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“Hello, Nathen. Are you coming home soon?”
“Yeah, Josh left this night to go see a movie, so I’m coming back now.”
Nathen hung up the phone and continued skateboarding down the sidewalk. It was getting late, and if he was going to get home in time, he had to continue right away. He went by the various homes in the suburbs, and listened to how quiet his town was. There were cars that would pass by every minute or so, but honestly not much noise at all. The only consistent noise was the sound of crickets and the sounds of the wheels of Nathen’s skateboard, rolling by on the sidewalk.
Nathen eventually came to the end of the sidewalk. He stopped skateboarding and looked around quickly. He looked past the beautiful lake nearby and the noiseless houses and saw that the only way to get back to his home was by crossing the street. Nathen immediately got on his skateboard and, after a few seconds, started to cross the street.
Within seconds, Nathen felt the full impact of the hood of a car ram into him. His bones began to shatter, and he was pulled under the car, hitting the street and scraping against the bottom of the car. Nathen was bleeding to death, and it was happening fast. After gasping for air for a few more seconds, Nathen closed his eyes, thought of everything he regretted doing and not doing, and let death come to him.
Nathen loved his parents while he was growing up. He always looked up to them and saw them as unbreakable. Nathen especially felt this way about his father. As a child, he would have terrible nightmares of the things in the closet, the things under his bed, the things waiting to crawl through the windows of his childhood bedroom and take him away. Every time he woke up screaming, he would hear his father rustle out of his bed down the hallway, see the lights turn on in his room, and watch as his father opened the door and said to Nathen, “Monsters again?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll deal with them.”
With those words, his father would look everywhere Nathen feared monsters would be, reassure Nathen that everything would be alright, and, before leaving, exclaim, “If any monster tries to mess with you, and if any demon tries to take you away, let them know that I will be the one that stands in their way.”
Nathen eventually got older, and the nightmares slowly faded away until he barely had any. He preserved the image of the power of his father, and grew up to tell his friends in his school that his father could fight monsters.
However, when Nathen was nine, his father left for work as usual and never came back. When Nathen asked his mother when dad was coming back, his mom always seemed to tremble a bit and say, “N-Not yet.”
Once Nathen turned 13, he learned the truth behind his father. Nathen learned that on the day his father disappeared, the reason he never came back was because he was dead. Nathen’s father was going to enter his work place, he was shot twice by a 22 year-old mentally insane man. The man proceeded to kill five other people before being shot by the police and dying quickly. Nathen’s entire view of his father was completely shattered by this. The man who Nathen thought was indestructible had been brought down by two bullets.
Nathen was incredibly upset by this news when his mother told him, and this led Nathen to be angry at his mother for not telling him the truth. Nathen held a grudge against her, and he often got into arguments with her. Once Nathen was 15, he began to come and go as he pleased from the home when he didn’t have school, sometimes even skipping school. His mother begged him to stay home with her, but Nathen kept his grudge against her and completely ignored what she said.
Nathen’s mother still talked to him and called him when Nathen was out, and Nathen still answered, but he never did get over his grudge. However, as Nathen died, he thought of his mother before going into his permanent sleep.
Nathen woke in complete darkness. His last memory was all of his bones breaking and him closing his eyes to accept what he thought was his death. However, Nathen felt perfectly fine with no injuries apparent. He called out in the darkness, hoping that something or someone would say something, but he never once heard a sound.
Nathen stood there, unable to move, calling out in the darkness multiple times. Eventually, Nathen gave up and just stood there, waiting.
Suddenly, light flooded the room, so bright that Nathen tried to close his eyes to ignore the light. He heard a voice scream out, “HELLO, NATHEN!”
The light disappeared quickly, and Nathen opened his eyes. He was in some sort of chamber, and in front of him was simply a man sitting in a chair. However, his eyes were blood red and appeared to pierce through Nathen like an arrow. The man sat, smiling before greeting Nathen by saying, “How do you do?”
“W-What are you?” Nathen said as he backed away from the peculiar man.
“I’m perfectly sure that you can assume who I am. What is important here is not who or what I am, but what your decision will be at this moment,” the man replied, in a rather calm and collected tone.
