Pepper clicked through the "Them" section of the "Lower Tadfield Air Base" memory archives, with an expression of deepening horror. All the entries were on the same lines; stories about their little gang, usuallu about things that either hadn't happened (at least as far as Pepper could remember – she knew she'd never dated Adam - not that she would have objected hugely if he'd asked, ahem - and was pretty sure Adam had never had a friend called Anthony Crowley) or things that nobody except the Them should have known.
"See what I was talking about?" whimpered Wensleydale.
"Yeah. This is . . . beyond creepy. How the hell do they know?"
"I have no idea. Check out the artwork – some of it's awful, but quite a lot's pretty accurate for someone who's probably never seen us," Adam said.
"How do you know they've never seen us!" Brian yelped. "They could be stalking us! They could have spy cameras installed in our rooms! They might be watching us right this minute!"
"Don't be silly, Brian," snapped Pepper. "We grew out of the conspiracy theories when we were twelve and Adam dumped those stupid New Aquarians! There's probably a perfectly reasonable explanation."
"Er . . . well of course I can't think of one on the spur of the moment, Jeremy Wensleydale! We don't all have your brains, you know, Mr Mensa Member."
"Whoa, let's not argue," interrupted Adam, the eternal peacemaker. "Yeah, this is weird, but it's no reason to fight. Let's all just stay calm and try to think this through."
"O-kay," said Pepper, breathing deeply to calm herself down. "Should we go to the police with this?"
"How the heck would we explain it? I don't know if this counts as stalking or violation of the Data Protection Act or what."
"Breaking copyright?" Wensleydale joked weakly.
"I dunno," Adam said. "I know it's weird, but it doesn't really seem dangerous. They haven't put our addresses or phone numbers, and none of them seem to know Brian or Pepper's last names for some reason. It's just creepy, and sort of annoying, really."
"Yeah, I guess we should keep an eye on it, but we'll leave it for now." Pepper slowly moved her hand to close down the window. Before she clicked the Exit button, she made a mental note of the address. She had to go back later and read some more of those Adam/Pepper stories. For purely research reasons, of course.
Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. SLAM.
"Bloody lousy stupid flamin' . . . gaah!" Missy hissed, marching into her flat in Dis.
"Hard day at work?" came a voice from a puppy-skin armchair.
"Is it that obvious?" said the unfortunate succubus, flinging herself down into another chair.
The dark-haired demon girl who had asked the question looked away from the latest Stephen King novel at her sister.
"Wow, I don't think I've seen you this bad since the Pikachu incident. What happened to you?"
"Trust me, Nona, you really don't want to find out."
Nona put down the book and stood up, straightening her "Secret Of NIMH" T-shirt.
"Aww, c'mon sis, you can tell me."
"No I can't. Boss said keep it quiet or else. We're not just talking discorporation here, we're talking permanent zap. Holy water injections or something."
"Wow, it's worse than the Pikachu incident then."
"You're telling me," Missy sighed and slumped in the chair. "Why is it you got a commendation for 'increasing your range' after you sent that college boy insane and set him on a killing spree, and yet I get no recognition for being forced to deal with complete morons?"
"Because all our bosses are complete morons themselves," said Nona in the nearest thing to a comforting voice a demoness can manage. She looked proudly at the photo of her most famous victim, which was pinned up between the picture of herself accepting the commendation from Beelzebub and her "Fancy Rat of the Month" calendar. The calendar was really just for show, since time in Hell doesn't pass in the way Earth creatures understand it, but Nona kept it anyway. She smirked to herself as she remembered the incident that had earned her fame.
"You know, you do still owe me a favour. Shall we say spilling the beans on why you're so ticked off is your debt settlement?"
Missy sighed. "Fine, you were gonna get it out of me sooner or later. You tell anyone else, anyone – especially Magda or that gossip Nagini or if you even think about telling that bitch Charlotte – I'll be going down anyway - don't you dare snigger – so I'll have nothing to lose by taking you with me."
"Relax, sister dear. Your secret is safe from everyone, especially Charlotte the Harlot."
Missy took a deep breath and told her the story. Nona's smirk broadened with every syllable.
"So the only time you actually made body contact is when you pulled his claws away from the CD-ROM drive?"
"Pretty much. Oh, and he stubbed out one of his cigs on me. Yeah, I know that's weird in our line of work, but he is paying me and threatening me."
"As good a reason as any, I guess," said Nona, now barely keeping her giggles under control.
"Don't you have work to go to?" said Missy coldly.
"Oh, yes. Must be going," Nona replied cheerfully. "Toodles, sister dear!"
As she dematerialised, Missy yelled after her, "Remember, let anyone know and you are so blessed!" She was actually pretty certain Nona wouldn't tell. They trusted each other, insofar as demons can trust each other, and besides, Nona was still depending on her not to tell anyone about her own humiliation during the Pikachu incident.
Notes; Nona was the title character of a Stephen King short story. It was never outright stated that she was really a demon, nor indeed that she was anything other than the product of a sociopath's hallucinations, but I decided to run with the idea because I liked the story. Read the story to get the references, it's in "Skeleton Crew". Any other King readers here? Nagini, the snake from Harry Potter, being a demon was an idea I stole from lj userdreyauberwald . As for what the "Pikachu incident" was . . . you don't want to know. I'll leave it up to your deranged imaginations.