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9 minute read.
Image credit: Clement Falize
Little D just won’t listen. He looks ridiculous but he insists, says he’s nature’s child, made the way God intended. Actually he says Satan but I still like the guy and I don’t want to put you off from coming. He has those teeth, of course, and yes we obviously have had “the conversation” about them. Discussed the options. Retainers, bridgework, filing them down. But he’s embraced them, and you have to admire him for that don’t you? He’s made them a real focal point. They go with his cloak, he says, like the bats and the hellhounds. It’s all part of who he is. But I just don’t think he realizes what the fangs do for his image.
He wasn’t like this when we were young. He was small for his age and no creatures followed him about. He was a normal weakling with normal teeth. A little pale, granted, but he had terrible hay fever. His eyes were always running, and there were slug trails up his sleeves. And he was terrified of dogs, even Big Rob’s puppy with the cute paws and fluffy head. She’d stand up on her hind legs and claw at Little D’s knees and he’d scream in that high voice of his. Boy did we laugh. Ugly Paulie and Big Rob, the Mouse and me. Ugly Paulie used to throw grass at him and Little D would run away and then Big Rob would let his puppy go, and we’d lie on the grass doubled up whilst Little D wheezed and screamed and cried and sneezed, until that cute, fluffy dog cornered him by the trees.
Then we all got into girls or boys and we started looking at each other differently and we all started going through changes, you know? “Hair and voices, breasts and choices,” that’s what my mum used to say. And Little D? Well, he changed more than the rest of us and it must have been hard for him. You have to have some sympathy. He grew those stupid teeth, fangs dangling over his lower lip, and we laughed at him some more. You know, “dog face” and “have you been eating chopsticks” and all the rest. Kids’ stuff. And then all the neighborhood dogs began to follow him about and that was even more funny and he was still terrified and we laughed at him again, said he lived in the pound or whatever.
And then he killed Big Rob.
We’d been laughing at him as usual at school and it was breaktime at school and we decided to play football, Big Rob and Ugly Paulie and the Mouse and me, and of course nobody picked Little D. You can’t play football when you’re sneezing, it makes no difference whether you’re eternal or not. Anyway the ball went into the bushes and Big Rob went after it and he didn’t come out for a while and so I went to check. And I found him in the bushes alright. He was lying on his back, shaking and jerking whilst Little D sucked the life from his neck. I thought they were messing about at first, I mean Big Rob looked so stupid bleeding out like that. I obviously told Little D to stop, you know, we needed Big Rob on our team, he was the only goalkeeper we had. And Little D turned around with Big Rob all around his mouth and he coughed and wiped his face on his pristine football shirt and said, “sorry, it’s what I do.”
And I figured it was ok really, Little D could always go in goal.
Pretty soon after that we were all over at Ugly Paulie’s house, which I forgot to mention was also the house of the Mouse, who was Ugly Paulie’s sister. And Ugly Paulie wasn’t ugly at all and neither was his sister the Mouse, and I had kind of a crush on both of them. Anyway, the two of them had invited us over to watch ET (Little D and me that is, as Big Rob was dead). It was all very exciting at the time. We all sat down to watch, but then Little D went upstairs and pretty soon after that Ugly Paulie just got up and left. I stayed downstairs with the Mouse watching the boy on the BMX take off, with the freaky alien in a basket, and there was a banging and wriggling above us. And I knew: it was Little D, upstairs, drinking his fill of Ugly Paulie. And then Little D summoned the Mouse to the bathroom and enslaved her. Which was a little selfish I thought, I mean we all wanted to hang out with her, me included. But it sort of made sense too – she was an excellent choice for an acolyte and Ugly Paulie would never have agreed to the idea. But I still don’t think it’s the way to behave when someone’s asked you over to watch ET.
They even made popcorn.
Salted and sweet.
From then on though I remember seeing Little D and the Mouse every afternoon in the high street. They were inseparable, although Little D was a little in front and the Mouse always a little behind. They looked great together, both in black and with that pale waif thing that was so on trend back then. And Little D was in his cloak already. How old was he, fourteen? It was amazing how advanced he was, in terms of developing his look.
But of course, he had lived before. Or forever.
One of the two.
I don’t suppose it matters. Not in the end. Especially when there isn’t one.
Anyway, you have to come. You have to come and say hi. You can meet the Mouse too. She’s still here, though she’s one of many now. You can never have too many acolytes, as they say.
