1 HOUR AND 43 MINUTES TO THE END OF THE WORLD
Rain pounded to the floor, crashing with wild winds and luminous loud lightening, as Queen's 'Another One Bites the Dust' played on the radio, hundreds of cars lined up all down the motorway, the motorway to get out of London, the motorway to leave. It was car, after car, after car.
Azirafell is currently stuck in a traffic jam as he tries to get out of London to find Adam.
Azirafell drove forward in his car, very, very, very slowly, as his windscreen wipers went back and forth, wiping the rain clean, and he gripped the steering wheel, the leather squeezed beneath his hand, the other was messing with his serpent necklace, as an exaggerated chewing motion was made with his jaw, as he glared at the car in front of him.
The radio suddenly spoke up, "and it's official! This is the biggest traffic jam in England's history." The male's voice said, amazed and astonished, as if this was a big achievement in England's history.
The demon's face contorted into a helpless look of despair, sagging in his seat and his shoulders slumped, "why?" He whined, face crumpled in annoyance, his mind whirling in thought, his nose scrunched into a sneer of distress and anguish.
Suddenly, his mind went back to eleven years ago, throwing his thoughts back, and heard Satan compliment him, using Freddie Mercury's voice, 'WHAT YOU DID TO THE M25 WAS A STROKE OF DEMONIC GENIUS, DARLING.' It echoed in his head, mocking him and laughing at him. It was a terrible shock that nearly gave him whiplash.
His face fell, of course! Anything he does backfires on him, horribly! "Oh," groaned Azirafell, his head slowly shaking, realising this was his fault again, "no, no, no, no, no!" He cried out, voice full of grief and misery.
Lightening struck again, with a loud CRASH.
The traffic jam is being caused by problems on the M25, the freeway that circles London.
Azirafell had a lot to do with the design of the M25 back in the 1970's.
Azirafell, stood in his usual black, yet old style clothing, with his sunglasses still on, though he wore his fake horns (not seeing the wary looks the demons were giving them). He stood in a meeting room with Ligur, Hastur, Beelzebub, Dagon, and other demons he didn't know the name of. He himself was up front, in front of a projection with plans on for a freeway that was in the middle of being built.
"So, thanks to three computer hacks, two breaking and entering's, one well selected minor bribery," he explained. He licked his lips, "and me moving some markers across a field one night," he hastily and quickly admitted, glossing over the fact. (He'd rather not think of that, everything else had failed and he spent two hours, in a wet, squelchy field at night, in an orange neon jacket, moving and shifting marker pages a few, but occultly incredibly significant meters.) "The M25 London orbital motorway, which was supposed to look like this," he turned to it.
Beelzebub coughed, bored, Dagon stared, bored, Ligur slouched, bored, Hastur scowled, bored.
He shifted the sheet, and looked behind him to a normal looking, and rather sensible road plan, projected up on a the pull down screen, then threw it down to the floor. "Will, when it opens in 1986, in actuality look like this," he slammed a new sheet down, to a used and worn down piece of paper, with an incredibly messy plan, looking crazed, it was a demons wet dream of anger, hatred and frustration.
Ligur scratched his upper lip, bored. Dagon and Hastur looked unimpressed, bored. Beelzebub shuffled in their seat, bored.
"And represent the dread sigil Odegra in the language of the dark Priesthood of Ancient Mu." He raised his hand with a flourish, and gestured to the title he wrote on the page, "'Odegra' means, 'Hail the Great Beast, Devourer of Worlds.'" He looked to the group, and grinned, proud of himself. "My darlings, can I hear a "whoopee"?"
All he got in response was groans, yawns and a few "boo's" so it seemed, however Azirafell knew even then, that this would be one of his better achievements. How could it not be? All that mad, raging Wrath, oh it would do sinfully well! He may be a Gluttony Demon, but he knew human sins well enough, but he swallowed, none of the demons were entertaining his plan just yet, and he couldn't push. (None of them liked the fact he turned down Satan's proposition, again, to guard the King. (He was every century or so.))
He hastily continued, moving the conversation along, "once it is built, the millions of darling motorists who grumble their way around it are going to be like water on a prayer wheel," he waved his hand around the plan, a coy smirk on his lips, pulled over his dull teeth.
Hastur, whose arms were folded, raised his hand, a scowl on his face, with a dead eyed stare.
"Grinding out an endless fog of low-grade evil that will encircle the entirety of London." Azirafell turned with a grin, and saw Hastur. He walked forward, swaying his hips and asked, "yes, my darling Duke Hastur?"
"What's a computer?" Asked Hastur, face unimpressed still, an uncomfortable flush on his cheeks, one full of hate. (Ligur glared at the goat demon.) The two were easiest to mess with.
"Another one bites the dust!"
