Dust motes sparkled and danced in the muted beams of sunlight spearing across the tiny room. The budgie hopped and chittered in his little blue cage as the fire crackled and muttered in the cast iron grate.
Bennie pushed through the front door and lowered his aging bulk onto the threadbare easy chair. Sighing with effort he bent to unlace heavy boots.
Something in the atmosphere tickled at the back of his senses, something in the air porcupined the hairs on the back of his neck. Without raising his head he swivelled his eyes upwards under the bushy brows. Something was off, something was here.
He had waited long for this day, he had always known it would come.
The door at the bottom of the tiny staircase moved, it creaked and began to swing slowly, slowly inwards. She was coming, she was here.
Breath suspended, heart thundering Bennie gave everything over to instinct, he needed his weapon. In the hearth the brass Knight in Armour glinted pinkly in the fire light, inside the flip top helmet was a pair of tongs, a tiny shovel and the poker. He needed the poker.
The staircase door and the vestibule beyond were closer to the fireplace than he was, the door gap was widening, the dark maw gaping wider, as he watched.
His fingers flexed, his legs tensed, he had to reach it before she did, there was no time, he must move now.
He straightened in the chair and at the same moment threw himself forward, arms grabbing for the mock military figure. The door was flung wide and the tall, gracile figure floated free of the stairway. It moved with incredible speed across the floor, seconds became years as Bennie fumbled in the hearth. The figure blocked his path, wavering and shimmering, an ominous wraith, unchanged since the last time he had seen it so many years past now.
It had slain his brother, it had slain his father, slain and shredded and left to bleed like so much human chiffonade on the bright green grass of the Highland meadow and now it was come for him, come to finish the job, to kill him the last of his line and the last bastion in defence of the globe.
NO! with a visceral scream he pushed forward, through the veil of being, through the evil cloud of existence. He knocked the brass ornament flat on the green tiles of the hearth, in a desperate flurry of arms, hands, fingers and unearthly cloying vapour battle was joined. To lose now was death not just for Bennie but for every creature on the planet. The brass of the little poker was the only thing chance of victory, the metal of the small rod the only thing that could destroy the being. For this reason and this alone the Knight at Arms had waited over the years in front of the spitting coals and crackling embers.
The air in his lungs was thickening, the blood in his veins cloying and congealing, the room spun as clouds fugged his brain. He felt the vapour sliding into his nostrils, once inside his body the destruction would be fast and total. His fingers touched the fire warmed handle he clawed and grabbed, with the last vestiges of strength and lucidity he took it.
Like a sword he wielded it, jabbing and sweeping and slicing. The screams were unearthly the fury unspeakable and evil filled the world. Still he jabbed and gouged, The battle joined seemed to last for eons, they twisted, rolled and wrestled on the old red carpet in the tiny ordinary room, Bennie fought for the world and the being fought for domination and then suddenly it was done.
He lay, spent and battered on the hearthrug, his breath was laboured, eyes streamed and blood dribbled from his damaged nostrils but he had won, he had beaten it again. His last sight of the creature was a wisp of smoke as it fled through the flames and into the chimney but he knew, he knew it would come back, stronger and more determined and he had to be ready because once he was defeated it would be free to roam the world. He righted the brass cavalier and slipped the fire irons back into the slots, such an innocent looking household appliance but the only thing between “The Thing” and total world domination.