A Child's Last Hope

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Chapter 12

Sheets of rain blanketed the house, sounding as if sand was continuously being thrown at the windows. The October downpour facilitated leaves to break away from the branches they grew on, sending them fluttering to the ground.

Ethan opened his eyes to a gloomy light that was reminiscent of his six in the morning workdays. Squinting his unfocused eyes at the alarm clock, he realized it was actually 10:18 a.m. The faint, blue numbers on the digital clock overlapped until his eyes adjusted to the light.

Sleeping in became easier on the weekends with every new week that ended. Five years being a father had passed by so quickly; seemingly faster than the long days at work that seemed to drag out. As Ethan watched Renee grow older before his eyes, he begged God to slow time down. He wanted her to stay adorable and innocent forever, but knew how impossible that was. While the daily barrage of dealing with tormented children wore him down, Ethan managed to maintain a superhero level of motivation to save as many children as possible.

Just as he began to relish sleeping in on a Sunday morning, comfortable and cozy in his warm bed, Maria’s hand landed on the side of his face. He endured the tingling sensation in his cheek, as he usually did when Maria’s arms flailed about while sleeping. If it wasn’t a slap, he had just as good a chance of experiencing blankets being pulled away, legs across his chest, or a foot to the scrotum. Despite sleeping in a king bed, he still was not safe.

Maria awoke abruptly as Ethan gently bit her hand that rested on his cheek, thus resulting in a second slap responding to being startled awake. “What are you doing?”

“You slapped me, so I returned the favor. Clearly, that backfired. Thanks a lot, dear.”

Maria climbed out of bed like a sloth climbs a tree.“You know I don’t like you calling me dear, especially with that tone. All I can say is that you must have had it coming.”

As Maria went to the kitchen to start breakfast, Ethan took another moment to enjoy having the bed all to himself. He could easily go back to sleep under such circumstances, but then the day would be over too soon. He stared at the window as the rain lightened, fewer drops streaking down the pane in a zig zag pattern. It had been several months since he had seen rainy weather, so he treasured the sounds and smells that came with it.

Ethan moseyed into the kitchen in his own fluffy robe, greeted by Renee who was just coming out of her room. “Good morning, Papi,” she said while hugging his leg.

“Good morning, Moo Shoo.” The nickname he had given her as an infant had no context, he just liked saying moo shoo pork.

Renee greeted her mother with a leg hug as well, then contently watched as Maria turned on the stove top, which typically resulted in her asking to help. “Can I drop the butter in the pan, Mom?”

Maria handed her the butter knife. “Sure you can. Remember, we need enough butter to cook three eggs.” Lifting Renee on top of the counter, she dropped the butter in the pan. While it sizzled and melted into a puddle, Renee’s eyes lit up. Watching a child get so excited over such mundane things was amusing to Ethan. He only wished he could view the world with such wonder and naiveté.

Renee sat down at the table next to Ethan once Maria put her down. He placed his hand out toward her with his fingers curled and thumb sticking up. She knew the gesture meant a thumb war was about to break out, so she returned his gesture by locking fingers with his.

Ethan entertained Renee by pretending her thumb was stronger than it actually was. Several thumb wars took place during the time it took for Maria to cook a delicious sausage and egg breakfast, and Ethan managed to lose them all. Both stopped playing as Maria pulled orange rolls out of the oven. Being a weakness that they shared, their mouths watered in anticipation of the delicious flavors.

Cinnamon rolls seemed to be everyone else’s favorite, but Ethan and Renee preferred their orange rolls. The orange flavored icing was a delectable combination of sweet and tangy flavors that reminded him of Saturday mornings as a child. He would sacrifice sleeping in to watch early morning cartoons, followed by a bigger breakfast than what he was usually treated to during the rest of the week.

