My new novel - a children's story for 10 year olds. Based on the Chromatic Vampires RP.
KEVIN AND THE CHROMS
My name is Kevin Baxter. If you’re reading this book then I’ve been killed. Either that or Dad was lying when he said only dead writers get published. Since it’s well known that I’m an amazing writer with an amazing story about the Chroms, it’s possible the salesmen have already had me executed. In that case, please spread my message:
When someone asks you what your favourite colour is, never say you don’t know. It could cause the apocalypse.
CHAPTER ONE – The Shoebox and the Snot Plant.
I swayed and tottered as Mum gave me another shoebox to hold. I had five already. There were stacked on top of each other, but being a kid I had short arms. Not short for my age, of course, but short for six shoeboxes. I mean, I don’t want you to think the hero of this story has short arms, because he doesn’t. There’s nothing wrong with my arms. In fact, I talked to my uncle the other day and he went the whole conversation without mentioning my arms, so he must’ve thought they were alright. And when Lolcat runs under my bed I can scare him out by putting my arm underneath and waving it around. Only long arms could scare a cat.
Anyway, the shoeboxes were heavy because Mum has big feet. That’s what Dad likes about her. I could only just see over the shoeboxes as I staggered after Mum through the clothes shop.
“Don’t drop them!” my sister said. She was helpful like that. “There’s shoes inside.”
My sister, Tammy, did have an appearance, but at the moment she looked like a pile of shopping bags. That’s because she was covered in a pile of shopping bags. Mum had put two on each of her arms and one big one around her neck with a plant sticking out of it. The leaves were big and green and covered in snot. It wasn’t a snot plant – those don’t exist. It’s just the leaves were tickling her nose and making her sneeze. It was good in a way, cos she usually sneezed on me, so it was a helpful plant.
“What do you think?” Mum barked, snatching a dress from one of the rails and holding it against her Kung-Fu-toned body. She wasn’t talking to me and Tammy, but to the pale zombie-like figure stood behind us.
“Muhhhhhrrrrr!” Dad groaned, shrugging as he fiddled with something in his pockets.
“You hate it! My parents were right about you!” Mum snapped, before plonking the dress on top of my shoe boxes. It was long and red and covered in snot. No, it wasn’t a snot dress – those don’t exist either. I had just sneezed on it.
“What about this one?” Mum continued, holding up a blue dress.
“Why can’t you let me live?” Mum flung the dress on the floor and stormed off to another part of the shop. Dad smiled nervously at us.
“Dad,” I looked out from behind the shoeboxes, “Can we have nachos tonight?”
“With melted cheese?”
“Whaaaatever,” Dad hummed, poking a nearby fire extinguisher.
“You’ll have to get those at the supermarket,” Tammy said helpfully, “We’re going there next.” I watched her plant jiggle as she talked. She looked back at me: a tower of boxes with eyes on top. Dad did a little tap dance with his hands in his pockets.
“KEVIN!” Mum screamed from the other side of the shop.
“That’s you!” my sister said, slapping me with one of her bags. I considered telling her that my name was quite memorable. I had owned it for eight years after all. But there was no point – there never was with Tammy.
Blowing on the dress so it wouldn’t tickle my nose, I staggered across the shop to where Mum was trying on scarves. “He doesn’t want to be here,” she was muttering, wrapping a yellow scarf around her Kung-Fu-strengthened neck. “He wants to go to the pub with his criminal friends and take drugs and shoot old ladies’ dogs!”
This wasn’t true, of course. Dad didn’t drink or have any friends, and he only threw oranges at dogs (but that was because he didn’t like oranges). The reason Mum said these things was because she always lied when she was in a bad mood and she was always in a bad mood when she was shopping. It was called ‘being irrational’, which is when girls don’t have to explain themselves.
“Look at him,” Mum hissed. I looked at Dad as he mixed up the socks on the sock rack. “Laughing at me. Humiliating me in front of my friends!”
I looked around, but none of Mum’s friends was here. I hoped she wasn’t talking about me. I didn’t want to be Mum’s friend – I’d have to learn about moisturisers.
“Oh, why do you have to have such short arms, Kevin?” she complained as she tried to drape a brown woolly scarf across my arms. I don’t know why she said this, because I don’t have short arms. She must’ve been ‘being irrational’, because my arms are quite normal. Maybe she saw how long they were – because they really are – but she said the opposite of what she was thinking. Or she was mad – yeah, probably mad. Only a mad person would think I had short arms.
“Hey, that’s nice,” Dad said as he came over. I could tell he had been rehearsing for a few minutes and I thought about clapping.
“Don’t patronize me!” Mum snapped.
“You’ve got a scarf on your arms!” added the wobbly snot plant next to Dad.
“Right,” Mum said, holding up two hats, “Shall I have the white hat or the red hat?”
Dad went pale again. “Muuuuuhhhhrrrr…” then suddenly, “The red one!”
“The red one? The red one! You’re not the man I married!”
Dad looked at the floor again.
“Dad,” I asked, “What’s that green stuff they put on nachos?”
“Salsa,” Dad said, snapping his fingers at Mum. “That’s the dance I wanted to learn.”
“Guacamole!” Tammy squeaked.
“No dear, it’s basil,” Mum held up one of the leaves of my sister’s plant, “You can tell by the smell.”
“Chilli sauce?” I asked, reading the label on the scarf.
“That’s the name of the colour,” Mum said.
“Salsa?” Dad frowned.
“Guacamole!” Tammy blurted.
“Stop sneezing, dear.”
Don’t get me wrong – we were a normal family with average-length arms. Mum and Dad even danced in the kitchen and that’s a sign of a good marriage. And I liked my sister a lot, even though she stated the obvious all the time and made for a useless supporting character. It’s just that my family always went mad when we were out shopping. Especially Mum. She went to the doctor about it but he started crying, so she left. My teacher said it was meningitis – it makes you overly serious about clothes – but my teacher also says the universe started when it exploded, so I think she’s being irrational.
Whenever the doctor wasn’t crying he said that me and Dad have ‘autistic tendencies’, so we’re allowed to be bored in shops and have one screaming fit a month. Dad had wasted his last fit on the cheese grater at the kitchenware shop, so now he started poking me with a coat hanger, hoping I would scream and we could all leave the clothes shop. But I was cleverer than that and I kept quiet. I was saving my scream card for the perfume counter on Valentine’s Day.
“Stop that!” Mum disarmed Dad of the coat hanger and left him to sulk.
“Can we go now?”
