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Havelock Writes

50 – Family Weirdness

Ghosts, Gary reflected, were like cats. They had their favourite spots, they liked their space, and they didn’t like things to be moved about too much.

Ghosts flocked to Gary like moths to light. It part of his family weirdness; his aunt hovered six inches off the ground, and he had a cousin who made flames dance in her hands.

Gary had made peace with the dead. Their wails still woke him occasionally, and he wished they wouldn’t loom over his bed at night, but they would also scare off bad neighbours, so he felt it was a fair trade.

49 – Cats

She had gotten most of the cats through adoption agencies. Some had been strays, others she had raised from kittens, and a small number of them were ghosts, but most had been through adoption. She could understand why; not everyone wanted to look after a fire-breathing feline or a cat who was a skeleton in the moonlight.

In total, Susanna had 47 cats. She hadn’t expected to get so many, but she could never say no to them. Anyway, she reasoned, somebody had to look after the weird ones, and she reckoned she was the best person for the job.

48 – Elevator

He was known as ‘that guy on the elevator’. He never got off, but everyone who used the elevator would see him get on at the second floor, staring unblinkingly and occasionally asking unsettling questions.

There were office records of him going back for nearly two decades. The descriptions of him were always vague though, and the security cameras could never get a good image of him, so nobody could agree on what he looked like.

People said he brought the company luck. They didn’t know if it was good luck or bad, but it was luck all the same.

(based on this post)

47 – Payment

Witches didn’t get paid in money. If you were doing it for the money you were a witch for the wrong reasons.

This didn’t mean a witch isn’t paid – it doesn’t do to be in debt to a witch – but they get paid them in other ways. A sack of potatoes, a few chickens, fetching firewood, respect. Respect was a huge currency for witches, as were favours. Respect and favours could go a long way, especially if the village was fond of bonfires.

You don’t take more than the person can give, and you don’t take what you don’t need.

46 – Baby Bargaining

The witch stared at the demon in her living room. “I don’t recall summoning you.”

“ʏᴏᴜ ᴅɪᴅɴ’ᴛ,” said the demon.

“Thought not.” The witch started filling the kettle. “If you’re staying you can change into something easier to look at; all that pulsating’s giving me a headache.”

The demon shifted into a humanoid figure, though it kept the horns. Tradition is hard to break.

The witch settled into her armchair several minutes later, hands curled round a mug of tea. “Well, out with it,” she said. “I know you sort don’t do social visits.”

“ɪ’ᴍ ʜᴇʀᴇ ꜰᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ.”

“I’ve seen about fifty children today. You’ll have to be more specific.”

“ʏᴏᴜ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ɪ sᴘᴇᴀᴋ ᴏꜰ,” said the demon. “ᴛʜᴇ ᴏɴᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴡᴀs ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛʜɪs ᴍᴏʀɴɪɴɢ.”

“Oh. That child.” The witch had known something like this would happen. She had seen right away the child wasn’t entirely human. “That baby is mine. I made a deal with her mother.”

“ᴀs ᴅɪᴅ ɪ. ɪᴛ ɪs ᴍɪɴᴇ ʙʏ ʀɪɢʜᴛs.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t know about that,” said the witch with a smile. “You know as well as I that all contracts are binding, and by the sounds of it we both of claim to the little one.”

The demon shifted angrily, its shape flickering faster than the human eye could keep up with. The witch simply stared it down until it finally returned to its human-ish form.

“ɪ ᴡɪʟʟ ɴᴏᴛ ᴄᴏᴏᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪᴋᴇs ᴏꜰ ʏᴏᴜ,” it said in a growl.

“You’re going to have to,” said the witch. “The woman promised the child to both of us. No amount of huffing and puffing is going to change that.” She drank her tea. “So I suggest we make a timetable of appropriate visiting hours.”

The demon spent several moments glowering at her, before finally saying, “ᴡʜᴇʀᴇ sʜᴀʟʟ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ʟɪᴠᴇ?”

“Here, for now, but he can visit your domain on weekends. And when he’s older we can arrange something else if needed.”

(based on this post)

45 – Burglar

It was meant to be easy; fancy house at the edge of town, parents out, neighbours minding their own business. It was meant as a quick job, in and out in twenty minutes with whatever laptops, money or jewellery he could find.

He wasn’t expecting the kid to be awake, but kids were easy to deal with, especially if you scared them a bit. He had winced at the scream, and turned to climb back out the window; neighbours wouldn’t ignore a kid screaming.

He definitely wasn’t expecting something to wrap around his leg and pull him backwards.

The tentacles dragged him across the floor before dangling him in the air, and he stared into the eyes of a monster. It had long spindly legs, several dozen eyes, and two mouths of sharp teeth.

The monster under the bed held the burglar tight until the child’s parents arrived some time later, and by then he had vowed to discard his life of crime.

(based on this prompt)

44 – Curses

Curses are very selfish at times.

Lets say you’re cursed to die in a month. You would think you’d be as mortal as anyone else, but you’ll be wrong. Because now they can’t die until the curse says so. It doesn’t matter how many times they step in front of traffic or what fights they get into, you’re effectively immortal; the curse will protect you until it kills you.

That’s my human, the curse thinks.* Killing them is my job.

This has several benefits. Sure, you’re gonna die, but you’ll know when. You’ll be able to get your affairs in order, plan your funeral, borrow a load of money, frame your enemies, whatever you want.

*Or it would if curses were sentient.

43 – Demon

Glasya-Labolas often got summoned by mortals. Not as often as in other millennia, but often enough. There were those who wanted power, those who wanted destruction, and those who thought that making contracts with a demon was a good idea. But the most bizarre summoning was from an elderly woman in Manhattan.

She lived alone in an apartment full of photographs, cushions, and porcelain dolls. The summon appeared to be a mistake; she had cut her hand while cleaning up a broken glass. Upon seeing the demon, the woman acted like he was family.

Glasya-Labolas didn’t know why he kept visiting her. She had make no bargain, meaning her soul was not his to take. It was highly unorthodox for a demon to visit a mortal and not aim for their damnation. And yet….

In truth, he felt pity for her. Her family didn’t visit as often as they should, and if she wanted to pretend her was her grandson, he was happy to oblige.

(based on this prompt)

42 – Charity Shop Gothic

  • There are bags. There are so many plastic bags. They crowd around you as you stand behind the counter, rustling with secrets. The first one you pick will always be the wrong size.
  • The next week when you come in, the bags are gone. You do not ask where they went. It’s best not to know.
  • You spend twenty minutes reorganising the books. They are back in alphabetical order. Satisfied, you turn to help a customer. There is a rustling behind you, and when you turn back, the books are back how they were before.
  • They are bringing out a new currency. They are always bringing out new currency. You don’t know who ‘they’ are or why the money keeps changing.
  • You are out of pound coins. You are always out of pound coins.
  • Two people come in with their dogs. You pet them and offer them biscuits. More people come in with dogs. You also pet them and offer them biscuits. The shop is full of dogs. Who do they belong to? Somehow the biscuits never run out.
  • A customer asks you to hold something while they run to get some money from the ATM. They don’t return. Nobody ever does.
  • You’re unpacking donations from the back. You are always unpacking donations from the back. You can’t remember ever seeing the floor.
  • Someone pays for something cheap with a twenty pound note, saying they don’t have any change. Several minutes later they buy another cheap thing with a different twenty pound note, saying they still have no change. This will happen several times with no change in sight.

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