It wasn't normal.
Cain's mind was fixated on the flame, something was off about it. In theory, it was scientifically explainable, but Cain couldn't wrap his reason around it; thinking about it made his cranium burn. Being in a room with the principal and three members of the world teaching body didn't help either.
"Let me get this straight, you boys not only were smoking cigarettes… but also almost burned the whole school down? Is that correct?"
Principal, education pope, he was an elderly man, so old that he taught most student's grandparents. Not merely elderly, more apt would be ancient. That didn't mean he was gonna go easy on them, Pope had a reputation for being tough as nails, typical ball buster.
Lucifer often remarked that he had a Winston Churchill-esque demeanour, which wouldn't be a controversial statement because between his round bald head, (often described as mushroom-like) his pathetically small reading glasses and an attitude that stank he was a pretty accurate stand in for the British prime minister.
Cain wasn't listening much; Lucifer, who was sitting by his side, didn't care for the preaching either. Neither of them would even open their mouths, after years of dealing with authority they knew it was better to just keep it shut. The priestly body especially was set in their ways firmly, no point in arguing.
When he thought about it, he couldn't actually remember when they dealt with authority before that day, but he definitely felt like they did. Cain's memory wasn't really the best, he lived by the idea that it's better to not bring up memories, in case they might be painful. Not like that ever helped really, those memories weren't able to be forgotten, but having a firm worldview made him feel just a smidge braver.
The "Pope'' incessantly rambled about their truly despicable adolescent delinquency, citing passages from the Bible, which made Lucifer shudder in second hand embarrassment. Turning his face away from the Churchill imitator, he caught the eye of the remaining teaching body in the room.
Two priests, one nun.
The first one, the one that busted them red-handed in the first place, a man named Isaiah. Tall, dark, creepy, he fit on the cover of a Frankenstein reprint, complete with a scar above his left eye. Legends among students say he was anything from a Navy Seal to a demon hunter. Whatever he was, Lucifer thought he was nasty, Cain did the "creepy tall guy" thing way better. There was one more point of comparison between them, both took a liking to oversized firearms - Isaiah was a staunch supporter of "his right" to concealed carry, while Cain simply liked to pop a few bottles after class. He was quite good at it too, at least so Lucifer thought. Maybe that medical eyepatch that he always wore helped him focus his aim, who knows.
Either way, it was probably better to not mess with Isaiah, who knew what kinda gun he brought to compensate for his ego that day.
Right next to him stood Abraham, also known as the slightly pathetic and sleepy Polish immigrant. He had a tendency to go on rants about how his parents fled communism in the 1940s, which definitely made a few students suspicious, to say the least. Other than that, he was hard to get a read on, hiding behind a ridiculous pair of circular glasses. Lucifer swore up and down that one time during P.E. he saw Abraham do a incredible corkscrew backflip out of a handstand, but he was high that day, so nobody believes him. Abraham had a particularly bad relationship with the duo, they got off to a bad start when they first joined the school due to Cain's "attitude problems", as they were called. In reality, when presented with the school's frankly ridiculous constitution, which involved not allowing students to smoke even outside of the building, Cain crumpled the paper and threw it out the nearest window, straight onto Abraham's head.
So, basically, they also avoid him like fire.
The last one was Martha, she took time out of her busy life as a nun to host extremely boring ethics classes, and occasionally maybe a spanish class. She didn't really speak Spanish; she just gave out tests that had previously prepared answers, then graded them. You could say that she was all method and no mind, she took biblical laws similarly, with an application of intense literalism. She also had an unhealthy fixation on the story of Cain and Abel, which made Cain (Lucifer's buddy) less than pleased. Overall she could only be described as creepy, with whitened teeth and bags under her eyes, no doubt stemming from rigorous nightly prayer sessions. This "creep factor" also tied into her reading of the Abel story, she absolutely idealised him, going on long rants about the sanctity of children and the martyrdom of saints. Somehow she found it in her mind to tie all those topics together in a worldview closely resembling that of an American puritan.
Needless to say Cain and Lucifer didn't see eye to eye with her.
After what felt like an hour of not listening to the lecture, they both gave a resoundingly fake apology and got sent home, with a promise of severe punishment at a later date. The sun was setting, which is the only thing that saved them from getting punished that day; now they could leave with a faint hope that the teachers would forget about this whole mess.
"Jesus Christ, why do you send your worst punishment to your strongest soldiers."
Lucifer said, folding his hands together in a mocking prayer. They were far enough away from the menacing building that they could permit themselves a little bit of blasphemy. Looking back at it, the school looked creepy. With the sun setting behind it, a massive shadow covered all the halls and towers, creating a massive titan of darkness.
If Cain was more poetic he'd probably say that out loud, but his pessimistic realism stepped in and all he could muster out was.
"Don't have to remind me about it."
Lucifer giggled as they passed a yellow mailbox. He looked confident, Cain thought, a stronger person that a lot would initially think. He tried to remember how he felt when they first met but couldn't; maybe it was another one of those bad memories, or maybe he was just really tired that day.