“Go?” she jabbed Dad with the coat-hanger. “Go? Am I boring you? Is it so terrible spending time with me? Does it keep you awake at night, sweating in terror at the thought of another day with me? Do you pick up the pillow – do you? Do you hold it over my face in the middle of the night and just for a moment think what if? What if?”
Dad blew out air in a very bored way and picked a leaf from Tammy’s snot plant, putting it in his mouth.
“You’re eating the basil!” Tammy said.
“Dad,” I asked, “Does the chilli sauce you have in nachos have tomatoes in it, or do you have salsa instead?”
“A chilli is a type of tomato,” Dad said. He lies too, but not because he’s being irrational. It’s because he’s treading the thin line between genius and insanity. There’s a difference.
Nachos, nachos, nachos! I love nachos. I love them so much that I’m going to upset the narrative by writing the word ‘nachos’ thirteen times. Nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos, nachos. Yeah, that was actually fourteen times, but I was treading the thin line between genius and insanity.
The thing about nachos is you never know what you’re going to get. When you pile them on your plate and cover them in melted cheese and guacamole and sour cream and chilli sauce (which is made from tomatoes), you have to pull them out one by one. Sometimes you have a nacho with just cheese on it (I call that an ‘upper nacho’); or one with just chilli sauce (I call that a ‘lower nacho’); or just with guacamole (I call that ‘irritating’). But sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you get the perfect nacho with the perfect amount of cheese, chilli sauce, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. I used to think life was like a pile of nachos, till Mum slapped me and told me to stop being melon-dramatic.
“Right, that’s everything,” Mum declared. “Back to the car! It’s time to go shopping.”
“What?” Dad cried.
“We’ve already been shopping!” Tamsin said, being helpful for once.
Mum threw another skirt on her head and guided her towards the checkout. “The food shopping, at Layton’s.”
“Ah Christ!” Dad despaired.
“Nachos!” I yelled and quickly did a little dance so it wouldn’t be mistaken for a Scream Card.
“Not another word!” Mum snapped, threatening Dad with her credit card. “We’re doing the shopping and you’re helping! I’m sick of dragging around shopping bags all by myself!” She hooked another bag on my arms and shoved the receipt in my mouth.
“Layton’s is twenty-four hours, you know,” Dad argued as the four of us bundled out of the clothes shop and into the street. “We could come back at dawn. That’s what the cavemen did.”
“Oh, what is wrong with you? Every time we come out you harass me with your aggression. No wonder Kevin’s got short arms.”
“Can we at least do it tomorrow? The children are wilting.”
Tammy looked at the basil, while my mother spun around in the street. She had a long grey coat, which makes people look at you when you spin around in a street. And Dad was wearing pink slippers. Those have the same effect.
“Oh, I see! I see! Can’t stand the sight of me, eh? Rather be off with your fancy woman, Sarah, would you?”
“My sister?” Dad considered it for a moment. “God no.”
“Get in the car!” Mum screamed.
CHAPTER TWO – Why chickens don’t believe in aliens
Layton’s was the biggest supermarket in town and it had everything we needed for the nacho dinner. We got the chicken first. Two for the price of one, which I think is insulting to the chickens. I mean, if I was abducted by aliens and taken to their planet to be fattened up and served as food, I’d at least want to know that I fetched a good price. But Dad says chickens don’t believe in aliens, even when they get abducted by them, so it’s okay. The chickens just fall out of the spaceship and carry on clucking as if nothing happened. And I think if chickens are that stubborn about the existence of extraterrestrial life then they deserve to be given away in a two-for-one deal.
“Right kids,” Dad said, “I’ll get the tacos.”
“Nachos!” I screamed.
“Right. And you two go catch the cheese. Got your tranquilizer darts?”
Me and Tammy stared at Dad then blinked as he mimed a little drum sequence and went “Buh-dum-cheeeese!”
We left him and went to find the cheese.
Some people think all cheese is the same. But they’re idiots and should be sold at half price in a Martian supermarket. Cos when it comes to the perfect nacho meal, the cheese makes all the difference, and me and Tammy knew which cheese was the best. That’s one of the reasons I like nachos, because we’re all good at getting the right parts. Dad gets the best nachos, I get the best cheese, Mum gets the gauca-salsa-chilli-basil stuff and Tammy keeps Lolcat out of the kitchen. I think this is why caveman first invented families, because they realised stuff could be better when more people help.
Tammy watched as I climbed the cheese shelf. “Don’t fall off.”
“Cheese, cheese, cheese!” I muttered as I stared at the lines and lines of cheese. On the right were the fancy cheeses that people never eat and the cheeses made by goats and coconuts. They were rubbish. The cheeses on the left were better – three for the price of two, which I might’ve felt sad about, because cheese is really cool and would definitely believe in aliens, but I didn’t care because I needed lots of cheese and so we could get more.
There was the orange cheese, but that burned too easily, and the very yellow cheeses weren’t sweet enough. There was whitish cheese, but that didn’t taste good enough, and I didn’t trust the cheese with the funny names. The perfect cheese would have to be yellow but not too yellow – like butter and with the word “mature” on the side.
“You have to get the right cheese.”
I thought about throwing some cheese at Tammy to shut her up, but she’d only tell me I was throwing cheese at her. “What’s it called?”
“No, what’s the name of the cheese?”
“It comes from a farm.”
“But they all come from farms.”
“No. This one says it comes from a farm.”
“But cheeses don’t speak.” I thought about doing the drum-thing like Dad would, but I was using my hands to hold onto the shelf. So, even funnier, I started shouting at the cheese. “Here, Mr Cheese! Here boy!”
“All cheeses are girls.”
“No they’re not!”
“Yes they are. Cheese ends in an ‘e’, so it’s a girl.”
“Only French cheeses.” I shouted at the shelf, “Bonjour, mon fromage-frere!”
I know French. Dad taught me when we went to China. He said it was the last thing they would expect. I still don’t understand what he meant.
“Kevin, what’s your favourite colour?” Tammy asked as she poked the shelf with her foot. “Mine’s yellow.”
I finally found a cheese with the word farm on the label. “Er… I don’t have a favourite colour.”
That was when I fell off the shelf. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t because I was clumsy or had short arms or anything. It was because someone shouted at me. At first I thought it was Mum, but Mum doesn’t wear pink jeans and a pink tank top. And she doesn’t have pink hair and she isn’t thirteen years old. So the thirteen year old girl with pink hair who suddenly swung around the corner of the aisle and shouted at me was someone entirely unexpected.
