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Estimated reading time — 22 minutes

“Hurricane Gabrielle continues to devastate the entire east coast. It’s quite the storm ladies and gentlemen. Best to stay inside.” Father Henry and Father Paul were running late for their “meeting”. Time was of the essence. “Are you sure we can trust them? They aren’t exactly the most upstanding members of society.” “I assure you they are the best at what they do. They will complete the mission effectively. We simply must do our best and everything should work out.” “But are only the two of us enough for the task at hand?” Father Henry turned his gaze away from the desolate road for a second to look at his young protegee. Henry had a way about him. A smile that could reassure the most insecure and nervous of people. But it was not working on Father Paul. Henry noticed the sweat on Father Paul’s brow. He was shaking. “Paul. I’m surprised at you.” said Father Henry as he turned from Paul and back towards the dark, endless road. “Father Paul, was Christ nervous when he stood before Pontius Pilate?” Father Henry replied, “No, because God was on his side. As he will be for us as well. The Church has not done anything like this for decades. We are both in foreign territory.” Father Paul was out of things to say. He began to feel more at ease knowing that with someone like Father Henry, all be ok. However, Father Paul also noticed Henry’s white knuckled grip tightening on the steering wheel and beads of sweat on his face too.

Jokey had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth as he drove down the winding backroads. Chuckles sat next to him in the passenger seat looking out into the never-ending forest with his head in his hand, falling asleep. Sparky sat next to Bozo in the back seat flicking his lighter: open closed, open closed, open closed. Each time he was mesmerized by the spark it emitted. “Do you mind?” said Bozo. “Do I mind what?” replied Jokey. “Your cigarette is creating a cloud of smoke. You know I have asthma.” Jokey turned around and puffed additional secondhand smoke into Bozo’s face. “Hey eyes on the road dude.” Chuckles said as he grabbed the steering wheel. Jokey laughed and turned back around. “You won’t be laughing when we hit a tree.” said Bozo. “We’ve got to be careful. Especially with her in the trunk. Don’t want to damage the goods more than we already have.” “What’s the matter? Are you scared of her Bozo? Didn’t take you for a chicken?” Jokey said. “You should talk Jokey. After what she had did to you, I’m surprised you aren’t the least bit intimidated by her.” “If you are implying that I got beat up by a little girl you might as well say it.” “Fine. You got beat up by a little girl.” They all laughed under their breath. But in a fit of rage, Jokey turned around and grabbed Bozo by the neck. Sparky attempted to pry Jokey’s fingers from Bozo’s neck while Chuckles tried to stop them from hitting any of the endless trees that surrounded them. The car jerked as gravel flew up into the wheel wells making a tin can kind of sound. Jokey composed himself, turned around and looked back at the dark moonlit road as the rain began to fall.

She had been silent the whole ride. From the middle of the night abduction in the hospital to the commotion in the car. “She’s very quiet.” said Bozo. “Maybe she’s dead.” said Sparky as he flipped his lighter open and lit it again for what seemed to be the millionth time. “We did use a ton of stuff this time. Pull over. Let’s check.” said Bozo. “Why, so she can scream and run off into the woods and we never find her? She could be pretending to be asleep. On top of that we gave her a decent amount of propofol which should be wearing off soon. Besides, we are almost there anyway.” “And where is ‘there’ anyway?” “A barn.” “In this storm? Will it still be standing?” asked Bozo. “Maybe she OD’d?” said Sparky. “Impossible. I calculated it correctly.” “No offense Bozo,” said Chuckles “but you don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to these things, you just sort of give it, they sleep and by the time they should wake up its already,” he paused “too late.”

