It was still there. It hadn’t moved from that spot. It just stood there, staring at Samael. Where was he? He couldn’t move, couldn’t look around. He could only watch as the strange creature stared at him through the glowing red slits. The place was musky, Samael could tell that much. The smell of rotting wood and dust filled his nose and throat with every breath. It was dark, but the creature stood in light. It was as if it created its own light, some sort of radiance from its own body. The creature looked like it was kneeling, with a thin tendril of brown-gray skin connecting its upper and lower thighs, forming a triangle. Its entire body was covered with the same earthy coloring. The toes were only two fleshy slits, each fashioned like a dull point. Its arms nearly touched the floor, but it was tall. Its fingers were like the toes, two fleshy, dull points. It was thin, and naked.
It started to move towards Samael, almost waddling with each step. The small eight year old boy could only stand and watch. There was no terror; he didn’t think the thing would hurt him. After all, he had seen it before, at First Contact Inc. The creature raised one of its long arms towards Samael’s face, and held it just in front of Samael’s eyes. The two finger-like things started to weave together, forming a stump at the end of a large appendage. A hole formed at the end, and it blinked open. It was an eye, a blue eye, which stared at Samael as the creature stared at him.
“You’re welcome. Be wise,” a voice said. It was in Samael’s mind, nothing passed his ears. The words echoed, and the voice was deep and commanding. Samael tried to nod, but only struggled. The blue eye closed, and glowing red slits darkened to nothing. The creature fell to the ground with a thump, and Samael could move again. He fell, hitting aged wood.
He heard a loud boom behind him, and then another in front. The radiant light of the creature dimmed away, leaving Samael in total darkness. The eight year old felt no fear, and merely sat in the darkness by the fleshy lump of the strange creature.
There was another boom, and the floor fell from beneath him. It was even darker below, yet Samael did not scream as he fell. He fell into what seemed as a limitless void. Samael could hear music as he fell. There was a party, and he smelled food and sweet drinks. He had been here before, he knew it.
He smashed through the cement roof, though made no hole, and fell down into a party. The party goers were the creatures, with glowing red eyes, radiant light from their bodies, a tendril of skin connecting the bottom and top part of their legs, and dull points for toes and fingers. They all wore triangular party hats, and seemed to even dance with the music, though mostly they just waddled.
Samael stood, and tried to walk, but instead he waddled. He lifted his arms in front of his face, and saw fleshy, dull points for fingers. He looked up and saw everything through a radiant red. He had become one of them. He felt no fear, but rather joy.
He woke as the limo hit a bump on the road. Samael was flung from the leather seat and nearly hit the roof.
“Sorry, sir,” the driver called back.
“Just be more careful,” Samael’s father said back. “Are you alright, Samael?” His father always wore a black suit and a red tie. He spoke with a slight British accent, yet had never set foot in the country. He had a thick, dark mustache and a light beard, with a dark, shiny, thick head of hair on his scalp. A little beer belly protruded as he sat nonchalantly in the limo, expanding the blue shirt past the waist of his dark pants. The rest of him was muscular though, his arms rippled with strength, and he could sprint two miles without sweating.
“Yes, sir,” Samael said, readjusting himself to sit comfortably in the hard seat.
It was night, but no stars shined. Immense, gray clouds blocked them, pouring huge chunks of snow down below as a fierce wind whistled. The road was barren, and Samael was unable to see a landmark, whether that be a tree or a store. The snow was coming down too hard.
Their main home was in northern Maine. They had other homes, one in California and another in New York, but preferred this one. It was only his rich father, whose name was John, Samael, and his mother, along with their maids that came in regularly to tidy up. His mother always claimed to love the cold. She would always snuggle with a blanket by the fire, sipping tea.
The snow came down hard. It blanketed the entire area in a thick white; Samael was hardly able to find any landmarks such as a tree or a store. He was on winter vacation. He had spent Christmas at home, but his mother didn’t seem to be happy. He heard his father and her fighting Christmas night, the night before Samael and his father left for the Nevada. It was about the trip John had planned for just Samael and him. Samael thought that maybe she wanted to go, but wasn’t sure. She was nearly crying when Samael entered the limo to head over to the airport.
“Samael, what did you think of the trip?” his father asked, staring out into the limitless white.
“It was fun,” Samael said awkwardly. He took a peek at the notepad that rested nearby. He was shocked when he first flipped through it, in disbelief that he made everything. The hat he was given was lost. He had lost it in a restaurant.
His father slowly nodded his head, still staring outside. “Yes, it was fun, very fun.” He became quiet once again. Samael could tell he was thinking, thinking about something very hard. Samael knew not to bother him when he was thinking.
The rest of the ride was spent in silence, except for the whistle of the wind. Eventually, they pulled up to the rocky driveway of their home. The large house was located miles away from anyone else, in the middle of a desolate, quiet field. There was a metal gate that formed a small square around the home, yet they owned the land as far as the eye could see.
The limo crunched small pebbles and piles of snow as it fought its way forward. Some of the lights were on inside, casting a square of yellow that seemed to float in midair. The home was enormous, country style, which stretched far. Three chimneys were on the roof, and only one of them emanated smoke. It was painted a light blue, hiding it in the snow. People scurried around in the rooms, maids cleaning up for Samael’s father’s arrival. Samael could see their silhouettes on the windows.
Samael’s mother was standing at the edge of the driveway, wrapped in a thick, green blanket as snow blew into her face and side. She shivered fiercely as she watched the long, black limo pull up next to her. She was a broad woman, thick boned and strong willed. She had straight, dark hair that draped down her head. She was tall, and had thick legs and arms. She had short, thick fingers that resembled sausages, and a plump face. Samael was nearly pushed forward as the brakes were put on and the limo stopped moving completely.