Ethan couldn’t refrain from smiling every time Renee ate fried eggs. She got a kick out of stabbing her over-medium eggs, forcing the liquefied, yellow yolk to ooze out of the small puncture wounds caused by her fork. Renee curled her lip up and said, “Ewe, egg blood.”

Maria sat down to join them as breakfast was complete. “I wanted to run over to the mall this morning. I need a few pairs of jeans that are on sale this weekend. Would you like to go with?”

“I want to, Mom,” Renee said. “Can I play in the kid’s area while you shop?”

“Sure, honey. If your daddy wants to go so that he can watch you?”

“That’s fine. But, we have to go to Best Buy afterwards. I wouldn’t mind shopping there. I’ll go shower first.”


Ethan was pleased to find little to no traffic on the roads as they headed toward the mall. On top of the tranquil city drive, which was typically unheard of in Southern California, the Oldies radio station broadcast the perfect playlist to help Ethan unwind. The morning had been peaceful and relaxing so far. He appreciated being able to clear his mind and fully enjoy a day off with his family.

Ethan found all the traffic in the mall parking lot as it was over three quarters full. He was forced to park toward the end of the parking lot. He figured it was the weather that put everyone in a shopping mood, or early fall sales leading up to Black Friday. Luckily, the rain had settled into a light drizzle because he had realized too late that they forgot to bring an umbrella.

Ethan pulled his jacket over Renee’s head as they jogged up to the mall entrance. Once inside, he followed Renee toward the children’s play center, while Maria walked toward the department stores. “Try not to take all day, honey,” Ethan said.

“Just for that, I’m going to spend more money than I was planning,” Maria said with a devious smile.

Ethan sat down on a bench next to the play center. He could see how excited Renee was to play on the small playground that was covered with germs. It was impossible to ignore the possible health risks with all the snot nosed children that were touching the same equipment she was. He had come prepared with a bottle of sanitizer in his pocket, yet he knew she would inevitably become an incubator for a virus that would be unleashed at home.

He pulled his phone out and almost visited a news website. Being in such a good mood, he didn’t want to ruin it, so he looked up movie reviews instead. Once again, the weather provided an atmosphere conducive to indoor activities, so he figured it would be a good idea to see a movie with the family after shopping. The mall felt a little brisk, so the image of warm popcorn enticed him.

Ethan looked up from his phone to keep an eye on Renee, noticing that she had met a little girl a few years older than herself. They were most likely introducing themselves to one another. The girls talked for a few minutes and everything seemed normal until the girl leaned over to whisper in Renee’s ear. He became suspicious as the girl grabbed Renee’s hand and tried to lead her away.

Knowing that he had taught Renee to be weary of strangers, he realized that children were much less threatening than adults. Renee was also taught to never walk away from her parents.

Ethan stood up and began walking toward the girls to prevent them from leaving. Renee broke away from the older girl as they neared the automated sliding doors, hastily turning around and walking toward him. The older girl continued to walk toward the exit without looking back.

“Dad, that girl wants to show me something cool. But, she says it’s outside.”

Ethan placed his hands on her shoulders. “You did great, honey. Just like we talked about. Let’s go find your mother.”

Taking her hand, Ethan ran with her toward the department stores. He spotted Maria wading through pants on a sale rack, near the entrance to one of the outlet stores. “Maria!” His loud and urgent voice caught her attention.

“What? What’s wrong, Ethan?”

“I need you to take Renee. You’ll have to take a taxi home or call someone to pick you up. A little girl just tried to lure Renee outside and I need to follow her. I’ll be back soon. I love you.”

Maria, confused and alarmed, held Renee tight in her arms. “Be careful!” she shouted as Ethan ran for the exit.

The rain had picked up again, coming down hard enough to drench Ethan’s hair in roughly ten seconds. He frantically looked around the parking lot for any sign of the young girl. He thought that he had lost her for a moment, but sighted her in the back seat of a blue Camry as it drove away from him. An obese man was behind the wheel.