The more they drove the longer the road seemed to go. Eventually after what seemed like forever, Jokey parked under a tree and cut the engine. “Alright here’s the plan. I’m going to open the trunk.” He threw a roll of tape at Bozo. “You and Sparky tape her mouth, wrists and ankles. Nice, quick and clean boys.” All four men nodded in agreement and got out of the car. The four put on their clown masks and walked towards the back of the car. She was a fighter when they got her into the car and now, they had to transfer her once again from the car into the barn. They did not know what to expect from this one. On top of that they had never really had to work in a storm like this before. Their victims had usually woken up by now and were banging on the trunk of the car in the vain attempt to get someone to come and rescue them. But this girl did not make a sound. It was as if she already accepted her fate. Jokey opened the trunk and the four men looked inside. She was still out cold. “Check her pulse.” Bozo put his fingers to her neck and was quiet for a few seconds. “Dead.” “Told you.” said Sparky. “Now what?” said Chuckles. “You know we could…” Before Bozo could finish his sentence, a shovel from the trunk was thrown at him. “Whatever your plan is, it’s stupid. Here’s mine. Bury her.” Jokey attempted to light up another cigarette and walked towards the barn. It was not happening because the heavy rain made it impossible to keep his lighter lit. “And where do you think you’re going? Do you have any intention of helping us?” shouted Bozo over the roar of the storm. “You were the genius who gave her the wrong dose.” replied Jokey “You bury her.” “That’s impossible. You guys know me, I was a doctor. I meticulously calculate the dose of the drug I administer by body weight.” “Well why don’t you meticulously take that shovel and shove it up your ass.” Replied a sarcastic Jokey. Bozo asked, “You know Joke you’ve been a real jerk tonight. More so than usual. Care to tell us what crawled up your ass and died?” Jokey stopped halfway between the car and the barn and stomped out his cigarette. He realized he and his crew had failed. They never did. Their clients were going to be furious. “Just dig up a hole you clowns.”

The barn was quiet despite the storm outside. Bales of hay and old farm tools littered the first floor. Sparky was looking out a small window next to the large barn door waiting for their clients. The first floor already had minor flooding prompting Chuckles, Jokey and Bozo to climb up the ladder that connected the first floor to the second-floor loft. Chuckles walked over towards the window on the second floor and looked towards the house behind the barn. The two-floor home looked colonial in nature. The front porch had a small set of stairs leading up to it. The front porch had what seemed to be an endless amount of white wooden pillars. The glass of many broken windows was all over the first floor. The second floor had windows as well, but they were not nearly in the same state. Some were broken but others were fully intact. The entire house was painted eggshell at one point, but the paint had faded. The front patio was littered with debris and garbage. The sides of the house were full of graffiti ranging from unique pictures of art such as penises or profanities. The pillars were entwined with vines, and the front door was just barely on its hinges, the screen door was constantly slamming due to the wind. The lawn was in desperate need of mowing with grass and weeds as high as your knees. “Why can’t we go in the house?” asked Bozo, looking up at the leaking ceiling. “If you want to go in that dump, be my guest. We were told to wait in the barn. Already screwed up once tonight not trying to make it worse. You did dig a deep enough hole right genius?” “Come on.” said Chuckles as he waved his phone around the room. “No reception.” “You know looking at that phone all the time isn’t…” “Got it. Hey, we are on the news.” Jokey looked up from his lighter. “What?” “Did I speak French? We are on the news.” said Chuckles. “Great just great” shouted Jokey “Don’t you think our clients wanted this whole thing to go smoothly? Not only is the girl dead but now we are on the news. Could this night get any worse?” “You know Jokes. If you had been a little quieter, she wouldn’t have woken up and scratched your face.” replied Chuckles. “Maybe if someone had ‘measured correctly’ she wouldn’t be dead!” said Jokey pointing at Bozo. Bozo looked up from his book. “Me? I could not have messed up. Guys, I was an anesthesiologist.” Jokey clapped. “Yeah, and you killed one of your patients and now you killed a young girl so bravo genius. Besides what else could possibly have killed her?” “Maybe she choked on all that vomit or maybe lack of oxygen from being in the trunk? I mean didn’t Michael Jackson die from that stuff you gave her, Bozo? And he was an adult. She was a kid. We normally don’t take kids. Also, she was strong, thrashing around a lot.” “You know I think it was a botched mission from the start.” said Sparky walking up the ladder. “Kidnapping a little girl. I mean what did we expect for her to come quietly? More importantly did we expect it to end well? Besides who are our clients anyway? Not used to kidnapping children. They better pay well.” “Priests.” replied Jokey. The four men were quiet for a second all thinking of reasons why priests would want a little girl. They weren’t pleasant reasons. Then again neither was their line of work. A bolt of lightning broke the silence. “Hope the barn will hold.” said Bozo. “You did make sure to dig a deep hole, right? I don’t want her body floating up from the ground when that area eventually floods.” said Jokey. “I dug as deep as I could. The weather wasn’t exactly working with me. Besides it was a pain to do myself.” “You made your bed Bozo. Now sleep in it.”

