The demon that called itself Ash sat quietly on the curb surrounded by the circle of light from the lamppost overhead. A thin wisp of smoke curled from the cigarette held in his lips as he took a long draw, juggling the zippo between his fingers as he did, filling the street with a clicking of metal as it opened and snapped shut. It was a silly indulgence , but one that he found himself sharing with these humans. There wasn't much of the human world that interested him anymore, not since he had shed his old human skin and become something more... still, every now and then it was good to indulge. A philosophy he kept close to its heart. Or rather what passed for one.
He glanced around at a flicker of movement from the corner of his eye. Feeders crept and slunk around him, always in the shadows, never taking a step into the small bit of light that illuminated him. It was always that way. The feeders were forever lurking around him by the dozens, even when he had still been human, lantern eyes watching expectantly, hungrily, waiting for the death and mayhem that always seemed to follow in his footsteps. He wouldn't disappoint, with a few more carefully placed steps this small town would be reduced to mayhem enough that the feeders would have their fill for a long time. Yes, the town and the people who lived here would soon come to realize what it meant to fear... as soon as he found the girl with the gift. That wonderful gift to give suffering and torment and death... being squandered on the taking of pain, on healing. The demon's face screwed up in disgust at the very thought of it. Such a waste.
But, enough of that. The demon stood, brushed off his long coat, and spat out the cigarette. He'd taken enough time for himself and, although the Void was rather liberal with its servants enjoying themselves, there was still work to be done. Besides, his last bit of fun had had enough time to prepare itself. Without hesitation the demon strode purposefully across the street, feeders scattering out of his path not daring to get too close, hopped up the steps and knocked on the was a momentary scuffle inside and the door opened a notch. Blocked by the drawn chain lock from opening entirely.
"Can I help you?" A women leaned into view in the cracked door, looking at the stranger suspiciously. She was middle-aged and heavyset, with disheveled hair that showed signs of graying. Her whole bearing looking tired and worn-out. The demon didn't answer, instead, he leaned forward checking that his preparations were complete. The woman leaned back slightly, uncertain.
There was a shuffling at his feet and he knew the feeders had crept closer, sensing that something was about to happen, he ignored them. Behind the woman he could see a scattering of children's toys and somewhere a cartooney voice sang from a television set, playing some children's film.
"You need help or something, pal...?" The woman continued, "I'm not buying anything and I'm not looking to join any churches or anything so you can just get the hell outta here."
She tried to close the door then but the demon shoved his foot in the way, holding it open. The woman started to shout something harsh but was cut off as the demon smashed the door open, sending her to the ground with a sharp cry and a harsh expletive. The demon took a few steps inside, lifting his head and smelling the air. Feeders flooded into the house, leaping about excitedly as a child's voice called out and the woman snapped for her children to get away from the door. Yes, the demon thought, things were certainly prepared here.
"Alright, you stupid bastard." The demon turned his head, hearing the familiar sound of a shotgun shell being chambered, he turned his head to find the woman holding the loaded weapon at him, "you picked the wrong house to break into tonight. You got until the count of five to get the hell off my property or I'll blow you to Hell!"
The demon still didn't answer, unconcerned with the weapon aimed at his head. Yes, things were perfectly ready here....
The air was thick and heavy with the scent of the gas he'd carefully released through the stove with his magic....
The same scent he'd hid from the woman and her children with the same magic while it filled every inch of the home....
It had taken some time and doing... but again, it was a simple indulgence.
Feeders leaped and danced at his feet.
The woman's finger tightened on the trigger and her eyes suddenly widened, and she gave a shriek as she found herself confronted by dozens of shadowy figures, lantern eyes staring up at her hungrily, hands pawing at her. Further in the house a child screamed.
The demon flicked open the zippo and ignited it....
The demon that called itself Ash stood a block away watching the firefighters succeed in putting out the flames after a long battle. The entire neighbourhood had turned out to watch the ensuing battle. The house was little more than a charred wreck, debris from the blast littered the yard and three covered shapes were being loaded into ambulances and taken away, two of them small. The demon watched the crowd of people; firemen shaking their heads in disbelief, wondering how someone could have not noticed their house fill so completely with gas; mothers and fathers holding their children, trying to comfort them through the loss of friends. And one man, maybe in his late thirties to early fourties, who had arrived in a pickup truck minutes after the conflagration, staring forlornly at the ruins of his home and the remains of his family.
Feeders snaked and crawled everywhere, around people, under trucks and cars and through the smoldering remains of the house.
The demon smiled and took a deep breath. Yes, it was certainly nice to indulge every once and awhile, but there was still work to be done. Lighting a new cigarette the demon took one final look at his handiwork and turned, walking away into the night, and humming a happy tune to himself.