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Story 1

Maureen Bowden

We all know Hell has its drawbacks. In this case so much so that a literal Demon Biker from Hell wants to defect -- to the Mortal Realm.

And we mortals think we have problems....

Maureen Bowden is a Liverpudlian, living with her musician husband in North Wales. She has had more than a hundred stories and poems accepted for publication by paying markets, and Silver Pen publishers nominated one of her stories for the 2015 international Pushcart Prize. She also writes song lyrics, mostly comic political satire, set to traditional melodies. Her husband has performed these in folk music clubs throughout England and Wales. In 2013 she obtained a First Class Honours Degree from the Open University. As well as Literature and History, the Degree included modules in Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing. She achieved a distinction in both. She loves her family and friends, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Shakespeare, and cats.

Hell's Bells and Bikers is a story about a biker club that may or may not have a real life facsimile, a young demon, and his goddess. She has her own story. That remains to be told.-- Maureen Bowden




Hell’s Bells and Bikers

By Maureen Bowden


My name is Brian and I’m a demon. Until recently I lived on a council housing estate in the scuzzier side of Hell, and I was a member of The Bluds: The Beelzebub Legion of Underworld Denizens.

So much for the bio. Here’s the story.

It was the night of the winter solstice when the Big Man, Mephistopheles himself, gatecrashed our clubhouse party. “I’m dreaming of a quiet Yuletide, just like the ones I used to know,” he said, “and I don’t need pandemonium disturbing my peace. How do you lot fancy raising Hell in the mortal realm for a change?”

Pandemonium was something of an exaggeration, as there were only six of us, but I didn’t care. I wouldn’t have to listen to his paranoid hyperbole much longer. My inner demon punched the metaphorical air and yelled, “Yee-Haw!” This was my chance to get the Hell out of there, and I didn’t intend to return.

Our president, Colin, pretending we had a choice, said, “I’ll call a meeting with the brothers, and get back to you on that.”

Big M, oozing sarcasm, said, “You do that.”

Arthur, Leslie, Trevor and Keith, had girlfriends: Perdita, Desdemona, Lorelei and Beryl. Colin and I were single and still looking. Arthur informed their ladies of our forthcoming sojourn up above. Noticing the glances that passed between them, I suspected that this was the best news they’d had in centuries. Leslie, ever the gallant, said, “You can come if you like.”

    They replied in unison, like a well-rehearsed girl-band, “No, you’re alright, lads. Off you go. Have fun.”

    We manifested outside the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in Leytonstone, which is somewhere in the vicinity of London. Across the street, music blasted through the open door of a large, early twentieth-century house. I had undertaken extensive studies of human social behaviour and popular culture in the western world, and I recognised the music as Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell. It seemed appropriate. On examining the building’s exterior, I formed the opinion that it was a biker clubhouse. A Che Guevara poster hung in the window, and a life-size cardboard cutout of Cher, wearing a basque, leaned against the porch. We crossed the street to investigate further. I was right. An inscription above the door read,

‘Sons of Chaos MC, founded 1956

Chaos Rules’

    Colin said, “Sounds like there’s a party going on. Let’s gatecrash.”

    “I wouldn’t advise it,” I said. “Ring the bell and ask nicely.”

    A snarling giant, as broad as he was tall, with enough facial hair to stuff a duvet, answered our summons. He said, “Who the Hell are you?”

Colin tilted back his head, to meet the giant’s stare. “We’re The Bluds.”

“You’re demons, right?”

“Yeah, how did you guess?”

“The horns and tails are a dead giveaway.”

“We bring you season’s greetings from Hell.”

“Hang on, I’ll get the Pres.” He turned to walk back into the house, revealing the ‘Sons of Chaos’ skull logo on the back of his jacket, and his name patch: ‘Groper’. 

We waited. Five minutes or so later the president came to the door. He had a shaved head and a forked-tongued reptile tattoo on his neck. He said, “You’re on our turf, uninvited. Are you brave or stupid?”

Colin held out a bottle of ‘Dungeon Dimensions’ Gut Rot. “We come bearing gifts,” he said.

The president took a swig and nodded. “You’re in.” He offered his hand, “Snake.”

“Colin.” They exchanged the Presidents’ Handshake, and we followed Snake inside. The lighting was dim, the music was loud, the bikers were drunk. If you want more description, make it up yourselves. 

A metallic rumble from the hall rose to a roar. “What’s that?” I asked Snake.

“Moxy, trying to ride his bike up the stairs. He does it every Yuletide.”


“Because they’re there. Didn’t you ever try it?”

“There aren’t any stairs in Hell, nor bikes. We don’t go far enough to need them.”

“You need them now, Brother.” He slapped me on the back. We’re planning a beach party a couple of miles away. The Bluds can ride pillion if you’re up for it.”

We were up for it, and we had our first encounter with a fleet of Harley Davidsons. Heaven couldn’t be as sweet.

The Sons lit a bonfire on the beach. We entertained them by dancing in the flames as they boogied on the sand to the sound, issuing from digital devices, of George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers. Arthur, Trevor and Keith played air guitar with Moxy, Jango and Scouse, while Groper and Mocker did moonies in the moonlight.

Colin was preoccupied, watching a slim, dark-haired girl skinny-dipping in the cold sea.

