He looked at Agnes and Hel who were both studying him with a mixture of amusement and concern. He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. What the fuck had just happened? Why was he so grumpy? And, more importantly, why the fuck had he just fainted upon seeing a badly healing scar?
What the hell was going on?
And why the fuck was he swearing so much?
‘You ok?’ asked Hel.
No, he really wasn’t and now his face was turning red with shame.
‘I’m sorry for snapping, I don’t know what’s wrong with me,’ he said, rubbing the back of his head. He’d got a nice lump developing there.
‘It’s all good,’ said Agnes, producing a large mug of tea from thin air, ‘I find a cup of tea helps in any stressful situation.’
Joe took the mug from her. It was decorated with dancing unicorns.
‘It’s this place,’ said Hel.
‘Not my cottage?’ asked Agnes.
‘No. The forest.’
‘Ahhhh, I see. Yes,’ said Agnes, rubbing her chin with her hand, ‘it is the Forest of Suffering after all.’ She looked at Joe with those large eyes full of concern and all his grumpiness began to melt away. Again. She had a habit of doing that.
‘It probably doesn’t help that you’re alive.’
‘No, it probably doesn’t,’ said Hel, looking at him in sympathy, her hand firmly on her hips.
‘Maybe we should do something about that?’
‘WHAT?’ shrieked Joe, recoiling back into his chair. ‘I’m okay alive, thanks. I don’t want to die!’
‘No silly, I’m not going to hurt you. You just need a restorative tincture or maybe something a little stronger, hang on.’ Agnes swooped over to a small cupboard in the corner of the room and began to root around in it.
Joe took a sip of his tea to calm his nerves. Things were getting way out of hand.
‘Yes, got it!’ shouted Agnes, spinning on her heels, a small bottle full of a green substance raised in the air.
‘It’s Dead Man Walking.’
Joe gulped loudly.
‘Don’t worry,’ said the witch darting over to where Joe sat.
But he was worried.