Family

 

 The one thing you have to remember whenever you’re adopted into a family is how lucky you are, especially if they were as wonderful as mine. One of the most important things in the world is family, whether you see your family as being solely who you’re biologically related to, or simply people that you care for. This could include friends or even people that you’re around often.

      Many people had come to consider me for adoption. Though none had accepted me in the past, finally the nicest little family to ever exist decided to take me in. They’re who I call my family even to this day. Ever since they moved me in with them, life had been wonderful. I slept in the same room as my older brother - my only sibling - since the first night, and sometimes we stayed up together. He could talk to me for hours before finally passing out. During the day, we watched TV and played outside together. The TV was always playing what our parents wanted to watch, which usually meant the news. I didn’t mind though, and I don’t think my brother did either, because we saw many interesting stories.

      One showed several men standing around in uniforms talking to the reporter about some murderer in the area. All of the victims had died the same way- their throats were slit while they were sleeping, and then the murderer smashed their face in with some sort of heavy object. I remember questioning to myself: why would someone do that? The dead people had family, and those families were probably very mournful that someone close to them had been mutilated in a hideous way. It sure would make me sad if my brother, mother, or father were murdered. Though my father could be mean sometimes, scolding or yelling at me when I did something he deemed wrong, I would protect all of them with my life, as they had protected me first from being alone.

      There was a time where my brother had received an injury during a sporting event and was sent to the hospital. My parents were worried for days while he was there before he was returned home. During that time period, I was always pacing or lying around. With my brother away, there wasn’t much excitement left. When he returned home, so did the happiness. It then became apparent what my family really meant to me and how I couldn’t live without having all of them around. He had to have stitches in his leg for a while, but time passed and he was all better again. It made me even happier to realize that meant we could play once more.

      Then, we saw the serial killer on the news again. This time, they were mourning the death of a fourteen-year-old female and her eight-year-old brother, whose bodies showed signs of the same murderer having killed them. They were very sad deaths indeed, for everyone at school had loved and respected the girl, and the boy was only eight years old. My brother even stayed up that night to tell me that she was a friend of the female he often talked about. It didn’t affect me much, not knowing her whatsoever, but it was still sad to think that two more lives were torn away from a family. Two more limbs were snapped off of some family tree.

      Life continued, though, and the rest of the world got along.

      --

      It was a fairly late night, my brother and I staying up. If I recall correctly, it was very foggy out as well. That was no big deal, however, for we had a warm, nice home to sleep in. My brother was going on about how much he hated math, and I lied on my bed, watching and listening to him. I knew so much about him, and he trusted me with every piece of information about his life. It was a good feeling to be on the receiving end of the trust. He had mine, too, of course, but that was not the same. I didn’t tell him everything.

      He was in the middle of his sentence, “I tried to do my homework, but it-” when we heard a loud crash. One of our parents must be up, and could have possibly knocked something over. Though, that had never happened before, and why would they be up so late? Even if they were awake, they would be in their room, and would probably have no need to leave. There was a bathroom connected to the opposite side of their room. Glancing up at the door, we heard a scream sound from somewhere inside of the house. From what I could tell, it had been emitted from the direction our parent’s room was.

      I looked back to my older brother, giving him a questioning gaze. Had something happened that was serious? Should we go check it out? He responded by quickly climbing out of his bed and clamping his hand over my mouth, putting a finger to his lips while he did so. I knew that that meant for me to be quiet. Getting out of my bed as quietly as I could, I kept my eyes on my big brother. I started to feel a sense of protectiveness wash over me. Even though he was the older one, I still cared about him a lot and would defend him at any cost. That is, if there actually was a problem going on in our house.

      As silently as we could, we opened the door, though it let out a couple of, long, teeth-clenching squeaks. The hallway was almost completely dark, for we had switched the lights off before we went to our room for “bed” earlier and just now before we opened the door. I had to admit, the thought of something being very wrong in this darkness was enough to keep me on my toes.

      My brother acted as though nothing was wrong. I did noticed some signs that he was being cautious, but I could tell he was trying to be calm for my sake. He padded silently across the hardwood floor, stepping around all of the spots that he knew creaked. I followed his exact movements, trying my best to be silent as well. We had done this a million times, going downstairs during one of his venting sessions to get a snack, using the bathroom at night, or anything like that. This was nothing new for us.

      At one point, about midway down the hall, my brother nearly fell down tripping over his own feet. He stumbled quite a bit before regaining his balance, never falling entirely over to make a thud on the floor. Though, his staggering did make a bit of noise. After he had finished, we both paused in the darkness to listen for signs that anyone had heard. My ears were sharp and I would let him know if I heard something. Not hearing anything out of the ordinary besides the creaking and regular noises of our ancient house, we ventured further down the hallway towards our parent’s room.

