody learn not to touch? We say don’t
touch and you stupid buggers just go ahead and touch, well mate you really are
up shit creek without paddle now, make no mistake. What you have there is a
genuine fire demon, its only a baby at the moment, so its powers aren’t up to
much, but now its bound to you its your responsibility. Now are you a Sheila or a
“What… what happened to your…”
“My accent, well its like this mate, when I have to talk to a norm I have a role
to play, they want folksy olde worlde charm so that’s what I give them, but you
aren’t a norm now, you’re demon possessed so I can talk the lingo that comes
naturally…” I have to say I just stared at the Australian dwarf. “Let me guess you
want to know what an Australian dwarf is doing round here?” I nodded, bemused.
“Well its simple, this here little England is rather short of land gnomes, what your
old folk would call a Hob, so the Arcanum had to import us from around the
world, pays better over here for a start. This is my second task, of the traditional
fourteen, take fiery Fred that you’ve stashed in the box to meet her destiny, or in
her case a virgin in Birmingham.”
Needless to say this whole thing was clearly getting over my head, the dwarf
walked over to the shelf where I had indeed put the box and even though there
was no way he could reach he carefully lifted it down. He took the lid off and
gingerly lifted out the baby fire demon, I still though it looked like a bird with too
many legs. Now however it had quite obviously recovered from its ordeal in Fred’s
mouth, after a brief look around it bounced out of the dwarf, sorry the gnome’s
hands and launched itself at me.
It landed on my chest, I put my hands out to hold it up but they were
apparently unnecessary, it has claws I realized. I took a closer look at the thing,
it was definitely cute, a sort of cross between kitten and eagle. And damn friendly
I could feel the purrs through its claws.
“Well its all yours now mate, I have a manual somewhere,” he reached into the
small bag that I could see on his back and pulled out an enormous book, easily
too big for the bag, I wasn’t that surprised. “Here ya go, better read that tonight.
Now I’ll be seeing you no doubt but until I do good luck, and I’ll see me self out.”
Moments later I heard the door go. I bent down carefully cradling the, well the
fire demon, and picked up the book.
‘Demons for Dummies: Yes that’s you that is.’ Or “Demon Possession in 21
days: How to possess a demon and not have it pwn j00!!!!!1!!!’ I re-read the two
titles again, and still failed to see anything meaningful. I was now back in the arm
chair by the cold fireplace, the ‘demon curled up apparently asleep in the crook of
an arm, I’d tried twice to put it down each time those incredibly sharp claws had
sunk into my arm, I took the hint. The book was open at the contents page,
balanced awkwardly on the coffee table and my knee.
Chapter 1: So you want a demon. Nope. Chapter 2: Catching a demon. Nope.
Chapter 4: Common diseases and ailments of demons. Hmm… Ah Chapter 7:
Demon Possesed and unwilling. Now lets see.
‘Demon Possession is generally caused by three things: The
Curse, The Spell or The Accident. While the first two are
avoidable the last isn’t, to understand the first two please turn to
Chapter 18, or read the companion books. ‘Demon Summoning
for Beginners’ Or ‘Demon Summoning in 21 Days’
Curses can be broken Spells are normally reversible, however
becoming accidentally possessed by a demon is quite scary.
The first thing to ascertain is the type and nature of demon. Use
the table (.fig 1) to work out the type and nature of the demon.’
Hmm well it didn’t take long to work out, some the dwarf had told me I was in
possession of a common fire demon. And with some careful feeling the demon
does appear to be female. Which it seems is bad:
‘In general male demons are thought to be less dangerous due
to their stupidity, they will often lose the object of their
affections and will return to their home plane. Females however
are far more intelligent than their male counterparts, they are
also fiercely jealous of their human thrall, and will allow very
little to happen without their own involvement.
Accidental possession by female demons is not common though,
and the normal system which helps with placement of
unattached demons within modern society helps for the most
part in preventing this. If you find you are possessed by a
female demon the first thing to remember is not to panic, even if
your original touch was brief they will tune into your thoughts
and emotions and will react to any but the mildest changes.
Later in the chapter I found another interesting snippet:
Demons mature at a much slower rate than humans, this is
partly due to their otherworldly origins and partly due to their
extended lives. However right from birth they have large
amounts of power that they will happily use to change their
environments or even the base line reality to suit themselves.
And with their well known, particularly that of the females,
stubbornness the Arcanum have long been known to ignore even
quite extreme discrepancies rather than try and change the mind
of an infant Demon.
However the closing paragraph, said what I had been thinking for most of the
‘Looking after and caring for a Demon can be a rewarding and
interesting task and unless you accidently touched a male
Demon then you are likely to be looking after your demon for
many hundreds of years to come. When the ancient Grimoirs
made mention of these facts many times it was written ‘Ye
Abandone Hopee Alle Yee Whoe Entere Ine’ possibly with less
‘e’s And that is still the modern view on such matters.
“Timothia time to get up dear, remember its a school today, breakfast is nearly
ready. I’ve put your washing on you dressing table.”
“Uh!” I woke up, something wasn’t right, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
“Morning Tim, I made some adjustments to make our bonding easier.”
“Come on your auntie wants you up and ready to face the day, and to be
honest I think you need to be to, I feel like some eggs for breakfast.”
“Um are you that fire demon, that, that dwarf… Um where am I? More to the
point who am I?”
