From 'Prey For Day and Other Stories'
“Don’t you remember when you spoke the words?” the one with the silver lighter asked him. He kept flicking on and flicking off the blue flame like some mad habit. “You prayed for His help.”
“I didn’t mean it,” Julian screamed. Tears soaked his face. “I didn’t mean it.”
The man snatched the lighter away, gobbling it up inside his left hand. “You didn’t mean what?”
“I didn’t mean for him to die,” Julian shouted, bawling.
“And yet a man is dead nonetheless.”
This one smelt of smoke and fire, of rising kindling and smoldering embers. He opened his hand — the lighter had vanished. His palm had no creases in it. No lines. It was just stark white and it crept towards his face. Julian cringed as an unnatural heat wafted from the man’s fingers and over his skin, intensifying as they neared. Squirming in his seat, Julian’s eyes looked between the fingers and the man’s face.
Realization dawned on him.
These weren’t men at all. None of them were.
As four of the creature’s fingers squeezed into his flesh, Julian cried out. Piss trickled over his thighs. What didn’t soak into the towel, seeped into the chair and dripped into the carpet. The horrible stench of his own flesh, burning underneath the thing’s grip, filled up his nostrils and scorched his lungs. He tried pleading, but when he moved his mouth, the pain worsened.
The creature took no pity on him. It just shook his face until his crying eyes opened. Through a veil of tears, Julian cowered, quietly whimpering, softly weeping.
“You sought Him out,” it whispered close. Soot billowed out of its mouth, choking him. “You prayed to Him. Demanded His action. He granted you your bidding, and now you must grant Him His recompense.”
Its fingers melted through skin, muscles, tendons and threatened bone. “Whatever you say. Whatever you want. I’ll do anything you want. Just please stop,” he said, though he heard none of his words.
A bright whiteness pierced his eyes. Searing Pain. His jaw snapped as the creature’s fingers fell away. Now, he felt nothing. No pain. Not this pain. Not any pain. Every pain he ever experienced became faint memories, traces of emotions he recalled, but could no longer comprehend. Julian scrambled to pick up his dangling chin. Blood and flesh oozed over his hands, spilled down the length of his quivering arms.
The thing brought his face close again, tilted its head to one side like a curious child might. It searched his eyes. Julian couldn’t fathom for what.
“Decide,” it said.