by C. Ikpoh
"Oh my God! What was that?! Wake up!" The woman's voice carried into the ears of her slumbering husband as frantic whispers while she shook him. One minute movement at a time, he began to respond by turning about in the sheets begrudgingly. Another noise echoed through their home. This time, instead of the muffled sound of shattered glass, it was the crunching of window shards underneath heavy soles. The woman shook her husband with more urgency while gritting her teeth together and commanding, "Wake up! Someone is in our house!" After a few seconds, her words finally registered in the man's head, and the husband shot his body upright to peel his ears for any audible sign of intrusion. The stale, dark air surrounded them, buffering the echoes of their intruders' movements. It was not long, however, before he heard the all too familiar creak in the first step of their staircase.
"Call 9-1-1," he muttered to her in low volume as he slid out of bed. The warmth of the blankets was erased by the bare soles of his feet joining with the wooden floor. Ever so carefully, the husband made his way to their bedroom closet while he clocked the intruders' location with his hearing as they crept up the stairs.
"There are burglars in our house!" the husband heard his wife say in the background as he pulled the doors of the closet open. She continued to feed them details about the situation in an orderly fashion. As she recited their address, the husband pulled down an old shoe box and lifted the top. With fluidity, he gripped the hand gun, placed the clip into the handle, loaded a round into the chamber and unlatched the safety. He moved towards their bedroom door and peeked through the crack between it and the wall as the movement of the intruders ceased. A sudden realization settled into the minds of the couple: the intruders were about to come upon the children's room.
The man quietly exclaimed, "The girls!" Upon hearing his words, the wife dropped the cordless phone on her pillow and both jetted from the master bedroom. A rush of hallway air streamed off their faces as the floor sang the theme music to their heroic rescue through the sound of squeaks and wooden moans. Instantly, they were upon the startled intruders, holding the upper hand as their immediate presence shocked the two masked men. The loud commotion alarmed the two little children as well, jolting them from their slumber in tears. Their mother ran to them. She scooped up her babies while moving them to the opposite corner of the room, away from the captive intruders. Viewing his wife's actions and realizing his family was safe, he focused his attention back to the masked men while blocking the doorway, ensuring they could not escape.
The two intruders remained calm and still, simply looking forward at the man of the house with the gun. They were not foolish enough to provoke him as they noticed his level of comfort with the firearm. The husband's hands held no quiver. His arms were loose but steady. It was apparent he had brandished the weapon at a firing range on dozens of occasions, resulting in a confidence birthed from extensive experience. The man spoke to his wife asking, "Are you ok?"
"Yeah... yeah. I'm ok," she replied in a relieved tone. The woman saw her protector controlling the situation. She hugged the children tight from joy, no longer terror, as her husband stood dominant over those who sought to bring them harm.
The father then inquired, "And our babies?"
The two little girls shivered in their mother's arms with fear. However, instead of showing weakness in front of the masked men, his wife replied, "They will be ok."
The husband spoke to the intruders in a stern voice. "The police will be here shortly. Remain still and no one has to get hur..."
The man's voice suddenly cracked, releasing all of its strength. He fought to hold on to his upright posture, but his body began crumbling. Then, his torso jerked, releasing blood through his tightly pursed lips. His wife became overrun with confusion and terror. The two masked men moved back towards the wall in a relieved, yet, curious manner. The eyes of everyone in the room were focused on the falling man. Inch by inch, the husband's height decreased as his knees buckled and he descended towards the ground. As his body hit the floor, revealed behind him was a third masked man equipped with a large knife. In an instant, the husband's miscalculation of the amount of intruders in the family's home cost him his life, and delivered his wife and kids back into the hands of the intruders.
A desperate exhale crept from the husband's mouth as his blood dripped from the tip of the massive blade onto his face. The miniscule splash of red liquid against the deceased husband's skin resonated in the eyes of his widow as if she witnessed a boulder fall upon a lake from a cliff. Her grip grew tighter over the children. Her fear progressed to sheer terror. The mother, now alone with the three intruders, listened for sirens in the distance but heard nothing. "Where are the police???" she thought to herself, praying for divine intervention. Alas, they were not near. She tried to mask the terror inside of her but was unable to prevent her heart from pounding against her chest. The children, whose heads were pressed tightly against their mother's bosom, could feel it beating on their temples. The closer the intruders moved to the their three captives, the more horrified they became. Their demise was at hand.
"Where am I?" the husband inquired as his skin grew tight from being engulfed in frozen air. "Who's there?"
A multitude of voices spoke his name in a singular harmony. The sound was hypnotic, seducing the husband's ears. He fell into a light trance momentarily before coming to his wits and shaking the enchantment from his mind. As his eyes opened, he witnessed a bright light envelop him. The warmth upon his flesh was the greatest sensation he had ever experienced. The husband became weightless, relieving all pressure and pain from his body. It was then the hypnotizing voice called his name again. However, more spellbinding words followed the call this time. The voice queried, "You would leave your wife and daughters to their agonizing, gruesome deaths?"
Sharp pain emerged inside the spirit of the man. The cries of his children rang in his ears as the shrills of innocence slaughtered overcame his senses. There before him was his family. The man who stabbed him multiple times in the back, ending his existence, was upon his wife. The murderer was inside of her, thrusting with hate and carnal desire. The other two intruders held the heads of the man's children, forcing them to witness the desecration of their mother. The matriarch of the family was being violated in the most inhumane of ways. The rapist punched her continuously with his rough, chapped hands for her unwavering attempts to free herself from his assault. The husband began breathing heavily, crying as fury consumed his soul. His chest heaved greater with each passing second, along with each scream of his children begging for the rapist to leave their mother alone, to stop hurting her. Repeatedly, though, the intruder continued to punch and penetrate her, breaking bones in her face and sending blood flying about the wall next to them. The sight became unbearable, and just as the husband began to cower away, a hand was placed on his shoulder. The touch was crushing, yet, held the weight of a normal hand. Oppression and despair riddled the man's body in increasing amounts the longer the hand laid on him. Then, the hypnotizing voice muttered, "You know, their lustful appetites will not be sated by your wife alone. I happen to know these particular monsters indulge in the child variety of sexual pleasure."