“Where have you been, John?” she screamed. Samael could hear her through the window. She had a rough, thick voice with a slight country twang. His father stepped out into the blizzard, his black suit becoming drenched instantly. His mother never called his father by his name, she always called him honey or a said a pet name, she never said John.
“You know where, honey.” He tried to calm her as he walked to the trunk to pull out their bags.
“What did you do to my son?” she screamed louder than before. The question almost resembled a battle cry with its ferocity. Samael stopped moving, and the driver stared back at the ferocious women. She puffed deep breaths out of her nose as she stared dangerously at John. His father stopped and stared, as well as the silhouettes inside the warm house. Snow fell fiercely from the sky, the wind picked up again and the home groaned against it.
John was the first to speak. “Nothing, dear, we just took a trip, that’s all. I offered you to come with us, but…” He spoke in a comforting tone, cautiously approaching her. He wanted to hug her, like she still loved him.
“Screw you, John.” There was a malicious anger in her voice.
“Honey, can we speak inside?” John approached her again, only for her to give a fierce slap across his face. She blew air out of her nose and turned around to step back into the warmth of the home. She locked the front door behind her. John turned towards the driver, who sat still in shock. “May I have my keys?” John asked.
The driver nodded and handed him the keys. John opened the door for Samael and he stepped out of the limo into the biting cold. He ducked back inside when he realized he almost forgot the pad of his work. He emerged again with it in his hand. “Just go straight to your room,” John whispered in his ear as they stepped inside. “Can you get our stuff?” John called back to the driver. He nodded and went to the trunk.
John unlocked the door and father and son stepped inside. The inside was warm, a nearby fire blasting heat. The entry room was the living room, which possessed immense amounts of space. A large pair of windows rested at the opposite end of the door, allowing for a view of limitless night sky above and the white ground below. Cylindrical lights hung from thin wires, casting a yellowish light down below. The floor was wood, with a carpet draping it in a small corner where a large flat screen TV sat with large speakers from both sides of it, along with a large, beige sofa. Towards the left was a large open kitchen, complete with the latest appliances and a large island in the center. At the right corner was a staircase, enclosed by a wall of wood except for the entrance.
John gave Samael a small push towards the stairwell, and mouthed the word “room.” Samael obeyed and turned to the stairs. He marched up each one with his head hung low in confusion and sadness. He emerged at a long hallway with few doors. He walked to the third door and opened it. Within was his room, complete with its messy glory. Papers were stacked at one side, and his laptop rested on his large bed. The room itself was enormous, a huge space for him to spend his time in. Two large windows, each opposite one another, gave Samael the view of the immense, white world beyond.
He wasn’t interested in the windows though. In one corner there was a ventilation shaft, with voices coming from it, his mother’s and father’s voices. He slammed the door behind him, through the pad on the bed, and crept to the corner. He curled himself into a ball, and put an ear to cold metal.
“… No right, John! That was my boy, and then you go and change him! Why the hell did you take him from me?” his mother screamed.
“I didn’t! He is in his room right now, he’s still with you.” John was calmer.
“That is not my son! I don’t know what that thing is, but it is not my son! My son is still in friggn’ Nevada somewhere! You brought home a freak!” Samael heard her push a chair back and then footsteps. His father ran after her. “Let go of my arm, John!” his mother screamed.
“That is your son, honey. What I did was for the better good. You know how he is in school, the way other kids treat him. Now he can show them all. Now he feels like he can be accepted, I’m sure of it. Not to mention how smart he is now. You should see him.” John spoke much quieter.
“First of all, I’m not your ‘honey,’ John,” she spoke more sternly now, but no longer screamed. “Second of all, were you there when they did whatever they did to my son? How do you know they didn’t just take him up to Saturn or wherever? Maybe they made a clone, and that’s who you brought home, how the hell do you know? Do even know what they can do?” She snickered. “Didn’t think so; let go of me and deal with that damn thing in my son’s bedroom.”
He heard footsteps that gradually grew quieter, until he heard none at all. His father sighed, and then he walked away. Samael slowly stood up from the ventilation shaft, and crossed his room to his bed. He curled up without even changing clothes, and closed his eyes, the heavy blankets on top of him. Before he fell asleep, his father slowly creaked open the door and stepped inside. He sat at the edge of the bed, and looked at Samael.
His father looked sad, his eyes heavy with worry. He stared at Samael, and comfortingly put his arm on Samael’s forearm.
“You know I love you, right?” he nearly whispered.
“Yes…daddy,” Samael softly said back. “I love you too.”
A slight smile crossed his father’s face, and he stood from the bed. “Good… good. Have a good sleep, Samael.” He walked out of the door, and closed the door behind him. Samael fell asleep.
“Freak… freak… freak.” He was standing in the middle of his room, a chill creeping up his spine and wind throwing the blinds of the windows in all directions. The room was dark, a few shreds of light coming in through the windows to illuminate the room just enough to see by. He listened to the voice. “Freak… freak… freak.” It was his mother speaking, but he could not tell from where. It was a soft voice, but menacing at the same time. He scoured his room for any trace of his mother, even flipping over his mattress and throwing a pile of papers into the air to see if she was hiding behind it. “Freak… freak… freak.”
“Where are you?” he shouted, becoming mad as he searched. He pushed his ear against the vent, but the voice did not come from there. He started to run in the room. He pranced in circles, trying to avoid the voice. He screamed to drown it out, anything to make the evil voice stop. He threw objects on the ground, screaming all the while. When he ran out of things to throw, he kicked furniture, trying to drown out the voice. “Freak… freak… freak.”
Then suddenly, “Where is my son?” the same voice shouted. It was louder than a clap of thunder, almost deafening. Samael knew where it came from though, from behind the door. He stopped running, and slowly crept to the thin slab of wood protecting him from the outside world. He couldn’t see much from the darkness, but did not trip from any litter on the floor.
