In the cave, Saitan snuffed the torch out. He pressed into my arm. He pulled me close, and wrapped his hand over my mouth to keep me from screaming. Shh…
I heard the footfalls, steady as stones.
A flash in the dark – a moving shadow against ghost light – and Saitan held me, and hushed me.
Like a dead tree and a lizard and a man, it poked and prodded so carefully upon the bush of the ghost light.
We watched it, Saitan and me, prodding the branches and the fountain of light like a gardener. Under the long, spindly fingers – talons? – of the monster the bush seemed to expand a little and tremble with ecstasy.
We waited. It moved on, down and down the cave, beyond our light.
We waited longer.
Saitan let go. He ran his hand along my hair. He whispered something in my ear. Don’t fear, he had said.