(This story has its own cover art, belonging to the blessed and extraordinary PrincessFlaky on deviantart! Please check out her works if you haven't yet; she's so awesome and an AMAZING artist!)
"All officers! Be on the lookout for The Demon Child!"
We all have secrets...
"Phillip Masterson, The Demon Child, was last seen running downtown!"
But some… Are worse than others...
Bold men and women, dressed in blue and sporting shiny stars on their chest, were wandering the streets of the lowly city, armed with lit flashlights and loaded handguns.
Officers were eager to find the evil child, wherever he was. They all crowded the streets, all of them given the order to 'shoot on sight' when the come in contact with him. And each one of them carried a rolled wanted poster, with the ugly grin of their target.
THE DEMON CHILD
WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE
They are on the lookout for a brown haired boy, who was last seen with yellow eyes and sharp triangular teeth. He has been on the lam for close to three weeks, and every week he added more and more victims to his list.
And every household in the area held terrified citizens, all locking their doors and shutting their blinds. The city had never dealt with the likes of a serial killer before, nor did they expect the killer be a child. And the scared people all turned their attention to their television sets, all focusing on the news report by a shaken female reporter.
"In other news, police are on the lookout for Phillip Masterson, a nine year old boy charged with several counts of second degree murder. He has been codenamed, 'The Demon Child.' Police urge you, do not come in contact with The Demon Child. He is believed to be extremely dangerous."
Running the streets of the frightened city was a young boy who was accompanied by nobody. He was alone. No family to look after him. No friends to call him own. Nobody to trust.
But above all, no food to fulfill his burning hunger.
His belly rumbled greatly as he stopped to catch his breath from running nearly all day. All he came to the city for was to find a meal. Just something to eat.
The boy looked rather miserable; messy brown locks on his head, grey circles around his eyes to show his lack of sleep, dirt splattered cheeks and tattered clothes of a grey shirt and ripped brown shorts.
And his name was Phillip.
Phillip threw his blue colored knapsack onto the floor, then slowly ran his back down a filthy brick wall belonging to a dark alley, and allowed his bottom to reach the floors. He looked at his bare feet, with no shoes to cover his bruised and skinned toes and ankles. He looked at his hands, crackling and dry much like his feet.
And he felt his tummy rumble with hunger.
He looked around the area, and found a trash can underneath a bright spotlight. Desperate for food, he crawled over and looked in the can, only to find it empty. Just like always. But something caught his eye behind a can near the other side of the alley.
He noticed something peculiar; the sound of high pitched sniffling from behind the can. He crawled over to the can and looked behind it. His eye caught the sight of a little girl, curled into a ball and sucking the thumb of her right hand. Her eyes were shut as they were crying lines of clear tears. Her hair was the color of the red water coursing through her veins.
Phillip, believing her to be in trouble, spoke in his nine year old toned voice.
"Hey. You ok?"
Her eyes opened quickly, revealing them to be a beautiful bright green. She popped her thumb out of her mouth and looked at the boy.
She kept her terrified look as she spoke in her high pitched voice.
"No! Don't hurt me!"
He shook his head.
"I'm not gonna hurt you. Here. Let me help you, ok?"
He got up to his feet and reached his hand down to her. She was shaking in fear from the sight of this boy, but at least he was being nice to her, unlike the other people in her life.
She slowly placed her hand in his and he pulled her up to her feet. He saw she was wearing a red and white t-shirt with a brown bear on the chest, and dark yellow colored shorts. He also noticed her bright red colored shoes on her tiny feet.
But most of all, he noticed the bruises on her face and arms, and the red skin lines on her throat, signifying that she had been choked.
"Wow… How'd you get like this?"
She did not want to tell a complete stranger.
"None of your beeswax! Go away!"
Just as he thought. He could never make acquaintances with anyone, even little children such as him. He picked up his knapsack and began to walk away, and she once again popped her thumb into her mouth. It was an addiction; the only way she could calm herself so far.
But she could not help but feel a little bad. After all, he was nice to her.
She slid her thumb out of her mouth and called out.
"Wait! Come back!"
Luckily, he did not move far. He came running back, and the two were sharing eye contact once again. She slowly tip toed over to him, so they were pretty close, nearly touch. She cupped her hands behind her back and shifted her foot, while bowing her head.
"Autumn is sorry. She's just scared. And really hungry. And she wants a friend. But… Autumn… Really don't like people…"
She raised her head.
"What your name?"
He looked around, hoping nobody would hear.
"Phillip… Phillip Masterson."
She looked back down.
"Autumn last name is Thorne."
"Nice to meet you, Autumn."
He turned on his heel.
"Well, see you later."
He turned back around.
