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By Sarah Hapgood

“One thing I have never understood about Evil”, said Bardin, when they got back to the ship. He and Kieran were chatting in the Captain’s Cabin “Is how it can enjoy it. Destruction and misery I mean”.

“It thrives on it”, said Kieran “It needs it to exist. it is it’s life-blood. That’s why it wants to propagate more and more of it. The more death, destruction, misery and negativity the better. t can gorge on it then”.

“Jeez”, said Bardin, flopping down onto the chair opposite him

“Normal people thrive on a good time, cheerfulness, a good laugh, positivity, love and warmth, those things energise us”, said Kieran “Whereas we feel drained by misery. With Evil you have to turn that on it’s head. Reverse it. Aleister Crowley once wrote that he wanted murder, destruction, rape and war. He wanted to revel in it”.

“Sick bastard”, said Bardin “It makes me cringe that he once said I was like him”.

“I think that was wishful thinking on Crowley’s part”, said Kieran “He saw your courage, your leadership, even your acrobatic ability, and he wanted to claim it for himself”.

“Perhaps I might’ve been like him once”, said Bardin “When I followed Bengo to Toondor Lanpin. God, I was a hard bastard in those days. I wonder why you all let me join you!”

“We knew you’d be good for Bengo”, said Kieran “Bengo’s a sweet fella, but he needs a bit of grit in his life to protect him from trouble”.

“Hm, I always said that”, said Bardin.

Suddenly a cacophonous racket broke out in the dining-room next door. Hoowie was improvising a tune on the piano.

“And to think I was worried we’d all be sitting in glu silence when we got back here!” said Bardin “Fat chance!”

Bardin changed out of his habit and into his normal attire of shirt and trousers. He then went into the dining-room.

“Hoowie!” he yelled “Pipe down! You’re never going to make it as a songwriter”.

“You’ve changed into your trousers”, said Hoowie.

“Yeah, I thought the habits might be a safe idea”, said Bardin “And it worked for the monastery, but they’re not practical. Particularly if we’ve got his storm coming along”.

“Do you think it will reach this far?” said Hoowie.

“Who knows”, said Bardin “But if it does hit, then running around in our frocks isn’t going to be a very sensible idea”.

“So we have to change again then?” said Hoowie.

“I believe we have established that, yes”, said Bardin.

Hoowie lifted his habit and exposed himself in all his glory.

“What was I thinking of believing it would be a good idea!” said Bardin.

“Bardin! Bardin!” Lonts’s voice boomed along the corridor.

“What’s up?” said Bardin, going to the doorway.

“There’s a strange man on the shore to see you”, said Lonts.

“There is always SOMETHING around here”, said Bardin, in exasperation.

“Come along, Bardin”, said Lonts, in a bustling fashion “He’s really old”.

“OK OK”, said Bardin “He’s not going to peg out in the next five minutes is he!”

Waiting on the shore was an elderly man dressed flamboyantly in a black coat and tasselled hat.

“Thank God, there you are”, he said, as Bardin went ashore to greet him “I thought you may have left already”.

“We haven’t decided what we’re doing yet”, said Bardin, shaking hands with him.

“I am a lay-brother at the monastery”, said the old man “I had a terrible fear you would have moved on already. Please. I urge you to stay. We need Kieran here”.

“But we need to take him with us to explore the part of the forest where the vampires are holed up”, said Bardin.

“He can do that from the monastery”, said the old man “Use it as a base”.

“He already has a base”, sadi Bardin, gesturing at the galleon “It’s his home. There. Along with us”.

“Yes, perhaps”, said the man, grabbing Bardin’s arm “Maybe. But he can’t leave yet”.

“We shall see”, said Bardin, gently pulling his arm away.

“We can’t leave now, Bardin”, said Lonts, when Bardin had returned to the ship “The old man would be really upset”.

“Oh blimey”, said Joby “For fuck’s sake Lonts! If the old man has his way he’d have Kieran moving into that crappy old monastery”.

“No he wouldn’t, Joby”, said Lonts “Now you’re being silly”.

“I’M being silly?!” said Joby “What about you?! You’re the one who wants us to stay here just so’s we don’t hurt the feelings of some old man we’ve never met before!”

“What I mean is”, said Lonts, with enforced patience “Is that we won’t let Kieran move to the monastery, whatever the old man says”.

