Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
They follow the same neat routine every day. The boy wakes up to the sound of that unpleasant alarm at 6 AM every morning, Monday through Friday. I listen carefully to the sheets rustling above me as he tosses, turns, shifts in his bed struggling to force himself awake. On the occasion that he falls back asleep in the safe warm embrace of his bedding, face nuzzled sweetly against his puffy down pillow, his mother will come in.
Now, his mother often wakes up at 5 in the morning, a beautiful time when the light of the morning sun is still waking with the rest of Earth’s creatures. I can move more freely at this time, though risky as it may be. I watch her arise; her husband lies silent, still consumed by a world of dreams. I follow her to the bathroom and watch while she cleans her face, brushes her teeth and prepares for the day. Sometimes she sees me, but never thinks anything of it; how exhilarating those days are, to make eye contact with the people who house me. As she wanders down stairs to prepare breakfast, we part ways and visit the boy. As I mentioned earlier, on occasion he will sleep in, much like today. I stretched out and relaxed, awaiting the mothers’ arrival; it was always pleasant to be in the company of my family.
She arrived on schedule. With breakfast ready she wouldn’t be letting him sleep any longer. I have watched this week after week and in my humble opinion it is this behavior that makes the child feel he can sleep as he pleases; this routine is what gives me strength, what gives me confidence. My eyes follow the door as it opens and I watch her fuzzy slippers step closer. Her skin smells so sweet. For a woman of her age, her soft flesh is so tightly wrapped around her legs, it is all I can do to stay put and not act on instinct. I let the aroma fill my nostrils and allow her voice to dance along my ears. She walks out of the room and soon my vision is obscured by cartoon character pajamas and bare feet. His toes are so small, so delectable, little treats on little feet. I reach out to touch them, my claws leaving the safe haven of darkness that conceals all that go bump in the night. The light burns my flesh as my claws sprout from under the bed; they brush against his clothes, so very close to that youthful perfection. The pain surges through my hand, my arm, it’s almost more than I can handle. I reach forward to grab his ankle and he steps away. I pulled my hand back under the bed, nursing the burns, but the thrill of the hunt filled me with glee. I am so proud of how good she is to him and how much he is growing into a little man. I fade into the shadows and vanish from his room.
The father was still asleep. It’s 7 AM now, the bus should be arriving for the little one soon and how I will miss him. I contemplate following him to school, but risk outweighs reward. Exciting as the thought is; to be left stranded in a school yard, even though I would be blessed with tender morsels left and right, I may not make it home. Last thing I would want is to leave my home unguarded, to come back and find it claimed by another. No, I must defend my home; defend my people, till their bitter end. From their closet I watched the father sleep. The door was left cracked open this morning. He disgusts me; he is by no means a pleasant person. His flesh is coated in filth and only does he bathe when forced by the wife. I find myself all too often eagerly awaiting his departure to work. Ever since he changed his schedule to a later shift, I have found my routine has been shattered. Oh, how I miss the days that he would be out the door before his wife rose so that I would have her all to myself; how I could be there for the child and admire the beauty in his ignorance. Now, I’m afraid I must tiptoe from the morning to the afternoon, my time alone with the woman is no longer so. Yes, I can watch her from the mirrors, brush against her as she sinks into the couch, but no longer do I posses the luxury of freedom. The father will leave shortly before the boy returns, with this I find solace. The sun will begin to dip down below the horizon while he slaves away the hours at his job.
As night dominates the sky I can move as I wish, inside and outside of my home. Well, I used to go outside. Lately I have noticed prying eyes gazing at my family from the windows, concealed by darkness. I am tempted to get rid of them, but I don’t know how many wait, and I can’t risk leaving my people exposed. My kind grows very envious of those of us with homes and families of our own, they seek to destroy our success and ruin everything we worked so hard to accomplish. I’ve found myself staring out the window, watching as shadows jump from street light to street light, contemplating if the less fortunate can be of use to me. I may have a decision soon; perhaps tomorrow night I can have a chat with a little one.
