This story is dedicated to both my favorite author, Neil Gaiman, a great inspiration of mine, and his friend and fellow contemporary great fantasy/sci-fi/horror writer, Terry Pratchett, on the day of the release of the Amazon Prime streaming adaptation of their co-authored novel, Good Omens.
I was fortunate enough to see Neil Gaiman live in Salt Lake City, Utah, back in November of 2018. He was absolutely marvelous. Reading from his Norse Mythology, Good Omens, and a few other works, telling about his experience as a show runner for the upcoming Good Omens show, and its significance as his beloved friend's dying request to him, Neil Gaiman also read every question he possibly could from a stack of index cards that we fans had the opportunity to write to him in the lobby prior to the show starting. (My own written questions did not get answered, but admittedly, the other fans' were far better, and the answers to them far more interesting!)
My story below, That, is a homage of sorts to Good Omens. It is a humorous story involving the Anti-Christ and the story's antagonist, a monster parodying Stephen King's Pennywise from It. That has some obvious inspiration from It, as well as Home Alone, The Exorcist, and even Winnie the Pooh and Calvin and Hobbes. I can't claim credit for the idea for the story itself; my brother Peter, in one of our late night talks whilst walking my dog along the Roanoke River Greenway, expressed it to me as an idea he'd had floating about in his skull for a while, but did not know what to do with. Having his blessing, I germinated the idea and wrote away, adding my own ideas, drawing from my personal inspirations and experiences, and piecing it together, until I arrived at the final product you read here. As always, I bounced each new idea and plot-turn off him first, and when he grinned and chuckled (which was, to my authorial delight, most of the time) I went ahead and went with it.
As always, I hope you, and, should any Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett enthusiast (or should I be so lucky, Neil Gaiman himself) wander upon it, I sincerely hope you will read it, and enjoy it, and be at least as tickled by it and entertained in reading it as I was in writing it.
Yours in literary endeavors, always,
Friends of T.D. Smith