nerve of that woman!"
looked up from his assigned task of laying the
table. His wife Doreen had just entered the
dining room, flustered with rage and with hands
planted firmly on hips, in the same way that the
safety catch of a colt .357 plants itself firmly
on the mechanism.
knew full well we were having a dinner party this
evening!" she said, waving a finger at Keith
as if he was in some way responsible for the
unfortunate turn of events.
are we talking about?" he asked warily.
Mrs. Bickerstaff next door. She's only decided to
have her annual mass orgy on this very
raised a bushy black eyebrow, and continued
placing fancy pink candles in the decorative
holders. "I wish you'd stop worrying,
Doreen," he said in what he hoped was a
reassuring tone. "I'm sure everything will
go fine tonight."
haven't hosted a dinner party like this for
years, Keith. I've got every right to
guests for the evening started arriving at about
the same time the sound of zippers in leather
began drifting over from the Bickerstaff's.
Doreen stood in the kitchen and sighed loudly
over and over again until Keith noticed and
reassured her a bit more.
the time the doorbell rang for the fifth time,
the living room was almost full of men in
sensible black suits and women in fashionable
dresses. With each addition to the room Doreen's
nerves became increasingly frayed, and she was
constantly checking every single detail to ensure
that everything was perfect. Keith had long since
given up, and went to answer the door just as the
Major was boring everyone dreadfully with his
oft-exaggerated tales from the Boer War.
the door stood Roger Bowers, an old friend of the
Christie's, who had declined the invitation for
the event and were currently enjoying a variety
of party games next door. He was an old-fashioned
public schoolboy and had arrived dressed in a
black tuxedo identical to the ones worn by all
the other male guests, and for some reason, Mrs.
greeted Keith. "Good of you to make
the isolation tank's still being repaired and
you've got to fill your evenings somehow,"
he quipped. "This is my new roommate,
out of the shadows near the front door emerged a
gentleman whose style of dress differed greatly
from his companion. Standing at a good six feet
four inches tall he wore a black leather
trenchcoat which hung down to his ankles and
swished impressively in the evening breeze. A
grizzled but handsome face stood atop the
upraised collar, and he seemed to be wearing a
sawn-off shotgun in a home-made leather holster
that went down his back.
Leopold, Chris Van Helsing, Chris Van Helsing,
Keith Leopold," said Roger jovially.
the two men stepped through into the well-lit
hall, the apparent Mr. Quinn dwarfing his
somewhat shorter roommate, Keith took a better
look at the gentleman. His black shirt went
open-necked and was stained here and there with a
mysterious substance, his tatty jeans also, to a
lesser degree. A pair of big black leather boots
clumped even on the soft carpet. He was
definitely wearing a gunbelt, from which a
handgun, some decorative knives and what looked
like tiny flasks of water dangled. A bandolier
bisected his torso diagonally, into which shotgun
shells were inserted.
to meet you, Keith," said Van Helsing in an
intimidating and gravelly but educated voice,
removing black leather gloves to reveal calloused
hands, burnt in places - the hands of a
hard-working man. "Roger's told me all about
I take your coat, Mr Van Helsing?"
suggestion seemed to take the man aback, and he
declined the offer. "I prefer to keep it on,
if it's all the same to you."
who was still forming an opinion on the
mysterious man, chose not to argue, and led the
new guests into the living room, where the Major
was slowly slipping into a self-induced coma.
Keith made the introductions, and the man in the
trenchcoat shook hands with the somewhat shocked
peered out from the kitchen to take in the
guests, and gave Chris a quizzical look, before
retreating rapidly into the room. Keith noticed
this and followed her, leaving the guests to
enjoy each others' company. He found his wife
fussing over the pheasant, and he gazed at her
over the spuds. "I don't like the look of
that man," said Doreen stubbornly. "Who
friend of Roger's," replied Keith.
"Doreen, is something the matter?"
wide but somehow empty smile crossed Doreen's
face. "Nothing's the matter!" she said,
a somewhat manic edge entering her voice.
"Why should anything be the matter?"
you sure you want to go through with this?"
seemed to visibly pull herself together.
"Yes, yes, I'm sure. They can sit round the
table now, I'll serve the starter."