They call today, Saturday, and I share mixed feelings for this one. I have my humans all day, but this also means the foul one lounges on the couch, shoveling filth down his gullet and barking at my people like a savage beast. Today was a true test of my self control. Today he hit my boy.
The little one was running around, talking about his school week and what simple things his brain consumed. He was so excited; I was so excited, I wanted to embrace him and share my pride, but to do so would be disastrous for us both. I watched as he spread his joy across the house, but anxiety and fear grabbed hold of me when he approached his father. I could see what was going to happen as the boy tugged on his father’s sleeve and talked louder than the television in feeble hopes of gaining his parent’s attention. I saw the disdain on the large one’s face. I felt the rumble of his growl as the boy continued. My claws dug into my hands as I waited, helplessly. Then it happened, he struck my boy while shouting profanity. The child ran to his room, holding back tears, refusing to show his pain. I was conflicted by the need to follow him, and the need to gut this beast and hang him by his entrails. Saturday is the day I decided he had to go.
Night fell quickly, and once they were in their beds I sneaked outside. I could see the hungry eyes staring from the bushes, trees, rooftops, they were so eager to claim my home. “I only need one of you,” I snarled, my well fed form towering over the lesser creatures of the night. “I am looking for a little Lust,” I called out, and not a moment later several starved demons scurried before me. They snapped and slashed at one another, until I snatched a smaller one up and held it up by its leathery tail; the others quickly disappeared into the night. “I have a deal to make with you,” my voice rumbled in dominance at the tiny creature that stared fearfully into my massive eyes. “I will share my wealth with you in exchange for the removal of the alpha-male in this home. I need it done discreetly and I grow angrier every day I can’t maim or massacre him. Will you assist me?” I asked it, giving not a hint of room for refusal. The creature seemed compliant so I closed my hands over it and returned to the safety of my home. I scaled the stairs in strides and soon was looking down the gaping maw of the monster, snoring away beside the beautiful woman I cared so much for. Once more I held my new weapon by its tail and dropped it into the man’s mouth, it slid effortlessly down his throat without invoking so much as a stir in his sleep. It was the perfect match. I felt better.
As the days went by, the father grew more distant from his family. He earned a promotion at work, had increased hours, and was often away on business. My life was improving exponentially, but this was only the beginning.
Peacefully I watched my boy sleep. I wanted to move in closer, but if I did, he wouldn’t be the same. As I lost myself in happy thoughts, they were interrupted by shouting in the parent’s room. The father came home intoxicated tonight; this isn’t a strange occurrence, but he slipped up. The father was supposed to be on a business trip this weekend. Not only was he home a day early, but there was lipstick on his neck. My heart filled, swelled with joy as the wife began striking him with a lamp and driving him out of the house. She found the strength to get rid of that dead weight and I was so proud of her for that. We were finally all going to be one big happy family.
My family has been doing well, but things have changed. They seem complacent; they seem content with their lives and genuinely happy. I want to be happy for them, but I feel strange. When the father was around, I was so upset, so disturbed, but I was powerful and a force to be reckoned with. The mother has taken to new habits; she admits when she is wrong, she replaces punishment with a teachable moment, she has become so humble. If they are so happy, why can’t I be?
I feel so weak, I feel sick and I think I have been losing weight. I hadn’t thought about what I was doing and now I am going to die for it. They will never know I existed, they will not miss me and I will rot away in the shadows. I only hope the boy can fight off the demons that will nest and make this their home. He will have to forgive his father or invite in Wrath. He must stay active in school and avoid Sloth. He cannot fall to the influences that consumed his father; I hope that the mother will stay strong as well, and look out for him. When Lust took their father, she didn’t have to deal with the abuse any longer; she could move on and be content… She didn’t have to be proud any more, but I will always be Proud.