A Short Intermission

Simon pressed his ear against the door, listening for any indication that Tommy was still alive. But all was silent; not even the scratching of little claws or the purring of tiny fanged mouths could be heard.

“Start a small fire,” Simon said to Sarah, without removing his head from the door.

“What?!?” screamed Sarah. “Tommy’s in there and you want to make an eff’in’ campfire?”

“No, but I need fresh ash for the summoning spell,” Simon said with a sneer. He gave her a sidelong look that asked how she couldn’t have known that.

“Whatever,” Sarah muttered, departing from the porch to collect some twigs.

There was another scream, disharmonic agony piercing the silence. Simon leapt back from the door; all the cats had screeched in unison with the scream. There was something about it, almost human but not quite. Simon knew this was the key, but how… And then he realized what it probably was.

“You couldn’t have?” Simon breathed. “You gorram couldn’t have, Mrs. B! You frakking idiot!”

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