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04.

 

The Last Night

 

 

 Ahndrew stood there. Scared and worried about who might find out about this. What kind of trouble was he going to be in? He didn't know how he did it, but his field was glowing. The myth of Beard's moon must have been true. He also knew he couldn't tell anyone, but he was supposed to. Maybe no one would notice if the crop exceeded more than it's first year's share? It was luck, he surmised. That's what he would say.

 

 Beard's moon hung lightly in the sky, with a light green hue, it only showed itself once a year. Ahndrew didn’t even know how long this was going to last. No one paid any attention to how long the moon stayed aloft in the sky. At least no one Ahndrew knew. He could play dumb if someone saw it, but if they caught him here looking at it, he’d be in trouble. So he turned and quickly headed to the house.

 

 He was nearly there when he heard Anna scream for him, then she screamed for Elias. He picked up his pace and ran to the house with panic and determination. Had someone entered his house? Is Elias not back yet?

 

 Ahndrew broke through the rear door that led to the kitchen. On the far side of the kitchen from him was an obelisk of black glass, slightly translucent.  Inside, something was frozen.

 

 “ELIAS!!!” screamed Anna, beating the obelisk with the palms of her hands. “AHNDREW! Get him out, get him out!” She looked to him in desperation. He moved quickly to her side.

 

 “Elias? He’s in there!?” he asked, voice trembling.

 

 He grabbed a metal cup off the table and smashed it into the obelisk. A clink from the cup and nothing from the obelisk. He repeated his barrage until the cup collapsed, distorted from its original form. Barely a scarring in the glass, Ahndrew needed something else. Stronger, heavier.

 

 “That thing he found. That thing did this to him. Why us? Why him? Give him back!” she continued to scream, and repeated herself often.

 

 Ahndrew searched the house looking for anything to hit it with. First it was a kitchen chair until it broke apart to splinters in his hands and then another until both were in piles on the floor. He grabbed a fire poker from the living room’s fireplace and bent it into knots from the repeated abuse. Ahndrew continued to destroy the house looking for anything to break it.

 

 He and Anna pushed on it to tip it over. He rammed it again and again, war cries from him with every hit. Still the obelisk stood proud.

 

 “Let me grab an axe,” he said, then darted outside to the nearby shed.

 

 An undetected hum came from the obelisk, then began to vibrate. Lightly at first, then gradually increased. Anna stepped back a moment when she realized it was doing something. She grabbed a rolling pin and began her own assault on it. Then a pan when the pin gave way. Some chips came off, but the glass rock was largely in tact and now it was doing something else.

 

 Elias started to move inside the obelisk, then the house started to vibrate as well. Ahndrew emerged from the shed when an explosion of shattered glass erupted. Anna’s screams went silent. The outside wall was riddled with small holes as Ahndrew approached the kitchen door. Then he heard Anna collapse. He entered the threshold to see a creature hovering over her body.

 

 It was the same creature he saw earlier today. In the field on the end of a stick shown to him by his son. He took the axe and swung at the beast.

 

 “GET AWAY FROM HER!” he shouted, lunging towards the monster with a downward chop. The creature retreated by leaping backwards, dodging the clumsily swung axe.

 

 Ahndrew was off balance and tripped, landing face down between his wife and the monster. He scrambled to his knees turning towards the monster about ready to swing again when the monster’s scaly hand quickly met his own holding the axe.

 

 The quills on the monster’s back opened fully making him much bigger than the room, then shouted something between a bear’s roar and a screech. It’s mouth opening from it’s short snout was nearly as big as a Ahndrew’s head. Ahndrew trembled in fear this time. The creature relaxed, the quills rested to it’s back when it looked to Anna’s lifeless body, and then whimpered a sad cry.

 

 Ahndrew never took his eyes off the beast. “Elias?” The creature’s sad eye met his.

 

 BAM! BAM! BAM!

 

 The knock came from the front of the house.

 

 “Ahndrew! Ahndrew are you in there? I brought the horse.” Olivant called out through the front door. “Are you alright in there? I heard some shouting.”

 

 This moment will be frozen in Ahndrew’s mind. Amidst the chaos, time seemed to stand still and in it, is the last time he’ll see his wife alive, though she was already dead.

 

 Anna kneels next to Ahndrew and says calmly in his ear, “Save our son.” Andrew looks at her soft face. Every detail in her brown eyes. A strand of her light brown curl dangles just in front of her ear. The ear he would nibble to get her to giggle.

 

 BAM, BAM, BAM!

 

 “Ahndrew!? Elias!? Anna!?” Olivant called again.

 

 Brought back to reality, Ahndrew looked down at Anna laid out motionless on the floor. Her body was pierced from head to toe in shards of dark glass. Blood pooled slowly around her.

 

 “Run Elias.” Ahndrew pointed to the stick. “Take that and run.” Elias angled his head, puzzled and whimpered. “They’ll kill you. Son, they will hurt you. Now go. Get to the mountain forest. Hide!” Ahndrew reached out his trembling hand to Elias’ snout, moving his hand down to his chest then patted him there. “Be brave, and strong. I’ll make sure they don’t come for you.” Ahndrew told him.

 

 BAM, BAM, BAM!

 

 After one last look of his mother, Elias picked up the broken cane and darted out the kitchen door. He ran right past the field, but the green glow was gone.

 

 Ahndrew grabbed the kitchen table and flipped it. The destructive crash it made prompted Olivant to barge in. “For family.” he whispered in his wife’s ear and cried as he held her for the last time.

 

 

Up Next

 

Grey Bird's Pass

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Story by

Chris Dempsey

 

Produced & Illustrated by

Marc Faulk

 

© Dark infinity 2017

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