The Children of Eris
Alone in the vast, endless darkness, she watched him with a solemn and bored expression on her face.
She was lying upon a throne dripping with a dark mist, crafted from thorny wooden branches, twisting together into a grotesque hand.
She had watched a thousand eternities past, all of which once held her interest, but she had grown bored of them all.
The boy she watched now was no different.
He lived a normal, boring, repetitive life.
She witnessed him on the happiest day of his life and smiled.
For today was the last day of his life.
David Athelward had never been so happy in his entire life.
His excellent grades would allow him to get into the university of his choice.
After getting his results, his father had driven him, his mother and his sister, Kara, back to their house.
“What do you want to do to celebrate tonight?” His mum had asked as they got out of the car.
“I don’t know. I haven’t spent much time with Kara lately so I was hoping we’d be able to hang out.”
“You can do that and go out, you know.”
“Is this really anything worth celebrating?” His dad asked.
“He got all A’s, dear.”
“He always gets A’s.”
“Today’s a special day and we should celebrate.”
“Honey, the sky’s blue today. Should we celebrate that too?”
“Dad, don’t you have work to get back to?” David cut in.
“David, don’t you have a girlfriend to confess to?”
“If we are going out later, you should invite Hailey too.”
“You do know mum promised me I could order whatever I wanted if I aced my exams, right?”
“Your mother’s a liar, son.”
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.”
Sensing the imminent danger, David’s father dove back into the driver’s seat and took off promptly.
“You ever wonder if dad’s like that at work?” Kara mused.
“I can only pray that he isn’t.”
His mother sighed and unlocked the front door. “Kids, tonight, order as many expensive dishes as possible please.”
“I planned on it!” Kara called back.
Kara glanced over her shoulder and smiled brightly. “Mum, I think we should head in first.”
“Why-?” She cut herself short, smiled, then said, “David, don’t keep a lady waiting.”
Confused, David turned around and found his childhood friend, Hailey Carman, waiting for him at the bottom of their drive.
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.
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.
She had changed.
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.
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.
“Y-You’re not staring at me because I look weird, right?”
“N-No, you look good-great, even.” He smiled nervously back. “Wh-What’s up?”
“…Can we talk…in your room, for a bit?”
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.
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.
The woman watched on eagerly.
Though she knew that he’d die today, she didn’t know how he would meet his end, making her all the more excited.
Then, she saw it.
The disgusting looking man with a large blade under his coat, breathing heavily, with his veins popping out of his neck.
He saw the front door and checked the handle; it opened for him and he slowly crept in, silently shutting it behind him.
The woman smiled and touched a finger to her lips.
David and Hailey were sat in an awkward silence on his bed, a few inches apart.
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.
“H-how do I look?”
“…Beautiful. R-really beautiful.”
David knew that Hailey was pretty, but she rarely ever wore makeup and that made her look even more spectacular than normal.
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.
“…My mum wanted to know if you’d like to join us for dinner tonight. We’re going to-”
“I’d love to.” She quickly covered her mouth when she realised she’d been too loud.
This might be the most painful experience of my life.
It didn’t take Hailey too long though to gather up her courage to speak again.
She was interrupted by an angry yell and a high-pitched scream.
David shushed her before quietly moving to the door.
Carefully, he opened it and heard a gruff voice yelling from downstairs, but he couldn’t tell what they were saying.
Kara peaked her head out of her room and David motioned her to stop, holding a finger to his lips.
Hailey timidly grabbed David’s shirt tightly from behind.
“Please, don’t her me,” his mother whimpered.
“I won’t, if ya give me your damn money!”
Something smashed and his mother screamed.
“Stay here and call the police,” David whispered.
“David!” Hailey cried as softly as she could.
He smiled reassuringly at her before he started creeping downstairs.
As he got closer to the bottom, his heart sunk further and further into his chest.
Dread threatened to consume him at a moment’s notice.
He almost screamed when he saw his mother, but he bit his hand before he did.
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.
If David fought that man, it’d be difficult, near impossible, for him to overpower him.
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.
Still, even though he knew that, David had to act.
The police were on their way, but his mother was still in danger.
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.
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.
Still, it was all he had and, at the very least, it could startle the man and give David a chance to disarm him.
He started to move towards it, but the man began yelling again.
“Where’s ya purse?”
“I-It’s in t-t-the hall, on the s-side. J-Just t-take it and g-go, p-please.”
“That’s a nice ring you’ve got there.” He pointed his blade at her wedding ring. “Bet that’d be worth something.”
“No! Please, not that!” The man thrust his blade closer to her face; she stifled a shriek. “Please…”
David tackled the man to the floor, knocking the machete free from the burglar’s grasp.
“Run!” He yelled back as he punched the man in the face three times.
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.
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.
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.
“You bitch!” The man grit his teeth together as blood poured down his back.
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.
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.
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.
It slowly broke the skin and descended towards his heart.
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.
He had to act.
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.
He felt it pierce his heart.
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.
“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!”
Kara jumped a little; she lifted her bloody hands off the intruder before taking out her phone and dialling 999.
Hailey and Kara both had followed David downstairs after phoning the police, but, unlike Kara, Hailey had been frozen in place.
She’d been paralysed by her fear and couldn’t get up off her knees.
Panicked, she crawled towards him as fast as she could and wept when he saw the blood pouring out of his chest.
“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.”
His voice was hoarse.
“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?”
David smiled back at her, his strength fading and his vision slowly turning to black.
He stroked the back of her hand with his thumb as he felt tears well up in his eyes.
“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…”
Tears fell down his cheeks. “That…sounds …wonderful…”
“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-”
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.
“Why are you apologising?”
“Because…I didn’t get…to see you…become…a star…”
“Don’t talk like that! Don’t go, David! Please!”
“…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 …”
“I will!” Hailey shouted, retaking his hand. “I will, so don’t you dare go now! Stay with us, please! David!”
His body grew heavy and he felt himself drifting off to sleep.
“David? David!” His mother called.
He could hear the sirens approaching from a distance, but David couldn’t muster the strength to stay awake.
It was too difficult for him to do it.
If they were saying anything else to him, he couldn’t hear them any longer.
His hand slipped through his mother’s grasp and his eyes lost their light.