Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A Cat Poem

This is a poem I wrote in the wake of seeing David Morley talk last week. I don't think of myself as much of a poet, and the actual verse feels rough and ready to me so I may come back to edit it and polish later on but  I thought I'd put it up, along with a picture of its inspiration.

She slumbers between my feet
A crucible for a resting goddess
Child of Bast, perfect in her niche
No matter how she shirks it

My hips, spread, do her worship
Suffering, patient, to keep her snug
Until pain forces movement;
Revealing her, grudging, to the world

Once awake her voice will rise
To make her conversation dulcet
Whichever mode she chooses
Her song, roused, will shatter peace

Her questing paw will seal her point
To articulate urgent, pagan demands
For sleep, play, food and other tributes
She lets slip her shadow self, a wild princess

Now she rests in sun’s warm light
Dreams of hunts she’ll never make
Her snore rumbles, engine in a feline breast
I rise, breaking her nest, and greet the day

Thursday, 15 November 2012


I have a confession to make: I am a doubter, a nonbeliever.

I don't mean this in the sense of not believing in God or in any other kind of deity. Its true that I doubt they exist but I also doubt that we're alone and much of atheism seems to be based on sophistry or the belief in something else, like science or money.  Ultimately we all seem to place our faith in something illogical as a cure all for the world's pain, label as it as you will. But that's beside the point.

The point is I doubt and I doubt everything, especially myself and my own abilities. I can brave-face it, throw on a mask of confidence but underneath I'm a bubbling disaster area just waiting to melt down into a nervous mass of terror at the thought of having to do anything I'm not confident about; which is most things really. I'm 36 and have no idea what I'm good at, aside from procrastination and thinking too much. At some point I've managed to trap myself and belief is a foreign concept and I find that I'm reliant on other people to tell me if what I produce is good. Gaming sessions are usually punctuated in their aftermath with me turning to Eve and Emma and asking in a worried tone, "Was it any good?"

I have days where I believe I can write, but this can be swept away by a bad review or a rejection from a tiny magazine that only seems to exist on the internet, leaving me floundering and wondering if my dream is just that, has no more substance than a half remembered dream upon waking, and I would be better off just jacking it in and opting to stare at the tee-vee.

Other days (most days) I believe I can write but everything else I do falls short, leaving me to believe that writing is all I can do and everything else is waste of time and energy. But, as mentioned above, this is a brittle confidence and I can be sent scuttling to the half light of uncertainty again.

It's a vicious circle, it feels like whenever I get some confidence I fuck up, which knocks me back down to zero or into minus figures on the confidence scale. I know, somewhere, that I can do things, use computer programmes, run roleplaying games, write well and so on and so forth but my ability to access that knowledge, that faith, is touch and go; and to be honest its mostly 'go'.

The real kicker is that I have no idea how to fix myself, to instill belief in my abilities when I'm so easily shaken from confidence in myself. Somewhere there must a way to nurture my confidence but I can't see one...

Hellblazer: End of the Road

Last week I found out that Hellblazer, one of the first mature comics I read way back in 1994, will end publication early next year with issue 300. The news provokes mixed feelings in me, to be honest. John Constantine parted company several years ago, at the end of Mike Carey's run; not because I hated the character but I felt that I'd travelled as far as I could with him. I was worn out and needed a change, especially with the downbeat ending of Carey's run.

Nonetheless I have fond, strong memories of the book. At the point where I picked up (finding it in a newsagents in Ormskirk of all places), I had abandoned superheroes, in part because my sister had convinced me that nobody at university would be reading comics - how wrong she was - and in part because I was tired of superheroes and their stupid, pointless battles. My first issue was number 84, the chain smoking chimpanzee in drag, automatically drawing my eye because it was so distinctive.


It told a dark, delicate story that resonated with my new interest in horror and dark, modern fantasy. I'd played some World of Darkness games and the comic seemed to chime with it beautifully. But it was John's voice, his cool, dark, sarcastic voice that hooked me and made me want to know more. I began to buy the book regularly, picking up back issues where I could and discovering John's destructive history.