Shadwell woke up with a loud, sudden snort. He momentarily forgot what had happened, but soon remembered about that swish southern bastard, and his dangerous index finger. He looked around, noting he was still in Madame Tracy's pink room, with toys and teddies everywhere, and a pink leather whip and cuffs, for whatever reason.
With a groan, he heaved himself up, a toy squeaking below him. He threw the pink whip down annoyed, very much disgusted in himself feeling as if he betrayed his cause.
Suddenly, he heard Madame Tracy, "so, what exactly do you propose we do about this?"
He got up, and opened the door with a squeak, of course the woman had a client! He'll get some tea, and maybe condensed milk, and go. He looked around, and then heard a familiar voice. Not just any voice, a familiar swish southern bastard voice! "Given the state 'f things, we're both gonna have t' be flexible."
Gritting his teeth in anger, his blood running cold, he marched into the next room, through the bead curtain, to where Madame Tracy's voice and a familiar male's voice was coming from, and demanded, "get your hands off her, you...!" Shadwell paused in the doorway, only seeing Madame Tracy sat on a chair, and he looked around confused. "Whurrizee?"
"Who?" Asked Madame Tracy confused, smiling at him.
"Some swish southern bastard." Shadwell said, with a nod and knowing eyes. "I heard him, making lewd suggestions." He looked her up and down with sneer.
Suddenly, Madame Tracy's face fell into a disgusted sneer, but then turned cocky with a smug smile. "Not just A swish southern bastard, Sergeant." Came a male voice, finding it easy to swear after a slip up in his plant shop. "THE swish southern bastard!" Exclaimed Crowley, a proud smile on Madame Tracy's face, her arm raised in a dramatic gesture.
"Demon!" Gasped Shadwell, and suddenly he held up his fingers, cockily and slightly shakily. "You know what this is?" He asked, "four fingers," he wiggled them, "one thumb." He clenched three, pointing the index to Crowley in Madame Tracy, who looked thrown off, and his thumb to the ceiling. "Now, you get out of this good woman's head before I blast you to kingdom come!"
"That's the trouble, Mr Shadwell." Madame Tracy said in her own voice, unbothered by Shadwell, "kingdom come. It's going to." She stood from her seat, and moved to him, "Mr. Crowley has just been explaining it."
Shadwell didn't lowered his weapon, face pulled in confusion.
Madame Tracy waddled past him, her knees not like they used to be, "you come and have a nice cup of tea," she patted his shoulder, "and listen to him." She insisted, pulling out the chair in her main room.
As Adam came into his power, the world welcomed him in ways not even Azirafell had expected.
"Hail the Great Beast, Devourer of Worlds."
What was that noise? It was coming from far in front of all the traffic, and was getting louder and louder. Azirafell looked up with a confused frown, one full of thought as he heard chanting coming from the M25. It was getting louder again. It was spreading. It was becoming repetitive, as if it was a prayer. It was coming in waves, carried by the harsh wind and was louder then the honking of horns and rain.
"Hail the Great Beast, Devourer of Worlds."
The cars one the opposite side of the M25 exploded with a loud bang that echoed the quiet, and crashed into another. The road set fire, and the chanting continued, before turning into silence and cackling. Balls of fire shot outward, catching fire to the one next to it. It spread.
"Hail the Great Beast, Devourer of Worlds..."
It went up in flames, the type that if you looked at it, it would hurt your eyes. Fire spread, blowing up more cars, specks of fire flicking off in directions, it was getting bigger, and bigger.
The M25 had become, unexpectedly, a burning magical ring of fire that surrounded London. Nobody was getting in or out.
Azirafell had made it, now Azirafell was trapped inside it.
Azirafell stared at the red and orange flames that wreaked carnage and havoc, the flames grew and grew. The flames fluttered, and whipped wildly, spreading, surrounding London and keeping everyone inside trapped. Trapped like a cricket in a shoe box, just on a larger scale, with more anger and a higher chance of death. The ribbons of red and orange danced, as he sighed, feeling his stomach turn to a cold, icy, bottomless pit.
He growled out a pain filled, groaning baa, annoyed at how this backfired (literally), again! Everything he does always backfires on him! "Right, okay. The M25 is now an impassable burning ring of infernal flames, and I'm to blame." He admitted, for once hoping for some form of forgiveness from Above, (he'll ask Crowley) and yes it was a great job grant you, 'but, was it worth it? It's all out of control, and Heaven and Hell are not longer in control of things...'
Letting out an anxiety filled sigh, his chest empty, his heart falling to his butterfly infested stomach, as he whispered and muttered out, "come on, Tadfield. Tadfield. Tadfield." He chanted like a prayer, hoping someone heard, hoping someone would help, as he looked around.
