"She's hardly one for rattling around on her own, is she?" Harold shook his head, wishing the imp was close enough to be clipped across the ear. "She's got Stinky for one thing. He takes care of all her needs."
"Huh!" Delirious snorted. "Granddad? You have to keep him topped up with coffee and cigarettes else he collapses into a heap of self-pity and vitriol."
Harold scraped his lips against his teeth. "I know a few people like that. Not just for lack of coffee either. Some people just prefer to live that way."
"People like that can't wait to get to Hell." Delirious sidled down the bookcase, his hooves clattering across the spines of Victorian bibles. Contrary to popular belief, they didn't burn prints into the leather. "Is Julie coming in today? Only John can't settle, see? He's trying to repair that copy of the Malleus Maleficorium you picked up at the sale but his hand is wobbly."
"It's Wrack you're asking about then, not Julie." Harold nodded toward the market. She's on her way. Talking of which, if Mum was alone all weekend I'll eat my hat. She has needs Stinky can't satisfy."
"You should still visit. She should move in with you at the manor. Then she could look after you."
"I have no desire to be micro-managed by my mother, thanks. I have enough of that with Gillian and Jasfoup. Besides, when did you last visit your mum?"
"You must be joking. She's had four broods since. The bond between an imp and his mother is severed as soon as he leaves the cave. I'm an adult now. If I went to see her she'd think..." He shook his head. "No. Let's not even go there."
"Probably wise." Harold opened the door. "Julie! How nice of you to come."