Kurt Wagner

A 20-post collection

Fanfic Time: Heaven, Earth and Hell, part 5

Continued from yesterday:

  Three days passed without a resurgance of the Wagners. Celia knew better than to hope they had gone forever, but she was glad that Demon was back to his show-off self. The poor kid seemed to live from moment to moment, finding joy in whatever small slice he could get.

  “Hey-hey! It’s *Kurt*!”

  _What the–?_ Celia turned, trying to find the unfamilliar speaker. At her heels, on his leash, Demon turned, too.

  There was a truck driver heading towards them. His rig, left behind for the roadies to sort out, bore the logo of the delivery company that made sure the circus was fed.

  “Hey, li'l buddy,” the trucker cooed, kneeling to ruffle Demon’s hair. “You remember uncle Jake-o, doncha?”

  Demon purred, giving the man a welcome usually reserved by cats for allergy sufferers. And pawing at his pockets.

  “Hah! You remember me,” Jake grinned up at Celia. “Five seconds and he’s lookin’ for the doughnut.”

  “He eats doughnuts?” _Stupid. He’s an omnivore. And so far, he hasn’t met a food group he didn’t like._

  “My li'l buddy Kurt’ll eat *anything*.” Jake fished in his pockets and produced the pastry in question.

  Demon - no, *Curt* - sat up and begged.

  Jake chuckled. “Ready, boy?” He carefully balanced the doughnut on Curt’s nose. “Man, oh man, am I glad you got ‘im now. Those assholes who had 'im before didn’t know nothin’ 'bout treatin’ him right.”

  “The Wagners told me his name was Demon.”

  “Wagners? *HA*! Is *that* the name they’re using this week? Naw. Those two idjits is the Lampreys. Small-time grifters who don’t know nothin’ 'bout *nothin’*…”

  Curt whimpered. He still had the doughnut on his nose.

  “Okay, *go*!”


  In one swift motion, the doughnut was flipped into the air and snatched into Curt’s mouth.

  Jake grinned wide. “Ain’t that the darndest thing? He used to beg doughnuts offa me 'bout coupla years back, before they moved. He’s real smart, whatever he is. Usedta figure he was some kinda 'coon-ape or somethin’.”

  Another begging posture.

  Jake bought out a bag with a sigh of resignation. “There goes the rest of the dozen… Not that I mind. A critter like Kurt’s a joy to behold.” This time, he just passed the doughnut down.

  {unk} followed by the deep rumble of Curt’s purr.

  “Do you know anything about… his care and maintenance?” Celia probed. Any information source was a good one.

  “Only that the Lampreys’re complete fucknuckles,” another doughnut met swift blue oblivion. “Never treated the poor critter right. Hollerin’ at him for any ol’ thing. Whupped him senseless, too; coupla times, at least. Real shame, what they did to 'im.” {unk} “I know they moved the hell outta dodge when I asked the sheriff a few questions, too.” {unk} Jake made a show of counting his fingers. “Same as ever, ain'cha, Kurt? A bottomless stomach…” he laughed. “Does me good t’ see 'im lookin’ better. An’ he’s lucky to have you guys lookin’ out for 'im.” Jake considered the last doughnut.

  Curt whimpered, turning on the cuteness factor for all it was worth.

  “You ever wanna see somethin’ amazin’, give 'im a flapjack smeared 

with treacle. Eats it just like a raccoon on fast forward.”

   {unk} The last doughnut vanished as quickly as the first.

  _Thank you… now I know how to get him to eat with his hands._ “I’ll keep that in mind for treat-time,” she automatically scratched Curt’s shoulder. “Right now, we’re trying to focus on a healthy diet.”

  “…oops…” Jake looked guiltily at his empty doughnut bag. “Did I screw things up on you?”

  “Nothing some meat and veg. won’t fix,” Celia assured. “And thankyou for his name. He’s so sweet… 'demon’ just doesn’t suit him.”

  Curt begged hopefully.

