THE MAGUS OF BLACKBURNSHIRE
Craig hated vampires, the bunch of sparkly wankers.
It wasn’t that they actually sparkled, unlike what a certain shitty teen romance crock of shite had tried to suggest, but they didn’t half fucking act like they did. For a bunch of New Romantic wannabes, they proper acted like they shat rainbows. Knobheads.
It didn’t make him feel any more enamoured to them that one of them currently had him in a headlock over the back of his thread-worn brown sofa. The foam had compressed plenty through years of expert-level lounging, so now with the extra pressure of him being crushed into it by the creature’s supernatural force, it meant the wooden frame was digging right into his back, He could feel a half-detached staple scraping down his back. So not only was he being killed, but he was uncomfortable whilst it happened. Rude.
Of course, he didn’t have anyone to blame but himself, really. He’d got the school run done, and a couple of bits and bobs he couldn’t put off any longer around the yard, but he’d felt it merited a wee toke after. He’d been up half the night, having one wee toke after another, going down a rabbit’s hole on YouTube of a bunch of bairns who thought they’d tracked down the Beast of Lytham. He’d have to tell Bob all about it, next time they took a walk together around the Witch Wood. He was a good lad, albeit an ugly bastard. Huge, fuck off ears and all that…
Hold on, what was he doing again? Oh, right, yeah. Being strangled by a bastard vampire. Teach him to fall asleep on the sofa and not pay attention to the banging knock on the flat’s door. He’d had a peep hole stuck in, as the opaque glass straight from the arse end of the Seventies was bob all good for seeing who was there. Bang goes the door, he’s still dozy, so what does he do but shout ‘come in’, without clocking where he actually was. Not the best idea when the person knocking is a Nosferatu. Heh – a Knockferatu, until you let them in, which he’d been daft enough to do…
Hold on, focus. What was it? Oh right, the bloody vampire was trying to take a chunk out of him. He’d done more than that to the door – he could see the splintered frame ,half-hanging off the wall. The door had exploded inwards, the scattered pieces looking like St Anne’s beach after a great storm, driftwood scattered all over. He felt the ancestral urge scratching at his brain to get the place tidy. Genetically, he couldn’t help it. Came with the blood. He was a stubborn bugger, though. He was deliberately messy, just to fuck with his own bastard heritage. His forefathers wouldn’t be chuffed but, well. They’d done what forefathers always did, and died long before he’d ever been born, so sod the lot of ‘em…
Christ. He felt the breath of the vampire just blowing on the nape of his neck and nearly jumped out of his skin. Shit, might have to actually do someat about this. Craig glanced around, and his eyes caught on the solid-duty glass ashtray, made from the same material as his now sadly departed front door window had been, the remainders of the morning’s skin up mish still hanging there.
‘Hey, wait up a second, pal.’ He put his hand to the vampire’s mouth and gave a shove, pushing it back a little, giving some breathing space. Literally. ‘Bit fucking rude, ain’t it? Smashing into a fella’s home, and not even saying what’s the crack, why you’re even spitting feathers.’
‘Arghnt quart whatgh,’ Craig realised he’d got his fingers half-in the vampire’s mouth, pulling his lips back to reveal the overly pointy, gleaming canine that they were all so bastard proud of. He shuffled his digits to keep the vampire back but allow him to articulate.
‘You aren’t quite what I expected,’ the vampire hissed, a note of derision in his tone. ‘I’d been warned about the Grand Magus of Blackburn, and instead I find a… a half-cooked pot-head stoned in a shabby little flat. It’s pathetic. Taking over here is going to be far easier than we expected.’
Okay. Another attempt by some magical knobbers to muscle in on the North-West. Course it was. Craig sighed, a long suffering exhalation. ‘I guess you’ll be wanting to tear me throat out then, lad?’
‘Of course! I will feeeeed!’ Oh, bloody hell, talk about overdramatic. Nobody bought into their own blasted hype like vampires did. Sparkles and rainbows, honestly.