The door creaked as Samael slowly opened it. Standing on the other side was one of the creatures, staring at him through red slits. It stood there, and Samael stood as well. Samael calmed, and the voice disappeared. The two stared at each other in eerie silence, boy staring at alien.
The red slit darkened, and the creature fell with a thump. Samael felt fear, dreading what would come next. He heard a boom, and the home collapsed in on itself. Samael cried out in pain and terror when the roof fell down onto him.
He woke with a cold sweat beading his face. He sat up, throwing the thick blanket over the bed. He breathed heavily, each breath sweet and comforting. The first lights of morning shined through the windows, brightening the entire room. He stared at the bright lines as he tried to regulate his breathing. He swallowed some saliva, and got out of bed.
He walked to the windows. The snow had reduced to a small fall of white crystals, letting Samael stare out into the distance. Towards the back there were immense, hilly fields, all blanketed in a thick white. Towards the front was a dense thicket of pine trees, snow clinging to the branches. Along the trees was a deserted road, the snow covering it as well. A small rabbit hopped out of the trees and stood still at the edge of the road. Samael watched the small, furry, brown creature. It seemed to see Samael watching it, and scurried back into the trees. Samael took a deep breath and walked out into the hallway.
He bumped into a maid as he walked out of the room. She was thin and had long, brown hair. “Samael, I was just about to wake you up. Breakfast is ready downstairs and your father wants a word.” Samael thanked her and she scurried off down the hallway. He walked down the stairs.
Luckily, it was only John at the bottom; his mother was nowhere to be seen. His father sat on a stool beside the long, shiny island in the kitchen. “Good morning, Samael. Here, have something to eat.” His father handed him a plate of eggs and bacon. “How was your sleep?”
“Good,” Samael lied. He chewed a slice of bacon as a comforting smile crossed his father’s face.
“Did you enjoy the vacation?” John asked. Samael nodded his head as he dipped a slice of bacon into the yolk of an egg. “That’s good, yeah, it was fun. So you have a week left till school starts again, is there anything you want to do?” Samael shook his head as he stuffed an entire egg into his mouth. His father’s smile shrunk. “Well… staying here is good too. Anyway, I got work to do, so I guess it’s for the best. I miss that heat already though. I actually… I want to talk about your mother. She isn’t going to be here or a little while, she decided on taking a vacation of her own. So, it’s just you and me.” He rustled Samael’s hair. “You know where to find me, love you.”
He got out of the stool and walked past the living room, and down the hall. He entered the office, leaving Samael alone with eggs, bacon, and thoughts.
The rest of the day was slow. After breakfast Samael returned to his room where he changed into new clothes and played video games. He was strangely better at them than before. He could react faster when someone shot at him; he could line up the shot quicker, and could strategize and told his teammates where to defend. Because of Samael, the team demolished the enemies, and he was commended at his genius.
His lunch was brought to him, a bologna sandwich with mustard and cheese. The maid that brought it told him that John was sorry for being busy with his work and was still in the office. Samael thanked her and sent her on her way. He returned to the game and let the sandwich rest on a pile of books.
The snow eventually stopped coming down altogether, leaving a wonderland of snowy hills and the bitter cold. A foot of snow had fallen altogether, covering the world in it. Eventually, night fell and the stars covered the cloudless sky and a full moon cast glimmering light down to be reflected against the snow.
He stopped playing when the clock read six o’clock. He was surprised when he found that his stats had improved greatly, and he was twelfth in the worldwide leaderboards. Out of twenty thousand people online, he was twelfth greatest, for one day of playing. He was not surprised, nor shocked or excited, he merely accepted it as a fact and went downstairs for dinner.
His father crouched over a plate of steaming hot steak and mashed potatoes, grease dripping down his chin and filling his plate. He sat on the couch, the huge screen of the television blasting sound throughout the open room. “Samael, I was just about to call for you. Your dinner is waiting on the table,” John said, ushering behind him with a remote in his hand. Samael picked up his food and slowly ate it, fatty steak dripping with grease, buttery mushed potatoes and green beans dripping with melted butter. “Samael, come, sit with me,” his father called back. Samael obeyed and picked up his plate and walked to the couch.
His father was acting weirdly. He never ate on the couch, nor did he ever usher Samael to do the same. “Is everything okay?” Samael asked as he sat down at the other end of the couch.
“Your mother is coming home when you go to school. For the week, it’s just us, this amazing food, and the TV.” A smile grew across his father’s face, but Samael was unsure of how truthful it was. “I finished my work today, so now I’m officially on vacation with you. Anything you want to do tomorrow?” His father never took his eyes off of the TV.
“No, sir,” Samael responded. He bit a chunk of steak off.
His father turned to him. For the first time, Samael saw dark bags around his eyes and a strained look across his face. “You sure, nothing?” his father asked him. Samael shook his head. “Oh, well.” His father turned back to the TV and they ate their dinner in silence, except for the blaring TV.
Samael had a dreamless, restless sleep that night. He tossed and turned, and hopped out of bed at the first light of morning. The day consisted much like it did the day before, except Samael heard the TV from his room. He was on his laptop the entire day, and his breakfast, lunch and dinner was brought to him. He was browsing Wikipedia the entire time. He didn’t know why felt like aimlessly browsing an online encyclopedia, but he did. By the end of the day, he had a working knowledge of algebra, Genghis Kahn, and the basics of technology.
The same routine continued throughout the week, until he was woken harshly by his father in the wee hours of Monday morning. His father shook him by his side, and Samael woke from his restless slumber, pulled out of his dreamless darkness. “Samael,” his father whispered, “it’s time to go to school.”