Back in the early days, the Mouse was like a runway model, she had a kind of ‘exhumed bride’ style to her, and they both stared ahead in that spooky way they did so well. Little D made her practice after school in the park. I’d always stop and say hi and we’d talk about Ugly Paulie and what a good guy he was and how it was such a shame but still. Nobody seemed to mind them walking up and down like that, and Little D got to know the old folk so well that he’d stop and play chess with them or command them to kneel. And people appreciated Little D, how he looked after their dogs all the time, even though their dogs never went home anymore and were kind of hell-hounds now. following him around, growling and slobbering. Even Big Rob’s cute puppy, she was kind of mean at this point, but Little D wasn’t afraid since he grew his own fangs out. They went up and down the high street together, Little D and the Mouse and the dogs, pausing at the Primary School playground to say hi to the kids. It would have been scary but, you know, it was just Little D and the Mouse and a load of the neighbors’ slathering dogs. He could make the dogs sit, beg, roll over, you name it. He didn’t even have to say anything. He just did it with his eyes. The kids loved it.
He and the Mouse could take those dogs around the country, I always tell him.
“I could manage you,” I say.
And he rolls his eyes and it gets to me. So much wasted talent. And I could make some money, instead of sitting here in this robe by the throne all the time. You’ve seen one pentagon you’ve seen them all. But he doesn’t command it and that is that. Such is my mortal life.
He’s been a good Emissary of Satan.
I tell him that, when he worries that he’s not achieving.
“You’re really something,” I tell him. “You can’t die! You suck blood! You control us all!”
And when that doesn’t work I hold him and I say, “hey D, remember the park?”
And I remind him of all the good times we had before instinct took over and he killed most of our friends.
He’s a good guy, once you get to know him.
Kids love him. Kids and dogs and those he has enslaved.
He was great around the kids outside the primary school, when he and the Mouse stood outside and summoned them all from their classes. The kids loved the dogs and they were really into Little D’s teeth too. He was so kind, he let them touch his fangs and offered to take them all back to his castle that he’d built on the edge of town. They went of course, how can you say no to Eternal Power?
I can’t remember when he built the castle or where the money came from, now you ask. It was not there one day and then just sort of always there the next, like so much of life. Like a new boss or a husband.
Anyway their parents said yes every time, to their kids going to visit Little D and the Mouse and all the neighborhood dogs. I think they were glad that such a cool older kid and his foxy exhumed acolyte had taken an interest in their troubled offspring. I know he tried so hard to help those kids. It was so sad that all of them ran away after they visited him, always on the way home, never to be seen again. I guess it was just one of those things—you know, once you have as great a time as hanging with Little D, you need to leave this little town and see the world. I’ve always told him he should be an entertainer. With the Mouse and the dogs. He’d make a fortune. We could go to Vegas. I could stand beside him on the stage, wrapped in glitter.
“It won’t happen,” he says. “I’m just a small town guy.”
He’s got such a soft heart, you know? You mustn’t feel shy about coming. He just loves having visitors, all the coach parties and school trips and families just popping by. It’s amazing how long some people stay in the end.
Did I mention the parents? Oh, this will help you decide I’m sure. They loved him too, of course they did. They let their dogs follow him around and they let their troubled infants play with him, and the parents didn’t mind at all when they went to close the bedroom curtains at night and there was Little D, hovering and pale outside the window, his cloak flapping on the winds of hell. They’d just laugh and wave and let him in. He was so popular. I admit, it was a little weird when my mother became really attracted to him and wasn’t there in the morning when I came down to eat my Cheerios, but dad said it was fine and to drink my juice. He seemed to be really happy about it actually, even though they were childhood sweethearts and did everything together and he had her name tattooed over his heart and he once beat a man in a McDonald’s car park for looking at her wrong. And then it actually was fine as all the other mums in our area became really attracted to Little D too and pretty soon they were all living up in his castle, and it was like one big party up there at the weekends.
You could hear it from the house with the windows closed and the TV turned right up. All of our mums chanting.
I remember one time we were commanded to visit, as Little D was having a feast. Like the one tonight, in fact. All the single dads rose from their sofas as one and grabbed whichever kid they had left. It was incredible. I remember Dad dropped his beer and dried his eyes, and I was so excited as we headed on up to the castle, as though it has always been there. And Little D let us stand outside the walls with our heads bowed. That was an amazing night. I’ll never forget it, though I couldn’t tell you what happened exactly, I just know it was one of the best nights of my life. Sadly everyone else ran away before sunrise, all the dads and the other kids too. I guess it was just so good they had to move on. They all left. Never came back.
But not me.
I didn’t run away.
And here I am still, right here talking to you.
There’s nothing to worry about. I’ve known Little D since he was a kid with hay-fever who was terrified of dogs. He’s a sweetheart.
So anyway, he’s having another party tonight. It should really get going by 12. You can bring your children, and of course we already have your dog. And no you don’t need directions, just follow the others.
I know he’s really looking forward to meeting you all. He has excellent taste, so take it as a compliment you’re invited.
You mustn’t be nervous about meeting him. I’ll be there.
I’m kind of the warm-up act. Our own little Vegas.
By the end of the night you’ll love him like I do.
Ed is an ex-Londoner now based between the northern Lakes and the southern Channel. He writes music and stories (published online and in various magazines) and is currently working on various ideas for a novel but too nervous to start.