Chapter 1:

The Last Day of His Life

The Children of Eris

Alone in the vast, endless darkness, she watched him with a solemn and bored expression on her face.Bookmark here

She was lying upon a throne dripping with a dark mist, crafted from thorny wooden branches, twisting together into a grotesque hand. Bookmark here

She had watched a thousand eternities past, all of which once held her interest, but she had grown bored of them all. Bookmark here

The boy she watched now was no different.Bookmark here

He lived a normal, boring, repetitive life.Bookmark here

She witnessed him on the happiest day of his life and smiled.Bookmark here

For today was the last day of his life.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

David Athelward had never been so happy in his entire life.Bookmark here

His excellent grades would allow him to get into the university of his choice.Bookmark here

After getting his results, his father had driven him, his mother and his sister, Kara, back to their house. Bookmark here

“What do you want to do to celebrate tonight?” His mum had asked as they got out of the car. Bookmark here

“I don’t know. I haven’t spent much time with Kara lately so I was hoping we’d be able to hang out.”Bookmark here

“You can do that and go out, you know.”Bookmark here

“Is this really anything worth celebrating?” His dad asked.Bookmark here

“He got all A’s, dear.”Bookmark here

“He always gets A’s.”Bookmark here

“Today’s a special day and we should celebrate.”Bookmark here

“Honey, the sky’s blue today. Should we celebrate that too?”Bookmark here

“Dad, don’t you have work to get back to?” David cut in.Bookmark here

“David, don’t you have a girlfriend to confess to?”Bookmark here

“Dad!”Bookmark here

“If we are going out later, you should invite Hailey too.”Bookmark here

“You do know mum promised me I could order whatever I wanted if I aced my exams, right?”Bookmark here

“Your mother’s a liar, son.”Bookmark here

“Hey!”Bookmark here

His father grinned as David and his sister laughed. “Alright. Text me the details later, but make sure to invite Hailey. It’s about time you grew some balls and asked her out.”Bookmark here

“Dear!”Bookmark here

Sensing the imminent danger, David’s father dove back into the driver’s seat and took off promptly.Bookmark here

“You ever wonder if dad’s like that at work?” Kara mused.Bookmark here

“I can only pray that he isn’t.”Bookmark here

His mother sighed and unlocked the front door. “Kids, tonight, order as many expensive dishes as possible please.”Bookmark here

“I planned on it!” Kara called back.Bookmark here

Kara glanced over her shoulder and smiled brightly. “Mum, I think we should head in first.”Bookmark here

“Why-?” She cut herself short, smiled, then said, “David, don’t keep a lady waiting.”Bookmark here

Confused, David turned around and found his childhood friend, Hailey Carman, waiting for him at the bottom of their drive.Bookmark here

She was David’s best friend and they had spent all of their school years together since they were four. However, because she wanted to become an actress, they had ended up applying to different universities meaning that it’d be more difficult for them to see each other in a few months’ time.Bookmark here

They had briefly spoken at school when they’d gotten their exam results, but she’d left in a hurry with her parents and David immediately knew why.Bookmark here

She had changed.Bookmark here

Rather than her sixth form uniform, she was now wearing what looked like a brand new, beautiful white shirt with a light blue cardigan and a matching skirt. From a glance, David could tell that she had touched up her makeup a little bit and done up her hair, all of which made her look even more stunning than she did normally. Bookmark here

She was holding her purse in front of her and shifting anxiously on the spot, her cheeks dyed slightly read, and looking away from him.Bookmark here

“Y-You’re not staring at me because I look weird, right?”Bookmark here

“N-No, you look good-great, even.” He smiled nervously back. “Wh-What’s up?”Bookmark here

“…Can we talk…in your room, for a bit?”Bookmark here

“S-sure.”Bookmark here

David beckoned Hailey to their open front door and he followed anxiously behind her. Once they were inside, David fumbled for the lock behind him, turned it and he heard it snap close. Bookmark here

However, what he hadn’t realised was that he’d turned the lock a second too early in his haste and hadn’t properly closed it.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

The woman watched on eagerly.Bookmark here

Though she knew that he’d die today, she didn’t know how he would meet his end, making her all the more excited. Bookmark here

Then, she saw it.Bookmark here

The disgusting looking man with a large blade under his coat, breathing heavily, with his veins popping out of his neck.Bookmark here

