The Ship of Nails

Naglfar by Dhattura (2012)

“Naglfar” by Dhattura (2012)

One of my favourite things is mythology.  In particular, Norse mythology has always fascinated me.  With its rich tales and sagas, characters, gods and events, the old Norse stories have always been a source of inspiration.  I wrote this short piece a while ago about Naglfar, the ship of nails, and decided to post it here finally.  Hope you enjoy!  Originally written on the 23rd June 2016.


The Ship of Nails

It anchors in the fracture somewhere. Harboured in a cold world between the now and the imminent.

It is a ship. An infinite-masted hulk of immense age, one made entirely out of the fingernails and castings of the gallant dead. Behold tearful eyes to grand Naglfar, ship of the perished.

A ghastly vessel with a purpose as yet unrealised, it idles in meditation within the dead calm of the in-between. For a glacial eternity it has waited patiently for the moment the horns call its name; the rapturous trice Ragnarök comes to cleave the world asunder.

And when the time-encrusted and long submerged anchor is finally raised, Naglfar will set off, silencing into the new dawn, sails billowing with the gnashing winds of resolute cataclysm.

Vígríðr, attainable destination of the destinationless. Journey’s end for the driven cleaver of ancient waters. An unsettled harbour, an imminent surging of war, all this and oblivion lie beyond the vermilion curtain of horizon.

Below decks of weathered nail, chained to desiccated corpses, a horde lies in cargo. They will be ferried, fate-bound to engage in the great battle, a final confrontation with the stricken old gods. And all around them, as the ravaged skies fall like shattered ice, a lone wolf shall take the sun in its mighty jaws. And in his ravenousness, swallow it whole.

He of the jötunn will take the ship’s helm. An old sea captain, Hrym is his name. From Jötunheimr of the fracture he hails. His stern nod shall raise the anchor, heavy with the rust and barnacles of woe, and in his dying breaths direct the cadaverous hands that command rope.

He of Fárbauti and Laufey, father of the wolf will be the master’s equal. Together making unheard passage towards solemn Midgard, they will approach the decay of grandeur: the swallowing of time absolute.

A skeletal ship of nails heralding desolation in its spectral wake, it cuts the waters of the now and the imminent. A dying, muted symphony of portent separating the threads between worlds. The Harbinger of Dissolution will drift towards ruin, slicing its steadfast path into the murky unknown of futures untold.

Boldly, Naglfar sails on.

Infernal Solicitations

L0030887 An angel leading a soul into hell. Oil painting by a followe

“An Angel Leading a Soul into Hell” by A Follower of Hieronymus Bosch

Life in the underworld isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Allow me now to share with you this revealing tale of one depressed denizen and his harrowing experiences in the pit of eternal suffering.  Originally written on the 12th May 2016.


Infernal Solicitations

He had always hated Bilefield, what with its stupid citizens and copious amounts of flesh statues on every corner. It made him sick, which was appropriate given that the constant vomiting of bile from its inhabitants was precisely how it came to acquire such a striking name in the first place. Most locals assumed it was the smell from the flesh mines to the east that irked their insides so, though some insisted it was simply the Overlord’s wish. Whatever the case, it was a foul place, one in which the residents perpetually felt like killing each other. More so than they were expected to, at any rate.

Drekavac Merihem was a socially maladjusted Poliknish drinker with buff knees and very handsome exo-spines. He’d lived in Bilefield since his sack burst and he’d crawled out of the birth divots in larva form. His old friends had once seen him as a strong, sometimes squealing, suicidal nutcase, the kind that really goes places around those lawless haunts. Once, he had even revived a dying, paraplegic wasp queen with gout after she’d had a heart attack whilst teaching aquatic yoga to troubled larvae in the hot mucus springs. That’s the sort of demon he had been.

