The night finished with a full can of sugary liquid, rolling across a dark, garage floor. It was black with day-glo letters, an energy drink – though I wasn’t interested in that kind of energy. It was also a lure.

My back was stiff, my legs were numb, and I was cold all-over. Seven hours of waiting on the Saint Marc’s Car Park floor can do that to you. My eyes were focused on one small patch of ceiling, lined with a support, and wires, a fuse-box and a security light.

Just the kind of place Gremlins would nest.

Well, it had aspects of food, energy, strength and security, all in one patch of space, overlooking a busy Wrexham shopping park.

Now, I’m not one of those kill-all-the-non-humans kind. Gremlins deserve to exists, as much as bees, or hipsters, or politicians. But when Gremlins nest, their mischievous activities increase, since they can brood fifty strong. And that’s a lot of stolen electric, chewn-through wires, and people pissed off to the Nth degree.

So they asked me to sort it out. Not just anyone can move a live nest, after all. Hell, only one in a hundred believe in Gremlins, let alone see them. But the management were looking at their insurance bill, and wondering what was happening, and called me in.

My name is Arian Wynne, and I’m a Shamanistic Investigator. Don’t look at me funny, cause you must have heard of other magic-types doing the sleuthing rounds. It’s just that I live is a medium-sized Welsh border town, and times is hard.

And times are harder for some. I’ve only recently left my dell (and no, I don’t mean a cheap computer!), and I’ve moved in the town. I go back occasionally, to commune, and clear up the rubbish left by binge-drinking teenagers, but my heart’s not there any more.

It’s a tragedy, and I think only I can see it.

Because the ley lines are fading. Those conduits of energy that criss-crossed ancient landscapes are falling out of use, and growing weaker. Roads cross them, power lines avert them, sewer pipes damn them up. Not enough Likes, probably, or falling subscription rates. Going the way of the Beebo, the Alta Vista, the Dodo and the dinosaur..

Like the old S.O.S service the Coast Guard used to keep, listening out for Morse code, decades after they’d heard the emergency message. Quaint and dated, and ultimately too bloody expensive.

The Digi-lines, however – that potential you can hold in your hand, in an iPad or Galaxy note – well, that’s a different kettle of bits altogether. You can see anywhere in the world, share thoughts and pictures instantly. Knowledge and books and people and music and connections, all in the palm of your hand.

And that’s a whole new kind of power, beyond the ability to be seen, or be heard, or post a status about how you don’t want to get out of bed because it’s too cold … Or LOLCats.

That’s what I’m a Shaman of nowadays.

And it helps keep the tariffs low too.

And why Wrexham?

Imagine a figure who’s been kicked down, every time it tried to get up. That kind of treatment can change a town’s populace, down to the very bones. A town with Small Man syndrome, casting a jealous eye at the wide-boulevards of Chester, across the border. Fiercely proud, and surprisingly humble, and willing to fight for its name. The town drew me here, like it needed me, and I needed it.

Thats why Wrexham.

Anyway, this Gremlin nest – they are actually a form of parasite, who feed on future potential. A power line would be like the best liquorice ever, a set of car keys – luxury chocolate. When you think about all the potential an aeroplane’s engine has, its no wonder they can’t help but tuck in.
So I was trying a specially prepared energy drink. I’d tried batteries and a cheap mobile phone, but to no effect. The two translucent shapes that clung to the ceiling would sniff, peer, then ultimately ignore what I’d sent them.

See, I can’t just pick them up and stuff them in a bag. They’re tapped into the electric cable, and chock full of the stolen energy it takes to give multiple births. It’s the kind of energy that can blow your eyebrows off, and no amount of rubber boots would insulate me.

So I needed both of them to come down.

And my bum’s gone numb, my legs gone dead. And I really, really needed to pee.

So as I said, a full can of sugary liquid, rolling across a dark, garage floor. I can sense their acquisitiveness being piqued, and I hope that I’ve timed it right. It took a few phone calls, and then asking someone at Maplins – but at 6 a.m., the National Grid swap over the generators just as 20 million people get up, turn on the kettle, fill the bath, all at once. And I was counting on that change of generator souring the Gremlins’ feed.

That was why I had been sat there for seven hours, waiting. I know, but I couldn’t think of anything else, and I really do like my eyebrows.

Finally, one of them pounces, and I grit my teeth. The energy drink rolls towards me, and I’m pulling on it with stiff finger tendons. I need the other one to follow too, or the whole night’s work is a bust, and send a prayer to the Weave.

Give a girl a break. I’ll owe you.

The Weave answered. The second Gremlin dropped down, and joined the first, following the can across the garage floor. Sweat poured down my back from etheric exertion.

The energy drink was specially prepared. It had spent three weeks in a broom closet in an old people’s home. While the drink was potential rich, the can itself was like an overdose of sleeping tablets, redolent of static, immobile hours, muzak and Pine-Fresh. Both Gremlins dropped to the ground, asleep, with a thud.

I swore with relief. I struggled to my feet, joints popping, and pulled on the thick rubber gloves. I picked up the Gremlins, one in each hand, and took them to my car.

I dumped them in a carefully prepared wooden crate, lined with very old telephone directories for null potential. I nailed down the lid, slapped on the carefully prepared label, and pulled out my phone for the delivery guy.

I have an old friend, well, enemy actually, who might like them both. As a gift.

And the fact that he lives in Chester has nothing to do it with at all.

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