Here's a story I won an award for at my school (under my real name, of course). If you find it offensive, please, tell me, but I'll warn you now that if you get rude, I'll get rude.

By Dana Quell

"And if the blue faced demon should come to you and tap you with her skull-topped cane, you'll die. Do you see now why we must live in God's light and not go back to those Pagan ways?" the mother asked her children upon completing the story.

The boy and girl nodded. "We don't want to die," said the boy in reply.

His mother smiled sadly. "Everything dies eventually. What you mean is you do not want to die before your time."

"Yes, that's what I must have meant." He didn't understand, but just echoed her words to reassure her. He was the type of little boy that's sensitive to his mother's feelings, trying his hardest not to hurt her in any way.

She smiled again and stood. "Goodnight, Daniel, Brigit," she said, turning the lights out.

After a few moments of listening to the rain fall and the wind howl, the girl, Brigit, spoke. "Danny, do you think she'll come for us tonight? The demon, I mean."

"I don't think so, Brigit. Mother said we weren't to die before our time. I think she meant that we won't die for a very long time."

"Oh. Danny-"

"Brigit, just go to sleep!" he whisper-shouted across the room. She obeyed, having no choice. Brigit was six years the younger, being only seven when Danny had seen thirteen years pass.

There was a tapping at the single glass window, and both children snuggled deeper underneath their blankets, passing the sound off as a branch hitting the window.

The sound continued, and Brigit, realizing something very wrong with her theory, grew frightened. "Danny, do you hear that? What is it?"

Danny, almost in dreamland, replied sleepily, "Just the wind, blowing a branch across the window."

"But Danny, there's no tree outside."

There was no sound but the wind and rain for a few seconds. Then the tapping came again. The children gasped, and Brigit ran across the room to her brother's bed. He pulled her into a frightened embrace and whispered, "It's going to be all right," into her ear, over and over again.

The tapping came a third time, then stopped and disappeared. Brigit and Danny, relieved and hopeful, went back to their individual beds and fell asleep to dream about nothing.

The next morning, Danny was awoken to his sister's scream. "Burgh!" He snapped to attention and immediately ran outside, to where the scream had emanated.

Brigit was cradling a cat's body gently, sobbing quietly. She rocked back and forth. "Burgh, poor Burgh," she kept repeating.

Burgh had been their mousing cat, and had lived on the family's farm since practically forever. She was old and sickly, unable to do more than sit around and sun herself, but the family still loved her. To see Burgh's lifeless body cradled in Brigit's arms broke Danny's heart.

A few hours and couple hundred tears later, they buried her underneath her favourite tree, the huge great elder tree in front of the small, one story house. Their mother read a passage of death from the Bible, and their father, their sick, ailing father, watched from inside through the western window. Danny had rid himself of his tears by that point, the only trace left being his red rimmed eyes, and Brigit had controlled her sobs to sniffles.

That night, their mother, with dry eyes but a heavy heart, tucked them in once again and told them a story. This one was about the old religion's Summerland and the gods and goddesses that lived there. At the end of the story, she made mention of Burgh and how she was now in a better place. "Summerland? Is that where she is?" Brigit asked with the naivete of a seven year old.

"No, dummy. Burgh's in cat heaven right now," Danny replied, sticking out his tongue at his sister. She stuck her tongue back.

Their mother silenced them. "There's no such thing as cat heaven, or Summerland. Heaven is God's place, just for people. And Summerland is just a made up place."

"But can cats go there?" Brigit asked.

Danny laughed. "Cats can't go to a made up place!"

"That's enough," their mother broke in. "Now, it's time for bed. Say your prayers and go to bed. Goodnight."

So they did. And after the lights were turned out, the tapping on the window came again. Three times came the tap, just as the night before. This time the children were only a little less afraid.

The next morning was nearly an identical scene to the one before. The only differences were the fact that this time it was Danny that found the body, and that it had been their dog, Oscar, to die. They buried him next to Burgh.

Too soon, night came. The children dreaded its coming all day, for it seemed that everytime night fell, with it came the tapping. And with the tapping came death. It was almost as if the blue-faced demon was tapping on the window herself and hunting for her next victim.

Their mother tucked them in after prayers this night, and told them a story. This one was about two children, lost in the woods. They thought they were going to freeze to their deaths, but before that could happen they were saved by a beautiful angel. After she had finished the story, their mother asked what that occurence was called.

"A miracle," Danny muttered. He was in no mood to play these games, after having two beloved pets die in as many days.

His mother said goodnight and left for her own bed. Shortly after, the tapping began again.

Danny was frustrated and tired, and apparently not thinking right. He marched out of the room, followed by a curious Brigit.

"Danny, where are you going?" she asked, a bit frightened about being left by herself.

"To see what that tapping is, once and for all," he replied, striding, quite well for a nine year old, into the house's foyer. He threw open the front door and shrieked when he saw the woman's image, illuminated by the porch lights.

"Danny?" Brigit stopped when she saw the figure in the door. "Caille-"

"Don't, Brigit. It's not good to say demon's names."

"Mother did it," Brigit whined.

Danny didn't take his eyes off the woman before him. "Mother's a fool," he replied, realizing a truth that he had never understood, a truth that most people never in their lifetimes understood.

"Aren't you going to invite me in?" the woman asked. She stood at about medium height, with white hair and a bluish face. In her hand she held a staff, topped with a skull. Danny didn't answer her. "Well? Where's your manners boy?" Still no answer. "Why, back in my day...."

"What do you want?" His voice finally came back to him.

"I've come to ease his suffering," she replied. "Please, let me in."

"Father," Brigit gasped. "She's come for Father. Don't let her in Danny, she's come for Father!"

Danny stared at the demon. "Is it true?"

She nodded slowly. "I'm afraid it is, Danny. It's never easy to do this, especially after talking to children like you, but ever since the Christians came along and bumped me down in the hierarchy from Goddess to demon, this has been my job."

"What if he doesn't let you in? What'll you do then, huh? Huh?" Brigit mocked.

"Brigit, shut up and go to bed! Now!" Danny yelled. She obediently trudged, like the good sister she was, back to their shared room and waited. She was nearly asleep when he re-entered the room.

"Is the demon gone?" the girl asked.

Danny nodded, collapsing on his bed. "She's gone. But I wish you wouldn't call Cailleach a demon. After talking with her, I've found she's not."

"Then what is she, a Goddess?" Her tone had taken on a bitter edge to it; who could blame her for not believing it, after all the Christian lore her mother had pumped into her head.

"No. She is just a woman, doing her job like any other."

Brigit sat up. "You didn't let her in, did you? You didn't let her get to Father?"

Danny's voice quivered- he was on the verge of breaking down. "I had to, Brigit. No matter how much I fear losing Father, I had to. It's her job, damn it."

"Danny, how could you? How could you?!" Brigit's wails called up to the heavens at the same time as their mother's, who had gotten up to check on the children only to discover her ailing husband cold and dead in their bed.

"I had to. I had to. I had to. I had to," Danny repeated, over and over again over the sighs and laments of the women of the family. He began to weep also.

Some stories never ended happily, Cailleach thought as she stared at the house. Sighing, she turned and fled into the starry night.

The End