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It’s a long story, a kind of one hundred years war, that cannot be won, and yet we keep on fighting… You were already there, in the old class room, in the heart of winter, as our teacher was telling us about the Middle Ages, and, about you, the ever present, maleficent fallen angel. You were then a mere dark shadow, near the old coal fire.

One day I was clearing the sports ground of leaves. It was cold, there was no-one else around. As I wiped the sweat off my forehead, I heard a slight stir in the pile of leaves. It wasn’t the wind: there was a small repugnant creature, bigger than a rat, looking at me through a hideous pair of red eyes.

Since then, in so many places, from my back garden to the streets of cities, the seductive face, the ugly gnarl of a thug.

VisDare 128: Devious