As snow fluttered around outside of Timothy's clouded window, he anxiously used the sleeve of his blue sweater to wipe the glass clean. His small button nose then pressed against the glass while his brown eyes darted around to take in the awe-inspiring scene before him. The snowflakes, each varying in size and speed of travel, shot around outside in the cold, night air. His little heart pounded in excitement at the idea of running outside to enjoy it. His mother hadn't returned home yet and his father was still passed out on the couch from his unhealthy habits the night before. He wreaked of alcohol and sadly, Timothy was accustomed to such a vulgar stench.
Under his sleeves were healing burns from his father's cigarettes. He had gotten upset at the young boy yesterday evening for not cleaning up after himself. Timothy had been playing happily in his room with the old train set his older brother once owned. The small train was going in simple circles around the black track. Timothy had been thinking to himself about how strongly he wished his life to be that simple. Nothing bothering him, no more beatings from his parents, no more hunger, no more sadness, no more crying, no more fear...
He just wanted to be happy.
Watching this train round the track put a smile on his small, chapped lips. His brown eyes watched the toy with a carefree sense of contentment.
It wasn't long before the peaceful silence was interrupted. He heard heavy footsteps rising up the stairs. His heart picked up its pace and his eyes widened in fear of what was to come. Undoing his crossed legs, he moved to scoot away from the door which stood closed ahead of him. Subconsciously pushing himself back, his sock-clothed foot knocked over the small, red locomotive.
It toppled over and off the track- its wheels moving against the air aimlessly. His eyes watched his toy for a moment before the large door swung inward.
His heart stopped.
"What's going-" his father paused midsentence when his eyes fell upon the toys on the floor. "What's this mess?"
Timothy lowered his chin against his collarbone and bit back his fear. He couldn't bring himself to look into his father's eyes but instead were glued on the fallen train. By now, his tiny bedroom was already fumigated with the smoke from the grown man's cigarette which sat perched between his dry lips and decrepit teeth.
"Answer me, dammit!" his father shouted which made Timothy recoil even farther. His heart was pounding and his breathing was ragged. His mind was screaming for his father to leave- for him to turn around and never return.
"Ignoring me, huh? That's how it's gonna be?" his father growled.
There was a short moment of unsettling silence before the grown man began to take wide strides towards the young boy. Timothy didn't have time to scream before the older man gripped his bare arm and tore him up from his seated position.
"No!" Timothy cried out with tears burning at his eyes. His sight was now blurry and shaken.
"Maybe this will teach you to listen," his father snapped before taking a drag from the white cigarette stick and pressing the burning tip against the child's arm.
Timothy screamed in agony as the deep, boiling heat was shoved against his flesh and held there. Tears stained his cheeks as his mouth hung wide open and his throat ran dry from his screams and cries.
"Stop it! Stop it!" he sobbed with uneven breathing and pain stitched into every word he managed to gasp and force out.
He jerked his arm back and forth to escape the searing pain but every attempt failed and just resulted in another burn in a new place.
"You done yet, brat?" his father yelled.
"Let me go! Stop! Please! Please, please, please!" He begged as he let his legs go limp to fall to the ground. It was an attempt at evasion but just resulted in him being held up by his father's painful grip on his forearm.
His throat was scratchy and fully dry at this point. His arm was shooting jabs of sharp pain through his small body with every shaky breath he took. All Timothy had the strength to do was whine and pant for air.
Finally, his father released his arm and let him fall abruptly to the ground.
Timothy's burning arm lay helpless against the ground next to him as his chest shook up and down. The blood pounding in his ears couldn't even drown out the sound of his quiet cries. He knew that if he was loud, he'd receive yet another punishment.
Through his blurring eyes, he saw the figure of his dad stumble to the door before exiting and heading down the thin, creaky hall.
The young boy lay gasping on the floor with his entire body in shock. He had no intention of moving anytime soon. Instead, he lay still, waiting and waiting for the unholy pain in his right arm to cease.
Looking out the window, Timothy shuddered at the memory.
He hated his family.
He missed his brother.
His heart ached. He didn't know what it meant- but he always recognized the familiar emptiness and solidarity in his chest. He would take large breaths but not even they could satisfy the gaping absence.
Watching the snow fall, he smiled again. Something about how free they seemed and how calmly they fluttered towards the white ground made his heart feel a bit lighter for once. He wanted to be a snowflake. Flying freely against the night sky surrounded by his other snowflake friends.
He didn't have any. He wanted to go to school but had never been. Every morning, he sat behind his window with his pillows squeezed in his arms as the bright yellow school bus rolled up the street. He'd watch the little boys and girls walk through the open doors and join the others. His brown eyes would view this every day until the bus disappeared down the road. Every morning and afternoon. He never missed it.
