Halloween 2020.

The UEFA European Cup, aka The Euros, is run every four years. It's a chance for nationalist fervour to run riot. The United Kingdom is made up of four countries. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales got knocked out. England made it through to face Italy in the final at Wembley Stadium...

This tale continues the story started in 'Halloween 2020.' If you haven't read that then this probably won't make a lot of sense.

As always, a cheery and heartfelt thank you to The Dude, and to my friend and editor, Mr. C.

Camy. July 2021.



“...and that’s full time!” the pundit announced, his voice on the verge of hysteria as the crowd in the stadium behind him roared. “It’s one all, so now we’re going to extra time. That’s fifteen minutes a side...”

I don’t normally pay attention to football, but then England don’t normally play so well. According to the media furore the entire country was watching. It also seemed that where a football final was concerned the idea of social distancing and mask-wearing didn’t matter. To wit: sixty thousand partially drunk supporters crammed into Wembley Stadium.

“...and if they’re still tied at the end of extra time it’s on to a penalty shoot out!”

Despite the teams’ gallant efforts, half an hour later the score remained the same. The referee blew his whistle.

“...and it’s a penalty shoot out!” the pundit screamed, spittle flying free. “This was not the way we expected the final to go, but with two such great sides it was probably inevitable!”

Holding hands Marby and I watched as, sadly, England tanked.

“Well, that sucked,” Marby said, snatching the remote from my lap and turning off the flat-screen. “Want me to change the result?”

“Tempting, but no,” I said. “That’s England for you. We never seem to win anything, and what with Covid and Brex...”

“Shhh, mon amour.” He leant across and I was swept away on a wave of Marby pheromones and lust.

Since our Halloween adventure Marby had settled on being twenty—the same age as I was. In fact his documents—because who in this day and age can get away without bloody documents—showed his birthday was the same day as mine, which I thought was sweet. Marby had been gorgeous as a teen, but now he was simply stunning, and I was, without a shadow of a doubt, smitten. The odd thing was that Marby seemed just as smitten with me.

The flat had changed, too. We were still living at the top of Mrs Alala’s house, but now the space had a touch of the Tardis about it. It changed its form, depending on what we wanted to do. For instance: last week, when Marby had been fascinated by Wimbledon, I’d got back from running a couple of errands and grabbing a pint of milk at the corner store to find the flat transmogrified into a full size tennis court, complete with umpire and ball boys. Marby grinned and raised a questioning eyebrow at me. I grinned back and nodded as my clothing changed to match his. Marby looked ravishing in tennis whites, with his hair in a bandanna and twirling his racket in a suggestive manner, and I was surprised to win a point, let alone take a set from him.

Marby won. Just. But it wasn’t because he was an aeons-old demon who had control of multiple dimensions and almost limitless power. No. With me he played by the rules I lived under, the rules of human interaction. He was just as knackered and sweaty when he finally won with a wicked backhand slice that dropped the ball just over the net and just out of my reach. We were even more knackered when we'd finished showering, but oh so clean.

Then there was our most regular visitor, Antoinette, our au pair—or Satan, if you will. She/He was still pondering the delights of gender fluidity in a human form, while Marby was secretly worried that she was taking her eye off the ball when it came to running Hades. The day after our tennis match Antoinette popped by for tea.

Since our trip to Paris after Halloween was the only time the three of us had spent together, our conversation generally started off with our visit to the Louvre. So on the day after the Euros final we revisited an old discussion on whether or not the Mona Lisa’s eyes followed you. Marby and I maintained they did, and that her smile was as cool as coconuts. Antoinette then pointed out that scientists had just proclaimed they didn’t. To avoid Marby getting hot under the collar I decided to change the subject.

“How’s Beleth these days?” I asked into a short gap in the conversation.

I wasn’t expecting to be glared at. Nor was I expecting Antoinette and Marby to vanish. Their tea cups hovered momentarily, then crashed to the floor and shattered, which upset the cat who had been snoozing next to me on the arm of the sofa.

“Oops,” I said, as I picked her up and gave her a skritch under the chin. “I think I might be in trouble, Poss.”

The cat rolled her eyes at me. “Ya think?” she said. Then she nipped me so I dropped her.

I’m not proud. I closed my eyes and screamed. Honestly, I think you would, too. As nice as it might be, you don’t actually expect your cat to talk to you. There was a slight, almost imperceptible, ‘whoosh’ and when I opened my eyes there was a small girl wearing a gingham dress and red sandals standing in front of me where I’d dropped the cat. I squinted at her and in return she stuck her tongue out at me.


“Marbeth didn’t tell me you were retarded,” she said in a sing-song voice.

“He didn’t tell me you weren’t a cat, either. Just what are you, and what the fuck is he playing at. Oh, and before I forget. You can’t say ‘retarded.’ It upsets people.”


“We can discuss semantics later. First, why aren’t you a cat, and second, what are you doing here?”

“Protecting you, silly.” She giggled, and I couldn’t help smiling. The idea of a small girl keeping me safe was charming. Stupid Marby.

“Don’t you dare think Marbeth is stupid, human!” She roared from a head that suddenly resembled a hell hound. It took a pace towards me, its maw full to the brim of large teeth, and roared. I almost wet myself and pushed back as far as I could into the sofa. Then she was the little girl in a gingham dress again.