He turned the wheel slightly, and slowly steered out into the side lane, a lane that you really shouldn't be driving in, the side of the road if you will, and drove down it slightly. He drove past car, after car, after car, who were staring at the ever rising fire in terror and shock. He gritted his teeth, and kept driving, lower jaw chewing nothing again in a worry.
"Motorists are being advised to avoid the M25 London orbital motorway because, in the words of a Transportation Department spokesman; 'It's on fire or something.'" Came the woman's voice on the radio, "what does that even mean?" She asked confused.
Shadwell picked up the tin of condensed milk, and poured it into the tea. He looked up as Madame Tracy's body sauntered back and forth, and asked in surprise, "so there really is an Antichrist?" He was still holding his finger ready.
"The Antichrist is alive 'n' on Earth as we speak, Shadwell." Crowley said, in Madame Tracy's body. He did truly feel awful about using this lovely woman's body. "He is bringin' Armageddon." He explained, his voice turning more and more serpent like with each panicked word, yet not quiet hissing, not yet.
Shadwell stirred his tea with a spoon, face fallen in a thoughtful frown.
Crowley-as-Madame Tracy gripped the top of her chair, and said, "'m sure y'can see that the destruction 'f the world is not somethin' that any person would allow."
"No." Grumbled Shadwell, shaking his head, picking up the tea, needing a sip. He was acting like this was something he dealt with daily, as if he wasn't shocked and thrown off.
"Aye!" Laughed out Shadwell, sipping the drink. If he was honest, this was much too different then what he is used to. Much too different.
"The Antichrist... must be killed, Shadwell." Crowley nodded, Shadwell nodding with him, swallowing his tea, "and you... are the man t' do it!"
Shadwell froze, and looked shocked, and nervous, giving off a bashful smile, "well, I don't know about that." He chuckled, "um, the Witchfinder Army, we just kill witches."
"'M sure you've killed lots of 'em!" Boasted Crowley, waving her hands, eagerly boosting the mans ego so he'd agree. He's been with Azirafell, and friends with him long enough, and he's been doing temptations long enough to know how to convince people to do what he wanted them to. Boost their ego, compliment them.
"Well, early days." Agreed Shadwell, wearing a smile, and feeling rather proud. "This Antichrist of yours, how many nipples does he have?"
Thrown off, yet realising this would seal the deal, he knew he needed an answer. What would Azirafell do? Lie... so, he lied, "oh...uh... loads 'f 'em" He waved her arms, "pots 'f nipples. Nipples everywhere. Ngk!" She smiled nervously, as he choking out the lie.
Shadwell shook his head with a smile, "then I'm your man!"
"Good! Now, Shadwell, what weapons do y'have?" Asked Crowley, fully prepared to do this job himself if he must. He just needed a ride.
"Oh." The Witchfinder held up a hand, and pointed his finger, and gestured to it, "here." He blew on his finger tip, as if blowing smoke from a gun.
Crowley held back annoyance as he tapped the woman's chair with her hand. Right the man thinks he can exorcise demons. He said, "yeah, anythin' big?" Or, real in that case, not a bloody finger! Though, of course he couldn't think that, as he's sharing his thoughts with Madame Tracy now, that went well - not.
(He was unknowingly thinking about Azirafell as he explained what was happening with the Antichrist, 'is my darling okay? Is he hurt? Has he made it in time?! Lord, let him be safe...'
"Who's this 'darling' of yours, Mr. Crowley?" Madame Tracy asked, cutting Crowley off from his explaining and thoughts.
"Ngk! Nobody, just a good friend!" He lied, her cheeks turning red. Right, okay, so she can hear his thoughts... that doesn't do him any good...)
"Um, I've got pins..." Explained Shadwell, patting himself down, as Crowley sauntered. "And the Thunder Gun of Witchfinder Colonel Ye - Shall - Not - Eat - Any - Living - Thing - With - The - Blood - Neither - Shall - Ye - Use - Enchantment - Nor - Observe - Times Dalrymple."
Suddenly, Crowley turned, a shocked and amazed look on her face.
"It'll fire anything." Shadwell said, boasting with a fondness in his tone. "Silver bullets."
"That's werewolves." Nodded Crowley, in a thought.
"Eh... garlic?" Offered Shadwell.
Shadwell hummed, "hmm. Bricks?"
"That should do." Hissed out Crowley, gesturing to the man with a wave of hands, "ha!"
Shadwell walked into his apartment, to a large, metal, winding bending gun, that was formally owned by Witchfinder Colonel Ye - Shall - Not - Eat - Any - Living - Thing - With - The - Blood - Neither - Shall - Ye - Use - Enchantment - Nor - Observe - Times Dalrymple. He heaved it out, and with a ready intake of air, walked out, a man on a mission.