Their clients were late. Really late. Sparky was on watch while the other men either argued with one another or simply kept to their corner of the second floor of the barn. Chuckles, who usually tried to make conversation with the other men, sat and watched his phone. Bozo pulled out a book and Jokey smoked like a chimney. Eventually he ran out of cigarettes and the crew knew what that meant: He was going to be on edge, more so than usual, considering the circumstances. It did not help that they screwed up their mission and that their clients were late. It was making them nervous, especially Jokey. Had their clients gotten cold feet? The storm did not help to calm their nerves. It was making the barn shake. For most of the day the weather was fine but now it seemed to have changed on a dime. The lighting caused Bozo to jump prompting an on edge Jokey to laugh. “You know Jokey.” Bozo responded. “Sort of getting tired of you Jokey. All you do is attack and mock us nonstop and expect us to follow you to the depths of hell. Maybe if you showed some sympathy, we wouldn’t be arguing with you all the time.” Jokey opened his mouth but before he could say anything they all heard the screech of a car outside. “They’re here.” said Sparky. “Could they be any louder?” said Bozo. Sparky saw two men exit the car and walked towards the barn. The one that got out of the passenger side door was shorter than the driver. The driver had a long black hat on and was dressed in a Cassock with a large crucifix hanging around his neck. He was carrying a satchel with a cross on it. The other one was wearing a black dress shirt and black dress pants. His long blonde hair blowing in the wind. “Alright clowns. Put on your masks.” Despite everything that was said that night, when it came to business the men listened to Jokey. After all he had to tell the clients that they screwed up.

The barn door swung open. “Where is the girl?” said Father Paul. “Father Paul where are your manners? How are things Jokey?” said Father Henry to the man in the clown mask. “Where is the rest of the money? We went through a lot to bring this girl here and you only paid half of what is owed.” “I assure you the church will pay you the rest. But it is of vital importance that we start the ritual.” “Whoa. Ritual? What do you intend to do to this girl?” said Bozo. “An exorcism to be exact.” replied Father Henry. “Thought that exorcism was only in movies.” said Chuckles. “The Church has not done an exorcism in decades. The parents of the girl would not allow us to perform one. They did not see what we saw. Which is why we have employed you. A demon has possessed that girl and if we do not perform the exorcism, she will physically turn into a demon. Now where is she?” Silence from the men in clown masks. “Dead. Overdosed.” said Jokey. The two priests were silent for a minute. “Are you positive?” asked Father Paul. “Buried the girl myself. I assure you she’s dead so whatever demon was with her is back in hell.” Bozo chuckled. “I assure you getting rid of a demon is not that easy. You and your men must dig up the body so we can purge it. Father Paul and I will help you.” The two priests grabbed shovels and ran outside. The men looked at Jokey. He shrugged. “You guys go ahead I’m going to stay back and keep lookout.” said Chuckles. “Just doesn’t want to help.” said Bozo. “You are the one who killed her. You should be out there by yourself. But you’re lucky I’m a nice guy. Me and Sparky will help you.” Jokey said. “Let’s dig her up guys.”

The storm had only gotten worse. The left side of the barn was completely flooded, and the rear of the barn was lucky to be still standing on account of the fallen tree. “Are you positive this is where she’s buried?” shouted Father Henry his black hat blowing in the wind. “Yes, Father I’m telling you this is where my guys buried her.” “Well, I hate to tell you guys this, but the area is flooded, and the grave has been uprooted.” said Father Paul. “You guys are supposed to be professionals. Did you not think of this happening?” Jokey for the first time that night had nothing to say. He turned from the priests and glared at Bozo. “Well, she’s gone. Now what father?” asked Father Paul. “We look for her. Jokey?” shouted Father Henry. Jokey walked back towards the priests. “You and your men must help us look for the body.” “Father are you insane? In this weather?” “No body. No money.” Jokey slapped his own face in annoyance. “Ok Father have it your way. Regardless of whether we find the body in the hour, I’ll expect to be paid.” “And if we don’t pay?” “You’ll end up like her.” Jokey walked back towards his men to disclose to them their new mission. Father Henry and Father Paul watched one of the men throw his hands up in the air and the other shake his head. “Heaven forbid they clean up their mess.” “We do not choose the tools we work with Paul.” “Father Henry! They killed a little girl. I assure you any tools are better than these. I feel that we are in over our heads. We should have performed the exorcism when we had the chance.” “We need to find that body Paul and we need to purge the world of this demon.” “At what cost?”

