July 22, 2019 9 min read

BEFORE THE DARKNESS

His drunken rage turned him into a monster, but tonight he was worse than that. His anger mixed with liquid courage had turned him into a wild bull, smashing glasses and putting holes in walls, except this bull didn’t have horns - he was just hyped up off beer. With all the warning signs about alcohol there was never one that would describe the mutation from human into beast.

“I’m the man around here BITCH! Bring me my sons!” He screamed, stumbling to another corner and putting his fist through the drywall. The crunching sound of his fist going through wood crackled through the house. It was his calling card, letting everyone in the house know a terrorist was on the loose and that he wouldn’t stop until someone put him down.

“You're drunk Paul. I told you to leave or the police are going to lock you up.”

“FUCK THE POLICE. YOU THINK THEY CAN FUCK WITH ME?!” His voice bellowed through the house and snot shot out of his nostrils like a wild angry bull.

“Just leave the boys alone Paul.” She tried reasoning with him but there was no using logic with a drunk.

“Naw...Hell Naw… They gotta learn,” he told her. But she had no intention of letting her boys near him. They trembled behind her, too afraid to speak but squeezing onto her for protection. Her small five foot five 140-pound body was no match for this high-adrenaline alcohol-induced rage.

“COME HERE BOYS...BRING Y’ALL ASS OVER HERE AND LEARN HOW TO BE MEN.” He knuckled up ready to strike but she had seen enough. She slowly backed the boys out of the room as he threw a lamp against a wall.

“SEE THEY NEED TO CLEAN THIS SHIT UP. YOU RUINED MY BOYS YOU BITCH. NOW GIVE EM HERE!” He screamed as he threw a punch and spun himself around, landing on his ass. Now it was their time to escape.

“Go on. Run...Go upstairs and lock the door to your room.”

The boys were on the steps, their mother blocking the entry way. The butcher knife hidden down at her side so as not to alarm the boys, but the commotion behind her sounded like a wild stampede brought on by their crazed and drunk father.

“No, I won’t let him hurt you.” The youngest of the two boys said. His will and pride was well beyond his eleven years but he was still no match for the demon in the other room.

“I SAID WHERE ARE MY BOYS, BITCH?!” Crashes of glass punctuated his sentences. At the end of each phrase, a new breakable item went sailing into the wall. But one of the young boys still stood up, he was ready to go head to head with the beast who was inhabiting his father’s body.

“Come in here BITCH. Or I’m coming UP!” Glass crashing in the other room sent chills through the boys and she could feel it. As their mother she knew the effects of this toxic relationship with their father. A man that found them no matter where they hid. She knew she could never get away. But that didn’t mean the boys couldn't have a chance at a free life.

“Did you call the police son?” She asked the younger of the two.

“Yes ma’am…” The cordless phone shaking in his hand.

“Okay good. Thank you for doing that. Now go upstairs.” She was calm for a woman that had a wild beast in the other room. The boys heard her words but they didn’t budge. Neither child was prepared to leave her.

“It’s okay. Go upstairs. I’m just going to have a little talk with him,” she told them, and there wasn't much time to argue as glass shattered a few feet away sending shards and specks of glass into the stairway.

“WHERE IS MY DAMN BOYS. I WANT THEM TO HELP ME FIND MY BEER!” The man was sick. Filled with poisonous alcohol and rage, the animal in him had destroyed their house and now it was hungry for blood. 

“Go...it’s okay...just go...” She smiled, trying to convince them that it would be fine but she knew the truth, none of this was fine or okay. But the boys didn’t feel her fear, they did as they were told, leaping up the stairs one behind the other into their bedroom where they did as their mother said, locking the door behind them as they heard the world ending downstairs.

There was crashing and screams, furniture screeching across the hardwood floor and what sounded like walls crashing together played like a sound track of dysfunction.

“We should go help her.” The braver of the two said. He was younger by only by a few minutes but he was the stronger-willed of the pair.

“No. Mommy said wait here so that’s what we’ll do.” The screams got louder and the crashing sounded like a pack of wild animals running around downstairs. The oldest paced the floor but he couldn’t take the suspense. 

“I’m going down.” he announced, but a gunshot stopped him from moving.

They looked at each other for a moment before they both pulled back the dresser that blocked the door, opening it to find their mother right there in the doorway. Her clothes were soaked in blood and she wore a homemaker’s smile.

“Boys.” She fell into their arms, all three of them falling to the floor.

“Momma!” They yelled for her.

“Momma are you okay?” The oldest boy asked, brushing back her hair to reveal a fresh bruise.

“Momma…” They weren’t sure which wound to be concerned about first as blood was oozing from multiple places on her face.

“Momma speak to me. Are you okay?”

“No baby I’m not.” She said to them both. Even in her battered state she spoke softly and calmly to their fragile souls. “Momma might have to leave you.” She tried smiling, but a gargle of blood erupted from her mouth. The boys cried and squealed in panic, but in the way only a mother can, she quieted them down. Through the pain she winced but she had to get these next words out.

“Now listen to me. Remember what I say. I love you both. None of this is your fault. You both must stick together. Don’t let…” She said, trying to speak through the pain. Then the coughing started, a sign of her organs shutting down as she tried to tell her children a life’s worth of lessons in her last few minutes.

“Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. And you...you're the oldest,” She grabbed her eldest son with the last bit of strength she had left, “You gotta take care of your brother,” she told the eldest boy. “And you...you gotta listen to your brother. Don’t you let nobo...dy separate you,” she said to her youngest son as the hand of death took ahold of her. Slowly shutting down, she eased her grip on the boys. That was all she could give. She didn’t have the time nor the means to explain.