“Decision?” Nathen questioned. Nathen could not believe what was going on, but he felt certain that it was real. He was almost sure that he was talking to the evil one himself, but what was strangest about it was that he was almost certain that this entire experience was real. He stopped believing in monsters at a young age, but at this moment, he believed once more.
“Why, Nathen, I am going to propose to you a deal of sorts. A way for you to, per say, cheat death,” the man replied, grinning widely.
“Simple, really. All you need to do is agree to let your mother die in your place. After all, I can’t just let you go free without somebody suffering,” the man said, staring at Nathen, trying to be reassuring (which is nearly impossible with the way his eyes seemingly never blinked).
“W-Why me?” Nathen replied to the statement of the man.
“I offer this to nearly everyone who I don’t believe has quite used up their… potential, I would call it. You would be surprised by how many people turn down my offer. However, what will your decision be?”
Nathen paused after hearing this. He loved his mother very dearly, but after how his mother refused to tell Nathen the truth about the death of his father for four years, he still held his grudge against her.
Do I really have the power to deny someone of their life? Would that be the right thing to do?
As Nathen thought this, his mind kept returning to the grudge he held against his mother. He kept thinking about it over and over, before finally deciding his choice.
His mother would die.
“My mother shall die,” Nathen said, with his mind made up.
“Lovely choice. I’ll get right on it. Goodbye, Nathen. If you die again, I won’t be here to save you, so this time, don’t screw it up and be careful,” the man said, clearly delighted.
“I won’t…” Nathen replied with a slight hint of nervous anxiety in his voice.
The man didn’t respond before the lights came back, shining as brightly as they previously did. Nathen shut his eyes, and when he opened them, he was lying in a hospital bed.
The doctors saw Nathen open his eyes and were completely shocked. A few minutes ago, Nathen had registered as having absolutely no pulse. Not only that, but all of the bones Nathen had broken had suddenly been repaired. Any damage to the brain Nathen had received seemed to not even have happened at all.
After a week or so, Nathen was finally released after many days of being studied on. As Nathen walked out of the hospital by himself, he decided to walk home. As he was walking home, he was in complete confusion as to why he had not heard of the death of his mother the red-eyed man had promised him.
When Nathen returned home, he noticed that one light was on, and that was in his mother’s bedroom. He uneasily went to the front door, his hand shaking as he pulled the knob.
It was unlocked.
Nathen opened the door to see the house a wreck, with broken chairs and various books scattered everywhere, pages laying around the entire home. Nathen slowly walked up the stairs and walked to the front of the bedroom of his mother. He quickly took a deep breath and opened the door to her room.
Inside, Nathen saw his mother tied to a chair and gagged, with the red-eyed man standing at the doorway.
“Hello, Nathen. I’ve been waiting to give you a surprise,” the man said with complete glee.
“W-What?” Nathen said with confusion.
“You get to see the death of your mother first hand, right now,” the man said, as he pulled out a gun.
Nathen looked at his mother, and her eyes gazed upon Nathen. She shed a single tear at the sight of her son nodding to the man’s suggestion. Nathen went up to his mother, took out the gag in her mouth, and slowly started to cry.
“F-Forgive me…” Nathen said to his mother.
Suddenly, Nathen heard a loud bang and watched as the bullet pierced through his mother’s head. She was surely dead.
“There you go, Nathen. I’m sure you are satisfied now. With that, I’ll be off. Trust me, the police won’t find out about this, I’ve taken care of it. Goodbye,” the man said, grinning the largest grin that Nathen had ever seen.
The man dropped the gun and started to walk away. Nathen looked down at the gun and thought of the way his mother looked at him as the bullet was about to pierce through her.
Nathen had never understood all of the care his mother had for him, all of the love, all of the times his mother pleaded with Nathen to just stay with her for a while. Nathen just ignored her, holding his grudge.
Today, it was different. He understood.
Nathen walked towards the gun and picked it up. He slowly raised it to his head, and thought of everything in his life. His nightmares, his father’s way of dealing with nightmares, his father’s death, and his mother’s everlasting need to take care of her son, the only thing she had left in her life that she loved.
Nathen closed his eyes and pulled the trigger.
Written by AGrimAuxiliatrix1
This pasta has received a rating of 6/10 or higher and has moved on to the finals of the 2015 freestyle pasta challenge.