It was so cold out tonight. He could see his breath in the dim light of the gas streetlamps that lined the front of the houses on this quiet neighborhood street. He felt as though he was watching himself from above. Each step he took wasn’t by his own doing, someone…or something…was moving for him. He could see and hear everything, but he couldn’t seem to control his own actions. It was as if someone had possessed his body. He screamed inside his head “stop!”, but he was powerless against a will that wasn’t his own.
Surreal was the only way to describe what Antonio was feeling.
“Antonio!” Oscar whispered to him urgently. He motioned him to duck behind a tree on the side of some random, quiet, sleeping house. The porch light was on, and another from an upstairs window. It was late, most everyone would be sleeping. This should be easy.
“Are you ready?” asked Oscar as he pulled his beanie cap over his head. He tied a bandana over his mouth and slipped on a pair of gloves. Under his worn out denim jacket he pulled out two hand guns. He handed one to Antonio.
Antonio took the gun. It felt so cold and heavy in his hands, a true instrument of death if the hands that held it wished that fate upon it. He thought about the path that had led him to this point in his life, right here…right now. He was only fifteen, too young to make such grown up choices, but it had already gone so far that he couldn’t stop now…could he?
Antonio pulled his cap over his jet black mop of hair. His mother kept nagging him to get a haircut, but he just seemed to run out of time. He slid the gun into his pocket and continued to ready himself for the crime that he was about to commit against some unsuspecting family.
Quickly and quietly they crept up to the front door. It was just after 11:00 pm, someone should be awake. They knocked hard on the door. It seemed like an eternity had passed before they heard a voice on the other side of the door.
It was a man’s voice.
“Who is it?” the muffled voice asked.
“Is Steve here?” said Oscar. They tucked themselves tight against the wall just beside the door, trying to stay invisible to the prying eye in the peephole.
“There’s no Steve here!” the voice hollered back.
“Well, we’re looking for Steve…he said he lived here.” This was a weak ploy to get into the house, but Oscar figured they would eventually open the door, if for no other reason than to tell him to “buzz off”. And then he would make his move.
The door opened.
Faster than the voice at the door could tell them to “get lost” Oscar raised his gun and jammed it inches from the man’s face. He pushed his way inside, Antonio trailing closely behind. The man backed up, his hands raised up in the air. The man was saying something, but Antonio couldn’t seem to focus on anything.
It all unraveled so fast, he didn’t even have time to think…all he could do was react.
“Get upstairs!” Oscar yelled to Antonio, the gun still shoved in the man’s face. Antonio heard a woman scream and a child crying. It was coming from upstairs. She had run into the bedroom and grabbed the phone, he could hear the 9-1-1 operator on the other end.
“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” said the muffled voice inside the telephone receiver.
He snatched the phone from her hand and terminated the call. He grabbed the phone cord and ripped it out of the wall. The woman was now crouching on the floor, her body hovering over her child as he cried in fear.
Oscar was still downstairs with the man, they were arguing. The woman pleaded with him, begging him not to hurt her babies.
She said babies…he only saw one. Where was the other?
“I’m going to break your neck!” screamed the voice of the man from downstairs.
“How ya gonna do that bitch?” countered Oscar, his false feeling of power revealing itself in his voice. “I’m the one with the gun!”
Antonio looked at the woman huddled on the floor. What was he doing? This wasn’t him…he was no criminal. This had already gone so far that he couldn’t turn back now.
“Look,” he said to the pleading woman. “I’m not going to hurt you, we just want money.”
“I don’t keep cash here, I use my ATM card for everything,” she replied, her voice was shaking so bad the words barely came out. “I have jewelry…it’s yours. Take it! Whatever you want, just please don’t hurt my family!” she begged.
Her reaction to the deadly invaders was so different from her husband’s. She had no pride or anger in her words, only survival. Pleading for the safety of her children above all else. Her husband continued to fight with Oscar downstairs. His hate and resentment for these intruders boiled over in waves, his anger was so strong that it could almost be seen with the naked eye. The rage in his eyes burned like the fires of Hell. The power to protect what was most precious to him, his family, had been stripped away by this teenage punk with a gun.
How easily he could snap this kid’s neck…but what would happen to his wife and kids upstairs? He couldn’t risk it; he would have to give in to the demands of this wretched excuse of a human being. Just mere children, but their actions demanded more of them than their ages should allow. He swallowed every ounce of pride he had for the sake of protecting his family. He has never felt so helpless and weak in his entire life than he did at this very moment.
But he wouldn’t let this kid take away his dignity. He squared off with Oscar, unflinching, unblinking, the gun no more than an inch from his face. He wouldn’t allow these kids, their only real power coming from the steel in their hands, to take away the only thing that separated him from them.
