Combining a bit of promotion with the Daily Post prompt: Burn. An excerpt from Abomination.
“Abdelkader, leader of the Kusha, you will bring your men here. I have something to say to you.”
Abdelkader backed up, fighting against an obvious desire to run, and the Burnt Man addressed the main hall that was now filled with hundreds of unseen watchers.
“The rest of you, come out! Or I will have to flush you out like the cockroaches you are!”
Kat watched, her flesh creeping with a premonition of yet more horror as the group of hunched, disjointed-looking people—the Burnt Man’s followers—shambled through the hall, spreading out like the mold on a piece of fruit.
“Do you doubt that I can?” The voice filled the cavernous ruin. Like a viscous liquid, it seeped into every corner, into every head, seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere. An unnatural silence fell on the mall. Even the distant shouting of Abdelkader had died away. The Burnt Man cast his gaze about, once again raising it to the first level where Kat and her friends camped. Julie grabbed Philippe’s arm, and Kat thought how similar they looked, both worn thin and nervy, always on the brink of hysteria, scared-looking, like their children. With a shiver, she admitted to herself that their kind hadn’t a hope of making it.
The Burnt Man looked away, fixing his one-eyed gaze on a barricaded walkway on the ground level, and threw out his hand. Like a rocket, the ball of flame burst through a pile of rails and tumbled partition walls, blasting the lightweight debris into a hail of sharp, flaming shards. There was an animal shriek of agony, and an arm flew into the air with the shredded plasterboard and fragments of plate glass. The rest of the body staggered into the open, and fell, a carbonized non-person, to the horror of the watchers. Behind it, a canine torch, one of the security guard’s dogs, made a feeble attempt to outrun the flames that engulfed it, then staggered into a crackling heap.
“Did you hear that, cockroaches?”
Kat was mesmerized like the others. Philippe clutched his wife until his fingers left a white mark on her bony shoulder. Jérémy chewed his knuckles, casting the odd glance over his shoulder to where Mattieu, his little brother, was playing with a group of other children. Silently and earnestly, they were building a crazy-looking house out of plastic cups and polystyrene packaging. Kat was so absorbed that she jumped at the light touch of a hand on her arm. Jeff tugged at her sleeve, trying to pull her away, back into the relative safety of the store. His face, already drawn and pinched, was a mask of terror. Only the eyes, huge and pleading and full of something only he could see, were still the eyes of a six year old child. His brow was furrowed as if he was in pain. His voice was thin as if even the effort of speaking was too much for him.
“Hide me, Kat! Don’t let him find me, please.”
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