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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A growth of ivy

Not posted in a while, so as much to get back in the habit once more as anything else, here's a little tale of black magic and horticulture that has been hanging around in my hard drive for a while. Another of those originally a set of texts story that grew in the telling . 



A growth of Ivy


Once, upon a hill, far from the maddening crowd, there was a small house. Built of red brick and black tiles it had over time become under siege by twisting vines and ivy. It was a siege which the house was losing, much to the irritation of the houses resident. No matter how often or indeed how far she cut back the ivy, it would grow back twice as thick in a matter of days. She had inherited the house from an uncle she had never met, who had willed it to her on the understanding she must live in the house for a year and a day. She followed the bequest rigorously because she feared been cheated out of her inheritance if she did otherwise, holding to the truth that no lawyer could be trusted. So she moved from the bright lights of the city, where she had engaged in an active, if somewhat complicated social life, to the small house in the country, and set about living a sedate if somewhat dull life within it. Which it has to be said she quickly found bored her ridged and made her long for the complicated and engaging social life she had enjoyed previously. Life in the little cottage was sedate however only if you discounted the daily chore of hacking at the ivy. Each day she cut it back, and each morning woke to find it was more uncontrollable overgrown than ever. After a while she began to suspect some form of magic or other trickery was behind the climbing plans insidious vitality, she was not far wrong.

The uncle had been true in his bequest, and sought out a traveling lawyer to write his will, the stipulation of a year and a day however was not his own. It was one advised by the lawyer in question. “As a guarantee, as it were, that your kind bequest will not be squandered by your niece.” he had told him. The uncle, a simple country boy at heart, had never heard the old joke about lawyers at the bottom of the sea. This being the first time in his sheltered life he had used a lawyer, he was not mistrustful of 'black hearted Samuel B Starred traveling lawyer and horticultural black magician' as the sign on the cart had proclaimed. Some may call that naive. But then where would the world be without naivety and interesting advertising. So the clause about living in the house a year and a day was placed in the will. The uncle never thought to ask what happened if the clause was defaulted, and did not read the fine print. He was also most pleased with the ‘free pot plant with ever will.’ offer, which was a special for the week. Following the Uncles unexpected death a few days later, reported in the tabloids as ‘Man mauled to death by spider plant’, the recipient of the bequest being made aware of her good fortune by mail, then black hearted Samuel planted the insidious climbing ivy and cast a dark spell, imbuing it with the soul of a gueist of the lower hells.

A gueist, for those whom are unaware, is a demonic force, used by magicians of the black kind to let loose troubles upon the world. A favorite among the users of demonic forces as it is a formless spirit bound easily to black bladed runeswords or a crown for a mad king, or 1958 Plymouth fury’s among other things. This particular gueist, whom has a name not only unpronounceable but certainly unspellable, had for example once processed a toga worn by the first senator to stab Caesar in the back. He had also been the mitre worn by three successive black cardinals in the time of the Spanish Inquisition, fun times for a demonic entity. He had also spent time being one of the 'legion' of which they often are heard say "we are" in ominous tones. He had indeed been party to many foul acts. He was however a little put out to find himself contracted out to process an ivy plant. Horticultural black magicians were not something he was used to working with. Neither were lawyers. A curse on them all (and he knew the curses) he wished he had read the small print. 

 Here then are the principals of our little drama. A young woman of several frustrations, not least with her shears. Whom is also a descendant blessed with a bequest from a kindly uncle recently decease. The kindly uncle whom is he was still alive would be at a loss to understand how a spider plant acted like a rather nasty version of its name sake. Samual the black hearted lawyer with a more than passing interest in gardening and black magic. Two things more linked than you would imagine, (how else do you explain how people get such wonderful lawns). And lastly a Gueist demon trapped in an ivy plant . Perhaps not the most likely cast I shall grant you. But this is a tale most unlikely, at least that be the excuse I am using........ And so the drama continues, with what we will laughingly call a plot, before you ask the girls name is not ivy, nor is it any other plant based first name, but as she is our heroine we had best give her a name, perhaps Carrie Ann 

