• Paper flowers
    A loud crack filled the air. The sound of screaming could be heard throughout the apartment but none of the neighbors cared. Nobody cared. A small boy sat in the corner watching the assault on his mother silently. She had come home from work and walked in on the boy's uncle beating him. She stepped into the way knowing the out come.

    After the man had finished with the woman he turned to the boy who looked up in silent apathy. He hated the boy. Always silent he never did anything normal. He always sat silently. The boy’s gray eyes would bore through the man and gave him nightmares. This wasn’t a boy, this was a demon. The man couldn’t understand why the boy’s mother couldn’t see it as well. The man saw the bottle that he pulled from and picked it up. He knew that this would give him the answers he needed, and also the power to follow through.

    The boy watched the man pick up his juice and drink it. The boy could see the man’s spirit. Every time he drank from his glass his spirit would waver and fade. The boy had before tried to save the man by throwing the bottle in the trash but the man saw this and hit him. The boy had been trying to save this man for months but everything he tried failed, and after every failure he was beaten. The boy didn’t care anymore. He tried to save him but the man just didn’t want to be saved. So now he sat in silence as the dark creature’s hold over the man grew stronger. The man drank from his bottle and the creature grew bigger. The boy didn’t know what it was but he knew that it would soon be ready for whatever it was waiting for. The man dropped the bottle and staggered towards the boy. The boy couldn’t follow what happened next because after the first hit he lost his ability to feel.

    The boy lay on the ground receiving blow after blow. His breathing came hard and the pain began to return. His sight began to waver and for a moment he thought he saw a door. Through his fading vision he saw it again. The door was surrounded by complete darkness and the opening was purely light. He forced himself to stand through the beatings and ran towards the door. But just as he was about to enter it he fell forward. Before he hit the ground he saw the faint outline of a figure in the door, and he thought he heard it call to him.

    The boy woke up with his mother standing over him shaking him gently. “Are you okay?” she asked him checking where he had been hit. The boy sat up and rubbed his head “why can’t he leave us alone.” He asked his mother. She looked away and was silent for awhile; looking back at her son she replied “your father wants us to stay with him until he gets back. It won’t be long now. I’ve talked to your daddy and he said that he will be back soon.” She looked out the window. “I want to leave but your father wants us to hold on a little longer. He is going to make sure this doesn’t ever happen again.” The boy just stared unmoved at her statement but he dropped the subject. He stood up and walked over to the window staring out to an empty field. His mother moved and sat beside him near the window and she to look out the window but her eyes were instead drawn to the full moon that lit the sky and the field. “Mommy” the boy said after a few minutes of staring. “Why aren’t there any flowers in that field?” she looked down to the field and then to her son “nobody around here grows anything. So the field is left empty for anyone who wants to try.” The boy nodded his head and continued his gaze at the field. “I’m going to grow things in that field one day.” The boy’s mother just nodded her head and sat in silence.

    The next day the woman took her son to work with her. He had been here before and was greeted by his mother’s co-workers. He waved to some of them and smiled for a few but that was the extent. As his mother worked he sat in the company break room and kept mostly to himself but on occasion he spoke to the employees. While he sat his mothers boss came in and sat down across the table from the boy. He was an easygoing guy with a good personality. He was always nice to the boy and let his mother bring him to work. The man had a large stack of papers and began folding the first one. The boy watched him intently straining to see what he was folding. The man finished and on the table sat a perfect paper lotus. He looked up at the boy who was still staring and smiled. “You like this?” He asked the boy motioning to the flower. The boy nodded his head. The man motioned for the boy to come over. “Want to learn how to make one?” the boy jumped from his seat smiling “yes” he said walking over to the other side of the table. “Okay then.” The man said and he began to show the boy how to fold the paper. “So what’s your name?” he asked the boy. “Rein” he replied “what’s yours?” the man finished showing him the fold and replied “ my name is Ellis” rein nodded and began to fold the paper he was given. Ellis watched his folds and corrected his mistakes. “So how old are you rein?” without looking up from his paper he replied “I’m 6 years old.” Ellis stood up and walked to the vending machine and got two drinks out. “So rein I hear your father is coming back soon how do you feel about that?” rein shook his head “I don’t know” he said checking the fold of his flower. Satisfied he grabbed another one. Ellis sat a drink down in front of him and resumed his seat. “Do you have anything you want to say to him?” he asked rein as he began folding another flower. Rein nodded his head yes “I do but I don’t want to say it so I won’t tell him.” Ellis looked surprised at his response “Why not?” he asked him “Because it’s scary.” Rein replied. Ellis stopped him from beginning his fold on the next paper. “Your mother told me you can write. If you’re too scared to say it why don’t you write it? Write in your flower then give it to him.” Rein was quiet but nodded at the idea. He was given a pen and he wrote a short sentence on his paper and then folded it. Ellis looked at his flower then pointed to a petal. “Write who it’s to right here so they know to open it.” rein did and he then sat the flower on the table. Ellis picked it up and read ‘to daddy’ on the petal. “When I was your age I use to write notes to my friends and family in little folds like these maybe it can help you talk more often.” At that moment the boy’s mother came in “rein! I have a surprise for you. Go to my office.” Rein grabbed his paper and ran to the office. His mother turned around to her boss and thanked him for watching rein. He nodded and told her that he would do anything he could to help. She thanked him again and left the room.