“You are Timothia Ignacia Miranda Sarah Arnolds, you are the same age as me,
and we live with Mrs Harkins who is your daddies old landlady. Better”
“What the hell I’m a girl?”
“Well yes, you don’t think I wanted to spend eternity with a man did you?”
“You changed me into a girl?”
“Yes and don’t take that tone with me….”
“Change me back this instant, I’m not a girl, I don’t want to be a girl nor ever
have done. If you don’t want to spend eternity with me go away and spend it with
someone else. NOW CHANGE M….”
“Hee hee, you look so funny doing that.” The fire demon was now sitting on top
of the covers on my bed, grinning widely at me. It still looked like a cross
between a kitten and eagle, though now I looked at it the face was flatter and
more human, while the front paws while still tipped with retractable claws were
more monkey like.
I still however was incapable of speech. “Now nod if you will talk civilly to me,
and I’ll take the geas off you.” I nodded.
“Now see here Demon, I didn’t want you, I rescued you from the dog, I’m quite
happy being me, I don’t need changing into anything especially not a little girl.”
“You’re not a little girl, you’re a big girl, you go to school and have a job. You
don’t have a mummy or daddy but you do have a granny and well you have me. I
won’t leave and I won’t change you back. Besides you read that silly book last
night, you know I won’t change my mind.” I’m not beaten but…
“Why Timothia? Heck why such a long name can’t I just have a short easy
“You don’t like my names? I spent so long trying to pick nice names too.” The
face of the demon crumpled and a large tear rolled down one cheek turning the
fur a darker shade.
“Look I’m sorry, they’re nice names, just I don’t really want such a long name,
or such weird names.” A Demon that could it seemed change my entire life on
whim shouldn’t be allowed to cry, you never knew what it’d change next.
“Well I chose Timothia because that was nearly like your old name and sort of
sounded like a girls, Ignacia after my father, he was called Igneous. And the
other two because they sounded cool. But I can change them all, would that
make you love me?”
”Uh I don’t know, sure I’d like to change the names, but I hardly know you,
and you’ve sort of ruined my life.”
“I haven’t ruined your life, its just um changed, yes that’s it I changed it for the
better too. Now you won’t die at 35 from liver failure.”
“I was 38 and don’t drink.”
“That changes nothing, now are you going to do as you are told or do I have to
be really nasty?”
“You… gah, gah… whaaaa… Ulp, you just changed me into a baby?”
“Yes and that’s how you’ll stay unless you do as I say.”
“Okay I’ll do as you say, and try and love you.”
“Good now, lets see hmm… Lets change your names to Salindah Gertrude
Baronia Sarah Arnolds. Yes those are nice names.”
“Can I suggest some please?”
“Okay, but nice girly names, none of these nasty male names.”
“Okay um Sarah?”
“Yes Sarah, what?”
“Catherine Sarah Anne Harper. There can I have that name?”
“Okay, yes I like that.” The Demon took on an air of either concentration or
perhaps the urgent need for the toilet and I felt everything shift slightly without
Moments later, Mrs Dawkins my ex-landlady knocked per functionally on my
bedroom door and walked in, she smiled on seeing me awake and sitting up,
“Katie time to get up dear, remember its a school today, breakfast is nearly
ready. I’ll put your washing on your dressing table.” This she did before retreating
back out of the door.
I got up, my new body did feel quite different, partly I think due to balance,
and partly due to size. No longer was I an rugby forward, though I suspected
Hockey and netball. My new pet helped me in my dressing, or perhaps pushed me
into wearing the things that I should in my new role wear but in my old role had
little experience of. Let me tell you breasts are a pain, literally as well as
figuratively, finally inserted into an under wired bra. They became more a part of
me and less a part of some unknown entity. Thankfully the rest of my clothes
held little surprises for me, the uniform blouse had buttons on the wrong side and
the back of the skirt went at the front. But I was able to cope.
The bathroom was no different to how it had been twenty four hours ago, the
toilet however was frightening, no easy access plumbing now, this was a sit and
hope game. And relaxing rather than tensing a different technique. However I
coped, which was a good thing as my companion refused to enter the bathroom,
water she said was far more dangerous than I realized.
Normally on a Tuesday I don’t bother with breakfast before reaching work and I
have an extended elevenses’ at the coffee shop down the road from my office,
today however I was apparently supposed to tuck into a full plate of breakfast
followed by cereal and toast, Mrs Dawkins kept giving me funny looks all through
the meal. This was explained at the end by the comment. “I’m glad you’ve
started eating properly Katie, I was getting worried you had one of those eating
disorders.” I just smiled and prayed I wouldn’t be sick.
Gerry, the common oik taxi driver, only he wasn’t in this reality. Gave me a lift
to school, as a favour to Mrs Dawkins. Normally it seems I get the bus. We
arrived at the school gate with plenty of time for me to meet my friends.
Thankfully they didn’t get a lift and I hoped were still on the school bus. That is if
I do in this world have any friends.
“Demon we have to work something out, can you stop people from hearing
“Yup.” The world went quiet, as the demon stopped time with a flick of her tail.
“Do you have a name?”
“I do, I though you would never ask, my name is, Methodisticideonica
Readridesellinium Ottacarpes Drub. But my friends call me Kaa.”
“That’s a long and really cool name Kaa, but Kaa is easier to say.” I smiled.
“Who said you were my friend?”
“You are, don’t worry I love you.”
“Okay, I think. Kaa how can I live in this world, I have no memory… of… it. I do
did you?” She nodded smugly.