  “No more,” Jake gestured with the bag, tipping it out. “Nothin’ left, li'l big-stomach.”

  A whimper. 

  “And no, I’m not goin'a buy more for ya.” Jake ruffled Curt’s hair. “Ain’t no trouble for me, ma'am. Hell, I’m just pleased as all get-out that he’s away from them assholes and into some *proper* care.”

  Celia fished for her card. “Hey, if you remember anything else about his care…”

  “Sure thing. I’ll try to write it down so I ain’t callin’ ya long 'bout midnight. Looks like I gotta scoot on by anyhow. See ya 'round.” He tipped his baseball cap and trotted back to his rig.

  Celia wished him every good happenstance he could want.


  Kurt had long since licked up every trace of cinnamon and sugar on his hands, but he needed the pause to think.

  Mama had said, “Thankyou for his name.”

  Didn’t Mama know?

  Or was it something… else?

  Maybe Mama didn’t know she was in Purgatory. Maybe her cancer had done something to her to make her confused.

  Or maybe she wasn’t really Mama.

  Kurt turned aside from that thought quickly, lest God hear it, somehow. She looked like Mama. She *cared* like Mama. She knew the ear-rub and how to brush him and fed him his favourite foods and felt for him when things went bad…

  Who else could she *be*?

  All the other people here… they confused him. Some, like Betty, were guardian angels. Jaime was definitely a guardian angel. Others, like the fire-breathing Wendel or Seth or Kyle… they were a mystery. Angels or others, they all treated everyone else like equals.

  It was… bizarre.

  But then, Purgatory was a nebulous concept. It was a place for people between heaven and hell, so dogma said, but not many people ever said what it was supposed to be *like*.

  For all he knew, all this confusion and mystery was part and parcel of Purgatory.

  Either way, Kurt decided not to complain.

  Back in the trailer, now, Mama was playing with letter magnets on the fridge. Spelling out a word.


  Close enough, he supposed, but hardly accurate. He leaned up against the fridge and swiped the C down.

  “Not spelled with a C, huh?” Mama fiddled through a basket of other letters, finally unearthing a K. She put it in place. “Better?”

  He purred for her, carefully picking up the C in his mouth and placing it back in the basket.

  “You *can* use your hands,” Mama said, scritching his itches for him. “I know you can. Just like I know you’re hiding a lot more than you let us see.” She found the brush and began grooming him. Top to toe. Except for the turf covered by his pants. “What can I do to help you outta that shell, hm? Do I need to get… proof.”

  Kurt twisted, looking at her. Mama had a dawning smile lighting up her face. It was the sort of look that had solved a problem.

  “That’s exactly it,” she whispered. “*Proof*.”

  Kurt pawed at the brush. Although he was glad Mama had her solution, he still needed brushing and letting her do it made her feel better about a great many things. Betty had even said it was good therapy.

  He’d give anything to have Mama get better. Having it be an enjoyable experience was just a perk.


  Setting up in the third town was always chaos, mostly because the troop’s doctor had to give everyone their annual checkups while the troop was in his town. And in Celia’s case, that meant taking blood.

  The new hires got themselves blood-tested, too, and that’s what Celia was bargaining on. With luck, Kurt would be lost in the shuffle. And even if the lab sent back a what-the-hell note, they’d *know*, one way or the other, where Kurt stood and where he should be standing.

  Personally, Celia believed that if he was smart enough to recognise and correct the spelling of his own name, he was smart enough to share the same rights as anyone else. He was already human *enough*.

  Convincing *him* of that… was an uphill battle.

  Calling Kurt by his name helped, but there were always moments of self-consciousness mingled with fear… when he caught himself doing something too human. And then it was back to square one. Celia also did her best to indulge or ignore the more intrinsically human quirks, like his moments of stillness and quiet, where the only motion was the silent counting of beads on his rosary.

  He needed to pray. As vitally as he needed air, water and food.

  Faith was a human thing, too.

