Back in the hotel room, things were rather tense. The Red Leicester thing glowered around at the assembled seance, steam rising from its open pores, drool glimmering on its fangs. It cleared its throat with a noise like a clog in the U-bend.
"wHat-?" it began, then stopped. Things are easier for a demon. 'THe hell wITh it!', thought the Red Leicester, and, with a roar, he took a backhanded swipe at Tim and sent him spinning into the opposite wall, where he collapsed into a small neat heap.
The rest dived for cover, Jill scrambling behind a couch, Heddingly jumping nimbly behind the upturned coffee table and Bob standing in the doorway, soiling himself. No one noticed.
"Try to get to the door, Jill!" suggested Heddingly, "I'll distract it!"
Jill nodded and silently cursed - "I knew this was a bad idea..."
Seconds later Heddingly spun out from behind the table, pausing only to rip one of the legs off. He twirled it professionally in his hands, and delivered the correct challenge, in the patois of the street:
"Come and have a go, if you think that you are hard enough!"
The moment was slightly spoiled by Heddingly's pleasant upper-class accent, friendly tone and correct grasp of grammar, but it probably wouldn't have made any difference. The Leicester-thing turned a few glistening compound eyes on him, and let out a sneeze of laughter. Several tentacles appeared out of the region on the demons back which seemed to be oozing green slime; they twisted, made complex shapes in the air and swiftly removed the table leg from Heddingly's grasp, punching him in the gut for good measure.
"B****r..." he gasped then, seeing Jill slipping out the door, he wheezed:
"And now... I really must be going..." He turned and limped for the door. A great stinking claw closed around his waist and he was lifted, struggling, in front of the Leicester's leering face.
"YEEeeSSSss..." it cackled phlegmily,"AllOW uSsss To heElP..."
A polite swearword lingered in the room for a moment after the witch doctor had left it via the window. There was a screech of brakes and honking of horns from the street below.
But there was another one, thought the Leicester demon, one who glowed like a lighthouse in his red-tinted vision - the one in the bathroom.
Bob cowered behind the shower curtain and watched the shadow creep across it; he could hear the creature's heavy breathing, and smell it's fetid breath. After one heart-clenching moment, the curtain was ripped away. There was no strident violin music. There was no need for any.
Thirty seconds later, the rough beast left the hotel room, exited the hotel and sloped off down the street, looking for a bus stop.
UPS Guy had been cruising the street looking for the entrance to the carpark when a body hit the windscreen, shattering it into a million fragments, and rolled off onto the street. He screeched to a halt. The car behind him gave an angry honk.
The van door opened, and Heddingly collapsed in, holding his side tenderly and gasping for air.
"..." he explained.
Picking fragments of glass out of his hair, Guy ran across the street, into the hotel and up to the hotel room. He found the door hanging off it's hinges and the room so thoroughly trashed even Keith Moon1 would have been impressed. Jill was hunched over by the door to the bathroom, dishevelled and sniffling slightly.
"It's Bob" she quavered "In the bath... ohmygod... "
Peeping his head in, Guy saw more blood than was contained in the entire Nightmare on Elm Street series. That's a lot of blood, on the walls, on the torn shower curtain, and especially on and importantly coming out of Bob.
He was still breathing, barely, and flickered his eyes at Guy in what was most definitely a non-sexual way.
"Not good." muttered Guy assessing the situation. He had liked Bob, for no other reason than that he was so eminently bland and nondescript, qualities which Guy strove to emulate as a necessary part of his job.
"The puncture wounds are too deep, and he's probably bleeding internally."
And then, for narrative reasons, he added:
"It'd take a miracle to save him."
Meanwhile in Heaven.
On a white telephone, on a white desk, in a white room, a little white light blinked on and off.
Gabriel? I thought I told you to hold all calls."
"This needs your attention, sir. Your immediate intervention..." he said holding the handset out for God.
"Dammit man, I'm busy! Is it that little Timmy kid pestering me again?"
"I really think you should take this call." urged Gabriel.
Oh, alright... spake God, a little testily, reaching over...
Bob passed in and out of consciousness, aware of a great agony in his leaking body yet isolated from it as if by a sea of cotton wool. All the drugs coursing through his blood couldn't plug the rather large holes that had been punctured through him, though. He dazedly saw a ceiling slipping by, with concerned faces gathered around him, and heard a TV on in another ward, then blacked out again.
When he woke again, the feeling of unreality was even stronger. He looked up, wincing at the pain. A tall, kindly-looking man with a big grey beard was inspecting his progress chart and clucking. Seeing Bob was awake, he smiled, sending a wave of love and concern as thick as jam oozing over him. A whiff of roses filled the air.
"Don't be afraid," said the stranger, in a quiet, reassuring voice.
"I wasn't afraid, I just happen to be bleeding to death and I really don't want any passages of the Bible read to me, thank you. And could you open a window in here, please, it's a bit stuffy."
Bob was surprised to find he could speak without any pain. Morphine, no doubt.
"My name is John XXIII, and I'm here to help you. Just relax..."
"If you're a doctor I'd like to see your credentials. And what about some food, I'm starving. Are any of the others out in the waiting room, Jill or Heddingly? You're not a male nurse, are you?"
A flicker of irritation passed over the saint's face. Patience of Job, he told himself, patience of Job.
"Actually, I was the Pope" he sniffed. Bob looked at him blankly. "The Supreme Pontiff. Il Papa. I wore the big white hat. Oh, forget it. Ungrateful little twerp."
"You're not a doctor, are you?"
The Saint gave a flick of his wrist, and Bob slumped back on the pillow. Now he moved in to commence Healing. A few moments later, that complete, he looked over the prone figure in the bed, and remembered the instructions of his Boss. The Champion must be given every possible advantage, he had said. Pope John XXIII gave a wicked little chuckle, cracked his knuckles and improvised.