I landed on Tammy and we both got buried under a pile of cheese.
“You don’t have a favourite colour?”
I pulled aside a stilton and stared up at the girl. She was very… pink.
“Everyone has a favourite colour!” the girl said in a really excited way, her eyes big and wide. “All humans, everywhere – they all have favourite colours.”
“Erm, not me,” I answered.
“You’re on top of me!” Tammy squealed. I got up and looked nervously at the pile of cheese around us.
“Oh but you must!” the girl said, jumping up and down then taking hold of my hands. She bent down (because she was a bit taller than me) and grinned in my face. She had pink eye-shadow and pink lipstick, which made her older than she was. But it was a nice face – like the face of people who are allowed on TV because they have nice faces. Her skin looked very soft and there were no freckles or anything. And it was the right shape – just round enough and just pointy enough, with cheeks that you wanted to pinch and lips that you wanted to…er…
Well, anyway, she held my hands and leant towards me, smelling of strawberries and roses. “You just have to try really hard. We’ll do it together, okay. We’ll count to three then close our eyes and say what our favourite colour is. Ready?”
She started lifting my hands up and down. “One… two… three…”
“Who are y--”
“PINK!” she yelled in my face. I got my hands free and stepped back. Tammy was next to me. She had found the Farm Cheese and was chewing the plastic wrapper as she stared at the girl in pink.
The girl opened her eyes and her smile went away. She suddenly looked mad. “You didn’t say a colour.”
“I… I don’t have a favourite colour. Honest.”
“LIAR!” she shouted, pointing at me and jumping up and down. “You’re a big fat liar with short arms and I hate you!”
She was being irrational, of course. I knew I had to turn around and walk away, which is what Mum told to me do when people say they hate me. I was just about to turn around when the girl in pink giggled and her smile came back. “No, I’m just kidding. You’re brilliant! But seriously, what’s your favourite colour?”
All three of us jumped as a voice sounded from the next aisle. It was a scary voice, like a headmistress’s voice. We don’t have a headmistress at my school, but if we did I think she would sound like this woman. Between the ketchup bottles I could see a long white dress moving. It was a woman, about Mum’s age, walking very quickly.
“Coming!” called the pink-haired girl and then she smiled at me again. “Well, it was great meeting you. You’re fun! We should have a party sometime.”
The girl waved excitedly then ran off.
“She had pink hair,” Tammy reminded me.
“Yeah.” I stepped over the cheese and walked to the end of the aisle, peering around the half-price mayonnaise and looking into the next aisle. It was empty, but there was something strange of the floor. It was white and powdery. Maybe someone had knocked over the sugar.
But it wasn’t the sugar aisle…
“Mum’s calling us!” Tammy said.
I looked at the powdery stuff one last time, then went back to my sister. “Get the cheese.”
I realise now why chickens don’t believe in aliens. Sometimes it’s better not to over-think things. If I had just chosen a favourite colour there and then, maybe Rosa would’ve left me alone rather than choosing me as the hero of the adventure was about to happen. Dad says women do that lot – you say one thing wrong and suddenly it’s the end of the world.
CHAPTER THREE – The smelly man at the supermarket
Anyway, that’s the scene set. Now here’s the interesting bit. When we got to the checkout, Mum gave all the fruit and veg to Tammy and all the bread to me. This was so she could get to the tins at the bottom of the trolley, which you have to pack first. It was okay, because having a pile of bread in my arms was better than a red dress. Bread doesn’t make you sneeze, unless you’re Grandma Nancy, but you wouldn’t be reading this book if you were, because I’m not Catholic.
Wait, that’s not the interesting bit,
We all stopped by the checkout because my uncle was screaming at as. It was unusual, because my uncle wasn’t married so he never came to shops. And the screaming was unusual too. He was in the doorway, pointing at us as we put the food on the checkout.
He smelled funny. But the delivery was deadpan. And the pan had been dead for far too long.
“Uncle Stern is pointing at us!” Tammy explained.
“Clarence!” My uncle came into the supermarket and pushed aside an old couple who had stopped to look at him. Maybe one of them was called Clarence, but I didn’t think so, because old people often stop to look at things when their names haven’t been called. Clarence was Dad’s name, but he had forgotten that, so instead Mum muttered, “Oh, not now,” and slumped against the checkout. She said hello to a lot of people this way, even when there weren’t any checkouts around.
“Ah,” Dad said as he noticed his brother, followed by “Now then,” as if he was about to explain something. But he wasn’t.
Uncle Stern was a painter, with long arms like me and a big bushy beard, and his eyes were really, really small. And black. He was wearing smelly overalls and had a smelly toenail that stuck through his smelly sock. Oh yeah, he wasn’t wearing shoes.
I didn’t have a beard yet, but I often wondered about having one. It must be cool to hide half you face and if it’s really long you can pull it over and hide the rest. That’s what Tammy does. She doesn’t have a beard but she has long blonde frizzy hair which she hides behind when she’s not hiding behind snot plants. Dad calls her a hippy, but not as medicated.
Uncle Stern’s beard was big and grey like a badger. And he smelled like one too – a dead badger, frying in the dead pan which he had down his pants.
That’s a metaphor. He didn’t actually have a badger down his pants.
“Clarence!” he yelled again and Dad said “Morning, Stern. What bring you to town on a Saturday evening?”
“Eeep!” Tammy squeaked as Uncle Stern pulled aside the cauliflower and glared at her face.
“You remember Tammy, my youngest?” Dad said.
Uncle Stern pushed my sister aside then grunted at Mum, who was still ignoring him. A lady was scanning the tinned tomatoes and Mum was watching her in case she spit on them. Mum says shop assistants like to spit on things when customers aren’t looking. I could see Mum’s hand twitching, ready to deliver to a ridge-hand chop to the throat if she had to.
“Eeep!” I said as Uncle Stern batted the bread loaves out of my hands and glared at my face.
“Pick those up!” Mum shouted, while still watching the shop assistant in case she scanned the wrong barcode.
Me and Dad dropped to our knees and started gathering up the bread, but Uncle Stern didn’t help us. He just started down at me, really hard, like the way paintings stare when you wake them up at night. Maybe he was interested in my face – it must’ve been a while since he’d seen one. Or maybe he was admiring my long arms. Most people do.
“Kevin, yes!” he growled (so there was more than one ‘e’ in the “yes”).
I waved up at him, “Hi, Uncle St-oooooooah!” Uncle Stern grabbed my wrist and dragged me to my feet.