Nowadays however, he was an alcoholic shut-in. His friends were long gone, he’d dumped their ruptured bodies down a shaft at the nearby flesh mine. They nagged way too much anyway. He’d spent his most recent years throwing back the glowing radioactive liquid and spending his last coal coins on deformed prostitutes, the kind that smelled and dressed like unwashed toilet lids.

Drekavac got up off his bed of screaming bones, stretched, chose a set of arms for the day and shuffled over to the pentagram-shaped window overlooking the square. He gazed down with malice at the other spawn, mindlessly going about their day, maiming, devouring and generally causing a scene. “Look at this hole,” he muttered to himself with disdain. “The worst district in all of Dis”. He glared at the soul destroying surroundings. It was lucky he had no soul of his own, the ones he’d collected in jars on the outskirts usually burst within a matter of hours, though they did smell nice for the brief time he had them. The sight of the busting square below made him want to pee. Not out of the appendage he usually urinated out of, no, but rather the curved tumour growing out of his right eye. He only ever peed out of it when he was bitterly angry or depressed.

Thunder rumbled overhead once more. Drekavac wondered if the large, fapping centaur on top of Mount Cyst was abusing himself again. Sure sounded like it.

The demon poured himself a mug of molten iron and added a liberal splashing of Poliknish, favoured tipple of the damned. It sizzled as it tore a hole through his throat and blistered his gullet. Drekavac wheezed and looked back out the window. “What a life”.

Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It sort of looked like a dead whale, one that had already exploded and hadn’t done a very good job of stitching itself back up yet, pieces of gelatinous fat were falling off as it drew nearer. Eventually the figure got so close that its awkward gait was unmistakable. That shambling, stumbling disaster of tissue was the festering figure of Philomena Catastrophe. Philomena was a worthless whore with sagging, pierced knees and an atrocious set of bleached blonde spines held together in a tight bun. She was disgusting, she was diseased, she was renowned in Bilefield for her catastrophic existence of putrefying horror. She also happened to be the deformed prostitute that Drekavac currently owed the most coal to.

The demon gulped back the rest of his drink, tore some skin off the wall and sewed it over the gaping wound in his throat. He was not prepared for a visit from Philomena.

As Drekavac stepped outside and Philomena came scuttling closer, he could see the trademark belligerent glint in her one good eye. It made the left side of his head collapse. “I am here because I want my damn coal!” the broken wreck of femininity bellowed in a fat tone that curled both paving slabs and roofing tiles. With a grunt, she slammed a podgy fist against Drekavac’s spiny chest equal to the force of a shotgun blast. “I frigging hate you, Drekavac Merihem. You gave me bum sex for nine hours last Friday and didn’t pay a damn thing. Cough up the coal or I’ll tear your head off and squirt my rancid teets down your neck!” Most clients would pay a small bag’s worth for an experience like that, but Drekavac wasn’t a normal client. His personal tastes never involved Philomena’s teets, they reminded him far too much of his former career as a nipple remover on the dead hooker barges.

Drekavac looked back, his wall of depression collapsing beneath the wrecking ball of nervousness that Bilefield’s worst prostitute had brought to his door. He started fingering a marginally seductive earwax candle he’d picked up off the table where he kept his keys and hatchets. “Philomena,” he eventually replied, “die in a ditch”.

As the town clock struck thirteen and the roosting bundles of carrion took to the red skies, the two demons looked at each other with upset feelings, like two leaking, little lobsters abusing each other at a very gimpy orgy, one which had thumping organ music playing in the background and two lazy uncles dancing to the beat in crops tops and stilettos.

In the stewing silence that ensued, Drekavac regarded Philomena’s pierced knees and blonde spines for a moment. They sure made him sick. Spurts of vomit erupted from his shoulder pipes and coated them both in steaming foulness. With a snort and a shake of his head, the depressed demon eventually held out a claw in truce. “Let’s not fight,” he whispered about as gently as a hacksaw to the head. “Come into my house and we shall soon sort this mess out”.

