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A Candle of Hope

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Takeru sat across from the open window, his blue eyes staring a hole through the only star visible through the ink-black sky. Its luminescent glow calling to him in a soft, honey-like voice that sounded familiar somehow. ‘Shining star, oh shining star,’ the voice seemed to sing, ‘how you seem so far’. The voice was that of a women’s he was sure, but as he tried to think of her face, it would blur and escape him. Over and over he tried, but to no avail. With no other choice, he gave up and instead, moved his gaze from the singular star to the harmonica lying in his right hand.

It was at that moment, he felt pressure on his hand, then as sudden as he had, nothing. He could still see it, sure, but he couldn’t feel it. It felt like someone had come over and taken it from him, but that didn’t happen. He could still see it there, sitting on his small palm. He clenched it into his fist, just as a melody began to play. It was a comforting song, but sounded so, so sad.

Why was it sad?

He could hear yelling coming from the other room, growing in volume as every second ticked by. He could hear every word sharp noise, from the use of extensive and slurred profanities to the slamming of hands against the kitchen table. A warm wetness slid down his rosy cheeks, the song becoming increasingly louder, blocking out other noises from entering his ears.

Why was it sad?

He pulled his legs up onto the red leather sofa as if to protect himself. His hands following suit, curling over his knees in an accustomed way. He closed his eyes tightly, burying his face in his arms. He could feel something coming towards him, something dark and terrifying. It was the monster wanting to hurt him again, he was sure.

Was it because he was sad?

He tried to hold back a whimper as the monster had found him. It grabbed his arm, turning the pinkish skin a deathly white before yanking him forward, his treasured harmonica flying from his grasp. It flew through the air, heading towards the single starlit sky. He never had the chance to hear it land as the music in his head hit its peak, crescendoing the moment a large hand struck his wet cheek. Pained sobs wracked his body, while he begged the monster to stop hurting him, asked it what he had done wrong, but all he got in response was the hot, putrid smell of the beast’s breath hitting his face. The smell was strong like those bottles he had found scattered around the house. The same bottles that made the monster become stronger and angrier with just a few sips of its liquid poison.

The monster tossed him aside, a yelp ripping from his throat when his back collided with the glass coffee table that sat in the middle of the living room. The force of his fall caused the table to shatter under his weight, blood soaking the tan carpet under him. He whimpered, fresh tears falling from behind closed eyes.

Faintly, a gruff voice sounded over the music, finishing the words of the woman before him, ‘Here, I ask thee, with all my might, to grant this single wish tonight’. He clenched his fist, hissing as the glass shards were pushed further into his hands. He could almost see that man, smiling at him, but his features, like the woman before were blurred. He felt like he should know them, but why? Why did he want to trust them? Wouldn't they just hurt him like the monster he was forced to live with everyday?

He opened his cerulean orbs, surprised to see the star shining brighter than before. Its light felt warm, enveloping around him like the arms of his mother whenever he was frightened. His lips quirked up in the hint of a smile, forgetting the presence of the monster staggering towards him, if only for a moment. It was strange. He had no mother who hugged him, so how could he possibly know how that feels? He wasn’t sure, but he liked the feeling. It was nice.

He hardly felt the blow against his head as the song faded away, being replaced by the voice of a boy a few years older than him, ‘It’s alright, TK,’ it whispered, ‘just lie down, and it will all be over soon.’ His vision dimmed around the edges, blocking everything, but that star from of his field of view. He could feel two large, warm hands pushing him down as if he’d shatter at any given second. He didn’t know why, but he could swear those hands belonged to the man who had spoken to him. He turned his head slightly towards the left, where a boy a few years older than him sat, raking his fingers through his hair. The boy looked just like him, he noticed. He had the same cerulean blue eyes and golden locks.

He wasn’t real. He knew that the only ones there were him and the monstrous beast behind him. No one else lived in the house. So, why did he look and feel so real?

The boy smiled, seeming to notice his confusion, and pressed a light kiss to his temple, and whispered, ‘I’ll always be here for you, Takeru, always.’

It didn’t take much longer for the sound of sirens and shouting to lull him into the darkness that called for him, cradling him in its arms. He could vaguely remember being afraid of its grasp, but this felt different. It felt like he was finally going home.