Not My Blessings

A young family soon discovers their twin children are not the blessing they thought they had received, but instead a true horror.

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7. Stolen Back

   The day passed like any other Christmas. New toys were sprawled across the floor, hot chocolate was made in startling amounts, and many a snowman was built outside. When all the batteries were in the numerous toys, when the rosy red cheeks were sat around the fire to warm up, and when the sun had set on the crystalline snow, that was when perfection was achieved. The crackle of the fire, the sweet smell of spruce wafting from the tree, and the warmth of the chocolate in the mug all filled Laura with a satisfaction compared best to pure ecstasy. Finally, content and exhausted, the twins fell asleep before the fire. Laura, also tired, got up stiffly from her seat beside Darrell and bundled the twins in her arms. 

   "I will be up in a minute. I just want to think for a moment," Darrell said softly, a smile on his face and his promise heavy on his mind. 

   "Alright. Don't be up too late please," she whispered back, heading up the stairs. He stared deeply into the heart of the fireplace, watching the flames lick at the chimney with a raging hunger and never quite reaching it before they died out. He sat like this for a while, lost in the dancing flames as they swirled and swayed in a mesmerizing pattern. Then he heard a soft thunk from upstairs. He thought perhaps one of his children had rolled out of bed, or maybe Laura had simply shut the dresser drawer to hard. Regardless, he climbed steadily up the stairs to investigate, a calm peace settling in the base of his stomach. 

   Darrell walked to their room and opened the door. He did not see Laura laying curled in bed, nor was she in the master bathroom. He muttered to himself before walking out of the gracious bedroom and down the hall to where the sleeping twins lay, quiet in their sleep. The light was off, for no light shown beneath the crack in the door. But he did here movement from inside, the soft rustle of socks against the carpet. He cracked the door softly, sure Laura was in there watching the soft rise and fall of Jessica's chest  in the glow from the streetlamp outside and listening the soft woosh as Cody breathed in and out. 

   "Laura," he whispered softly. "Laura, are you coming to bed? It is getting pretty late, and-" he broke off, his throat closing off as the overwhelming coppery smell hit his nose. It was thick and metallic, choking him and weighing him down with fear. It was the smell of death, of evil, of loss. His hand flattened against the wall, fumbling for the light switch while he gasped for breath. Snakes coiled in his stomach, and his jaw clenched against the urge to throw up. The light flicked on, and he screamed.

   Red. Red, everywhere. Slumped in the middle of the floor lay the motionless body, pale and chalky against the sea of blood in which it laid. The dark stain was a puddle beneath her, endless in depth. Beside Laura's corpse sat the innocent children, coated in their own mothers blood. Smeared across cheeks, clotted in hair, soaking their pajamas. Against the white walls, the hand prints glistened. Still wet, they reflected the light. It was as if a bucket of paint had been opened in a preschool, leaving all the children to finger-paint every surface. Smears and smudges covered blankets, books, and stuffed animals. His beautiful children giggled in delight, ignorant of him despite his loud entry. They splashed in the puddle of blood beneath their feet, splattering small droplets of it on Darrell's face. He sunk to the floor, to weak to stand. Just before losing conciseness, he caught a glimpse of the ceiling. There, against the pale cream of the ceiling, was a six pointed star. It was identical to those found in movies about witchcraft. The beautiful, glistening blood against the veiling looked picture perfect, contrasting with a sharp definition.Oh God, why? I just got her back, and now....

   The young father drifted out of awareness, lying next to the door through which Evil had made itself known. From the ceiling, a single drop of blood fell from the center of the star, landing on the flesh directly above his heart. The drop flattened and spread, like an ink stain that would never wash from his skin...

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