I'm Only Here for the Child
by Felix Bailey
Perching on the rusted tiles, I see two figures stagger in the yellow
sand below. The woman rubs the bulge in her belly as she walks, trying
to catch up to the man ahead of her. She shivers in the mid-autumn
breeze as her unkempt hair and growling stomach manage to stumble
towards the doormat before he does.
I float down and land my skeletal feet on the balcony, looking for a
way in. Peering into the living room from the shutters, the ensuing
darkness is only interrupted by dim illumination from the light bulbs.
There’s no heater, it's probably cold enough without me.
As the voices start to get louder, I drift towards the frail kitchen
window-inside, two giant silhouettes argue behind the curtain with
blatant shouts and rigid, pointing fingers.
I have to get closer. But I can't risk mindlessly phasing through a
window, they might hear something. An entrance more subtle... the
I hover back up and, spotting the well-rusted pipe, plunge in. The shaft is an all-consuming abyss of ash and soot.
My landing's rough, unworthy of a guest, but fitting for me--a morbid
Saint Nicholas. The charcoal scatters off me and wafts into the air as
I float along, transforming the musky corridor into the physical memory
of an ancient tomb.
A singular polished shelf stands out, distancing itself from the moldy
keyboard below. On it lies a fishing trophy engraved David. B, and an
old wedding photo with the smiling couple's heads circled in deep red:
a caged reminder of how close they used to be.
"How are you feeling?" the woman asks, the night's cold biting into her
patched-up dress. A brown mess of hair grumbles a reply, the mouth
mimicking his shoulder's disheartening shrug. The beard that cakes his
chin and swarms up to his nose shivers in withdrawal, but remains
civilized, just as he's been taught. His hands, dirtied from factory
labor, fix themselves together for warmth--he fears both the winter
night and the day he is inevitably replaced by a machine.
The woman is a husk of what she was on her wedding day. She's lost
faith, those eyes that were once so wide and blue, are now hollowed to
I have seen such eyes many thousands of times across my eternal years.
The aging beauty fears.
She reminds him of the problems they face. The damage to the already
pitiful finances. She suggests instead they live frugally, '…to cut
down on our luxuries, and your drink'.
But he's decided. Drudging out of the living room, he finds his last
reserves in the worn-out kitchen drawer and gives in. He comprehends
the selfish act he's about to commit.
An act I must witness.
Another gulp of foamy courage distances him from murder in the first
degree. His mask falls to the floor and shatters. He is free, free from
moral obligations, untempered by societal expectations.
The primitive mind's desire to hurt and for blood lust comes crawling
out. The wife pleads and makes her peace, only trying his patience
"Why does one hold a grudge for the past?" I ask. "Why try to drink
away the sadness of yesterday by borrowing the happiness of tomorrow?"
Now they begin to bicker. Their voices build and build, the argument
growing into a dangerous cacophony. Lunging towards his wife, the
hardened hands flail and scrape against her. I'm forced to drift back
into the shadows, my pitch black rags and skeletal fingers sweeping
The belt slithers out of its buckle, and he begins his relentless
assault, starting with her legs. She screams his name, over and over.
Despite all the signs--his growing habit, the frequent visits to the
bar--it's too late; she trusted him. Void of regret, he continues to
beat and prod, to damage and harm. She whimpers for mercy; a silent
prayer to the heavens. Praying to something, anything, for protection.
To something that can stop her suffering, something with the power over
life and death.
But I'm only here for the child.
Hunched over, drenched in lust and jealousy, his fist clenches and
drives forward into her swollen belly. Despite months of development,
it will only take a single blow.
The half formed skull shatters.
I dive in, cradling the unborn spirit through my brittle claws. The
girl is tender and soft, eternally trapped in innocence, less than a
month away from seeing her mother's sea blue eyes.
Holding the nameless girl in my arms, I prepare to guide her away.
Turning to the man, I hope to see some fragment of remorse, to know
But even now, he still blames her.
Nothing can sate the monster's blind anger; not her trembling, not her
prayers, and certainly not the way she clings to survival.
Grabbing a Chardonnay bottle from the damp, wilted shelves, he inches
closer. He smashes it against her again and again, with more force each
time. Glass splinters scatter across the haggled floorboards, shrapnel
piercing her limbs, puncturing the already beaten flesh.
The guilty hand falters, losing its direction and hatred. He
screams--glass shards are embedded into his hands. The bottle drops to
the floor, but the man falls first. His victim is shaking, reassessing
It's always sweeter when you're going down the aisle.
Through her pure and trusting soul, she has suffered terribly. Her
tears are soaking into the floorboards. He has done so many wrongs. Had
so many chances. Why can't I avenge her? Dispense justice? I want to
take him instead. I want him dead.
I could carry out the act unhindered. All that bleeding woman would see
is a levitating shard pierce his neck. The authorities would pass it
off as an hallucination. I can feel the opportunity clinging to me,
breathing inside me. It's so possible.
But these are all human justifications. Once the woman stumbles to a phone, he'll be legally punished, and face human justice.
My hollow bones creak softly towards the balcony, and, with the small soul in hand, the night welcomes me back.
© 2016 Felix Bailey
Bio: Felix Bailey is an amateur writer currently studying and
stressing out over his final year in High School. He lives in Australia
and likes History, Politics and gawking at the US 2016 Election.
E-mail: Felix Bailey
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