Timothy wished he had neighbors to play with, but the houses on his street were so sparsely placed that the closest one was on the corner which was a walk from his house he wasn't willing to attempt. So instead, he watched. He viewed. He observed the things he wanted- thinking of any way he could retrieve them.
All his ideas never finished. He knew nothing would work. He could barely leave his room to look for something- anything to eat without his father hurting him.
Something bright caught Timothy's eye.
Up above the dead, black trees under the dark sky and between the trees was perched a glowing star. A sight to behold on a night like this one.
He scrambled to his knees and moved to see it closer but his breath fogged the glass. Staring up at the light, he flailed his arms against the glass to smear it clean. His breathing was quick, but this time out of excitement.
Everything about the night excited Timothy. It was the one time he could let his guard down and not fear crossing paths with his horrid father.
Looking at this star, he seemed to forget all this. He forgot about the scars on his body, the burns on his arm, the hair missing from above his left ear, the rips and stains on his clothes, and all the other things. All he was thinking about, was that very star.
And so he sat. Perched before the thin, dirty glass with his neck cocked back so he could see right up to the spectacle.
5 minutes passed...
Soon enough, it was Midnight. Christmas. Timothy's mind was filled with happy thoughts as he viewed that star. His heart was warm with the wonders of the thing. He imagined having friends, playing in the park, riding the bus, eating lunch, laughing, smiling, playing... You name it.
"I wish I could do all that... I wish I could be like the other kids. I think... I think it'd be fun!" he whispered to himself. He shifted his kneeling legs which bumped his right arm and caused him to wince from the pain of the burns.
He paused and looked back at the star.
The bright yet small one. He thought long and hard.
"I wish I had a new father..."
As his heart sank and his arm ached, he moved back against his small, flat mattress and lowered himself to find rest. His brown eyes were forced shut as he lay curled up. His legs and arms were cold but he couldn't complain.
Not that anyone would listen.
But little did he know, someone was listening.
Someone had heard him.
Someone had heard his wishes.
A shadow passed through Timothy's room as he managed to fall asleep. A single handprint pressed against the foggy glass of his window and proceeded to slide along the surface- clearing a way to see right in. The snow continued to fall and the stars kept shining. Nobody was at the window, but there was a presence in the room.
A dark, shapeless form slipped along the walls under the light of the moon and stars. A shadow with no start.
And so Timothy slept. Cold and alone. On Christmas morning.
In his dream, Timothy found himself standing in a green meadow. The sun was shining high in the sky and kissed his skin with a warm caress. His brown eyes peered around him in wonder and excitement.
Giggling, he spotted a group of small, brown rabbits hopping calmly along the bright green grass. He hurried over to them with a big smile.
Dropping to his knees beside them, he laughed happily when they crawled over to him and hopped against his lap and arms. He giggled continuously at their soft and gentle touch. Running his small hands over the backs of the brown bunnies, they only seemed to like him more. They pawed at his legs and jumped against each other to receive his touch against their velvety fur coats.
"You like rabbits, huh?" Someone asked.
Startled, Timothy looked up- his arm paused mid-air near the animals.
Sitting on a rock a few feet from him was a young man with smooth brown hair and bright blue eyes. He wore a white shirt with red stripes just like a candy cane would display. Some were thinner and closer to others than some which were thicker and more spaced out. He was also wearing tight blue jeans and elf-like shoes from the movies. They were green with a little bell on the pointed toe as well as white fluff by the ankle. A Christmas hat was also placed over his hair and hung to the side with an extremely fluffy look to it.
His smile was kind and his demeanor was overall pleasing. In his arms lay a sleeping rabbit with black fur. Its ears rested against its back as he stroked it gently with his big, careful hands- both clothed with white gloves. Each slender finger traced the same areas as he petted the small thing.
"Bunnies are really cute," Timothy spoke up shyly.
"Indeed they are, lad! What brings you here?" The stranger asked with a rather grandiose voice and volume.
"I... I think I'm dreaming," he answered with a curt nod at his decision.
"Ah, I assumed as much! Welcome! My name is Dolion. Happy to meet you, Timothy!" He exclaimed, petting the bunny faster the louder he got.
"How... how do you know my name?" Timothy asked.
"I know everything about you, my friend. I also know that some people in your life haven't been treating you so well. Is that right?" His tone dropped to a more serious one and Timothy lowered his head.
"Yeah..." he mumbled.
"Well, no matter! Forget about it! Let's have some fun while you're here," Dolion suggested happily.
Timothy wanted to join him but all he could think about now was his father. He felt fear again.
"Timothy, what's the matter?" Dolion asked, setting aside the bunny he was holding. He then stood with his tall legs and very skinny frame. He bent down beside Timothy and sat near him on the soft, luscious grass.
"I don't wanna go home..." the little boy responded with a small, hurt voice.