The flames continued to grow on the M25, the flames fluttering and flickering, in rolls of bright blinding red and orange hues.
Azirafell was still driving, only to realise there was no opening, no other turning points still and was just getting closer and closer to the fire. He pulled over, fumbled over to The Book, opening it, having read through the notes a million times now, "come on. There must be a way to cross the M25." He mumbled, thumbing through the pages. "Burning roads... you must have predict this, Agnes..." (She had done, but he couldn't find. It read; A street of light, the black chariot of the Goatu will flayme, and a Queene wille sing quickfilveres songes no moar. Most of the Device family had gone along with Gelatly Device, who wrote a brief monograph in the 1830's explaining it as a metaphor for the banishment of Weishaupt's Illuminati from Bavaria in 1785.)
He flipped between pages, flipping back and forth and he asked with an annoyed and helpless sneer, "why is there no index?" He kept flipping, until a grimy, dirty, never washed hand, with dirt covered nails reached over and slowly pulled off his sunglasses. He jerked his head, confused, and his eyes widened, following the slimy hand, tense and he backed up into the drivers door automatically, eyes shinning in fear.
There was Duke Hastur, holding out the glasses as if they were poisonous, and he snapped them half, the lens shattering, and Azirafell winced, gritting his teeth as he watched the scene unfold, trying to keep a distance between himself and the demon he pissed off, by killing his (boy)friend. He shrunk down into his seat, and into the car door, looking for an escape. Nothing, he would be caught up with immediately if he ran... he doesn't run!
"You'll never escape London." Hastur said, calmly his voice in a rasp, facing the front of the road. He hadn't even glanced to the demon who was now staring at him at him fear. "Nothing can."
Lightening struck again.
"Hastur, darling!" Greeted Azirafell, in fake joy and loudness, hiding his terror. "How was your existence in voicemail, dear?" He asked in fake wonder, as if talking to an old friend who went on vacation, and he's not seen in a while.
"Funny, ha-ha." Hastur said, blandly. He smirked, "joke all you like, Azira. There's nowhere to run."
Azirafell hummed, taking a sharp intake of air, and closed the book, "you are meant to be lining up, readying for battle." He carelessly threw the book on the backseat, 'get to Tadfield, that's more important than a book.' He eased himself, he couldn't allow the Duke to see his fear.
"Hell will not forget."
Azirafell grunted, leaning forward, lower jaw chewing again.
"Hell will not forgive."
His goat eyes were scanning the area, and road, and the large fire, his eyes... they were practically glowing.
"You know where the real Antichrist is, don't you?" Asked Hastur, a knowing look on his face. "You'll never reach him." He held back a smirk.
Azirafell wasn't really listening, but he jerked his head as if displaying his doubt, nose scrunched up, and he began to obnoxiously chew nothing again.
"You're done, Azira." Hastur said, and then he pointed a disgusting finger the wall of fire. "Think you're going to get across that? There's nowhere to go." He chuckled, a dark smirk on his face.
"Well, if I'm fucked as it is; it makes you wonder what I'm willing to do, doesn't it dear?" Asked Azirafell, gaining fake confidence. "Let's put your theory to the test, shall we darling?" Suggested the goat demon, cockily and he smirked. He put on a CD, 'The 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music', but of course it started playing Queen, not that he cared anymore, it was something to be closer to Crowley with.
Azirafell began driving forward at a rapid speed, his face pulled into a calm, at ease look of casualness.
Hastur tensed up, confused and slightly worried, "what-what-why are you driving?" He questioned looking between Azirafell and the road. "That's-what-stop this thing." He said, worried and scared, but he hid his fear, swallowing back his anxiety.
"Do you know what I adore about time?" Asked Azirafell as he kept driving, acting as if he was talking to an old friend, glaring from under his eyes, hunched over slightly. "It is that every day it takes us further away from the fourteenth century." He sneered, and shook his head, teeth bared in disgust, eyes in a glare, and nose scrunched up, "I really despised the fourteenth century!" He looked to Hastur, "you would have treasured it!" He assured, as if making casual conversation, and shook his head, a snarl on his lips.
Hastur swallowed and let out a fearful, "yeah." He too was also trying to keep this facade of casualness, though his tense shoulders gave away his fear. He sniffed, warily.
"They didn't have any automobiles in the fourteenth century, or well kept book shops! They are lovely, clever humans! I mean; inventing cars, and motorways, and windscreen wipers. Marriage and stories!" He looked to Hastur suddenly, "you got to congratulate them! Admire them in a way, yes?!"
Lightening struck again.
"Yeah." Nodded Hastur still trying to be calm, and suddenly he yelled a fearful scream, "ah! Stop it! It's over!" He yelled through gritted teeth, shaking in terror and anger.
