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Hellfire

Author's note: I was inspired by my love of horror fiction and games. I wanted the readers to get a sense of...  Show full author's note »
Author's note:

I was inspired by my love of horror fiction and games. I wanted the readers to get a sense of how life is sometimes unpredictable or unforgiving right after I told them how utopia-esque it could be. I wanted to crush my character, to make the reader feel for them, to temporarily crush the readers' hopes for the character. Filling the readers with dread and unease is what drove me to write this story. However, I also want the readers to look out for their own friends more, as friendships are some of the most important relationships to maintain.

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Chapters:   « Previous 1 2 3

Burning

Upon waking for the second time today, I realized my bed was warm again, even as I had laid as still as a corpse for several hours. Sunlight filtered through the blinds, making me squint and shut them with a quick brush of my hand over the shutters. The bright spots from the sun stopped bothering my eyes a few minutes later, just enough for me to make it downstairs.
    My mother had taken the liberty of making breakfast this morning. The smell of waffles and the rich scents of bacon and eggs seized my attention, and I rushed downstairs to ease my growling stomach.
    My mother immediately set a plate of two waffles covered in syrup, whipped cream, and strawberries. My favorite. Soon, she pulled the eggs and bacon off of the stove, and plopped them both on a plate before handing them to me. “Thanks,” I said, pecking my mother on the cheek as she grinned in return. My father’s eyes lifted from his newspaper briefly, twinkling at me. His eyes slipped back to the morning paper. My mother placed a glass of good old orange juice next to my plates. Life is good.
     “By the way, you have school today. Even though school is right down the road, there’s been something about ice on the roads. That means plenty of accidents, and for you, a delay of one hour. So, yeah...you’ve got two hours until school today. What a shame,” she said, a wry little grin forming on her face.
    I giggled as I finished up the last of my breakfast. “Well, that was great, Mom. I gotta go finish some homework. Thanks! Love you both!” I said, blowing them kisses and chuckling when they both dramatically “caught” them and smacked them on their faces. It was hilarious at home, but at school? I’d never hear the end of it. That’s why I hate and love school; no one dare to lay a finger on me, but the verbal abuse is like a river with my classmates. The teachers can’t build a completely perfect dam, which means the river was unstoppable. I know I’m strong, and I’ve built my own dam. Sort of explains why I’ve only had Mara as a friend, but I would soon lose Mara faster than I’d found her.
    I remember walking out of church about two years ago, before the dreadful fire. Sunday mornings were breezy, the sky clear, the last remnants of summer drifting away into a beautiful, crisp autumn. Mara walked out behind me, clutching her older, more weathered Bible under her leather-clad arm. She appears to be that “emo” chick that sits in the corner and writes dark poetry, which she actually does, but she really got into supernatural stuff. Demons, ghosts, anything weird that happens not only in Glassing, but mainly in the U.S. Despite her interest in those preposterous, ungodly beings, she is a firm believer in Christianity, like me. That’s what keeps us grounded, and our friendship solid.
     Soon after, though, she seemed to be more...distant. Lonelier than usual, even with me around. I was never enough for her. She became more erratic; rage became quotidian with her presence. She went from being a bystander of the school fights to being a daily challenger. We’d all watch as she beat the crap out of the next sucker who dared to cross her path or mine. But it increasingly became people who had hurt me; those foolish, foolish seniors just couldn’t keep their mouths shut.
     I remember the girls’ faces as Mara roundhouse-kicked their guts, gave them two shiners each, and made sure at least one limb per person was damaged. Badly. Blood steadily dripped from the gashes that covered their arms and legs. One girl lost an eye to Mara, and was stuck looking like a pirate for the rest of her life. I was grateful of Mara’s protective nature, but I was beginning to rue the day I met her, and feared she would one day “eliminate” me. Every time I would say this, it was always the exact same reply. “Don’t worry about it. You’re too good of a friend, Candace,” she’d grin, and get back to her beatings. Her reply always made me nauseated, even when I tried to return her shark-toothed smile. Jesus! She had never bitten anyone, or so she says, during her fights. But her teeth could tear someone limb from limb!
She also started disappearing more. Each day, I would see less and less of her, and some days I wouldn’t know where she was. She started skipping class, calling me during classes, and asking me if I wanted to ditch with her. What an awful question! Why should I skip? Mara was very sister-like to me, but I could stay in school and go to college and everything would be fine. No ditching necessary!
     But then I never saw her outside of school, either. And when I did, she’d give a tiny little wave and scurry off into the neighborhood. Sometimes, I could swear that I saw a squirrel or a rabbit or some tiny little animal squirming around in her grasp.Yesterday, the same date around one year ago, she had taken a rabbit, held it down, and cleanly snapped its neck. I didn’t gasp; it was truly nothing new.This had become an annual occurrence. I’d always left Mara to practice whatever black magic or white magic or whatever it was, without ever mentioning it to her.
     This time, it was particularly interesting, and I was stupid enough to keep watching. So began the most bizzaro, ritualistic action of my dearest friend.
     She drained its blood into a bowl as she cut her own arm enough to draw blood. Some of her blood dripped into the bowl, and she picked it up and starting speaking to it. She began to frantically pace around the courtyard and was talking to the bowl for several minutes before smashing it against a wall. I jumped when the remains clattered around her, and when she looked around her, I almost croaked with dread.
