It was hot and dark, the air shot through with electricity. Heat lightning trembled, illuminating the scene in brief slashes. He stood before a great wooden door set into a mud-brick wall. The timbers of the door were smashed in. 

He pushed aside the shattered fragments, stepped through the opening—and all at once, like a jump cut in a horror flick, he was inside the house, entering a room. 

Jump cut. 

Now he was on the other side of the room, sitting on the earthen floor, back to the wall, legs splayed out. A flash lit up the room—