“I love you both.” She smiled as blood foamed out of her mouth and tears slid down her face. She held her grip on each of them until her last breath and the last ounce of blood pumped from her heart.

“Momma...!” They yelled over her body but she was gone. Both boys cried, tears running down their faces as they held their mother. The room with posters of Batman and Superman had now been turned into a murder scene. Blood on the floor and death in the air had transformed the sanctuary of their bedroom into a nightmare.

They held her body, rocking her back and forth. Tears clouded their eyes, causing them to almost miss the moment. It started as a grumble coming from their mother, possibly her body releasing its last breath, but instead a sliver of white smoke flowed out of her nostril. The small trail of smoke turned into a cloud lingering at eye level to the pair.

“You see that…?” The oldest asked, stepping back. It was like a final exhale came from her body and sat in front of them like smoke.

“Is that...Momma’s spirit?” The small cloud didn’t move, then suddenly it drifted into the nostrils of the oldest boy. He didn’t say a word, but he instinctively knew what it was.

“She’s gone.” The oldest boy said, crying uncontrollable he sobbed like a newborn but all his brother could see was rage.

“I’m gonna kill him.” Grabbing the knife from his mother’s lifeless hands he ran from the bedroom, leaving his older brother behind. Taking the stairs down to the living room he finally saw the tornado of chaos that they heard from upstairs but what he saw was far worst than he imagined. Blood splattered across the wall and couch with a smear of blood across the floor leading to the stairs where their mother dragged herself up the steps. In the mix of the hurricane of broken glass and strewn furniture was their father crawling to the door.

Senior was face down on the floor with blood leaking from stab woulds across his back and torso. Despite his injuries he still had strength to crawl.

“Help me…” He whispered as he grabbed at the floor sliding himself to the door while upstairs the mother oh his children began to turn cold. 

“You killed Momma.” The youngest yelled to his father. He noticed the gun still in his hand as he crawled away. Yet the young boy didn’t care about a gun, he had adrenaline and rage on his side.

“You killed my Momma…now your gonna die.” He held the knife up over his head and with the force of his grief he sent the knife down into his father’s spine.

“Twin…” The oldest boy screamed but it was too late. The knife had punctured his lungs filling them with blood instantly. The beastly man convulsed on the floor until seconds later he lay still. A similar white cloud appeared from his body but there was no calm in this cloud. Instead it frantically zipped around the room before landing into the nostrils of the younger boy.

“Twin...what did you do?” His brother went to him, shaking the boy as he glared in a daze at his father’s stiffing corpse.

“He hurt Momma. I couldn’t let him live.” the boy said as he sniffled and rubbed his nose. They didn’t know what the white smoke meant and they had no time to figure it out.

“We can’t let them see us down here.” The sound of sirens broke through the silence. “Am I going to jail?” The youngest asked as he looked from his hand to the knife handle sticking from his father’s back. They had seen enough TV to know that they should hide when they heard the sirens outside.

“Come on.” The older brother grabbed him. They went back to their room closing the door and sat around their mother. Her body already began to stiffen, but they sat around her holding hands as the older boy started them off.

“I am my brother’s keeper.” His eyes instinctively closed as he held his brother’s hands up to the sky. “Ancestors of the universe protect us. Give us the love from our mother.” Both of their faces were wet with tears as the oldest boy continued to chant. Squeezing hands with closed eyes while talking to the universe as they had seen their mother do a hundred times. But this time was different, she was no longer there in the physical but her spiritual presence would be felt.

“My back...its burning.” The youngest one said, jumping to his feet and pulling at his shirt.

“Mine too.” Their eyes wide, both on their feet now only to see their shirts burning away into charred threads right from their backs.

“Ahhh...it's going everywhere. It's everywhere.” The youngest turned around. “What’s there...what’s on me. Is it Mom...is it that ghost thing that went into my nose?” The younger boy squirmed and turned himself around so his brother could see. But what the oldest boy saw took his breath away. Black paint rolling down his brother’s skin forming lines that he had never seen.

“Shit shit...it's on me too. It burns…” The oldest turned around to reveal the same fate, a scrawling engravement from little torches of fire sprawled across their back.

“Ahhh its hot…AHHH….” The fire sizzled on their backs and when it put itself out, a tattoo remained. Each had half of a symbol and when standing side by side, it continued on the other twin’s back. They weren’t able to marvel in the beauty of the symbol as the situation was chaotic and they only had a few seconds to spare.

“Does it hurt.”

“Yeah…”

“What is it…’

“Looks like that Gemini twin from Mamma’s book.” Suddenly the older boy wished his mother was here to confirm. Her smiling dead body was still and motionless on the floor but he could hear her in his head.

“That’s exactly what it is son,” he heard her say, but before he could think, the sound of a banging on the door and yells met their ears.

“POLICE.”

“Here...put on a shirt. Don’t let nobody see.” He grabbed a shirt from a drawer, threw one to his brother and pulled one on himself. “Here, come sit with mommy.” They held their mother, blood smeared on their new, clean shirts.

“Put blood on you.” He spread blood on his brother’s shirt. “Now don’t you tell nobody what you did. That’s for us. We were up here the whole time okay?” The youngest boy nodded frantically as a police officer slowly opened the bedroom door. The tear streaked faces of the boys as flashing lights and officers holstered their guns.

“Call CPS. We have two minor children and a domestic double homicide,” one of the detectives said into their radio, but there was much more happening that he couldn’t see. Below the surface, a supernatural occurrence had taken place and the lives of the children in the house would never be the same.


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