Major, now apparently dead, coupled with the
extremely clear sounds of lusty grunts and groans
coming from next door, had caused an air of
awkwardness in the living room so thick it could
blunt hedge trimmers. It centered around the
enigmatic Christopher Van Helsing, who sat in his
trenchcoat and personal armoury, surrounded by
smartly-dressed people visibly keeping their
distance. Keith showed everyone into the dining
room, and everyone took a seat. Chris, through no
apparent fault of his own, found himself at the
head of the table.
starter was a most delicious melon quarter
sprinkled with ginger which went down extremely
well as the guests discussed various petty
details of their day to day life. Doreen sat
quietly directly opposite Van Helsing, looking
into her food and occasionally glancing upwards
slightly to examine the mysterious guest.
don't see what all this fuss is with
paedophiles," said Roger suddenly at one
point. "I know a lot of paedophiles, they're
perfectly ordinary men. I mean, who here can
honestly put their hand on their heart and say
they have never felt themselves sexually
attracted to a ten-year-old boy on his way to
then followed an extremely lengthy silence, as
Roger apparently double-checked his previous
words in his mind and sunk into a deep
Mr. Van Helsing," said Mrs. Fermion, trying
to alleviate the bad atmosphere. "What do
you do for a living?"
I'm a demon slayer."
said Doreen, suddenly, covering her mouth.
Sensing the funny looks she was attracting, she
tried to simmer down and attempted to continue
eating. Roger relaxed, all attention having been
diverted away from his sick life.
demon slayer?" said Mrs. Fermion. "That
sounds ... interesting ..."
always does," said Van Helsing, a thin smile
appearing on his slightly stubbled features.
"And it is, I suppose, if battling the
forces of darkness and blowing the heads off
hellspawn is your idea of interesting."
were exchanged, and a few of the slightly less
working class guests concentrated on their meals.
must be a rewarding life, though," said Mr.
yes," said Chris, swallowing his current
mouthful of melon. "But it's impossible to
find life insurance." A smattering of
laughter swept across the table, which ended
suddenly when Van Helsing gave everyone a rather
how did you get into demon slaying?" asked
Mrs. Fermion, who seemed to be head of the
same way you usually get into demon
slaying," replied Chris. "I discovered
I was the latest of the Van Helsing bloodline,
which has been defending mankind from Evil for
the last two thousand years."
there much money in it?"
what the demons happen to be hoarding when I come
calling," said Van Helsing wistfully.
"But there's good job satisfaction. So what
do you do, Mr. Dodson?"
I'm a private detective," said he.
smiled, and gazed into the middle distance.
"I always wanted to be a private
detective," he said. "Or a doctor, or a
ballet dancer or something. When I discovered my
sacred birthright there was only one option left,
always think it's rather sad when a young man is
forced into the same career as his parents,"
the guests dug into the main course, everything
seemed to be going well. To Doreen's apparent
relief the conversation strayed away from Van
Helsing's vocation and ran through several topics
(not listed here). The guests seemed to be
ignoring the rather nasty sounds coming from the
Bickerstaff's quite well.
just as everyone had finished their pheasant,
Keith saw, out of the corner of his eye, the
demon slayer Van Helsing inspecting something he
was holding under the tabletop away from view. He
would concentrate on it for a few seconds, then
shift his gaze to each of the guests in turn,
returning it to whatever he was holding between
each one. Eventually he seemed to sense that
Keith was watching him, and packed whatever it
was into his trenchcoat pocket.
anyone else watch Monty Python last night?"
inquired Roger innocently. There was a murmur of
approval. Can't go wrong with Monty Python.
this new comedy the BBC are producing just
doesn't make me laugh," said Mrs. Pikelet.
"But Monty Python has always been
nodded and smiled in memory, except Chris, who
was staring at Doreen, and Doreen, whose stoney
face seemed to be reddening.
a few minutes of praise for Monty Python, Doreen
exploded. "I can't believe what I'm
hearing!! Monty Python just isn't funny! Never
has been and never will be!"
was shocked by the outburst, except Van Helsing,
who had taken out the thing from his pocket and
was examining it again, occasionally shifting his
gaze to Doreen. Keith could now see it was some
kind of electronic device, not unlike a TV remote
control with twiddly bits.
mean, it's stupid!" continued Doreen.
