A Monstrum Ventator Story
Starring: Cassandra and Seymour Petrin
For someone who has been hunting and killing paranormal demons all his life, my father sure is a softy at heart. Of course, he isn’t soft very often. He is more likely to thrash me while we’re sparring then to let me beat him, even though he’s almost fifty, but he has his moments.
Never when facing a demon though. Even when the thing begs for mercy, or claims to be changed or good, he still kills them without blinking an eye. I guess that comes from how much killing he’s done in the past. He’s taught me to be the same way. I never question him, and always kill the demon, but I’ve inherited some of mom’s gentleness. So he tells me, anyway.
I don’t remember my mother. She died when I was probably two, and it’s just been me and dad ever since.
“Cassandra, stop dilly dallying and get in the car,” dad called from the driver’s seat of our old red Pontiac. I rolled my eyes at him, but finished staring at the home I’d been born in and climbed into the passenger side.
“What were you doing, counting the shingles on the roof?” he asked as he pulled the car away from the curb and turned the car towards the town. I shook my head, chuckling. Dad may have been the hardest man I knew but he sure had a sense of humor.
“Just thinking,” I said, staring as the small duplex houses passed us. The afternoon sun glinted in some of the windows and I had to shield my eyes. What was hiding behind those windows? Families with normal lives? Fathers that had jobs in the town, mothers that went shopping with their three and a half children in tow? For a moment of contemplation I was a little jealous of their quiet, unassuming lives.
But I couldn’t live like that. I knew what was hiding in every shadow, waking every night, and hunting those blissfully unaware people. I hunted them back so that the people could stay blissful.
It was a hard life though. I rarely stayed in one place longer than a few weeks, never got the chance to form any kind of lasting relationship, and I almost always had a bruise somewhere on my body.
“You’re awfully quiet today,” dad commented as we turned onto the town’s main street. I glanced over at him. He gave me a worried look when he took his eyes off the road, and I smiled.
“I’m alright,” I said. Which was technically true. I was okay. I wasn’t being sliced to ribbons by teeth and claws, I wasn’t being beaten up by my own father, I wasn’t sitting in a library reading up on all the horrible deaths a demon’s committed over the years. I was doing just fine. “I’m just worried about the job, that’s all.”
Another technical truth. The job I was fine with. It was just a pyro demon, like one we’d handle before, and we probably wouldn’t have any problems with it. It was the other part of the job that had me thinking really hard.
Something only my father knows; I have the ability to sense certain things. Dad tells me it comes with the territory, that almost every paranormal hunter has some ability or another. Mine isn’t all that useful. I can sense when I’m about to meet other people with abilities, and I can sometimes sense how the meeting will turn out.
All I had been able to think about the last few days were the two children I would meet by the end of the day. I couldn’t tell from the fleeting imagines and feelings what their abilities were, but they were there. In my mind a person with abilities glow a little bit, like they’re backlit by a bright white light. The two children I’d been seeing since Tuesday last week both glowed. The boy, who looked a little younger, didn’t glow nearly as brightly as the girl did, but they were both important somehow.
And surrounding the children every time was fire; raging flames consuming everything around them, and great emotional pain. I didn’t know what was going to happen to the kids, but it wasn’t going to be pleasant.
When I had told dad about them, he had laughed. Usually I see people that dad had met before, fellow hunters, and usually the meetings were friendly get togethers or cooperative hunts. This was different, and dad didn’t know what to think of if, so he laughed.
He hadn’t put two and two together, like I had. We were hunting a pyro demon, and the children were surrounded by fire. They had to be connected some how. It was possible that the children’s family was the demon’s next target, but it was just a theory I had. The children didn’t really look related. The boy had light brown hair and brown eyes with round features, while the little girl had a mass of thick auburn red curls, blue eyes, and delicate features.
Sometimes I saw another figure, indistinct at best but still there. It looked like another boy, larger that the girl so probably older, but he didn’t glow and I couldn’t see anything other than his shadow. He was there, though. He was connected to them somehow.