‘Well, look, do us a favour, right? As I’m about to be all ‘urgh me neck, arrrgh’ and dead and all that? Let us grab a last puff, will ya?’ Craig inclined his chin towards the joint that was still in the allotted slot of the ashtray, clinging on precariously despite all the ruckus.
A dying wish. Suitably over-the-top to appeal to the theatrical nature of bloodsuckers everywhere. Craig felt the grip on his neck loosen slightly. ‘Take your last drag on your marijuana, fool.’ The pressure pulling him back into the sofa cushions lessened, and he leant forward. The restraining arm let him move, but kept in position, ready to apply full force in case of trickery.
Craig picked up the spliff – the ‘marijuana’ spliff, fucking hell what a poncey twat – and scrabbled the lighter into his hand. A quick flick, and the flame was up, the joint was lit, and he took a big, long drag, to let the herb fill him with its magic. Literally.
The first the vampire knew about it was when he found his hand bending backward, pulling away from the mage’s throat. Strong tendrils of vibrant green Talent, interlaced with fine white crystals, had wrapped themselves around the creature’s arm, and pulled it away. As it tried to leap back, it found similar protrusions of magic had bound it all around.
‘Daft bugger,’ Craig said, taking another drag. ‘Clearly, you’ve not done your research, have ya? I’m all about being in tune with nature, me. My ancestors were more ‘woo, let’s dance around in flower circles’ and all that, but I find getting some fine herbs on the go works just grand. Thanks for letting me recharge the tanks, so to speak. Right, where was I?’
He picked up a cassette tape off the scratched-up table top, and pulled out a loop of black reel, which started to glow, imbued with his Talent. ‘Right, you rude bastard, let’s be having you.’ He flung the loop over the head of the whimpering vampire, and pulled it tight to his neck. ‘Stop your mythering, lad. I know how to behave. Never, ever give a tape back half-way through. Be kind – rewind!’
The head of the tape span, charged up with Power, and the slender black magnetic reel pulled taught against the vampire’s throat. Were it normal tape, it would have snapped, of course. Instead, it glowed vermillion as it sank through the creature’s neck, cutting through it like a sharp knife through a barm. A second later the head disconnected, still wearing the same terrified, confused expression, fang half-bared, totally dead. Tar-like black blood gushed out, geyser-like, from the neck stump, pouring everywhere.
‘Oh, you bloody dead bastard, you did have to have fucking fed before you came, didn’t you?’ Craig had been hoping it had been saving itself to feed on him, working up an appetite, but apparently it had already eaten well. If it hadn’t it would have just exploded into dust. Instead, it had made a ruddy great blood puddle over the floor and put crimson stains into the brown yarn of the sofa, that would dry into a darker brown shade even uglier than that of the seat itself. The magician sighed. He really needed to invest in some bastard leather. He wasn’t a fan of sitting on dead animals, but it was a damn sight easier to clean up.
Oh shit. He realised he only had a couple of hours before Emmie was back from school and getting this place tidy was going to be a ball-ache. Disintegrating the dead body would be easy enough, but scrubbing out the blood? Elbow work. Cleaning elbow work at that. It called to him, like a siren-song. He fucking hated that.
Still, it had to be done. Best to recharge the batteries first, though. He sat down on a dry, relatively clean patch of the settee, and reached for the lighter, firing up the joint still clamped between his lips. Vampires, up in Saint Annes? Shouldn’t be happening, really. He wondered if Bob had heard anything or smelt anything. He could ask him next time he got around to going for a walk. Craig was sure they’d organised to do it, but it was next week. Probably. Either that or last week. Or maybe in a couple of weeks. At some point, him and Bob were going to take a walk, that much was sure. Then he’d ask him…
What was it he’d wanted to ask him? The magician took another drag and shrugged. Never mind, it’d come back to him, if he sat and smoked for long enough. That and whatever it was he’d been supposed to be doing. He put on the latest track he’d got from Gold On The Mixer, a collaboration between Deeq and Amos, and took another long drag. As the drums kicked in over a carefully chopped violin sample, he smiled. He’d remembered what he’d been about to do. Take a nap. It was definitely time to take a nap. He closed his eyes, and let the lyrics carry him away.