Oh, there it was, on the floor behind Jonas. A sludge demon too small to even be graded. The little creature was trucking along at a snail's pace, leaving a glittering trail of slime behind it. If it weren't black, it would have looked like nothing quite as much as a gigantic, mobile booger.
"I don't see anything, so they must have already left," Jonas said. "The other invocations weren't as big. Not even humanoid sized. Maybe the demons slipped out with the tenants."
"No, there's one right there," I answered, and pulled the generic banishing rune from my pocket. A quick underhand toss, and the goober went back to the nether, accompanied by a surge of alien disappointment.
"Oh, quiet. I'm not going to shoot something that can't fight back," I said.
"What? I didn't ask you to," Jonas said.
"Never mind," I said.
Jonas shook his head, and began the work of scrubbing the chalk lines off the floor with a rag from his pocket, starting from the inside and working his way out. I stood watch, still wary, and keeping alert in case the third demon showed up.
About halfway through, Jonas stopped. He turned his face up, and sniffed. I copied him, wincing as my ribs protested.
"Do you smell smoke?" he asked.
"Yes. Hurry," I answered.
Hunger boiled in my belly, accompanied by a possessive surge - only the first emotion was aimed at me. Was the gun talking to someone?
"I think we need to have a discussion about who owns who, mister," I said, still scanning the piles of junk for intruders. No source of the smoke was apparent, yet.
Jonas paused, looked at me, and then resumed scrubbing.
The weapon was puzzled by my comment, and quieted for a moment. Then my vision blurred, acquiring an overlay of color. The entire garage floor was laced with trails of green. A red point of light was dancing along the pavement, tainting whatever happened to be in its path. It intersected with one of the glowing green trails. The red turned from a tiny spark to a blinding wash of color.
My vision snapped back to normal. I fought back a surge of nausea, staggering, and then gasped. The faint hint of smoke in the air was strengthening.
"Tess, your nose is bleeding," Jonas said.
"Nevermind that, run!" I shouted.
On cue, fire arrived at the end of the trail of slime. Sparks flew to the concrete ceiling and extinguished, but some of them fell into the cardboard boxes that were stacked in a pile nearby. The dry, dusty fuel ignited.
"Shit!" Jonas exclaimed, dropping his cloth.
I turned, trying to run, and the floor bucked and heaved. Jonas grabbed my arm and hauled me to my feet, hustling me towards the exit. The ground seemed out of sync with my feet, and I couldn't tell where the concrete ended. It was covered in a gray mist.
My weapon muttered an apology, but that didn't help worth a damn. I still couldn't see where to put my feet.
The fire, which was growing to a conflagration faster than we could move, had eyes. They watched us with malice. Paws swiped at us, and licks of flame snapped at our heels. At times, the fire lifted away from its fuel to reach for us, tearing at our clothing and leaving blisters in its wake.