Samael sat straight up and wiped the sand from his eyes. He felt exhausted, but still forced himself to pick out some clothes and get dressed. After ten minutes of pulling himself into new clothes, he grabbed his bag, slung over his shoulder, and marched downstairs. His father was watching the news as he hastily put a tie around his neck and threw on a suit.
“Samael, there you are,” he said. “Your breakfast is there, and I’ll be here when you get home.” He started to walk outside into the bitter cold, but stopped by the door. Still facing the door, he said, “Your mother will come home today.” He nodded his head for no reason, and opened the door. Harsh, biting cold wind blew in. The heat within the home disappeared as his father stepped outside, and reappeared when he shut the door.
Samael ate waffles dripping with syrup, and a single greasy sausage. He would have had more, but had to leave the plate for someone to clean up when the screech of the bus was heard just outside. He grabbed his jacket hanging on a hook nearby the door, and put it on. He braced himself for going outside, and opened the door.
The snow was almost completely melted, except for a few small piles. There were a couple clouds overhead, and wind blew hard in Samael’s face. There was a large, yellow school bus resting at the edge of his driveway, and Samael raced down the hill to reach it. The grass was hard with frost, and even the school bus seemed to glisten in the morning sun as frost hung on the windows and sides.
He reached the bus before it drove off. A thin, homely woman sat in the driver’s seat, and greeted Samael as she threw open the door. The double doors hissed open and Samael marched up the high steps. The inside reeked of peanut butter for some reason, and all the seats were green with tape to mark where vandals had destroyed parts. The bus lurched forward, nearly throwing Samael off balance. He took a seat in the middle, alone. He put his bag to his side and stared out the window.
Noise filled the ride, the noise of screaming children whose sole purpose, it seemed, was to scream. The middle column was littered with wrappers and gum of all shapes and colors, and the floor underneath the seats had gotten the same treatment. The window was filled with scratches and markings of all kinds, from drawings to words. The seat was covered in the décor of grade school children, words of all kinds written in permanent marker, some of them vulgar. Even in a private school, vandalism was rampant.
The town went by in a flash. It was small, a general store and gas station the main attraction. Mostly Samael watched countless pine trees and barren road rush by, with an occasional car. Most homes that the bus stopped by were as big as Samael’s, but with different looks. Sometimes the bus never stopped at a home, and rather picked kids up from a desolate street corner. Soon enough, the bus was filled to capacity and the noise doubled. Samael found himself sitting next to an obnoxious fifth grader, who found it fun to mock Samael since he was still in third grade. Samael ignored him, and the fifth grader started to shout like all the others to some all person three seats down.
Eventually, the hellish ride was over and the school came into view. It was a large building, brick, with many wings and halls springing from all around. It was exclusively for elementary students, so Samael thought the immenseness of it was unnecessary. Windows were put up all around, huge square glass pieces among the bricks. It had a flat roof, with various machines on top.
The bus pulled up by the front door, and the kids crowded out, slowly. They drudged to the front doors, a wide open pair of heavy metal doors with a luminescent light coming from them. The students almost seemed like machines as they thoughtlessly entered the building. There was a strong stench of bleach. White tiles shined on the floor, and metal doors stretched down a long hall.
Samael followed the flow of the crowd; he was just another kid in an immense school. The crowd slowed to a trickle of students when Samael made a left to his classroom. He entered the room and a bright light nearly blinded him. For some reason, the lights always seemed more powerful in the rooms rather than the halls. The desks were neatly arranged in a square, and at the front a Smartboard hung in front of a chalkboard. It was white, and wires connected it to a nearby Macbook. It displayed the desktop of his teacher, a picture of The Milky Way being the wallpaper. Some students were drawing on it, using the fake pens to draw digital stickmen and hearts, which could be erased with a click of a button on the computer or via an eraser supplied with the board itself. Samael thought it interesting to be able to harvest light into technology.
Samael tucked his backpack in a cubby by the door, and took a seat in the middle of the classroom. He took out a book he brought with him and read until the bell sounded for class to start.
“Take your seats, take your seats!” the teacher screeched. She was an old women, gray hair and wrinkles covering her face. The class plopped down on their assigned seats, and the teacher walked to the front of the room. “Before we start, how was everyone’s vacation?” She had a certain excitement in her voice that Samael knew was expected of her.
Half the class raised their hands. Samael put his head on the desk. The classroom was always dull and boring; he didn’t care what anyone else did over vacation. He just wanted the day to be over and to go home.
“Yes, you Phillip, what did you do over vacation?” she asked a student at the front of the room.
“I went to Nevada,” he said. Samael lifted his head. Samael went to Nevada as well, with his father. He had gone to First Contact Inc.
“What did you do there?” the teacher asked.
“My dad found us a great hotel; there was a casino and everything. I couldn’t go downstairs though, they wouldn’t let me in with all the games.” Phillip said. Samael put his head down again. He went to Las Vegas for sure, not First Contact Inc.
“Good thing they did, I hate Vegas. What about you, Stacy?” the teacher continued. They went around the class to all the eager students who wanted to share their experiences with the rest.
Samael didn’t care anymore to listen, and took out his book once again. It was a full twenty minutes before everyone that wanted to speak had spoken. By the end Samael was considering just walking out of the obnoxious classroom.
“So, let’s start out with some Algebra, shall we? Everyone take out your folders.” The class stood from their desks and walked to their bags. It was spaced enough that a crowd didn’t form around the bags, and Samael returned easily with a yellow folder bulging with papers in hand. The teacher was struggling to put the lesson on the Smartboard.