Writers brought slightly different facets of Constantine into the light for the reader to enjoy. Jamie Delano's slick conman shares qualities with Garth Ennis' version of the character but Ennis undermined the character's roots slightly more, sending him into more dangerous territory, always threatening to pull the rug from under his feet. Other writers brought their visions to us, with an ever changing cast of the supporting characters; being John's friend was always a dangerous occupation and most writers ended either killing or alienating their own creations to clear the way for the next writer. The title of the book gave it a manifesto, we could see John royally fucking up, we knew that if Hell exists then he was slowly inching his way towards it.

The main draw of the character has always been who he is, unlike most of the spandex crowd, he was never defined by his opponents, in the way that Lex Luthor is necessary to cast Superman into a context, and he was grounded in history and politics. Jamie Delano's issue with demon yuppies caught the character wonderfully as a left wing anarchist who's schemes led him astray. His efforts to keep ahead of the pack often proving to be his undoing (at the same time we know his cons and magic are successful, the fact that he keeps being banned from betting shops is testament to that). Ultimately he successfully defeated his enemies, it's only in the case of the exceptional ones like Papa Midnight and the First of the Fallen that he suffered the indignities of recurring villains and they never felt like they were in the same category as the Joker or Dr Octopus; somehow bigger, more important; never just another encounter.

The other thing that I always felt was innovative was that the character aged in real time, we could see him growing older, and got the idea from the book's tenth anniversary issue that what we learned through the comic was only what the character himself recounted to us, as if we really did meet him down the pub and listen to his stories over a pint of beer. One issue even exploited the idea, with John leading a gullible idiot up the garden path with stories about the royal family being lizards, David Icke style. Is that what we were? Idiots to be told tall tales, I'd like to think not but Constantine was a fox; trusting anything he told you was a dangerous tactic.

I must confess that whilst Ennis' run was enjoyable, I prefer his early issues before Steve Dillon joined him. The stories seem darker, less grand guignol and have a tenseness that pleases. In the same vein, I quite enjoyed much of Paul Jenkins' run, even if it limped to the finish line.  Oddly the Brian Azzarello run, the first to be written by an American (Constantine is a quintessentially British character, his blood is stained with Liverpool and London), was one of the strongest, with a fish out of water meta-plot that served to show Constantine as an everyman, as he explored America's freakish backwaters. In contrast Warren Ellis' run was something of a disappointment, as if his heart wasn't really in writing the character even if he did introduce interesting concepts like Map, a living version of London who collaborated with John on a number of occasions and counts as one of the few survivors of an authors run.

Now the series is ending and the character will be folded fully into DC's "New 52" as a younger version. Some facets, the trench coat, the rumpled corporate look with the askew black tie, the ever present cigarette, remain and the character is already established in the new universe as part of the Justice League Dark. The new series 'Constantine' will follow this younger version's adventures.

It's an understandable move in some regards; the down side to letting John age in real time is that sooner or later he has to die, you can't keep him forever young. Also Hellblazer has shed too many readers even for the notoriously low sales Vertigo imprint to keep going, especially for the character who for a long time has been seen as their flagship character, even more of an identifier than Dream of the Endless.

It doesn't do anything to assuage my fears that something important will be lost. John has always been so English (like the Doctor), so tied to the UK and its culture and history that it worries me that a rebooted version will lose far more than he gains. Sure he's younger but what happens to his history? Was he ever in Mucous Membrane, did the horrific events of his childhood still occur? These things are so tied to the history of the UK that its hard to see how a new version could carry them across without ringing a fraudulent. Like real life though, they can't just be deleted without cheapening something.

A sad day. I think I'll dig out some of my old Hellblazers and enjoy them all again.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The MA

Something very good and very strange started this September; I went back to university as a mature student.  I'd been thinking about studying for a while; in part because it's felt as if my life has been stuck in a place I don't particularly want to be for a while and I've been gnawed at by a sense of dissatisfaction for a long time. I applied to Birmingham City University, Warwick and erm, that ended up being about it to be honest. I had good intentions of applying to others but in the end I never completed the forms. In the end both institutions offered me places, but thanks to a snafu in my understanding of Warwick's procedures, BCU offered me a place first and by the time Warwick's offer came through I had already accepted the place at the more local university.

I'm studying part time and I'll be honest that even with my book worm tendencies working and studying can be a strain, just as writing after work can be, but it's a wonderful feeling to be back in a class room talking to students and tutors. The two academics I've encountered in PME (Performance, Media and English) are both lovely gents and extremely knowledgeable. The course leader is Dr Gregg Leadbetter (http://gregoryleadbetter.blogspot.co.uk/) who's a poet.  