“It’s Kevin’s birthday, yes?”
Dad got up, holding a croissant. “Not for another eight months, old chap.”
“I’ll take him for his birthday treat.”
I giggled as Uncle Stern put me in a headlock.
“Ah, a pre-emptive strike, eh?” Dad said and jabbed his brother’s arm.
“Just meet us by the car,” Mum muttered as she typed her pin number into the machine, her leg ready to roundhouse the shop assistant if she looked.
“You’re going away with Uncle Stern,” Tammy said above the carrots.
“Can we have nachos?” I asked.
“Nrrgh!” my uncle grunted as he pulled me past the checkouts.
“Bye, Dad!” I shouted as the headlock loosened slightly.
“Don’t buy him a sandwich toaster!” Dad called, “That’s what I’m getting him!”
“Bye!” I waved again, giggling happily at the thought of my coming adventure with Uncle Stern.
Unfortunately, I spent the next nine days locked in a cupboard as Uncle Stern harvested my bodily fluids. Then he stabbed me in the neck and left me to die. It turns out he was a child abuser. That’s someone who takes you on very bad adventures. Supermarkets employ them ironically, I’ve been told – mostly to stop kids throwing tantrums. I’ve never trusted child abusers.
CHAPTER FOUR – My adventures in the cupboard
As well as being a child abuser, Uncle Stern was a painter. But not a very good one, cos he didn’t use paint. He used other things like blood, sweat and bile from slaughtered animals which he had shipped to his workshop on the other side of town. I remember once, last summer, when I went to visit him because I was selling shortbread, he smeared a dead bird and some cat poo on a canvas and said he was “paying homage to the primordial soup of creation”. Yeah, my family tends to talk like that. I come from a long line of artists and eccentrics and Stern was very eccentric, even before he locked me in a cupboard and stabbed me in the neck. I suppose instead of a painter you could call him a poo-er, but Dad says that’s the Jamaican word for electricity, so it can’t be right.
I sure wanted to call Uncle Stern something like a poo-er when he stabbed me. It wasn’t till much, much later that I worked out his reason for doing it. It was a quite good one, actually. I think you should always have a good reason to lock up your nephew and stab him with a breadknife.
My uncle’s house is on three levels, with stairs on the outside rather than the inside. All the paint’s peeling off or stained because of the water and it looks like it’s about to fall into the canal. I think at one time it did, because there’s no ground floor. Just an inlet with a half-sunken speedboat. But that didn’t belong to my uncle. It was just a speedboat that happened to be sunk. Men with beards don’t own speedboats.
The house smelled a lot better than my uncle. The floorboards were rotten and the sofas had fleas all over them. There was a kitchen with lots of unwashed plates and the main room had newspapers and dead animal carcasses on the floor, with flies buzzing all around them. Mum says this is what Dad would live like if she didn’t keep an eye on him. There was a ladder to the next floor (because the stairs were collapsed at the top), and it went through a damp hole in the ceiling. Of course, this was only what I could see from my cupboard, which was just behind the sofa.
I spent the first two days screaming, which is what you do when you’re locked in a cupboard. On the second night my throat was sore, because I’d used my Scream Card. But Uncle Stern didn’t seem to know the rules, so he didn’t let me out. And my knuckles were bleeding from where I’d tried to punch through the cupboard (Dad says you can punch things if they’re still there after two days – unless they’re people). But the cupboard was a lot harder than the other pieces of furniture and it didn’t break.
There was, however, a little hole in the left door, which might have been caused by mice. They punch better than humans, because of something to do with “pounds-per-square-inch”, which my teacher told me about.
When I looked through the hole I could see Uncle Stern moving around. He was stooping and wheezing and painting something on a big canvas. It was very big. I hadn’t noticed it when he first dragged me in, and I hadn’t noticed the dead things on the other side of the apartment either. There were dead birds and rats hanging from the rafters and buckets of vomit, blood and wee-wee. I remember throwing up because of the smell, which isn’t a good idea in a two foot square cupboard.
But my Uncle was nice enough to not forget about me, because on the fourth day he opened the door and punched me. Then he put a needle in my wrist and sucked out some blood. It didn’t hurt that much. It was like when you trap your hand in a door and your fingers are throbbing afterwards. You get the sharp pain then the nicer pain. It was the same with the punch. I think people get too worked up about pain, because it doesn’t last very long. I was more upset about the nachos. Dad might have left some in the microwave for me, but Mum had probably found them by now and thrown them out. And Uncle Stern was probably lying when he said he had nachos.
After he had taken some blood, Uncle Stern locked the cupboard again, and through the hole I saw him empty the syringe into his paint-pots. This was just the start. Over the next two days he came back to collect my vomit, my tears, more blood and… other things that I don’t know the names for. And it all went onto the canvas. But at least there was less punching. People stop punching you if you do what they say – it’s the best way to outsmart them.
By the seventh day I was only half-awake. Sometimes I’d see what my uncle was painting: a giant canvas covered in strange colours. Like I said, he was a rubbish painter. He hadn’t even drawn anything. He was just smearing things on the paper, like Tammy does, and mixing my blood with the entrails of the dead animals then throwing whole buckets of wee-wee on the paper. Sometimes he would scream and kick at his pots or the carcasses. He seemed to have a lot of scream cards. And laugh cards too. Mum hadn’t told me about laugh cards. I think they allow you to laugh whenever you want at things that aren’t there. Uncle Stern had a lot of laugh cards and I could tell he was keeping count, because whenever he laughed he wrote something in his notebook.
I never saw him eat, which was silly because he obviously knew where the supermarket was. And he was giving me all of his water and bread crusts. I tried to tell him he was being too generous, but by the ninth day I couldn’t speak and I decided I’d be dead soon.
But that morning something strange happened that made me open my eyes again. I heard a mobile phone ring. I don’t own a mobile phone, because Mum says she doesn’t want me getting any more brain cancer. But mobile phones are getting smaller every day, so I though there might have been one in the cupboard. I checked around, but then my uncle stopped painting and stepped over his buckets, getting the phone from behind one of the sofa cushions.
I didn’t think men with beards owned mobile phones. Maybe the speedboat really was his after all.
There was a long and boring conversation. I could tell because my uncle grunted and shouted for most of it. Then he went into the kitchen and opened a drawer. My heart jumped at the thought of surprise nachos (the best kind), but then he came back into the room with a bread knife.
More bread. Bread is rubbish. Those Russians were idiots for starting a revolution over it. They should’ve picked their fights, like Mum always tells me to do.