     Her eyes were black. No, not her irises, the entirety of her eyes had clouded over with darkness. And the strange part is, she didn’t have aniridia. Her eyes were usually blue, no melatonin, no nothing but light blue. Her hands were also covered in animal blood, some of it dripping onto the ground. Not that it mattered; the earth was her accomplice. It started to rain soon after, and her eyes changed back as the cloudburst washed away her horrible deed. But I knew she had seen me by her feral, predatory grin and the way she stalked towards my house. I had to get out of there. I had to run from the monster that had taken my friend.
I took one last look at my room, and felt incredibly odd. What was missing? I wasn’t sure. But it was time to go, and fast. The summer storm wouldn’t be there forever. I snatched my black raincoat, an ornate, but freshly sharpened knife that Mara had given me (to defend myself when I got older) and my black rainboots as I ran down the stairs.
My parents had already left for work, and had left me a note explaining that they both got called in today. That’s good. Now they can’t see me running out of the house in fear that my best friend might be after me. It’s not like I would have called them and worried their poor, fragile hearts anyways.
    I pushed the back door open, and sprinted to Eve’s back door. I figured that if I stayed close to my own home, but not too close, Mara would assume that I was hiding. She might give up. Hopefully she would.
    My heart was pounding by the time I unlocked our backyard’s back gate and moved through the small patch of wooded area that separated Eve’s backyard from mine. I pulled at the protective plastic wrap that shielded the other neighbors from the toxic substances that now lay inside the house.
    Oddly enough, it looked like the house had been burned years ago. What year was it, anyways? I could have sworn the fire happened just last night...
    I heard a crash as Mara broke down my front door and stomped into the house. “I know you saw me, Candice. Come out and talk. Let’s just talk,” she hollered, and more things crashed together and were shattered. Damn, I couldn’t have hated her more right now. She didn’t have to break my things, you know.
    I moved further into the burned-up house, and found myself a nifty little corner to sit in that didn’t look too disgusting, but was tucked away just enough that Mara couldn’t possibly see me.
    There was an eerie silence. No crashing, no slamming, no searching. Just deadly silence. Then, a figure broke down the plastic barrier, rushed over to me, and threw me out of my corner.
    I coughed; my nose managed to get crushed from the throw, and I was trying to stem the blood flow with my sleeve. But my enemy didn’t let me rest; they kicked me in the gut, and by the growling of the person, I knew that Mara had finally found me. I warily fingered the knife in my raincoat. “Well, well. Look what we have. Lilith herself,” she said, yanking me up by my shirt to make sure it cut into my skin.
    I suddenly blacked out, or greyed out. I wasn’t sure, but my vision fogged up the the point where I could see everything clearly, and could still think, but I couldn’t speak, let alone control any of my body. I was hearing another voice, another one! But I couldn’t see anyone else, and Mara still appeared to be talking to me.
    “Hey! Wake up and answer me!” she said, slapping my face. It stung, and much more than a regular slap should.I spit out some blood, but I seemed to instantly recover, and someone else started using my mouth to speak.
    “Get off me, you insolent brute,” Lilith said, and with a wave of my hand, sent Mara slamming into the wall. She fell, coughing violently and groaning, from the now cracked dent in the wall. “Who are you to assume that you hold more power than me at any time? Besides, I found this vessel first. You’re late by a few years, sweetheart. I could smell your disgusting, filthy blood all over that weak human. You’re pathetic, you know that?”
    “Not as crass as the first daughter of Lucifer going on a juvenile killing spree in a town that won’t get noticed no matter what, hm?” the demon smiled, laughing a little as she sniffed, brushed herself off, and stood up. “I found a better vessel than Candice, that Christian poster-child,” she sneered, “whom you’ve managed to snag. Mara is much stronger, much more knowledgeable about our demonic creed. I do, however, admire the fact that you’re killing off competition. The body count is splendid. Got rid of some of those particularly annoying ‘children’. And those neighbors were awful, Lilly. I’m so glad you got rid of that...creature, Eve. At the rate she was killing those demons, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she got to Lucy himself. At least a tiny part of your work was admirable,” the demon said, smirking at Lilith.
    Wait. Eve and Brutus...were burned....at my hands....their blood is on my hands....I thought might be sick right on the ashen floorboards.
    “That’s not why I’m here, Azazel, you know that. I don’t care how many I kill, how many are possessed or have potential for evil. I’m here to start a revolution against my father, Lucifer.” Azazel looked confused. “You know! King of Hell?” Azazel smiled in sudden recognition of the seldom-used full name. “Not that he’s much of a demonic king at the moment. He’s such a coward, anyway. I’m trying to be the brave one, the real deal. So maybe I won’t hear anyone’s crap about Lucifer owning me because I’m the ‘first child of Hell’,” Lilith growled, making a squeezing motion with my fist. Azazel began to choke and clutch her throat.
     Azazel just had to have the last word, didn’t she? “This doesn’t make you any more badass, you know that?” she mocked, baring her teeth and letting out a raspy chuckle. “Noone gives a damn about you two anymore, remember? You’re old news. What the heck would a revolution do? You know the angels would be here in two seconds to shut you down. And you know what? They’d succeed. The last thing anyone needs is a whiny...”Lilith squeezed harder, “little girl who can’t understand that she won’t get everything she wants.Quit trying for attention you’ll never get, Lilly. Get over yourself.”
     Lilith used my face to toothily smile at her as she mercilessly clutched my hand into a fist that made Azazel wheeze and her eyes pop out of her head. The demon was smiling through her agony. “You should honestly think before mocking me, idiot. Our names are Lillith and Lucifer, not whatever petty nicknames you demon filth choose to call us. I honestly can’t believe the people my father sends for me these days.This is a new low for father; I’d prefer angelic visits at this point.” Lilith sighed and waved my hand in dismissal, which snapped the Azazel’s, really Mara’s, neck.    