Being partners against the Catholic authorities sometimes almost approached being fun. It was very fairytale-like actually, they went to a magical boy's school where they fought the evil priest wizards and then returned home to eat dinner.
Cain was the one to cook. Lucifer couldn't be trusted with boiling some noodles let alone a whole dinner, not for a lack of trying.
"What do you plan on making today?"
"Not sure, maybe something spicy."
Cain pondered as they passed by a yellow mailbox. They both were heat masters, breathing fireballs out of their noses at any occasion that the school lunch had an optional hot sauce with it. Which hasn't happened in a long time for the lack of funding, so they had to start bringing their own. One time Lucifer got challenged to a "heat duel", by the final bite, his opponent, a fellow student, was practically burning an orange flame. They got into trouble for that, but the 5$ won from the bet was worth it.
"What do you think caused that weird fire, anyway?"
Lucifer snapped out of a daze and asked Cain, as they were passing by a yellow mailbox.
Cain's cranium burn returned. With a vengeance.
"It wasn't right. That's all I can say."
He squinted his eyes and massaged his forehead a bit, as he passed by a yellow mailbox.
He snapped out of his headache and turned his head towards the house to his right. It indeed had, in front, a yellow mailbox, complete with a little red handle; it looked like something straight out of a children's book.
Lucifer looked at Cain, then followed his line of sight to the curious box.
"You noticed it too… Right?"
Upon hearing the question, Lucifer looked back in his memory.
"Have we been walking in circles or something?"
Both swore in their mind that they walked the right path to home, yet it does seem that they've run past this exact house more than once.
"Well, the next turn right is the way, guess we were caught up in talking or something."
Lucifer tried to handwave the odd feeling away and picked up the pace towards the next turn. Cain followed closely, not letting the distraction make him lose sight of his partner.
They felt a bit at ease when they approached the small, one lane intersection.
"Anyway, something spicy, right? Maybe a chilli or …"
He stopped himself as they walked past a yellow mailbox.
They weren't in a panic yet, but their instincts told them to keep their backs together and watch the surroundings closely, as if expecting something to come out. Cain strained his eye to look down the road; no cars, no pedestrians, only a few houses. Lucifer quickly eyed every ditch and bush, to no results. Finally their attention collided at the house.
It was fairly unassuming, but certain elements gave away the firmly upper middle class lifestyle of the owner. A marble path leading to the garden, all hedges cut perfectly to size, a few garden gnomes surrounding a miniature fountain.
"Is something wrong boys?"
They jumped slightly, right behind them stood Abraham, still in his clergy collar, but now wearing a pair of black jeans and dress shoes. Making him look older than he normally appeared.
"Not at all, sir."
Lucifer straightened himself out and replied, unsure how to take the priest's sudden appearance.
"You've been circling this house for the past while, you haven't thought about robbery, have you? You know what the law says about that."
He meant biblical law primarily. Abraham was, similarly to his fellow sister in faith, Martha, an overzealous scripture nerd. Although his attitude was even more mechanical, he wrote multiple books claiming to be the definitive Catholic ruleset, and generally spent hours reading both Biblical texts, as well as various Vatican papers.
"We, uh, were just trying to head home but we…"
Lucifer stopped, his ears caught a soft wind-like sound. It wasn't right, in fact it seemed to get closer and closer. Instinctively he pushed Cain away, making his friend almost trip into a ditch.
"What the hell is wrong with you, Lucy-"
A thunderous crack silenced his complaints, and a shape flew past his face.
"Missed. Damn it."
Abraham was standing on the yellow mailbox, in his right hand, a crimson whip with a life of its own, writhing and contorting without any human input.
"You're quicker than I gave you credit for, Devil."
Without hesitation Abraham sent out a volley of whip attacks toward Lucifer. The quiet town soundscape was filled by an incredibly loud thunderstorm. Cain stood paralyzed, unsure how to react to one of his own teachers outright assaulting them. Lucifer on the other hand, was struggling to not get hit, he was athletic but that only got him so far, he was tripping over small rocks and backing up barely enough to avoid a whip directly into the face. Abraham's attacks were shattering the nearby fence and creating cracks in the asphalt, and they were relentless. Completely different from his typical ditzy behaviour in class.
"God damn it!"
Lucifer finally tripped up, his foot slipped sideways and it hurt. Possibly twisted an ankle, but definitely fucked it up. He didn't have time to get another thought in when Abraham's whip struck him directly in the back, then wrapped itself around his body, strong enough to suffocate him if it got to his neck.
"Easiest rule of them all, and even that you break. Do not use the Lord's name in vain."
Abraham pulled on the whip; it tightened around Lucifer's torso, his back and his ankle felt as if they were on fire.