Ethan dashed toward the Escape and started the vehicle as fast as he could. Pushing his foot down on the pedal before checking his surroundings, he almost collided into a car that drove past. “Fuck! Come on!”

God must have been looking out for the child, because the Camry was stopped at a light to exit the mall’s parking lot. Ethan kept about four car length’s distance from the Camry, practicing tailing techniques he had seen in crime dramas.

Keeping a low profile and maintaining eyes on the vehicle was more difficult than how it is portrayed on screen. The speeds of the traffic separating him from the Camry was inconsistent, causing him to maneuver around obstacles that made his Escape more conspicuous. With the help of God’s will, he was able to track the suspect sixteen miles away from the mall to a house.

The Camry entered a garage located in an average neighborhood of typical, middle-class homes that you would find scattered throughout the Los Angeles area. The yard hadn’t been mowed in a few days, but the house’s appearance was in better shape than some of the other homes along the street that had trash littered yards and facades that were falling apart.

Ethan sat in his car, considering whether he should call the police. Not knowing how long it would take for them to arrive or what the outcome might be, he decided against it. Instead, he wanted to see what the situation was for himself. He came up with a plan, hoping that it would be reason enough to get him inside the house.

After parking further down the street to keep his car out of sight, he slowly walked toward the house. He wanted to be soaked by the rain when the door was answered, appearing as if he had walked from down the street.

Ethan stood before the front door, the sound of voices inside audible, but muffled like they were coming from a television. He raised his fist, knocking three times on the wooden door. There was no response, so he knocked again, this time using the side of his fist instead of his knuckles. The pounding was thunderous, causing the wood to creak.

He listened closely for the sound of a child. The background noise of the television was broken by a door being shut inside the home. Ethan prepared himself to deliver an Oscar worthy performance as footsteps approached the door.

Once the door opened, an overweight man with shaggy hair—nearly qualifying as a mullet—stood before Ethan. “Can I help you, mister?”

“I was hoping I could come in and use your phone? I got a flat tire down the road and I don’t have either a spare or my cell phone.” Ethan stood before him trying to look as pathetic as possible, dripping on the porch while the man looked him over.

“Down the road? Was no one else home?”

Ethan smiled while his brain scrambled to produce a legitimate excuse. “In all honesty, your home was the most inviting. I don’t mean to be rude, but some of the other homes on this street look pretty trashy.”

The menacing mad stood silently for a moment, then smiled. “Some people just let their houses go to shit. Come on in out of the rain. My name is Thomas.”

Ethan was quite surprised that the man was so polite. “Thank you so much. My name is Ethan,” he said, stepping inside. He may have been fooled by Thomas’s demeanor if he didn’t watch the man drive off with a young girl who had been used as bait, but there was no sign of the child.

Thomas resembled the perfect pedophile stereotype. He had disproportional facial features that gave him an unpleasant appearance. Not someone you would want to come across in a dark alleyway. Both of his eyes were sunken in and dark as if he barely slept. He had a big nose, but small mouth, while his jaw appeared wider than the width of his cheek bones. His clothes were sloppy and most likely hadn’t been washed in a few days. Food stains were visible on his white t-shirt and blue sweat pants. Ethan couldn’t believe that someone would leave their house while looking so disgusting.

“Alright, Ethan, you can use the phone over in the kitchen.”

Thomas shadowed Ethan as he walked into the kitchen. A land line phone was attached to the wall in the kitchen—ten-foot-long spiraled cord included. What was once a household item, was now an antique in a wireless and pocket sized world.

Ethan picked up the phone and pulled his insurance card out of his wallet, dialing the number printed on it. Before the automatic answering system picked up, he pretended it already had. “Speak to a representative.”

Ethan rolled his eyes at Thomas, who carefully watched him make the phone call. “The voice on this machine is so annoying.”

Thomas glanced down the hallway to his right every few seconds, unknowingly giving away the location of his dark secret.