Chuckles sat on a bale of hay and played on his phone, Geometry Dash. He hated this level. The barn was quiet except for the storm outside and the sounds emulating from his phone. Died again. He put the phone away before he would end up throwing it across the room. Where were they? They had been out there for a while now searching for the corpse of the little girl that Bozo killed. Hopefully they didn’t get pinched. He would never hear the end of it if they did. Then he thought about the girl. “So young” he thought “but shit happens.” All he was worried about was getting paid. If the priests paid at all considering the botched job. Hopefully Jokey wouldn’t threaten them or God forbid hurt them prompting them to run to the cops. Then again what would they tell the cops. He found the local news on his phone. “Local girl abducted from hospital. An orderly is in critical condition after refusing to let four men in clown masks into the building. The security guard claims the men in clown masks entered the hospital and demanded they be brought up to room 302. When the security guard refused, one of the men knocked him out. This is not the first time that men in clown masks have been accused of kidnapping someone. There has been a string of kidnappings in the last couple of months and the only clue has been four men in clown masks. While the police believe that the group of men, labeled the Clown Kidnappers, are responsible for the disappearance. The parents of the abducted girl claim that two local priests, Father Henry, and Father Paul, are responsible for the kidnapping. The parents walked in on the priests performing a strange ritual which they believe is an exorcism. The priests claimed they noticed demon like behavior from the girl who, with her parents, regularly attended Mass and was part of their congregation. The priests claim that the girl would speak Latin in Sunday school and would praise Satan on multiple occasions. Upon being discovered, the parents interrupted the ritual, and the priests fled the building. The girl, whose name is being withheld, suffered bruises and several cuts. She was taken to Saint Joseph’s Medical Center where she was abducted from her room the following week. The parents continue to suspect the priests. The archbishop has refused to comment.” So much for going to the cops thought Chuckles.

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Chuckles looked up from his phone and noticed the men starting to head back into the barn. “Any luck?” “No body. Area we dug must have flooded and caused the body to disappear down river.” said Sparky as he sat beside Chuckles and pulled out his lighter. “Priests are pissed. Don’t want to pay.” “Jokey must be livid.” “Yes, he is.” Just then the men walked into the barn. Father Paul and Jokey were mid argument. “You know a job a job. We expect to be compensated.” “You should be compensated in knowing that you killed a child.” said Father Paul to Jokey. “Not on purpose. You can thank my associate over here for murdering your demon spawn. You’re welcome by the way. No need for any ritual.” “We must purge the body of the demon. It still inhabits the corpse. I don’t think you realize the seriousness of this issue, Jokey.” “I don’t think you realize how serious I am about getting my money.” Jokey pressed his chest against Father Paul prompting Chuckles and Father Henry to separate the men. “Jokes, we are going to get the money.” “How?” “Watch.” Chuckles walked over towards the priests. “Wouldn’t the police like to know where the two child abductors are? Look you can give us the money and we all walk away and pretend this horrible night never happened. Cops know you. They know your names, your face and if you don’t pay us, they will know where to find you.” He paused. “You could get jumped by four guys and left for dead or you could give us the money. Up to you.” He walked away towards Jokey who gave him a high five. “I don’t think you understand, Rafael.” Chuckles jumped at what Father Henry had to say. “Yes, I know all your names. The magnitude of this situation requires us to look for the corpse. We don’t have much time. If we do not find the corpse, we will be unable to perform the exorcism. This is not just some job this is THE job. This demon could destroy our world as we know it.” “Well, wherever she is, she’s gone now.” said Chuckles. “Oh… She hasn’t gone anywhere” said a deep voice that belonged to no earthly creature. The men looked in the doorway of the barn and saw a child clothed in a ripped hospital gown with her long black hair covered in water and dirt. A bolt of lightning ripped through the sky and then the girl spoke.

