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Any Means Necessary

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When I was a boy, I saw a man in my closet. Now I know what you’re thinking, “That’s just your childlike imagination creating monsters in the dark.” And to that I say you are wrong. I know you’re wrong because this man was different. He was evil.

I awoke with a start one night, after one of my all too often childhood nightmares. It was strange for a kid my age to have as many nightmares as I did. What was even stranger is that they weren't about normal kid things either. While other kids were frightened of monsters and Insects and embarrassment, I was dreaming of horrid gruesome sights of people being cleaved in two, of tortures, and burning children, and all the while there was an underlying feeling that all of it was my fault. That somehow I was the cause.

As my mind slowly focused out of sleep, I began to feel like I was being watched, but the feeling wasn't threatening. The feeling seemed like that of being protected by an older sibling or parent. I sat up in my bed to take a look at my darkened surroundings. That’s when I saw it. He was tall, skinny, and shirtless. I couldn't see most of his facial features under his raven colored hair. He was relatively normal aside from his large black wings that looked like they were torn off of some large ailing buzzard.

“Hello Timmy”, he said, “Can you see me?”

I could only nod in response. He emerged from my closet, dragging along his large decrepit wings.

“I am your guardian angel. Do not be afraid.” I heard this, but something seemed wrong. I mean, obviously he didn't look like any guardian angel my childlike imagination would conjure up.

“H-hello” I stammered, “I'm Timmy.”

“Oh I know all about you, Timmy. It is my job after all.” he said with a deep bow.

“I am here to serve and protect you.” I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

A man had just magically appeared out of my closet claiming to be my guardian angel. I thought I was still dreaming. Now I wish I was.

That’s when I saw them. He lifted his head from his bow, and I saw them. Those eyes, or rather, those places where his eyes should've been. Then he smiled; his teeth looked like large shiny black needles. I no longer felt protected. This man, this thing was not here to keep me safe. It was no guardian. I screamed at the top of my lungs for my mother. She came bolting into my room and held me as I bawled and pointed frantically to the closet screaming “It's there, It's there!” She went to inspect the closet and, of course, nothing.

As I said before, I had nightmares quite often so it was common for me to wake my mother with such stories. As a consequence my mother began to think of them as nothing more than a nuisance.

“Honey, how many times do I have to tell you it’s all up here?” she said, tapping her index finger to her head.

“But this time I know it was real mom, I swear it!” I yelled through my tears.

“Go back to sleep, honey.” She said as she left the room.

I could only sit there in the darkness until I got up the nerve to get out of my bed and exit my room as fast as I could so I could convince my mother to let me sleep in her bed. As I was leaving the room, against all better judgment, I looked back. There I saw a clawed hand waving farewell to me from the closet. I stiffened as I heard the creature’s voice.

“Sweet dreams, Timmy.”

The next morning was rather ordinary. I got up from my mother’s bed (after a few hours of convincing she relented), took a shower, brushed my teeth, and ate breakfast. It was only once, when I was on the bus, that I felt that strange being-watched feeling again. I looked around the bus to see if he was there but he wasn't. I just shook off the feeling thinking it might have been all a dream. Then I looked out the window so I could go back to daydreaming, and I saw something. It might have just been a large black bird, but I could've sworn I saw the monster perched on a tree branch watching me with those not-eyes. Once I got to school and got set up. All seemed well again. The thing was nowhere to be seen and I didn't feel watched. I went on with my third grade classes just like any other nine-year-old. That is, until recess.

You see, I was never much of a fan of physical activity when I was young. I much preferred books or any solitary activity really. So, every recess I’d simply grab a book from our class’ tall bookshelf and slip into a world of make-believe where no one, not even that hideous thing, could hurt me. That recess, I was reaching for a copy of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire to read, when I noticed a classmate of mine walking over to me. My young brain warned of two things. Either, he wanted to read the same book and, being taller than I, would take it from me, or worse, he would invite me to play with him! I began to jump for the book rushing to get it before he made contact. I tried to step on the lower shelves in order to get higher. Then I reached too far and fell taking the whole shelf with me. All I could do was scream and close my eyes. I heard the shelf fall with a crash. I opened my eyes, and saw the angel with its black sockets standing over me, and the shelf lying next to me. I looked longer and heard a moan. My classmate’s leg was trapped under the shelf. I looked back and the devil was gone. Why did it rescue me and not my classmate? My teacher ran over and demanded to know what happened. I told her hesitantly, leaving out the part about the angel. After all was explained, she made me walk the boy to the nurse's office.

I supported the kid on my shoulder with him limping and sniffling the whole way to the nurse’s office. The office was located in the basement of the school where hardly any of the lights worked anymore. Once I got him into the office, I was told by the nurse to wait outside until she dismissed me. As I was waiting, he appeared out of one of the shadowy corners.

“What do you want?” I said in fear.

“To protect you.” he proclaimed with a polite bow.

“Why didn't you help my friend?”

“He isn't your friend?” he said smirking at me, “You feared him.”

I stared at him. How could he have known that?

“Besides,” he started, “if I had helped him you would be the one in that office.”

I looked back to hear the quiet whimpers of the boy, his leg probably broken. I looked back at my savior and…he was giggling. Giggling at the child’s pain. He quickly looked back at me and checked himself.