“Hmph,” sulked Philomena, passing gas in abundance at the helplessness she felt when trying to argue with him. Despite his attitude and tendency to never pay for their sordid and more-often-than-not crusty escapades time and time again, she had a soft spot for him. She thought it was probably in her post-gastric love box. Once, she’d even tried to cut it out with a rasp, but to no avail. There was just something about Drekavac that made parts of her melt like boiled lard.

“Please?” begged the demon with puppy dog eyes. That is to say, with a puppy dog’s freshly plucked eyes in his clawed hand, something that he very much liked to play with whenever nervous or bored.

Philomena looked ravenous, her bulbous body blushing like a teenage nymph after lifting a stranger’s kilt to discern that which hangs beneath. Try as she might, she couldn’t fight the urge to be with Drekavac one more time. His array of detachable appendages and unique secretions never failed to rock her underworld, and she was an afflicted whore very much in need of a good rocking.

With a menstrual belch that stripped all the pebbledash off Drekavac’s house, Philomena waddled inside for a nice drink of Poliknish and the prospect of yet another unpaid cardiovascular workout. Little did she know that it would be the last anyone would ever see of her. Well, except for the eye fungus that grew at the bottom of the flesh mine, anyway.

The following morning, as the haemorrhaging moon broke the horizon and scared away the feasting nightkin, Drekavac Merihem stood at his window overlooking the square once more. With a mug of molten iron laced with Poliknish in his hand, he counted up the tally in his head and scratched another line into the frame. “I hate this town,” he quietly wheezed as a piece of Philomena’s fat melted away in the steaming mug, like a creamy ice cube.

À La Carte

BrainChain by Willem den Broeder (2001)

“BrainChain” by Willem den Broeder (2001)

The following is a short piece about a short piece.  Dark culinary fiction, flash fried for your consumption convenience.  Written on the 22nd April 2017.


“À La Carte”

She couldn’t go through with it and shot herself shortly after leaving the room. Eventually, the drugs wore off and I could feel again. The pain of having the top of one’s skull removed with a hacksaw is indescribable. Alone then, I vowed to finish the job we’d agreed to start.

Luckily, the scalpel was still on the tray before me. I doubt I could have stood up and walked far to fetch it anyway, I was feeling rather ill. I picked it up and felt along the slick contours and ridges of my exposed brain. It didn’t feel as I’d expected it would. “Gelatinous” was the word we’d used. That would be the wrong word. It also didn’t hurt. Well, not directly at least. So I plunged the blade in like it was a baked potato.

I cut for maybe a minute, careful not to go too deep – we’d decided earlier that anything more than an inch and a half would probably kill me before we had a chance to eat. The ease with which I filleted my own brain into a neat and chunky cutlet was quite surprising to me, I imagine Janey would have felt the same way.

Next I dropped the grey sliver into the frying pan, preheated and sitting just beside the table. I let it sizzle for a few minutes. Sure, I wanted to cook it longer but I was feeling more and more faint with each passing moment. I fried it on both sides, no seasoning, just as we’d discussed.

Human brain, it smells nice. Cannibalism, sounds less so. But we’d always wanted to try it. I put the morsel in my mouth and chewed. I didn’t like it. I ate it anyway and then had another mouthful. The second one was for Janey.

I wonder now as I recline in my chair, what will they think when they find us? If they’re not too late they might even still catch the smell. That’ll be something interesting for them, at least.

Nasal Oddity

wax-worm- skeeze 2015 911591 2

“Wax Worm” by Skeeze (2015)

Greetings, dearest readers.  A few days ago The Book of Hangman celebrated one full year online, and in celebration of such a milestone I have decided to celebrate it in the only way befitting the celebration of such a celebration-worthy occasion: by using the word “celebration” a lot.  And also posting a story about a worm.  Yes, it’s fitting in a “not really fitting at all” kind of way.  I do hope you enjoy my worm.  Originally written on the 28th February 2017.


Nasal Oddity

Clarence sat and waited patiently as the creature crawled out of his nose. It twisted and wriggled, even screamed a little – Clarence thought it might be stuck – but eventually it fell out and landed with a splash in his cornflakes.