The recording began asking questions, so Ethan continued his imaginary conversation. “My car got a flat tire on, uh. . . . ” Ethan covered the phone’s microphone with his hand. “What street is out in front?”

“Wilson street.”

“My silver Escape is on 1250 Wilson St. I’ll be present with the vehicle. Uh huh. Okay. See you in thirty minutes then.” Ethan hung up the phone. “Hey, Thomas. Would you mind if I use your bathroom before I go? I don’t think I’ll be able to hold it for another hour.”

“Yeah, that’s fine. When you got to go.” Thomas smiled and Ethan entertained him with a smile of his own. “It’s the second door on your right, just down the hall. Sorry about the mess there, but I was rearranging rooms. Would you like some coffee? I was just about to brew some. Nice weather for it.”

“That would be great, Thomas. Thank you.”

Thomas was referring to furniture that cluttered the hallway. A king sized bed mattress had been propped up against a door on the left side of the hallway, just across from the bathroom. Until Ethan entered the bathroom, Thomas watched him closely.

Ethan shut the bathroom door, waiting a few seconds to ensure that Thomas would be distracted with making coffee. Once he heard footsteps fading away, he opened the bathroom door and peaked around the corner. The coast was clear, so he slowly and quietly pushed the mattress away from the door that it was obstructing. He could still hear Thomas in the kitchen preparing coffee.

As he placed his ear against the door, hearing no sign of the young girl troubled him. Slowly turning the handle, he pulled the door open, attempting to minimize any creaking from the hinges. The noise was minimal, so he stepped through the doorway and down a cement staircase. Darkness surrounded him other than the faint glow of fluorescent light travelling from the vaguely lit room at the bottom. When Ethan reached the last step, he became horrified to his core.

In the ten-by-ten-foot cellar sat a four-foot-long, wooden, homemade, child-sized coffin. Affixed to the lid was a padlock for imprisoning a child. Next to the box were two steel tables. One table was small and contained several objects, while the other table was four feet long with leather straps for a child’s arms and legs to be restrained. The room appeared to be sound proof, evidenced by the foam squares that covered all the walls.

Ethan walked over to the small, steel table. A brand new set of butcher knives had been laid out next to a laptop that was partially folded closed. He slowly lifted the screen, glimpsing the sickening images that were displayed on the screen for only a moment before turning away and becoming queasy. He closed the laptop without looking.

Multiple images were open on the screen depicting children performing sexual acts on adults. They were all most likely between the ages of five and twelve, consisting of young boys and girls. One of them was the little girl he had seen at the mall.

On the other side of the table were a few empty bottles of cough syrup, and probably the most unimaginable object he could imagine finding in a child prison—a bag of castration rings, typically used when castrating cattle.

Finding that the wooden box was locked, he feared for the condition of the child inside. Anger overcame him as his blood boiled with rage while imagining how terrified a child would be when placed inside a dark, claustrophobic, wooden box. A child snatched away from their family and brought to a cold, dank cellar by a monstrous stranger. No explanation or imaginable reason why they were chosen. Innocently ignorant of the fate that lay before them.

Of all the abusive and degenerate people that Ethan had met, no man had he wanted to make suffer more than Thomas.

Before Ethan could attempt to break the lock, the thought occurred to him that Thomas may have realized that he was not in the bathroom. He figured Thomas would likely have a weapon when coming down the basement stairs.

Ethan grabbed a knife from the table and stood against the wall at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for Thomas to make his way down. As soon as his back was against the wall, Thomas’s protuberant body stood in the doorway to the cellar. His torso blocked the light from the hallway, producing a bulbous shadow on the cellar floor.

Ethan gripped the knife tightly with his sweaty palm. Adrenaline flowed through him—not just from fear, but also from the anticipation of the violent act he was about to commit.

Thomas moved as fast as he could down the stairs, amounting to a brisk walk for even a modestly energetic individual. Just as he had imagined, Thomas carried a blunt object in his hand based upon the shadow it produced.

