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By Sarah Hapgood

“Thank God you all grabbed him in time”, said Adam, when Joby related the day’s events to him back in the safety of the ship’s galley “Bardin can annoy me all day long, but the thought of being without him is unthinkable”.

“He’s a leader, he’s meant to annoy us”, said Joby “Anyway, Kieran said the magic words”.

“Oh I bet he was magnificent”, said Adam.

“As we’ve said before, you never expect such a big voice to come out of a such a little body”, said Joby “Times like that I know he’s supernatural”.

“It all sounds absolutely horrendous”, said Adam.

“We had a bit of light relief at times”, said Joby “When we put him back on his feet, Bardin’s trousers fell down”.

“Good job I wasn’t there”, said Adam “Every time I see Bardin in all his royal starchiness, I just want to tip him over my knee and spank him”.

“Be my guest”, said Joby “It does him good”.

“Quite”, said Adam “And one might as well take full pleasure in him now we’ve got him back safely”.

Bardin burst into the galley, still smudged with black goo and dusty from the ordeal. Adam nearly swept him off his feet in an exuberant embrace.

“Be careful”, said Joby “Or he’ll lose his trousers again”.

“That’s hardly going to stop me, old love!” said Adam.

“Come along, Bardy”, said Bengo “We need to clean you up”.

“And let’s have some tea as well”, said Bardin.

“So it all fits”, Ransey was saying to Kieran in Kieran’s cabin “Why the area is depopulated, the couple we found at the other house, the roving glass eye as the clowns call it, even the dead fish. All because the area has been contaminated by demons. Were they at the old power station too?”

“I suspect so”, said Kieran “And they haven’t just been taking people from round here. I suspect some of those poor souls we saw in there have been abducted from everywhere. We’ll do the burning at first light”.

Ransey kissed Kieran’s hands and left the room just as Joby was coming in.

“What’s up with old Ranz?” he asked, once they were alone.

“He’s fine, just got a lot to think about that’s all”, said Kieran.

“And are you alright?” said Joby.

“Jayz, yes”, said Kieran “Nothing that a stiff drink and a good spanking won’t put right”.

“I was being serious”, said Joby.

“And you think I’m not?!” said Kieran.

They spent a short, stressful night, fruitlessly chasing a sleep that wasn’t going to materialise under the circumstances. Not until the job was done anyway.

At first light Bardin grabbed a torch and crept stealthily around the ship, waking some of the others. They headed ashore and up the hillside, whilst the early morning mist still hung, achingly beautiful, over the desolate countryside.

It is pointless to dwell on the burning of the gloomy, moss-covered castle. When the inferno had taken hold they retreated back to the hill above the bunker-house. As they stood on the ridge, soot-stained and with singed hair, they saw the maniacal figure of Angel, standing on the slop near the castle. He was shrieking with laughter, and appeared to be doing a jig on the spot.

“What’s the bastard doing?” said Joby.

“He’s enjoying the destruction”, said Kieran, deadpan.

“B-but they’re his own kind in there!” said Joby.

“Oh Joby”, Kieran sighed, sadly “Don’t you understand the full nature of Evil yet?!”

“No”, said Joby, stoutly “And I don’t wanna understand it either!”

They raided the bunker-house of the tea-chests stored there, and transferred them to the galleon. Once that was done, they sailed southwards, into milder, balmier weather.

Evening. Up on deck several of the Indigo-ites were lying or sitting around, either asleep or chatting quietly. Bardin was asleep, lying on his side, tightly wrapped in a blanket. Bengo was sitting next to him, with his arms draped casually around his knees, as though he was a watch-dog keeping guard over his old comrade.

“Is he asleep?” said Joby “Good, don’t wake him up. Could do with a bit of peace and quiet!”

He and Kieran sat down in a corner of the main deck. Kieran looked up at the stars.

“You look sad”, said Joby, draping a spare blanket around their shoulders “Don’t be. You should be proud of yourself. You’ve vanquished some more Evil”.

“I doubt it’ll be the last though somehow”, said Kieran, ruefully “It never is”.

“Well that’s life innit, Kiel”, said Joby “There’s always gonna be summat! That’s just the way it all is. Always has been. Always sodding well will be”.

“You’re quite the philosopher on the quiet”, Kieran smiled.

“Oh I wouldn’t go quite that far, mate!” and Joby laughed.


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