Extract from TOM O’KELL & THE PAPANUK

Tom and Mayakula gazed in awe at the mysterious red mist pouring out of the tunnel mouth, drifting above the tunnel entrance. The cloud grew in density and shape, darkening into a deep scarlet hue almost the colour of thick congealed blood. The mist from the tunnel thinned until the last fine wisps hung from the billowing cloud like scarlet tentacles.

A huge dark shape began to form within the folds of the cloud. The image sharpened into a tall backed chair on which was seated a creature with cloven hooves, its two thick legs covered in dark shaggy fur. The muscular torso and arms were covered in dark brown leathery skin. Fiendish red eyes glowered from the head of a bearded goat on top of which sprouted two large horns that spiralled down either side of its wicked face. In one of its sharp claws it held a dark wand topped with the shape of a downward pointing pentagram. The other claw held the head of a hissing serpent, its long body curled around the creature’s arm.

Tom and Mayakula gasped in horror as the image intensified and they staggered back in fear of the Beast. Kamushka crouched low to the ground, its furry belly almost rubbing the earth. A low guttural roar echoed from its large mouth, sharp canines and incisors bared ready to attack.

The dark scarlet cloud moved towards Tom and stopped above him. The Devil glared down contemptuously enjoying the fear swirling around Tom’s wide blue eyes.

‘Ha – ha – ha’ The Devil cackled, ‘Tom we meet again,’ He paused, grinning scornfully at the shivering bodies of Tom and Mayakula. Only Kamushka offered any disregard for His superiority.

‘Did you enjoy meeting your Father?’ He smirked, ‘His two friends leave a lot to be desired though – don’t you think?’ The Devil tossed his head back roaring with mocking laughter.

‘Well boy?…. Too scared to talk?’ His tone became threatening.

Mayakula moved closer to Tom and wrapped his arm around the boy’s shoulder trying his best to quell the fear trembling through his body, although his own body was shivering too.

‘Tom turned to Mayakula, ‘Is – Is this another illusion?’ he asked, his eyes wide in horror.

Mayakula took a deep breath to steady his nerves, ‘No – No, this is no illusion,’ He exhaled fearfully and looked up at the Beast, ‘This is the Devil Himself.’