Disclaimer: I am not Amy Winfrey. Hence…

I DON'T OWN MAKING FIENDS!

II

Tragedy of Hopelessness LXXIV

Maggie had been thirteen when the visions had started. It was a grey morning, much like any other, and she had taken her notebook to the quayside for inspiration for the latest instalment in her long-running series of poems- 'Tragedy of Hopelessness Number LXXVII.

The crashing of the waves against the colourless sand reminded the girl of death and despair, and she began to write:

The water falls against the shore

It fills our hearts with sorrow

Reminding us that though we live

We may well drown tomorrow

Washing, spilling

Washing, spilling

They move across the ground

Washing, spilling

Washing, spilling

They-

Maggie jumped suddenly, screaming and clutching her ankle. A sharp gash sliced through her skin, drops of blood were beginning to trickle down her foot.

A small black crab fiend scuttled silently across the beach, blood dripping from its claw.

00000

Vendetta cursed as she watched her brilliant plan crumbled before her eyes.

'No!' she wailed. 'You were supposed to attack Charlotte! Charlotte! Aargh!'

The little crab had been her most creative idea yet. It had been created, not to destroy Charlotte, but to inject her with venom that would cause her to have visions of the future. Then, as the moronic blue girl writhed in pain (another bonus), seeing what lay before her, she may divulge the way she would die- the way Vendetta would destroy her.

'And that,' Vendetta had thought as she dropped a crab into the oozing fiend mix, 'will give show me the way to once and for all get rid of Charlotte, the one true way to rid myself of this meddlesome girl! Heh heh heh heh heh!'

Her rage when the fiend had gone for the wrong girl had been uncontrollable. Why was it, why was it that none of her plans regarding Charlotte ever went right?

00000

Marvin often thought back to that fateful night. It was a strange occurrence- that he had found himself drawn to that mean, green fiend-maker. Until that point he had always assumed his future lay with Charlotte. Considering the fact that Charlotte thought of Vendetta as her 'best friend', his subconscious had been getting used to the horrible fact that the tyrant would have to be endured, somehow.

But never, ever, ever in his wildest dreams had he considered…THIS…

0000

You will stumble upon your fate in sleep…

Marvin stared in horror, frozen outside the house of the one person he feared most.

'My goodness!' he breathed. 'What's going on?' He was drenched; rain was still plummeting down on him. 'My home! I'd better get back to my home before she sees me!' As the boy turned to leave the window was flung wide open. His heart hammered.

'What is happening?'

Marvin leaped half a foot in the air as the Bulgarian accent he had come to be afraid of rang through the night.

'You! Marvin! What do you think you are doing here?'

Marvin was stumped. 'My…er…I…'he stuttered. In all honesty, he didn't know how he'd gotten to be there.

'Go AWAY!'

Marvin turned to leave, but hesitated. Vendetta had the power to help with Maggie's visions- she was unlikely to care, but he could still tr-

'Get lost! Or I will unleash my fiends on you!'

Marvin fled.

00000

'Doth mine ears deceive me? Didst thou truthfully traverse to the home of yon fiend-maker?'

Marvin rolled his eyes at Malachi. 'My reason…oh I don't even know why. I was sleepwalking, I must have been.'

The six of them were sitting around Mort's bedroom, their group's meeting place of late. The others had all been shocked at Marvin's revelation- even to mention Vendetta's name in ordinary conversation sent universal shivers of fear through everyone's spines (with the exception, of course, of Charlotte), but to seek her out- it was unthinkable.

'I like Vendetta's house too,' Charlotte said, her head resting on Marvin's knee. 'It's so much fun there! And all her pets- you never saw such cute things!'

The others stifled frustrated sighs. The fact that Charlotte was oblivious to Vendetta's evil ways was as much a legend as the fiend-maker herself now, albeit an annoying one, that most people preferred to ignore.

'My friend,' Marvin said, his attention focused now on Maggie, 'Do you think this has something to do with your vision?'

The mention of visions sent Maggie deeper than usual into depression, and her face drooped.

'I don't know,' she moaned. 'I wish these visions would leave me alone, they make my life one deep pit pf despair…'

'Don't worry, Maggie,' Mort said in his stuttering, almost whisper-quiet voice. 'We'll all help you with this.

'You bet,' Marion concurred. 'And then we can put our plan into action, and escape to New York!'

It was a plan they teens had been developing for a year or so now- a way of leaving Clamburg. They had discussed its many facets over the months- whether or not to bring their parents or leave them, then send for them when they'd settled, how to get out of town and when, and how to stop Charlotte from blabbing to her best buddy (she continually believed it was a vacation they were planning, and that Vendetta was invited), but it was now drawing completion, and the one last thing they had agreed on was to stop Maggie's torturous visions before they left.

'Yippee!' Charlotte jumped to her feet. 'This road trip to New York is gonna be the greatest!'

'Where art thou going?'

'I'm gonna tell Vendetta about the vacation, so she knows to start packing!'

