Maggy’s Laundry

Pic by Arūnas Naujokas on unsplash.

There was an awful lot of washing today.

Maggy hauled the two baskets to the centre of the lawn, strapped the peg bag around her middle and began clipping clothes to the red wire that crossed the garden. Towels, jumpers, jeans. She filled one line and started on another that struck out at a right angle. She filled that with t-shirts until she came up to the garden shed.

More space was required.

She pulled the spare clothes line from the shed, tied it to the weathervane and began paying it out.

Shed to oak, oak to hawthorn, hawthorn to conservatory, conservatory to elm, elm to rowan. The red wire criss-crossed the neat garden, doubling back on itself, twisting into pointed patterns.

And Maggy hummed as she filled it with laundry. Cardies, shirts, suit trousers. Some tiny gaps between wires only fitted a sock but Maggy carried on, fingers nimble despite the first stiffenings of age. She moved in, following the lines, and the clothing grew smaller until she finished pegging up her underwear in the centre of the complex pentagram.

Black and lacy, blue and padded, beige and comfy fluttered around her face as she muttered a few words, spun three times anticlockwise and set fire to a particularly neon thong she’d bought to impress her last husband. (It had helped him find her in the dark.)

Pop.

Maggy took a step back and waved away the smoke. Seven feet of taut grey muscle and claw topped by a bull’s head stood in the centre of her washing. Burning chains dropped from two curving horns on its head, and the snort of breath that pushed into Maggy’s chest smelt of burning flesh and sulphur.

“You dare summon me from the fiery pit?”

“Hullo Agrabak,” said Maggy. “Apologies for the short notice but I’ve got a lot on.”

The demon blinked his obsidian eyes. He didn’t have eyebrows to raise.

“I really need your help mowing the lawn. Just keep an eye out on the borders, and if you could help me with scrubbing the pans after that would be super too.”

The creature nodded: “The usual arrangement?”

Maggy turned towards the house, hoisting the empty baskets on her hip. “You’re a star. Of course, there’s some scones inside for when you’re done.”

“As you wish, Mrs M.” The demon’s coal black tongue flicked around its blistering lips.

 “And watch out for the laundry with your headgear!” Maggy shouted, and he ducked just in time to barely singe her favourite Alice Cooper t-shirt.

This was based on a prompt from Writers’ HQ Flash Face-Off and featured in the 4th September showcase. Like flash fiction? Check out their weekly prompts and event!

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