Abraham's face twisted into a hateful grimace. For the first time Cain caught a glimpse of his eyes behind the glasses, they were distorted, burning with hatred. Without thinking, he launched himself directly into the priest; jumping farther and higher than he thought he could, almost instinctively his legs first curled up close to his centre of mass, then extended in front of him with a violent snap, as if they pierced the air he was flying through. His feet connected with Abraham's shoulder at the most vulnerable point, sending both of them tumbling into the garden of the middle class house. Abraham pushed by the impact of Cain's incredible dropkick and Cain simply following the inertia of his dive.
The whip retracted itself from Lucifer's body, almost as if it felt the same pain that Abraham felt in that moment. The sudden freedom sent Lucifer onto the floor, his ankle giving out under his weight. He was breathing heavily and occasionally spitting out saliva mixed with some blood.
"Shit. Bit my tongue badly. Fuck."
He barely got those words through his clenched teeth. None of this made sense, but the burning in his back sent a message to his brain that it wasn't time to interrogate the logic of the situation. He had to get up and help Cain.
Cain, himself, wasn't doing much better. He didn't quite stick the landing of his dropkick, and while he quickly got up from his fall, Abraham was faster, and was already using the whip to slice the air inches away from Cain's nose. He wasn't as fast or athletic as Lucifer, in all honesty he was more of a massive hunk of meat who could throw a mean punch, but he had to get closer first. His hand glided towards the first object next to him. A goofy looking, stone garden gnome.
"Sorry for this."
Cain muttered and immediately sent the gnome flying in the direction of his aggressor, faster than he thought he could. Despite the newfound speed, the gnome fell into two identical pieces when the crimson whip flew right through it. Cain understood that as a warning of what will happen to him if he gets the brunt of the snap.
Multiple more gnomes flew victim to Abraham's physics defying whip techniques; he was fast, but not unbeatable; so Cain hoped in his mind as with each throw he tried to make a step towards the priest. He saw another swing in the corner of his eye, but he didn't care, he was already too close, he closed his eye and with all the power in his torso delivered a punch into the direction of Abraham's face.
"Let. The. Anger. Go. Boy."
It was for nothing, the whip wrapped around his right forearm, then moved to the other, handcuffing, and sending him hurling towards the ground. Abraham now stood above him, triumphant. Unlike usual, his face betrayed a sense of superiority, or maybe Cain was simply reading too much into it, fueled by the pure rage he was feeling.
"If you just let it go and let me take care of the devil, you'll fulfil the laws presented before you by the Lord. Allow yourself that peace."
"Lucifer is going to fucking kill you, cunt."
The whip tightened around his wrists; looking closer at it, Cain noticed that it actually had small thorns, they were digging into his skin, preventing him from trying to wiggle out of the bind he found himself in.
"He's defenceless against God's words."
With a swift pull of his left hand, another crimson whip dragged Lucifer along the ground, his body limply slid into the corner of the building and hit it with a painful twack. The shock of the impact kicked up dust from the ground and roof.
"Watch as I exorcise this demon."
A third arm casually slid out from behind his back, as if it was always there. Then another, fourth arm revealed itself holding a book. It was the Vatican's exorcism manual, mainly a prayer book with a fancy purpose. Cain recognized the cover, but wasn't sure from where. Right now, he wished his memory would bring back to him something more useful, something to get out of his situation and not obscure book covers.
"...in Lord's name, page six of the Roman Catholic Church's Exorcism rites…"
The whip tied around Cain's arms began to show signs of words, mainly in Latin. Cain knew a few words. "God", "Holy", "Light".
He glanced over at Lucifer, who wasn't doing well at all. His face was sickly pale, with a bit of blood in the corner of his lips. His usually confident face was almost reduced completely, but he was holding on to the remains of his strength.
He spoke over Abraham's recital.
"Stingray, 1969, yellow."
He smiled, before what seemed like a shock ran through his body making him spit out more blood.
Cain looked one more time at the binds holding him down. In his eye all it was was a chain.
A chain to be broken.
"Now, begone from this mortal realm, you foul b-"
Abraham suddenly stopped. He turned around and with just enough time to see a black shape flying into his face, his body flew right through the window and landed inside the house that so far served as a backdrop to their fight.
"Shit! Shit! Shit! What the fuck was that. Shit!"
He was dazed and confused, slowly recovering from the rough tumble he just took. His glasses were shattered into pieces, some stuck in his forehead and cheeks.
"Didn't I say that Lucifer would kill you."
"Ah… shit, shit, shit. So it was you… no, I had you held down!"
Cain threw a chunk of crimson red rope onto the ground, it was visibly torn at the ends.
"Shit. FUCK. SHIT. You little fuck! The damn whip was a relic, you can't break out of that."
Cain leaned on the wall next to the broken window.
"I don't give a damn about your rules, old man."
"No, no, no, it's not possible for you to have this much anger… GOD DAMN YOU… CAIN AND LUCIFER!"
Abraham stormed at him with all four of his hands holding a whip, or the remains of one.
The blonde jumped gracefully through the broken window.
"Let's end this."
They nodded to each other, and threw two final punches together.
Figuring out why all of this happened is going to have to wait, at least until they clean up Abraham's blood from their knuckles.