Tags: #fiction, #demon, #paranormal, #supernatural, #fiction action adventure, #fiction fantasy, #fiction fantasy epic, #demon and angel, #demon blood, #demon amongst us
“This is where the energy has led us.”
“The One is at Burning Man?”
“We shall see.”
We drove up to a small camp outside the main
area where people seemed to be checking in. I hopped out of the
jeep and looked around. I saw people who looked normal and regular
walking alongside people wearing nothing but paint and feathers.
One girl was walking along on stilts with rubber hoses sheathed
over her arms, acting as some sort of tentacles. We walked over
toward the tents and the largest one had a large sign hung over the
opening that read ‘Welcome’ and we went on in.
I noticed that the staff was dressed rather
colorfully. One guy was sporting a pith helmet and a loincloth and
an older woman who worked with him was clad from head to toe in
bright red fishnet stockings.
“Passes?” The loincloth dude asked. I looked
to Ivar but he just had that same stone expression on his face.
“We don’t really have tickets. This was kind
of a spur of the moment thing.” Everyone around us exploded in
“I’m sorry, guys, really. It’s just that
Burning Man isn’t something you just come and do. You’re going to
be out here in the desert for days. You need to prepare.”
“I thought you guys were all about free
“We are, but you have to be careful and stay
healthy too. You’re going to need water and food.”
“So, if we can get some of that we can come
“No. While we’re about free spirits, we’re
not about free admission. Everyone here has contributed.”
“Fine! How much?”
“Three hundred fifty,” I looked up at him in
disbelief. “Each. I’m sorry, man, but all this doesn’t come cheap.
The money we collect helps us keep the spirit going year after
“I know, but the thing is, my friend and I
are kind of following energy and it led us here. We really need to
“Well, you really need a ticket. I can’t
“I’m Ivar.” A spritely girl wearing only
dress pants and suspenders ran up to loincloth guy and whispered in
his ear. He looked back at us and smiled.
“Enjoy Burning Man.”
The girl in the pants caught us as we came
“Hi,” She said. I tried to keep from
noticing the small straps pressing against her bare chest. “I’m
Jinx. He was wondering when you’d get here.”
“The One.” Ivar said to me.
Jinx led us toward the main grounds. There
were camps and structures of all kinds surrounding us. I saw a
large section that had a number of games, including a small golf
course and a large jungle gym that had to be at least four stories
high. Club music was blasting out from all sides and people were
dancing all around. Most of who were naked.
We came upon a large ornate tower that
looked to be made up of Popsicle sticks. From there, Jinx led us
around to a large tent that was set apart from the others. It was
made of a velvety material and appeared to be the most sturdy,
well-built tent there. There was a small rug rolled out in front of
it and a canopy that kept the entrance nice and shady. Jinx stopped
just in front of it and turned back to us.
“This is it.” We walked toward the tent but
Jinx threw her arm out and stopped Ivar.
“Just him.” I went on into the tent. As I
did, all the noise and heat of outside seemed to disappear.
“Hello.” A voice called out.
“Okay.” I suddenly fell back and landed on
something large and soft. A faint light appeared. I saw an old man
sitting at a table lighting a candle. He looked good for his age.
Not too wrinkled and he seemed to have most of his hair. It had all
turned gray, but he still had it. I looked down and saw that I was
butt deep in an orange beanbag chair.
“You’re The One?”
“That is one name I have been known by. You
may call me Jonathan.”
“Jonathan? Doesn’t sound very holy to
“It’s just a name, Mr. Corba.”
“Fine. Whatever. I need...”
“I know what you need. I’ve already known. I
just wanted to speak with you. You don’t seem to have much interest
in your family.”
“Not really. No. Not that there’s much to
know. My parents are dead. I’ve been stuck with a demon in my soul.
Would you want to know any more about a family like that?”
“Perhaps not, but it’s difficult to go
through life not knowing who you are.”
“I know who I am!”
“How could that be? You don’t know anything
about the family from which you come. If you don’t know where you
came from, how can you be certain where you are going?”
