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Demon Within

The battle of at least two father's, is a young boy's newest war...

He forced open his mouth and filled his lungs, but the man’s clenched diaphragm only exhausted his terror in silence. No sounds of warning escaped to his doting young son. There was no more fight. The demon had finally come. The man’s immediate thought was how his boy would remember the coward that had abandoned him.

There was no taste of blood. No tears. No feeling of love or hate, only remorse. However, the man was surprised. The smell of death was confusingly welcomed. It was both acrid, yet sweet. It was unexpectedly comforting. He knew the pain that he’d fought for so long, would soon vanish.

Like his father before him, the man had battled the beast since he was young. No child should know the haunt or horror that they had known. Yet, himself once believed to have been abandoned, the man miraculously survived to one day have a son of his own. It was safe. He thought he had won. As he was being torn from this earth, he now wondered if that false security was part of the demon’s malevolent plan.

He could see his son patiently waiting in the garage. The man said he’d return. It was a hot day. Hot as hell. His son asked for ice cubes because he liked to savor them by swirling their cold melt in his mouth. When small enough, he would pulverize the shrunken cubes with his back teeth. Today, they both would and laugh while doing it, so thought the man.

This day was special.

His son had asked to be taught how to construct a bird house. It was to be a gift for his first puppy love. She was a cute little brunette with long hair and brown eyes that sparkled every time she saw him. He had nervously shared his burgeoning feelings with his dad, and had asked his father for his help and guidance. The man knew how important this moment was in both of their lives. Building confidence was essential in a young person’s life. The man felt that was a key role of a good father. The bird house was just a conduit.

He then abandoned everything that day to embrace that moment and to be with his son. However, the man was carelessly blinded with emotion, perceived duty, and nostalgia. He had dropped his guard and the demon’s opportunity pounced on the unsuspecting man. Succubus only needs one chance.

When he felt the force grab his jacket, pulling him back from the comforts of his life, the man turned to see nothing but an invisible hand gripping his outstretched hood. Through the hand, he saw the back of his son. He was blissfully humming something, probably thinking of her smile and their first kiss, as every young person should. At that moment, all was good in his world. It would quickly change.

The man struggled to survive, trying to release a grip that wasn’t there, grasping and clawing for its release, but like a helpless kitten, the man was lifted by the scruff of his neck. The zipper tab now firmly embedded into his throat as his feet left the ground. He thought to unzip his coat, and slide out to safety, but his arms lay uncontrollable and limp at his sides. That’s when he tried to scream and nothing came out.

For his son’s entire life, the man hid the beast’s power from his child. He was certain unconditional love for his son, and his son's for him, would keep the seduction of evil at bay. He avoided the traps that brought the demon. He tried to break the cycle and live a quality life.

Honesty. Integrity. Cleanliness. Godliness. Trust. Hardwork. Respect.

It was now clear that he had failed. The man had overlooked something. He had vowed to not let that fucking demon rape another innocent family member’s soul. He vowed to protect his son with his own life. Unceremoniously, today would prove to be that day.

As he slowly rose to the sky, now feeling like less of a man, the father could omnisciently see his son though the opaqueness of their garage. He dutifully remained patiently waiting, humming and still dreaming. He was a good boy. Smart. Loving. Obedient. A son any man would be proud to call his own. But the demon did not care. It only wanted one thing, for which it too had patiently waited.

As the boy grew smaller with distance, so did the man’s memory of their shared lives. He fought the loss but quickly grew tired and weak. His body soon became limp and his last few breaths labored. With his eyes now heavy, and his resolve defeated, the only consolation was that his son would not need to war with the demon he, and his father before him, had battled. The man could die knowing that he had beat the beast and broke its vicious, predatory cycle.

On his exhaled last breath and his broken heart’s final beat, the demon squeezed the last drop of life from the man before abandoning his near lifeless soul. As the man’s eyes slowly closed for the last time, he helplessly observed the demon descend upon the unsuspecting orphan, then smile skyward before entering its new host. The demon then began to torment another innocent young life.

The boy immediately kicked the ground. He vented aloud while still waiting for his father's return. Unfortunately, the man would not. The boy would forever remember his dad's abandonment, leaving a child when he was most vulnerable and in need of a father’s love and guiding hand.

“This is stupid,” the boy whined, now having been drained of all confidence in himself and his feelings. “She won’t ever love someone like me.”

The boy discarded his project, walked out of the garage, and threw a stone at the first song bird he saw. The demon then smiled to the heavens. He still remains, undefeated.

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