The thing’s tiny head emerged from the surface and looked up at him. “Hello,” it said hesitantly.

“Hello,” replied Clarence.

It was some sort of worm, a pale orange in colour with streaks of black running up and down its sides. Maybe it was a wireworm.

“Who are you?” asked Clarence, picking up his spoon.

“I’m Fletcher,” stated the thing, shaking its head free of a soggy cornflake. “Get me out of this bowl, please”.

Clarence scooped the creature up and let it wriggle off the spoon and onto the table with a plop.

“Now,” began Fletcher, craning his neck and looking around the kitchen. “Where am I?”

Clarence regarded the odd little thing on his kitchen table for a moment. It had been some time since a creature had emerged from his nose. Many years in fact. He’d thought that had all stopped now, that’s what the exorcist had told him anyway. “No more beasties,” Reverend Scott had promised as he fired a water pistol containing holy water up Clarence’s nose. “No more beasties”.

“You’re in my kitchen,” replied Clarence, motioning around the room with a gesture which Fletcher followed, nodding.

“I see,” mused the worm. “And tell me, how do I get back home?”

This was always the problem. Whenever something crawled out of Clarence’s nose it always wanted to go right back home again. A slug-like creature had once told him it had performed a magical ritual with a coven of witch slugs and a portal had appeared, it had been the bravest slug-thing and so offered to enter it. That’s when it had found itself in Clarence’s nose. Clarence’s friends had reasoned that he must have a portal to another dimension up there. Clarence thought they were probably right.

“I don’t know,” said Clarence, picking up the spoon again. “None of the others ever made it back home”.

“What others?” asked Fletcher, looking rather concerned.

“Oh, you know. The others”. Clarence raised the spoon high above the trembling worm.

“You wouldn’t…” whispered Fletcher in horror as it dawned on him what this giant was about to do.

“I have to. If I don’t, I’ll be forced to believe you things actually exist, and I can’t let that happen again. It would drive me insane. No, I have to kill you so you don’t disturb my mind. Sorry”.

“Wait!” screamed the worm, trying desperately to flip itself out of the way of the descending cutlery. But it was too late. With a dull splat Fletcher was crushed to death.

Clarence flicked the soggy remains off the table and threw the spoon into the sink. “And I don’t appreciate you ruining my breakfast either”.

The Twat

Christian Van Minnen 2

“Manfungus 1.2” by Christian Rex Van Minnen (2007)

I may delete this.  So get it while it’s hot, I suppose.  Written on the 8th April 2017.


The Twat

Ray kicked down the door and stormed into the living room. “Welp, I’ve just been for my god damn twatogram,” he announced with the air of a man ready to kill multiple people and/or animals without the aid of weapons.

“And?” replied Kathy, putting the phone book she’d been licking down.

“And it turns out I am a massive twat!”

Kathy picked up the book again and resumed slobbering over its yellow pages. She always knew her boyfriend was a twat. This was simply confirmation.

Ray, on the other hand, had always denied with great passion that he was anything other than a well-respected, upstanding and productive member of the BDSM community. In his mind, there was no way he could be a twat, let alone a massive one. No, the twatopractor must have gotten it wrong. Maybe he’d put the diodes in the wrong hole or something?

“I’m going to go back there with a sledgehammer,” he declared, kicking their rubber cat statue across the room and into the television.

“We don’t have a sledgehammer,” reminded Kathy. They had to get rid of the last one. Court order.

“Shit. That’s right. Well I’ll just have to use the cat statue then”.

“You can’t do that either,” said Kathy, deciding now that chewing the pages of the phone book was a far better use of her mouth than merely licking them until the phone numbers entered her bloodstream. Without looking up she pointed to the far end of the room. The cat was melting in the electrical fire which had begun to consume most of the wall.