He saw the front door and checked the handle; it opened for him and he slowly crept in, silently shutting it behind him.Bookmark here

The woman smiled and touched a finger to her lips.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

David and Hailey were sat in an awkward silence on his bed, a few inches apart.Bookmark here

Normally, the two could spend hours together without ever getting bored or running out of things to say; now, they couldn’t even look at one another.Bookmark here

“H-how do I look?”Bookmark here

“…Beautiful. R-really beautiful.”Bookmark here

“…Thank you.”Bookmark here

David knew that Hailey was pretty, but she rarely ever wore makeup and that made her look even more spectacular than normal.Bookmark here

He’d only ever seen her wear makeup before whenever she was acting or if their families had decided to go to a fancy restaurant together.Bookmark here

“…My mum wanted to know if you’d like to join us for dinner tonight. We’re going to-”Bookmark here

“I’d love to.” She quickly covered her mouth when she realised she’d been too loud.Bookmark here

“G-great…great.”Bookmark here

This might be the most painful experience of my life.Bookmark here

It didn’t take Hailey too long though to gather up her courage to speak again.Bookmark here

“David, I-”Bookmark here

She was interrupted by an angry yell and a high-pitched scream.Bookmark here

“What was-?”Bookmark here

David shushed her before quietly moving to the door. Bookmark here

Carefully, he opened it and heard a gruff voice yelling from downstairs, but he couldn’t tell what they were saying.Bookmark here

Kara peaked her head out of her room and David motioned her to stop, holding a finger to his lips. Bookmark here

Hailey timidly grabbed David’s shirt tightly from behind.Bookmark here

“Please, don’t her me,” his mother whimpered.Bookmark here

“I won’t, if ya give me your damn money!” Bookmark here

Something smashed and his mother screamed.Bookmark here

“Stay here and call the police,” David whispered.Bookmark here

“David!” Hailey cried as softly as she could. Bookmark here

He smiled reassuringly at her before he started creeping downstairs. Bookmark here

As he got closer to the bottom, his heart sunk further and further into his chest.Bookmark here

Dread threatened to consume him at a moment’s notice.Bookmark here

He almost screamed when he saw his mother, but he bit his hand before he did.Bookmark here

She was lying on the ground, blood poured from a wound on her arm as tears streamed down her face. There were shattered pieces of a vase all over the living room floor and, standing above her, was a muscular man armed with a machete with fresh blood on it.Bookmark here

If David fought that man, it’d be difficult, near impossible, for him to overpower him. Bookmark here

If he, Kara and Hailey all attacked at the same time, perhaps they could do it, but one of them could end up seriously hurt, or worse. Bookmark here

Still, even though he knew that, David had to act.Bookmark here

The police were on their way, but his mother was still in danger.Bookmark here

David looked around the living room for a weapon he could use, but there wasn’t anything that had enough weight or impact that he could use.Bookmark here

There was an old wooden chair in the corner of the living room, a keepsake from David’s deceased grandmother, but it was far too big for him to swing around and he could make a lot of noise trying to pick it up. Bookmark here

Still, it was all he had and, at the very least, it could startle the man and give David a chance to disarm him.Bookmark here

He started to move towards it, but the man began yelling again.Bookmark here

“Where’s ya purse?”Bookmark here

“I-It’s in t-t-the hall, on the s-side. J-Just t-take it and g-go, p-please.”Bookmark here

“That’s a nice ring you’ve got there.” He pointed his blade at her wedding ring. “Bet that’d be worth something.”Bookmark here

“No! Please, not that!” The man thrust his blade closer to her face; she stifled a shriek. “Please…”Bookmark here

“Give it.”Bookmark here

“…Please.”Bookmark here

“Now!”Bookmark here

David tackled the man to the floor, knocking the machete free from the burglar’s grasp.Bookmark here

“David!”Bookmark here

“Run!” He yelled back as he punched the man in the face three times.Bookmark here

The man spluttered and smashed his fist into David’s cheek, before kicking him in the face, launching David away from him. David landed on his back and coughed up a bit of blood, just as the man got up and took up his weapon once more.Bookmark here

David dove out of the way of the burglar’s swing, then kicked at the man’s leg. The burglar dropped onto one knee, hissed, and cut at David again, lightly slicing into his arm. Bookmark here

