The shapes of shadow and silver cast by the moonlight slowly crawled across the wall marking the passage of time as Mr. Dominquez sat in a chair in the corner and watched the evening pass by. There rocking slowly forward and back, lost in thought, he listened to a faint rustling that betrayed the pretense of silence and the furtive stillness that shaped the darkness. His gaze fixated on a sliver of warm glow that escaped under a door halfway down the hall.
Exhausted and confused, he couldn't allow himself to surrender to the somberness unfolding around him. He realized there was a intricate interplay, a layering of darkness, that enshrouded everything like a heavy charcoal blanket. The darkness of the night. The darkness of what was devouring his son. The darkness and dispair that clouded his own heart. And then a final more powerful and pervasive darkness, a product of the rest, that pressed down and smothered the entire household.
A shadow intermittently broke the crack of light beneath the door every few minutes as a figure erratically moved back and forth restlessly through the night. That soft rustling again. His son, gripped by whatever demons had taken him.
Mr. Dominquez shoulders slumped and a short whimper escaped alongside a sigh and he looked down at the collection of papers he had in his hand. Drawings he had collected earlier in his sons room. Everyone of them the same. Grotesque depictions of a black gargoyle or winged creature. His sons demon.
The bottom sheet was different and far more frightening, a transcript from an expert they had seen earlier. But he just couldn't accept what it said, he had convinced himself that it was just a phase. He had to believe thats all it was and prayed for it to be true.
A soft yelp came from under the door and Mr. Dominquez sat up straight and listened intently.
What was his boy doing in there?
A second stifled yelp followed a moment later.
Mr. Dominquez launched from his chair and flung the door open. Startled, his boy quickly grabbed an armful of things and darted across the room, his back turned, trying to hide something.
"Ethan!" He cried as his son jumped onto the bed and pressed his back against the corner wall trying to conceal whatever it was he had and glared fiercely back at him. A low growl came from the boy like a feral animal.
"What's going on Ethan? What are you doing." He asked his voice a little softer tying to calm his son.
"Nothing! Go away." The boy shouted back. His furious voice echoed like a thunderclap through the small house.
Mr. Dominquez scanned his son and saw a trickle of blood running down his forearm. It came from the markings he had left the woods with earlier this afternoon. He recognized it now. The same black dragon as on all of his sons drawings.
Mr. Dominquez mouth warped into a grimace reflecting his hurt and his eyes began to shimmer at the sight of his bleeding son. On the sheet behind him was a small pen knife stained crimson and brown. "Ethan. Son, why are you hurting yourself. I don't understand."
Ethan looked away unwilling to answer.
"Does it have something to do with these pictures." He said taking a small step towards his son showing the drawings. "Ethan. What is this?"
Ethan scrambled back and pressed tighter against the wall. His eyes looked at the drawings in his fathers hands and then back at his own arm. "That's my gift." He said proudly. "He gave it to me. To protect me."
"The Dragon." He said. The lines on his face and disposition shifting from timid to now bold.
"Protect you? From who..From what?" He asked his son, not fully understanding.
Ethan waved dismissively around the room as if to implicate the entire world. "From them." He said. "From you."
His sons words cut like broken glass tearing at his chest and Mr Dominquez collapsed onto the desk chair. His mouth gapped open and shut a few times, lost for words.
Ethan's eyes glanced up and saw his mother standing in the doorway in her nightgown, shaking with tears streaming down her face.
He quickly scrambled across the room and wrapped his arms around his mum and buried his face in the crook of her neck and began to sob.
"Mommy." He choked out and then a muffled wailing filled the room.
Mr. Dominquez looked down at the last sheet of paper in his hands, read it again still not wanting to believe and began crying too.
"Ethan Dominquez. Diagnosis of Childhood Onset Disassociative Schizophrenia. No cure. Ongoing assessment needed for treatment options."
You can find part one at the below link. It was cleverly written by the always brilliant @justclickindiva
And the original challenge pist with the rules and links to all the other contestant entries can be found here;
Hoping justclickindina enjoys where i went with her original piece and that you the readers enjoyed it too. Looking forward to reading all the other entries.
hidave#3221 for anyone who wants to say hi to me on discord.
Picture supplied by pixabay.com