|Paragons of Virtue
Author: Articunomew PM
Paragon City is a harsh metropolis, filled with violence, pain and betrayal. This reality becomes too real for Alexander Fraser, whose life of innocence is destroyed when he pays the ultimate price for an innocent joke.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Words: 1,246 - Published: 04-05-12 - id: 7993833
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Alex opened bleary eyes, finding a four year old looking up at him solemnly. A quick glance to his bedside clock confirmed that it was 2am, too early for a certain someone to be awake, and too late for him to be staying up much longer. With a groan, Alex sat up in bed. His wife, Janine, stirring in her sleep besides him.
"What's wrong little man?" He asked his son, reaching over and lifting the toddler into his lap. He groaned a little with the effort. Cameron had only just turned four, but he was growing quickly, amazing his father every time he picked his son up.
"I had a bad dream." Cam whispered, cuddling up close to his father's chest. Hugging him back, Alex's brow drew together in a frown.
"Isn't that the second one this week?"
Cameron shook his head. "I have had three." He tongue stumbled clumsily over the 'h's in his sentence. "But I was with grandma last one."
Alex responded by gently squeezing his son again. "Well, tell me what happened."
Cameron was silent for a moment, frowning in an expression remarkably similar to his father. "It had clowns." He said. "And they come and take me and mommy and Dylan." He said, naming his older brother, only seven.
"That doesn't sound too bad." Alex said encouragingly. "What happens next?"
"But you're not there!" Cameron said loudly, causing Janine to jerk in her sleep and roll over. Alex shushed him, pointing to Janine. Not wanting to wake his mother, who was a notoriously bad morning person, Cameron put a finger to his own lips and continued. "You're not there. But the clowns wants us to do something. They put a face on mummy, but then they get angry, so they yell at mommy. Then a big man comes and takes mommy away." Despite the nightmare, Cameron's voice was trailing off sleepily. "And then Dylan and me… we.." He sighed, eyes drooping.
Alex slowly moved Cam to the left, gently putting him down in the space between where he had been lying before, and where Janine was currently mumbling in her sleep. Quietly, he moved himself out of the bed and left the room. His first stop was the bathroom, to wash his face. Rubbing the water from his eyes, he looked at his reflection. His blue eyes appeared startling in contrast to his black hair. They had always been his favourite feature, though right now they showed signs of a man who had gotten little sleep recently. Prodding at the bag under one of his eyes, he shook his head, heading to his study. It was a small room, tucked away into the corner of the apartment, but it held Alex's workshop, as he liked to call it, with a beautiful view of Founder's Falls. Alex was a moderately successful writer, earning enough to support his family and the upkeep of the apartment. Recently, he had been given a contract by the Paragon Times to be a guest writer in their weekly guess of events which would occur around Paragon City. It was mostly a joke column, supported by the editor, who regularly hired guest writers to come up with outlandish theories. The more outlandish, the more he was willing to pay. For the protection of the authors, they were never checked against actually police files. Sometimes though, an event was so big details would pour out anyway, which had been the case for the last week. Every day, Alex had come up with (What he thought) outlandish stories, but the headline the next day had announced what Alex had written had come true. It was rather disconcerting, and potentially dangerous.
Even now, Alex felt the urge to pick up his pen and continue to write. Supressing it, he walked up to the windows, flicking the blinds absently so he could see the view which had made him want this place. Under the rustle of noise from the blinds, he didn't hear a 'click' from the door to the study as the key was turned, somehow from the other side. With a sigh, Alex walked over to his desk, sitting at it, tapping his pencil rapidly against the solid oak.
He was reluctant to release another article. The editor had been happy, ecstatic even, when Alex's 'stories' and the actual events that had occurred began to match up. He was being paid quite liberally for the risk too. But he was still on edge. And Cameron's dreams had only served to increase that. But he did need the money. Janine wanted another child, which Alex whole-heartedly supported, but it did put a pressure on the banking account. He pondered vaguely about whether or not Janine would agree to move to another country to raise three children. She was a nurse, he was a writer. It wasn't like she couldn't easily find another hospital to work.
Looking at the clock in the half-lights of the city, Alex frowned. Speaking of her job, Janine was due to get up soon to start the night shift. He had been deep in thought for close to forty-five minutes now. With a sigh, he stood up and walked to the door, hand outstretched to turn the knob.
It wouldn't open.
Alex blinked in confusion, before trying again, this time more vigorously. When it still wouldn't budge, his hand groped for the key he always kept in the lock. He cursed when he found it missing. That's when he heard it.
"The man is awake. Quickly, move the others and let's get out of here."
His eyes widened, hands groping for pockets and phones which weren't there in his pyjamas. He hammered on the door, kicking it when it still didn't open.
"Daddy!" A high pitched screech filled the air. Cameron. Alex redoubled his efforts, cursing his desire not to have a phone in his study. For what seemed like an eternity, he pounded at the solid oak door. It stood firm, despite his attempts. Suddenly, there was silence in the house. An oppressive silence which shocked Alex to his core.
He had failed them.
Frustration grew in his mind, and he let loose a scream of anguish. The part of his mind now only vaguely aware of the outside world noted coolly that the door had buckled when he had yelled. His primal instincts seized upon it, and with another blood-curdling yell, the door cracked through the middle. Alex drew his fist back, punching the door. With a crash, it flew from its hinges, partially embedding itself in the wall. He rushed out, looking wildly around, but this only confirmed what the silence before had told him. The front door was broken, its lock lying uselessly on the ground in the kitchen, a ten feet away. His bedroom showed only the depression in the mattress where his wife had been, a smaller depression showing where Cameron was. Dylan's bed was ripped apart, the bedding gone, no doubt used to tie or muffle his family. With a final scream, a shockwave seemed to spread from Alex's body, shattering every window, every vase, every fragile surface, within the apartment.
But it didn't change anything. His family was gone, and he hadn't done anything to save them.