Short Story

Popping smoke

Geoffrey crept through the thicket under the night sky. The howling sounds echoed across the mountain. His palm sweated like hell that he almost slipped out the corroded torch. He was panting as he reached to the old house. He took off the black hat when he trudge up to the front door, a place that once was lively and bustling. Spider webs were occupied across the top jamb.
“Mother?” He twisted the door open. The moonlight barely saw through the inside. Dirt and buried bottles were all over the ruined floor alongside with shads of glasses as he passed.
‘Please Mother, where are you?’ He slithered the handgun at the back of his waist and held it well in hand, ‘I don’t think we need to play hide and seek.’
‘You liked it before, my babyboy.’ All the windows shut with a sudden burst of wind, ‘Are you tired of me just like your father did?’ The snarling of question cried out from upstairs. It gave an icy chill to Geoffrey, as if crawling on his back. He tried to keep his breath under control. With the fatty belly that he had, he probably knew he might not be seeing the next sunrise.

There was no choice. A mess who had created it who had to clean it up, Geoffrey lived by such motto. He re-counted his silvery bullets, it was five. He slowly approached to the staircase, the cracking of dry woods smashed by his grizzled shoes. Years of training, he did not need to think of a plan, it became his second nature to kill, even he had been retired for half of the decade.

He kept the gun atop the torch and concentrating every breath he took as he walked up to the second story. Every single detail of the house he remembered. It was abandoned untouched. Three bedrooms were near him and one lavatory sat at the end of the hallway. It was only his room door half opened, the room that his mother used to lullaby him under the pale spotlight, before his parents drifted apart. It wept him in a jiff.

‘Mother, we need to talk.’ He blinked his eyes and pulled the hammer. He was extremely cautious of his movement. He leaned on the eroded wall as he prompted over to the other side of the sill. It provided a glimpse of his childhood room. The once full of mystical paintings on the wall and toy troops guarded the gate was now faded with dull and lustreless. Crumbled bed sheets had strewn on the ground and the mattress was missing on the bed frame. Blowing with winds, it was the only window remained half open.

Despite the darkness and dismal objects, nothing particularly suspicious. He gazed at the window for a while. The torchlight had given him a sense of security, he felt it deep. When he finally turned over to search for another room, an unassailable force pulled him back to the room. His ribcage had clashed with the wall and he stumbled down to the ground in agony. His hands clung tightly with his gun but the torch had been thrown across the room, which broke the bezel of the glass, it dimmed and then it went black.

He shook his head and tried to find his balance as he stood up. A black cloud of smokes formed across him. Its eyes were green and when it spoke, the hollow under its eyes distorted. ‘You did well by releasing me,’ the intensity of the blackness in the smoking cloud increased gradually, ‘I could spare your life if you knee before me, follow my orders. Bring me the fleshes with hopeless innocent souls.’

‘Dreaming! You’re the demon who took my mother’s life!’ The son fired two shots right at its head. The holy bullets went straight through the black of cloud and hit the wall, it banged. ‘I’m invincible, don’t you know?’ The demon formed two gnarl hands out of thin air. It came forward and strangled Geoffrey. He was lifted up, his feet struggled to find the floor, and he tried hard to tug them off. ‘Little did you know that she would have not been making the deal with me if you had never existed. You, Geoffrey Darwin, are a sinned man who does not deserve to be loved but the judicial sentence of death by hell.’ The demon gave an extra force onto its grip, ‘I enjoy watching you to suffer, mentally and physically.’ It said, with a few unbearable awkward laughs. Geoffrey’s face was flushed in red as he was too stifled to response.

All he could see was the green eyes in blurry vision. He knew if nothing happens in the next fifteen seconds, his life would be taken by this arrogant, temperamental evil spirit that he would gamble anything to kill.

‘The eyes!’ He thought, so he fired two shots aiming at the demon’s eyes. One of the bullets reached to the glowing green. It specked through the color and vanished with it. The gnarl hands released its tension as the cloudy smoke was in turmoil state in a split of a second,  ‘What have you done?!’ The demon shouted. The black smoke grew uncontrollably to fill in the room. The devil’s hand pushed him to the corner, Geoffrey lost grip on the gun. It flew away and the darkness swallowed it. He coughed, panicked, and searched for anything to throw over the remaining eye. It was useless.

The gnarl hands started to beat up Geoffrey, striking at his stomach at most, ‘You should be proud to be the first man to die on my wrath under the name of Green eye demon after 400 years later I’ve been locked away.’ The voice was sophisticated. Geoffrey lied on the floor in pain, a middle-aged man like him should have been stayed home and fed by TV programs.

Without the gun, burning the picture of his family where the spirit was summoned in the first place was the only option left, but Geoffrey would need to flame up the picture in front of the demon within three yards.

The dark force started to constrain him in space, toxicity was volatile emitting rapidly. It made him dizzy. The son wobbled over to the opened window, without sight of hesitation, he broke the window with his fist and jumped.

Landed it down on a negligent grass field, he tucked himself and rolled over a step forward to reduce the force. Parts of his leg muscles were torn apart, only pain was being loyal to him tonight. With the adrenaline running vigorously inside him, he was not aware the worn out of his fascias. He immediately ran back to the house, slammed the door open and headed to the kitchen for salt.

‘Come back you little rat!’ The evil force infuriated. The black smoke penetrated through any holes like gases from the upper floor to downstairs. Right in the kitchen, and as the smoke was intoxicating the air, the son quickly grabbed the matches under the moldy drawer, along with the salt that sat on the bar, next to the shut window. Some of the old dust herb bottles dropped by his harsh movements.

He clutched the top off, scattering the salt as a circle on the floor, surrounded himself. His hands were shaking heavily in looking for the picture in his pocket. The sweat was all over of his body by now which he hated the most. The green eye emerged from the kitchen entrance, ‘Running away is not an option.’ The dark smoke expanded vastly across the room. It started to compress everything that around it. Glasses broke and the kitchen pans that hung on the wall clanking down on the floor. A wisping puff whirled around the knife box and it lit up one of the rusty long knives aiming at the son’s neck. He struck a match to burn the picture before the darkness completely smogged him. Too shaky with his hands, the match fell off from his fingers, he instinctively grabbed another to ignite.

The green eye enlarged its pupil. ‘No!’ It yelled!

The eye turned into a fiery red in flame. It started to swallow the smoke and turned it into powdery ashes. The fire launched up to the ceiling, occupied every bit of tempers, as if the old woods thirsted for a hook. Geoffrey dragged himself out of the house and lit up a cigarette from the pack in his pocket with the bright blaze before it became an inferno. He descended from the house and did not look back. The popping timbers and smokes rushed toward the sky like the chimney of a 1850s steam train. It was the night he would get back to the hunting business.

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