Contributor: Peter Andrews

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“Everything is a balance,” Priest says. Sat across from me, imagine a priest in a movie, you won’t go far wrong. Imagine him sat in an interrogation room, you get the idea.
Small clear packet in my hand, two red pills inside. Does he recognize these? Yes, he does, a little nod.
“Red Devils,” I say. “They don’t even have any aliases yet that I know of.”
Priest shrugs: What you don’t know…
Then he says: “Evil Nicks.”
Did he come up with that one himself? He nods. I sigh, plenty of theatre in it, sit back in the plastic chair, hand through the hair. Am I tired or getting pissed off? he should be wondering. By the look of him, he isn’t.
I took him at the church. A big one, angels and stained glass, all that stuff. This one had a basement and a fuck-off utility bill.
“The factory,” I say. “Pretty slick operation. Who was the know-how?”
He doesn’t want to talk, nothing that implicates anyone else anyway.
I lean forward, eye contact. I might be sympathising, poor gullible priest led astray by some narco ring, manipulated. Priest doesn’t look like he gives a shit about my sympathies.
Motive. “Money?” I say.
No, not money. What then? He shrugs; it’s working for him so he does it again.
“These,” I wave the baggie again, “turn people into…” dramatic pause. Touch of outrage: “Have you seen what they do? Those eyes, slithering movements, you know what I mean? Like they’re on slow-mo or something. That gaping grin thing they do, drooling. Mania, psychosis. Trapped like that for. fucking. ever.” Hammering the words with my fist on the table.
“A balance,” Priest says. I blow air out of my cheeks. Care to elaborate? The grin says maybe he will.
“Bring the Devil to this world,” he says, “and control him.”
“Doesn’t sound like a balance.”
“But there will be, there must always be. The pills take you to Hell. Come back, you’re a demon, a manifestation of damnation.”
“And what? Send in the angels?”
A nod.
“Well they’re not here yet,” I say.

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Peter Andrews is an aspiring writer, which means he thinks about it a lot and then plays video games. Once in a while he does do some work, though, and has most recently been shortlisted for the Cheshire Prize for Literature. He lives in Chester, UK, with his wife and daughter.
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