The Protector

An act of protection sometimes leads to sadness and pain. Jerald stands by his move to protect his family but regrets the pain he witnesses.

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1. Protecting

 

The white light blinded me. I looked away to only see my family weeping…weeping over me. They look so distorted now. I can’t leave like this. I reach through the blue haze that separates us. My clear hand touches my son’s soft cheek. He jumps back holding the part of his face that I brushed; startled. Joey can’t see me. Oh gosh, why did this happen? I wanted to protect you. At least you’re safe now. The bad man is gone.

“I love you Joey and Annabelle.”  The light takes me back and my family becomes more and more distant.

I’ll be back. What is that sound? Could it be the angels playing their harps? Is this music really playing?

Come Jerald. Everything will be okay.” A voice reaches my ears. All I see is a hand reached out to me, calling me. I put my trust in this unseen force and take the slightly visible hand in mine. “You have redeemed yourself.” He pulls me in a little closer now. I can see him. His long brown hair blows back as he takes me up into the sky. His touch is gentle and careful. His golden eyes look into my hazel ones, full of concern.

“Will I be able to stay with them?” My eyes become glassy. Fear of forever leaving my family rises up inside of me but I try to block it out. The lump in my throats prevents me from caring on the conversation.

“It is your choice, Jerald, if you would like to stay here with your family that has already passed you may. But you can stay with your living family if that’s what you desire. The doors are never closed. When you feel as if you don’t have to comfort them you may come back.” I sighed and thought of the possibilities.

“I must go back. I can’t leave them like this. Sure they won’t see me but I have to be there for them. I promised them that I always would and I’m not going to break that promise now.” The man nodded and snapped his fingers. In that snap two golden doors appeared. They slowly began to open and as they did so a light shone through illuminating the doors. It seemed to be calling my name but maybe that was just my imagination. I take a few steps forward until I am face to face with the god-like doors. If you listen closely you can hear the side of the living. The chatter of the people, the humming of the cars, and the occasional bark of the dog.  I grip one of the golden doors, making sure they are really there. I turn my head to see what is behind me. I sell all the people that have passed continuing their lives like they never died. It’s not true that after you die you grow wings and become an angel. You continue your life somewhere else but now you have no worries.

            One last glace at the deceased, I let a sigh exit my mouth and step through the golden doors that will bring me to the other side. The doors brought me back to the blue haze that ripped me away from my family. One step, one leg exits the haze. One more step, I’m through.  I glide through the crowded neighborhood till I reach my newly built white ranch.

 I walk through the house. I look at my family who is engulfed in pain. Why does this place look so different now? I look at all the pictures that hang up on the wall. One picture stands out most of all. It holds itself up on an old rusty nail implanted in the tan wall. It is in the longest and darkest hallway of the house. The picture seems to light up the eerie hallway. My eyes meet the picture. One of my pale white arms is around Annabelle falling on some of her long black hair. The other is on Joey’s shoulder. My fingers nearly covered his entire shoulder. His face full of happiness, his emerald eyes sparkling in the light of the picture. I look back at me. My face looks worn out. Circles begin to form under my eyes. My grey hair is all too grey. My hazel eyes don’t twinkle like my son’s or my wives ocean like ones.  But one thing we all had was smiles on our faces. I take my transparent hand and place it on the picture, closing my eyes, remembering the love and happiness we shared.

            What I don’t understand is why it took me this long to realize how special my family is. I was more concerned with working and supplying for my family. I rarely made time for them. One of the few times I went out with them the world turned dark. I thought at the time working and supplying money was the right thing to do but I realize now that I was already dead. The picture shows how zombie-like I am. I’m sorry it took me this long to see that. I should have made more time for my family. People are strange. They take things for granted just like I did. Look where that gets you. After you pass you have so many regrets and the people you love the most are destroyed.

 I sit on my green sofa next to my beloved wife. I take my transparent hand and stroke her soft tan arm.  She holds it feeling the chill I leave with each stroke.

“It’s me Annabelle.” I cry out but the sound doesn’t reach her ears. A frown forms on my face.

I watch Joey exit and enter his room. He is much quieter now. The joy that once filled his emerald eyes greatly diminished.  A sigh escapes my mouth as I see the pain I have caused my family. I never wanted to leave them but I had no choice. It was the only way don’t you see? I watch my son lay in his bed. He just lays there and nothing more. I recall a time when he used to play with his toys till he was forced into bed. He would always pretend that he was a wizard and I was the monster. One spell cast and I was on the floor defeated, forced to surrender.  The sound of his laughter filled my ears as well as the words I love you Dad.

My wife turns on the television; the news is on. The first headline that appears MAN SHOT PROTECTING HIS LOVED ONES! I shake my head not wanting Annabelle to increase the pain she is feeling. I watch the news as she does, conflicted on how to feel. I stand by what I did but look at the consequences. But what would have been the consequences if I didn’t protect them? I let the thought leave my mind as I focused my attention on the television. The reporters didn’t cover the feelings of my family. All they showed was the evil man’s corpse next to mine as my family cries.

I closed my eyes remembering the feelings and the events that led up to this day. It was a rainy April day and we decided to take a road trip to a fair that was in town. Joey always loved to play the arcade games in the fair because somehow he would always win. We didn’t mind the rain because it gave us a break from the humidity. One minute everybody was laughing and having a good time and the next everybody was screaming and running for their lives. The monster was too close to us for us to get away. The cops were chasing him as he was entering the fair. It was after the fact we found out he robbed a bank and was trying to get away.  I looked at the man’s hand, holding a glock-a type of handgun.

“Annabelle, Joey, Run!” I screamed with my arms stretched out, covering my family. I had to protect them.

Boom.                                                                             

I felt my body beginning to rattle rapidly. I didn’t scream though, it all happened to fast. The crimson colored blood began to poor out of my mouth.  Yes, this is what I had to do. I hear the shrieking of the people in the fear. They see the blood which sends them in the opposite direction. Nobody comes to my aid but that’s okay. It would only end in their demise. I see the blood dropping from my mouth to cold rough pavement. As I watch my blood exit my body I see the cops raise their weapons sending three bullets into the demon’s chest. He falls to the ground but so do I. The last thing I see is the man who sent a bullet in my beating heart. The last thing I hear is my family screaming my name. The last thing I smell is the rich smell of my own blood.

            The cops told Annabelle that the only reason the man, whose name was Samuel, killed me because I was close and in the way. But if I didn’t die she and Joey would have suffered the same fate. I could tell at the time she thinks the same fate would have been better because we would have been together. I wish I could tell her it is okay and that I wanted her to live. She has so much to live for and so does Joey. Even though I can’t be there for him she has to be. He needs a role model, someone he can count on to be there for him. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you both. I love you guys. 

 

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