‘Twas a day like most other days, except that it was unique for having a date that would only ever occur this once, unless calendars were reset should the unlikely second coming of the messiah (or if you are Jewish, the first coming) happen. Upon this day, whilst I tended to my duties such as eating, breathing and generally staying alive, I was interrupted, disrupted, and slightly inconvenienced by a noise emanating from the garden. I was facing the garden as I sat in the conservatory wondering whether or not to loose the chickens from their coop so I could see whatever was going on, but I was inconvenienced by the fact that the noise came from behind the shed necessitating the need for me to find shoes and investigate as whatever was causing the noise was distressing Princess Layer, Henrietta and Demelza greatly.
My curiosity was significantly piqued by way of having nothing better to do than wander out in the rain to calm the chickens to ensure unsullied eggs, and also because the noise was one I was unfamiliar with. My first thought was that a fox was trying to besmirch my poultry but the ancient mystery of what a fox says remains unsolved, and I did not find myself of enough import to discover the answer to that particular age old question. “Could I be a cat?” thought I. “Could a badger be here, stalking behind the shed?”
I ventured out into the summer rain, slip on shoes donned to protect my socks from the muddy ground, else upon returning into the house I would find myself having to steam mop the floor. Again. It was only a light drizzle, however ’twas enough to cause my t-shirt to grow damp.
The noise was low; not loud enough to cause pollution, but distinct enough to warrant my sojourn. It was indescribable: exactly like a washing machine on fast cycle, yet musical like Beethoven or Nils Frahm with a primary school choir adding a layer of sentimental depth. As I got closer to the shed, every footstep filling me with mounting trepidation, I saw a purple and blue light seeping from without. Every fibre in my being steeled itself for the outcome: this would certainly prevent me from having lunch at my scheduled 12:30 timeslot. Great.
I placed one hand on the edge of the shed and peered warily round, fear seeping into my gut, my heart and soul consumed by horrors unimaginable, like the thought of being force fed coleslaw whilst having Alan Carr read the entire 50 Shades collection through a kazoo. My eyes seared from the sight; this was not meant for human eyes! A portal! A portal in my back garden! I couldn’t see beyond the whirling, swirling sparkly purple wormhole but I just knew that the cost of having this area landscaped to repair the damage would be ludicrous.
I reeled backwards, almost fainting when a voice bellowed with the sweetness of a sunflower being mauled by a rabid wasp:
“Behold, I am come to you now! Enter my daughter, for she wishes to learn from you and feast among you. You will allow this, or I shall take your shed!”
My plans for the foreseeable future did not include chauffeuring some otherworldly denizen around our world and I was most aggrieved that this would happen on my only free day this week, yet I had just this week repainted that shed and as such was not yet ready to relinquish my possession thereof. Unfortunately, my stubborn logic and yearning for etiquette commandeered my brain and I could not allow such uncouth introductions go unchallenged, so I replied:
“Give me your name Portal Voice, and let us start this negotiation on a firm footing of respect!”
“I AM SATAN!” boomed the voice with the intensity of a million Brian Blesseds, knocking me to the floor. That was enough for me, I decided.
“Can’t argue with that, sir. Send forth your daughter and I’ll see how I can help.”
“Very well. You chose wisely, mortal earthman.”
The voice retreated and was subsequently replaced with the fanfare of a hundred million coronets, which lasted approximately twenty-eight minutes, giving me enough time to replenish the water and feed in the chicken coop, put on a laundry load, empty the dishwasher, relieve myself in the bathroom, wash my hands, brush my teeth, put on more suitable clothing, and fashion a rough sign reading ‘Welcome, Demon Princess’. Alas there was not enough time to comb my hair, what with finding suitable sign-making materials.
In front of the portal I sat upon a deck chair wielding my crude sign until a voice interrupted the coronets, coinciding with the portal noticeably changing from sparkly purple to a much more appropriate glittery violet, with the announcement:
“Behold, mortal earthman! The daughter of Lucifer: The Demon Princess Ely!” I politely applauded whilst trying to work out how exactly to pronounce the name
Was it Ellie? Olly? Ali? Eli
when from the whirling, swirling glittery violet twirl of entropy stepped a woman not much older in age than myself and with a slight resemblance to an ex-girlfriend – nose ring included – and stood in front of me as if expecting a larger crowd. The portal closed and once again my ears were mine, free from noise.
“You!” she pointed, aiming her finger towards me and most probably then addressing me. “Foolish man, I am here to destroy the world! By accepting my presence you have doomed all mankind! You puny, worthless humans have had far too long to get your grammar correct. Now you must pay! The apocalypse is nigh!”