  Celia spotted Doc Karloff on his way, and looked briefly skywards. _Look, Boss,_ she thought. _I know you and I don’t get along, it’s just that I kinda need this to work out. No nasty stuff this time, okay? Especially where Kurt’s concerned. He’s had enough already._

  Obviously, her and God seemed to have differing views on the limits of 'nasty stuff’, because Kurt started growling and guarding her from Dr Karloff the instant he bought out his blood sampling kits.

  “Kurt. *Please*…” Celia groaned. _One day, I’m going to get up there with you, Boss… and then you and I are going to have a little 'chat’._ “He needs to take some blood to see how I’m doing. Whether or not I need something special to help me get better.”

  The growl lowered to a rumble of dissent.

  “If you want,” offered Karloff, “I can take some of yours… so you can see it doesn’t hurt for long. Okay?”

  Good. He’d been briefed. And what a marvellous example of flim-flammery he provided, too.

  Kurt made up his mind and presented his arm.

  His blood was as red as any other mammal’s, and flowed into the vials just like any other blood. Kurt watched the entire procedure without blinking.

  “Aaaannnnnd… *so*. All over.” Karloff taped a little wad of cotton to the needle-mark. “What name do I put on here? Miss Yale?”

  _D'oh._ She wished he hadn’t said that. Celia could see the 'Huh?’ writ large on Kurt’s features. “Kurt,” she said, automatically. If he’d been born into the Lamprey clan, he’d have more of their features. But he didn’t look like his 'Mama’, either. “Kurt Wagner.” Logically, Celia would tell herself later, it made sense. Wagner was the name his contract was signed under. But what had made her give it the German pronunciation?

  Whatever it was, it amplified Kurt’s what-the-hell expression to an almost comical degree. Celia smoothed his hair with her free hand while Karloff drew her blood, checked her pressure, heart and breathing, and asked the obligatory busybody questions.

  Kurt alternated between being in the moment and staring at her as if trying to figure something out.


  It wasn’t the doctor. It wasn’t the question of why Purgatory would even need a doctor. It was the name.

  Mama’s name.

  The writing on the vials said _Celia L Yale_.

  Mama’s name was Wagner. Just like him. Dad had called her 'woman’ and Kyle had called her 'Mom’, and the one doctor that came once to their house had called her 'Mrs Wagner’. As far as he knew, Mama didn’t *have* a first name. He never saw it anywhere. Even her headstone had just had _Wagner_ inscribed on it with the dates and who she was.

  Thus, Kurt was at home with people calling Mama 'Celia’ or 'Cee’. It sounded pretty enough to belong to her and she was always 'Mama’ inside his heart and mind.

  Until now.

  Her name was Celia Yale.

  Was she still Mama?

  Was she *ever* Mama?

  But she knew his *name*. She even knew how to pronounce it properly. In many, very special ways, she had the heart and soul of Mama. Things had been better… when Mama was near. And now, when she was near, things were better again.

  He was allowed to have *fun*, for example.

  So long as he did what Sir said and act like an animal.

  So far, he’d been good enough to keep Sir at bay. So far. There was always the threat that Sir might take a sudden dislike to the way things were done and insist on new ways and that they had always been done that way.

  The thought of Sir coming to take him away to Hell fueled his more vivid nightmares. Kept him scared enough to never dare extend the boundaries of what an animal would do.

  And he only rarely let on that he was having fun.

  If Sir ever caught him at *that*…

  Kurt shivered as he trotted by Mama’s side. The show tent was up and so were most of the stalls. He could smell cotton candy and hot dogs and batter deep-frying and the unique mix of grease and animals and sawdust and hay that smelled more of home than home had to him. It was a scent that banished evil or dark thoughts.

  In the end… did it really *matter* if Mama was Mama? She was Mama enough to him. Shouldn’t that be all?

  Couldn’t he just simply enjoy what he had?

  What was wrong with him, that he had to poke holes in the good things when he had the choice to heartily enjoy them?

  Kurt made himself forget his concern about names and Mama and what it could all mean. He had a show. He could *play*.