A cry of protest rose up from the others, and the topics of Marvin's misadventure and Maggie's visions were dropped as the group tried their utmost to dissuade Charlotte from delivering their plans right into the enemy's hands.

00000

'I just cannot believe that stupid Marvin simply came to my house! Am I losing my powers of terror? Is my frightening hold over Clamburg not as strong as once it was?'

Grudge growled and shrugged as he and Vendetta stopped outside the giant pet supplies store, and his boss smashed the door open. Mr. Gumpit, his usual petrified self, leapt half a foot in the air and tried to hide behind a stack of enormous dog collars as the duo barged in.

'I will have to make a new fiend!' Vendetta schemed as she heaved a bag of hamster food off the counter. 'A ferocious fiend, to guard my house and stop stupid sleepwalkers from invading. And perhaps…' The corners of her mouth curled up into a wicked smirk, 'it will destroy all invaders! It can wipe out Charlotte- I could kill two stupid people with one stone!' She left the shop cackling.

00000

Back in Vendetta's gloomy kitchen, the villain pushed a long pigtail off her shoulders and got to work. 'Is this not the most brilliant plan yet, hamster? Keep churning! A simple fiend, but effective. Yes, my enormous serpent fiend will encircle the house, and swallow anyone who comes near! Especially Charlotte!'

The oozing black concoction bubbled fiercely in its bowl.

'Aha! It is almost ready!' The mixture had set into a rubbery lump, which wiggled onto the floor and began to expand into an immense, writhing snake. The fiend opened a pair of glowing red eyes and let a teeth-grinding hiss from its enormous mouth. Vendetta stepped back as the pulsating tail brushed past her knees and disappeared through the window, curling its massive body around the house.

'Perfect!' Vendetta exclaimed, gazing proudly out the front door at her handiwork. 'I cannot wait until Charlotte comes here and I can watch the snake eat her alive!'

00000

The last bell sounded, clanging through the walls of the school, and the students rose from their seats as Mr Milk, who'd had a difficult time this lesson teaching his maths class anything, fainted onto the floor. The students stepped over his unconscious body into the gloomy afternoon. As Vendetta stormed off to her house, her mood worsened by a tedious day at school, Charlotte let go of Marvin's hand and came bouncing towards them.

'Hi, Vendetta! Wasn't it a great day? School gets more fun every year!'

Vendetta growled under her breath. 'Get lost!'

'Why don't you come over to my house today? My Grandma's going out, and w could do our homework and do each other's make-up! I've got some gorgeous pink nail polish that would look so pretty on- '

'No! You idiot blue girl! How many times must I drill it into your tiny brain…wait a minute…' an evil smile crept across the Bulgarian's face. 'Why don't you come to MY house? I have a special surprise for you!' She laughed maliciously as Charlotte's eyes widened with delight.

'Marvin!' she called over her shoulder, grinning like a blue lunatic. 'Why don't you come to Vendetta's place? She was she has a special surprise for me! Tee hee! Come on!'

She dashed off. Marvin ran after her, horrified.

'Uh, Charlotte, I don't think that's a good idea!'

00000

Marvin's throat felt raw from the running. Ahead of him, her long blue hair flying in the wind as she fluttered along, Charlotte was nearing the crooked, menacing building.

'Charlotte!' he called. 'Wait! There might be-'

The enormous snake fiend reared its hideous head and snarled at Charlotte, opening its jaws wide to reveal its fangs.

'ooh, aren't you cute?' Charlotte clucked. The snake flicked its forked tongue and snapped at her, lunging its head forward. His adrenaline reaching an all time peak, Marvin leapt and knocked Charlotte out of the serpent's path.

'Wheeeeee…oof!' the blue girl squealed as she sailed across the yard and landed sharply. Vendetta, who had been watching from a deck chair, spluttered, sending half-chewed pieces of clam popcorn across the garden.

'No! Hurry snake! Attack her! Finish her off!'

The fiend turned, its gaze fixed on Charlotte, and darted towards her, swishing its huge tail and knocking Marvin off-balance, sending him flying through the air and into Vendetta's lap.

Charlotte giggled as the fiend flew at her, just missing as she twirled around, and ending up with a mouthful of dirt.

'You look kinda like a dragon!

Dragons, dragons, flying through the sk-ooh!

The kitty!'

Vendetta's giant cat fiend had emerged onto the scene, meowling in hunger, and, taking the snake fiend between its huge teeth, chomped it down, spitting out the fangs.

Had Vendetta been watching Charlott and her predator, she would have been enraged, but right now she was completely in shock, for when the snake had knocked Marvin into the air he had landed on her chair, his lips, by no means of his own doing, pressed against her mouth.

Marvin's blue-grey eyes widened in horror as he realised his position, and he jumped away. 'My mouth!' He scuttled off, terrified.

Vendetta sat, rigid in her chair, to stunned to speak. And then…

'AAAAAAAARGH!'

A/N: that wasn't the most conclusive of chapters, but we got the explanation of Maggie's visions, and the escape from Clamburg has been introduced. Not much MarVetta in that chapter, but that's to come…