Behind him, Harold heard the startled shouts of the humans plus the screech of one very indignant monkey which had just been dumped without ceremony onto the grimy concrete.
He had no time to spare for them now.
He had to get himself as far away as possible. The rhythm of his feet pounding the pavement brought the words of a chant into his head and he found himself running in time to it: one-two-three-four-five-six-seven. All God's children go to Heaven. One-two-three-four... He pushed this irrelevance aside and tried to remember where he'd seen the safe place, it had to be around here somewhere...
"I knew it!" cried India as Harold suddenly shot past her and out the door, "It's getting away!" Taser in hand, she set off after him.
"What?" Mercury and Othello spun round in surprise, having been intent on the crumpled old speeding ticket they had found.
"The demon's making a break for it!" This was from Prada as she herself ran toward the doorway.
"Helluva time to pull a stunt like that," grumbled Othello as he and Mercury followed.
"Wait!" cried Teatime, but it was too late.
Harold was not strong as demons went but he was fast and had soon put several streets between himself and the crumbling old building. This was not a good neighbourhood, its days of prosperity were well behind it. It was a wasteland of failed businesses and broken dreams, a desolate sprawl of padlocked doors and smashed windows. Even the gangs didn't bother coming here any more, such was the spirit of listless despair that hung around the place.
Where was it?
Harold rounded a corner, passing the shuttered windows of Sweetman's Cafe - Cucumber salad a speciality and Bergdorf Solar Power and Light Inc, now ironically in total darkness. Sale of Surplus Library Books! shouted a hand-painted sign as he flashed past. He was close now, he was sure. Rooster & Trench – False Teeth and Dental Supply Company proclaimed a faded hoarding to his left. Yes! He was almost there now, just down this street: he'd seen it on the way in.
"Darn it!" India skidded to a stop in the empty street. Of the fleeing demon, there was no sign. "I knew it couldn't be trusted." There was a savage edge to her voice, "I just knew it!"
Beside her, Mercury sighed and shook his head. "Guess you were right after all." he said, "I have to hand it to that demon though, he had me fooled. I really thought he was helping us."
"It was just biding its time, obviously." added Prada, "Now what?"
"Well, we've still got –" began Mercury.
The bomb exploded.
Glass and brick fragments and great clods of earth flew everywhere, and the air immediately filled with a great spreading cloud of choking dust. Where the bomb had been, there was now a large hole in the ground as if a giant had wielded a great big invisible spoon, scooping up the earth. Knocked flat by the blast, Harold could only watch helplessly as shards of glass and lumps of masonry rained down on him from out of the smoke, the whole thing a weird sort of drizzle and fog. He'd still been too close to the bomb when it had gone off and he would be going nowhere until his vessel had repaired itself. He closed his eyes. It was such a pity that humans weren't as durable.