“Now who is the genius who put that needle into me.” The little girl turned to Bozo. “Oh yes I remember it was you.” pointing at Bozo. “No No No!” Bozo screamed. The girl screamed back and jumped onto Bozo. She gripped his neck and started to pull up. Bozo felt an immense pain going through his body as both the priests, Chuckles and Sparky attempted to pull the girl from Bozo. Jokey stood there for a minute stunned not knowing what to make of the situation. He didn’t not believe the priests but seeing someone or something that was dead come back to life, made him lose all sanity. His façade of toughness collapsed, and he ran out of the barn towards the house in utter fear. The men were eventually able to get the demon off from Bozo. The girl thrashed in the arms of Father Henry and Chuckles. “In the name of the Father…” but before he could finish his sentence the girl got loose from his grip and punched Father Henry in the stomach causing him to double over in pain. She turned towards Chuckles and punched him in the groin causing him to roll on the floor in pain. Then she turned back to Bozo who held a hand up in a desperate effort to ward off the girl. With a big, rotted toothy grin, that no human child would be able to make, she pounced onto Bozo and put her hands around his throat and pulled up his head causing his head to detach from his spine. Blood and spinal fluid spurted out of his mouth and ears. Chuckles vomited in his mask. After emptying his stomach, he pulled out his gun and fired at the murderous demon girl. She dodged bullets with ease and ran towards him grabbing the gun mid shot. She elbowed him in the face causing him to be thrown across the room and hit the barn wall knocking him unconscious. Before the girl could run over to kill the knocked-out Chuckles, Father Paul shoved a crucifix into the demon’s face causing her to reel back in terror. “This scares you, doesn’t it? The sign of the Lord. It commands you to leave this child at once. Father Henry! Now!” Father Henry produced a bottle of holy water. He mumbled in prayer and threw it at the demon. The demon writhed on the floor. With every drop that touched her, the smell of burning flesh filled the room. Father Henry took out a can of salt and ran it around the demon to form a circle. The demon screamed out, in the terror and pain of possible defeat. Father Henry started to chant in Latin and produced a knife from his pocket. Sparky sat reeling in terror in the corner of the barn and as if a sudden fight or flight instinct kicked in, he got up and ran out of the barn screaming, “Screw this. Screw this.”

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“Demon!” shouted Father Henry “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt, I command you to leave this child at once.” After a couple of minutes of silence from the demon, as she was still curled up in a ball, she laughed. An unholy laugh. “Sure, Father I’ll leave” the demon pounced onto Father Henry “I’ll leave something behind for the cops to find. Did you really expect your stupid ritual to…” Suddenly, she was smacked in the back of her head with a shovel. It caused the girl to fly off Father Henry and crash into a pile of hay. Father Henry looked up and saw Father Paul holding a shovel. “Are you ok Father Henry?” asked Father Paul. “Thank you, Father Paul.” Father Paul smiled. In all the years they had known each other, Father Henry never referred to Paul as Father. The demon got up and turned its head around 360 degrees towards the two men. It screeched a horrible sound like an animal ready to attack its prey. With its head still backwards, it ran up the wall on all fours towards the two men. Father Paul got ready to swing once again, but mid swing the shovel was dropped, and Father Paul was tossed across the barn, his neck violently slammed into a tractor. “Father Paul!” Father Henry exclaimed. The demon turned to Father Henry and with that ugly toothy grin jumped on Father Henry once again. She clawed at him scratching into his chest the way a dog buries its bone. Father Henry felt her nails rip through his shirt, but in the middle of her frenzy to rip out his heart, a bullet hit the girl in the back causing her to fly off Father Henry. It was Chuckles, recovering from the hit he had taken. He was kneeling shooting at the demon. Some shots hit her others whizzed by. The demon rushed towards Chuckles grabbing his head and slamming it on her knee. He wobbled around dazed for a bit then bumped into the wall and fell over.

Father Henry rushed over to Father Paul. He called his name. No reply. He felt for a pulse. It was weak but could he be saved? Then he noticed the bone protruding from Paul’s neck. If only he could get him away from this place and to a hospital he could be saved. “Father…” Father Henry turned to him “Yes Father?” “My neck is broken, isn’t it?” Father Henry nodded “Then I haven’t much time. I…” “Father Paul try to rest. We will be out of here soon.” “If I don’t make it out of here. Promise me you will get that demon back to the depths of hell…” “Father Paul, I beg you to save your energy. The ambulance will be here soon.” “That’s a lie Father. The demon has completely overtaken the girl who once was Cynthia. We have failed.” His breathing became slow and labored. “My only regret is that I have one life to give for Christ…” His words were cut off and Father Henry knew the end had come. He put his fingers over Father Paul’s eyes and closed them.