  That was what he could enjoy. So he *should*.


  Karl lit the match. What a marvellous thing was fire. It purified, reduced, warmed, cooked, lit… so many things. It was almost alive, yet it was predictable if one knew it.

  He had fond dreams of being able to burn his father’s house down around the old fogey’s ears, one day. One day, after he’d left home, and Dad was drowning in his own putrescence… he’d light it all and watch it burn to nothing.

  But now was not the time to dream.

  He lodged the match in the book, tossing the primative time-delay fuse onto a handy haybale. He’d position himself so he was invisible. It wasn’t that hard, since they’d be looking at the fire.

  Blood and burning… both bought attention.

  Both could be used in his favour.

  True to his predictions, the carnies went ape-shit over a couple of bales of burning hay. Horses and people screaming covered the very soft noise of his entering the tent.

  The bald bitch had gone, and the last of the carnies were ushering the last of the gawkers out. He ducked in time to avoid a carnie checking over his shoulder for stragglers… and then there was just him and the freak.

  The one who was *really* to blame.

  He was coming to a slow halt on a rope swing, staring at him, when the inexpensive pendulum would let him.

  Karl took his time, slowly advancing on the wire and metal mesh. “You think it’s all fun, don’t you?” he said. “You’re actually *enjoying* this…” he laughed. “God-*DAMN*, but you’re a stupid freak.”

  Once again, he was in gull-mode. That mouth-open, is-it-really sort of stare that would believe *anything* Karl told him. Well. Maybe except for why pulling the legs off of bugs was a good thing. Karl had never been able to finesse him on that.

  “They’re only being nice to you so you’ll do this whole stupid act for them,” he said. “They don’t really *like* you. None of them actually *like* you. How could they? You’re a *freak*. You’re a fucking *demon* for fuck’s sake. If they feel anything for you at all? It's fear. They’re all scared of you. They *hate* you. And as soon as you stop earning them money? They’ll *burn* you.”

  He shuddered. The kid had a lifelong fear of being burned alive.

  “Hell, I bet you could smell the smoke, right now.”

  Sniff, sniff… cower.

  “That’s right. They’re gettin’ ready for barbecued freak a-la mode…” Karl grinned, watching the freak shiver and shake. “If you live through this night? It’s 'cause Dad an’ me convinced 'em to let you alone. Hell, for all we know, you’re poisonous, anyway.”

  He’d really curled in on himself, now. Almost impossible to get him into any tighter of a huddle without free access and some rope. And yet, he was still *talking*.

  “…n’t… m’m’…”

  Oh. *OH*, this was rich. The baldy bitch did look a little something like Mom and the freak had - Karl cackled at the thought - the freak had *imprinted* on her. “Wait. Wait. You think she’s *MOM*?” Another mad cackle. “God, you are so fucking stupid…” His ribs hurt. This was just so damned hillarious. “If she *was* Mom, do you think she’d put you in *there*? Show you off to the rubes for a nickel a ticket? Yeah, that’s right, freaky. You’re only worth a *nickel*! At least *Mom* had the sense to keep you away from infecting people with your demon *filth*. Worthless little rag rug that you are. You’re not even fit for *skinning*.”

  Oh yeah. Now he had the power. Lookit him. All balled up and trying not to cry. Even the tail had wrapped around him.

  “They hate you. They *all* hate you. That’s why you’re in the *cage*. That’s why you’re wearing that *collar*. That’s why you’ll never be nothing more than a mangy blue demonic *freak*!”

  “And you’re about to be arrested for arson, breaking and entering, and anything else we can come up with between now and when the police arrive.”

  Karl turned. It was baldy bitch and her pet giant. He put his hands on his head. “So… you do it with the freak or what?” he said.

  “Get him the fuck outta this tent,” sighed baldy.

  Karl blew her a kiss on the way out.


  It was later. They’d dissassembled the cage around them for the lion act that night. Celia held tight to him and rocked gently back and forth. Cooing nonsense words into one pointed ear.