Subliminally, Ethan had not yet called the police because he wanted to deal with Thomas properly. Thomas was a man that lured children away from their loved ones and into his captivity. Aside from sexual abuse, he wanted to torture them as well. He was a monster that had no place in the world. Ethan was ready to dispatch Thomas without a second thought, other than preferring to do it in an excruciatingly painful manner.

As Thomas’s feet touched the cellar floor, Ethan reached out with his knife, thrusting it into the left side of Thomas’s gut. He pushed hard, throwing all his body weight behind the blade, making sure he could pierce through the skin and numerous layers of flab he needed to.

Screams of agony filled the cellar. His screams were proof that the searing pain caused by the knife slicing through his stomach could be felt.

Ethan had pushed Thomas’s back against the wall. Unable to tolerate the excruciating pain, his legs gave out beneath him. As the force of his three-hundred-pound body dropped to the floor, Ethan backed away while tugging on the knife with both hands. The blade slid out gently compared to how violently he had inserted it.

His back sliding down the wall, Thomas fell to a seated position. He let go of the aluminum baseball bat that was destined to crush Ethan’s skull so that he could put pressure on his wound with both hands, staring down at the bloody mess in shock. Blood streamed out of the wound at a consistent rate, pooling in his lap.

Ethan sensed that Thomas was no longer a threat. With the blood-caked knife in hand, he ran to the coffin. He pointed the knife at Thomas’s face in as threatening a manner as he could. “Where is the fucking key, you sick son of a bitch?”

Thomas bled on the cold, cement floor, sobbing and moaning about how painful it was. He reached into his pocket slowly, carefully restricting his movement to avoid exacerbating the pain from his wound.

Thomas threw a bloody set of keys at Ethan’s feet, groaning in agony. It took him a few seconds to find the specific key for the padlock, but eventually unlocked the coffin and lifted the lid.

Inside lay a seven or eight-year-old, unconscious boy, stripped down to his cartoon printed briefs. Ethan placed his index and middle fingers on the child’s neck to check for a pulse. He held his breath until noticing a faint pulse thumping beneath his fingertips.

Ethan turned his attention back to Thomas. “Where is the girl? The girl that you used as bait to try and lure my daughter with?”

Thomas didn’t respond. He only stared at his gaping wound, oblivious to Ethan’s presence.

Ethan unlocked the handcuffs and lifted the little boy out of the wooden box, carrying him upstairs. He laid the child down on the couch, covering him with a throw blanket found draped over the furniture.

There was no sign of physical abuse, and he correlated the child being unconscious to the empty bottles of cough medicine he had found in the basement.

While deciding what he would do next, Thomas’s strange DVD collection caught his eye. There were several cannibal exploitation films that made up his collection. Films that were produced in the seventies and eighties as part of the Italian horror boom. He also owned better known classic thrillers like Silence of the Lambs. In any other home, he would just assume the owner a fan of cannibal horror films. But in this house, the collection represented further proof that Thomas was mentally deranged.

Ethan called emergency services from his cell phone while running outside to move his car closer to the house.

A pleasant-sounding woman answered his call. “What is your emergency?”

“My name is Ethan Harper, and I’m a social worker with Child and Family Services. I followed a man home from the mall because he tried to lure my daughter away using another child. I’m at 1458 Empire Street and I’m approaching the front door now. I fear that the child may be in danger, so I’m going to try and stall him until the police arrive.”

“Sir, for your own safety, I suggest that you wait for officers to arrive.”

Ethan was amused that the dispatcher feared for his safety. “I can’t wait for the sake of the child. The guy probably won’t even let me in, but at least I can stall him.”

Ethan ended the call before she could reply. He estimated he had maybe ten to fifteen minutes before the police arrived, based on how far the police station was. Maybe sooner if a patrol car was nearby.

