Kevin frowned, concentrating intently as he moved several delicate pieces of wiring within the music system into new positions. This was difficult work. Precision work. But the fact he was barely an inch tall certainly gave him an advantage.
He started connecting the wires, the feeling of a job well done making him smile. The moment the final wires touched there was a crack and sparks flew. Kevin was thrown backwards, slamming into the back of the music system’s housing. He sat there for a few moments in a daze, the smell of burning electronics all around him. He shook his head. It was time to get out of there!
He moved to the side of the music system, to the small gap he’d managed to find his way in through, and repeated the process on the way out. It was very similar to how mice were able to squeeze through gaps which looked far too small for them, but it wasn’t the fastest process in the world. It took him several seconds to squeeze all the way out… which turned out to be too long. A hand clamped around him, squeezing tightly.
After a moment’s shock, Kevin struggled to get free. He couldn’t even shift the fingers holding onto him. That was a bad sign. It wasn’t that a human couldn’t manage to hold on to him if they really tried, but it took a lot more force than any human would normally apply to something so small. That meant either this was a human who’d dealt with his kind before, which would be bad, or it wasn’t a human… which could be much worse.
He put everything he had into wriggling within the grasp, and did just enough to pop his head out between the hand and the fingers. He found a face staring at him. A face that did not look happy.
“What have you done to my music system?” asked the voice which went with the face.
“I… er… I was… fixing it?” said Kevin.
“Fixing?” Now the voice was dripping with sarcasm. “Of course you were. That’s why a perfectly working music system is now sparking, smoking, and on the edge of catching fire. Because you decided to fix it.”
“Honestly! I really was trying to fix it!”
“Don’t waste my time. I know what you are. And I know exactly what your kind means when they say fix. Gremlins! Nasty little buggers. I’ve not had one of you around for a long time. You are most certainly not welcome here.”
“I’m telling the truth! I was trying to fix it! I mean repair it. Not fix it the way most gremlins would. It wasn’t working properly. There was a slight hiss coming through one of the speakers. Something wasn’t quite aligned correctly.”
Whoever had a hold of Kevin paused at that, then frowned.
“There… was a slight problem with the sound. You are right about that. But I’d hardly call this an improvement.”
“I’m sorry! I tried to repair it. I know I did everything right. I don’t understand what went wrong.”
“You. A gremlin. You were trying to repair something? Really repair it? That hardly seems likely.”
“Why? Just because most gremlins go out of their way to break things? Because they do that, I must be the same?”
“Not most other. Every other. Which seems to make you rather an unusual exception. If you’re telling the truth.”
“Yes. Well. Just because everyone else does something doesn’t mean I have to, does it? I mean, look at you, you’re…” Kevin gulped as he realised just who was holding him. No, this wasn’t a human. It was a vampire!
“I’m what?” asked the vampire.
“Well… some vampires drink blood. They’ve even been known to eat those of my species. But that doesn’t automatically mean you are going to do the same. I hope!”
The vampire stared at Kevin a little longer, then cracked a slight smile.
“That is a good point. No, I’m not the sort of vampire who goes around drinking blood. Or eating gremlins. That’s not to say I welcome gremlins in my house.” “No, I can understand that. I mean, any of the others… you’re right. They would have wrecked your stereo deliberately. Instead I…” He trailed off, looking at the smoking ruin.