Professor Angelus Margev, large in his professorial garb, blocked the alley, a beatific look of relief on his line-graved face. But Klukelunnen knew that face, like the husk of a seed, hid something, not sweet and nourishing, but an evil creature, power-possessed. It was the professor who’d had him incarcerated under the cover of his loosely woven lies. Home Office, indeed. Unknown species. Illegal immigrant, ha! All fabrications. And now the professor was stalking towards him, all hunched over, hand out and calling “Klukky, Klukky,” as if he were a chicken.
Two ways to go. Head down and boulder towards him like an unstoppable avalanche and hope he’d escape the professor’s hand. Or to run faster than a black-wheeled contraption in the other direction. He’d no time to think. He turned, he ran. Slam into the wall at the far end.
He bounced off the bricks, bum stung as it collided with the concrete, legs thrown up and toppling over. He drew to a stop with that bum sticking up, his stolen pink dress flopped over his head. The professor’s hand grasped his torso, tight around his middle and swept him up. Klukelunnen swallowed hard.
The professor shook his head, his wind-tossed white locks making him look like a ‘dandy lion’. He chuckled in a not very nice tone. “Thought you’d escape me?”
Thought it, aye, but that hadn’t worked. What now to do? He could fight like a Fernamon (the Fernamon were ever a fiery clan) exhaust himself in the doing and still be no nearer to destination. Or he could bide his time in the professor’s grasp, see what the professor intended to do with him, and make a break at a more convenient time. After all, people were beginning to enliven the streets and the professor wouldn’t dare yank off his head in public. Would he?
Decision made, Klukelunnen stuck out his tongue and blew the professor a raspberry—a wet one, full in his face. “Isn’t it chuffing obvious what I was doing? My morning aerobics!”
“I suppose you think yourself clever, being facetious.”
“I think myself multi-faceted,” Klukelunnen replied. “And I know what my real name means. And I think you do not.”
The professor’s brows drew in, knicker-tight. His lips disappeared into his mouth. The sun that had dared to venture into the sky found a cloud to cover it. Klukelunnen shivered as the alley turned cold.
“Now,” Klukelunnen said, “if you’d be so kind as to take me along to your church—the nearest will do—I have a mission I must complete.”
“You, a gobeling, in a church? Our Good Lord would choke on the very notion.” Yet he did tuck Klukelunnen inside his burgundy-coloured velveteen jacket hidden beneath his professorial garb and headed back out of the alley.
Klukelunnen nodded to himself, gently not to draw the professor’s hand. If nothing else, he’d gained himself time, and possibly even transportation to his desired destination while he snuggled into the soft folds of the oddly-scented jacket. But he must keep a watch out for where they were going. He didn’t trust the professor to deliver him. More likely the professor intended again to incarcerate him.
The view through the gaps in the professor’s professorial garb was restricted, limited to the upper storeys and roofs of buildings passing. Yet they were passing buildings, not diving into the low-roofed interior of a vehicle, or into the darkness of the professor’s chambers. They weren’t tall buildings; each built to excite the eye, none of them matched. He saw people, too, passing by, muffled music seeping from the cups muffling their ears. They took no notice of the aged professor. They didn’t know he was an otherworld being in disguised, nor that a sacrificial goblin was hitching a ride in the hidden jacket.
Sky replaced buildings to one side of the narrow street. Closer, and Klukelunnen couldn’t believe it. Yezzzzz! Prof Angelus was delivering him to his desired destination. A church.
“Excuse me,” said male voice. “Professor Angelus Margev?”
Though the professor slowed his step he didn’t stop as he one-handedly fumbled inside his jacket. Klukelunnen backed away but cornered … Whoosh! before he knew it he’d been whipped from the jacket and swung round to professor’s back. The professor’s grip faltered. Klukelunnen brought up his legs and kicked the professor’s bum.
The professor dropped him. He ran. Straight over the road, dodging the music-drugged people who still weren’t looking. The professor gave chase.
“Professor Angelus Margev!” called the same man, now running to catch the fleeing professor.
The professor was fleeing? He wasn’t chasing Klukelunnen? But Klukelunnen didn’t yet feel safe. He headed for the garden of stones that fronted the church. Though they weren’t stones like him, not stones from Dolstone, yet they were stones and they would hide him. From there he could see the man giving chase wasn’t alone. Five others ran with him, three dressed alike in black with bands of white-and-black chequers. They soon closed the distance, while Klukelunnen ducked behind a crooked chipped stone.
“Professor Angelus Margev,” said the same man for the third time; his companions now ringed around the disguised otherworld being. “You are under arrest on suspicion of committing crime or crimes of sexual molestation with one or more minors over the course of the past thirty years. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”
By the cringe! Daisy had said something about this, that Jason and Dwayne were arranging something with the police. Klukelunnen dropped to the ground, flabbered. He wasn’t even one of their Kind, yet not only had they provided the fire-stick and offered him transport to whisk him away, but also arranged the comeuppance of the professor. They were more than Kindred, they were friends. A lump rose in his throat. He blinked back a tear.
“Professor …?” a young female voice called from a distance away, followed by a rapid pattering of running feet. The patter grew louder. “Professor!”
Daisy? What was she doing here?
She stopped. She had seen the arrest, she had guessed. She’d also seen Klukelunnen. He put finger to lips to bid her be quiet.
She sauntered away, overacting her nonchalance. But she didn’t go far—just to the corner of the church where she swung her foot and watched as the police bundled the professor into a car. Cuffed. Then she equally sauntered to where he was hiding.
“I came to see the professor; I wanted to know if he’d nabbed you again. Only you said you wanted to go to Trinity Hall, and Jason and Dwayne said they spent the night hunting for you and couldn’t find you anywhere and they’d seen the professor rolling up and down the road in his piece-of-cheese car—that’s what Mum calls that type of car: Robins, I think they are—and I was so feared you hadn’t got away and … Oh, Klukel, I’m so glad that you’re safe.” She sank down beside him. And drew him roughly into her arms.
“Hey-hey, hug me any tighter and I’ll break prematurely.”
“But what am I going to do with you now?” She didn’t relax her grip of him, just made his side whiskers wet with her tears.
“Hush, Daisy, you’ve done enough. Though …” But nix, nay, not, he couldn’t involve her in that. Yet it would make it easier. Aye, but … “Maybe there’s one last favour …?”
He looked up at the church tower.
Don’t miss Klukelunnen’s final episode: A Gem of a Destiny