Ethan parked his car in front of the house of horrors, then quickly ran back inside. He left the unconscious child resting on the couch and walked back down into the cellar. Thomas was still in the same spot on the floor where he had left him, whimpering profusely. He felt no sympathy for such a disgusting human being.

Ethan crouched down on one knee to talk to Thomas. He slapped Thomas’s fleshy cheek so hard that a stinging sensation rippled through his palm. “Pick your head up and look at me when I’m talking to you, fat ass.”

Thomas lifted his head up and looked into Ethan’s eyes. His lips were pale and blood had not stopped draining from his gut.

“Where is the little girl? You tell me right now, or I’m going to use those rings on you! Do you understand me?”

Thomas pointed toward the staircase. Confused, Ethan stepped closer to it and noticed a door to the space beneath the staircase. He quickly turned the door knob and opened it.

The young girl sat on a dirty mattress in the pitch-black space, raising her chained wrists up to cover her eyes from the small amount of the light that beamed inside. In the corner was an empty plate and a pair of bloody panties.

Without hesitation, he unlocked her restraints. “It’s going to be alright, sweetie. I’m here to help. Please come with me.”

While hesitant for a moment, the girl realized that he was her savior. She grabbed his hand and followed him upstairs with her face buried in his shirt, Ethan making sure not to let her witness the carnage.

He sat her down on the couch next to the boy and explained the situation to her. “The police are on their way. You two children are going to be okay. Just wait right here while I go back down and keep an eye on Thomas. He’s hurt pretty bad. What’s your name, dear?”

“It’s Kathy.”

“Okay, Kathy. Please stay here with the boy and wait for the police to arrive.”

Before he could walk away, the girl grabbed his wrist. “Sir, I’m so sorry I asked Dillon to follow me. I didn’t want to do it, but Thomas forced me to. It’s all my fault.”

The poor girl felt guilty for the crime that Thomas had forced her to commit. She began to cry and squeezed Dillon’s hand.

“It’s not your fault at all, honey. You had no choice. This is all Thomas’s fault. You and Dillon are going to be alright. I promise,” he said, holding her face in his hands. Ethan kissed the top of her head and hurried back downstairs as the police sirens became audible.

Standing over Thomas, a pathetic blob of a man sitting in a pool of his own blood, Ethan kicked the knife wound. “What the fuck have you done, and what were you planning on doing to those children?” Ethan repeated himself, demanding an answer and screaming at Thomas.

Thomas only stared back at him while breathing heavily, refusing to respond.

Maintaining an expressionless glare, Ethan abruptly lunged toward him, swiping Thomas’s hands away from his wound. As Ethan jammed his thumb into the gaping knife wound, he wiggled it around in Thomas’s gut as vigorously as he could.

Thomas, weak from the amount of blood he had lost, tried desperately to push Ethan away, but could only squeeze Ethan’s arm tightly as he endured the pain.

Ethan couldn’t hold back a smile as Thomas let out a blood curdling scream. He was able to savor the moment without fear that someone might hear the ear-piercing screams because of how sound proof the room was. The irony was not lost on him.

As Ethan pulled his hand away from Thomas’s gut, the stagnant air in the basement cooled off the warm blood that soaked his hand. He patiently wiped it clean using Thomas’s shirt. “Hopefully, now you understand that I’m not talking to myself when I ask you a question. So . . .”

“Alright,” Thomas pleaded, “please just don’t touch me anymore.”

“You’re making that very difficult. Now tell me, in vivid detail, what you’ve done to them?”

“Look, I didn’t kidnap that girl, and all I did was make her feel good. I could tell she liked it. I wasn’t really going to do anything else. I was about to let her go.”

Ethan clenched his fist tight as Thomas’s response caused his blood pressure to rise. Looking for a release, he punched Thomas’s wound several times. Blood spatter painted Ethan’s shirt each time his fist made contact with the seeping wound. As Ethan spoke while punching Thomas, he had to inhale between words that coincided with the drawing back of his fist. “Stop . . . the . . . bullshit. Tell . . . me . . . the . . . truth!”