Azirafell didn't listen, he gripped the wheel with two hands, and stared, teeth clenched together, as reds and oranges lit up face, his forehead already getting sweaty, feeling the fire getting closer, as his clothing stuck to his skin already. His was getting a dark look on his face.
"You're doomed!" Screeched Hastur. "You hear me, Azira? You're doomed. Whatever happens. DOOMED!"
"See?" Smiled Azirafell, looking to Hastur. "This day is already getting better." His eyes were glowing a bright blue, and slowly and ever so slightly, the iris expanded. Smoke steamed from inside the car already, surrounding the two.
Queen's, 'I'm In Love With My Car' played, as they drove into the fire wall, the fire engulfing them, surrounding them, swallowing them, "when I'm holding your wheel!"
"Stop this!" Demanded Hastur in terror, gripping the seat, pushed back into the seat. The fire licked at the car, and heated it up, dancing and threateningly. "You'll discorporate us both!" Hastur reasoned, and screamed in fear. He looked around in horror, seeing the thrashing and lashing, whipping red fiery flames, that slammed and kissed, licking the windows, the car, and was seeping into the car, and was now stabbing his feet, and up his legs.
The leather seat-covers began smoking.
Azirafell had planned to stay calm, and hide the fact he was struggling to keep the car together, he had planned to whistle his way through calmly, however... it'd scare Hastur more to see the rather nice, and gentleman-like demon who flirts with everyone, to snap, loose his mind in a way. He smiled, and iris's expanding, the blue of his eyes spreading, "HAHAHAHA!"
Hastur kept screaming and whimpering, "this is not funny!" He cried out, eyes panicked.
"Come on!" Shouted Azirafell, a bright smile on his face. He looked to his necklace, a fond, insane smile on his face. Well, he might as well come out with it, "as my husband says, 'if you've got to go, then go with style!'" He quoted Crowley, who had uttered it once or twice, and he smiled, his lips replicating that of a ditsy, and dazed goat, yet still manged to look methodically evil.
Suddenly, Hastur's corporation caught fire, and quickly went up in flames, wrapping and cloaking him, "I hate you!" He screamed, and exploded in a ball of fire, and a loud bang.
Azirafell kept laughing in delight, just in case he could still hear. After a moment when he was sure Hastur was gone, he stopped laughing, and he gritted his teeth in pain, as the car rattled unsettling him, and bumped and crashed, and he tightened his grip, breathing harshly though his nose and teeth, eyebrows furrowed in concentration, as sweat formed on his head, his hair already a mess. His iris' were larger now.
He had to keep driving.
"You are my car!" Growled Azirafell, "I've had you from new! You are not going to burn!" Suddenly, his eyes were just blue, his iris' had now covered the whites of his eyes, and his rectangular pupils expanded, filling out the space appropriately. He's not had eyes like that since The Beginning. "Don't even think of it!" He warned, angrily, his throat hoarse, hands tight and muscles tense. He grunted in discomfort.
The car rattled angrily, and furiously, as if rebelling against the demon. Or trying to, but it knew better. Azirafell yelled out in pain and anger, his mind and will at work, "AH! Ha-ha!" He screeched, breathing heavily, panting and strained. His nostrils flared.
Azirafell has something no other demons have, an imagination.
The demon screamed in rage and agony, forcing himself past his limit, his goat eyes shinning, and wide in pain. He was shaking, and his muscles felt weak. He couldn't whistle all calm now, he was in too much pain. His teeth were grinding together, and his entire face scrunched up.
Right now, he's imagining that he is just fine, and that a ton of burning metal, rubber and leather is a fully functioning car.
He had started the journey in his Mercedes-Benz SSK, and he was damned if he wasn't going to finish it in the Mercedes-Benz SSK as well.
He screamed, mixing with goat yells, as the car furiously shook. It was the effort of holding the car together that caused the extreme screams of pains, and for him to grit his teeth near breaking them, and the biospatial feedback that was causing his eyes to become bright red, mixing with blue. That and the effort of having to remember not to start breathing.
He hasn't felt like this since the fourteenth century!
The Metropolitan police were serious people. They were the hardest, most cynically pragmatic, most stubbornly down-to-earth police force in Britain.
"The boffins are on their way." Said one officer, as a few of the other officers laughed about a police report. "In the meantime, nothing is getting out of London." The police report was about a stolen police car, only the robber turned out to be an octopus. Honestly, some police forces believe anything these days!
It would take a lot to faze a copper from the Met, clearly.
It would take, for example, a honking car horn, a huge, battered car that was nothing more nor less than a fireball, a blazing, roaring, twisted metal lemon from Hell, driven by a grinning, white haired lunatic, with bright blue eyes, sitting amid the flames, waving at them, as it was trailed by thick black smoke, coming straight at them through the lashing rain and the wind at eighty miles per hour.