Uncle Stern crossed the room towards the cupboard. He was still holding the phone to his ear with his other hand. I decided to be naughty and use an imaginary scream card as he opened the door and raised the knife. There was a voice on the other end of the phone and I could just about hear it. It was a man and his shouts were as loud as my screams.
“Kill him! Do it, kill him!”
My uncle was crying, which isn’t what people usually do when they’re holding knives, unless they’re chopping onions. Then I felt something large and hot move through my neck and I dropped inside the cupboard. All I remembered after that was the door being closed again, some paper rustling, then the sound of my uncle running through the door and down the steps.
Then I passed out, which was a lot better. I like passing out.
CHAPTER FIVE – The Apocalypse Fairy
So I was bleeding to death inside a cupboard. And this was how I first met the Chroms. At the time, I was bleeding to death, so I wasn’t much fun, and Adrium (he’s the Chrom who’s about to appear), well… he’s not an ordinary Chrom. Not that any of the Chroms are ordinary, but Adrium is very, very not ordinary. So it was a bit of a crap first meeting.
“Poor child,” he said and clacked together his obsidian nails, “Poor, poor child.”
Lying on the cupboard floor, I watched Adrium move from behind the big painting. He had long limbs, spindly like a daddy-long-legs, and he seemed to float towards me. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, because I was busy worrying about my neck. I couldn’t remember if it’s three pints of blood or four that a human can lose before he dies. I had definitely lost a pint by the time Adrium showed up, but there was plenty left in my big long arms, so it was alright.
Adrium’s voice was like a noisy crow scratching on a blackboard while drowning in boiling tarmac.
I like metaphors. They make Tammy confused.
“Such nasty things uncles do,” Adrium said as he came towards the cupboard, stepping around the pool of blood that was seeping from me and through the open door. Then he crouched and peered in, showing a large set of teeth, pitch-black and smiling naughtily. “Someone should…” his voice became even raspier, “Peel the skin from their armpits.”
“Help!” I gasped by way of greeting. My voice sounded just as bad as his, but I had the excuse of missing half my throat. Adrium, however, was just weird.
“There, there,” he crooned, his fingers (twice as long as normal ones), picking up Uncle Stern’s breadknife. “Adrium will make everything better.”
I felt the black, obsidian nails on his other hand wrap across my neck, reaching around to my hair and spine. Then, with a sickening sound that was either my spine breaking or a nearby rat eating a very large biscuit, Adrium wrenched my head to one side. I screamed as I heard the snap – or rather half-screamed, because I suddenly realised that I had stopped bleeding. I felt the sides of the wound pull together and the blood become hard and crispy. Rolling over, I coughed a little then sat up, turning thankfully to my saviour. Then I finished the rest of the scream.
Adrium’s face was diamond shaped, with skin like smooth plastic – the kind you get on washing up liquid bottles (but I didn’t for one second think about making a rocket out of Adrium’s face). He had no nose, just two little holes above an enormous mouth filled with jagged black teeth. His eyes were dark and wet and his hair was like trails of liquorice, hanging over his face. He wore a black suit and grey tie, which would and he might have looked really smart if he ever got decapitated. Then there were those obsidian nails, which could gut a fish with ease. Looking at them made me want to hold myself – you know, the way you hold yourself when you imagine someone cracking your ribs.
“Hi,” I said as I looked up at the big black monster. His smile was becoming wider and it was trembling as he tried to hold it. He looked the way Mr Reynolds, my old teacher, did on the day he had a nervous breakdown. But unlike Mr Reynolds, Adrium wasn’t about to take off his clothes and swing naked from the goalposts while singing the National Anthem and kicking the police officers who came to arrest him on suspicion of paedophilia. Adrium’s smile was more like the fake smile old Mr Yorgenson had the morning after he killed his wife.
I wish Mum would let me eat sausages again.
Adrium’s eyes drifted to one side as he smiled. “Will you… help me?” he asked in a sweet and blood-chilling tone.
I had one hand against my neck, searching for the wound which had now gone. “Help you do what?”
Adrium’s eyes grew wide and his voice echoed from the peeling walls, “Why, destroy the world of course!”
I was terrified, and not just the kind of terror you get when your hairy-lipped aunty wants to snog you. I’m talking about the terror of visiting a blind one-armed dentist with mood swings and claustrophobia. “Wh… why do you wanna do that?”
Adrium’s arm extended like a spider’s leg and he poked my nose with one of his nails, holding it there as he answered. “Most children scream when I tell them that. But you – you just ask for a good reason.” Then he shouted through his clenched teeth and for a moment I thought he was about to kill his wife while singing the National Anthem, “Interesting, don’t you think?”
Later on, when I knew Adrium a little better and had come to accept that he wasn’t always trying to rip out my spleen, I learned that whenever Adrium is amused by something his eyes water and he shouts through clenched teeth. Yes, it does make him look like a psycho, but at least he’s happy; and when Adrium is happy he doesn’t kill as many people. It’s a good rule to live by. Dad says you have to have rules.
“Erm… I think I should be getting back home now.” I tried to move my nose away from his nail, but he flicked my cheek cruelly.
“Covered in blood?” he squawked.
“Your parents won’t like that.”
“Oh, they’re used to it.”
“They’ll call you Bloody McBlood-Pants!”
“Er, no – they’ll probably just ground me, like the last time I got stabbed.”
I shuffled to my feet then made a run for the door. But then I froze as I felt Adrium tap me on the shoulder. I must have run about fifty feet, which meant Adrium’s arms had stretched and… and it wasn’t something I wanted to think about. So I stayed still in the doorway as he whispered in my ear, “Don’t you want to destroy the world with me?”
You should remember here that I had lost a lot of blood and had just been resurrected by a psychotic fairy who snapped my neck to stop it bleeding. You should also remember that I’m very impressionable and that Mum always tells me to seize the day, even when it’s night time, which it was just then. And anyway, Dad says that at night things seem better, even the bad things, because your dreams aren’t far away.
But mostly it was the blood loss.
“Er… what type of destruction? The type where everything gets destroyed in a big fire? Or the type where all the people I hate die and I can walk around the empty streets and go into shops and take whatever I want?”
“And sneak into girls’ bedrooms.”
“What?” I turned to find the strange creature looming over me, still smiling.
“Oh, nothing,” he said. “And yes – the second one. World stays; people die.”
“Right…” I looked up at him. “But can I go home for supper first? We’re having nachos.”
“With melted cheese on top?”
