Pastor Michael settled Sarah into the gig, with Beatrice and Brian. He looked over as Mike and James Jenkins arrived with their horses.
'So, I'll travel with Sarah and the Dennises. You two ride as outriders.'
Mike and James nodded silently, their lips bitten with nervous tension. They swung up into their saddles and reined their nervous horses into formation with the gig. Brian took up the reins and Michael settled himself next to Sarah, holding her hands tightly. His crucifix gleamed by the light of the vicarage carriage lamp.
'All ready?' yelled Brian. At the group 'aye' he cracked the reins and the gig set off with a sudden lurch. They pelted down the little road towards the centre of town, the outriders easily keeping pace with the two gig horses.
As they swung past the town gardens, there was a loud crack and a flash of light. Before anyone could do anything a figure appeared in the gig, clad in a flowing black coat.
His eyes gleamed red as he looked at Michael.
'You know I can't let you do this, don't you?' he asked, almost reasonably.
Michael gripped his crucifix.
'And you know we have to, don't you?' he growled back at the spectre.
There was the sound of unearthly laughter as the shadowy man leaned forward and took the crucifix from the Pastor.
'Huh! Piece of tin jewellery!' he cried dismissively and ripped the small cross from the pastor's neck. Pastor Michael was horrified to see his crucifix have no effect on the demon, he had been hoping it might buy them some time - or at least keep the evil one at bay for a while.
The demon studied the small metal cross for a moment and then flung it away. He grabbed for Sarah.
'Never! You'll never get the three!' he screamed above the howling wind.
Just as suddenly, Philip recoiled. His face turned deep red and he screamed, as if in pain. Michael looked around and saw Beatrice brandishing something.
'Tin, eh?' she cried. 'Try this!'
The gleam of silver was reflected deep in his red eyes, and it almost seemed at though there was a trickle of blood from them.
Beatrice kept the trinket held high between her and the demon as she pulled Sarah out of his grasp and pushed her down on the floor. Michael immediately covered Sarah with his own body. Philip gasped then tried to reach for Beatrice's outstretched hand.
From out of nowhere came an awful cracking sound, and as Beatrice felt the burning sensation of the demon's fingers brush hers, there was a scream and a furious yelling. Mike and James Jenkins had unsheathed their whips and were laying into Philip as hard as they could. Their horses cantered dangerously close to the carriage, but it was necessary as they were needed to distract the demon before he hurt Beatrice or stole Sarah. Withers beaded with sweat rubbed against the side of the carriage as Mike and James ignored the pain from their crushed calves and continued to flail on Philip from both sides.
A lucky shot from James got the demon straight across the face, drawing blood and breaking his nose. The demon roared in pain and, to the horror of the other combatants, began to shed his human persona.
'Stop him!' yelled Brian, still urging the horses onto the farm.
'I can't' shrieked Beatrice.
The demon spiralled upwards and then flew at Mike, sulphurous tendrils emanating from every part of him. Mike ducked low in his saddle, but it wasn't enough.
As he swooped over, the demon plucked Mike out of his saddle and dragged him up into the air with him.
'No!' screamed James. 'Let him go!'
The demon laughed maniacally and then proceeded to rent Mike to pieces. The absolute strength of the demon proved to be unstoppable, although Mike tried valiantly to fight back. When his head was wrenched from his body, the demon lost interest and dropped the corpse to the ground. He turned, his eyes burning with intense fire and glared at James.
'Come on!' James screamed. 'You want to attack an old man - come and get a young one!' and he brandished his whip at the demon. Philip laughed uproariously, as though James had made an exceptionally funny joke. When he recovered his composure, he threw a hand out towards James on his horse. A bolt of pure energy flew from his hand and jetted towards James. James saw the bolt just in time and threw himself sideways. The bolt hit his horse and the poor animal was stone dead in a matter of heartbeats. As his horse fell, James launched himself at the gig and managed to grab one of the harness traces. He hauled himself up and swung his leg over one of the carriage horses, urging it on to even more speed.
As if looking for the holy grail, Brian peered into the gloom and could just make out the farm. It seemed dark, but there was a light flickering. The girls were still there.
The demon was still furiously buzzing the gig with energy bolts and fireballs. Brian kept the horses galloping straight on while keeping his head down. Michael was still covering Sarah and Beatrice sat up continuing to brandish her silver crucifix, ignoring the pains in her arms and the sight of her old friend being rent in two.
The demon was howling in frustration, as long as that damned silver jewellery was there, he had no chance of getting Sarah out of the gig.