“I don’t care anymore, Kathy. I really don’t. I can’t accept this. There’s no way I’m a twat! All your stupid friends are wrong, they shouldn’t be throwing insults around like that. Someone’s going to have to pay for this injustice!” Ray ran into the sub-basement dungeon and retrieved the rubber fire hydrant they sometimes used in their party games. “This’ll have to do”.

“Is the minister’s pee off it yet?” asked Kathy, not looking up from her mindless chewing.

“No. And you know what? I don’t care if his pee is all over it. It’s going through someone’s face in a minute. I’m out of here”.

“Don’t forget you’re still wearing that latex gimp suit, Ray,” reminded Kathy.

Ray looked down and suddenly realised he’d been out and about in his homemade slug costume the whole time. Maybe he was a bit of a twat after all?

But Ray was too far lost in his rage to care or change into something more reasonable. He dove out the window, obliterating the triple glazing in the process as well as most of his facial features. “If I don’t come back, watch for me on the news”.

After kicking most of the mithril flamingoes off the neighbour’s lawn and smearing some war paint on his bleeding face with cat feces, Ray looked back through the window at his gorging girlfriend. “Oh, and Kathy?” he said, mounting his Segway.

“Yes Ray?”

“Tell them I’m not a massive twat”.

Lost Light

moon-michael-creese (2015)

“Moon” by Michael Creese (2015)

Here’s a humble wee poem I wrote about finding peace in the simple embrace of nature.  Written on the 25th March 2017.


Lost Light

In the dying embers of a summer’s day,
I float a while out on the bay.
With solstice’s shimmer upon the waves,
It turns to diamonds before it fades.
And when light dips below that distant line,
Beyond the horizon, and into the brine,
I am at one, in this sea of sanctuary,
My dissolving woes becoming fragmentary.
Emerging from wounds in Heaven scarred,
I behold the beauty of stoic stars.
Lone swimmer adrift, my thoughts dissipate,
Freed of their burden, and of their weight.
Emancipated from love, liberated from hate,
Freed of the worry and constrictions of fate.
A simple zen washes me, it’s innocent and pure,
Cool waters of twilight, they feel so secure.
In the neutrality of contentment and peace,
Within the beauty of stars I find my release.
We weep no tears of honest elation,
Only smile and embrace and share adoration.
As I drift through solitude, it begins to rain,
To the harmonious downpour’s sweet refrain,
I reflect on nothing, only tranquillity exists,
And I float wherever these currents insist.
Now amongst those ghosts of that summer’s day,
I floated in the sanctuary of the darkened bay.
And when solstice’s glitter had sunk far below,
I turned to diamond, in that watery meadow.

A Bit of a Pickle

Whimsical Pickles on a Bicycle Built for Two by Alison DeBenedictis

“Whimsical Pickles on a Bicycle Built for Two” by Alison DeBenedictis

Pickles.  Love them or loathe them, they’re part of our lives.  Oftentimes more so than we could ever possibly imagine or comprehend.  Take for example this thrilling tale of a pickle that promises to change everything in the lives of two unsuspecting people.  Written on the 28th February 2017.  This story is suitable for vegetarians.


A Bit of a Pickle

“I swear that’s it!” shouted Donna, pointing at the innocuous-looking pickle lying on the carpet.

“Is it nothing!” retorted Alf, giving it a weird look. Surely it wasn’t true?

“It is, Alf! It’s the Pickle of Destiny!”

The Pickle of Destiny was a legendary pickle spoken of in local…well, legend. People said it would grant whomsoever found it the power to will their wildest dreams into realities. All they had to do was grasp the pickle with both hands, close their eyes and pray to the Pickle God.

“How do you know this is it?” asked Alf, picking the curious item up off the floor and brushing the dog hairs off it.

“How many pickles have you known to materialise in the middle of your living room?” Donna fired back, huddling close and helping pick the grey hairs off its green and bumpy sides.

