Friday, June 03, 2011

#FridayFlash: The Power Given

This one is a lot darker than my usual stuff. You have been warned.



Cameron and Teri pelted up the steps of the church. “It’s not locked!” Cameron gasped. They rushed inside and slammed the door.

“Wait, Cam!” Teri panted. “Where’s Steve?”

“He was right behind us — oh God.” Cameron opened the door a crack and peered outside. Nothing. He stuck his head out, looked around. “Steve! In here!”

Teri pulled the door open wider, looked out. “Steve! Steve?”

A figure stepped into the floodlights in front of the church.

It wasn’t Steve.


Steve had invited him to the seance, but Cameron had only gone because Teri was going. Cam guessed every school had its own Meredith, a girl who took the occult a little too seriously. As for Steve, his grandfather had died and left Steve’s dad and uncle the lake house. The old man didn’t trust banks, and Steve just wanted to know where he’d hidden his cash so Dad and Uncle Phil wouldn’t tear the place apart hunting for treasure. To Steve, the lake house was the treasure. He had plans for the summer.

Cam remembered standing around the pentacle, his left hand in Meredith’s right, his right in Teri’s left. A mist seemed to form in the middle, taking shape… then Something Else clawed its way through, pushing the spirit aside to face Meredith. Cam barely had time to jerk free before it fell upon her, and they fled in unreasoning panic…


They hadn’t got a good look at the thing at Meredith’s, but it was too ugly to take in anyway — looking at it left only impressions of claws, teeth, glowing red eyes. Cam wished he could forget Meredith’s muffled scream as it engulfed her head in its mouth —

“Come out of there and face me!” Its voice was bones snapping and claws ripping up concrete. “You cannot defeat me otherwise!”

Cam and Teri looked at each other, both horrified at the prospect.

“Come out, boy! Or would you rather this woman-child hear how you pleasure yourself as you dream of lying with her in carnal embrace—”

Cam slammed the door shut, thankful the lights were out so Teri couldn’t see him blushing.

“Cam… yuck.”

“It’s a demon! It lies!” Cam took a deep breath, felt for the deadbolt, and latched it. “Maybe we’ll be safe here. It wants us to come out, so maybe it can’t come in. We can go home once it’s daylight.”

“Daylight? I thought that was vampires.” Teri sounded doubtful.

“It’s our best—”

“Fools!” The demon sounded like it was just outside. “You played with fire, now you shall burn!” A moment later, the door shuddered to a blow from the other side.

Teri shrieked. “It’s trying to — what do —”

Cam fumbled in the dark and found a light switch. A fluorescent fixture in the hung ceiling above them lit up the foyer where they stood. Again the demon struck the door; the wood began to crack.

“I hope this place has a back door.” Cam seized Teri’s hand and pulled her into the sanctuary. She pulled loose but stayed with him, letting him lead her to a side door. They slipped into a hallway, as they heard the front door tear off its hinges. Down to the left, they saw a dim EXIT sign.

“Where do we go now?” Teri whimpered.

“Maybe Steve got away,” he said, as they hustled to the exit. “Maybe he went a different way and left us. If we split up, it can’t catch us both, right?”

“Maybe. But then what?”

“You go find another church. This one at least slowed the demon down some. I’ll try to get back to Meredith’s. Maybe there’s something I can find to get rid of it there.”

I hope so.”

“Yeah.” Cam reached for her. “Teri… if we both make it — will you go out with me?”

Teri sighed and pulled her hand away. “Maybe. Let’s both get away first, okay?”

“Sure.” Cam tried to keep the disappointment out of his voice. “Go!” He shoved the door open; they burst into the dark.

Cam ran across the parking lot and into a greenspace. He stumbled into a stream, but followed it, hoping the water would carry his scent away. He heard a scream, cut short, and thought about what might have been. “But probably not,” he grumbled, hating Teri for a few seconds. “Never was good enough for you, was I?”

At a culvert, he clambered out of the stream and back onto the street, shoes squishing on the pavement. At the first corner, he stopped to check the street signs to see where he was —

It stepped into the streetlight at the opposite corner. As Cam saw it, it gave him a hideous grin, showing more teeth than a mouth had any right to hold. The teeth were bloody.

