I was idly lighting the long kitchen matches one by one. My friends were going on endlessly about demons, the undead, hell and Satan. I wasn’t involved in the discussion. I lit match after match and watched as they slowly burnt down while my friends got all worked up and angry about things.
I listened idly to the conversation, but I just sat there with the matches unless I was asked a question. Having had a few unpleasant experiences with the unreal, I wasn’t interested in the sort of movie hype and second-hand Lovecraft stuff they were rattling off.
Whoever had stocked the cabin had believed in matches. There were numerous boxes, plus the sort of railroad flair called torpedos. I had also found enough other fireworks for two fourth of July. I had plenty of toys to play with.
“Well, the whole thing revolves around whether God allows Satan to “go to and fro in the earth, and up and down in it.” If that’s true, the demonic is free to torment humanity.”
“What you’re not seeing here is that way before the Bible got put together, there were entire corpus’ of supernatural literature and whole works dedicated to lessening the demonic impact on people.”
” Bullshit. Satan this, Mesopotamia that, it was just people afraid to go out at night!”
” Hey, Wes, what do you think? Say something profound for once this evening and stop playing with matches.”
I stopped to think and then held up an old-fashioned strike-anywhere match. “Theses were originally called Lucifers. That’s right, named after the fallen angel Lucifer, who was originally the light bringer but fell with the others. They called them that because of the flare of light you get when you strike them and the scent of sulfur. In the 19th century, many ministers preached against their use as being Satanic due to the smell. They maintained that making fire that way echoed the fires of Hell, and godly men should not use them. Well, you can see how successful they were in suppressing that. But look here, and I’ll show you how right they were.”
With that, I struck a match and put it to the hundreds of matches, fireworks, candles, and other flammables I had assembled over the hours. Within seconds the flares of light and flame illuminated a horned and leering bringer of light that lit the entire area around our firepit. Rational ideas of the supernatural fled, as did all my friends running in fright into the night.
The flare of light died back. All that was left were the coals. And the snap of wood in the fire and the sounds of my friends fleeing. I sat there alone and chuckled with amusement. A whisper of a laugh came from behind, but even before I turned, I knew there was no person behind me. No person.