Burn All, Burn Everything (AKA How It All Ends), part 1


The Jersey Devil hovered high above the massive inferno that was destroying his home. The sudden, heavy winds that blew off the ocean had caused the blaze to spread rather quickly, engulfing the entire pier in what seemed like a matter of minutes. The restaurants, amusement rides, retail stores, and even the tiny space rented by that fraud psychic medium, were being consumed by this fiery beast. Not piecemeal, however, but voraciously devoured in one huge bite. The arcade was currently being shoved into the fire’s massive mouth, and next on the menu would be something extra special for dessert: The Haunted Mansion.

The Devil had built the Mansion decades ago, moving his main place of residence from the quiet isolation of the Pinelands, to the vibrant and noisy Jersey Shore. It had been a difficult decision, and one he had regretted at first. (He had spent nearly three centuries maintaining his home, and legend, in the Pineys.) The Devil had made a deal with a local business man named Vincent Gualterri to construct this magnificent mansion on the boardwalk in Long Branch. He would occupy the sprawling basement levels, while Gualterri and his crew provided fright and terror to those willing to pay $10 to walk, or run, through the macabre manor above. Despite that immediate regret, the Devil felt at home in the Haunted Mansion, and in a mere few months he had also developed a deep fondness for the beaches, boardwalks, and congestion of the Shore.

So it was somewhat difficult to watch this impending catastrophe.

The Devil felt sorry for the colony of black and yellow firemen below. Their efforts had been in vain. They had stopped aggressively fighting the blaze about an hour ago, and now seemed content with just keeping it from spreading to the smaller sections of the boardwalk. Nearly a dozen engines responded to the call, yet they were still useless against this monster. Despite it being surrounded by water on three sides. Their shouts, shooting up to the Devil's perch above, had repeated the same whine over and over again: The fire was too big and too fast!

And those who had escaped those burning jaws had gathered blocks away at the firefighters’ request. They watched dumbfounded as the fire belched out thick, black smoke that could be seen from miles away. They were pointing and reporting their version of the story to others who had just joined their gathering of tragedy watchers. The Coast Guard, who continued to drift up and down the ocean side of the pier spraying water, was also doing it's form of crowd control against the numerous boats that had floated in to get a closer look at the spectacle.

It had been a blaze beyond the human’s control. And like everyone else on the ground, the Jersey Devil was just a spectator to the unstoppable power of this fiery juggernaut. He was not just any demon, but the King of Demons, with the power to easily crush boulders, or the hearts of men, with the slightest thought.

Yet all he did was watch, and wait for the flames to lay waste to his home.