It was a fair point, Alf hadn’t seen a pickle appear out of thin air and flop onto the carpet before, not until a few minutes ago anyway. There was a pretty good chance this really was the Pickle of Destiny.

“Well, what if it is? What now? What do we wish for?” Alf looked around the living room for inspiration. They needed a new sofa, that could be a start. “What about the suite?”

Donna looked at the faux leather three-seater against the far wall and its accompanying chairs. They were pretty worn out, and they had been talking about getting it replaced recently anyway. “Okay, we’ll give it a try. Pass it here”. Alf passed the pickle with both hands, careful not to drop it, lest the dog came into the room and ate both it and their wildest dreams.

Alf took a step back and watched as his wife hugged the little green vegetable with both hands, closed her eyes and addressed the Pickle God out loud. “Dear mighty Pickle God, I ask of you to bequeath us the gift of a nice new three piece suite, preferably with real brown leather. Actually no, make it cream, I don’t want the dog hair to show up on it. Thanks”.

Alf lowered his eyebrows and shook his head slowly. “Bequeath?” he asked mockingly.

Just then the room lit up with a radiant green light, and in the next moment their worn-out seating arrangement was replaced with a brand new real leather affair complete with matching cushions. “Gosh!” blurted Alf in disbelief. “It really is the Pickle of Destiny! Imagine all the cool things we can do with it!”

“What should we do with it next?” asked Donna excitedly.

Alf took a seat on the nice new leather sofa and thought about it for a second. “Oh, I know!” he announced. “You know how when we go shopping I hate how busy it is?”

“Yes,” replied Donna, wondering where he was going with this. “What about it?”

“Give me the pickle and you’ll find out!”

Alf was handed the pickle. He hugged it tight, closed his eyes and addressed the Pickle God. “Dear Pickle God, I kindly ask that the next time we go shopping down the street all the other people disappear and we get the whole place to ourselves. Thanks”.

“Nothing’s happening,” said Donna after a moment of awkward silence.

“That’s because we’ve not went shopping yet. Let’s go out right now and see”.

The couple left the house and began walking into town. There was absolutely no one else in sight. Luckily, their local Tesco had self-serve checkouts and so they didn’t even need a cashier, and in no time they were back home again with lots of bags of shopping and none of the hassle that comes with dealing with other people.

“That was great!” beamed Alf, cracking open a can of beer. “I can’t wait to see what we get up to with this thing tomorrow. Here, let’s put it in the fridge for safekeeping, I don’t know if the Pickle of Destiny goes off if you keep it out in the open too long”.

Donna and Alf hit the hay and enjoyed a nice peaceful slumber filled with fanciful dreams about the future, now that the most famous pickle in the history of pickles was in their possession.

The next morning Donna wished for a new coffee maker and an automated kitchen that cooked them a deliciously hearty breakfast. Alf wished for the best shower on the planet and enjoyed a good scrub. After redecorating the entire house, adding several additional wings, turrets and towers, they decided to head out for a stroll to tell all their friends and family the good news.

As they walked down the street they transformed local parks into world-class zoos, replaced all the street lights with ones made out of solid gold and encrusted them in diamonds. They even took it upon themselves to turn the pigeons into something a tad less horrible: graceful eagles that could and did play the harp. It was a very productive walk indeed.

“Hey, you know what’s weird?” asked Alf as he passed the pickle to his wife after turning the sky purple because he was a big Prince fan.

“What?” replied Donna, readying herself to wish for a nicer handbag.

“We haven’t seen anybody else out today”.

It was true, they’d been out of the house around twenty minutes now and not one person had they laid eyes on. It was very strange. They contemplated this weirdness as they entered the Lider Centre; the largest shopping centre in town.

“Alf, what’s going on?” Donna had stopped thinking about a new handbag and instead stood still, looking around at the utterly empty mall. There was nobody around. Not a soul. They were the only people in the what was normally the busiest place in the entire town.

“Oh cripes…” Alf’s words trailed off.

“What?” asked his significant other.