Rage overcame the husband as he remained helpless, forced to idly stand by and watch the desecration of his family. Every fiber in his being wanted to re-animate his corpse and save his girls from further perversion and torture. However, he could only watch as the intruders molested his loved ones. That was until...
"Is that so?" the voice said while another hand was placed on the husband's opposite shoulder.
Fighting back tears and anger, the distraught man inquired, "Excuse me?"
"You would give anything to return to them; save them if it could be so. Would you not?"
Riddled with a mix of gripping emotions, the man's fury and anguish briefly subsided, permitting his curiosity to emerge once more. "Who exactly are you? And where am I?"
"Who I am and where you are is of no consequence. Who I can be and where you are not, is."
"Meaning," the voice said while more of the figure offering a proposition was revealed, "while you are here passing inquiries and residing in torment, you could be there," the voice said while pointing towards his wife getting raped and kids held captive, "saving them from their imminent demise, and I can make that so."
The husband looked back towards the horrorific scene as his murderer continually thrusted away inside of his wife and the other intruders began ripping away the clothes of his daughters. "You are right," the man declared. "It doesn't matter who you are or where I am. Send me back!"
"I will send you back. But first, you have something I desire."
"Anything," the husband said frantically as his children became almost completely disrobed and his wife's pulse began slowing to a standstill. "What do you want?! Whatever it is, take it!"
A perfectly contoured face emerged from the shadows. A ghastly, yet, handsome grin was displayed, showcasing the most irresistible smile. The figure was pure wickedness by definition, with a malevolent aura that exuded from the rest of its being. The man realized who he was dealing with, and for a second he began to concede his willingness to sacrifice anything. The trepidation was sensed by the figure, which resulted in the man drawing the immediate ire from it. However, the figure simply snapped its fingers, ushering in audio from the scene of the crime. An intruder was heard saying, "I wonder if the little ones will be as sweet as their bitch of a mother," which was followed by laughter. It was then the man's decision was made. Paradise was his, nevertheless, an eternity of bliss paled in comparison to the burning desire to slaughter the intruders and save his family. Realizing what was to be given, the husband said, "Take it. It is yours. Now, return me immediately."
"My pleasure," the enchanting figure said."Enjoy your revival. I will see you soon." Its voice was a magical elixir inside the ears of the husband as a cold, frigid sensation overcame his skin. His body felt stretched while it crossed an immeasurable distance, freezing time and space in its travel. Then, the husband felt his body slam against the wood floor of his home. Fueled by adrenaline and wrath, he darted from the ground and tackled his murderer, knocking the intruder from his wife while her limp body shook from the impact. The husband grabbed his gun in the same motion and lifted it to fire multiple shots targeted at the bodies of the intruders holding his almost naked, screaming daughters. Every single bullet in the firearm was unloaded into their torsos, gushing blood all over his children's heads and their surroundings. Holes were torn into the masked men's flesh, exploding organs and bone on contact. The two intruders were decimated in a flash, leaving only the husband's murderer in his clutches.
Looking down on the struggling villain, the air in the room grew intensely hostile. The husband raised his fist and pounded it into the intruder's face. A loud thud resonated through their surroundings. Another loud thud followed as the husband lodged his fist into the face of the murdering rapist once more. Repeatedly, vicious strikes were planted onto the intruder's face, sending chunks of bone floating away in the blood puddles leaking from the murderer's head. The husband's fists caved in the rapist's face, collapsing the head flat into the floorboards. Skin and teeth fragments were stuck to the fist of the husband, and when he realized he was punching the floor and nothing was left of his murderer, the husband ceased his assault.
"Daddy?" the daughters said in terrified, non-synchronized voices.
"I'm here, babies. It's ok. Come to daddy." He sat upright, still straddling his victim and dripping in blood not his own. He leaned back, gasping for air with his arms flailing to the side. The father was exhausted, and did not notice amidst the rays of moonlight peering through the windows that his daughters appeared to be as terrified of him as they were of the intruders. The rage they witnessed was not of the natural world, and struck fear into their hearts. "Come. It's ok," the father said again, his voice barely coaxing a hesitant step from each child. However, before he could put their fear to rest, the man collapsed to the ground next to his wife. The ceiling began to become blurry. It was evident his revival was only temporary. The majestic, supernatural figure gave him barely enough life to exact his revenge. Not knowing if his wife was dead or alive, and sensing his daughter's terror because of him, he began contemplating if selling his soul to the devil was worth it.
The husband's life force continued to fade, and as it did, he heard the enchanting figure cackle in a macabre fashion. It did not matter to the husband though, because as he died for a second time, he felt his wife's hand touch his head. She was alive. The father then saw his two daughters come to his side and hold his hand after witnessing their mother reach out to him. Their innocence was still intact, and they were unharmed. A smile surfaced on the face of the husband and father as he murmured, "I love you all..." In the same instance, fire began to singe the hero's soul, leading to an unbearable pain engulfing his entire being. The husband and father was damned to suffer unimaginable horrors for an eternity. Nonetheless, such is the sacrifice of a true hero.