"Just a bunch of immature men doing silly
things! How can anyone find such unsophisticated
y-you clearly feel strongly about this,
Doreen," stammered Mr. Dodson, then tailed
off. Everyone was staring at Van Helsing, who had
got to his feet and removed his sawn-off from its
holster. He was now pointing the gun into the
face of Doreen, and a broad grin bisected his
up, bitch," he said in a menacing tone that
loosened the bowels of all present.
isn't very polite," whispered Mrs. Fermion
be honest with you people," continued Van
Helsing, addressing the guests but staring
directly at Doreen. "I received a tip-off
that someone at this party was a class 4 succubus
wanted for several demonic acts in this area. I
insinuated myself into the circle of friends and
waited until I was absolutely certain which of
you it was.
you concealed yourself so well," he
continued smoothly, holding the butt of his
sawn-off even tighter. "You could have
fooled me, but you made one mistake. Everyone
knows succubi hate Monty Python!"
face clouded, and the colour drained to a pasty
grey. Great bumps and hollows appeared on her
face, and her eyes began glowing a demonic red.
Bat-like wings burst from out of her back,
knocking an ornamental porcelain figure from a
shelf, and she readied two talon-like hands for
you, Van Helssssing!" she hissed. "Damn
you to HELL!"
a mighty swipe she knocked the shotgun out of the
demon slayer's hand, sending it spinning into a
corner of the room. Chris made to retrieve it but
the Doreen demon leapt clear over the dining
table and pinned him to the floor.
what're you driving these days?" Roger asked
Keith as something valuable flew across the room
and shattered against a wall.
Micra," he quavered.
first, bitch!" yelled the struggling demon
slayer, socking the succubus in the jaw with an
almighty punch weighed down with the strength of
generations of Van Helsings. He planted the soles
of his feet on Doreen's chest and pushed hard,
sending her flying backwards onto the table.
Keith noted with a wince that her demonic
posterior landed on the meatballs, which he had
been particularly proud of.
little model," said Roger, ducking a flying
tough to handle on the corners," added Mr.
was now on her feet, and she kicked the serving
platters aside. Van Helsing leapt onto the table
with her and delivered a shattering roundhouse
kick to her temple. There was an audible crack,
but she seemed unperturbed. Keith saw the bottom
of the slayer's trenchcoat trail in the mint
sauce, and this troubled him in a way he couldn't
Pikelet smiled awkwardly at Mrs. Fermion. "I
always feel left-out when men start talking about
cars, don't you?"
Fermion was about to reply, when the Doreen demon
pulled off her head and threw it at Van Helsing.
Narrowing his eyes, apparently offended by this
needless violence, Chris unhooked one of the tiny
flasks from his belt, and hefted it menacingly.
Keith noticed the flask had a little white
crucifix painted on it.
... no!" screeched Doreen, now off the table
and backing against a wall.
on the table, his boots covered in splashes of
mashed potato and gravy, Chris sent a trail of
water towards his prey, yelling "Ashes to
ashes, bitch!" triumphantly. Where the
droplets struck her scaley skin Doreen sizzled
and shrieked so loudly that the few as yet
unshattered wine glasses exploded into millions
of tiny bits.
this taste alright to everyone?" inquired
Roger, chewing on a piece of carrot.
think I may have over-boiled them," admitted
had meanwhile retrieved his sawn-off from the
corner of the room, and was in the act of cocking
it as the succubus leapt at him again. His gaze
not leaving his weapon, Van Helsing smartly
delivered an elbow to its face. Dazed, the beast
collapsed onto where it had once been sitting,
and Chris pointed the barrel of his shotgun right
into the face of what had once been Doreen.
advise you to say your prayers, bitch," he
said hoarsely, breathing heavily through gritted
teeth. "But I don't know who'd be
with an almighty bang, both shells were
discharged into the skull of the monster, which
exploded colourfully. Demonic goo splatted nicely
all over what remained of the main course, and
fell over the room, punctuated only by the sounds
of spent shell cases plinking to the floor. It
was Keith who broke the unpleasant lack of
who's for pudding?"
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