The Beta's Rebound
The Beta's Rebound
Author: Samuelade


“Sleep tight, Eloise,” My father said as he tucked me in and gave me my favorite stuffed wolf.

I yawned and pulled the blanket up to my chin, all the while studying the man leaning over me with a strange look in his eye. He had been acting strange for weeks, full of energy one day and then unable to get out of bed the next. Mother had told me that he was just going through a midlife crisis. I had no idea what that was. All I knew was that I just wanted my daddy back. The man staring at me felt more or less like a stranger, and he gave me a weird feeling. A chill that crept down my spine each time his bloodshot eyes travelled in my direction.

“No matter what, I want you to stay in bed tonight, do you understand, Eloise?” He asked as he abruptly grabbed the stuffed wolf out of my arms and fixated his attention on it.

“Please give him back, Daddy,” I begged as I stretched out my arms for the wolf I had come to depend on lately. Daddy wasn’t the only one who’d been acting strange; Mommy had been acting weird too, crying in her bedroom at all hours and screaming at Dad for stuff I didn’t understand.

Daddy tossed the wolf at me and leaned closer until I was shrinking back against my pillow, gripping the toy tightly against me. Daddy’s teeth elongated into sharp points, and his eyes took on a golden glow as a low growl pulled from his throat.

“Stay in your bed,” he pressed, the rumble of his wolf pulsing through his voice with authority.

I nodded quickly, not wanting to make him infuriated.

His teeth receded after he stared at me for another moment, and he must have believed me because he shortly turned and left the room, shutting the door behind him. A moment later, I heard the click on my doorknob that let me know he had locked it. I didn’t worry too much about that. This was not the first time it had happened and daddy wasn't the only one who did it too. Mum did too. She claimed it was to protect me from seeing things that would disturb me. I shut my eyes and counted sheep. When morning came, the door would be opened again. I listened to daddy even when the sensation on my back told me not to. I just had to wait. I just had to.


I didn't expect to wake up a few moments after but I found it difficult to breathe. There was something in the air that forced me to spurt out of the bed. A heavy cloud that burned my nostrils and lungs. The room was hazy when my eyes adjusted to the sight. Smoke. There was smoke in every corner. I tried to yell for my parents but the moments I took in a lungful of the air, my lungs crumbled and I choked. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I struggled to keep my eyes open so I could see where I was going. All I could taste and breathe in was smoke and ash. My breath was also beginning to come out in gasps. The smoke was surging in from under the scrapes of my door. It made me realize that the smoke was coming from out there. I also knew from all the fire drills my school had made me take that this smoke was not as a result of burned food. There was fire out there. Fire that was sure to spread here soon enough if I didn't get out. For a moment, I ran towards the window. It would have been the safest way out of it was not on the second floor and barricaded. I looked back to the door. The smoke streaming was getting closer. Grabbing my doll, I ran towards the door and pulled at the doorknob. The act alone made me feel like I was going to collapse any second. My eyes were burning. Same with my lungs. After a series of tugging and no budge, I realized that my father had locked the door earlier. I would have panicked but the metal knob tight in my hands was cool to the touch. That was good. It was another fire safety thingy we learned in school. I coughed again. This time with a force that hurt because it felt like I was going to hurl out the entirety of my insides. There was no time to panic. My throat kept burning as I struggled to find the pin I had hidden between the creaky baseboards of my aged room. It was for emergency. For example, if I was thirsty or a little bit hungry. I gasped in relief when I found it and instantly started poking the metal in to the keyhole and working through the coil. I had practice. Several nights where I had been too thirsty or hungry to wait for mom to unlock my door in the morning. So even in the smoke, I got the coil to unlock in a matter of minutes. As soon as the unlocked door creaked open, a wall of thick black smoke pounded my face and inside my room.

“Mommy! Daddy! Mommy!” I screamed before erupting in another coughing fit. No one appeared in the corridor, and I couldn’t hear anything besides the sound of flames crackling and timber creaking and breaking from somewhere not to fr away.

I wandered down the hallway, stopping at mom's room. Her door was cracked open. And when I say cracked, I mean half of it wasn't where it was supposed to be. It looked like it has been broken into. Worried sick, I staggered inside. The room was a mess. There was clothes strew everywhere but soon enough, I realized that mom was on her bed. She must have passed out due to the smoke.

"Mum!" I yelled as I ran to her side but as I jumped into the bed, my knees touched something warm and wet. The smoke was seeping thickly into the room but I could tell what is was. Blood. My little marbles struggled to comprehend why that was so but when I looked at my mother, I got a rude awakening. Her body was cut open. Her eyes were bulging out of her eye sockets. Her nose and half of her face was also missing. She was... dead.

"No..." I gasped, wanting to pull her close and hug her. I wanted this to be a nightmare but the air, the heat and the sight before me told a different story. I remained livid even when a beam of wood collapsed behind me propelling embers of red across the room. The same embers started small fire. A fire that was beginning to grow into a massive inferno. Just then, I heard footsteps behind me.

“Why are you out of your room?” I heard my father shriek.

I peeked my head to look at him. His face was darkened. His eyes were a bright yellow and he had crimson stains all over him. Except he wasn't hurt like mom. He didn't even seem to care that mum was dead on their bed.

"Something happened to mum." I whispered.

"Go back to your room and sleep." He ordered, ignoring everything I just said.

I stood there frozen as I realized what no child should discover. I remained there frozen as the words echoed in the recess of my mind. Daddy killed mommy.

"Daddy," I spoke softly. "Did you hurt mommy?"

I could see the insanity in his eyes as he approached me, grabbed me by the throat and lifted me high enough to meet his insidious glare. "I didn't want to have to hurt you Eloise."

"Daddy please," I struggled to say while struggling to breathe. My lungs were tired. I could feel my consciousness begin to wane whilst my legs struggled and kicked. Not that any of that was enough to stop him. "I have been a good girl."

At that point, I was gasping for dear life. My head feeling light and fuzzy. I faintly heard daddy say something. Something about the peace he was going to get when I joined my mother. He warned me not to make him feel guilty. This was it, I thought. I was going to die. In the hands of my own father but just as life began to depart me, I heard another voice. This one was soothing. Like the voice of an elder sister. Perhaps it was my brain's way of making this specific moment less painful.

"Do not be afraid. We will not die Eloise. This, I promise you." Those were her specific words and the last thing I heard as my father's iron grip crushed my throat.

Related chapters

Latest chapter Protection Status