“I’ll help you Ms. Roth.” A voice from the bags said. It was Phillip, the kid who went to Vegas. He was small; Samael was almost double his size. He wore a loose gray sweatshirt and a pair of jeans, with a silver necklace hanging with a phoenix hanging. He had short dark hair, and dark brown eyes. He was stick thin, like he hadn’t eaten in a month. Phillip placed his folder on his desk at the front of the room and ran over to the computer to help Ms. Roth. Within seconds the lesson was ready and on the board.
Ms. Roth rustled his hair. “I’m glad to have some geniuses in this class. Technology,” she scoffed, “I’m too old for it.” Phillip returned to his desk.
“I bet he doesn’t know how to hack it,” a kid said from behind. Samael didn’t bother to look behind him. “I do.”
“Well that’s just great that you know that, but you’re not going to be doing it, now let’s begin. Everyone take out their assignments; pass them up to the front,” Ms. Roth said.
Samael’s eyes widened. He had forgotten about the assignment, he never touched it. The kid in front of him put his open hand on Samael’s desk, and Samael shook his head. The kid smiled a wicked smile. “Ms. Roth,” he called, “Samael doesn’t have his homework!”
Samael thought about using his book to smash the kid’s head in, but decided against it. The class turned towards the disturbance, and Samael heard a multitude of snickers around him.
“Why not, Samael?” Ms. Roth said.
Samael hesitated to answer, trying to come up with a good explanation. “Because… I already know it,” he said. Instantly he saw his mistake.
“Then why didn’t you do it, if you already know it?” Ms. Roth said, staring at Samael.
The answer came almost instantly to Samael. “Because I was too busy learning it.”
Ms. Roth smiled. “Samael, you’re a bad liar. Still, we’ll see how much you learned on your own.” She was mocking him, playing with him like he was a mouse and she a playful cat. “Will you tell me the answer to the first question on the board?” Samael squinted at the bright board in front. “Twelve times what equals sixty, that’s what it says.”
Samael felt surprising relief. He had actually taught himself this, in his insane compulsion to browse Wikipedia throughout vacation. “The answer is five, Ms. Roth,” Samael said, staring into his teachers eyes. He tried to look as innocent as he secretly reveled in his small victory.
Ms. Roth looked taken back. “What about the next one then, fifty x divided by ten equals three hundred.”
“Sixty,” Samael said instantly. He couldn’t help but let a small smile cross his lips. The classroom was silent and still, each eye was fixated on Samael. He couldn’t tell if it was a good thing or bad that his classmates were shocked by him.
Ms. Roth smiled. “Well then, just do the assignment now,” she said. He took out the piece of paper and pencil and started to fill out the answers as she explained the lesson. The kid that tried to humiliate him peeked behind him, only for Samael to give him a wicked smile and scoff as the kid quickly faced the front.
He was done with the assignment before she was done with the lesson. He leaned back in his desk and watched the class as she lectured on about algebra. He felt like he had won a great battle, and was enjoying the sweet spoils of victory. He watched the kids stare ahead, trying to comprehend what Ms. Roth was saying. A couple completely disregarded the teacher, and instead had conversations of their own with the people around them.
He handed the paper to her when she was done with the math lesson and everyone had five minutes to prepare for the next lesson. Just as he was about to turn back to his desk, she spoke. “I’ve never seen that before, Samael. You have a good skill there, to be able to teach yourself. Just work harder, and do the assignment next time, okay?” She gave him a warm smile and ushered him back to his desk.
He listened the rest of the class. He found a thirst he never knew he had, a thirst for knowledge. He was fixated on her biology lesson, and was amazed by her social studies lesson. He absorbed each word, each sentence was written in stone in his head. He felt like he could give the same lesson, verbatim.
He almost felt disappointed when the bell rang for lunch. He closed his folder and said goodbye to Ms. Roth, along with everyone else. After stuffing the folder in his bag, he fell in with the crowd headed out of the door and to the cafeteria.
Down the hall, he branched off from the crowd to the bathroom. There was no door, just a rectangular hole to walk through. The room was musky and dirty, but Samael accepted it all the same. It had a row of stained sinks, and a smooth cement wall. A mirror hung above each sink, while the cement wall had urinals. The lighting was dim, but enough to see by. There was another wall in front of the door, decorated with tile. It was used to keep privacy, since there was no door, for safety purposes.
He thought he was alone, until he felt someone shove him into the cold wall from behind. The tile was cold against his cheek, and he felt the cracks in them. He felt the person slowly put his head next to Samael’s ear. The person whispered, “You think you’re badass? You think that because you can make Ms. Roth look like an idiot, you’re suddenly at the top?” He spoke in a menacing, sardonic tone. Samael was brutally turned around to face the person.
He was huge, a wall of flesh with a plump face. His clothes were torn, but Samael was sure they were supposed to be like that. He was more fat than muscle; it was clear from the way fat hung from underneath his outstretched arm. He was taller than Samael, and had fuzz growing from above his lips. His hand was wrapped around Samael’s throat, but he wasn’t choking him. Still, his grip was like shackles.
“No,” Samael said.
“Liar. I’m at the top, not you.” He pointed at Samael, his finger inches away from his face. “I’m going to prove it to you. Tomorrow, behind this damn school. If you’re not there, I’ll take you from behind and bash your head in on the floor in front of everyone. I could do that now, but I’m nicer than that.”
The small shape of Phillip walked in the bathroom just then. He looked shocked as he watched the scene before him. The person took a quick glance at Phillip, and turned his attention back to Samael. “Tomorrow, behind the school. Remember my name, you punk. It’s Matt.” He released Samael from his grip, and turned towards Phillip. The small kid backed away. Matt snickered. “Spread the word, or you’re next.”
Matt walked out, head held high, fat jiggling with each step. Samael felt nothing, but rather swallowed some saliva, and walked out. Phillip stood still, fear, sorrow, and shock in his eyes. Samael felt sorry for the small kid.
