1046 Granville St., Regal Hotel, subsidized per-unit housing, Vancouver

“Soulfire” by Xtasorcery

Tyler arched his back, and a blue fire spread up and down his spine. His shirt ripped open. He screamed, “No — no — no –” and tried to reach behind to beat at his own flesh.

Samantha was standing by a 9-foot plant, her hand over her open mouth. Her red shoe, a womanly shoe, was beating a tattoo against the hardwood floor, which shifted into plush carpet where Tyler was dying.

“Oh my God,” she said. “Don’t die, Tyler. I’ll get some water.”

When she splashed him with water from a vase of orchids, he screamed suddenly as if that made things worse. The soulfire was on, the helplessness was going on.

He gripped her as tiny, miniature arcs of energy started to bulge out of his eyes. His blue electric eyes, casting dark shadows over the natural brown, pleaded with her not to leave him, to hold onto him. But Samantha was near the breaking point. A woman could only go so far before the terror seized her and she ran. Samantha pushed him down into the ground and shook her head no, no as the clouds overhead parted and great beams of sunlight came through the church window.

Father O’Brian held his oversized, wooden cross out at the full extension of his arm. “Back, demon. Die, demon. Live, Christ!” With the enunciation of the last two words, a cage of anti-light, black density, wrapped itself in a bag around Tyler’s body. Father O’Brian stepped once, paused, then took two quick mincing steps. Samantha turned and ran for the doors. Father O’Brian snarled at her angrily, “Be still, bitch! Bitch! Be still!”

Outside, the Toyota was parked by the curb. Samantha fell, skidding on her knees and cutting herself on embedded gravel. The asphalt felt warm and giving. The priest was torn whether he should go after the bitch or finish off the son of Satan here. Now that he had the power, he meant to use it.

Tyler threw his arms around the priest. The priest grunted in surprise. Samantha turned the key to the car and the ignition started up. A hundred trees nearby blew with a sudden, mysterious wind. The rays of the sun seemed to turn green. The world became more and more bright. Samantha drove into the city, away from the suburbs. There were fewer churches and priests here.

She was safe here.

But what would become of Tyler?

The mountains north of Vancouver are the real source of the soulfire in this story.

Tucked in with the glaciers, an irresponsible bike-trail up through ferns and mountain-bike-challenging rocks, this area — already concealed except by helicopter — was available on Google Maps, albeit only after bitter protests from the secret owners.

If anyone with the wrong ID patch came marching in, they would get zapped and put away for all eternity . . . Zapped . . . Fried . . .

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