The Price of Sacrifice.

What follows is one of my first short stories. That was rejected by everyone. Be nice, please. 

Early on, before Vanessa was born, Saul came to the conclusion that the only thing he had to do to be successful as a parent was to do the exact opposite of what his parents did.

It worked.

Any gaps that were left from his parenting philosophy were filled in instinctively.

He knew he would do anything to protect Vanessa. She was the second female (his wife being the first) that he ever fell in love with.

As time went on, Saul proved himself to be an exemplary father. He attended all of the necessary school functions. He gave ‘Ness advice that he thought a father should give and he was always there for her, keeping her tethered to the ground.

As Ness entered womanhood, her relationship with Saul became a little more distant. It felt natural so Saul didn’t question it. She could only exist as his little girl in his mind now and Saul was ok with that. Vanessa kept in touch with her parents, especially her mother. Admittedly, Saul felt a little put out by this but he didn’t mind. Whatever they were talking about, he knew it was only something his wife could be there for and he was ok with that.

One day Saul came home to find his wife and his daughter sitting at the kitchen table.

His daughter was the first to say anything.

“Hi Daddy,” she said getting up from the table to hug him.

“Hey there, puddin’ pop”.

He could see that Vanessa and her mother had been crying. In the gap of time between saying ‘hello’ and his daughter moving from the table to hug him, nausea swallowed Saul whole. As she went to put her arms around him, that’s when he saw it: A bruise like a small nebula, hidden underneath a small fortune of make-up. Breaking the embrace, He looked from the small nebula to the depths of his daughter’s eyes.

“Did Kenny do this to you?” he seethed.

A venomous rage filled Saul’s soul and made him deaf to the story that his daughter told him. It made him ignorant to any protestations. It poisoned him and began to corrode his being like a flame devouring a dry forest.

He told them what he thought they needed to hear. He knew what needed to be done.


Before dawn the next day, Saul found himself in the parking lot of an apartment building. In the apartment building resided Kenny who turned his only daughter, a grown woman, into a little girl again.

Saul sat in his car, still drowning in that tidal wave of anger. He knew that Vanessa needed to feel safe, that she was loved and that this would never, ever happen again. Saul was glad to give her that even if he wasn’t going to go about it the right way.

Saul’s thoughts evaporated as he saw Kenny exit his apartment building.

It was like Saul wasn’t in control of his body anymore: exiting his car, closing the door without making too much noise, none of it registered in his mind. All he could think about was the bile rising in his throat and closing the gap between him and Kenny.

As the distance shortened, Saul fumbled with something in his coat pocket. It all went so horribly fast.

“Excuse me!” Saul called.

Kenny paused by their car, door left slightly ajar.

“Do I know you?” Kenny asked.

“In a manner of speaking, you do. You do know me”.

Kenny had both hands at their side now. They had that far away look on their face that everyone gets when they are trying to make their brain do something it doesn’t want to do.

The dawn of recognition rose on Kenny’s face.

Recognition was followed quickly by Surprise as Saul lunged toward Kenny with a fully charged taser crackling.

Dancing around like a tangled marionette for a few seconds, Kenny bounced off of his car and collapsed onto the ground beside it.

Saul was proud of himself.

He considered the environment for a moment. With considerable strain, Saul wedged the top half of Kenny din his car, while the lower half of his body lay outside of the car.

There was no turning back. The only reality left was that Saul had a job to finish.

A muffled thud crawled up the walls of the apartment building as Saul swung the door shut. The marionette jumped from the shock of the door cutting into flesh.

He opened the door again.

He thought of the pain and fear he saw in his daughter’s eyes; another muffled thud, another jump from the lifeless marionette.

Winded now, Saul was doubled over from the effort.

“Lot less blood than I would’ve thought,” he said aloud.

Groaning as he tried to stand up straight again, Saul put both hands on the door and raised his head to the sky.

“All I ever wanted was for her to be safe and happy. And you ruined that. You ruined that for all of us”.

He brought his head back down to the mess before him.

A dark rage bloomed across his face.

Saul opened the door as far as he could.

A loud crunch echoed off of the walls of the apartment building. Saul was flat on his back besides the car.


Saul didn’t realize it at the time, but he was dreaming.

A dying light existed outside of his scope of vision. Saul looked down at a cup in his hand. He regarded it with a benign wisdom.

His surroundings unfolded before him.

Everything that had happened in this dream was like watching a ballroom dance under water, graceful and distorted.

A damp chilled crawled through Saul’s mind as he realized that he was in a cave of loose stone. In the distance he could see that the cave was part of a tunnel system and that he was at a dead end.

Turning his attention back to the cup in his hand, Saul raised the bottom of the cup to his lips and he began to blow. The sound that the cup produced sounded like the horns of war.

A shadow stirred at the end of the tunnel.

Growing in size as it moved down the tunnel, Saul still couldn’t see what was producing the shadow. An eternity passed before Saul finally saw what horrors awaited him.

It was a spider. Nothing more.

Even though it wasn’t more than two inches in diameter, Saul could see that there was something wrong with it. It just looked angry.