“Now do you believe I can protect you?” she said, slyly.

Trembling, I nodded.

“Good eggs,” she said, then reverted back into the cat, weaving her way between my legs and purring. A moment later Marby arrived back and flopped on the sofa. He looked ashen.

“Beleth has gone,” he said. “Beleth has gone and he has taken seventy nine of his eighty six legions with him.”

“And that’s bad?”

“That’s very bad, Brian. That’s very bad indeed.” Marby said.

“Why did he leave seven legions behind?” I asked, stroking the cat who had jumped on my lap but stopped purring.

“He didn’t. They changed their allegiance. I now have forty-three to his seventy nine. And I made sure they are sincere. It’s why I’ve been gone so long, my love.”

“You’ve been gone less than ten minutes.”

“Oh. Yeah. Well, time is pretty pliable.”

“Right. Of course it is. So, not the universal constant we’ve been lead to believe. Anyway,” I said, managing to keep a straight face, “it gave the cat and me time to get better acquainted.”

Marby stared at me, then glared at the cat who was hurriedly backing herself under my arm.


“Oh, I found out that she loves the treats we bought for her. “

“Does she?” Marby said, narrowing his eyes as the cat managed to disappear under a cushion. “Does she indeed.”

“Yep, she’s a right little minx.”

“I’ll get you for that, human.” I heard her amused voice in my head, with an added purr at the end for good measure.


My world started crumbling about a month later. It was nobody’s fault; and it was everybody's fault, but mostly, I thought, it was my fault because I hadn’t told Marby I knew about the cat.

Kitty—I had to call her something, because she wouldn’t tell me her real name—had decided to come along with me when I went shopping. In addition to her gingham dress and sandals she generally had a satchel over her shoulder, and played the part of a cute but annoying younger sister to a T.

“So, what’s your name?” I’d asked on our first expedition to the supermarket. “I can’t call you Cat, or Hell-hound, now, can I?

“Can’t say,” she’d said in her sing-song voice. “Names give those who know them power, Brian,” she’d said. “Marbeth told me never to use my real name, so even if I could, I wouldn’t. Do you understand?”

I nodded at her.

“So make me one up.”

“I think I'll call you Brat,” I said smugly as we got to the bus-stop. She kicked me lightly in the shin with her sandal and we both giggled. “Okay, okay! Kitty, then,” I said as a bus pulled up and we got on. Her gingham dress changed to a tartan to match the bus’s upholstery, and I heard a woman behind us take a shocked breath.

“Unless she’s a demon, Brian, and she isn’t, she’ll think it was her imagination. Also, Kitty is fine. Actually, I rather like it.”


I was sitting on the couch with Mrs Alala beside me for moral support when Marby arrived home.

“What’s happened?” he asked peremptorily, “And where’s the cat?”

“Umm...” I managed.

“Perhaps I should go?” Mrs Alala said, getting to her feet in a remarkably sprightly manner for a woman of her age and almost trotting to the door. “Don’t you worry, Brian, she’ll be fine,” she said as, like in the cartoons, she exited stage left.

Marby and I had never had a row. A few tiffs, yes, but a full on ding-dong screaming match, no. I felt one building as Marby paced. I almost smiled as I recalled reading that make-up sex is often the best, then thought better of it. Instead, I leapt to my feet and grabbed him around the waist.

“I’m so, so sorry, Marby. But I was annoyed you’d given me protection without telling me, and Kitty and I have become friends.”

“Kitty being the cat.”

“Mmm.” Marby’s pheromones were giving me a problem, and I snuggled in closer.

“And where is Kitty now?” Marby’s voice was ice and I began to realise he was angrier than I’d first thought.

I held on tighter, kissed him on the cheek then whispered, “she came with me to the supermarket and then got caught shoplifting.”

Marby froze in my arms. “Pardon me?”

“Kitty came with me to the supermarket and...”

“Yes, yes! But she’s a demon. How did she get caught?”

“I DON’T KNOW!” I said as I let Marby go, sat back on the couch and put a pillow on my lap. “Kitty was impatient. You know how eight-year-olds are. She wanted some prawns and smoked salmon from the fish counter, and I was still in the veg isle. The next thing I know I’m back here on my own.”

“So how do you...”

“It was on the local news. Mrs Alala came up and told me. Whatever Kitty did must have been quite spectacular, ’cause there were a lot of police cars.”

“She’s eight?” Marby said.

“Uh huh. Or a cat. She likes gingham, though today it was a tartan to match…”

“Hush, Brian.” Marby said, sitting down beside me and slinging his arm around my shoulders. “I get the idea. It’s the last time I’ll be having a Trixter look after you.”

“Smoked salmon on brown bread and a prawn salad for supper! I hope you got lemons?”

Panicked, I closed my eyes and tried to think back to her. “Marby’s here. He knows.”

“Oh… arse.”

“YES, LITTLE DEMON. I’M HERE AND WAITING FOR AN EXPLANATION!” Marby said, then snickered. “Ya have to keep them on their toes, Brian. It’s the first lesson I was taught when I became a President of Hell.”


'Marby and The Euros' by Camy
Written in July 2021.

With huge thanks to my editor, Mr.C.
Any mistakes are mine, and mine alone.

Marbeth's sigil courtesy of S.L. MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley, CC BY-SA 4.0
via Wikimedia Commons


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