“David!”Bookmark here

From behind the burglar, his mother stabbed the man in the back with a kitchen knife. The man yelled out in agony as the blade dug into his shoulder blade, but he spun around and smashed his knuckles into her cheek, knocking her to the ground. Bookmark here

“You bitch!” The man grit his teeth together as blood poured down his back. Bookmark here

He aimed his machete at David’s mother and stabbed towards her, but David tackled the burglar to the side. The two painfully landed on the fragments of the vase as several fragments pierced both their bodies. Bookmark here

David picked up a large shard of the vase and thrust it at the man’s stomach, but the man caught David’s wrist and then punched him in the nose. The bone shattered beneath the man’s fist and David lost his grip on the shard. The burglar disarmed David, pushed him onto his back and stabbed at David’s heart.Bookmark here

Despite how disorientated David was, he managed to catch the man’s wrist between his hands. However, despite trying his best to hold the burglar back, the man was able to lower the shard into David’s flesh.Bookmark here

It slowly broke the skin and descended towards his heart.Bookmark here

Desperately, David looked around him for something else he could use as a weapon and spotted another shard of the vase nearby. He howled madly as the sharp fragment dug deeper into his flesh.Bookmark here

He had to act.Bookmark here

David kneed the man hard in between his legs, then quickly grabbed the vase and stabbed it into the man’s cheek, unintentionally driving the piece of the vase in his own chest deeper into him.Bookmark here

He felt it pierce his heart.Bookmark here

The man screamed and screamed, grasping his cheek as Kara tackled him from behind, unleashing a flurry of blows upon the man until he stopped moving. Bookmark here

“David!” His mother ran to his side. “David, stay with me!” She cradled his head in her hand with tears in her eyes. She forced herself to smile. “It’s going to be okay. Kara! Call an ambulance, now!”Bookmark here

Kara jumped a little; she lifted her bloody hands off the intruder before taking out her phone and dialling 999.Bookmark here

Hailey and Kara both had followed David downstairs after phoning the police, but, unlike Kara, Hailey had been frozen in place.Bookmark here

She’d been paralysed by her fear and couldn’t get up off her knees.Bookmark here

“David…”Bookmark here

Panicked, she crawled towards him as fast as she could and wept when he saw the blood pouring out of his chest.Bookmark here

“David!”Bookmark here

“Hey, look at me,” his mother pleaded, placing her free hand on his cheek. “Just focus on me, okay? Just me. Everything’s going to be fine, I promise.”Bookmark here

“Is…everyone…okay?” Bookmark here

His voice was hoarse.Bookmark here

“Yeah, we’re all okay…thanks to you.” She took his hand and placed it against her cheek. “We’re all going out later to celebrate, right?”Bookmark here

“Mum…”Bookmark here

David smiled back at her, his strength fading and his vision slowly turning to black. Bookmark here

He stroked the back of her hand with his thumb as he felt tears well up in his eyes.Bookmark here

“I…really…wanted…to go…today…”Bookmark here

“We’ll still go, even if it’s another day! You guys can order whatever you want, no matter how much it is. You can have deserts, seconds, thirds and then…and then…”Bookmark here

Tears fell down his cheeks. “That…sounds …wonderful…”Bookmark here

“David!” Hailey called to him, grasping his other hand tightly. “Please, don’t go! I-I didn’t get to-I didn’t say how I-”Bookmark here

He pulled his bloodied hand free from hers and touched her cheek. “I’m…sorry…” he said softly, trying his best to smile at her.Bookmark here

“Why are you apologising?”Bookmark here

“Because…I didn’t get…to see you…become…a star…”Bookmark here

“Don’t talk like that! Don’t go, David! Please!”Bookmark here

“…Look…after them…for me…please,” he said, as more tears flowed down his face, his hand fell from her face. “…Take care…of Kara …”Bookmark here

“I will!” Hailey shouted, retaking his hand. “I will, so don’t you dare go now! Stay with us, please! David!”Bookmark here

His body grew heavy and he felt himself drifting off to sleep.Bookmark here

“David? David!” His mother called.Bookmark here

He could hear the sirens approaching from a distance, but David couldn’t muster the strength to stay awake.Bookmark here

It was too difficult for him to do it.Bookmark here

If they were saying anything else to him, he couldn’t hear them any longer.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

His hand slipped through his mother’s grasp and his eyes lost their light.Bookmark here

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