The demon clapped. “Quite the performance from Father Paul.” Father Henry got up from Father Pauls body. “I do not fear you demon. For Christ is on my side.” The demon looked around the room “Well where is he?” “Here.” He lifted a crucifix from his neck and the demon jumped backwards. “Father no!” it screamed. “The power of Christ compels you.” Father Henry repeated this many times with the power and authority of Gods spokesman. The demon curled into a ball in the corner. Father Henry heard the cry of a little girl. “Please Father. Please stop.” It was no longer the deep growling voice of a demon but rather that of a little child. Father Henry put the crucifix away and knelt next to the little girl. “My child…” Pain. He looked down and noticed a hole in his chest. The demon held something in its hand. His heart. Father Henry fell over. The last thing he saw was a laughing child skipping out of the barn towards the house.

“Here she comes!” shouted Sparky looking from the window of the house. “Oh god. Oh god. Did you see what she did to Bozo? She ripped his head clean off.” said Jokey curled into a ball. “Quick help me barricade the door!” Jokey smacked himself out of his hysteria and helped Sparky keep the door from being ripped off its hinges by moving a cabinet in front of it in the vain attempt to buy some time and come up with a plan. The girl came running up the steps and ripped off the door. She then tried knocking over the cabinet, but it held thanks to Jokey and Sparky putting all their weight against it. “Sparky…. Sparky.” a voice was calling him. It was gentle and warm. It belonged to something that Sparky knew could comfort him in times like this: fire. He walked away from the cabinet towards the gentle voice in the kitchen.

The banging and shaking of the cabinet stopped. Jokey still pushed against the cabinet for dear life waiting for the girl to break through it like cardboard. Nothing. “I think we are in the clear Sparks. Sparks? Sparks, where did you go?” Jokey said in a hushed whisper. He pulled out his pistol and a flashlight and walked away from the door. In front of him were the stairs and a hallway followed alongside it. To his left was a closed door and next to that was an open room. To his right was the kitchen which was too dark to see. “Sparky?” he paused and heard a whooshing sound. Must be the wind from the hurricane. Then he heard a faint dripping sound. Jokey walked towards the steps and felt a wet sensation at his feet. He looked down expecting a puddle of blood belonging to a dead Sparky. It was water. The roof was leaking. Jokey walked up the creaky steps and was flanked by three sets of doors. On the left side two doors were open. On the right side, the doors were closed. Jokey looked through one of the doors on the left side and saw a bedroom. It still had a bed in it, but it was destroyed. No Sparky. At the far end of the upper hallway was a window. Jokey walked towards it. It called to him. As he looked out the window a face met his, causing him to jump back. It was that of the grinning, smiling girl floating in midair. Suddenly there was a loud crash as the girl came flying through the window landing at Jokey’s feet. “Hi” she said in a little girl’s voice. “Hi.” Jokey said back and pulled out his gun and shot at the girl, in the face. The girl dodged the bullet and grabbed Jokey by the neck throwing him over the railing above the stairs. He fell down the stairs and landed on his back. Jokey felt a sharp pain in his back. He tried to move and looked up to see the girl jumping over the railing onto him. She put her hands around his neck. “How does it feel now that you are going to die, Jokey!”

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Just as Jokey’s world turned dark, the pressure on his neck stopped and he heard a gunshot. The girl flew off him howling in pain. There in the front doorway was Chuckles hunched over holding a gun with one hand. He ran over to Jokey and helped him up. “I normally don’t say this but thank you.” “Don’t mention it. Now where is Sparky. I want to get as far away from this place as possible.” Both men turned towards Sparky who was standing in the kitchen in front of the stove. He smiled under his mask. “Don’t you guys see.” Sparky laughed “The only way to fight fire is with fire.” “Sparky don’t!” shouted Chuckles holding the wounded Jokey realizing what he was about to do: he was going to blow the house up. That stove must be decades old and if it was lit it would surely explode causing a fire. He turned on the gas, ah that familiar hiss. “It’s going to be ok guys. It’s going to be…” his words were cut off as he flicked open his lighter and ignited the old stove. He put the blue of the flame against the burner of the stove. Boom! The sound of the explosion rung through Chuckles and Jokey’s heads. All that was left of Sparky was a pile of ash and his lighter.