He cleared his throat, “Well, now you understand don’t you?” he asked.

“I will protect you until the end of your life by any means necessary.” And then he disappeared. As if he was never there at all. The nurse came out and dismissed me. I was scared to walk back alone, but I didn't have much of a choice. When I got back, class had started. I took my seat, and began to daydream again. But, as I looked out the window, I met eyes with my angel perched on top of a swing set, ever vigilant.

After school had ended I was waiting for my mother to pick me up. In those days I could wait from a few minutes to hours, depending on how my mom’s work was going at the hospital. Today was a long day. As I waited, I encountered Jack, Jake, and Alex, the school bullies. This meeting was nothing special seeing as how beatings and harassment from them was quite normal on these late days.

“Hey shrimp, mama forget about ya’ again?” Jake sneered.

“Where’s your daddy, punk?“ Alex yelled.

The large Jack just stood with his arms crossed like usual.

“Go away guys.” I whined.

“What’s that? You wanna play?” Jake mocked.

“Not today guys,” I begged, being more tired than usual.

“I think he wants to play fellas.” Jack said as he grabbed my book bag. And so began the semi-daily routine of having my book bag thrown around as I pathetically tried to get it back. This is what Jake meant by “play.” They tossed my books around as I tried to grab for them, like a sadistic game of monkey in the middle, with Jack shoving me down and punching me if I ever got too close until my mom arrived. Today ended differently though. Much differently.

As they were throwing around my books, I felt my normal sense of rage surmounting. As I became more and more distressed I felt a presence. A dark insidious presence. Not a second later I saw a large, wing shaped shadow appear behind me. Jake and Alex quit throwing my bag and stared in my direction at the winged beast standing behind me. I turned around to see my guardian angel staring down at us from a tree branch, black eyes filled with a sinister joy at the thought of what he was about to do.

“You boys really shouldn't bully Timmy,” he said raising and flexing his clawed, talon-like hand, “he might get hurt, and I don't like it when he gets hurt.”

The boys began to run, screaming in sheer terror. All I could see was a black shroud rush over me as the thing rushed after them. I turned around again as it swooped down and caught Jake. Alex and Jack stopped and started to throw rocks at the thing, yelling for it to let Jake go. Floating and holding Jake by the neck with one claw, it began to speak.

“What’s the matter boy, don't you want to play with ME? I’m buckets of fun!” The angel then began to tear at Jake's chest with his free hand, tearing open Jake’s chest cavity, breaking lose the ribs one at a time.

Blood was dripping on to the sidewalk. Jake and his friend’s were screaming and bawling. I could only stand silent. Staring in horror at what I was witnessing. Wasn't he supposed to be an angel? No, nothing that hideous could be an angel. Nothing that would do something like THAT to a child could be an angel!

When the thing was finished Jake was silent. Jake’s heart, outside of his body, was still beating in the beast’s talon. It dropped Jake to the ground and began to consume the heart. Ripping it a part with its long needle like teeth. When it was finished it began to laugh.

“That was the most fun I've had in eons!” the thing yelled arms outstretched, still hovering over the remaining boys. “Now as for you” It said, aiming its coal black sockets at Alex and Jack.

“He was the head, but you were the neck who supported him,” he began to giggle maniacally, “and for that you are just as guilty.” The boys started running again only to have the angel land right in their path.

“Ah ah ah,” it said in sing song voice, waving its finger, “Naughty boys must be punished.” He said as he swiftly grabbed their faces with each razor sharp claw. Blood poured from the places the claws met raw flesh.

The angel then swooped back up with the boys in hand, and as swiftly as he ascended, the abomination dive-bombed bringing the boys heads forward to meet the sidewalk with massive force. The backs of their skulls burst open leaving blood and brain matter spattered across the sidewalk. After it let go of what remained of their heads, he lapped up the excess blood on his hands with a long black tongue, and then began to advance towards me. I could to nothing but cower with my knees folded against my chest behind a near by tree.

The thing found me, and crouched in front of me. Staring into my tear filled eyes it whispered, “By any. Means. Necessary.” And he was gone in a flash of black smoke.

When my mom got to the school she immediately called the police and asked me what had happened. I could only stare at her and whisper, “My guardian angel saved me.”

That night, as I attempted to get some rest, I felt the same presence. He was there standing over my bed.

I cowered under my covers and pleaded, “P-p-p-please! Don’t hurt me!”

"I can’t hurt you, child,” it said.

“I must forever protect you from harm. I am your guardia-“

“NO YOU'RE NOT!” I yelled.

“Angels don’t kill people. They don’t hurt little boys.” There was a long pause and the thing began to laugh.

“Maybe not by you humans’ definition!” it scoffed.

I simply hid under my covers shaking, until I felt it move towards my closet.

“Know this kid,” it said looking back at me with those black hole eyes.

“Angels and Demons are feeble human constructs, nothing more,” the thing paused, seemingly in thought, “but I guess from your perspective” it chuckled “ even angels can be demons in disguise.” And he was gone.

Even today he’s always there. He will protect me from anything he deems a threat. Bosses, lovers, friends. He’ll kill them all if he sees them as a danger to me. He’ll always be there, always watching me. “Protecting” me. Until the end of my life, by any means necessary.

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