The rest of the day went on as if nothing had happened. Samael didn’t see Matt again, but noticed that Phillip was busy doing what was told. By the time Samael had sat down with his lunch, people were already snickering and looking at him throughout the noisy cafeteria. Samael bowed his head and stared at his food.
When lunch was done and recess began, Samael saw just how many people had heard about the planned fight against Matt. Almost the whole school seemed to be talking about it, and a couple of kids scoffed at him as Samael walked passed them. Samael was surprised that the teachers either didn’t hear, or didn’t care. He went by the rest of the day with his head hung low. He made eye contact with no one, and barely listened when Ms. Roth gave a lesson. He was thankful when the final bell finally rang and he was given leave to grab his things and return home.
The bus ride was the worst. The kid that sat next to him mocked him throughout the cold ride. “You gonna get killed, I can’t wait to watch,” he said in Samael’s ear many times. Among him, he heard many screams from many directions, all directed toward him, all cheering for his imminent demise the next day.
He was thankful when the bus pulled up in front of his home and the brakes screeched their stop. He was at the door before it hissed open, the crowd of jeering and screaming children behind him. He almost pounced out the door when it opened wide enough for him to go through.
The ground was wet with melted snow. The bus drove off, throwing exhaust in Samael’s face as he stared at his huge home. He took a deep breath and walked up the grassy, wet hill. The day was full of surprises, and he knew more were to come. His mother was supposed to have come home today, his father had said. He could only imagine how she would act, whether it be tender and loving like she used to be, or hateful like she was after he returned from Nevada.
On his walk to the front door, he decided not to tell anyone about Matt or the expected fight. His father would hear about it when he was in the hospital, and people wouldn’t ridicule him for running to his parents before a fight.
He opened the door to the blaring noise of the television. His father sat on the couch, a big bag of potato chips in his hand, and Samael’s mother at his side. The two turned to face him, John’s eyes grew wide with surprise and his mother’s became hateful.
“Samael, I didn’t know you’d be here so soon,” John said, clearly trying to stop his mother from erupting in anger.
“What are you doing here?” his mother asked with an evil hiss in her voice. She turned to John. “You said he was gone, John. You said they took him back, John. You said he was on an airplane, John, going right back to Nevada!” Her voice rose to a scream, and stared daggers at Samael’s father.
“Samael, go up to your room, now,” John said sternly.
“It isn’t his room, John. It’s Samael’s room, not that thing’s!” She pointed to Samael while staring at John. She was screaming again, shouting at the top of her lungs.
“Mom?” Samael’s voice was nearly a whisper. He slowly shut the door, a loud creak coming from it and he inched forward to his parents. His day had been hard enough; he didn’t want to come home to such anger. “I love you,” he said, trying to comfort his mother. His father stood still, unsure of how to act.
She turned to face Samael. She stared at him for a couple of seconds, never blinking and pure rage in her eyes. For those few seconds, it seemed as if the world had stopped and everything became silent again. “I’m not your mother, you freak.” She had an angry hiss to her voice. She stood up from the couch and slowly stepped to Samael. He took a step back. “I don’t love you. I don’t know what you are, but I know you took my son, I want him back!”
She lunged to Samael. Samael sidestepped and dodged her. John ran up to her and held her down, as he screamed for Samael to go to his room. She thrashed on the floor, screaming about Samael and wanting her son back. Samael obeyed and charged up the stairs and to his room, tears welling in his eyes. He slammed the door shut and locked it. He curled on his bed, whimpering softly to himself.
He couldn’t sleep yet, it was too early, and he could still hear the yelling downstairs. He didn’t need to be near the vent to hear it; it was loud enough. “You lied, John! You lied to me!” his mother shouted.
“What the hell was I supposed to do, huh? You really think I was going to send him away. I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.” He heard his father walk away and his mother got up.
“Do what, John? I’ll tell you what you didn’t do. You didn’t protect my boy, you didn’t stop that thing from coming into my home, and you don’t listen to me!”
“What I didn’t do, honey,” John spoke in a dark, sardonic tone, “is get you help. You’d think after all those psychology classes; I could see it, but no. I’m calling the police, they’ll help you. You’re out of my control.”
His mother chuckled. “You’re gonna call the police? Screw you, John.” Samael heard his mother take a few steps and the front door slam shut. Samael closed his eyes and willed himself to sleep.
He stood awkwardly in an auditorium. There was music, and games, a long table filled with assorted snacks and drinks. The lights above cast down a bluish hue. A large square of metal seats were in the center, all facing a stage at the front. The room was loud. It sounded like children, hundreds of laughing, playing children. Samael was alone though. The sounds came from nowhere, and Samael stood still in a corner of the room listening to them, a party hat on his head and a plastic cup filled with punch in his hand. There was a metal bar across the only door.
A familiar creature walked onto the stage, seemingly from nowhere. It was tall, kneeling with a thin tendril of skin to connect its lower thigh to upper thigh. It waddled as it walked. It had long arms, with two fleshy, dull points for fingers. The same was for its toes. It was naked, and had thin, radiant red slits for eyes. Samael smiled when he saw the creature, and took a seat at the front of the room.
He sipped his punch as the creature stood on the stage, staring out into the seats. Samael was the only one in the room, yet the noise still roared. The creature stared forward like it had a full house for an audience. Samael laughed for no reason, but he knew that something was funny. He laughed again, harder. He laughed again, and again, and again, for no reason that he could tell.
He was hysterical; he had spilled his punch and his hat and fallen off his head as reeled on the floor in fits of hysteria. He rolled around on the floor, tossing chairs in all directions; the metal clang of them barely audible threw his insane laughter and the clamor of the mysterious voices.