“I’m relieved to hear it”, said Joby.

“Calm down, old love”, said Adam, coming into the dining-room.

“Calm down?!” Joby exclaimed “Fat chance of that with him around! What is it with him going sentimental over old men all the time? I remember that one he gave my dressing-gown away to in Toondor Lanpin!”

“Oh for heaven’s sake, that was years ago”, said Adam “You do nurture these little grievances somewhat, Joby”.

“It was not a LITTLE grievance, Ad”, Joby glowered.

“Go and make some tea”, said Adam.

“And don’t tell me we’ve gotta go back to that fucking monastery again!” said Joby “Once was enough …”

Adam picked him up like a roll of carpet and deposited him outside the galley door.

“What’s the matter with Laughing Boy?” said Hillyard, who was coming up from the hold.

“Come and sit down”, said Adam, leading him into the dining-room “I’ll bring you up to scratch with all the latest developments”.

“I think we should find this vampire castle, whatever it is”, said Hoowie, when they were all congregated around tea and cake in the dining-room an hour later “And smash it’s doors in with an armoured truck”.

“Has EVERYONE taken leave of their senses today?” said Joby “Now suddenly we’re the friggin’ A-Team!”

“Joby, pipe down”, said Julian “You’re starting to sound like a rusty door-hinge”.

Joby promptly stood up and left the room.

“It’s alright”, said Kieran, getting to his feet “I’ll go after him”.

“Oh dear”, said Adam “Joby does let himself get bowed under with everything sometimes”.

“Yes, but when he crosses the line into whingeing we have to sort him out”, said Julian.

“It sounds like that gloomy monastery has got to him”, said Adam.

“It was a bit of a shithole”, said Hillyard “I know they’re a religious order, a real one I mean, not like us, but there’s still no reason why anyone has to live like that”.

“And what got me was why the windows were sealed and covered up?” said Bengo.

“Perhaps they’ve got a gorgon at large round here too”, Tamaz tittered.

“Oh Freaky”, Adam sighed.

“Well he might have a point”, said Hillyard “Remember how they used to block out the downstairs windows in Marlsblad too?”

“Let us stick to what we actually know shall we”, said Ransey.

“That won’t take long then”, said Hillyard.

“I mean, let’s avoid wild speculation”, said Ransey “The world is quite potty enough at the moment, without us speculating about what COULD be here”.

“Indeed, old love”, said Adam.

Hillyard knocked on Joby and Kieran’s cabin door.

“Who is it?” Joby shouted from within.

“It’s me, Hillyard”, said Hillyard “I’ve brought some tea along for you”.

Joby opened the door.

“That’s a relief”, he said “I thought you might be Julian”.

“He doesn’t go around calling himself Hillyard”, said Hillyard “Not unless it’s some new kinky nonsense of his. Hello Kieran. Thought I’d better knock. You never know what’s going on in here”.

“Joby’s alright now”, said Kieran, who was sitting coiled up in a corner of the sofa.

“Glad to hear it”, said Hillyard “Mind you, we haven’t had a flounce out of the dining-room for a while. It was like old times”.

“Yeah alright”, said Joby “You can’t make me feel an even bigger prat than I do already. It’s just Julian winding me up”.

“Yeah I know, he’s good at that”, said Hillyard “The rest of us understand though. Don’t worry mate, no one’s going to let Kieran go and live at the monastery”.

“Kieran doesn’t want to go and live at the focking monastery anyway!” said Kieran “Sometimes I think it does need to be pointed out that I do actually have a say in what I get up to! I don’t know where this idea gets round that I do whatever anybody wants all the time”.

“No, I can’t imagine”, said Joby, sarcastically.

“I have a mind and a will of my own”, said Kieran.

“Yeah alright, calm down”, said Joby.

“We need to go further up the river anyway”, said Kieran “We’re not going to get closer to Evil HQ by hanging around here”.

“Put like that”, said Hillyard “Why would we want to get closer to Evil HQ?”

“To stop them contaminating this whole area even further”, said Kieran “And the world needs some Love putting back into it, and we won’t succeed at that if they’re all still running round, spreading death, depravity and depression everywhere”.

“What else? Same old routine”, said Joby.

“We have to keep chipping away at them, Joby”, said Kieran “Chipping away”.

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