"You can stay as long as you'd like! I'll just be... your older brother now!" Dolion announced happily.
"Really?!" Timothy gasped, looking up at the stranger with wide, hopeful eyes.
"Absolutely! We can have all the fun here that you want. How does that sound?"
"It sounds great! I had an older brother once. He's gone now," the younger boy trailed off and paused in thought.
"What happened?" Dolion asked carefully.
"I don't remember exactly what they said... something like... sui- no. That's not right..."
"Suicide?" The older one asked quietly.
"That's what it was! Do you know where that is?" Timothy asked quickly.
"Oh... um... no, no actually I don't."
Timothy's shoulders drooped.
"Oh, okay. That's okay. I'll find him someday. Anyways, can we play now?" The little boy asked.
Dolion perked up.
"Sure thing, buddy! We'll have lots of fun! Do you trust me, Timothy?"
The young boy paused for a moment- still smiling at the thought of making a friend. He took one last glance at his right arm and noticed there were no longer scars. His smile brightened.
"I trust you."
And so the pair raced around the dream. They played tag, they played hide and seek, they found more animals, they ate ice cream, they drew pictures, they sang songs, they raced each other, they danced, and they did everything Timothy had always wanted to do.
After an eternity of having fun, the pair lay in the grass beneath a large, green tree. The bright blue sky was scattered with clouds that they were trying to identify the shapes of.
"That one looks like a teddy bear!" Timothy exclaimed.
"Maybe... I see a rabid dog though."
"Look at that one! It's an ice cream cone!"
"Nah! I think it's a sword!"
After having a good laugh, Timothy took a big breath and huffed it out. His head tilted in the grass and he looked over at his new friend.
"Hey, Dolion?" He began.
"What's up, kiddo?"
"How come nobody else is here?"
Dolion's happy expression seemed to falter for a split second. His wide smile quickly returned.
"We don't need anyone else, Timothy. If there were others, they would take all the fun away, wouldn't they? Sharing's no fun, is it?" The older one explained.
Timothy looked back up at the sky.
"I guess that's true."
Suddenly, Dolion shot upright.
"Timothy! I know what we can do! Let's play tag again!" He suggested excitedly.
"But we did that three times already. You always win."
"Maybe you will this time."
"You're older than me, Dolion. You're much faster," Timothy giggled.
"I guess so... How about hide and seek?" He perked up again.
"We played that already too! You win every time!" the younger boy exclaimed.
"Ah..." Dolion trailed off.
"Hey... D?" Timothy asked.
"Yeah? What is it?"
The younger boy went quiet. He started to think about before. About his father and his home life.
"D, I need to go home. If my dad knows I'm missing, he'll kill both of us."
Dolion looked at him quickly- a flash of dark clouding his eyes before sinking away like it was never there. Timothy blinked as though he was seeing things.
"You can't go back! They'll hurt you again! YOU'LL DIE!" He yelled in a deeper, scarier voice than ever before. The young boy shied back and went quiet.
Dolion noticed this and softened.
"Tim, listen, I don't want you to get hurt. You're my only friend. My best friend."
"I know, but... I can always come back!" Timothy suggested.
Dolion was quiet.
"If you want to go back, I'll allow it. Only if it's what you really want," Dolion said with a low voice.
"I'll come back tomorrow night. Right after Christmas!" the young boy said.
Dolion muttered something.
"What'd you say?" Timothy asked.
"Nothing," he responded darkly before the younger boy noticed his eyes getting heavier. His vision got darker and darker and the world around him seemed to melt into a dark, twisted place. All the colors melted to a demonic black and the sky was clouded with red.
Then, he was asleep.
Gasping awake, Timothy found himself back in the quiet of his room with the morning sun leaking through his window. The emptiness in his heart returned and the happy pumping of blood through his veins was now back to normal.
"Oh," he mumbled, sitting up and stretching his small arms. "A dream..."
He already forgot most of the details of the dream. Some things stuck with him. Like the bunnies. The bright sun. Dolion...
He was heavily disappointed that his amazing dream turned out to be fake, just like that. He wished it was real, but knew it was too good to be true.
Sliding out of bed, he went to find something to do, just like any other day.
Waiting for his mother to return, waiting for his brother to come back, and waiting for his father to disappear.
He exited into the hallway and listened closely to hear where his father was resting. Identifying snores coming from the room across from his, he snuck past silently and hurried down the hall to find food before he could be caught.
Meanwhile, his closet door slowly began to creak open. Timothy was racing down the steps and was oblivious to anything else.
The white door of chipping paint swung outwards on its hinges at an agonizingly slow pace. It was silent besides the low, ominous creak barely escaping the rusty hinges.
Within the space was nothing but pitch-black darkness. No matter how hard you squinted, you could still not identify a thing inside. That was until a slender arm snuck out from the darkness and grabbed hold of the doorknob with its skinny fingers. The sleeve was white with black stripes in the design of a candy cane. The hand was extremely pale and brandished nails like claws.