She felt a strange feeling in her tummy, like butterflies being born from tiny little cocoons in her stomach. She wanted to know about this boy, since he was the first boy she had ever talked to alone.
"Where… Where are you going?"
He shrugged his shoulders.
"Back to looking for food and then I'm gonna look for somewhere to sleep. Why?"
She bowed her head for a minute, then released her hands from behind her back, clasped them together and brought them in front of her face.
"Can Autumn go with you?"
He raised his brow in confusion.
"Why do you wanna come with me?"
"Autumn is scared here. It's cold. Please?"
He walked a bit further from her.
She raised her head.
"I can't be seen with you."
He did not want to tell her the truth.
"I just can't."
He was getting a bit angry.
"Look, you can't come with me, alright? I gotta be alone. Where're your parents?"
She shook her head.
"No! Autumn can't go back home! Scared! She scared..."
"Why are you scared to go back home?
She started to cry again.
"Because… Autumn was a bad girl. Autumn don't like to go back home when she bad. She scared to go back home. Daddy will hit her again."
He gave her a sad look, and now understood the marks and the misery this girl was going through. He felt that kind of pain before. And now, he did not want her to suffer anymore.
"Sorry… But I can't be seen around you. And… You don't wanna be with me."
She stomped her feet and shouted.
"AUTUMN WANNA GO WITH PHILLIP! I WANNA, I WANNA, I WANNA!"
Finally, having no choice, he finally nodded.
She finally smiled and calmed down.
"Yeah. Come on."
He began walking away, and she quickly caught up to him. She popped her thumb into her mouth and walked beside the boy, who decided to give up looking for food and instead wanted to get this girl to safety, away from her father. Wherever he was.
The two walked side by side for what seemed like an hour, and both of them getting hungrier and hungrier. But Phillip did not care. And now, neither did Autumn.
But after a while, they could not take the pain of their stomachs. They had to eat. So, when nobody was looking, they ran to a closed grocery store. Phillip looked around on the street and finally found a large enough rock, then threw the stone into the glass door. It left a large enough hole to crawl in.
"Stay out here, ok?"
She nodded as she continued to suck her thumb. He crawled through the hole in the glass and came back out shortly with two bright red apples, and nothing more. He may have been a thief, but he at least wanted to be considerate.
He handed one of the apples to Autumn, who instantly grabbed the fruit and sunk her teeth into it, letting the sweet juices stain her teeth and cover her taste buds. The two ran off, out of sight once again.
Soon enough, the sky above them turned grey and the dark clouds began to pour rain on top of their heads. They were both shivering and cold, so Phillip finally had them stop and take shelter inside a turned over empty dumpster. It was not warm, but it was dry.
Phillip looked at her.
"Autumn… Is… C-c-cold…"
He looked at his knapsack.
"Oh. Why didn't you say so?"
He reached into his bag and brought out a rolled up blanket, small but warm. He handed it to the girl, who smiled and wrapped herself in its comfort. She sighed after being warm.
"Autumn's all warm and cozy now!"
"Good. Anyway, I'm wondering something."
"Why are you scared to go back home?"
She dropped her cute smile.
"'Cause Autumn was bad. She made her daddy mad."
He raised a brow.
"Autumn's daddy hates her. And she hates her mean daddy too. He sucks stuff out his bottle a lot, and gets angry all the time. Autumn thinks… Everyone hates her, since her daddy hates her. Phillip know how that feels?"
He bowed his head.
"Yup. I know how that feels. At least you got a mom, right?"
She bowed her own head.
"No… Mommy died when Autumn was a little baby…"
He raised his own head. He felt sorry for the little girl, who was so young and must be so miserable. But somehow, he felt a bit relieved that she knew how he felt about family.
"Mine died a few years ago."
Her eyes perked up.
"Yeah. And… Sorry. Must be hard having no mom, but having a bad dad is even worse. Well, hate to tell you but… I kinda had it worse than you."
"How? My daddy's a monster! What's worse that having a monster as a daddy?"
He felt the shame pent up inside of him as he remembered his past. He remembered the sights, the sounds, the feelings. But most of all, he remembered his family, the people that actually cared for him.
"Try being a monster."
She raised her brows.
"Wha…. What? What you mean?"
He closed his eyes and sighed.
"Can't tell you. Personal."
She tilted her head.
"It just is."
He arched his brows.
"IT JUST IS!"
She shook a bit from his outburst, and he exhaled to calm down.
"Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you. But... It's just personal. Don't be scared of me, though. Ok?"
She blinked a few times, and then nodded. They stayed silently inside of the metal box until the rain had died down. Then they both crawled out, with Autumn still wrapped in her blanket, and they began to walk again, towards the outskirts of the woods. Their walking feet left tiny visible footprints in the wet, soft mud below them as they were about to enter the dark woods.
