The wind whipped the snow off the rooftops. Drifts of white made dune-like formations around the church.

A figure hustled their way towards the front doors, bundled up and hugging themselves against the bitter weather.

Hat, scarf, long coat, gloves, and they still shielded their eyes from the blasts of ice against them.

Once to the door they closed it with haste. The weather pulled on the door from the opposite side. Snow piled in, and the great door closed with a series of clicks.

A low sound blended with the closing door. It was not quite a hum, but it was not a growl either. It was something in between.

John took his hand from the doorhandle. His eyes darted around the room. Candlelight illuminated the sides of the pews, and the image of Jesus Christ on the cross was at the opposite wall.

“What are you!?” he called out, through the throat noise.

John took his long coat off, casting it to the floor. His gloves fell on top, and from his side, a saber emerged from its scabbard.

On the saber were symbols and decorations. A gold hilt, silver blade. It was a holy, blessed weapon.

One hand held the saber, and the other made a formation up high. With a flick, a small flame rested above his open palm. It illuminated the room like the light of day. Sharp shadows spread over the pews and candles. The stained glass windows could be seen, the holy figures looking down on John with benevolence and grace.

“Answer me!” John called to the hunted.

Laughter echoed in the open room. There was no way to pinpoint where it was coming from. But John knew, it was not in a physical form yet.

“Do you see the symbols? On my sword?” John walked slowly down the center, in between the pews.

Movement from above, it was figuring out the best moment to form and strike.

“Hissssssss.”

“So you DO know. Good. Then you are willing to go into the dragon’s mouth. I love a good fight,” John called to the beast.

Behind him, the candles next to the door were blown out. Laughter echoed from the darkened corner.

“I wield holy light. Your cantrips are wasted on me. You are not the only demon I’ve slain,” John bellowed.

Another laugh, and another group of candles disappeared.

“Fine. I will go to you,” he muttered.

John headed towards the altar. As his footsteps echoed, the candles on the left wall were snuffed, then the right. He stood with his back the lord, the saber ready to slash.

“What will you do? You have been pushed out! You are at your end! Accept your death with grace and heaven may still grant you access!” John yelled.

In an explosion of strength, dark claws burst from the floor on either side of John. In an instant they pulled him halfway down into the basement.

His eyes widened, he pushed at the force. His hands went to the floor to free himself, and in doing so, the holy light disappeared. Only the small group of candles behind him remained.

The beast clawed at the hunter without mercy, free from harm. Muffled screams came to the demon under the floorboards as it gleefully took the life from such a high-talker.

In the dark, it waited as the human died. It reached its clawed hand out to receive the soul of its latest prey. Nothing came.

Bitter, static, low, it half growled, half mumbled to itself, “Between you and me, I don’t have a soul either.”

A wisp of darkness in the basement at a church in a snowstorm, and the beast moved on.

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