Story -

Lucy Firth

Lucy Firth

       As she’d done on previous Halloweens, ten-year-old Lucy Firth,
who lived at No.666 Wicca Road, had been preparing for an evening of
fiendish fun and frolics.
       She’d tired of being a wicked witch pretending to fly on a plastic
broomstick. “This year I’ll be Lucifer,” she’d told her friends. 
       Her outfit comprised a blood-red gown, matching hood and mask,
and a black plastic trident. 
       As twilight gave way to a tarry-black, starless, night sky residents of
Darkwood, near Satanville, steeled themselves for the expected onslaught
By young “trick or treat” witches, warlocks, vampires and Lucifer.
       “I’m off now,” she called out to her mum and dad, slamming the
door behind her.
       A super moon on Halloween is not a common occurrence. Less so a
blood-red one. For most children it would be the first one they’d ever seen.
       Popping in and out from behind the clouds its sanguine glow,
smoke from fireworks let off early and candles burning inside pumpkin
lanterns, enhanced the perception of paranormality within which the
children conducted their activities.
      Meanwhile, on the far side of the Universe, Secret Agent O. Range
was communicating by telepathone with Chief of Intelligence B. Rains.
       “Boss! Boss! Sorry to bother you on your night off.”
       “What do want now, Agent O. Range?”
       “I’ve some good news. In fact, some very good news.”
       “It had better be. You know I don’t like being interrupted whilst
working on my plan for total domination of the Universe.”
       “We’ve located Lucifer.”
       “What? You’d better not be trying to make a fool of me. If you are,
it’ll be a Black Hole for you and anyone else involved.”
       “I’m not. I promise. We’ve tracked Lucifer down to a village called
Darkwood, near Satanville, on a planet called Earth, in star system
Helios.”
       “On planet Earth, in star system Helios?”
       “That’s what we picked up using our Planck-length Satellite 59B
tracking system.”
       “And where exactly is Helios?”
       “32.2 billion light-years away in a galaxy called The Milkybar
Way. We could be there in 5 minutes using our new Quark-Fusion 
Space-time Hyperloop Rapid Transit Vehicle. It’d be a good test-run,
if nothing else, for the RTV.”
       “I’ll be with you 30 seconds. I’ve been trying for 13.4 billion years
to get my hands on Lucifer, without whose help my plan will not
succeed. DON’T GO WITHOUT ME!”
      Back in Darkwood, Lucy and the denizens of darkness wound their
ways up and down garden paths, banging on doors and ringing doorbells
with a ferocity and persistency designed to elicit the positive,
teeth-rattling response of “Treat” from a target audience too afraid to
answer otherwise.
       “By the time I’ve eaten all these sweets I’ll not be able to eat proper
food for a week,” a seven-year-old worlock spluttered, at the same time
wiping his soiled and sticky fingers all over his costume. 
       “Look mum!” a small vampire hissed to her mother, as the moon
peeped out again from behind the clouds. “I hope nothing horrible is
going to happen tonight.”
       Within microseconds of her finishing her sentence, what looked
like a spaceship straight out of a science-fiction comic had landed,
without a sound, outside No.666.
       Parents and children stood there, speechless, as four seven-feet-tall,
armed androids, dressed in bold black and white stripes from top to toe,
looking smug as cats wearing cock-a-doodle hats, exited the RTV. 
       Their leader, carrying a lustrous, silvery-white, solid rhodium
broomstick, stepped forward. After scrutinising the Halloweeners for
a few milliseconds, he spoke.
       “We Bughums have travelled from Hawking153, a planet orbiting
the star Hellios in galaxy GN-z11. I’m the Chief of Intelligence –
B. Rains.”
       “Bughums? More like humbugs,” joked Mrs Hill, retired teacher,
from No. 675.
       “First I’ve heard of Hawking153!” exclaimed Mr Watson,
accountant, from No. 656. “Why’ve you come here?”
       “We’re looking for Lucifer. According to our latest intelligence,
Lucifer lives here.”
       “That’s impossible. Lucifer’s in hell, where Michael the Archangel
chased him, along with his satanic friends,” giggled one of the older girls.
       “Why do you laugh?” grunted B. Rains. “Never mind!  Tell me
where we can find this place called Hell!”
       “Hell’s where people go if they commit mortal sins,” another girl
answered.
       “Go if they commit mortal sins?” mused B. Rains.
       “This neighbourhood might look like hell on earth, on Halloween,”
sniggered one of the parents “but I can assure you that Lucifer doesn’t
live here.”
       “Chief! Chief! Over there! Outside No.666! Wearing a blood-red
robe and carrying a trident! Exactly where our co-ordinates indicated
we’d find Lucifer,” spurted out O. Range.
       “YOU! LUCIFER!” boomed B. Rains, in a gruff zettaphone voice.
       “Are you shouting at me?” enquired Lucy.
       “Yes! You!” B. Rains continued in a much mellower megaphone
tone.
       “But I’m not called Lucifer. My name’s Lucy Firth, sir.”
       “Not Lucifer?”
       “I’m certain it’s not. Why do you ask?”
       “I need Lucifer’s help with my plan to rule the Universe. My agents
appear to have confused your name with that of Lucifer. But, I suppose,
if I can’t find the real Lucifer, you’ll have to do!”
       “What do mean? I’ve not going anywhere WITH YOU!”
       “If you don’t, I’ll exterminate you and all your friends.”
       The voice inside her making her strong, Lucy warned, “If you come
any closer I’ll prick you with my plastic trident. If you knew the damage
plastic has already done to people on Earth you’d get into your
spaceship and return to GN-z, whatever you call it, straightaway.”
       B. Rains decided to call her bluff. “I’ll ask you once more only. Come
with us or you’ll all die.”
       “You’re evil! If I have to go with you to save all our lives I will. But
you must promise not to harm us and that you will go home at once and
never return. Only then will I promise to follow you as soon as I can.”
       “You drive a hard bargain and leave me with no option but to accept
your proposal. Are you sure you aren’t Lucifer? There’s something of the
night about you.”
       “Quite sure, sir! Lucifer I am not!”
       B. Rains and his agents returned to the RTV. Within yoctoseconds
they’d vanished, without a sound, never to return.
       “Oh, Lucy. You’re so brave. Are you really going to follow them?”
her best friend Daisy asked. 
       “Of course I am. When I can afford one of those spaceships.”
          
       Years pass by. Lucy, now eighty years old, sits listening to the
BBC1 Six-o-Clock News:
      “Astronomers have discovered a new earth-like planet, Hawking153,
orbiting a star called Hellios in galaxy GN-z11. The Transport Secretary
stated today that the Government has no plans to develop a spaceship to
go there until the new HS2 rail system has been completed. Following
tough questioning by reporters, he admitted that he had no idea of the
cost or of where the money would come from to pay for it.”
       Lucy allows herself a wry smile then falls asleep in her armchair.

@ rowland paul hill  19 September 2019

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