  That little *fuck* had pulled a vicious stunt. Something that broke Kurt and put him back *weeks* on the path he’d already taken towards recovery.

  “He lied,” she said, not knowing much of what that little sociopath had had to say. “He lied viciously. And cruelly. You don’t have to listen to him or *anything* he had to say. He’s–” Celia had to clear her throat to speak. “He’s just a little asshole just waiting for a very, *very* long jail term. He’s white trash. Garbage. Only fit to be thrown away. Don’t you pay any mind to him at all.”

  A shaky sob. “…mama…”

  Celia held him tight. “It’s okay. Mama’s here. Mama’s here, sweetie." She may burn in hell for saying that lie, but - right then - they both needed it.

  She’d pay its whole weight in the fullness of time.


  Mama hadn’t carried him like that since he was really little. Kurt hoped he wasn’t too heavy, but stayed still enough to be carried. Wriggling would have only made it worse for Mama.

  He hid his tear-ridden face against her shoulder and did his level best to maintain the attitude of a sick or injured animal. Sir was around. Sir would *know* if Kurt had failed in this one task. Sir always knew when Kurt was a failure.

  Which was pretty much always.

  Sir had sent Karl. Kurt knew this as surely as he knew that the sun rose every morning and that his fur was blue. If Kurt had been truly sinful and evil, Sir would have come himself.

  The message was clear. He wasn’t good enough. He wasn’t supposed to enjoy his labours. Penance was meant to be suffered.

  They had put him in a cage to suffer.


  He made the most money when he had the most fun. When he pushed at the boundary between incredible and impossible. When he felt the singular joy of being himself to the hilt - without shame.

  _Forgive me, Father, for I am sin…_

  He *should* be ashamed.

  He was nothing more than a freak. A blot on the otherwise flawless face of both Mother Nature *and* God. He was truly evil to enjoy being himself, when all he was was a stain.

  He was a demon.

  Enjoying his demonic state would get him no closer to God… but every possible inch closer to Hell.

Fanfic Time: Heaven, Earth and Hell, part 4

Continued from yesterday:

  The money was good. Both he and Dad agreed on that. It paid for a great many luxuries. Unfortunately, it didn’t - or wouldn’t - pay for the take-out containers to go to the trash, nor for the clothes to get washed, nor for the dishes to get cleaned.

  That was his job, now.

  At least Dad didn’t make him wear that fucking collar and chain.

  No, *he* got the beating of a

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Fanfic Time: Heaven, Earth and Hell, part 3

Continued from yesterday:

  Kurt woke up. There wasn’t straw any more, but a warm blanket. A pillow. A *bed*.

  And he’d lost Mama’s rosary.

  Was it a sign? Was God telling him his prayers were useless? Or was it a test?

  He pulled aside the door that concealed his resting place, looking around. Nobody nearby, but it smelled like someone was cooking.

  “My ass you don’t need looking after, Cee,” someone was

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Fanfic Time: Heaven, Earth and Hell, part 2

Continued from yesterday:

  Kurt’s head was spinning. The last thing he knew, he’d fallen asleep in the stuffy atmosphere of the tarp. Then, when he woke up, he was staring at Mama. Sort of.

  She *looked* like Mama. Except she wore a scarf. And she spoke so *differently*.

  Kurt was confused.

  Maybe he’d gone to Heaven and wasn’t quite aware, yet. Suffocation was bound to have done something to him. All the angels were

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Fanfic Time: Heaven, Earth and Hell, part 1

Once upon a time, someone called Quazar made a delicious six-page comic about a little fuzzy elf and a horrible, horrible situation. The remains of said comic (minus first page) can be found in the scraps section of this Deviantart account.

Quazar now prefers Enolianslave and has forgotten the rest of the original story. Meeps.

Anyway, onwards with the ficcage:

Disclaimer: The plotbunny comes from Quazar’s delicious comic… all six pages of it [waaannnnt mooooorrrre!]. Kurt Wagner and any

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