When Matt awoke Thursday morning, he discovered himself covered in mud, leaves and bits of debris. The near scalding water did nothing to relieve the soreness of his aching muscles and he felt as though he had not slept at all. He was in the shower when he heard his mother shriek. She pounded on the bathroom door and demanded to know why there were muddy footprints leading from the front door to his bedroom but he didn’t answer. Instead he waited until his mother was distracted by other things, dressed quickly and sprinted down the stairs to head to school.
School passed by slowly as it always did. For the most part the students seemed more somber.
When Dr. Vulcan’s class came around he finished off the lecture about Gettysburg and began discussing the events leading up to and the aftermath of the battle. The students again sat enraptured, pausing only to ask the occasional question and receive a detailed answer.
After the class was over, Emma Bennet headed off to her Math class while Matt went to his Spanish class. Tired and distracted he did not see the linebacker in his path until it was too late. Matt walked smack into the middle of #41 Michael Davidson’s jersey numbers.
was naturally not amused. He yelled, and the hallway’s traffic came to a halt. When Matt tried to go around him, the behemoth slammed him bodily into the nearby lockers. Emma could hear the crash, and what must have been half the student body chanting “Fight! Fight! Fight!”. Math, she thought, could wait.
The fight did not last long and had an outcome that is still talked about twenty years later as ‘The Davidson Beatdown’. With some assistance by Emma, Matt managed to drive Davidson’s to the floor and got out before Dr. Vulcan showed up and started to clean house. The escape was short lived, however, as the schools closed circuit cameras had caught the action from a higher vantage point than the myriad of cellphone cameras that would later upload to youtube.
Marblewin and Davidson both ended up in the Vice Principal’s office where Davidson was stupid enough to try to kick out Matt’s chair in full view of the waiting room’s camera.
I’m not a troglodyte I’m a Christian. Stop insulting my faith!
They were both suspended after some witty banter. But it was made pretty clear that Davidson would be expelled if he caused any more trouble. As it stood he was barred from the homecoming game. Needless to say, this wasn’t a popular situation with the football team.
On the way out of the school, they noticed Eli kneeling next to his dirt bike with a socket wrench and a spark plug in his hand. Emma asked him what the problem was and the boy responded that his bike had been backfiring a bit lately so he was taking a look at it. When he did, he noticed that someone had tagged the seat of his bike with a symbol in magic marker. Two concentric circles that contained some sort of stylized eye.
Emma looked it over and was partly convinced that it was some sort of protective symbol. It was hard to make out, being that it was in black marker on a black motorcycle seat but it almost looked like some sort of bug in a circle. Matt got a picture of it on his cellphone just in case he needed it later.
Matt got home to a ticked off mother with a carpet steamer who put him to work cleaning up the mess left behind by his rapid departure that morning. After arguing with her for a bit Matt found himself grounded and relieved of his xbox, cellphone and tablet.
Emma got home to find all classical music blaring out of all of the windows and doors and all of the furniture from her living room and bedroom out on the lawn being aired out from all of the indoor weather of the previous night.
Emma pulled out her phone and showed the picture to her Grandma who immediately asked her "What are you doing with the eye of Moloch? The elder witch went on to tell her that Moloch was a Canaanite deity, and was also the name of a Duke of Hell in Judeo-Christian lore who was said to have gained power from and granted power to those who sacrificed children to him by fire.
Emma was noticeably startled and asked her grandmother to look into it while she went over to Eli’s place to let him know what was going on.
After dealing with the rather large Rottweiler that was the boy’s pet, Emma examined the markings she found on the front and back doors and the windows of the house that faced east and west.
Most disturbing perhaps was that they found the decapitated head of a bull in the crawl space underneath the house at the center of the circle. A much larger version of the symbol that was drawn on Eli
’s motorcycle seat which Emma
did her best to remove with acetone.
Grandma did her best to inform them that it appeared that someone was attempting to call upon the demon lord and use Eli as a sacrifice to some unknown end. To protect him, the Bennet’s decided to bring Eli to their house and explain the situation.
So let me get this straight, you think someone wants to summon a demon to eat me? Not to like, diss your religion or anything but this is some really weird shit.
Matt was banished to his room and felt himself lucky that his mother had forgotten about his laptop. When he scooped it up to hide it to prevent it’s confiscation a picture fell out of it. It was a picture of Matt , Eli and Emma at a gaming convention the previous year.
He picked up the picture and as his finger grazed the image therein, he felt the familiar tug of his visions. The vision was a very clear image that he deduced would take place about an hour and a half later, of the Bennet house engulfed in flames. The vision made him sick to his stomach and bloodied his nose. With no way to text or call Emma , he instead used his laptop to IM her a warning before grabbing his stuff and running for the stairs. His mother was in the kitchen on her third glass of whine when he ran past, gathered up his cellphone and ran out the door. If he hurried, he’d have just enough time to make it.
Grandma enlisted the help of Eli in drying and moving the furniture back into the house. They had ordered pizza by way of a thank you for the help.
The pizza delivery guy wasn’t what he appeared and brought a little something extra to the house: An incendiary device hidden among the boxes. Eli was the first person to open the pizza boxes and took the blast in the face.
[:rebel17yearold | Eli]] would most likely have died in the fire were it not for Matt arriving and charging into the flames only to haul the biker kid bodily through a broken window.
The rest of the Bennets managed to get out of the house intact but shaken up while Matt performed CPR on their badly burned school mate.
Emma noticed the pizza delivery driver walking slowly up the street whistling to himself and ran to confront him. There was a brief tussle and Emma met gazes with the man for a second too long, triggering a soul gaze.
What she saw terrified her. The driver was possessed by the creature known as Moloch?, a Duke of Hell. Towering above her in her minds eye, the creature resembled a Minotaur wreathed in fire. Summoning up her courage, she started to try to get information from the monster though it mostly just laughed at her.
When finally she asked it why he was planning to kill everyone at the homecoming dance it replied: “Why does the fire burn?”
With that Emma was shoved out of the soul gaze and the pizza delivery man slumped to the ground and began to have a seizure. Detective Harvis Kramer arrived around then, and arrested the man who would be brought to the same hospital as [:rebel17yearold | Eli]] and slipped into a state of catatonia.
The Bennets watched the home that had been the family for generations burn for a while in tears as memories went up in smoke. When they could take no more, they all retired to a nearby hotel, and Matt returned home. After some difficulty, they all slipped into a troubled sleep.