The rifle had been scavenged from another army, and had been designed to calculate distance and trajectory for its user. There were those who had joked that the gun was smarter than Esau himself, but he had never bothered to respond to such insults. He was entirely capable of aiming a gun on his own, and even if he weren’t, the rifle was a mere tool. It had no intelligence, no will. It took neither joy nor sorrow from the killing. It found no meaning in the act of pulling a trigger, firing a round, watching a body drop. Not like a person.
The shot was true, hitting the demon square in the chest. Esau hadn’t know what to expect. He was certain it would go through the thing’s armor, destroy its vital organs, its ribs. He did not know if it would have enough momentum to punch out of its back, but it did not matter. No living thing, man nor beast, had ever survived being shot through the chest by his gun.
The demon staggered backwards and fell to the ground, its blood and fluids collecting in a dark puddle around it. Esau frowned. Its fluids should have been bright red, yellow, orange. White, even. They should have been hot, but instead they were as cold as the parched soil of the city.
Somewhere off in the distance he heard shouting, crying, screaming. The people of the city had not expected gunfire. It frightened them. It upset them. They were children, always crying and complaining, never understanding who it was that truly protected him. He sighed, and took his eyes away from the scope, rubbed them.
When he looked through it again, the demon was gone.