Joe followed Mrs Crow through the door at the back and down the long corridor that seemed to grow darker the further we went. Mr Crow, the fat man, and the tall man all followed behind. Lola, who hadn’t wanted to enter the first time I’d entered the home, was now trotting beside Mrs Crow quite happily. Joe, although he loved Lola with all his heart, couldn’t help feeling a little bit betrayed.
Mrs Crow entered an open doorway at the end of the corridor. Joe followed but stopped still in the doorway frozen not by fear but by a strange sense of foreboding which he couldn’t quite explain.
There was a large oval oak table polished to within an inch of its life with a large skull etched into its surface. A long scythe ran along the back of it which reminded Joe of the table used in one of his favourite programs, Sons of Anarchy. There were thirteen chairs arranged around the table.
‘Hello,’ said Mrs Crow to the room. She turned to Joe and said, pointing to an old woman wearing an oxygen mask, ‘Joe, this is Febris.’
Joe said hello to the old woman who looked like she was only inches from dying.
‘Next to her is Limos.’
‘Hello,’ said Joe.
Limos looked up, said hi, then went back to playing with his belt over which his large belly hung. Joe could see his stomach poking out from under his Metallica t-shirt. Joe couldn’t tell you why but he really took a liking to Limos.
‘And this is Marcus.’
Marcus stood up, shook his blonde hair and held out a hand to Joe. Joe took his hand in his and shook it. Marcus’ handshake was loose and his hands were very soft.
‘Hello,’ said Joe.
‘And I’m Lucifer,’ said a husky voice.
‘Lucifer?’ asked Joe, turning to where the voice had come from. He was sure that somehow all of this was a big fat joke and that at some point someone was going to jump out at him and shout “Surprise! Got you!”
Lucifer, if that was who he was (and Joe doubted this very much), was huge, both in width and height and he had a great mane of orange hair with a bushy beard and moustache. When he took Joe’s hand in his, Joe thought he was going to crush his hand to dust.
‘Yes. Pleased to meet you. And you are..?’
‘The answer to our problems. Hopefully,’ said Mrs Crow. Joe also doubted this very much. At no point in his life had he ever been the answer to anyone’s problems.
‘Sorry, but I didn’t quite catch that,’ said Marcus taking his seat.
‘Come and sit down, Joe,’ said Mrs Crow pointing to the seat at the side of her.
Joe did as he was told.