“What were we thinking,” Ellen muttered, pulling her jacket closer and leaning into the campfire. “We could be at home cruising the square like everyone else.” She launched into another diatribe at her friends, Cassie, John, Amy and Tom. “No, we’re here freezing huddled around a campfire. When does the fun start?”
Tom handed her a wire hanger. “I think the fun starts when you stop whining.” He continued handing out hanger then passed a bag of marshmallows.
Ellen shoved her marshmallow speared hanger over the flames. It was completely dark out in the wooded hills so far from town and nothing to do. She watched the coals glowing at the base of the fire. Something shifted among them.
She jumped. “Did you see that?”
Amy frowned. “See what?”
Using her hanger as a pointer, she said, “Something’s in there, moving.”
“I don’t see anything.”
Tom jumped, “Hey.”
“Did you see it?”
He laughed. “No, if there was anything in there, it’s dead by now.”
“I just want to get back to town. It’s cold out here.” Ellen pulled her marshmallow in half blowing on one side.
John grinned. “If you’re really cold, you can sleep in my bag with me.” He popped a marshmallow in his mouth.
“Rather freeze, thanks.”
John had been making stupid jokes like that every since he had turned thirteen. It disgusted Ellen then and now that they were seventeen it still disgusted her.
Something slithered through the base of the fire.
Ellen jumped up. “There it is.”
The others seemed to be fixed on her instead of the creature in the fire.
Amy sighed. “Ellen, stop we’re not going back.”
The thing began to congeal into a form pulling itself from the coals and flames. As it grew, so did the fire.
John was the first to notice. “Ah, guys.” He pointed to the growing mass of molten heat shaping itself in front of them.
The creature took form like a flaming demon from some movie. It plunged its arm at John. He flipped over backwards in his chair. The others froze for a moment, before moving. Amy dove into a tent, Cassie ran through the woods towards the jeep.
It turned to Ellen, she stood there like a cobra swaying with the beast lost in the darkness of its eyes.
John grabbed a branch waving it at the demon. It turned. A low growl emanated from inside it and echoed into the night like a rolling laugh. The branch burst into a flaming ball. John dropped it with a yelp.
“Let’s go we have to get out of here.” He raced for the tent, grabbing Amy and pulling her out.
“Ellen, come on.” John ran towards the cars pulling Amy, stumbling with him.
The beast leaned its face closer to Ellen’s. They stood looking into each others eyes.
“What are you?” Ellen asked.
“You are not afraid,” the creature responded.
“Good, I am yours.”
“I don’t understand.” Ellen could hear the others screaming for her.
“You made me. You created me. I am a part of you and will serve you.”
A car engine started in the distance. Her name, called by her friends, echoed through the woods.
The beast continued to sway like a flame. “Your friends wait.”
Ellen smiled, backing toward the woods. “I guess we’re going back to town.”
“I wait for your call.” The golden orange mass turned towards her as she moved.
“Name?” Ellen called.
“Elbaz.” The creature called back as she raced through the woods.