      The darkness threatened to swallow me up, I could barely keep my eyes on my brother; they kept darting around to try and see past the thick, black layer of shadows. I guess I let out a small whimper, for my brother let me catch up to him and he gave me a hug to comfort me. After a few moments, he stood back up again to continue onward. We were very close to the door now, and I could see it cracked open slightly. That was strange. Our parents usually closed the door entirely shut. A small beam of moonlight illuminated the floor just outside of the room. There would be at least a little light inside to see if anything was wrong.

      Before we moved any further, a loud, sickening thunk came from inside of our parent’s bedroom. It made me flinch and swallow hard. I could only imagine the horrors inside now. My brother was visibly shaking when he reached out to push against the door. It squeaked open a bit more, but not enough to see anything, not even our parent’s bed. By this time, we could hear shuffling noises from inside, and I questioned to myself whether we should actually check it out or if we should just go back to bed. Of course, I couldn’t tell my brother. It was a bad idea to speak at this time, yet as if answering my question, he pressed harder against the door. It swept slowly open with one long, dreadful squeal.

      Inside was the most horrifying scene I had ever seen in my entire life. Nothing compared to it, whether it was the time, before I was adopted, where they beat my friend right in front of the rest of us, or that time where my brother was terribly ill and bedridden. I couldn’t even make any noise, all my eyes could focus on was the shapes of my parents in their bed, visible only by the moonlight that was flooding through the window. They were both lying on their backs, facing the ceiling, throats slit, blood gurgling out and running down their necks to the bed. What was worse was the way their faces were concaved. Someone had smashed a heavy object against their face, probably after they were dead.

      My vision blurred with agony, rage, grief, any and every negative emotion you could think of. It sharpened again on the silhouette standing over the bed. The moonlight only cast itself onto the bed and door, so the only feature of the person you could see was that, whoever the person was, he was huge. I could only imagine what he would do to me or my brother if he got ahold of one of us.

      And that’s exactly what happened. My brother was frozen, speechless at the scene that lied before him. I was frozen too, and before I could even move, the huge man rushed up to and clenched a fist around some of my only sibling's hair. My brother let out a shriek of terror, immediately beginning a thrashing movement of his entire body. I finally snapped out of it at that moment and threw myself at the big man. Grappling onto his arm, I tried to bite down, figuring that was the easiest way to harm this man. He let out a grunt before throwing me off as easily as he could bat a fly away. I landed on the hallway floor with a loud thud and lied paralyzed for a moment. It wasn’t every day you hit the ground that hard.

      I watched as the murderer dragged my brother by his hair towards the stairs. At this time, he was screaming in anguish, both for his dead parents and being scared of what was happening to him now. He squirmed quite a lot in the grasp of the man, refusing to cooperate if it meant being in worlds of pain. By the time I got up again, they were already at the stairs, heading down one at a time. It looked like a huge struggle, but I could see that, in all reality, the man had control over my brother and there was no hope for him being released on his own. I could watch no longer, taking off towards the man at full speed. Earlier in the year, I had promised to protect my brother at any cost; this was my chance to save the only surviving member of my family. Throwing myself upon the man yet again, his entire body veered forward over the step we were currently on and threatened to plummet down the stairs. I knew what that would mean- my brother and I would tumble along with him.

      There was no way I was going to let that happen. Backing away from the man, I was forced to watch as he dragged my brother down, down, down the stairs, speeding up as my brother’s energy faded, accompanied by his struggling. All I could do now was watch and let out pitiful whimpers. I at least felt compelled to follow and watch, and so I did, regretting it almost instantly. The man was heading towards the door. He was going to take my brother out of the house.

      Rushing myself to attempt to catch up, I saw the actualization of the situation; it was hopeless. I was going to be too late to make it out the door and follow them. Why had the man taken my brother, but not me? Did he wish upon me a horrible life from now and on? He had just taken my family from me, what was I going to do now? Who would comfort me and make me feel like I was part of a family? The door closed just as I reached it, my body slamming into the solid wood.

My claws dug at the wood, scuffing harshly. I barked in hopes that someone would hear. Droplets of scarlet appearing on the wood were the only hint that I'd injured myself.

From behind the door I heard a blood-curdling scream. The tang of iron filled the air.

Too late, I realized, I’m too late.

I slumped to the floor in a pile of defeat as the thought I’m alone again crept into my mind.

My family was dead.

 

 

The End

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