“The choice is yours, boy, but understand—not deciding is making a decision. Do it before I make the decision for you. Only difference is, I won’t kill one, I’ll kill them both. Father or sister. You have all the power.”
Roth kept his tone calm and gentle. The evil coiled tightly within warmed his soul. He fancied the boy killing his father, silently rooting for the infant to survive. He could have lots of fun with her over the coming years.
The boy’s father would die either way. He’d bound and beaten him just for fun.
“Daddy? What do I do?” Tears streamed down Dylan’s face, sobs racked his entire nine-year-old battered frame. His gaze slid from his father to his baby sister, now held by Roth. When he looked back at his dad’s bruised and bloodied face, he cried harder. His dad’s eyes were swollen almost shut.
The gun shook uncontrollably in the boy’s small hand. “Daddy?”
Boredom shadowed his mind as the excitement of the climax dimmed with the child’s indecisiveness.
His gaze wandered out the window above the kitchen sink.
In the back yard, a massive, wooden play structure stood, complete with swings, tunnels, overhead ladder, and a slide. How extravagant for just two children, one still an infant. His sister always belabored the little things. Shame she’s not present to witness this. He would’ve found this even more amusing.
The blond haired infant cradled roughly in his left arm actually cooed at him. Disgusting. If he kept this thing, he'd have to hire a nanny. Still, the thought of it growing up with half the powers his sister enjoyed years ago made the brat worth the trouble...If she survived today. He sighed.
“Dylan, son, it's okay. You’re going to be all right. Look at me. Remember how we played catch this morning? When you think of me, you’ll remember how we played ball today. Okay, son?”
What else could he say in this horrific situation? His own psychotic brother-in-law was forcing Dylan to commit the most heinous act imaginable, choose between patricide and sororicide. Roth had always been the canary in the crazy mind but even Devon hadn’t seen this coming.
“Awww, isn’t this touching?” Roth muttered, no doubt weary of his twisted game. “What a little wimp. I’m growing tired of your indecision, boy. I think I’ll just slice this little bitch’s throat. After all, she’d probably just grow up to be a carbon copy of her mother, stubborn and willful. Wouldn’t want more of that in the world, would we?”
“Noooo, please. Please don’t hurt her! She’s just a baby.” Facing where he knew his son to be by the sound of his sobbing stifled his thoughts. “Son, I know this is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but you must. Please. It’s all right. I love you more than anything.”Dylan retched, fumbling and almost dropping the Glock 9mm pistol. It probably felt like the heaviest thing he’d ever held, certainly his first time holding a gun.
His small frame trembled, tears streamed from his eyes, hair matted to his face. Red, swollen tissue marred the right side of his face, the result of Roth’s cold temper. The kitchen table supported his slight weight as he leaned one forearm on its edge.
“Roth, please don’t do this. He’s just a boy. Be the sniveling coward you’ve always been. Do it yourself.” Articulation was slurred through split and bloody lips. His tongue slipped between the gap of two missing teeth.
Though partially open, his right eye refused to focus properly. Warm, wet liquid traced a path down his face. Gravity would always trump decency. Blood splattered his clothes. Patches of gray clouded the edges of his vision. Unconsciousness lumbered near. The drumming in his head kept pace with his rapid-fire pulse. No child should ever see his father this way, unable to protect his family. Even if his son survived Roth, which he began to doubt, he'd be scarred for life.
“Oh, Devon, Devon, Devon. You just don’t get it, do you? I’m not a coward,” Roth admonished. “I have no qualms about ending any of your lives. Watch, let me demonstrate.” His patronizing voice oozed in the air like oil spreading over water to corrupt with its filth. Roth pulled the six-inch blade from its sheath at his waist and held it to the baby’s throat, who lay cuddled in the crook of his left arm.
“No, don’t. You bastard!” Devon strained at the rope binding his hands behind his back. “Dylan, listen. Take the family crest ring off my finger. Go ahead, son, take it. It’s yours. It’s our coat of arms.” Twisting sideways forced the bonds to cut his wrists as he removed the ring from fingers slick with blood.
When his son took it, he realized these would be his last words to his boy. “Put it in your pocket, you can get a chain for it until you’re grown. That ring is a symbol of your strength, son, a symbol of your commitment to do whatever’s necessary to protect your family. Remember this, Dylan.” Dear God, he'll have nightmares the rest of his life...if he survives.