It’s Friday, my faithful readers! Here is today’s flash fiction, much more bite-sized than the last:
The Demon’s Sanctuary
Ash choked the sky, drifting across the street in snow-like waves, and creeping down the back of my neck like fingers where my shirt left a gap. My calves, thighs, feet, lungs all burned with exhaustion, but I couldn’t – wouldn’t – stop. Miles away, the factory still burned. It was a crimson stain against the thick nighttime clouds.
Ahead of me, the demon ran. Ahead of me, the demon fled.
He was dressed in the skin of a man – six feet tall, blond, blue-eyed with angelic features – but I knew better. I had burned him out of the factory and kept at his heels throughout the whole sleeping city. I would not let my prey escape. The cathedral loomed over us now, its stained-glass windows caked with smoke and soot.
This was fate. This was how it was meant to be.
My Coraline, my love, my song bird, my world. Her hair had been thick honey locks, her eyes amber gems, and her lips tiny rubies ready to be kissed. She had been everything, until that demon had taken her from me, taken her song away from her. She’d been an innocent bystander, a witness at the wrong place at the wrong time. He normally only killed and skinned young men.
Ahead of me, I watched him duck into the cathedral. He thought he’d escaped in the smoke. He didn’t see me trailing behind him, dressed all in black, and my face smudged with ash before the chase. This was a place he’d visited often while I spent weeks following him. The cathedral, his place of work at the factory, the bakery, and the streets of East Quarter looking for victims – all regular haunts. He thought this place was safe for him. He didn’t know that I had boarded up the two rear doors and cellar windows.
He was in such a hurry that he didn’t even bother to close the front doors. I slipped in behind him, my felt shoes a bare whisper on the marble floor. I could smell the musty scent of worship: of century-old incense, moldy fabric, and meticulously polished wood. In the hallowed hall, I heard the demon fumbling at the back door to the rear and left of the dais.
In my hand, I still held the hammer. It was smaller than carpenter hammers, Coraline had used it to engrave delicate details on the shields and swords I made. It was small, but it would do. It was Coraline’s revenge. The wooden shaft pulsed in time with my heartbeat – frantic and wild. I crept up the carpeted runner, stepped up onto the dais. To my left, the demon hammered against the unmovable door with his fist. He sensed me behind him. He turned.
Our eyes met. Magnets of human electricity.
Could he see his fate in my eyes?
He looked at the thick, crude cross that hung above our heads. He looked at the brilliant silver hammer in my hand.
Thanks for reading everyone! Don’t forget to share, like, and comment.
x P.L. McMillan