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Burning Man

Thomas knelt down so that his face was closer to the floor. The dim light wasn’t helping him, but from this distance the stain changed from an indistinct dark spot to an indistinct dark spot that smelled like blood. “Yup,” he said back over his shoulder. “This is fresh.”

A tall, heavy man walked past Thomas and put his hand against the door. He stood there for a moment and then looked down at his partner. “I don’t feel any heat. I think we are clear to move.”

Thomas heard a soft click as the big guy turned the knob. He also heard a whisper of something moving through the air above them.

The big guy went down with a grunt as another man appeared on top of him. Thomas threw himself backward as the falling man began to glow and Thomas’s friend began to scream.

A wave of heat rolled off the body of the demon that had been hanging above the door waiting on the men who had been following it. The creature’s body ignited cloth and hair as it’s temperature rose, dragging a high pitched scream out of the big man it had landed on.

Thomas looked up to see his friend’s body begin to blister and boil even as the wave of hot air that rolled towards him dried his own eyes out. He twisted to get his feet underneath him and ran for his life. Hating himself for leaving his friend, but knowing that he couldn’t have done anything to save him. He wondered why he had ever let anyone talk him into something like this as he rounded a corner and charged out of the loading dock door that they had cut open when the pair had entered the building.

“Alcohol,” he thought as he ran for the little footbridge between the factory and the park.

Thomas hit the bridge and thought he heard the sound of something moving behind him. He fought the urge to look over his shoulder. Instead, he simple leapt from the bridge and into the river. The cold water embraced him, smothering the wave of heat that had began to warm his back during his last few steps. Thomas flailed and struggled for a minute before getting back to the surface to float while allowing the current to carry him away from the bridge. That was when he looked.

He saw the two burning forms who were standing there, watching him float away. “Never again,” he said as the cold water carried him past the burning building that was his friends funeral pyre. He watched a third burning figure walk out, heading toward the bridge and he began to swim with the current, trying to put more distance between him and the things he had found. “Never again.”

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