    In his mothers office he sat down with his paper and his mother walked in smiling. “Your father is going to be home in three days. He is on the phone right now.” The boy looked at the phone and mother pressed a button on it. “Its on speaker” she said and then she sat down. “Hello” a strong male voice said over the phone. Rein walked to the phone and was silent. “Hello?” the phone said again. The boy’s mother answered the voice “he is here I think he is just shy. He doesn’t talk to people often.” “I see” the phone replied. “Well rein this is your dad. I’m going to be home soon. Listen I know that the man you’re staying with isn’t good but stay strong for just a little longer okay? I’ll be home and I’ll take care of everything from then on. Do you think you can hang in there a bit longer?” Rein nodded his head unconsciously “I can hang in there.” The phone sighed relief. “That’s good so how are you there anything you want to say?” Rein smiled optimistically “yea I made you a paper flower with a note in it.” The phone laughed. “I see. What does it say?” rein laughed at the phone and responded “you have to read it.” “Okay” the phone said “I will. You can’t drive with your mom to come get me but if you give them to her I will read them and see you after wards okay?” rein nodded and said okay. The phone then started to crackle and the voice began to sound worried “listen I have to go but I’ll be there soon I prom…” there was a dial tone and that ended the conversation. Rein’s mother hung up the phone with a worried expression but she changed it fast. “I’m going to pick him up this weekend if all goes well. So we’ll be out of that apartment soon.” The boy just smiled and nodded.
    When rein got home he ran to the empty field and placed a paper flower in it. his mother called him over and he went in the house. Once inside he could tell that things were about to be bad. He looked on the table and saw a brown bag. He remembered seeing the bag every time the man he lived with drank from his bottle. He slowed down as he walked into the main room looking for where the man might come out. He could here laughing from a dark corner in the room where the man was. He looked to his mother but it seemed that she couldn’t hear it. he saw movement in the corner and smoke suddenly rise. The man stood from the floor and took a pull from his drink. He then sat the bottle down gently and began to walk over to the pair watching him. Rein looked over the man’s shoulder and watched the shadow that now loomed over him. He could hear the creature snickering as it held the man to its mercy. The man started yelling at Rein’s mother about something that Rein didn’t understand. He suddenly pushed rein’s mother back and began to step forward. Rein tried to push the man away from her but he only took the stick from his mouth and burned him. Rein screamed at the man but it was no good. The man just raised his hand and hit him. Rein fell dizzied from the shot. As he lay there inattentive to his surroundings he heard a voice. He looked up and saw the door again. He saw the figure in the door as well. “Don’t cry Rein” the figure said smoothly. “I will save you if you want me to.” Rein watched the figure unable to tell its features. “Can you save mommy to?” he asked it. The figure shook its head “I’m sorry it’s not in my power to save her. I can only save you.” Rein looked down from the figure. “I can’t leave without her.” The figure nodded “ its okay if you ever need me I’ll be here. I’ll take you to the field.” The boy lifted his head a little and stared at the figure. “The field?” he asked it. The figure had no features but he could feel that it was smiling when he asked that question. “You don’t have to come now but look through the door.” The figure disappeared and the boy walked to the door and looked inside.
    Inside of the door he saw a field. It was enormous and full of life giving off a feeling of peace and perfection. He looked down at the flowers enjoying them, when one near the door caught his eye. He looked at it for a while and he realized that it was made of paper. All of the flowers in the field were paper. The one he looked at he picked and saw that on the petal it was addressed to him. He was about to open it when everything suddenly began to fade. The field blacked out with his sight.

    Rein woke to see a white ceiling. He looked at his surroundings and he saw his mother sitting in a chair near the bed that he lay in. he had never been to this place before but it had an odd feeling about it. When his mother realized he was awake she embraced him and asked if he was okay. He nodded still looking around the room examining his surroundings. After awhile his mother explained that he was at a hospital because he needed help. He didn’t ask any questions he just accepted that answer. “Rein.” His mother said “your going to be here for a another day okay. I’ll be back later on tonight and then in the morning we’ll go to the apartment again.” He nodded his acceptance again and laid back. “Is there anything you want while you’re here?” she asked him trying to make him more comfortable. “Can I have some paper and pencils” he said almost immediately. She said okay and left the room coming back with what he asked. “Okay I’ll be back later tonight, I’ll see you soon and I won’t leave for to long.” He said okay and she left.

