“Too weird... frightening even...I don’t like it. Angelo, if you never chopped off his hand, who did?” Marco said, in his thick Italian accent. “WHO DID?” The Mafia guy repeated
louder still, and sounding scared
When I entered the office he had tapped the national ‘SUN’ newspaper laid out in front of him. His face remained the colour of alabaster as he looked at me. I scratched my head,
trying to maintain a puzzled look on my face. Years of playing poker helped with the deception.
“Beats me Marco, I killed him like you said to, him stealing cocaine from you, and all that. But I know nothing…about the hand...and the blood thing. Maybe the police…they always
know more than we do. I tell you all I did was loop a rope around his neck and push him out of the window. Only made him famous by being on the news on television.”
I left a worried Marco still staring at the headlines; he was unaware I lied. Sure, I killed Cooper. I also chopped off his hand because I needed it for my plans. Big plans.
It was my underling, Joe from Oxford, who first put the idea in my head. We’d been talking about making money-using magic and then this scheme cropped up. I guess money is my god and
I wanted a bank balance to prove it. Like now.
“My witch-mother knows how to make a dragon claw from the hand of a dead man,” Joe explained. “All we do then is light the candle stuck in the claw and everybody falls asleep. In the
old days thieves robbed houses this way. For money she’ll make you a dragon claw. It is just like the infamous ‘Hand of Glory’, except around this part of the country we call it the ’dragon claw.’
Are you game to give it a try? It is quite safe to use. She says you will be protected by witchcraft. Can you get the hand of a dead man?”
Two months later the dragon claw arrived. It was old, black and crinkle-cut looking after being treated with so many mixtures and preservatives. I was fascinated and couldn’t take my
eyes off the red candle gripped by the dragon claw. The treated skin from Cooper’s hand was stretched over persimmon wood and smelt of pentatonic acid. I also smelt traces of tar and
"Light the candle, mutter the words; everybody sleeps,” Joe explained. “It always works and you have the umbrella of witchcraft around you for protection. It’s even safer than
I felt wonderful. Ten days later I flew Swiss Air with Marco to transfer a Mafia bank account. Naturally I took the claw along.
On the return to London I took the claw with me to the toilet at about 2 in the morning. I was brimful with nervous energy as I lit the red candle.
Flames shot up followed by a strange aromatic smell as I muttered the sacred words of darkness. Slate black images shot with splinters of white whizzed by my open eyes, testing my
perception. So surreal! I saw content I’d only ever seen in a nightmare before. Now I saw the images and remembered them, sights straight out of Hell.
I came out of the toilet to find everybody acting dead. I couldn’t even wake Joe. So it worked. I punched the air with delight. In minutes I opened Marco’s briefcase taking out all
Excitement. So easy or what? I collected the dragon claw from the toilet, returning it to my case. I knew now all I needed to do was just wait until the plane landed in
I’m so scared; it’s one in the morning. Why is everybody still asleep? What’s gone wrong? I can’t understand how we can have been flying for over 24 hours and not reached
Hours later I got more spooked; the money was still in my case but now the claw had gone. I sweated, cold sweat, wondering what might follow next.
I noticed it wasn’t dark anymore outside the aircraft. Now the sky was a mad fiery red. It was far too bright, too vivid for sunrise. Then sweat sprouted on my hand and face, as
instinctively I knew I’d stirred up the spawn of Satan.
I tried to think. The dragon claw held the key to the bizarre situation but it disappeared from my case. I needed to find it even if it meant searching the whole aircraft.
I decided to look inside the pilot’s cabin. As I opened the door, I saw the pilot and co-pilot slumped in their seats. In front of them was the red sky, quite visible through the
I was shocked. So much for the auto pilot taking over from the airline pilot. Now there was the dragon claw gripping the controls and moving over the complicated panels. It was
flying the Boeing onto some strange destination. It knew what to do!
The claw working the controls mesmerized me. And then I recollected Cooper being a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Marco wanted him killed because he creamed off some cocaine from a
My legs of jelly meant I was too frightened to think straight. Where was this dragon claw taking me and why have I been flying for so long?
I heard a cough behind me. It was the young and very blonde air-hostess. She was gasping as if about to go into a panic attack. Her blue eyes latched onto the dragon claw. She
screamed. I guess she was the first person to wake up. She screamed again and bit the back of her knuckles.
I slipped an arm around her shoulder and followed her gaze. Now I gasped at the huge circle of flames several hundreds of feet high right ahead of us. The claw was taking us there.
Suddenly daemons shot out of the opening like black dots and headed for us. Minutes later they were all around the plane laughing and banging on the aircraft. They pressed their
faces up to the windows. Their faces distorted. Hideous. So evil.
A moment later I saw it. A dragon circling the aircraft and then as it hovered by the huge opening to Hell I saw flames shoot from its mouth and rows of savage teeth.
Even as I said those words the dragon claw went berserk. It flicked a switch and Cooper’s voice boomed through the speaker system telling us we were going to land.
The air-hostess shook with fright. I tightened my grip on her and she seemed to draw on my strength. Then she sobbed. I increased my grip on her as we braced ourselves for the
She started crying, started saying things. Then I caught the words.
“The Dragon-don’t let him get me. Please. I’m the virgin the dragon wants. I know it. Do something-anything!”
Visions of St. George and the dragon tumbled through my mind leading me onto a snapshot of a virgin tied to a black rock in the centre of a lake. My imagination ran riot.
I realized what she was saying but how could I kill her when I was a coward, too scared of dying alone.
I closed my eyes for a second and the air-hostess, her lovely head on my forearm, now became a vicious skull biting me; drawing blood. To cap it all Cooper was laughing. Laughing.
I screamed as the teeth bit deeper. I cried out with the pain and the skull dropped on the floor to attack me once more. Again, I lashed out but to no avail as Cooper kept urging it
Suddenly the Dragon appeared, right up against the windscreen of the cockpit looking at me. It was so huge and menacing. I’d never seen its like before.
Everybody on board woke up to see...the Dragon!
The last thing I heard was the screaming.
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