Saturday, November 10, 2012

Goodbye To A Good Friend. Part 5.

I had always wanted to be a parent.

I always thought I'd have... three or four... maybe a foster kid, if possible. I was always good with children. Even from when I was young, I would sometimes babysit for neighbors and family. My nieces and nephews. It went further than just not minding taking care of them - I actually liked it. It was fun. Getting Little Ones to laugh and shriek and smile those toothy (or no-teeth) smiles of theirs. And how that smile could get so easily transplanted on your own expression when they turned to you with a fresh discovery. Another amazing moment in the great, awe-inspiring world. A constant reminder to not let yourself get too boxed in with your thinking. What you accept and don't accept as possible. A child doesn't ask if fairies are real. They know it. They don't ask if dragons live on top of mountains or if dwarves live beneath. They know it. They don't ask if good always trumps evil. Because they know it. Magic is real to them. The World is Real. Not even close to the stale version that Adults see...

When Leo was born... he was so small. His hands were absolutely tiny... and, yet, when those little digits grabbed you around your finger... it was like a vice. He wouldn't let go, and he'd laugh and kick his feet in victory of the capture. That little grip was so tight that I always used to kid Alex... that you could pick him up right out of his crib with just that hold on your finger alone.

My strong little man.
He grew up so fast. 

I just...

He wanted a puppy for his birthday that year. The one when... when everything changed.

Leo started seeing Him before Alex did.

I thought I knew Terror from when I saw Him the first time in that bathroom with Jordan... but that had merely been the warm-up in comparison to what gripped me when Leo suddenly mentioned the Tall Man. His new friend. Alex must have thought I had lost my mind... but, soon enough, He let Alex See too. We were in it together after that. No turning back. No one would believe us. No one except Owen and Jordan. Owen, who had begun to see Him not long after Leo did. Owen, who witnessed Him peering into their second story window when he had come rushing in to wake Jordan from one of her night terrors.

He found one of his own, I suppose you could say.

We... eventually left together. The two families. We had been Running only a few months before Alex and I found out we were... expecting again. We should have been... excited... but, instead, there was only... dread. Panic. To bring a new life into the chaos and panic that had become our lives...

We weren't sure if we should keep it.

But, we did.

We dared His Will, and He showed us... He showed me...

What comes to those who Challenge.

The accident that landed us in the hospital... was caused by Father Himself. He was the one we were trying to get away from that night. It was raining. Not as hard as it was around Winston and I on October 5th, but... it made the road slick. We were panicked... and then He was there again. A shadowed figure in the headlights. Tentacles curling around. We spun out...

A tractor trailer T-boned us.

I vaguely recall... drifting between awake and not for a mere handful of seconds after everything stopped.

I vaguely recall... seeing Him standing over the wreckage of metal and rubber...

The impact... triggered labor three weeks early.

At the hospital, Laura came into the world... screaming...

But... but that scream wasn't... she... she wasn't...

There was a time... that I believed in God. I went to church. I could recite bits and pieces of the bible from heart... but I knew the first time I saw Laura... that, if there was a God, He certainly didn't give a rat's ass what happened to any of us. What happened to the children of this world. What these Demons did in this world. Supposedly His World.

Laura came into this world without eyes.

Without a nose or mouth.

Just... gaping holes where they should have been.

Where my little girl's face should have been.

the skin... was tainted black in the sunken pits...

and the... screaming...

the wails never stopped. they were... like hisses... sharp, torturous sounds that screamed of a suffering the likes of which I couldn't... I could never...

she wouldn't stop crying.

she wouldn't stop.

she... my little girl... she was my little girl... my Laura... and I was afraid of her. Not FOR her. OF her.



Such a wonderful parent was I, hn...? 

"...Réquiem ætérnam dona ei Dómine;
et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Requiéscat en pace...
Human, and therefore weak. 
But also loving. 

The monsters can't possibly understand our capacity for such things, 
how low we will go, how high we can climb. 
That is what makes us different from them. 

But one must take the good, along with the bad..."

"Father may not... understand why... 
But you don't necessarily need to know 'why' puppets dance the way they do... 

You only have to... pull the right strings." 

I spent my time in the hospital going between Alex's side, Leo's in the ICU... and Laura's in the nursery. A tiny body being monitored every which way. Little wires and tubes and monitors. All in a special little... box. Quarantined. For her own safety. Her little lungs screaming out that blackened mouth. Black sockets staring wide open at me. Blaming. Accusing. Suffering.

Owen tried to... comfort me. It couldn't have been later than... four in the morning, perhaps. He brought me a coffee. And he made that comment. The one we all know so well. About being blackest before the dawn. To remember... that Alex still needed me. That Leo needed me. And Laura... and Jordan and Owen himself. That we had to stick together. That he and I... we had to keep it together most of all. That we had to be an example. For the children. That they would be looking to us to lean on, and we had to be strong for them. We had to be there for them.

We had to think of the children...

What the bloody Hell else did he think I could possibly be thinking of?

His kid was a goddamn teenager.

Mine were... Leo was barely old enough to understand. He was four. And Laura... little Laura...

I couldn't get her face out of my head. Her screaming.

I couldn't take it anymore.

He was outside. I knew it. I could FEEL it...

He was Waiting for me.

It was a bit before dawn when I glanced into Alex's room, then Leo's. Giving a moment to them each before I silently went to the nursery for the last time. When I got there, I cracked a nurse's skull against the corner of a counter. She was trying to stop me from... taking Laura. I was scared to... even touch her... but I still brought her into my arms like I had Leo four years before. Wrapping her in a soft blanket, I cradled the wailing body even as my own tears fell in rivers down my cheeks. Blurring my vision. Shoulders shaking as I held her close to me. Everything shaking as she continued to scream and hiss and cry...

(Hush, little baby, don't say a word...)

I sung to her. Words falling off my tongue from a voice that quivered with the effort. The pain in my chest only blazing hotter as I fumbled through the familiar rhyme. Wanting her to feel comfort. In any way. Any shape. Any form. She was my child... and I could do nothing for her...

Except end her misery.

(...When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall...)

I can still feel her muffled screams against the palm of my hand. How I had slowly - purposely - covered her face as I sung to her. One rhyme after the next. Praying on dead faith for each scream to be her last. My own tears falling on her. Falling on my hand. As I paced the room. Holding her. Praying. Cursing. Begging for her just to go. Just to go and find peace elsewhere. Because there was none here for her. Not for my Laura. Not in this life. Not on this planet.

Not with Him.

Her cries ended in that nursery.

Mine continued on.

I wrapped the blanket around her still body and left the room with her in my arms. Stepping over the nurse to do so. Walking down the hall to the stairs. Working my way down through blurred vision until I reached ground level. I crossed the main entrance room uninterrupted - Unseen, perhaps - and went out the front door.

He was Waiting still. Across at the treeline on the far end of the parking lot.

I went to Him. The cold wind of near-dawn felt as though it would slice clean through my cheeks where my tears had run down. I was barefoot. Nothing but a flimsy hospital gown to wear. And I went out to Him with my murdered baby in my arms. Little Laura wrapped in a pretty pink blanket...

I fell to my knees before Him. Crying against the cold wind as I held my baby girl close to me. Begging for it to stop. Begging for Him to stop. Begging... for Him to Take Me. He had Taken Laura even before her birth... and He could have me too. I didn't know what He wanted of me... I only knew that was His Will. That I was His. And He had simply... been Waiting for me to realize it.

I cried... that I'd do whatever He wanted of me...

And, in the same breath, I pleaded for Him to let Alex and Leo go.

To remove His sight from them.

To just... let it be Over.

And so it was.

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