That would do it every time.
"What was...?" Asked the officer shocked, "he was waving."
"The machine of a dream!"
Madame Tracy was on her scooter, as she was the only one with the means of transport. That is, besides the Bentley, but no way was Crowley going to drive it while in a the body of a human. However, this small scooter, that went putputputput, the only moving vehicle in London, as everything else was in a traffic jam, moved extremely slowly, ploughing through the rain.
"I've never seen a traffic jam like it!" Madame Tracy said in shock, and worry. "Mr. Shadwell, unless you put your arms around me your going to fall off. The thing wasn't built for two people, you know."
"Three." Muttered Shadwell, who was on the back, gripping onto his Thunder Gun, and quickly, he leaned into Madame Tracy's back, sandwiching the weapon between them, and wrapped two grudging arms around her waist.
She shuffled, "okay, this is happenin'..." Muttered Crowley, a sneer on her face. Yes it's not his waist, and yes it means nothing, still he'd rather it be Azirafell, not Shadwell.
The rain hailed hard on the pink crash helmet with a flower painted on, "Ms. Marjorie, if I'm bein' honest, we could make better time walkin'." Crowley admitted, his voice coming from Madame Tracy's lips. He used the name 'Marjorie Potts' as it is her correct name, and she appreciated it.
"It'd be a miracle to get past 10 miles an hour!" Madame Tracy exclaimed over the rain.
Her face shifted, to one of realisation as Crowley said, "miracles! Yeah! Course!" She swallowed, her voice still Crowley, and glanced to Shadwell, "hmm, ngk... hold on, Shadwell!"
Shadwell glanced to the rain covered, rear handle bar mirror, and saw, not Madame Tracy but instead Crowley, wearing the same things as Madame Tracy, flowery crash helmet and goggles, and he seemed to be straining, a concentrated look on his face. Suddenly, the bike glowed a light, nimbus blue, and the slowly, the bike raised, hovering off the road, and into the sky.
Madame Tracy screamed in fear, and Shadwell let out a low moan of terror, gripping onto Madame Tracy's waist tighter, pressing the gun between his front and her back, much to Crowley's discomfort.
"Don't look down, SSSSergeant SSSShadwell!" Hissed Crowley, straining himself and was finding himself hissing to allow the straining to stop. Suddenly, it shot off in the sky, leaving a trail of blue light, "'n' off we go!"
It skidded to a slow stop as it reached the end of the road, or well, air, and the indicators flipped on, and he turned the bar and drove off again.
The Metropolitan police had now doubled in size on their side, since Azirafell crossed about half an hour earlier. With now additional officers, two hundred people standing around, and they inspected the flaming M25 from binoculars. This included representatives from Her Majesty's Army, the Bomb Disposal Squad, MI5, MI6, the Special Branch, and the CIA. There was also a man selling hot dogs.
"Look, I don't care if you believe me or not," snapped the officer, with a sigh. He was cold, wet, puzzled, irritated and exasperated. "All I'm telling you is what we saw. It was an old car, a Rolls, or Bentley, or maybe a Mercedes, one of those flashy vintage jobs, and it made it over the bridge."
"It couldn't have done." Reasoned a senior army technician. "The heat coming from the M25 is exceeding seven hundred degrees centigrade!"
"Or a hundred and forty degrees below." Offered the seniors assistant. He frowned, "must be an error or something?" (That was true. There was no machine on earth that could pick up both 700°C and -140°C at the same time. Though that was the correct answer.)
The senior nodded, "we can't get a helicopter over the M25 without it burning up instantly, how could this vintage car drive through unharmed?"
"I didn't say it drove over unharmed!" Corrected the officer, who was now planning to leave the Metropolitan police, and going to work for his brother who was breeding chickens. "It burst into flames. It just kept going."
"Do you seriously expect us to believe..." Began somebody.
A high-pitched keening noise, haunting and strange. Like a thousand glass harmonicas being played in unison, all slightly off-key; like the sound of the molecules of the air itself wailing in pain.
Over their heads it sailed, forty feet in the air, engulfed in a deep blue nimbus which faded to red at the edges; a little white motor scooter, and riding it, a middle-aged woman in a pink helmet, and holding tightly to her, a short man in a mackintosh and a day-go green crash helmet (the motor scooter was too far up for anyone to see that his eyes were tightly shut, but they were).