After channeling all his anger and exhausting every last ounce of energy, Ethan sat down to catch his breath. He did not bother to wipe his fist clean this time, hopefully conveying to Thomas that he wasn’t finished yet.

“Okay. Please stop. I just had sex with the girl while she was strapped to the table.”

Although he wasn’t prepared for the answers, Ethan needed to know more. “What then? What’s all this other shit for?”

“Well, I was going to kill her and cut her up. I wanted to cut her up and eat her.”

Thomas’s DVD collection now became an important piece of evidence. The thought had never crossed Ethan’s mind that the films were inspirational. “Why on earth would you want to do that? What the hell is wrong with you? What did this innocent, young child—or any human being for that matter—do to deserve that?”

Ethan’s rage reached dangerous levels as he pictured what could have happened to the children. The unimaginable things that only the most disturbed of human beings could fathom. He tried to put himself in the child’s position, imagining how afraid they must have been, being held captive in a tiny coffin and dark basement.

Thomas stared at Ethan with a terrified expression on his face, not knowing what Ethan would do next. “Can you please call me an ambulance?” he muttered.

Ethan snarled at Thomas in response to such a stupid question. “Oh, I didn’t call you an ambulance. They’re sending a coroner. You see . . . I would love to keep you here and torture you throughout the night if I could, but I have to make this look like a swift act of self-defense. You attacked me, and during the scuffle I was able to stab you with one of your tools. However, you continued to attack me until I beat you over the head to death with a, uh . . .”

Ethan noticed Thomas’s eyes glance at the bat he had dropped, so he picked up the bat and smiled appreciatively. “With a bat that I just happened to wrestle away from you.”

Thomas began to plead for his life. “Please, Mr. Please don’t do this. I decided I wasn’t going to kill them after all. I was gonna let the kids go when I was done with them. I swear!”

“What the fuck were the castration rings for?”

Knowing that hearing the answer wouldn’t change anything, he raised the bat behind his head and swung with all his might, just as Thomas began to speak.

Once the bat struck the side of Thomas’s head, his body collapsed. Ethan was not fazed by the cracking sound of Thomas’s skull that had interrupted the useless explanation he was about to give. His body was motionless for a moment until regaining consciousness, still able to turn his head and look up at Ethan. “Please . . . God . . . don’t do this.”

Ethan raised the bat up again. “How dare you ask for God’s help.”

The police pounded on the door, demanding to be let inside. In the amount of time it took them to enter the basement after Kathy let them inside, Ethan had caved in Thomas’s head with the bat.

Breathing heavily, Ethan sat and stared at the body of Thomas that was now unrecognizable. Pieces of skull protruded from what used to be the top of his head, and his upper torso was covered in the blood that used to be housed inside of his skull. Ethan was disgusted with what he had done, however, he felt no remorse. He stood by his actions as benefitting mankind, but the gore was unexpectedly disturbing.

Nausea overwhelmed him as an officer helped him to his feet, placing handcuffs on his wrists. Vomit rose from his stomach so fast that he had no time to control it, leaning over and puking on the officer’s shoes rather than himself.

“Son of a bitch,” the officer said. “You could have leaned to the other side, man.”

After having vomited everything that was not digested in his stomach, Ethan took a deep breath and closed his eyes. The sirens were deafening as the officer escorted him outside. Dillon was being lifted into the ambulance on a stretcher and Kathy sat in a police car with a blanket wrapped around her.

While the police questioned him about what had happened, Ethan explained his version of the scenario, once again appearing as a case of self-defense. As he gave his statement to the officers, he was actually thinking about how Dillon was still oblivious to what had happened. The last thing the boy remembered was being placed in the small coffin. Ethan just hoped that by the time he awakened, his parents would be standing over him, providing the comfort of being safe in their loving arms.

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