The tutor I'm having the most contact with at present is Ian Marchant (he's here: http://www.ianmarchant.com/) a creative non fiction writer who's enthusiasm for his genre is infectious and make me want to pick up his books, even though it's not my usual kind of thing (I often feel that I'm trying to escape real life, this genre embraces it).

Our coursework for the module is to create a pitch for a creative non fiction book, something tangible that can sent to an agent or publisher; the course is practical, something I'm sure my Mum would approve of. It's aim is to get us, the students, to a point where we can be published and make something of a living from writing (whether it'll be all of our livings is another matter - given the oft repeated maxim that most writers have other sources of income and its only the very lucky ones that get to focus purely on writing).

My project is a book on the Goth scene and, in particular Goths themselves, with the idea that I would travel to the subculture's heartlands and interview Goths about why they became Goths, what... ah sod it here's the blurb I wrote. 

The BlurbAfter thirty years Goth is a definite part of the cultural landscape, shifting in and out of mainstream consciousness in successive waves. Vaunted and vilified in equal measure, enshrined in high culture but also hated, the cause of attacks and even murder, Goth has survived nonetheless, spawning new generations of black clad followers. No longer just a fad for disgruntled teenagers, the idea that there are only young Goths and dead Goths has been and gone. But what draws people to the subculture in the first place; what makes them stay? How far do the roots of the community reach? And are there Goths in Transylvania? Steve Cotterill sets off on a tour of the places where Goth prospers and grows to explore the subculture in a journey from Whitby to Belgrade, via London markets, German nightclubs and Czech ossuaries.

Of course since that was written, another leg has been added to the journey; an American tour that goes from coast to coast, travelling from Poe to Bela Lugosi's grave and taking in cities like New York, New Orleans, Columbia (Missouri) if only to document the demise of the scene in middle America and the tightening of the Bible Belt, and then out westward to the likes of Seattle, birthplace of both Grunge and, arguably, Steampunk, before sliding down the coast to the City of Angels and the faded glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood. 

On the way I'm hoping to see things I've never seen before, to visit Dracula's Castle and find out why Germany is the new heartland of Goth. I just need to sell the thing first. In the meantime I guess I have to go to lots of club nights and gigs of bands that I like... Such a tragedy, that. 

I'm planning to post some more bits and pieces about the project here, as a way to raise awareness of it ( as I'd really like to do it) and hope to get a map sorted showing my intended route.

In the meantime this is the playlist I'm building on Spotify: Goth Songs . I'd welcome more suggestions of bands and tracks you think I'm missing as I'm always keen to find new music.

Right, better go and do some work!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Kingsford Five: Long Lost Secrets

Yelena looked up suddenly as an alarm erupted into life a few streets away, screeching panic into the dark sky. The piece of fried chicken between the vixen’s teeth slipped, forgotten, from her mouth, down to the ground and the chip paper she had wrestled it from. Dark shadows rushed down the street she was in, animals fleeing the sound, she supposed; but could not ask. The irritating thing about the form she was in was that, despite the folk tales, she was unable to speak with the other animals she encountered; there was no understanding that reached across species outside of the vagaries of tone and pitch that could suggest intention but not meaning.

A cat, a heavy set tom with scars and puckered ears from dozens of fights, if not more, dashed past her, down to a garden gate and leapt up onto the wall and from there into the tree next door. Once ensconced in safety it stared down at her with gold green eyes so round they could have been marbles.

“What’s going on?” Yelena asked, knowing it was hopeless but feeling that she had to try. Perhaps luck would be on her side. The animal just stared down at her, content with his high perch to keep him safe. She recognised him, one of the big cats, as close to a king as you could find amongst the fractious species. He had fucked and fought his way to the top of the pile locally and protected his territory against all comers; even against dogs like Rottweilers. Most of the kittens in the area bore some of his markings, the distinctive white flash running up his nose or odd humbug like paw pad that decorated his right forepaw.

She cursed, wishing her family had gained the ability to speak with beasts as well as resemble them back in the days when the Holly King had gifted them with their unique ability; a time when Spring ruled Faerie and, if legend was to be believed, the forest covered most of the land. Perhaps if she had been an abler student of sorcery she might have managed but even then, the magic usually required a humanoid shape and, when casting hexes or cantrips, thumbs were surprisingly important.

