3 Sleeps Til' Xmas

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The Great Hall

Grim was furious. He roared so loudly that Scrooge had to put his hands underneath his long white hair and cover his ears. Grim also flung bolts of lightning from his fingers at the walls around him, narrowly missing Shay-D twice. Scrooge had not been fazed in the slightest. He narrowed his eyes. They were as cold and hard as steel.

“All those souls are floating around my castle now!” Grim shouted.

“Well that’s your problem. I have things to be getting on with so I will be on my way. Thank you for the entertainment.”

“How dare you!” shouted Grim. The Shadow beside him nodded frantically, he was furious and too annoyed to speak. Then in came two familiar faces.

“Sizzle, Scythe, thank goodness.” said Grim.

The two dogs stood either side of Scrooge. They also did not look happy.

“Well, what are you waiting for? Get him.” Grim’s long bony finger pointed at Scrooge. Scrooge folded his arms and looked bored.

“Do as you’re told. I am your master and I order you to get that jumped up, no good scoundrel.”

The dogs sat down and Scrooge ruffled their spiky fur.

“It won’t work Grim. You see when someone has a dog they love it for life. In your case you have two dogs and you treat them very badly. Luckily I found them and decided to adopt them. I’m their new owner now.” The two dogs licked his hands. The Shadow of Death and Grim looked at each other in disgust.

“I wouldn’t let them do that if I were you Scrooge, I know what they eat and lick for that matter!” Sizzle and Scythe growled at Grim. Sizzle barked and flames flew out of his mouth. The flames didn’t reach the unhappy prisoners but the bars where they had touched turned red with heat.

“You walk out of here with Scrooge and that’s it.” Grim told the canines.

“Calm down Sizzle. You won’t have to put up with him anymore.” said Scrooge. The two dogs shrugged and stood up.

“Come on you two.” said Scrooge and turned to leave.

“There will be consequences.” Grim warned as Scrooge and Sizzle left the room. Scythe padded up to the cell and looked up at Grim.

“You wouldn’t leave me in here would you?” Grim appealed to his pet.

Scythe lifted his leg and had a wee against the cell’s bars.

“Ew.” said Grim.

******

Grim had not been this angry for a very long time. The shadow of Death sulked in the corner with his arms crossed. It felt like they had been in there for ages but it had only been half an hour.

“We have got to find a way out of here and when I get hold of Scrooge I’ll...” But he didn’t finish his sentence. He had an idea.

“Shay-D.” he said, “Have you got your mobile phone on you.” Shay-D shook his head.

“But you always have your phone with you.” Still he shook his head. Grim started to get very angry again. Shay-D’s most prized possession was his mobile phone. He loved playing games on it and Grim knew he took it everywhere. He was also very protective of it and didn’t like anyone else using it.

“Look I don’t want to play with it. I need to make an important phone call.” said Grim. The Shadow of Death was suspicious but he found his phone out of the darkness of his being and held it out. As Grim went to take it he pulled it back. After the second time and with Grim reassuring him he wouldn’t damage it, he had the phone. He dialled the number and held it up to his ear.

“Please hold.” said an automated voice, “The other person knows you are waiting.”

“For demon’s sake.” he said.

Then he heard ringing and finally got through.

“Hi, it’s me. Don’t hang up I need your help.” said Grim to the person on the other end of the phone, “Hey, no need to be insulting. It’s about some humans who are in trouble.” He paused as the person at the other end spoke.

“Stoney Tor. Yes they are all in limbo. Yes I know I started it, but Scrooge has turned up and he’s going to take the souls to hell.”

Grim had to hold the phone away from his ear as he was shouted at. He waited for the recipient of the telephone call to calm down.

“Okay. That’s good. Yes that would be good.” When the call finished he turned to Shay-D.

“The cavalry is on its way.” said Grim. Shay-D held his hand out for his mobile to be returned. Grim paused.

“So you have lots of games on here do you?” and there was a slight scuffle as Shay-D and Grim fought over the mobile.

* * *

David and Maisy had spent a long time running around the castle looking for their parents without success before returning to the dungeon. As they ran back into the door they had just caught the end of the small scuffle going on that appeared to have something to do with a mobile phone. They were so engrossed watching the two supernatural beings tussling that David accidentally kicked a stone across the floor as he walked up to the cell, which made the loudest noise when it hit the cell bars.

Shay-D and Grim stopped immediately and turned towards the pair. Shay-D yanked the phone out of Grim’s bony fingers while he was distracted. Unfortunately, the tip of Grim’s middle finger snapped off and dropped to the floor. They both looked down at it. The Shadow of Death gulped and hid in the dark corner of the ceiling. Grim’s jaw wobbled but he managed to hold himself together.

Grim took a deep breath and looked up at David and Maisy.

“What do you two want?” he asked angrily as he put the tip back on his finger.

“Grim, how do our parents get back into their bodies?”

“And remind me why I should help you when you ruined all my plans and got me locked me up with that dimwit.” He pointed to the dark shadow in the corner, “Look what happened to my finger. What am I going to do now?” Grim flexed his hand open and shut, grimacing as if it hurt. It didn’t but he liked being melodramatic and he loved the attention.

“Look,” said Grim, “Your parents will never get back in their bodies without our help so you will have to get us out of here or it will be too late, because even with the time left we will never locate them and get them all back to Stoney Tor by midnight. Time works differently in my world. Time moves faster. Look at the clock. We have maybe an hour if we are lucky.” David looked at Maisy. Was it a hopeless quest? Had it all been for nothing? He couldn’t imagine not seeing his Mum and Dad ever again.

“What happens at midnight?” asked Maisy, her eyes wide. Grim pointed upwards towards heaven with one finger and down towards hell with the finger on his other hand. Maisy gasped.

“Maisy he is just saying that to get out of jail. Forget it lets go.” David and Maisy turned to leave.

“When I took their souls I severed the cord that attaches the soul to the body.”

David turned. “Go on.” he said.

“Well. I am the only one who can re-attach them. I can do it by reversing the cut.” Grim lovingly ran his finger along the blade of the scythe. The sound was as bad as nails scraping down a blackboard.

“Alright, enough.” David shouted and the noise stopped. Grim walked right up to the bars.

“I knew you would see sense. Now see that cane you have stuck in your belt.” David put his hand on it.

“You are an ancestor of Jacob Toddle aren’t you?”

“Yes.” said David.

“Well now is your time to use it.”

“How? I don’t know what to do.”

“Just think of what you want to do and keep saying it over and over while pointing the handle at the cell. Then it will send a magic charge across to the cell and it will open.” David hesitated.

“Look, I need to get everyone back into their bodies and I don’t have long!”

“Can’t you give us more time?” asked David, but Grim shook his head.

“I can only use it once?” asked David. Grim nodded.

“You will have to get me out. You can’t reverse the magic on the door.”

Maisy looked at him and nodded.

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