I can taste the metallic tang of blood in my mouth. Feel it trickle down from the gash at my hairline. The heat is everywhere. With each breath I inhale hot ash. My throat is dry and scalded. The air around me seemed to burn my skin, biting more viciously at my open wounds and scratches. I stopped shaking a while ago. Now my hands are steady. I’m frozen in fear. I probably make easy prey, but I can’t think of anything else to do now. I’m out of ideas.
I see glowing eyes from deep in the shadows of the alleyway. I avoid direct eye contact and snap my eyes shut. As if not seeing could keep me safe. If I can’t see them, they can’t see me, I think childishly. But I clamp my eyelids tighter, imagining happier, more beautiful places. Ignoring the cold of the wall behind me, ignoring the burning of my skin and throat, ignoring the eyes waiting for me.
I keep my eyes closed and pretend I’m somewhere far away. I know that it’s pointless, but maybe I can have at least a few seconds of peace before…
I am brought back to the narrow, grimy alley by a low rumble and a rush of heated air. I nearly jump, but catch myself. I don’t want to give it the satisfaction of knowing I’m afraid, though it can probably sense it. It sounds very close. I don’t open my eyes.
“Look at me, please.” it purred, its tone sickeningly polite, “It’s no fun if I can’t see the light leave your lovely eyes.” Its scorching hand secures itself under my chin as it softly strokes my cheek with its thumb, and suddenly, instead of being fanned with the flame, I’m ignited. The direct contact makes the heat seep down through every nerve in my body, making me shake with the pain. I feel like I’m burning alive. I want to cry out, but I keep my lips clenched tightly. When I try to pull away, it tightens its grip, surely leaving a bruise along with my new burns.
My eyelids drift open unwillingly to find its face just inches from my own, its horrible features twisted into a malevolent smirk. I don’t flinch. I merely stand there in silence and wait, keeping whatever pride and courage I have left. The burning continues, but I keep quiet, my body alive with pain. Its unnaturally empty black eyes held mine for what seemed like hours, before its mouth widened into a sadistic grin and its hand traveled down to my throat, flames engulfing me in its wake.