Suddenly the clamor stopped, and Samael no longer laughed. The room grew gradually dimmer, and the creature slowly turned to face him. Samael slowly sat up to stare into the creatures glowing, red eyes. The world stopped for a second as the two stared at each other. Samael didn’t feel threatened by it; for some reason he knew that the thing would never hurt him. He knew it in his heart; he felt that the creature was peaceful.
“Freak… freak… freak,” a voice whispered from nowhere. It was his mother’s voice, Samael knew. He slowly stood up, never taking his eyes off of the thing on the stage. Samael tried to ignore his mother’s voice, but even as a whisper he couldn’t tune it out. “Freak… freak…freak.”
On the right arm of the creature, the two dull points for fingers fused together to make one long stump, with a very dull point. Samael was confused as he watched the skin slowly weave itself together. It wasn’t until the process was complete that he noticed that his mother’s voice was gone.
The thing lunged at him, dull point of an arm outstretched like an arrow. Samael quickly sidestepped, and felt the wind of the thing as it soared into empty, metal chairs. Samael was breathing heavily, suddenly aware of danger. The thing stood up. Three metal chairs were on its arm, almost like a shish-kabob. It had used its arm to tear through metal like it was paper, and took the chairs off just as easily.
Samael turned to run, and felt the thing try to catch him. He felt the wind at his back as it lashed its arm downward, slicing through air and metal. He pushed through the square of chairs and knew it was close behind, with its terrible weapon. He continued to run, never looking back, until he came to the wall. The cement never looked so terrible. He slowly turned to look at the thing as it waddled to him, a mess of destroyed chairs behind it. Samael could almost see the bloodlust in its eyes.
It reached striking distance and raised its arm. Samael started to cry. “Please,” he screamed. If the thing heard him, it didn’t care. Samael was cornered, and he knew it. It brought the arm down with the speed of a bullet, yet somehow Samael managed to dodge it. It put a hole in the cement floor and kicked up dust, but pulled its arm out like it was nothing. It tried again, and again, and again, each time in vain as Samael miraculously dodged each attack. He didn’t know he could move with such speed, but like when he played video games and achieved twelfth best in the world, it came naturally. Still, Samael cried out in fear each time.
Soon, it looked like the wall had been a part of a shooting range for a large gun. The creature stopped trying to attack and stared at the whimpering kid. “Please,” Samael said again. If the creature had a mouth to smile with, Samael thought it would. It raised its terrible arm one last time, and changed into the shape of his mother.
He dodged that like the rest, and stuffing was kicked into the air as it was pulled out. A hole was in his pillow, and Samael realized his was lying down in his bed. The arm came down again, and he dodged that as it punctured the mattress at his side. It shined in the dim moonlight, and Samael realized that it was a knife instead of an arm. It came down again, and Samael dodged it as it pierced the mattress to his right.
“I want my son back!” he heard his mother scream as she pulled the knife up again. Samael saw her face in the moonlight, full of tears and pain. Samael screamed, and used both of his feet to kick her in the stomach before she could bring the knife down again. He heard the clatter of it as it hit the ground and Samael jumped out bed and towards the door. “I want my son!” his mother screamed. She grabbed his hair and pulled him away from the door just as he was about to grab the doorknob.
Her fingers closed around his throat, but before she could squeeze he gave one last loud shriek for help. She tightened her grip, and Samael lost his breath. He tried to pull her hands off him, but she was too strong. As he struggled for breath she said, “You took my son, you took my son. I’m going to take you.”
The door burst open, and a large body threw itself onto his mother, throwing her off of him. Samael coughed, and slowly got up. “Call the police!” he heard the person scream as he struggled to keep his mother down. Samael staggered out of his room and ran to the kitchen.
The phone was on the wall. Samael grabbed it and dialed 911.
He didn’t want anyone to examine him, but his father insisted. He was lying down in an ambulance with a nurse examining his entire body, especially his throat, and making sure he was not severely harmed. After half an hour of being poked and prodded, Samael was let out of the ambulance and escorted to his father.
The night was cold and filled with stars. Samael saw his breath in the night sky, and wished for silence. There would be none that night though; police cruisers still sat in front of the house with a single ambulance. Their lights were on, nearly blinding Samael with their consistent red and blue flashes. His father sat on a step, in front of the front door. A police officer was talking with him, until they both spotted Samael walking up. Both got silent and the nurse walked back to the ambulance.
John ushered for Samael to sit next to him and embraced him in a tight hug. Samael hugged back, and felt his father’s tears fall onto his shoulder. The officer spoke up when they broke apart.
“She’s being taken to the hospital. She’ll be examined there, and then will be held at a mental hospital until the court date,” the officer said. He had a gruff voice, and a young appearance.
“How is she?” his father asked.
“Last I heard, she was screaming about aliens or something. Anyway, we’re done here; I’ll come back tomorrow to get a statement from your son. You have a good night now.” The officer nodded and started to turn away, but stopped when his father started to speak.
“I should have seen… I knew but I should have… why didn’t I see…. why didn’t I call…if I wasn’t there…I thought she was gone for good,” his father started to mumble.
The officer patted him on the back. “You’re ok now. If you want I can give you a patrol, watch the area for you.”
“No…thank you. I’ll see you tomorrow.” His father shook hands with the officer and the fleet of vehicles with flashing lights left.
His mother had left when John initially threatened to call the police. He thought that she was gone and wouldn’t come back, but later that night she had broken in. John had forgotten she still had the key and used it to sneak in at the dead of night. She grabbed a knife from the kitchen and quietly went upstairs. She unlocked Samael’s door with the same key and tried to murder him. John was woken when Samael screamed, and charged up the stairs as fast as he could. He found her trying to choke Samael and threw himself at her. He held her down until the police came.