At the end of the street a blur of motion drew her attention as two figures ran past, and Yelena heard something else, something the siren had hidden, a deep panting of a huge beast. An immense dog paced into view at the end of the road and stopped, looking around. There was nothing light about the dog; it was a hideous, twisted thing, pushed to the limits of biology by something. Brilliant green eyes shone in its face and its head moved in a slow arc, sweeping from side to side taking in the street furniture, the cars that crowded into driveways or clung to the side of the road like limpets. The nose twitched, the head turned again, and the beast’s eyes fixed upon Yelena.

She cringed back, retreated down the street, praying that the creature had not seen her, or that the night would swallow her the way it had swallowed the cats. Perhaps she could escape, break into the back gardens; the monster’s bulk made it unlikely that it could scramble over gates or fences with anything resembling ease.

Something flapped upon its back, raising inky tendrils that seemed attached to the dog’s back. A shudder ran through it and there was a shift in its mass, almost imperceptible but there. It grew larger, more ferocious looking. Its head suddenly seemed thinner but as its mouth lolled open, she saw its teeth as yellowing daggers that grew until the canines were so long that they jutted over the sides of its mouth.

A shudder ran through her, magic then, not just a big savage dog but something fae-touched. She knew it would be a spell from the Crimson School; they were Oberon’s pet magicians, his first port of call for anything that needed magic to put down or raise up, if the crueller court gossip was to be believed. She wondered, somewhere in the back of her brain, how the enchantment had come through into the mortal world; the gate was closed, there was no way for anything to make its way through was there?

Before she could think on it more the dog took a step forward and a low growl rippled in its throat. Its mouth gaped and it barked in a deep, almost feral frenzy. She fell back before it, risking turning and trotting away at a brisk pace, her mind turning towards escape, head weaving back and forth as she spied out for places to run. No point even trying to fight it, she was trapped as she was and there was no chance of her even adapting the form to fight.

“Stand,” the beast said suddenly, a distant voice hidden inside the dog’s bark. “Yelena of the Emerald Manor, outcast and exile of the courts of Faerie, I command you hold.”

She turned, staring back towards the monster. There was something familiar about the voice. In the faerie tongue, carried in the same way as the courtier's voice, she asked. “Darian, is that you?”


Beside the smoking pool, the courtier flushed. His hand was clenched around a rag, the twin of the one that the dog bore; he could feel it writhing in his grip. His gaze bored into the water; the three Fae in the tower could see the fox turning to face their catspaw, her eyes full of incredulity. His skin, blanched pale from focussing on the link with the dog, flushed suddenly with embarrassment. The three could understand her, even though she yipped and barked, thanks to an enchantment laid upon the scrying pool

“Who I am is unimportant,” he snapped angrily. “By the power invested in me by King Oberon,” he paused, letting the dog’s vocal chords catch up. It was strange to communicate within the natural sounds the animal made. He continued, “I am bound to command you to return that which you stole!”

“That I stole?” the fox shot back. “Your king had no right to it in the first place, the filthy usurper.” She retreated a little as the dog advanced.

“You treasonous bitch,” Darian snapped. “How dare you question our lord?” As if sensing his ire Mungo gathered itself and sprang forward, barking ferociously.

There was a sound behind the dog; Darian cursed as the beast turned its head, suddenly distracted. Behind, lights were switching on in the houses, which Darian thought looked like anonymous faces, like the stone heads in the Valley of Omens. At one door a face peered out and at the end of the street a crowd had gathered. An old man, vaguely recognisable as the dog's owner, stood next to a woman on a two wheeled machine, who was clad in a bright, reflective vest.

Vaguely the words “The boy came this way and my Mungo was chasing him,” filtered into the dog's ears and from there to the trio by the pool.

There was a lull as more of the mortals congregated, running across to the woman with the strange machine and talking, gesticulating wildly towards the hound.

“What are they doing?” Darian asked, twisting to look at Feydo.

The magician frowned, “Mortal foolishness, their world is so starved of power that they act like this at every act of sorcery.”

Alastair frowned, “Master, we must be careful, the vessel cannot hold much more power. I don't know that it can cope with this much stress. We created the poppet to hunt the fugitive, not fight a mob.”