     A cloud of black smoke was ejected from her mouth, and my best friend’s body collapsed. Mara had been used like a pawn in a board game. Thrown away like trash.
     All I could think was that this Lilith, this awful, merciless demon, had possessed me and killed my best friend. I already despised evil creatures, but this was awful. What had I done to deserve this mess?
    I was faithful. Protected. Hidden. And evil still found me. I guess that’s the way life works, huh?
    “Thanks for the body, Candace,” Lilith cackled, and ejected herself from me.
     I was gasping for air, clutching my stomach from the violent ejection. I didn’t have much time to think before I heard sirens, police sirens, pulling up the driveway. Police officers rushed in, pointed their guns at me, and after realizing I wasn’t a threat, rushed over to me, slapped the cold handcuffs on, told me my rights, but I wasn’t  listening, I couldn’t hear them over the sound of blood rushing in my head, as it is still. Dear God, make it go away...
    And then I’m here. Writing about it. I can’t forgive myself for realizing Mara’s possession too late. After all, she told me everything I know about demonic creatures today. And I ignored every word. Ignorance became a theme with me; the fire. Mara. The sacrifices. The foreign, bloody skin that was picked out of my teeth.
    My parents died that day, too. They were my last living relatives. No one to save me, take me out of this place. Not that I’d let them. I screamed in anguish, as I knew that it was the work of some other demon. Like Azazel.
Despite the cool colors of these walls, touching them fries my skin. I don’t try to get out, to slip past them. If I can’t protect anyone, then why should I attempt to escape?
     It never matters anymore. It’s my fault. I was a blazing target for demonic presences, and I’d let every single one of them slither past my purified psyche.
    My mind is a tainted, additional asylum. I can't protect anyone from myself by doing anything but embracing permanent confinement. Everything burns like hellfire. I just want to burn.

Chapters:   « Previous 1 2 3


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This book has 5 comments. Post your own now!

NaNa said...
May 14, 2016 at 4:32 am
You are amazingly wonderful & brilliant ! Love you Always!
 
ShortStory said...
Feb. 13, 2015 at 4:09 pm
You are extremely skilled at creating a suspenseful mood through vivid imagery and inner thoughts. You have created dynamic, multi-dimensional characters. Way to go!
 
DesmineRobinson said...
Feb. 8, 2015 at 5:13 pm
MY GOODNESS YOU HAVE GOOD VOCABULARY! YOU GO GIRL!
 
Lauryn M. replied...
Feb. 13, 2015 at 12:28 pm
Well, thank you, DesmineRobinson. I appreciate the recognition.
 
DesmineRobinson replied...
Feb. 14, 2015 at 9:32 pm
YOU ARE VERY VERY VERY WELCOME!!! As a fellow writer, I understand you, FULLheartedly.
 

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