Adrium stepped even closer to me. “Can I come to your home and have nachos with melted cheese on top?”
I backed away, “I don’t think Mum and Dad will like you.”
“Then I’ll feed them their own intestines!” he snarled.
I squeaked, “I’m sure they could get to like you.”
“Good, good!” Adrium rubbed his claws together cheerfully. Then he turned the way Mum turns in her coat – really dramatic-like – and I screamed as his ribcage exploded. Long pieces of black bone extended outwards in a fan with bits of skin strung between them. “Shall we fly?”
“All children want to fly.”
“Not me. Nope. I like the ground. Good old ground, with the walking and stuff.” I knelt down and stroked the ground to emphasize my point.
Adrium looked at me suspiciously, “You made me get out my wings for nothing.” He stepped past me as I trembled. “The nachos better be good.”
And so me and my new psychotic apocalypse fairy friend set off home.
CHAPTER SIX – The silly bit
The next part of the story was told to me by Tammy, so some of the details might be wrong.
Mum and Dad were so worried about me that they had invited the Pope to the house. An action meeting had been called with the police chief, the parish clerk and a passing pony. After the carrots and sugar lumps had been given out, Mum slammed the table with both hands and said she wanted dancers.
I hate Tammy. She’s an unreliable narrator.
Dad had been sent out to drive the streets while yelling my name. So far he had come back with seven people, all called Kevin, except for Jeremy the Vicar, who was a bit deaf, and some Jehovah’s Witnesses who were just being sneaky. Mum threw shoes at them till they left and my Dad tried to get away too but he tripped over the pony. So Mum made him get the tea ready while she carried on yelling at the policemen.
Mum wasn’t always this scary. She used to be like Tammy, but then she got fat because she couldn’t stop eating caramel bars. She said it was because she missed being pregnant, which is stupid because she could’ve just got Dad to plant more of his special seeds in the garden. I told her this but she said Dad had run out of seeds and none of the neighbours had the right shovels for digging a hole. I asked if I could buy her a shovel for her birthday but she told me to stay away from the hardware shops, especially the ones on the internet. But there’s only five sites on the internet and none of them are hardware shops, so I don’t know what she means.
Anyway, Mum was fat for three years and then we went on holiday to Arizona and Dad left her in the desert. He didn’t mean to. Mum had got out to take a picture of a salmon (we never did find out what it was doing there), and then Dad started telling me about how to escape from a Mexican firing squad and he drove off as he was talking. We didn’t realise for about an hour, because the conversation was really interesting (apparently there’s this thing you can do with your hands – I can’t show you because this is a novel and you’re not allowed diagrams. But anyway, if you do it right the Mexicans get interested and put down their guns as they try to copy you). Then Tammy asked where Mum was and we all realised that she wasn’t in the car.
We went back to the place with the salmon, but she was gone (Mum, not the salmon. The salmon was still there, and anyway it was a boy-salmon). It turned out that Mum had walked off into the desert, so we all went back to the hotel in Phoenix and waited for her. When Mum finally got back she was skinny and hysterical and she didn’t cook us any dinner. We had to go to a diner, and as we ate our burgers Mum said she had seen an angel in the desert (maybe it had come for the salmon) and it had guided her home. After that she never got fat again and she took up Kung Fu and shouting. Those days in the desert had changed her and now she says that she won’t take poo from anyone. But I think she’s mad, because there must be ways to refuse poo without shouting. No one’s ever offered me poo (except that one kid) and I just said No politely, so I don’t think shouting is the answer.
But Mum does and that was how she planned to find me.
Anyway, this is what Tammy said happened that evening.
“Like I said, Maam” the policeman said as he used his baton to stir his tea, “We have no address for anyone called Stern Baxter. And we can’t very well search all the houses in the town.”
“Why not?” Mum shouted, slapping the pony’s hoof as it reached for another carrot. “Whatever happened to conscription? Get all the hooligans off the street, give them whistles and get them searching for my son!”
“We can’t really do that, Maam.”
“Oh, got a whistle shortage now, have you? Well why don’t you knock down all the speed cameras on the high street? Give one camera to each hooligan and have them flash when they find Kevin.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to have hundreds of hooligans flashing at your son, Maam.”
“That’s how my grandfather lost his appendix,” Dad called from the kitchen.
“Make the tea!” Mum yelled.
“Vait a moment,” the Pope interrupted (Tammy said the Pope had a German accent, but I’m not too sure about this). “You misunderstand us, Frau Baxter. It is not zat ve cannot find zis Stern’s house. It is zat ve cannot find zis Stern at all. Zere is no record of anyone called Stern Baxter, und we haf checked all our files.”
“Well that’s ridiculous!” Mum shouted, making the pony spill her tea. “He’s my husband’s brother! He lives on Wicker Road - have you checked Number 9, Wicker Road?”
“We have, Maam,” said the parish clerk, who was also dressed in a police uniform (I asked Tammy if he was another police officer, but Tammy insisted he was just in fancy dress because there had been a party). “It belongs to a very nice family of Albanians, and the landlord has never heard of a previous tenant called ‘Stern’. As far as we’re concerned, this man you speak of doesn’t exist.”
“Well, that’s a bit of a puzzler,” Dad said as he brought in a fresh teapot and another plate of biscuits and carrots, “I remember once old Sternie borrowed the keys to my convertible and filled it with whale blubber. But he’s never actually phased out of existence. He’s an old rogue that one!” Dad shook his head and refilled the pony’s teacup.
“I can’t believe I’m hearing this!” Mum yelled, knocking off the Pope’s hat as she pointed at Dad. “Stern and this man have been brothers for forty two years! How can he have no official records? He’s kidnapped my son, and you’re telling me there’s no way to find him? Are you going to tell me that my son doesn’t exist either?”
“Well, he does sound a bit implausible,” the parish clerk muttered before he was slapped.
“I assure you, Mrs Baxter, we have officers searching the supermarket and the surrounding shops. If Kevin has run off, it’s possible he’s hiding somewh—“
“He’s not hiding!” Mum screeched, shaking the table in her Kung Fu grip. “He didn’t run off! He was kidnapped!”
Meanwhile, in the lounge, Tammy had been given the job of looking after Lolcat. Lolcat was very excited because of the pony and was wriggling around trying to get out of Tammy’s hands. But Tammy had learned a few restraints from Mum and she had the cat in a full knife-defence wrist-lock. Lolcat wasn’t going anywhere.