Typical. I get one day off and I have to go and bring about Armageddon. Well played.
Frantically batting away feelings of self-loathing I steeled myself. The time now is as good as any to make myself a hero.
“Your Majesty, the journey from hell to earth must have been a long one. You must rest a while. Come, let me show you the hospitality of House Blackburn, Wardens of the North. You must be hungry, would you break bread with me in my home?” It was a long shot, but if I was going down, I’d at least go down with this meeting being etched in the annals of time showing me as a civilised and important person of the realm.
“Yes, I have a hunger for something other than debauchery and destruction. Bring me a feast worthy of my name and my grandeur and I may spare you alone.”
Here was my chance! Delight entered into me as easily as a virus in winter, until I realised that the grocery home delivery was scheduled for sometime in the next 5 hours. Curse my decision to have a lie-in! I bolted indoors and frantically searched my cupboards. I had no choice. I had to present to the Demon Princess, daughter of Beelzebub himself nothing more than a jar of chocolate hazelnut spread, a spoon, and a bottle of Châteaunuef-du-Pape.
As Ely made herself comfortable on the basic patio furniture and acquainted herself with the chickens, I humbly and meekly presented all the food I currently owned. I could not bring myself to look her in the eye. I was so ashamed. So futile was my attempt at saving humanity that even favourite three female fowl flicked their faces away from mine. Interestingly, there were no sounds of discontent, rather a hearty laugh:
“If a woman drinks two glasses of wine a day it increases the chance of a stroke. If she drinks the bottle, she will probably go all the way…” she winked at me, grinning from ear to ear, her green eyes flashing wickedly, knowingly.
“I am glad that this drink appeases you.” I stammered, hoping for some sort of respite.
“It does indeed! But not nearly as much as using this metal scoop with which to eat this brown resin. What is the name of this treat?” Ely was definitely in a good mood. It was the first time she managed a sentence without spitting all over me.
“It is called Nutella. A delight enjoyed by young and old for many generations. Although I fear that if you destroy the earth along with everyone and everything in it, the secret recipe will be lost forever!” I was thinking faster than I’d ever thought before, even faster than that time when my boss asked who had eaten his sandwich and the crumbs were still visible on my cheek.
“Then my decision is final. I shall purchase shares this company and learn it’s secrets!” and with that, she took out her smartphone, called her stockbroker and immediately initiated a takeover of the parent company responsible for all things to do with Nutella.
“Earthman, time to celebrate! I own the secret recipe. The end is nigh! Ride Four Horesmen, ride!” She cackled maniacally and raised her hands to the air, lightning leaping upwards from her fingertips turning the sky blood red. The chickens screamed, foxes spoke secretly to each other, bats flitted hither and thither as flies flew from every crevice in every wall nearby.
“Wait, Your Magnificence, wait!” I pleaded. She could not hear my entreaty over the sounds of impending fire and brimstone. “If you destroy the world, you will lose all your money on your investment! How would your father react to such short-sightedness regarding an investment of this scale.
Immediately, Ely lowered her arms. The sky returned to it’s dull and dreary Lancashire grey, flies retreated back into their crevices, and there was calm and clarity in abundance. After a lengthy pause, Ely spoke:
“Very well. But there must be some recompense. My father’s destructive nature must be satiated somehow. You must come with me. Sacrifice your soul and become the martyr for all mankind.” She fluttered her eyelashes and twinkled her eyes in the way that only a succubus knows how to do. “In hell, you can have anything you want on one condition: it must be all for your own selfish needs,” she lowered her top to flash her cleavage “and you can have anything, and I mean anything you want, whenever you want it, as many times as you want it.”
The choice then, was clear. My time to be a hero was now, and how could I refuse such an attractive offer from a debauched, demon princess who could teach me things that I have only seen on the internet? I couldn’t, and so I accepted the offer.
“Marvellous! Gather whatever you need, for tonight we dine in hell!”
No sooner had she spoken the words than the glittery violet portal opened once more, the time accompanied by the Southern rock stylings of Elle King to announce my entrance into the underworld as a saviour to earth. I laughed all the way to hell thinking ‘yes, this a fine promotion’ as I took the twenty-eight minute boat ride along the River Styx through the wormhole marvelling at all the erotic photographs adorning the walls.
This was the day that I became a hero, and this is the only proof that there will ever be.
© Kris Blackburn 13/07/2015