While they were walking, she suddenly yawned and rubbed her little eyes.
"Well, we can't sleep around here. Come on. We'll set up a camp in there."
He pointed to the woods, where he said they were going.
She stopped in her tracks.
He stopped and looked at her.
"What's the matter?"
"D-d-do we have t-t-to go i-in there?"
"Yeah. Only place where nobody in the city will go. You don't wanna stay here with your daddy, do you?"
She stood upright and shook.
He started walking.
"Well, let's go then."
He started walking into the dense woods, with her shaking but following. She was indeed scared, but she figured wherever they were going would be better than being with her father. They both disappeared in the woods.
They walked along the dirt and leave covered land, with the only intention being to find somewhere to camp out for the night.
The two had not emerged after going into the woods. But that did not stop a shadowy figure from wandering the streets, looking for something. He had a messy white wife beater and dirty denim jeans on his body. And his hair was blood red in the style of a pony tail.
He stomped up to a police officer and shouted in a strong southern language, making the officer confused as to what he was saying.
"Sir, I don't know what you're asking."
"Ma daughter! A little red head! You see her?"
"Sir, we have no time to look for your little girl. There's an insane serial killer on the loose. I'm sorry."
The angry man shook his fist.
"Useless like the rest of y'all! Outta my way!"
He continued to stomp through the streets, looking for his little girl. He was determined to bring her back home in order to punish her for being bad. Little girls are not supposed to run away from home.
And if he needed to use it, he had a switchblade in his pocket.
"AUTUMN! WHERE THE HELL ARE YA?!"
Finally, his search had led him to the outskirts of the city. He continued to call out for the scared little girl, until he found two sets of fresh footprints in the mud leading to the woods. They both looked rather small, and he recognized the smaller set.
He stomped off into the woods, with the thought that his daughter will be found. So he could punish her. Again.
Luckily for the two little children, the rain was gone. But that did not stop the dark of the night to emit freezing wind and cold air.
The young boy and girl found refuge underneath a huge rock that had just enough space for the two to sleep under. They crawled underneath the rock, but Autumn continued to shiver, even with a blanket around her tiny body.
Phillip noticed her shaking.
"You're still cold?"
"And s-s-scared… Woods i-i-is scary…"
He noticed the goosebumps on his skin.
"Oh. Ok. Give me a minute."
He reached into his knapsack once again, and brought out what she saw was a small patch of dried grass, several dry sticks, a bright yellow rock and a clear sparkling rock.
"Ok… Tinder, check… Wood, check … Sulfur and phosphorus, check…"
She watched in amazement as he placed the grass under the wood and then proceeded to quickly and forcefully bang the two rocks together. She saw several sparks fly from the rocks and land on the grass, and soon enough it began to emit smoke. He quickly blew on the grass several times, and soon enough a small fire emerged from the wood, and he felt warm again.
She let her jaw drop in amazement as she crawled over to the fire.
"Wow… You can make fire! How Phillip learn to do that?"
She scooched over to him as he spoke.
"My brother used to be a boy scout. Know what that is?"
She scratched her head.
"A boy… Who's a scout?"
"Yeah. He taught me how to make a fire, and a couple other things. He used to hunt too."
She opened her mouth and smiled.
"Wow… Your bubbie sounds cool! Where is he?"
She dropped her smile. To think she was mean to him before, when he was never mean to her. She arched her brows in sadness.
"You're bubbie died too? Autumn is sorry for being mean. Phillip must be sad with his mommy and bubbie dead."
He shook his head.
"Had a sister. She's dead too."
"Your sissy, too?! What about your daddy?"
There was silence.
He still did not talk. He only stared at the fire.
"Why won't you tell me? Autumn wanna know."
"'Cause you're a little girl. You've already been through a lot. Besides... You're scared and alone out here."
She bowed her head in remembrance of her father. She hated her father, especially since he was the only person she knew. He forebode her to make friends, or even have a toy to call her own.
"Autumn not alone anymore. Now that she knows Phillip. But… Autumn talks to only Phillip. She… Doesn't even have a dolly… Or a teddy…"
He looked at her.
"You want a toy, huh?"
He thought a minute, then stood up and walked over to his knapsack. There was only one thing left inside of it, and he pulled it out. He walked back to her and sat down, then handed her a dirty brown teddy bear, with one eye pulled out and the other in the shape of a nearly full moon.
She looked at the bear, and then slowly took it from his hands.
She looked at the bear.
"Where'd… You get a teddy?"
"Was mine since I was about 3. It's okay. You can have it now."
She looked at him.
"But… It's gotta be the only thing Phillip has of his mommy and daddy and siblies."
He raised one brow.
"Siblies. Yeah. Your bubbie and sissy."