The old man began to walk closer to the hound, “Mungo, is that you?” The woman in the vest tried to intercede but he shook her off.

“Can't you get rid of him?” Darian asked.

“No, the poppet might be able to do something but from the changes its reaped, most of the power we put into it has been expended. Shaping the tool will have used most of it up.”

“Come here, Mungo,” the old man shouted, slapping his thigh. He bent, slightly, and held out a hand. “Come here.”

“What's the old fool doing? Doesn't he see the changes?” Darian twisted the rag, tearing at it a little with his fingertips.”

“Of course, but you can't expect sense from them. They're fools, down to the last one of them,” Feydo sniffed.

“Master,” Alastair said again. “What about our pawn?”

“Yes, it would be foolish for it to remain.” Feydo agreed. “Tell it to withdraw, courtier”.

“But if we lose Yelena,” Darian protested hotly.

“Better that we do that than we lose our servant.” Alastair told him, “If the poppet is destroyed we lose our only link to the mortal world.”

There was a sudden, low pitched growling and the three, turned in unison to look into the pool. The old man was still approaching but something in the way they saw him suggested that the broad dog had shifted stance. Suddenly the beast lunged forward, knocking the man to the ground. There was a frenzy of biting, clawing and the sound of running feet. Something struck the animal on the side of the face, a stone that shook the animal, its gaze pitched to one side. When the dog looked up again there was a press of mortals running towards it, faces scared and angry. The woman at the back of the crowd was talking urgently into a small black box, whilst some of the crowd had snatched fallen sticks to use a makeshift cudgels. The trio's servant looked down again, showing the bleeding figure of the old man, his arm torn into bloody ribbons by the hound's claws. His shoulder was bleeding profusely; it looked like the beast's jaws may have mashed the bone into a pulp as they closed on it.

“Turn, you fool, get away from there,” Darian hissed, suddenly realising that the old sorcerer was correct, that allowing the mob to vent their fury would spell disaster, most especially for him.

Slowly the beast turned and began to run.


Yelena rested. She had taken the opportunity of the distraction to run, run like hell as if the tithe ship were after her and her name was on the Infernal Manifest. She glanced behind her, but there was no sign of her pursuer. She breathed a deep sigh of relief and crept forward. She was on the edge of the town's park, an anaemic green space that served to give children somewhere to play over the summer and seemed to have little purpose beyond that.

Somewhere ahead she could hear panting, paused to check the kind it was, and pressed on, satisfied that she was not going to disturb a tryst. She gently nosed her way through the undergrowth, the encouraged plants that had been placed so deliberately by the town's gardeners and pushed out to stand beside a long pond, its sides festooned with warning notices, to prevent children from trying to swim in the murky waters. In the centre of the pond there was a small island and on it, firmly sealed away by an iron fence and several more notices, there were the ruins of a tower.

On a park bench two figures sat, bent double and breathing hard. “So you've been running away from that thing all night?” One of them, Aiden, asked between gasps. “In all that time it didn't occur to you to dump the bag?” He poked at a fat rucksack that lay on the ground. It wobbled and threatened to roll down to the pond.

“Hey, don't do that.” Brendan protested, making a grab for it, sliding from the bench to the ground. He pulled the bag to him and wrapped his arms about it protectively.

“What's in there that's so important? It's just clothes and you have enough of those at home, remember?”

Brendan glanced up at him, “You mean you didn't notice?”

“Didn't notice what?” Aiden asked. “Please don't make me play twenty questions, Bren, I've spent half the night looking for you and the other half running away from that thing.”

“Barghest,” his brother said, reflexively and frowned. “It's just that thing was so weird and it was just,” he paused. “Nobody else acted as if they could see it you know? It was as if I was the only one to notice it. I think that rattled it, a bit. It's probably why the dog came after me.”

Aiden laughed suddenly, “I have no idea what you're talking about, you know?”

Brendan sighed and started to explain about the rag, and its strange activities, about the way it had settled onto Mungo's back and forced some sort of union between them. Finally he stopped, looked up at Aiden with questioning eyes.

“Are you serious?” His brother asked quietly.

“Yeah, why would I lie about something like that?” Brendan asked in puzzlement.

Aiden pointed over the water to the tower, “Do you remember when we were kids and we saw the knight in the ruins?”

“Not really, sorry.”