Next, a bright smile could be seen in the darkness of the shadows as a horrible, shrill laugh creeped out. It remained rather quiet but filled the room with such an on-edge feeling- it was simply inhumane.
Timothy stood before the small, molding fridge with his nose wrinkled at the rotten stench. The only contents of the space were various cans of different beers.
He sighed and closed the door sadly like he did every morning, noon, and night.
Turning around to search the cabinets, he nearly fainted at the sight before him. He was so used to holding back his screams that he prevented this one from slipping.
Standing before him in the dim kitchen was Dolion. But twisted in ways he could never have imagined. His brown hair was now reaching his jaw and was a deep black color. His skin was ghostly pale and his nails looked like knives. His mouth was stretched in an unnaturally wide grin- with stains on his teeth resembling blood. He was wearing everything the same as before which was the only reason Timothy was able to recognize him.
Dolion grinned down at him from his remarkable height and opened his terrible mouth.
"Did you miss me?" he hissed- his horrid voice sending shivers down the little boy's spine and tears into his eyes.
"You're not real," Timothy whimpered, squeezing his eyes shut as he assured himself he was safe.
"Oh, dear child," Dolion laughed hoarsely. If there was a sound resembling death and horror- this was it. The little boy recoiled into himself and found himself instinctively stepping back until his small back bumped into the cold fridge. "I am as real as you are. I am as real as everything in this house."
"No, no, no... NO!" Timothy whined and sobbed like never before. His little heart could barely take this- and he wasn't even looking at the macabre spectacle before him.
"Oh come on, Timmy, we're best friends, remember?" He laughed again- his mocking tone hurting the boy even more.
"You're not real, you're not real, you're not real..." Timothy repeated in his head.
"If I wasn't real, could I do this?" The monster asked before reached towards the little boy. Timothy peeked his eyes open just to have the stranger's razor-like claws reaching for his neck.
"NO! GO AWAY!" He screamed- throwing his small arms forward to push the demonic creature away.
"I'll never leave you, Timmy, that's not what friends do!" He then burst out laughing- the god awful sound shaking the room. "Oh, how goddamn pathetic!"
The child cried and cried- no longer afraid of who heard him. He whined and sobbed- a sound that would pain anyone who heard it.
"Would you shut up!" the monster demanded and smacked the small boy across his small face. He cried louder.
"What the hell is going on!?" his father shouted from upstairs.
"You wanted a friend. You wished for me! You said the words... the only words I needed to hear to have complete power over your petty existence. You said you trusted me. That's what did this to you! By saying that, I was granted whatever I pleased just to get back into existence. Oh, joy! Imagine all the fun I'm going to bring to other children." Dolion practically moaned at the idea.
"Get away!" Timothy cried.
"As you wish... but! Only if we play one... more... game..."
Timothy's father raced down the stairs with a wooden bat in his right hand.
"You son of a-" he turned the corner at the base of the steps and was met with the most horrific sight he had ever laid eyes on. A demonic creature stood in the doorward of the kitchen with a bloody arm in his hand- not attached to a body.
The thing grinned at him like something straight from hell- its razor-sharp fangs dripping blood down its horribly pale face and staining its candycane-like clothes.
"What the everloving-"
He never finished his sentence. The tall, skinny figure lunged at the father with an animal-like screech. The man cursed as he fell back and slammed to the ground with force like never before. He raised the bat and tried to hit the monster but it noticed. Instead of removing the bat from his possession, it sunk its claws into the man's right shoulder and squeezed its hand into a fist.
Timothy's father screamed out in pain as blood seeped through his clothes. The monster tore the limb from his body and watched in amusement as the red, copper smelling liquid soaked the wooden floor and sprayed against the walls closest to them.
"This is exactly what you deserve, you disgusting excuse of a man."
"Go... to hell!" The father spat.
"You first," the creature grinned, his fangs dripping blood onto the man's face.
The monster's head shot down suddenly and his jaw locked fully on the father's throat. Tearing completely through his neck, the thing ripped whatever it had caught from his body. It proceeded to eat the large section of flesh, bone, and muscle and laughed horrendously as it did.
The father lay sputtering in his own vital fluids with the entirety of his throat removed. No air was able to get to his lungs nor anything else. He bled out from his body and his mouth. He coughed and gagged but was getting fainter and weaker.
"Jesus Christ, next time I'll just use rat poisoning," Dolion scoffed before getting back to his feet. He towered over the room and took in a deep breath of the heavy copper around him before sighing in satisfaction.
He grinned and looked back at the kitchen- noticing a large, dark puddle seeping along the floor.
"Poor Timmy. I guess you were right," he snickered maliciously, "I do always win hide and seek."