“I don’t have a family! I have me! That’s
all I need. I don’t need to know about my first cousin’s father to
know how to lead my life.”
“That’s not quite what I meant.”
“Your family is what some refer to as a
special case. Special even among special cases.”
“But with that curse, comes a gift.”
“Look, I didn’t come here for a lesson in my
family tree. I just came here to get this damn demon off my ass! I
don’t care about my family line. I don’t want to know anything
about it. What little I already know tells me I shouldn’t dig any
deeper.” I felt rage rising in me. Jonathan looked at me
thoughtfully. He got up from his seat and walked around the room. I
just then noticed all the strange items he had displayed. Some
golden orbs and shining metal trophies. I could make out a few
daggers and knives with bizarre and overly ornate handles. He
picked up a large glass orb and held it up in his hands and stared
into it intensely.
“Your resistance is troubling. The Corba
family has a long tradition of demon hunting and has been quite
crucial in some very decisive battles over the years. Perhaps in
our complacence, we have come to rely on them too much.”
“Not your concern. I sense great things in
you, Jake Corba. I see a powerful light in your soul as well as a
“Can you help me or not?” Jonathan set down
his glass orb and calmly took his seat again.
“I would speak with Ivar now.”
“I would like to speak with Ivar. Please.”
His tone told me there was no point in arguing, so I felt my way
back to the entrance. I stepped out and was surprised to see the
sky was dark and the air had grown cold. Torches were lit and
burning all around the camps. I saw Jinx and Ivar standing
“How long was I in there?”
“Several hours. What did he tell you?”
“He wants to speak with you.” Ivar seemed to
be shocked by the news, but I saw a look of pride come over him. He
walked past me and marched into the tent.
“How’d it go in there?” Jinx asked.
“Fine. I guess. You ever talk to this
“I see,” I looked over in the distance and
saw a large fire with several people dancing around it wildly. I
noticed many of them were women and many of them were topless.
“This place is crazy.”
“It’s just a place where people can release
their inner passions, free of judgment. It’s healthy to blow off
steam once in a while. It can be cathartic for some.”
“Maybe, but for my money it’s crazy.”
Ivar emerged from the tent and walked over
“We have been asked to leave.”
“We’re being kicked out?”
“No. The One has instructed us to leave here
for now. He says we need to go to Diablo Luto.”
“Look, I get that you think this guy is
super holy or whatever, but I get the feeling he’s just jerking us
around! Why didn’t he just lead us there when we first landed?”
“That is not for us to question. We need to
“Uh, guys?” Jinx said in a timid tone. “You
really can’t leave. The Burn has already begun.”
“I understand that, Jinx, but we do need to
leave.” Ivar took my arm and dragged me back the way we came,
toward the tent we entered through. Jinx followed behind us,
imploring us to stop.
As we approached the tent, a large group of
people formed before us. A young guy pushed out of the crowd. He
had neon piping wrapped up and down his arms and legs with neon
paint splashed across his bare chest. The only bit of clothing he
had on was a leather pouch wrapped around his junk.
“Where do you guys think you’re going?”
“Look, Braveheart, my friend and I have to
go. Mind stepping aside?”
“No one leaves the Burning. We are a
community and our energy is shared. If you leave, you drain us. We
don’t want to be drained.”
“Then I guess you haven’t found the right
girl to do it, then!”
“We all depend on each other to keep this
place alive. I, for one, will not let you sabotage us. You are not
“So, the whole free spirit thing kind of
doesn’t apply here?” The guy didn’t say anything. I heard rumblings
among the crowd. Suddenly someone came up behind him and whispered
into his ear.
“Fine,” He then looked back to Ivar and I.
“You may leave if you can pass the trial.”
After minimal explanation, the crowd forced
us over to the large jungle gym I had seen earlier. There were
torches burning around it. People were hanging all over it and
seemed to be waiting for something. Braveheart instructed me to
crawl inside. As I did, I noticed how much louder the cheers and
yells from the people outside were on the inside. I walked towards
“Stop!” I turned to Braveheart and he stood
before me in a very hostile stance.