The lawyer watched, by use of magic’s known to him, which looked like normal daffodils to anyone else, as Carrie Ann threw down her sheers, to the relief of the frustrated demon ivy. The lawyer as if not processing enough faults, was also a voyeur. And had sent the young maiden several pot plants by interflora, which she had by happy chance for him placed around the house in convenient locations to view everything, and he took his chance to do so. Even by the standards of his profession he was a man of little redeeming qualities. He was mildly annoyed the one she had placed in the bathroom was pointed away from the shower and beginning to wilt from the steam, it played merry hell with the reception. And the mirror it was pointing at kept steaming up as well. She took a lot of hot showers after a hard days shearing. I ramble somewhat , but let it be explained the lawyer was quite taken with young miss Carrie Ann , not enough to not cheat her of her bequest of course, but enough to plan to comfort her afterwards . The ivy needed to grow faster however...

The demon agreed with the lawyer, though he was not aware of the lawyers faults, been ivy was not the worst procession job he had ever had. There was that time in Sardinia when he was forced to process a vase for twenty years, that had been dull, black magic and pottery did not. Work well in his opinion, been chopped at by shears all day was annoying to say the least however. And plants are fueled by sunlight, trying to grow over night was exhausting, he would be better off been a mushroom he was sure. He tried to distract himself with remembering been a black cardinal’s mitre and the sights he had seen non corporeally in the Inquisition, and all that lovely temptation and putting ideas in the clergy’s heads, not that they needed much in the way of encouraging when it came to torturing witches for confession, those guys had really had something against witches, hot pokers mostly. He dreamed of all those interesting ways of tying up victims, and dreamt of his creepers been the ropes. That would be haunting, as he did this the lawyer cast a growth spell ... 

Sometimes a plot takes a twist, sometimes it is easily read in advance. No complexity of plot for this tale I fear. Ivy grows, this is what it does, and even sentience of demonic kind guiding it, grow is all it can really do. As the lawyer cast his spell , the ivy began to grow , and unknowing in the little house Carrie Ann took her daily long hot shower, obscuring the mirror with steam the lawyer was using to watch her , much to his disgruntlement . It was a long hot steamy shower, and it was blissful up to a point, the point when the creepers that had wound through the house pushed open. The door and began to move through the hot moist steamy atmosphere of the bathroom and pull back the shower curtain. There was a scream , a cry of disbelief , anguish and general distraughtness as separate demonic creepers of one huge processed ivy plant wrapped themselves around ankles and wrists , and before long necks and thighs and pulled , and tugged and otherwise dragged their unwilling victim out of the shower and on to the bathroom floor naked and secured


Carrie Ann had never seen the evil dead, perhaps a blessing as the tendrils of the demonic ivy wound themselves around and up her legs, a small blessing it is true, and then again maybe not as fore knowledge is not always much in the way of comfort. The lawyer who had seen said movie was currently busy cursing his bathroom daffodil which had finally wilted completely from the steam.  He tried madly to get reception through the mold on the ceiling, but fungi are seldom receptive to horticultural black magic been more intelligent than most other flora. The ivy who had not seen the movie either, but had witnessed the worst excesses of Spanish Catholicism in the 14th century decided to wing it and grew a thicker stem, suddenly of a new opinion about demonic procession of plant life when compared to ecclesiastical clothing, he would not simply watch and make suggestions this time ... Indeed, perhaps one stem was not enough, there were options after all, and it had seen the internet, all those inventive Japanese cartoons with aliens...

There was a lot of screams, not all through horror however, then a long chat about things and a deal reached, it turned out the ivy quite liked long sunny days and frankly hated lawyers. Carrie Ann never left the cottage on the hill. Though not for the reasons you might first consider. The lawyer failed in his attempts to gain the cottage by trickery and black magic , indeed a note in the small print of the demonic contract caught him out , turns out he did not read the small print either . And hell has a special place for lawyers, they don't like it much. The ivy , learned to control its growth , quiet well in fact , much to Carrie Ann's satisfaction , quiet a lot of satisfaction in fact , as she had a leaning towards been tied up and was surprisingly receptive to intrusions , as she had seen and enjoyed Japanese cartoons as well , though she did insist on lubricant