The fire quickly spread quickly going up walls of the kitchen. “Oh God.” mumbled Chuckles still recovering from the explosion. He turned to Jokey who was dazed and confused laying on his back from being knocked into the wall by the explosion. “Come on we need to get out of here. Oh God!” “God isn’t going to help you.” The girl pounced from the floor onto the men causing Chuckles to let go of Jokey. The girl pounced onto Jokey again and started to claw out his eyes. He screamed. Chuckles shot the girl in the back again which caused her to turn around and jump onto Chuckles. Jokey shot up and grabbed a chair and smacked it into the back of her head. Now it was Jokey’s turn to help Chuckles. They both turned towards the doorway of the kitchen when Jokey felt a sudden pain in his back. He howled in pain and saw the girl had put her hands into his back. He flew up into the air, being held by his spine. He felt a sudden rush then he heard a snap. Then it all went dark. “No!” shouted Chuckles running over the Jokey’s side. His spine was sticking out of his back, snapped cleanly in half. Blood and spinal fluid begin to spurt out of his back. The floating demon girl laughed a deep maniacal laugh.

As the fire quickly destroyed most of the second floor, the celling started to cave in. Debris started to fall around the two. Chuckles lifted his gun and shot at the floating she-devil. She ate the shots. “Damn.” He retreated towards the open front door but before he got to the door the celling collapsed. “Damn. Damn.” He turned, crawling to the left and made it into the kitchen towards the side door. A burning pillar is what he met instead of an escape to freedom. “God dammit.” exclaimed Chuckles. “Yes, God dammit indeed.” said the demon walking behind him. Chuckles reloaded and fired more shots at her. The bullets missed every time as if the girl had a shield around her. The demon jumped towards Chuckles, but he ducked away just as the girl hit her head on the wall. Chuckles turned around and punched her in the face as she was getting up. He jumped on top of her and continued to punch and punch her in the face. He kept punching “Mister…” she said in an innocent voice. “Mister please stop.” Chuckles didn’t stop. His mind was telling him to stop but some primal instinct kicked in causing him to hit harder. The fire was raging around him. “You have to find a way out!” his brain was yelling at him, but he did not care. All that mattered at this point was killing this abomination. He wailed into her and all that was left was the battered bruised face of a little girl named Cynthia. He felt for a pulse. Nothing. He got up and looked for a way out but could barely breathe or focus. The fire was ripping apart the entire house. He ran back into the entrance way. All the windows were ablaze. He had no choice. He had to make a dash through one of them. Without a second thought, he lunged through the window and rolled onto the small patio. He made a quick jump over the burning wooden railing and prayed he did not erupt into flames. After landing on the ground, he noticed that his arm was engulfed in flames. He quickly rolled around on the wet ground until the flames subsided. He was breathing heavily; his heart was in his throat and his adrenalin was still pumping. He stood and pointed his gun towards the front door waiting for something to happen. Waiting for that demon to come barreling through and rip his head off. Nothing. Silence except for crackles of the burning house. The storm had stopped but the fire around him continued to rage on and spread. Chuckles fell to his knees and cried. He coughed, choked and he then started to cried. Eventually his crying turned to laughter. It got so loud that Chuckles did not even hear the sirens coming in his direction. All he saw was the burning house and a little girl walking out the front door engulfed in flames.

Officer Mendez stood on the front lawn of the burned down farmhouse. He had been here before. Many times, he was called to kick out drinking squatters or some teenagers smoking pot. Now with the old Marshall place gone, where would the local youth engage in deviant behavior. Not only had the nearby barn completely cave in on itself the house suffered a similar fate. After scavenging the property for a few days, Officer Mendez finally noticed the cars located underneath a fallen oak. He approached the cars and heard a faint knocking sound coming from one of the trunks. With his gun drawn he approached Jokey’s car and forced open the trunk. In it was a scared little girl. “Mr…?” the girl whimpered. “Are you going to hurt me?” “No no, not at all” responded Officer Mendez “As a matter of fact I’m here to take you home.” Then the girl did something that made Officer Mendez shiver to his core. She smiled. Despite everything that had happened to her, she smiled. A big rotted toothy grin that no human child would be able to make.

Credit : Alistair Brendan Blood

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