“Okay. Now what? Dance off?” Braveheart let
out a yell and charged toward me. He jumped up and planted his foot
into my stomach. I fell back and slid across the ground.
“You win. You go. You lose. You stay.” I got
back up and I could see from his energy he had danced like this
“Fine, Braveheart. You want to go? Let’s
go,” He jumped around a bit. I threw a punch, but he ducked away
and went around me and landed his fist into my lower back. A shock
of pain shot through me and I fell forward. He was zipping around
like lightning. “Man. I don’t know what you’re on, but after I
finish kicking your ass, you have to tell me.” A blur of neon light
passed by me and the pressure of a fist hit my face. I spun around
and felt a warm liquid on my face. I looked down at my hand and saw
blood on it. My anger meter was going higher. I tightened my fist
and decided to play his game. I bolted forward and leapt up and
started climbing up the jungle gym. The crowd outside blew up in
cheers. I looked over and saw him crawling up like a spider. As he
got in close, I hooked my legs around a bar, fell back and swung
around him and pounded on his back. When I was done, I grabbed what
little hair I could and pulled him off the bars and dropped him to
the ground. It wasn’t far enough to kill him, but he’d be in
I saw him through the dust rolling around in
pain, but he was getting up. I started crawling up the bars again.
I heard him climbing up after me. He had slowed down. I reached the
top of the jungle gym and started crossing the bars across the roof
of the cage. I was going hand over hand across the structure. I
turned and saw Braveheart coming toward me.
When he got close enough, I swung up and
kicked him hard in his chest. His arm gave out and he dropped down
a bit. I kicked out at him and he flailed at me. I noticed he had a
bit of an advantage as his toenails were long and hand been
sharpened into claws. He slashed at me like a feral creature. I
felt my grip weakening and the logic of my strategy was escaping
me. I flipped around and started away with the intent of climbing
back down. I suddenly felt a sharp stab in my back and with a quick
scream. I fell down and landed hard into the ground. I was
struggling for air when I suddenly felt a tremendous weight land on
my stomach. When the dust cleared, I saw Braveheart standing on top
of me with a smug smirk.
“No,” I forced out. I quickly grabbed his
ankle and flipped him over. He fell and I was on him. I pinned him
down and began to pound him against the ground. I could hear his
skull knocking against the rock floor. After a few good ones, I
tossed him aside. He was bruised up, but nothing serious. I crawled
over and clamped my arm over his throat. “May we leave?” Braveheart
opened his eyes. He looked like he was about to cry.
“That’s a sport. Take care now.” I gave him
a playful slap on his red cheek.
Ivar and I were ushered out with little
ceremony and we quickly found the jeep. As we got in, we could hear
the music and celebrations going on back in the camps. We drove
back toward the main road that would lead us back to Diablo
The trip to Diablo Luto was rough. A hard
gravel road and lots of deep holes and steep hills along the way. I
felt the springs in my seat bend and squish with each bounce. There
was no top for the car, so air conditioning would have been
We were going along a smoothly stretch and I
took that opportunity to take in the area. I looked around either
side of me and just saw miles of burnt desert and dead brush. Up
ahead, I could see what looked like a town. I could definitely make
out a few buildings and as we got closer, I saw small things moving
around which started to look like cars. It was rather hard to say
for sure, as we drove in a large cloud of dirt all the way.
We were finally getting closer to town and I
was able to see more. It was small. About as small a town as I had
ever seen in my life. It looked like the heart of Diablo Luto was
no more than a strip mall. We passed through into the town and
parked alongside a rundown diner with a tin roof. We got out and I
looked down the way and saw a large fountain surrounded by some
very large stone buildings. They looked very authentic. It was
clear tourism wasn’t a major industry in Diablo Luto. Ivar led me
across the way to a large hotel. Unlike the other businesses, it
looked like someone had put money into it. We pushed through the
doors and stepped into a large bar room, or what once was a
barroom. It had since been converted into a kind of makeshift
lobby. There was a gray haired old man leaning against the old bar,
which had been turned into a reception desk.