Snake watched him watching her. “Her name’s Annie,” he said, “short for Anarchy. She’s with Jango. He reckons she’s some kind of goddess.”

“She’s that alright,” Colin said.

Annie emerged from the breakers, and Jango threw her a towel. She strolled across the sand to join us, raised a hand to Colin’s forehead and stroked one of his horns. Smiling, she snapped it off. He yelped. She took a bite out of it, chewed, and spat it out.

“I forgot to mention,” Snake said, “Jango also reckons she’s a horn grinder”. Colin rubbed his fingers over the stump. He had tears in his eyes.

“Never mind, Col,” I said. “You’ll soon be tooled up again. It’ll only take a couple of millennia to grow back.”

I found my own goddess dancing at the water’s edge with mistletoe in her golden hair. “Hi, I’m Brian,” I said.

“I’m Harmony. You can call me Harm.”

I can recall very little of the beach party after I placed myself in Harm’s way, but I remember the ride back to the clubhouse. She had her own bike, and I sat behind with my arms around her, lost in the humming of the Harleys.

Back at the clubhouse we imbibed large quantities of ‘Dungeon Dimensions’ special brew, mixed with a mortal realm concoction, ‘Chaos Punch’. A fair percentage of it was regurgitated as pools of puke, but nobody seemed to mind. In the mellow hours the Sons passed around strange inhalers that filled us with goodwill to all human and demon kind, and in the Yuletide dawn we fell asleep.

The Bluds awoke about noon with a ringing in our ears. Hell’s bells were calling us home. “Time to go, Brothers,” Colin said, “but there’s one thing I’d like to do before we leave. Could I have a cup of tea, Snake?”

Snake called to Mocker, “Teas all round. Make it quick.” He turned back to us. “He’s a prospect. Doesn’t have his full patches yet. They have to be earned. He does whatever we tell him.” I took note of this. It was useful information.

Mocker shuffled into the kitchen and a few seconds later shuffled back. He said, “There’s a turd in the tea bags.”

Snake said, “Tea’s off. Anyone for coffee?”

While we sipped our Nescafe Gold Blend, I said to Colin, “I’m not going back. I’m leaving the Bluds and staying with Harm.”

“Big M won’t be laughing.”

“If he wants me, he’ll have to come and get me.”

We had a brotherhood hug before they left; then they went to Hell. I said to Snake, “Can I prospect for The Sons? I want my patches, and I don’t care what I have to do to get them.”

“Right,” he said. “Start by mopping up the puke, and when you’ve done that, you can get rid of the turd in the teabags.”


Three weeks later Big M showed up. He gave the Handshake to Snake. “It’s been a long time, little brother.”

    Mocker and I were cleaning the fridge. “What does he mean by that?” I asked him.

    “They’re half brothers: both sons of your actual Chaos.” He removed a half-eaten Cornish Pastie from the back of the top shelf, examined its fungus-covered surface and evolving eco-system, and chucked it in the bin. “Snake’s mammy was Sandra Fishwick, a check-out chick from the Co-op. Who was your Big Man’s?”

“A bad-ass babe called Caligine.” I’d learned the story in my Junior School demonology lessons. Big M’s mammy had called him Erebus, Dark Lord of the Underworld. Mephistopheles was his street name.

Mocker and I forgot about the fridge’s decomposing contents, and we watched the confrontation. Snake accepted the Handshake, but offered no brotherly backslapping. He said. “State your business, Bro’.”

Mephistopheles said, “I’ve come for my boy.”

Snake laughed, “You might have a problem there, Big Man.” The Sons lined up, shoulder to shoulder, behind their Pres. The Vice-Pres, Jango, signalled Mocker and me to join them.

Thunder rumbled, lightning flashed, and hail pelted the windows. Big M said, “What problem might that be?”

Harm stepped between them. “Me,” she said. “The boy’s mine now, and I’m a keeper.” Annie left Jango’s side and joined her. In a blast of cold air the door flew open and a tall, beautiful woman with Hellfire-coloured hair strode in.

Annie said, “Hello, Mother.”

“Harm said. “Hi, Granny.”

Snake said, “You’re looking good, Amber.”

The woman said, “So are you, Snake.” 

Jango whispered, “Now the fun starts.”

     “What’s Amber short for?” I asked him.

     “Ambiguity. When she smiles, you don’t know whether to smile back or head for the hills.” I guessed the hills would be the better option.

     “Who are they, really?”

     “The Triple Goddess: Maiden, Mother and Crone.”

     “But they appear to be the same age.”

     “They appear to be anything they choose.” 

     Big M said, “Well, well, I wasn’t expecting to meet you here, ladies.”

     Amber pointed her finger at him. Suddenly she looked ancient, and her voice crackled like ice on a glaciated lake. “Cross us if you dare, little demon. The day will come when we will crush you beneath our heels.”

     The Big Man puffed out his chest, but the posturing didn’t fool me. I’d known him for too long. Sweat beaded beneath his horns, and his tail tried to hide between his legs.

“Okay, no need to get apocalyptic,” he said. “We’ll cross that chasm when we come to it.” He turned to Harm. “You want the young Blud, he’s yours, for old times’ sake.”

      “Right,” she said. “That’s settled. Now you can go to Hell.”  He went.

Amber called to me, “You, boy, put the kettle on. I could murder a cup of tea.”

I grinned, “Coming up. We got rid of the turd.”

The End


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