Brad storms into his bedroom and kicks the TV cord out of the wall. The room instantly turns black. Moon-light creeps through the window and the shadows rise all around Brad.
Brad runs to the secret pit and yanks up the carpet. A few weeks ago he promised Rick that he had thrown everything away, but he lied to him. He tried to do it, but he couldn’t. It was still a part of him. He pulls out three bottles filled with bluish-clear liquid from the pit and grabs a metal lighter. He jumps up on the couch and bounces on the cushions. The craziness rises inside of him. It’s addicting. It feels powerful. He feels in control of his world, and in control of everyone around him.
Brad rips off the rubber top of the first bottle with his teeth. He spits the cap on the floor and tastes the gasoline on his tongue. His nerves sparkle like they’ve been jolted with a million watts of electricity. He forgot how much he liked this feeling. He prepares to spark the lighter. “If they want to change me so badly, they’ll have to find another person to change, because I’m going to show them all who is in control tonight.”
Brad kicks the cushions off the couch. He looks at the gasoline swirling in the tubes in his hands. Brad holds the lighter in the air, and spins the spark wheels. A flame shoots out of the lighter and the warm flame glows on his face. He holds the bottles of gasoline closer to the flames.
The walls radiate orange from the flame. The cave in the wall opens. Dozens of spiders crawl out into the room, and their eyes glow red as they watch him; encouraging him, he thinks.
The creature appears behind the spiders, and it steps out of the wall towards Brad.
It’s the first time Brad has seen the creatures face so clearly. The creature moves closer. It growls and taunts at Brad. Do it, Brad… Do it… Burn the house down. Start your next fire. They can’t stop you anymore. Do it!
Brad whispers back, “They’re trying to change me. But they won’t; they can’t. They can all go to hell.”
The creature crawls out of the cave. Claws pry apart the shadows, and its limbs stretch out into his room. Green scales cover its arms, and black scales spread across its chest. Its orange-eyes glow into Brad’s. The creature is bigger than he ever imagined. Its forked-tongue flicks out tasting the air. Brad can’t stop staring into its eyes.
The flame starts burning Brad’s fingers. But he’s afraid to turn them off and be alone with this monster he’s created in his mind. He tries to think clearly. What’s going on? Is all of this even real? This used to be fun and exciting. Now his life is just insane.
Shadows drop from the monster’s silhouette as it lunges forward. Its massive body glows in the firelight. Its fangs stick out of its jaws. He’s terrified of this monster. He hears its voice in his mind, urging him to keep going−
“Light the gas! Burn down the house! Show them who has the power!”
The lighter burns Brad’s hands, but he can’t look away from the demon that has become such a powerful force in his mind and life.
The first time Brad lit a fire, it was so powerful he thought he saw, God. But now he realizes it was never God at all. He has been dealing with this hellish, devil-looking creature all along.
Brad freezes. He wants this to end. He closes the lighter lid. The flame turns off. The shadows vanish. The fire turns off. He realizes it’s up to him to destroy these demons, or they will destroy him and everything else in his life.
Brad stands alone in the dark room. Without the flames burning, the moon light takes over, and his sanity begins to return. He starts shaking. He can’t believe what he was just about to do. He hides the bottles of gasoline. He picks up his phone and calls the only number he knows by heart…
BRAD: It’s Brad. I don’t know what to do.
RICK: What’s wrong? You sound weird.
BRAD: Everything got crazy so fast. I didn’t know what was happening.
RICK: What happened? Is everything OK?
BRAD: I might be crazy. I don’t know.
RICK: Did something happen?
BRAD: No, I don’t think so, I’m just scared.
RICK: Go up and talk to your parents. If you don’t call me back in ten minutes, I’m calling the cops. Promise me you will.
BRAD: I will. I promise.
PHONE CALL WITH RICK CAGOS ENDS AT 9:00 PM