Lolcat is white with black spots and has big eyes. He’s only a few months old, so he’s not boring like older cats. He still climbs curtains and brings in dead things, like I used to. And when he sees another cat through the window he puts his paws on the window and meows as if he’s confused. Lolcat is cool.
“Mum!” Tammy called as she held Lolcat in a headlock, “Kevin’s outside with a black man.”
For once, Tammy said something mildly useful. The kitchen table was knocked over as everyone scrambled to the window, except Dad and the pony, who were arm wrestling.
Luckily, I come back into the story now, so the narrative will be a bit less silly.
CHAPTER SEVEN – Polar Bears for Dinner
I walked down the streets with the Apocalypse Fairy. He was wearing a long black coat and had his hands in his pockets, not in a bored way like Dad but in a suspicious way like a terrorist. And he gave me quizzical looks whenever I staggered or vomited. I was staggering and vomiting a lot. I felt very dizzy and my skin had gone pale (as pale as Adrium’s actually, but not as plastic-looking). Strangely though, whenever I fell over or threw up, Adrium just stared at me and waited. He wasn’t like most adults – usually when they see a dying kid they make a big fuss about it. But Adrium was pretty cool. He just stared at me until I could find a tree or a rubbish bin to pull myself back to my feet.
“So, um…” I tried to make conversation in between coughing, “Why do you need my help to destroy the world?”
“Because you’re the long-lost son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.”
I stared at him. “You’re lying, aren’t you?”
Adrium chuckled like a mutant spider being electrocuted and we carried on walking. It felt good to know that I wasn’t the next incarnation of the Messiah. No one had ever bothered to reassure me like that before.
It was a quiet sort of night. The streetlights were dying as we passed them and dark clouds followed us and kept away the moonlight. But it didn’t rain, which was a shame because all the trees had lost their leaves and were shrivelled up and black, so they might have liked a bit of water. Hopefully my vomit would help. Maybe that’s why Lolcat throws up so much – because there are no trees inside and he’s worried.
“So where do you live?” I asked Adrium, shortly after I had bumped into a parked car with blacked out windows.
“Oh, nice.” I used the car aerial to pull myself up then slid around the side, trying to keep up with the man.
“Big mansion. Kat looks after it.”
“Yeah, I have a cat too.”
“Lolcat doesn’t really help around the house.”
“You should kill him.”
“For not doing chores?”
“You don’t need reasons to kill cats.”
“Mum says there’s never a good reason to kill anyone.”
“You should kill her too.”
“Do you just want me to kill everyone?”
“And take drugs and make porn movies.”
I don’t know what porn movies are, but they’re probably not very cat-friendly. Plus, making a movie would be expensive. You’d need the actors and the camera equipment and permission to film on location. And don’t get me started on drugs. Timmy Lowland at my school told me how much they cost.
That’s the trouble with people who try to corrupt children – they don’t appreciate how costly it is. They just assume that child abuse is recession-proof. But it isn’t. It takes effort. But not taking drugs, not killing people and not contributing to the sex industry can save a lot of time and money. Someone should tell these people.
I tripped over and fell flat on the pavement, my whole body twitching. Adrium picked me up with one hand, shaking me till I regained consciousness. Then he found an old skateboard in one of the rubbish bins and put me on it, dragging me along by the ankle. I watched the black clouds overhead and hoped they wouldn’t start raining on me. “Erm… why?”
“If you step as far as you can into darkness,” Adrium rasped, “You will find beauty. Ugliness only exists on the thresholds and in the spaces between people.”
That sounded profound. Or maybe it was just the blood loss. I remember once when I got knocked out by a football on the playground, Mr Reynolds started speaking to me in Latin. That was cool.
“So, you’re like… really mean and evil?” I asked as I watched the back of Adrium. His wings were shifting beneath his coat, like a bunch of snakes stuck under a duvet.
“No one is more evil than me,” Adrium answered, and then his head looked a little to one side. “Except him.”
I looked to where he was looking, but it was just the wall of the fire station. Adrium was probably just foreshadowing. He does that a lot – mentions things that don’t make sense until much later when you’re being ripped apart by a dark god the size of a skyscraper.
I like foreshadowing!
“But you seem okay,” I said as I bumped along on the skateboard, my left leg falling off it and dragging along lifelessly. “I mean, you need to comb your hair and be nicer to cats. But apart from that, you’re quite good with kids.”
He looked over his shoulder and grinned, his black jagged teeth glinting. “Yes,” he answered, the way Uncle Stern does when he uses lots of ‘e’s. “Interesting, don’t you think? Jesus and the Devil are gentlemen both. Only those who are torn between good and evil are truly repellent. The committed man, in light or darkness, has a wit that makes him loveable.”
I made a note to look up some of these words later. I wondered if Dad had been like Adrium when he was young. Mum always says Dad was good-looking – not like Adrium, although if Adrium combed his hair and whitened his teeth he might be okay. Though I’ve heard some girls like messy hair. Maybe there’s some who like black teeth too. Girls are weird like that and they don’t have to explain themselves because they’re ‘complicated’.
One a side note, that doesn’t make sense. Just because something is complicated doesn’t mean you don’t have to explain it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have science, because science is always trying to explain complicated things that annoy you (like girls). Although Estelle Granger’s mother says that science is the work of the Devil, which means the Devil is trying to explain something complicated. So God must be a woman, which explains the mood swings. But She’s not a very good mother because She didn’t give the Devil a scream card and instead locked him in a secure unit with inappropriate policies. It’s no wonder he didn’t get any better.
And this explains why I like Adrium.
“What’s your favourite colour, little boy?” he squawked as he pulled me along.
“My name’s Kevin, and er… I don’t have a favourite colour.”
I felt his obsidian nails tighten around my ankle, but I was so numb by then that I didn’t know if he’d pierced the skin or not. “Everyone has a favourite colour.”
I had a feeling of déjà vu, but then I choked on my own vomit and forgot about it. “Nope, not me.”
He looked over his shoulder again, like an over-medicated kid asking for candy. “Are you sure it’s not… black?” His eyes lit up, as much as coal-black orbs of malevolent darkness can.
“I always thought black is what’s left over when you take the real colours away.”
The skateboard went flying into a hedge and suddenly I was upside down. Adrium still had me by the ankle and was lifting me up with one long, spindly arm. “Liar!” he screamed, his breath like liquorice, blackberries and crude oil. “You’re a big fat liar with short arms and I hate you!”
He would say this, by the way, because his arms were really long, so any normal person with normal sized arms would seem like they have short arms to him.
