‘I’ve had a tewwific time, Mater. Emily is such a dear fwiend. She’s my bestest fwiend in the whole wide world. I can’t wait to call on her tomowwow.’

‘You won’t be calling on that demon girl tomorrow or any other day, Agatha,’ the Vicar interjected, eyeing Agatha sternly through the rear mirror of the car. ‘She’s the Devil’s child is that one. The seed of Satan.’ He crunched the gears in annoyance.

‘B-But Pater…..’

‘No buts child. You will be coming to the Church Fete tomorrow where we can keep an eye on you, my girl.’

Agatha frowned and begged Mater sitting by her side with pleading eyes. Mrs. Sparrow blinked her owl eyes rapidly and patted Agatha’s knee reassuringly. ‘The Lord works in mysterious ways, Agatha. Mysterious ways indeed.’

Agatha smiled, knowing the Lord would probably help her without upsetting Pater too much.

Just then a blur whizzed past the side of the car. ‘Oh, look Mater. Why, I do believe it’s Michael!’ Agatha pointed excitedly at the large figure cycling down the pavement, wending through pedestrians like an Olympic skier on a slalom course.

‘God preserve us!’ snapped Pater. ‘Is that troll another one of your new friends?’ The Vicar’s voice squeaked in fear. He pulled at his dog collar and stretched his neck as though trying to escape the responsibilities of his garments before the demon turned on him.

‘Why, n-no P-Pater,’ Agatha stammered.

‘Tell me child. Have you been associating with that brute.’

‘N-No Pater. Definitely not, Pater.’

The Vicar’s eyes burned into Agatha’s reflection. ‘God will know if you are lying Agatha. I will ask you one more time. Have you been fraternising with that monster?’

Agatha gulped. Her magnified owl eyes looked up at Mater for some guidance but none was forthcoming.
‘N-No, Pater. You must believe me. I just know him from school.’ Agatha denied Mad Mick’s friendship for the third time. Agatha squeezed her eyes shut tight. A cockerel crowed from the allotments by the side of the road. ‘Forgive me St.Peter,’ Agatha muttered, praying she wouldn’t be crucified upside down for her sins.

‘Humph!’ The Vicar grunted and crunched the gears yet again as he slammed the gear stick into fourth and accelerated into an unfamiliar speed.

‘You can help me with the beetroot wine when we get home, Agatha,’ Mater smiled. ‘Pater has his ladies coming round. He won’t want us under his feet.’