The woman was screaming. What she was screaming was this:
R.P. Tyler continued walking his small French poodle named Shutzi. It was a strange day, filled with lengthy letters he comprised in his head to send to Tadfield Advertiser and The Times. There had been four hooligans in leather, riding bikes and littering, leaving oil slick puddles, vandalising, causing (no) trouble (yet), lost and asking for Tadfield Air Base. And then he saw The Them, riding their bikes out late, past bedtime, sticking their tongues out, being unladylike, Dog being too close to Shutzi, also heading toward Tadfield Air Base. Yes, Tadfield Advertiser and The Times would indeed be hearing about this.
"Excuse me, love," said a warm female voice. "I think we're lost."
It was an ageing motor scooter, and it was being ridden by a middle-aged woman. Clutching her tightly, his eyes screwed shut, was a raincoated little man with a bright green helmet on. Sticking up between them was what appeared to be an antique gun with a funnel-shaped muzzle.
"Oh. Where are you going?"
"Lower Tadfield. I'm not sure of the exact address, but we're looking for someone." Said the woman, then in a totally different voice that hissed she said, "hissss name'ssss Adam Young."
R.P. Tyler boggled, "what's he done now? No, no, no! Don't tell me!" He denied quickly. "Uh, I saw Adam Young not five minutes ago, he and his little cronies were on their way to the American Air Base."
"Oh dear." Said the woman, paling. "I've never really liked the Yanks."
"They're nicccce people, y'know?" Offered the second voice.
"Yes, but you can't trust people who pick up the ball all the time they play football." The woman replied.
R.P. Tyler realised, suddenly, that this woman was a ventriloquist, and the one he thought was a man on the back was, in fact, her dummy. He hummed, "ah, excuse me? I think it's very good. Very impressive. I'm deputy chairman of the local Rotary club, and I was wondering, do you do private functions?"
"Only on Thursdays." She replied, "and I charge extra!"
"Could y'tell ussss how to—"
Mr. Tyler had been here before, and pointed wordlessly, extended a finger.
The little scooter went of with a putputputput, down the narrow country lane.
As it did, the grey dummy in the green helmet turned around and opened one eye. "Ye great southern pillock," it croaked.
R.P. Tyler was offended, but also disappointed. He had hoped it would be more lifelike.
'We Will Rock You' by Queen sounded the small area of Tadfield, and R.P. Tyler, who was ten minutes away from the village, frowned. Besides the terrible racket, that he would write about, he sniffed and smelt something burning in the air, of metal and rubber.
"We will, we will, rock you!"
R.P. Tyler slowed, and stayed calm as a car completely on fire, pulled up from behind him, and parked in front of him.
The window rolled down, and a man with white hair and weird blue eyes stuck his head out, and said in a posh tone, "ah, hello, excuse me, dear boy. So sorry to bother you. I seem to have gotten slightly lost." He apologised, "could you possibly give me directions to Lower Tadfield Air Base? I know it's around here somewhere."
Tyler looked at the flaming car, squinting from the light and heat that came off the thing.
There are some things it is very difficult to say. What R.P. Tyler truly wants to say is:
"Your car is on fire!" Reasoned Tyler, in his sensible mind, and even more sensible imagination.
But he can't. I mean, the man must know, mustn't he? Perhaps it's some kind of practical joke? So he says...
"Might have taken the wrong turn." Tyler said in a friendly tone over Queen's blaring voice, and the cackling of flames, pointedly ignoring the fire and the mans wild eyes. "A signposts blown down."
The white haired male smiled, his large lower teeth on show, "that must have been it!" The orange flames below gave him an almost infernal appearance. Said fire blew through the wind and towards Tyler, who felt his eyebrows frizzle.
Tyler smiled, all tense and he nodded, waving a hand, "easy mistake to make. So, second on the right." He began explaining, uneasily and gesturing down the street. He's been here before, after all.
The man nodded, a pain filled expression on his face, teeth gritted together.
When what he wants to say is...
"Good sir, your car is on fire, and you're still sitting in it," Tyler said in his imagination.
The white haired male in his imagination looked at the dashboard with a frown, blue eyes squinting in thought, or was that real life? And is Tyler still explaining in his head?
"And frankly, it's in no fit condition to drive."
"Right. Got it. That's terrific." Smiled the stranger, "much obliged." He thanked, with a bored yet still friendly drawl, leaning back in his seat.
Tyler decided to tell him, he had to! He couldn't keep ranting in his head! "Excuse me, good sir?" He started, testily.
The man sat in fire looked to him again, "yes, my dear?"
I mean, it's not the kind of thing you don't notice, your car being on fire.
No, he best not... right? He stared at the fire flickering across the charred dashboard, and said lamely, "very unusual weather for the time of year."
"It is?" Questioned the man, with a welcoming smile, as he leaned back, ready to leave again. "I'm afraid I hadn't noticed, darling." He sped off down the street.
"That's probably because your stupid car is on fire!" Screamed Tyler in anger, watching the car leave down the narrow road.
