You turn right and start down the hall. The air is rancid. Patches of dried blood crunch beneath your feet and each step makes your skin crawl. More doors line the right side, marked with bloody handprints and black occult symbols identical to the one on the window. You put your ear against a door and hear wind and the frenetic sound of wings passing back and forth.
It is looking for you.
Fifty paces from where you started, the signs of violence increase. Blood is thicker, smears on the wall are darker, and lying against the wall is a dismembered arm. You force yourself to ignore it and glance back over your shoulder. From here, all the doors look alike and disappear into darkness.
Ahead, the hallway breaks off to the left. You press yourself against the wall and inch toward the passage. The blood no longer crunches beneath your boots. It is so thick that it supports your weight. You raise your hammer, hug the paint can tightly to your body, and slowly lean your head out.
Ten feet in, a mishmash of wood and steel has been carefully piled to the ceiling. A large piece of particle board bearing the protective symbol leans against the front.
The look of the barrier bothers you. For one thing, some of the metal looks welded together. For another, someone planted a stop sign in the middle. The longer you look, the more you feel you’re being manipulated in a certain direction.
You walk up to the barrier and tug on a few pieces. You are certain it will hold your weight. You set the paint can on the floor and secure the hammer in your belt. You climb.
The top of the pile is mostly loose. You carefully move pieces around to get a better view and pull yourself up to look.
The other side is dark and you can just make out the form of something huge. It makes a sliding, scraping sound. You start to back away, quickly and quietly. As you descend, a cat-like eye as big as your head moves into the light and fixes you with a piercing stare.
Terrified, you let out a shout. Your feet slip. You grab for anything that would slow your fall. You land on the particle board, cracking it through the center and splitting the symbol in two. Your hip hurts like hell from the impact.
The barrier lurches and a deafening slam erupts around you. A few of the boards snap and the entire structure groans. Another slam, stronger now. The barrier starts to give way.
You grab the paint can, jump to your feet, and run. The bloody doors and the remains on the floor are a blur. You dash through a doorway. Your feet skid over a pentagram and you come to a dead halt. Your blood runs cold. Crossing a pentagram will beckon the demons to you.
You’re in a rectangular room with vaulted ceilings. The violence in the hallway reached its pinnacle in here. Blood is splattered everywhere and bullet holes dot every surface. To the left, a set of shelves and boards are haphazardly nailed into the wall. They seem a little out of place. To the right, small enclaves are set into the wall. You guess they once displayed art and sculpture. Fore and aft are matching single doors. The door across from you is closed. Pentagrams have been painted on the floor in front of both single doors.
You hear a low hum and the sound of rushing wings overhead. The demon outside heard your movements. You hear a violent series of tearing and slamming sounds up ahead, just beyond the closed single door. It is inside the building.
From behind you hear one final slam and you know the demon you just saw is finally through the barrier.
They’re coming at you from opposite ends. To protect yourself, you know you must obscure the pentagrams and place protective wards on the doors.
You grab the screwdriver from your pocket and open the paint can. Your heart skips a beat. There is very little paint left. You only have enough for one.
What do you do?
A: Stop the demon with the cat-like eye behind you.
B: Stop the flying demon in front of you.
Vote in the comments or on Twitter. Voting ends Tuesday night. The highest vote will be the next step in the story, posted on Fridays.
UPDATE: The voting is now closed. The scaredy-cats have the vote by a very slim margin. The next step in the story will be posted Friday. Many thanks for everyone’s participation.