    Later that night the boy’s mother returned to the room he was in and found it filled with paper flowers. They were in piles and had different people they were addressed to. The first pile was addressed to daddy and had the largest amount. The second was addressed to the man he lived with and had only four the last two were addressed to his mother and Ellis. She looked at these for a moment but she then went on to talk to her son. “Hey you okay?” he nodded. “I’ve got good news for you.” I called your father and he said he is coming home tonight. He wants me to bring him the flower you made for him okay?” rein nodded his head and pointed to the pile. She put them in a bag and picked rein up and put him on the floor. “I have to check you out of here and drop you off at the apartment for a little while. I don’t think that your uncle is there so you should be okay I’ll only be gone for an hour okay.” he nodded his head and he picked up the rest of his paper and made ready to leave.

    After his mom dropped him off at the house Rein handed her the flowers for his dad, herself, and Ellis. He sat the ones for his uncle on the table and went to his room. His mom had been gone for around twenty minutes when he felt a cold chill. he heard laughing from the hall way outside of the apartment and heard the key turn. His uncle walked in and the shadow that followed him engulfed him. His walk was staggered and his eyes were red. In his hand he held the bottle in its bag and his mouth carried the scent of it. He walked in and saw the flowers on the table addressed to him. He picked up the first and read it ‘I hate you’ he snickered a little and dropped it picking up the next ‘your juice is bad for you’ it read he laughed at this and read the next ‘I’m going to leave’ he whooped at this one and picked up the final one. ‘You’re a monster’ this one he crumbled in his fist. “So I’m a monster huh kid?” he shouted taking a pull from his elixir. “I’ll show you a monster.” Rein heard him coming and ran picking up a final piece of paper and pencil. He ran to the bathroom and shut the door.

    The woman jumped out of the car when the man came to the door. she laughed and they exchanged greetings and began asking and answering questions. After a few minutes they got in the car and started driving. “So where is this flower that rein made?” the man asked. “Here they are” said the woman handing the bag of paper to the man. “ wow he really likes these doesn’t he?” “Yea he loves them” she replied. The man opened the first one and it said ‘hello’ he read a few with little happy greetings. Then the messages took a turn. ‘Where did you go?’ ‘Why did you leave me?’ ‘Is it my fault?’ he looked at these and others like it and felt shame wash over himself. Finally he looked at the last one and its message cut the deepest. ‘Who are you?’ he turned to his wife and couldn’t bring himself to look at her “I’m sorry for being gone so long.” She just shook tears from her eyes “you’re back now so it doesn’t matter.”

    Rein flew back into the bathroom as the man took another swing at him. He could barely move and he could hear running water. He began to feel his sight waver again and the door started to appear again. Suddenly his head was lifted and he was forced into water. He could feel his breath leaving and began to panic “Help! Someone please help me!” he cried but nothing happened. His head hit the water again and he again lost his breath. When he came up he saw the door shining in all of its glory. He forced himself out of the man’s arms and felt himself drop to the floor. The man was suddenly on his back. Taking the opportunity rein ran as fast as he could to the door. He turned around at the door and looked back seeing his mother bent over on the ground holding something he couldn’t see and a man standing with her both shouting and crying. The man knelt down and grabbed the thing that she was holding trying to move it. on another glance he realized it was his father. He started to walk over to them but his uncle began to rise from the ground. Rein ran back to the door where the figure was waiting. “Bye daddy. There is another flower on the counter.” After he said that he walked through the door and it sealed behind him.

    The boy’s mother and father pulled into the apartments and began walking up the stairs. The man could barely keep himself at a walk because of the excitement of seeing his son. After reading the messages sent to him he was ready to make things right. Half way up the stairs he and his wife heard screams. He stopped for a moment and he ten recognized the voice. He ran full speed up the stairs towards the door. that the screams came from. He tried the door once and found it locked. Not waiting another second he kicked it in just as his wife came up the stairs. Once inside the apartment he ran towards the screams. He turned into the bathroom and saw his brother standing over his son holding him under the water in the tub. He grabbed his brother and threw him off into the hallway and pulling his son out of the water. The boy’s mother came and grabbed him shaking him gently trying to rouse him. The man knelt next to her and also shook him. He tried cpr and the boy’s breathing returned faintly. The boy opened his eyes and looked at his father smiling “Bye daddy. There is another flower on the counter.” he said weakly before closing his eyes again. The man motion for his wife to get up and he picked up the boy and grabbed the flower off of the counter, running down the stairs with him to the car. He sat in back and the boy’s mother drove as fast as she could, trying to get to a hospital. The man listened for the boy’s breathing but couldn’t hear it. At the hospital doctors did as much as they could but it was to no avail. The boy wouldn’t breath. His father tried to wipe his eyes but he couldn’t do it enough. He reached in his pocket and pulled out the last flower and opened it. ‘I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough’

    In the field the boy ran with other children his age and the figure of light watched over them. The boy would still make flowers and the spirit delivered them to the people he wrote them to. The boy’s father feeling grief bought the apartment complex and the empty field and buried his son in the field. He spent years out of his life filling the field with flowers. The grave of his son marked with apologies in the form of paper flowers.