Samael and his father walked into their dark, silent home. The home felt different after the events of the night, heavier, darker somehow. His father flicked on the lights and stood next to Samael at the entryway. He looked down at his son and smiled. “I can understand if you don’t want to go back to sleep. You want to stay down here with me?” Samael shook his head. “Okay then, I’ll see you in the morning.” His father sat down on the couch, a stressed and worried look on his face. Samael slowly climbed up the stairs and went into his room. This time he left the door open.
For the rest of the night he played video games. He had lost his spot as twelfth in the leaderboards, but regained it within one hour. By the time the sun was starting to rise, he managed to get eighth. He stopped playing when his alarm rang, and started to get dressed. He chose jeans and a loose fitting, long-sleeve t-shirt. It was still ice cold outside.
He went downstairs for breakfast, and found nothing waiting for him. His father was slumped on the island in the kitchen, an open bottle of whiskey and an empty cup next to him. He snored heavily, and Samael tried to be quiet as he crept to the fridge. He roused his father despite his quietness, and the man sat up straight. He had bags under his eyes and his hair looked like the head of a mop. When he talked his words were a bit slurred.
“Samael, I…I think it’s,” he looked like he was about to vomit, and heaved his chest, yet nothing came out. “I think it’s best if you went to school. I need to go to the bathroom.” He stood up and dizzily walked down the hall, taking the whiskey bottle with him.
Samael made himself some toaster waffles and ate in sullen silence. He welcomed a housekeeper as she entered the home; she didn’t look like she heard about the night’s events. He scarfed down the rest of his breakfast and ran upstairs to get his schoolbag.
As he entered the room it hit him, the fight against Matt. He would have to go through with it. The mass of flesh didn’t seem to give empty promises about what he would do to Samael if he didn’t show. Samael knew the kind of person Matt was; a brutal, vicious, violent person who fulfilled his threats. He wouldn’t hesitate to smash Samael’s head in the moment he got the chance if Samael didn’t go. He gulped and grabbed his schoolbag. He slowly walked down the steps and outside to sullenly wait for the bus.
The huge yellow bus looked menacing as it appeared in the distance. Samael almost ran off in fear as it hissed to a stop in front of him, but rather he looked down and walked into the terrible vehicle. The bus driver greeted him as she usually did, and Samael took a seat in the middle and stared out of the window. He could already hear the snickers of the few kids on the bus.
As the bus drove on, the snickers turned into jeers and then into outright taunts, yet Samael tried to ignore them on. By the time the school came into view, a huge kid was pretending to be him as he pretended to be beat up by some unseen person. Samael bowed his head when the bus came to a halt, and got up.
He followed the crowd out of the bus and crossed over to behind the school, away from the sight of the teachers. There was already a crowd forming. They were all standing on a small park complete with multiple metal basketball poles arranged at the edge of a square of pavement. It was used by recess mainly, but most kids usually crowded around the near jungle gym instead. The crowd was a small group, about thirty to fifty kids gathered around in a circle. They were huddled into their jackets in the biting cold, except for a huge wall of flesh sitting in the middle.
Matt wore a t-shirt and jeans. He acted as though he didn’t even feel the cold, and stood up when he spotted Samael walking down to the crowd below. He shouted something at him, but Samael did not hear what it was. Everyone turned to watch him walk down, and wicked smiles appeared throughout the crowd. Most eyes were filled with zealous bloodlust, but some had sympathy in them instead. The crowd opened up to let him pass, and closed behind him when Samael was in the circle.
“I’m actually surprised you showed,” Matt said from across the circle. “I thought would pussy out after what your mother did. I have to admit, I wish the cops didn’t get her. It would’ve made my life so much easier. Anyway, let’s get on with this.”
Samael suddenly felt anger. He felt rage. He didn’t know where the sudden feeling was coming from, but the mention of his mother made him furious. He wanted to see Matt’s blood; he wanted to hear Matt cry out in pain, to let the punk learn who he was. He wanted to kill Matt; he wanted to keep his body afterwards so he could mock him as Matt’s life escaped.
He dropped his bag down onto the floor, and motioned for Matt to come to him. Samael tried to hide his rage, but a smile gave him away. Matt snickered and shrugged. Matt turned to face the small crowd behind him, and then suddenly charged at Samael. He ran like a bull, and with the ferocity of one too.
Samael was ready though, and sidestepped like he had with the creature in his dream. Matt ran into the crowd and tossed some kids onto the floor. Samael took a pencil out of his bag, hid it in his pocket, and quickly stepped back to the middle, in front of a basketball pole.
Matt remerged with a look of ferocious anger, and tried to charge at Samael again. Samael was ready, and sidestepped again. Before Matt ran past him however, Samael put him in a chokehold from behind. With expert precision, he revealed the pencil from his pocket and plunged it deeply into Matt’s right eye.
Samael gave a sadistic smile when the brute cried out in loud shrieking terror and pain. Blood squirted from the eye, and sprayed across from the pavement. Samael had gotten his wish, but wasn’t done with him yet. He grabbed Matt’s head from the side, and used all of his strength to smash it into the pole. It smashed into the cold metal with a loud thunk, and left a dark blood stain as Matt slowly dropped down.
Matt dropped down with a thump, no sounds coming from him anymore. He smiled at the motionless, slumped body of Matt, a bloody pencil coming out of one eye and a blood stain against the cold, metal pole above him. Teachers were already charging down to the crowd, which was silent in sheer horror.
Samael was almost disappointed when Matt kicked and started to scream out in pain once more. Samael grabbed his things and smiled wider when the crowd opened for him to pass, fear in each of the kid’s eyes.
Before Samael could reach the building and the teachers, however, Phillip came running from the crowd. Through the screams of Matt, Samael could hardly hear him.
“Dude, that was awesome. I’m Phillip, how the hell did you do that?” Phillip was as energetic as he was surprised.
“He dreamt too much,” Samael replied.