Oscar ran upstairs. The man followed closely behind, fearing for his family that was already crippled with fear. If they lay a finger on his wife and kids may God have mercy on their souls…because he wouldn’t!
They stood there, Oscar and the man…toe to toe…one more powerful than the other. The woman rose from the floor, shaking like a leaf, leaving her child exposed and crying on the floor.
“Please!” she cried. “Don’t hurt my husband!”
Antonio couldn’t take much more, this wasn’t right. He had to find a way to get Oscar out of here before someone was hurt, or worse…killed. Things had already spiraled out of control and he had to get Oscar reigned in before his arrogance changed all their lives…forever.
“Let’s go!” he urged Oscar. “Come on, I got all the jewelry.”
Oscar, never moving his eyes from the man’s eyes said, “You got lucky bitch!” He shoved the gun even closer to the man’s face and then he turned away, moving toward the stairs. The woman dropped to her knees and hurled herself over her son, their other child whimpered faintly from under the bed. No one was even aware of his presence throughout the entire ordeal. He slowly started to crawl out from under the bed.
“Stay where you are baby,” she whispered. He quickly tucked himself back into his hiding place, a low cry escaped him and then he was silent as a mouse once again.
Sirens howled in the distance. The invaders stepped up the pace in their escape from this once quiet and peaceful home. They bolted out the door, leaving it open as they fled. The sirens grew louder and moments later the red and blue flashing lights painted the walls in the house through the open door and any window that allowed it.
Oscar and Antonio vanished into the dark shroud of this once quiet night. The black sky keeping them hidden as they made their way through the sleeping houses and to their final escape. They kept themselves tucked down low behind some trash cans four houses up the street. They would make their move as soon as it was safe, and then on to their impending freedom from the law.
Police officers ran up to the open front door with stealth, unsure of what resistance they might encounter. Hands on the guns at their hips, but still not drawn, they quickly made their way through the house. Securing any unseen adversaries before searching for the family that lived here, hoping they wouldn’t find a horrific scene of bloody, mangled bodies scattered about.
When they reached the top of the stairs they quietly made their way into the master bedroom, it was the only room with the lights burning. There on the floor, huddled together with their arms wrapped tightly around each other, was the family that lived here. With a breath of relief one of the officers dropped to the floor next to the family and gently put his hand on the man’s back.
What the officers couldn’t see were the two angels that kneeled on either side of this terrified family with their wings wrapped tightly around them. Nor the angel that lay under the bed with their other son, its wing stretched over his shaking, little body. The officers were blind to these faithful protectors, but they seemed to feel their presence none the less.
Two demons stood beside the crouching bodies of Oscar and Antonio as they hid behind the trash cans. These two young boys propelled themselves forward in time, forcing them into adulthood with an act of violence that could have gone very, very wrong.
But even more devastating than this horrific crime was what they unleashed as a result of their actions, releasing a presence that would have turned their hair grey and their blood to ice. If they could see the demons that now followed their every move, they would be terrified beyond all belief.
“This is the one,” said one demon to the other. His enthusiasm over this new prospect made his black lips curl upward, revealing his sharp, jagged teeth.
“Why this one,” asked the second demon. She disagreed with his choice. “Why not the other one, he already shows signs of aggression and hate.”
“Yes, but he’s weaker. I want the stronger one,” the demon touched Antonio’s face with his long, boney fingers. The demon’s brownish, yellow stained fingernails scratched down his cheek. Antonio’s blood turned ice cold and a violent shiver ran down his entire body at the very touch from this evil pawn of the Prince of Darkness.
“Oscar,” whispered Antonio. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Yeah, it should be safe now,” Oscar carefully raised his head and surveyed the scene down the street. “We’ll cut through the backyards.” The two boys stayed in their crouched positions and headed toward the backyard. They clumsily hurled themselves over the fence and disappeared into the night.
“Yes Nadira,” the demon reiterated to his fellow servant of the Dark Lord. “He’s the one I want.”
“Whatever you wish Arzulu,” replied Nadira. “But the Master may not be so pleased with your plan.”
“You let me worry about that. The Master will share my thoughts about my plan.” He informed her with confidence.
“We will see,” she replied in disapproval. They watched their prey escape into the darkness and soon departed themselves. A violent tornado of black smoke swirled around their legs, moving its way quickly up their bodies. As it reached their heads the black smoke burst into an explosion of flames, and the demons vanished back to the bowels of Hell. Taking with them the childhood innocence that once ruled over two young teenage boys, ripping it away from their souls without mercy.