Cam turned and ran, harder than he ever had, hoping to reach the temporary sanctuary of the church. But it was less than a block before a clawed hand gripped his shoulder, talons sinking into his chest and bringing him up short. He was too winded to scream, despite the pain, then the other hand wrapped around his throat before he had a chance to catch his breath. It lifted him and turned him to face it. Its hot breath smelled of rotten meat and sulfur, making him gag.

“Fool,” it said. “The only power I had is what you gave me.”

18 comments:

  1. Warning: this one is a lot darker...

    You have a dark side. But I almost laughed when in the middle of it all, Cam asked Teri to go out with him, and he got DENIED! Teri, keeping it real, even if a guy might sacrifice himself for her sake. I hope Teri survived; I want to see her in another story.

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  2. I like the humour injected into the story; in the middle of a dark moment a boy can get shut down and left feeling all small and useless.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  3. What's a demon's weakness? Well we are in a church. We could always pray.

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  4. Hi all!

    Peggy, I laughed at Teri's reaction to what the demon said about Cameron.

    Adam, isn't that the way it works? Nothing's so bad that a rejection can't make it a little worse.

    John, its weakness is "resist the devil and he will flee." They use truth and lies equally, as weapons to herd people. And this one may have battered down the church door, but did we actually hear it come inside?

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  5. Ah, I figured pounding the door was just a ruse to get them out...

    I liked the Lovecraftian non-description of the demon,
    "it was too ugly to take in... only impressions of claws, teeth, glowing red eyes."

    It's fun to play outside of our usual place, and you often learn something you can bring back to the rest of your writing. =)

    Can't believe you didn't let anyone live! *O_O*

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  6. Ahhh demons. They seem to have a knack for squashing our dreams by telling our dirty secrets.

    Well done story, and I loved the descriprion of the demon's voice. No better way to do it IMO.

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  7. I loved it! I like your dark sense of humour :).

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  8. Great story. I did like how he got rejected in the middle of a flee or fight situation. He's the hero and doesn't get the girl.

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  9. The way you humanised them by having him ask her out, and then hating her later, really elevates this above mere horror. This is horror that's happening to PEOPLE. Top work, sir.

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  10. Wow, darked indeed, but I like it!

    Like Icy, I loved how you inserted the interaction between Teri and Cam, and his reaction to her denial.

    I too was caught in the demon's trick, although something was nagging at me that it was a trick and I knew I was missing something. Gah.

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  11. Wow, Far. I've never seen this side of you. Well done. I have to agree with the earlier comments. Taking a brief break in the middle added considerably to the story.

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  12. Yep, darker than your usual, but extremely well done! I like the interaction between Terri and Cam and the demon's comments to Cam about the source of his power. Great stuff!

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  13. I liked the humour in this piece and although it was horrible I still laughed in places especially at this line "“Daylight? I thought that was vampires.” Teri sounded doubtful."

    I do like the moral lesson of this story though that demons only have the power you give them, mind you I wanted to shout at both Terri and Cam "surround yourselves in white light" isn't that what they always say to do? :O)

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  14. I, too, enjoyed the humor you injected into this one amidst the horror and destruction. Good story!

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  15. Thanks everyone for your comments!

    JohnX, killing off everyone was part of getting outside the "usual place" I suppose.

    Michael, thanks for the compliment. It needed an ugly voice to go with the face. And they do like to tell things that hurt.

    Thanks Craig!

    Sonia, some things don't change no matter what the situation!

    Thanks ever so much Icy! I did try to make them human as I could.

    Mari, those creatures are tricky, aren't they?

    Thanks, Boran. It's kind of difficult to do a sufficient build/release of tension in a flash story, but I gave it a try.

    Thanks Chuck, that's what it's about right?

    Helen, the humor just came along with the rest of it. Maybe I was trying to lighten the darkness a little. I never heard the "surround yourselves in white light" thing, maybe it's a different tradition.

    Thanks much Eric!

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  16. Excellent, you even included a Scooby-Doo moment when they split up despite the obvious danger. Only here there's no big unmasking.....or is there....
    It is dark, sort of, but it's the comedy element that works for me.

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  17. This was a great read. I love dark material.

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  18. Hey!

    Flyingscribbler, I like to think the ending was an unmasking of sorts.

    Thanks, Rachel.

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