The acrid smell of gasoline was as strong as it was heady. It pervaded the air like a poisonous cloud assailing the senses. My nose burned from underneath it, and my eyes watered as I continued to pour the liquid my hands shaking.
Around me the night screamed in alarm: every bug was a siren; every bird was mortal. They peered out at me through the darkness of the night. Their accusing glares matched the beating of my heart. They were everywhere, and they pounded against my thoughts like hammer.
I focused on my task, the smell of gasoline. The smell of vengeance and the smell of justice. There was nothing left to my world; all obligations forfeit. Splashing the last few drops I tossed the container aside and fumbled in my pockets for my lighter.
This was it.
As I went to flicked it on I looked up to the face of the scarecrow, his split fibrous grin was dark and slick with liquid. Its eyes were unnaturally focused. Could this demon smell it? Did the scent of the gasoline lead it here. I stumbled back slipping in the slick grass, fear bubbling in the back of my throat. It’s head cocked to one side rolling awkwardly.
It shuffled toward me, almost unstably. Its was a game it played. I had seen it move and I had seen it kill. My eyes looked to the gleaming meat hook stuffed in its right arm, recalling how It strung up Sally from the rafters, how her screams were cut short.
My hand clenched the lighter, almost as tight as my chest heaved. There was no time left, no air left. I was going to die. Would it do the same to me as it did to all the others? Would it hurt. My vision blurred, I was the only one left after all, who would bury me?
The demon lunged at me and I screamed and tried to roll away. The pain was immediate. My fingers dug haphazardly in the earth as struggled to pull myself away from the fiend, knowing that I was within its clutches. It tugged, and my left leg screamed in agony. Terror and pain erupted from my lips in an anguished fearful cry. Tears blurred my vision, as I fought its supernatural strength. It pulled again my body sliding in the slick grass with ease.
Twisting I swung my leg at it in desperation. It took the blows with ease, its feral grin unflinching. Instead in leaned forward, tearing the hook from my leg with ease sending shock waves that splintered up my body. I screamed in pain, I screamed for God, even as the black spots formed in between my tears.
Despite it’s blurry form its soulless eyes were in clarity. It was the eyes of death. I struggled backward as it angled itself even closer, the bloody hook dripping with bits of ragged flesh. I whimpered pleas of sorrow as I continued to struggle backward against the pain. The rough skin of the tree ended my retreat, and I was forced to look up to the demon that loomed over me, like a carving of statue whose eyes glittered even in the night.
I had so many regrets, so many plans for the future. None included this haunting menace. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want any of this, but it was all I had left. The scent of vengeance and the scent of justice. Could they be the same, when the nightmares of the world came crawling out. My hand trembled as I flicked the lighter, bringing a spark to the darkness.
The demon pealed, the meat hook flashing brightly in the moonlight, but the flash of fire was faster as it consumed him and tree that tethered the demon to this world.