“I think there’s a small chance we were wrong about the Pickle of Destiny”.

Donna stared at Alf for a second, trying to figure out what he could possibly mean. Then it dawned on her too. “Oh no. You’re kidding me. You don’t think we–”

“That’s right babes, I think we mistook the Pickle of Destiny for the Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience”.

“For the love of the Pickle God, I don’t believe this!”

“The Pickle God’s got nothing to do with this, Donna. The Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience is the unholy property of the Pickle Devil. Everything we wished for may have come true, but it’s permanent. No exceptions. When we wished for everyone to disappear yesterday so we could go shopping in peace, they ceased to exist forever! Oh dear, what have we done?!” Alf broke down in tears and fell to his knees.

The Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience was another pickle spoken of in local legend, it was the yin to the Pickle of Destiny’s yang. In fact, it was only one of around eight other legendary pickles spoken of in the local area, though admittedly, both it and the other pickles were rarely heard of.

Donna’s eyes were almost falling out of her head. She threw the Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience at the nearest wall, ridding herself of its power. Unfortunately, the potent vegetable bounced off the wall of Nicho’s Taco Shack and landed with a splash in the mall’s main water feature; the Dave the Clown Memorial Fountain.

“Oh Christ no, Donna!” screamed Alf, momentarily looking up from his lamentation on the floor. “You didn’t chuck it in the fountain, did you? The Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience is water-soluble!”

It was true. Just as the words escaped Alf’s mouth and he went back to crying, the pickle in the fountain began to fizz like a certain brand of mint in a certain brand of carbonated soft drink. Green foam began filling the fountain, and soon all the water had turned a lurid green colour, sort of like limeade but more menacing. Donna ran and hid behind a mobile phone stand as Alf rolled onto his side and gave up on life. The foaming reached ridiculous levels of foaminess not seen before in the history of foam, green lightning began shooting out of the billowing mass overflowing from the fountain, shocking fast food outlets and putting entire clothes shops up in flames. With an almighty explosion and roar, the great Pickle Devil himself emerged from the frothing green fountain.

“Behold, I have risen at long last! You have released me from the binds of my pickle prison and I will now turn everyone on the entire planet into a pickle!” The hulking green demon bellowed with demonic laughter and fired a series of small pickles from his eyes, scattering them across the floor of the Lider Centre, where they started running around kicking holes in windows and walls.

“Erm, excuse me, oh powerful Pickle Devil,” said Donna, timidly emerging from behind the mobile phone stand. “But we actually already wiped out the human race about half an hour ago. There’s nobody left to turn into pickles. Sorry”. Donna resumed her cowering behind the mobile phone stand. It was probably for the best.

The Pickle Devil stopped laughing. The little pickles stopped breaking things. “Well what am I supposed to do now?” the large green monstrosity eventually asked. “I mean, come on, I finally rise to power after all these years and there’s no one left to turn into pickles? Seriously? What kind of luck is that? I guess I’ll just have to turn you two snivelling fools into pickles and call it a day. Might as well go play on the swings down at the park afterwards, it’s not like there’ll be anything else to do”.

“Actually…” Donna’s head emerged from behind a row of Nokia 3310s. “We got rid of the park too”.

“What do you mean you got rid of the park?” demanded the Pickle Devil.

“We turned it into a zoo”.

“A zoo?” the demon stroked his lumpy green pickle chin. “That’s not so bad, I guess. I could at least turn the animals into pickles”.

“Yes you could”.

“I know I could!” spat the Pickle Devil angrily. “Fine. I’ll turn you two worthless maggots into pickles and then I’ll go turn the animals at the zoo into pickles too”.

“That’s something, at least,” said Donna, trying to sound comforting but immediately wondering why she wanted to comfort a giant demonic pickle that wanted to turn her and her husband into little pickles just because he could.

“Right, say your prayers and all that jazz,” boomed the Pickle Devil before turning a blinding green light on them and transforming them both into six inch pickles and stamping on them.