Life was cruel and truly unforgiving, Deacon had witnessed this from his own experience. His mother had died when he was a baby, but he wondered what brought about her death. His father always seemed to become cold and distant whenever Deacon asked about his mother, it was always rushed defensively with not now, or you wouldn’t understand, or there’s too much to explain. Even at a young age Deacon felt this suspicious, why would his father keep from him how his mother died unless it was something truly horrible? Deacon knew that it was nothing that his father did, but surely it was something that was so painful to think about it was better to not speak about it at all. Deacon knew that his father loved his mother dearly, he’d catch him from time to time staring at a wallet sized photo of her eyes watery fighting back the tears. Other times when Deacons father thought he was asleep through half opened eyes he’d see him staring at the photo tears streaming down his face. Whatever had happened it would not soon be forgotten, the memory of a lost wife haunting him. Over the years Deacon started wondering if in fact it was something that his father did that got his mother killed, because they were always on the run; never staying in one place for too long. He’d go to a new school, go through the motions of being the new kid, finally start fitting in, then they’d have to leave and in most cases very quickly and under the cover of night. It wasn’t until he was eight years old that he realized that his father was different, and maybe that difference was the cause of his mothers death. His father woke looking around the living room, Deacon was sleeping beside him. Even though they had a one bedroom apartment they never slept in the room, for that matter it didn’t matter where they lived it was always the same. Deacons father always felt that it was safer to sleep in the same room, and they had to make beds on the floor and always in the living room. It was Deacons birthday just a day ago, he was in better spirits than usual; his father always made sure to go out of his way to make the entire day one that was devoid of the usual tension. Deacon slept peacefully bringing the good feelings of yesterday into the next. His father stayed still seated beside his son letting only his eyes rove about the dark room. Seconds later his hand reached down rigidly touching Deacons back shaking the boy awake, his eyes stayed vigilant searching the darkness. Slowly Deacon woke up, he was already dressed in his street clothes, even his shoes were already on. To some this would be silly, but to be prepared was a way of life for them. “What is…?” Deacon started, his father placed his hands over his mouth to hush him. His father stood slowly, he grabbed Deacons arm pulling him up from the ground. Deacon knew that something was up, he could feel it in the air, something was wrong. What made it worse was that Deacons feelings were being confirmed by his fathers actions. There was a slight cool summers night breeze that gently pushed through the living room causing the curtains to sway, Deacons father knew that he hadn’t opened the window so there should’ve been no breeze coming from it. He stepped protectively in front of his son eyes fixed on the curtains as they pushed silently forward before coming to a rest. The shadowy form of a man stood between the curtains not visible to Deacon what so ever, but his father detected whoever it was, they were not alone. “You won’t take us so easily Shroud agent!” Deacons father yelled out defiantly. He pushed his son back slowly moving away from the curtains, the soft sound of chains rubbing together disturbed the silence of the room before the shadowed figure spoke. “So ya see me?” said the shadowed figure, his voice deep, scratchy and menacing. There was a southern twang to it. Deacons father kept slowly walking backwards toward the back door in the kitchen guiding his son keeping his full attention in front of him out to the living room. “How did ya sense me pops?” The shadow asked mockingly. “I’m sher, that’s a nice gift ya got, cuz I’m hard ta detect, but I ain’t here fer you…” His voice trailed off fading into the darkness. Deacons father kept slowly making his way back, they were in the kitchen, his arms out to his side defensively, the shadow remained between the curtains unmoving. “Turn around and open the door” his father said telepathically to Deacon which surprised him, never had his father spoken to him in this manner. “Dad…?” Deacon said confused speaking out loud. He gripped the back of his fathers shirt fear was starting to take the boy over. “Focus!” His fathers voice echoed inside the boys mind. “Open the door then run! Don’t look back! You just run and find a good place to hide!” His father said telepathically, and firmly. “Daddy…?” Deacon replied not knowing what was going on here. Who was this demon behind the curtain that his father spoke to? He couldn’t see anyone. Why did his father speak to him this way? Was this some type of trick? Surely this was a dream, a very bad one. Finally they stood by the back door, Deacons father kept his eyes fixed on the curtains before they went wide. “Go!” He yelled out. A chain shot forth from the curtain making the curtains jerk violently from the amount of speed it was hurled. Deacons father stepped forward his eyes glowing green almost toxic. Opening his mouth green fire shot out filling the room with a bright green light. The light omitting from Deacons fathers mouth gave off a heat, it rushed forward melting the chain to nothing, the shadowed figure dove off to the side letting the green flames hit the front window, this was this first time that Deacon noticed that someone was standing there. A great explosion occurred, what followed was a giant burning hole in the front wall where the window used to be. What remained of curtains burned on the floor, the front wall was ablaze. Deacons father took this moment of distraction to open the back door pushing his son through it. A chain darted past him wrapping around his sons little neck constricting like a snake tightening and tearing at his skin. “No!” Deacons father cried out. Grabbing the chain with both hands he spit on the chain link his acidic saliva quickly ate through the chain quickly. Once Deacon was free his father pushed him out of the door slamming it behind him. The flicker of flame slightly exposed a muscular short frame dressed in a janitors uniform, chains wrapped around both arms and criss crossing around his massive chest, red eyes staring back at him. Deacons father remained silent and focused, charging up his power for a final time. Taking a deep breath his chest filled with air enlarging almost unnaturally. Opening his mouth he unleashed the green flames engulfing the shadowed figure baptizing him if fire. Screams of pain filled the house. Deacons father continued heaving the flames rushing out of his mouth hungrily burning everything around them. He raised his head upward flames bouncing off the ceiling darting about licking the walls. He didn’t intend on leaving, his intent was to bring the house down upon him and his adversary giving his son a chance to escape. The large figure engulfed in flames dropped to the floor as the last of the flames flickered out of Deacons fathers mouth. The flames didn’t burn him, he was immune to the flames that he’d created. Laughter came from the floor the fallen adversary’s body smoked his flesh burning, he laughed wickedly, Deacons father looked on astonished that one could be so wicked even in his final moments. “This house will soon fall, both of us will be dead, and my son will live!” He cried out with great emotion. Cynical laughter repeated from the adversary, slowly he stirred looking up with eyes of red his skin burnt smoke rising from him. “Nah…” He said. “This house’ll fall killin you, n my body will heal after you’ve been dead n gone. Might take a few days, but I’ll be strong enough to hunt again, and I’ll have yer boy! He got wut I want, and I reckon ta git wuts mine…” The foundation gave way as the adversary laughed just as the roof collapsed crashing down in a fiery blaze he wondered if his son had a chance of survival.

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