“We came to feed the ducks with Mum, it was just before she ran off. She pointed him out to us and we saw him standing on the ramparts.” He stood up and walked to the water's edge, looking up at the pile of bleached white stones. “The next day we went to school and you denied it, said it was my imagination. I was the ghost boy all that term.” He had never really shaken the label off, it was the start of his own peculiar way of surviving school, sticking to the fringes of things, only noticed when it was the wrong time. He crossed his arms about his torso.

“Sorry, but bro, that was years ago, why are you dragging it up now?” Brendan asked, obviously confused by the turn in the conversation.”

“Look,” Aiden pointed up. On the parapet of the old tower in the moonlight there was an armoured figure, standing watch over the town, facing towards the woods. In his hands he clutched a kite shaped shield and a long spear. The wall fell away just enough to reveal a horn hanging at his waist.

Brendan frowned, “But, he's never been there before, I swear it. I was here last month with Jess and there was nothing.”

“I haven't seen him since Mum ...” Aiden's voice trailed away.“Your bag.”

“What?” Brendan asked, peevishly. “Damn it, Aiden, stop it. I'm tired, can't we just go home?”

“No, you said something about not missing something, what did you mean?” Aiden asked. He suddenly seemed to be full of energy, looking about him excitedly. “Give me your bag,” he reached out a hand and took it.

“Hey careful,” Brendan protested. “Don't break it.”

“Then show me, stop mucking about.”

“Okay,” Brendan whined but started to unbuckle the bag's straps. He pulled out an armful of clothes, carefully depositing them on the park bench and then took something else out, something that was wrapped in a bundle of shirts. He began to unwrap it, layer by layer. Finally he pulled the last shirt free, revealing a small mirror, that caught the moonlight.

Yelena felt her eyes go wide and, despite herself, she trotted forward, eyes fixed upon the boy's hands. A little growl of excitement rumbled in her throat and she yipped.

“Jesus, where did you spring from?” Aiden asked in surprise, “You weren't around earlier.”

She favoured him with a grin and deliberately pushed her head against Brendan's leg.

“What is it?” He bent down, showing her the mirror, a half moon of polished glass sat in a carved ivory frame that was definitely not human workmanship. It was too delicate, the scrimshaw carving showing curling ivy through which sun, moon and stars peeped. More importantly from the vixen's point of view the scent of faerie magic rose from the object, tinged with the smell of damp earth and flowers; this was a Spring artefact, the likes of which had been banished from the twilight realm an age ago when the old Spring capital fell during one Faerie's interminable wars. As he held it she saw a halo surround Brendan's head, as if his hair caught the reflected moonlight.

“I always take it to auditions,” he explained. “Dad had buried it in a drawer in the study and I just found it one day and took it. It seemed stupid not to.” He held it out to his brother, “Here look.”

Aiden took it reluctantly, holding it delicately. His skin grew paler as he raised it to see his reflection, he covered his mouth with his free hand. “It smells like Mum,” he said sadly.

Somewhere, out in the town there was the deep barking of dogs and all three of them froze. The Vixen leapt to her feet and stared about with wild eyes.

Carefully Aiden returned his brother's treasure. “Perhaps we should get home.”

“Yes, that sounds like a good plan,” Brendan agreed. He yawned suddenly, “God, I'm so tired. I could kill for a cup of coffee.”


Hours later, at the edge of the woods, the hound stopped running. It had left its pursuers far behind, though it knew, somehow, that they would not stop hunting for it. The part of it that was still Mungo did not understand. It did not comprehend what had happened, why it had threatened its pack leader in the first place, or what would happen now that it had. The cool intelligence of the magic that had possessed it so completely knew but it was a dominating force that swallowed the animal's voice and pushed it down, keeping it quiet and at bay. It had guided the beast's paws and path, leading it back in a wide arc.

Now, as the sun rose the hound found itself heading into the tree line, towards the place that its passenger felt safest. It quested onwards, trotting briskly until, finally, it saw somewhere it could rest. It splashed into the old ford and up stream, under the railway bridge. Climbing out onto the bank it curled into the dirt and laid its head upon its paws staring out at the ever brightening world soulfully.

Tomorrow night it would be stronger, tomorrow night it would find its prey again and there would be no stopping it. Somewhere in the cold intelligence of the poppet, a plan began to form.