"We will rock you! All right!"
17 MINUTES TO THE END OF THE WORLD
Azirafell kept driving down the road, car on fire and all, gritting and chewing his teeth and his eyes still blue with rectangles, more goat than human then ever. The guitar solo riff played as he drove down the swerving road, the car shaking, as he grunted in pain.
Madame Tracy, Crowley and Shadwell slowly putted along the wet road on her small motor scooter, and parked up in front of the army base.
Sgt Deisenburger got up out of his chair at the sight, setting his book down, and he picked up his gun, walking over to the two. A short man in mackintosh, and a woman who looked like a lovely mother got off the small bike.
Madame Tracy went to speak, but Shadwell cut her off, holding up a finger and thumb, pointed to his face like a gun, "you see this finger, laddie?" He threatened, "this finger could send you to your maker."
Deisenburger stared at the black and purple fingernail a few inches from his face. As an offensive weapon it rated quiet highly, especially in the preparation of food.
The woman spoke, but not in a female voice, but in a male voice, "it'ssss important that we sssspeak to whoever'ssss in charge." Hissed the voice, waving the purple gloved hands to show they meant no harm.
"He's telling the truth. I'd know if he wasn't." Madame Tracy said, interrupting softly in a female voice, looking to the right at thin air, confusing the soldier.
"Will you pleasssse sssstop interruptin'?" Crowley asked, looking to the left of her, staring at air, his patience thin, "I am tryin'—"
Madame Tracy held up her hands, apologetic, looking to the right, "I just thought I'd put in a good word for—"
"Yeah, I undersssstand, but y'need t'—"
"Will you please be quiet?" Asked Deisenburger, wondering how much trouble he'd get into for shooting non-American civilians. "Both of you. I mean, ma'am," he looked to Madame Tracy. "I must respectfully ask you to—"
The loud rev of an engine, and 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen interrupted him, and the group turned. There, swerving around the corner, was a 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK, on fire, flaming, it had no black paint job anymore, no tyres even, and looked like it had smoked out windows, though that was the effect of having normal windows with a smoke filled interior. It made pingping noises, made from metal cooling.
Crowley stared in horror, he knew that car and nothing could survive... how was the car on fire? Who would... the M25! 'Azirafell...' He thought, panic squeezing her chest and heart, and held back desperate tears, 'don't let him be dead!' He should have said something, done anything! He shouldn't have let—
'I'm sure he's alright, dear...' Assured Madame Tracy, her voice soft in their head.
"So you think you can stop me and spit in my eye..."
The door opened suddenly, and Crowley gasped, a smile growing on her face. Out stumbled a demon, face covered in soot, in all black and white hair that was more grey now from soot, a book under his arm, "you wouldn't get that type of performance from a modern automobile!" He slammed the door shut, and strolled forward with a sway, his voice sore and scratchy, as smoke came from his mouth, the music stopping. Someone, he felt absolutely terrible, the whole 'keeping the car together' thing really took it out of him.
Madame Tracy walked forward, her eyes wide in amazement, and said, in Crowley's voice, full of fondness and soft, "Azirafell..."
"Salutations Crowley!" Greeted the demon, looking over the human he possessed, "I see you've discovered a gorgeous body to inhabit!" His goat like smirk fell into a soft, gentle smile of relief. So, the world hasn't ended after all, "it's a nice dress. It very much suits you." He flirted, though this wasn't Crowley, and so he kept all that stuff until he had his own corporation. It took everything in him to not rush over and hug her, he's a demon not an arsehole, he doesn't want to make her uncomfortable.
Shadwell scowled at Azirafell, and considered using the weapon on him.
Crowley blushed and smiled, "ngk!" He frowned, "thissss guy won't let ussss in." He was worried all over again, now that he was closer, he saw Azirafell's eyes were that of a goats, less human than ever, which means his husband was straining himself.
Strolling over, Azirafell leaned down to Madame Tracy and grinned, "leave it to me, dear." He was worried his about his husband, about how he's hissing words, unlike how he keeps it hidden. He strolled over to Deisenburger, who kept his stance. "Darling," he relished in the no-homo panic in his face, they were always the easiest, "my friends and I have come a long way, and—"
The gate beeped, and opened by itself, and the group looked confused, Azirafell falling silent, swaying where he stood.
"Which one of you did that?" Questioned Deisenburger in distress.
Suddenly, four kids - three boys and one girl - and a small mongrel, cycled past on bikes, and into the base, ringing bells. It was kind of impressive really.
"Okay, those kids are in big trouble." Warned Sgt Deisenburger, moving backwards to the base, gun still pointed. "And so are you people." He pointed his finger at them, "don't move!" He rushed off, and the small group stared at him, and the children on bikes.