Without provocation, the spider picked up the closest sharp object it could find and proceeded to jab at Saul’s ankles.

Saul couldn’t help but laugh at this. Out of all of the possibilities that Saul could have faced, he got a spider that was trying to kill him by human means.

It wasn’t long before the novelty wore off for Saul.

“You’re not long for this world,” Saul’s subconscious intoned to the spider.

With several clumsy movements, Saul picked up the nearest stone and put an end to this nonsense.

To his astonishment, there was a halo of fluid and a tangle of legs radiating outward from the stone.

The legs were still twitching.

The spider that was only a couple of inches in diameter was infinitely larger than Saul could ever comprehend.

Crouching now, Saul scratched the back of his head in confusion.

He pulled his hand away from his head in shock.

It was wet with blood.

Tired of this confused ballroom dance, Saul made for the surface of the dream before his body caved in on itself.


It took him a second to realize where he was laying.

“Fuck. Musta’ passed out,” he thought.

Saul propped himself up on his elbows and did a quick scan of the parking lot. There were still only two cars in it, and he was lying next to one of them.

He exhaled a sigh of relief at the thought that luck was in his favor.

Scooting himself next to the car, Saul sat himself up next to the rear wheel on the driver’s side.

Running his hands over his body in search of any adrenaline-dulled cuts or broken bones, he couldn’t help but feel like a damn fool.

“I’m an old man. Old men aren’t supposed to get into situations like this. They’re supposed to manipulate the younger guys to do this shit for them,” he thought.

The only thing left for him to do was to finish what he started.

Saul positioned himself next to the open driver’s side door. Occupying the empty space between the door and the rest of the car the lower half of a Person.

“People seriously underestimate the amount of force necessary to slam a car door on someone,” Saul said out loud.

His head went into his hands.

“Why… Why did you have to be so stupid?” Saul said to the body lying next to him.

Realizing that he would have plenty of time to feel sorry for himself if were to get picked up by the cops, Saul made his first attempts at getting up and dusting himself off since he had woken up.

The parking lot was located behind one part of the apartment building. At the very edge of the property was a swimming pool. Both were connected by a couple of flights of stairs at the far end of the parking lot.

It was a stretch, but Saul didn’t have any other choice.

He sighed. The weight of what he had done was starting to compress his soul. He pulled a modest flask from his pocket and took a snoot full to steady his nerves.

He had just killed Someone. This was somebody’s Child.

Using his foot as leverage against the car, he grabbed the body with both hands and pulled for all he was worth.

For a brief second there was nothing but a ball of arms and legs floating in mid air.

Saul was flat on his back again, the body on top of him.

A small moan came from somewhere in the jumble.

This Person wasn’t dead.

With a quick shove, the body turned into a mass of angles and curves by the rear wheel of the car with Saul scrambling to his feet.

60 seconds went by before Saul had anything in his head that resembled a coherent thought.

The sun, piercing and clear, was beginning to rise. Saul saw the bright side of this situation.

Crouching over the body now, he whispered in its ear, “You should’ve known better”. Saul smiled for the first time in what felt like a thousand years.

He opened the body’s mouth and poured half of his flask’s contents down the hatch, the rest he dumped on the body’s clothes. With all of the spluttering and gagging, Saul couldn’t help but chuckle at the fact that Kenny looked like a fish on dry land.

With a ferocious kick to the head, Saul put all of that nonsense to an end.

“Is everything all right?” called a sleepy voice from one of the apartment windows above.

“What’s that?” Saul called up, feigning confusion.

“I said, is everything all right down there?” the voice said.

“My —– just had a little too much to drink. I’m just trying to get ‘em into their apartment to sleep it off,” Saul called up jovially.

“Good luck with that…” the voice mumbled down.

Saul smiled and waved as he began to crouch down to assist his “son“. Saul knew that even if he were completely screwed, he still had to move fast.

Grabbing Kenny by the foot, Saul dragged them the entire length of the parking lot. Saul paused at the top of the stairs to catch his breath.

The stairs that led down to the pool cascaded before Saul’s eyes. As he positioned Kenny for the final shove, Saul noticed a slight tingling in his right arm.

With what little strength Saul had left, he shoved the jumbled mass down the flight of stairs that led to the pool.

“So that’s what ass-over-tea-kettle looks like,” Saul thought as the body made it’s descent.

The body landed at the foot of the stairs. One more drag and Saul was almost home free. As he walked down the stairs to the pool, Saul noticed the tingling in his arm had become a full-fledged pain.

Saul dragged Kenny to the edge of the pool and pushed.

The body slid in with a whisper.

Saul began to head back to his car, arm howling and the pressure closing in around his chest.

Getting into his car and driving away, the world seemed to swim around him.

Was he dreaming?

He didn’t remember making it home.

He didn’t remember his wife refusing to leave his bedside.

He didn’t remember his daughter crying.

When he woke, Saul knew that he was in a hospital. He knew why he was in the hospital. And he knew why he was handcuffed to his bed. Even though his girls weren’t around at the moment, he knew that things would turn out all right. With a tired sigh, Saul closed his eyes one last time.


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