The Wrong House

 

The mark that dad had seen, turned out to be flame decals on the vehicles parked in front of several houses in the neighborhood. It was very vague as far as demon marks go, but this one seemed to have attacked places that already had fire themes going on. The first building had been one of the two small fire stations in town. Others had fireplaces they used regularly, and the largest fire so far was the candle factory just outside of town. That had been a very large fire.

Since there were about four different houses, dad and I split up. I sat on the curb and watched the two houses that were closest together while dad drove around watching the other two. There was another sign that the demon would attack; happiness. The demon was, on top of being a pyro, was also a chaos demon. The more chaos, pain, and torment it inflicted, the happier it was.

Thankfully, neither of the houses I watched seemed like the ones. I guess ‘thankfully’ isn’t the right word per se. The one house had a single mother on one side and a fighting couple on the other, and the other house had a family in mourning on one side and a lonely looking grandmother on the other.

It was nightfall by the time dad called me up. I was getting impatient; because the longer he waited the more likely it would be that we couldn’t catch the demon before it did some real damage.

“Did you find the house?” I asked as soon as I picked up. There was a pause. “Dad?”

“I was going to ask you that,” he said, sounding disturbed. I frowned.

“But that means—“ I started.

“That means we got the wrong sign,” he said. “I’m coming to pick you up.”

He hung up the phone and all I could do was wait for him. I watched for the red Pontiac, and watched the houses, trying to figure out what the real sign was.

I caught the smell of smoke just as dad drove the car around the nearest corner. I sniffed experimentally, trying to find the source of the smell. It didn’t smell like a demon fire; more like a normal fireplace fire, burning wood and everything. Then I realized what the sign was. Someone had a fireplace going, and their house was going to burn down.

Since I could smell it, I knew it must be close, so I didn’t immediately climb into the car.

“Cassie, come on!” dad shouted at me, but I waved my hand dismissively.

“I can smell smoke!” I shouted back. “The sign is a burning fireplace!”

A few houses ahead, I could see smoke gently trailing up from a chimney. That had to be it. I pointed at it so that dad could see as well, then started running. It was dark out, we had to hurry.

As I reached the house’s walkway, the duplex burst into flame on one side, bright orange and yellow fire whipping around in the breeze and enveloping the entire south side of the house.

The End

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