“Black is a proper colour! He’s just misunderstood. The other colours pick on him because he looks like their dad. But I’m not their dad! I didn’t eat any stars! They’re all jealous because I have the cool clothes!”
One time at school, Mr Reynolds screamed at Mohammed Rashid about his apostrophes, all red in the face and trembling. Mohammed didn’t say anything, which was a very good idea. I did the same now, staring quietly at Adrium as I swayed from left to right.
Luckily, the black fairy calmed down and remembered what I said earlier. “Keeeeevin,” he said, like a ghost would if it wanted to be let into my bedroom at night. I saw his head twitch to one side. “Is this your house, Keeevin?”
I tried to get my bearings, which is a hard thing to do when you’re hanging upside down choking on vomit and suffering from blood-loss on a street with no lamps. “Er, what can you see?”
“House with stupid orange bricks.”
“They all have stupid orange bricks.”
“There’s a cat at the window.”
“Black, with stupid bits of white.”
“Is someone holding it?”
“Girl with stupid yellow hair.”
“Is she trying to narrate your every action?”
“That’s the one. Ow! Ow! Uuurgh! Aaagh! Oooph!” I yelped and groaned as Adrium lowered his arm and dragged me along on the floor behind him, my head smacking against the gravel drive. I almost lost consciousness again, but I heard the front door open and then I was dropped on the living room carpet. Then Lolcat licked my face… at least I think it was Lolcat.
“Kevin!” I heard my Mum yell and then footsteps rushing towards me.
“Kevin’s on the floor.”
“Just wait here, everyone. I’ll see what the ruckus is about.”
“Kevin! Speak to me, Kevin! How many fingers am I poking you with?”
“Kevin, Mum’s poking you!”
“Oh, evening Kevin. You’re looking a bit peaky.”
I felt myself picked up again and then Mum and Dad laid me on the sofa, putting a pillow under my head and feet. Mum was pressing my cheeks, which is what adults do to encourage conversation. “Kevin! What happened to you?”
I noticed that Adrium was standing in the doorway, smiling again with that psychotic verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown smile, his eyes flicking back and forth as he studied the room. “Heroically I saved him. Brought him back here. Yeeeees. Adrium is good with childlings.”
Tammy was standing next to him, her head craned back as she stared up at the seven foot tall black-clad dreadlocked diamond-faced winged monster. Adrium extended a claw and prodded the top of her head. “Nice girly.”
Tammy hugged Lolcat tighter to her chest.
“I think he needs a brew,” Dad said as he checked my pupils then my pulse. Mum was putting another pillow under my head.
“Oh Kevin, I’m sorry! We’ll never go shopping again, I swear.”
My eyes twitched angrily at the thought of no more nachos, but I couldn’t do much else. It was just like Mum to make a bad situation worse.
“I’ll have to have a word with Stern about this,” Dad said as he straightened up and put his hands on his hips.
“Nasty Uncle ran away,” Adrium rasped from the corner, ignoring Tammy (who was yanking at his coat) and Lolcat (who was hissing).
“Ah, someone else believes in him – splendid!” Dad walked over and slapped Adrium on the shoulder, making his bony wings rattle under his coat. Adrium continued smiling then looked to the kitchen as a policeman came out. The policeman was closing the door and saying goodbye to some other people, who were leaving out the back. “Thankyou all for your help. I’ll take it from here.” The other people left (and I swear I didn’t see any popes or ponies among them).
“Welcome back, Master Baxter,” said the officer as he straightened his uniform. “How are you feeling, young man?” His radio was making radio noises, which I found very distracting.
“Did you throw… nachos away?” I slurred.
Mum hugged me in her crushing, Kung Fu grip. “Oh poor boy, he’s traumatized.” Then she shouted, probably at the police officer. “You see this? Now you catch this man! You catch him!”
“Yeeees!” Adrium’s eyes lit up again and he floated over to the police officer. “Find Nasty Uncle and put him in your prison. Your lovely, juicy, prison with the black walls.”
The officer did his best to square up to Adrium, even though he was a few foot shorter than the fairy. “Can I ask how you found the boy, Sir?”
There was a pause and the officer glanced at Mum and Dad, then back at Adrium. “Um... How did you find the boy, Sir?”
Adrium eyes shifted left and right while his smile remained eerily frozen on his face. “I was driving home in my car after a night shift at the hospital where I work as an Anaesthesiologist and I heard Keeeevin shouting for help from a well which was in the Well Museum on that street where there’s the museum and because there were so many wells it naturally amplified his voice above the sound of my car engine and soft jazz radio station, so I stopped my car and went in through the museum door which had been left open by a neglectful employee who had just found out she was pregnant and had to leave and then I pulled Keeeevin out with a rope from the employee lounge which had been left there by the health and safety officer after she confiscated it from a yacht enthusiast from the sales department, but unfortunately while I was in the museum my car had been stolen by heroin addicts, so I had to carry Keeeevin back in my arms and keep him alive with blackberries and dewdrops from the leaves because all the kebab shops were closed.”
Mum and Dad weren’t used to hearing 180-word sentences, so they just stared at Adrium, while the police officer was still trying to write ‘anaesthesiologist’ in his notebook. Adrium drifted closer and leant over to watch him write. “Does policey-man believe Adrium?”
The officer cleared his throat, the way people do when they haven’t been listening but want to pretend they have. “Well, it seems you’ve done a good turn here.”
“I like your ink.”
The officer looked up uncertainly. “Yes. Thankyou, Sir.”
“People trust things more if they’re written in black.”
“Will policey-man catch Nasty Uncle?”
“We have our best officers working on it, Sir.”
Uhm, as much as I really, really enjoy the storyline and the way its written, I don't really know if it's for children. Then again, as a child I'd read Stephen King without much issue and I'm sure many other adult themes I've read and watched as a child. Oh, and I found a typo somewhere, but I forgot where... 'as' was replacing 'us' in a sentence. Yes. Uhm... Regardless, I laughed a lot and found things very funny, albeit the beginning made me very lighthearted and think of myself as a child again. As a child I was never really fond of scary things (doesn't explain why I read Stephen King and other mature horror novels...But I never could stand Goosebumps...) and so it made me child-scared again. I don't really know if this is suitable for children though. Also, there are plenty of things here that are vividly visual, and some others that would fly straight past the head of a child. Some bits of humor and entertainment were too subtle (though their subtleties made it funny) for the age group provided.
Other than all that stuff, I found it a really really fun read and would definitely enjoy reading more! :D