Commercial Break

The streets were packed, all ages and backgrounds enjoying the bright afternoon. Most were bundled up against the cold, which was almost knife-like if you stood in the wind. The seasonal celebration decorations were long gone now. The crushed white grass where the local church had raised a marquee for an extended craft fair was the only sign that something had happened here.

Today, commerce was the priority of the crowds. The bargain season may have come and gone but there was always reason to come to market, or to frequent shops and bars. Some of those shops were desperate enough to have employees outside their doors, trying to entice visitors in. Whether it was leaflets or free samples, the goal was the same: bring them in, get their money.

Ashmerrian, the Angel of Profit, turned to Garrashin, the Demon of Bargain-Hunting, and blinked all six of his eyes in disbelief. “I’m sorry?”

“Want to swap jobs for the afternoon? Spice things up a bit?”

“No! What on earth has prompted that? – I’m hoping it’s earthbound influence anyway…”

“I just thought you’d fancy a challenge?” Garrashin flashed his beautifully even teeth in a dazzling grin that made a nearby nun look thoughtful.

The pair were standing in the crossroads outside the busy shopping centre, observing the mortals around them. You would be forgiven for wondering how it was that an angel and demon could manage to not be the centre of shocked attention. The depressingly familiar reason of course was that people just didn’t want to see them. A handsome devil may be one thing, but a seven foot winged serpent quite another. Far simpler to ignore them and go about your day.

Ashmerrian folded his wings and fixed the demon with his best icy glare. “Hardly a challenge for either of us, especially here. Besides, haven’t you got a quota for deceptive deals to fill?”

“Maybe? I was hoping you could show me how it’s really done.”

“Oh get thee behind me.” Ashmerrian snapped.

“Worth a try.” Garrashin muttered. “Well if you’re going to be a spoilsport about it, I’ll be off.”

“Back to the Pound Shops again?”

“No, I know they’re your favourite.” Garrashin pouted and disappeared in a piqued cloud of brimstone. Ashmerrian shrugged and tried not to feel put out. He decided to move on, and did so in a frankly mysterious way.