Ally stood in front of the house, staring up at it. Only the attic light was on; the rest of the house stood dark. She reached back into the car, popping open the glove compartment to grab the heavy duty flashlight her father insisted she keep there. She felt grateful for it now. She didn't plan on waking the Masons to demand time with Daemon.
She flicked the flashlight on, testing, it. It cut through the darkness. Ally trotted to the porch, hoping to find the door unlocked. It was, so she pushed it open, trying to be quiet. The door's hinges squeaked.
Ally slipped inside, closing the door behind her. She swung the flashlight around, peering into the living room on her way past it. The beam of light glanced off the picture of young demon-child Daemon. His malevolent, hate-filled stare caught her attention. She almost screamed when she saw what looked like fangs in his wide open, grinning mouth.
Ally's heart jumped into her throat. He really didn't want her here, did he? Funny, he had been so insistent before. Well parlor tricks weren't going to scare her off.
She moved forward with determination. The kitchen loomed on her left. Ally glanced in. The shadows danced around her flashlight beam, making the furniture look sinister.
She came to the door at the end of the hallway and pushed it open. The darkness here was complete; she couldn't even see her own hand held in front of her face. Ally kept her flashlight beam trained on the steps that rose up in front of her, moving forward with caution. The door slammed shut behind her.
She whirled, almost losing her grip on the flashlight, her hand sweaty. She fumbled with it for a moment before regaining control. Nothing stood behind her. Trying not to let her fear overwhelm her, she turned back to the stairs. She didn't like this one bit.
"I know you're a demon," she called to the surrounding darkness. "You don't have to scare me half-to-death." Her voice echoed back to her, mocking her.
Ally gasped and came to a stop at the sharp right turn. Bloody footsteps appeared before her. They headed up the stairs in the direction she was going. She placed her own foot next to one, comparing sizes. The footsteps were a little smaller, a woman's. Was this just another scare? She hoped it was an illusion.
Ally kept an eye on the footprints, not wanting to step on them. Something below her creaked and she raced up the last few stairs, throwing herself at the door that stood at the top of the stairway.
It was locked.
Fear consumed her. She screamed and turned back to the groaning darkness. The flashlight's beam bobbed crazily, revealing slavering jaws and a demonic red-eyed gaze. She shrank back against the door, shutting her eyes, not wanting to see any more.
A moment later she fell backward, caught up in strong arms that lifted her into the attic room.
Ally kept her eyes shut tight, tears leaking from beneath her lids. She didn't know whether she was safe or not.
"I'm sorry about that, Ally," Daemon murmured.
She felt a soft surface beneath her. The strong arms disappeared. She dared to open her eyes, her heart returning to a more normal beat.
Daemon looked down at her with concern. "You didn't tell me you were coming."
Sweat made her damp hair cling to her forehead. He brushed some away, out of her face, his touch lingering. She didn't trust herself to speak just then. She breathed deeply to calm herself.
"What was that?" she demanded once she got her breathing back under control. She felt calmer now, in his presence.
He glanced away, frowning. "This house is a hotbed for demonic activity. When you were here before I kept it at bay, but I didn't know you were coming this time." He moved closer, reaching out for her. She let him pull her into his arms. "I'm sorry it scared you. If I had known you were coming I wouldn't have let that happen."
"I thought you wanted me to stay away," Ally said, fresh tears appearing. Something terrible could have happened to her. She couldn't stop the shudder that racked her body.
Daemon held her tighter, soothing her fears.