"Oh… You mean siblings… Well okay, call them that if you want to. Anyway, I don't want it anymore. You keep it, ok?"
She sat in awe. Nobody has ever treated her so kindly before. Especially a boy before. He gave her a blanket. And a teddy. And a friend. All in one day.
She hugged her new teddy bear, not minding the stench or its dirty appearance.
"Thank you, Phillip! Autumn will love her teddy forever!"
She quickly hopped up out of her blanket and began hopping around the fire, swinging her new bear all around and silently singing about her teddy bear. She had never been so happy about something so dirty. She kept it close to her as she jumped and skipped around an observing Phillip and the fire.
She finally stopped and plopped down next to the boy, and she was panting from all the energy she had wasted being happy.
But then, she looked at her shirt and noticed the bane of her existence.
"Phillip, is there a bathy around here?"
"No. I don't think so."
She got angry.
"But Autumn gotta take a bathy every day, or else more flakes will get in her hair!"
He tilted his head.
"Autumn got a lotta flakes in her hair. She thinks their ugly. Her daddy thinks their ugly. Everyone thinks-" "It's cute…" "-they're… Cute?"
She looked at his red face.
"You turn red."
He looked up.
"Sorry. I'm a blusher. I said… It's… Cute…"
She got confused.
He finally looked away and spoke the truth.
"Well… Actually… You are. You're a cute little redhead with flakes. And pretty green eyes. I know I sound pretty weird, but… You're the cutest little girl I've ever met."
She stopped her rambling and looked at him. She saw that his face was bright red. She had never heard the word 'cute' to describe her before.
She got a happy smile on her face, and she ran over and wrapped her scrawny arms around his neck, then nuzzled the side of her head into his. He looked at her while she hugged him, and he could not help but feel a little fuzzy inside.
She let go of him and sat down next to him.
"Nobody calls Autumn cute. Ever. Phillip, can she tell you something?"
"Sure. What is it?"
"I like you. You're the nicest boy ever!"
"Well… I like you too, Autumn."
She smiled as she leaned up against his arm, and his face turned red once again. She giggled a little bit, and he shuddered a bit in her cuteness.
She sat up straight, and looked at his shoulder. She noticed a new, fresh patch of white flakes on his shoulder.
"Oh… Sorry. Autumn made Phillip shoulder all snowy."
"I don't care, really."
"Oh… Ok. Phillip… Do you really think my flakes are cute?"
"Uh huh. I like how it looks like snow on your hair. And well… Since you leave snowflakes everywhere, can I call you Snowflake?"
She thought a minute.
"Snowflake… No. Something else?" "How about Dander?" "No." "Snowy?" "Uh uh." "Flaky?"
Her eyes perked up and she smiled greatly.
"Flaky! I like that! Autumn's name is Flaky now!"
She bounced up and down, gripping the arm of her teddy in her tiny palm.
"Flaky, Flaky, Flaky!"
She looked at the boy with a huge smile on her face.
"Flaky doesn't like Autumn. It reminds her of her mommy. Thank you for giving Flaky her new name!"
"Sure. Anyway, let's get some sleep now. Ok?"
She rubbed her eyes.
"Yeah. Flaky pretty sleepy."
Philip stood up and took the blanket from off the ground, then proceeded to throw it onto the flame, putting it out and creating a pillar of smoke. Flaky curled up into a ball where she sat, and gripped her teddy bear close to her chest. She closed her eyes as she popped her free thumb into her mouth.
Phillip put his hands behind his head and laid back onto the floor. He heard the tiny girls silent snoring through her nose, and he was about to close his own eyes.
But suddenly, he heard rustling from afar. Sounding like footsteps from a set of boots. He sat up and tried to look for the sound, hearing a silent grumble from what sounded like a man. He crawled up to his feet and walked around.
And then he realized his mistake; he and Flaky had been leaving footprints behind them the whole time, and whoever was coming must have followed them.
Suddenly, he felt himself be grabbed by the same man and pulled close to the mans nose. Phillip stared into the eyes of a red haired man, with the smell of bitter alcohol on his breath and a thick accent.
"Kid, you see a little red haired girl walk through here?"
He thought a minute.
"Little red haired girl… Green eyes?"
The man shook the little boy fiercely.
"SEEN HER OR NOT?!"
He shook his head, not afraid.
"Nope. Haven't see a girl like that."
He threw the boy forward.
"Don't believe ya! Outta my way!"
Phillip put his hands up.
"Please, sir! My little sister is trying to sleep over there."
"SHUT UP AND GET OUTTA MY WAY!"
The man raised his balled fist and threw it into Phillips cheek, launching him to the ground side first. The man stomped away, towards where he sees a pillar of smoke. And he finally found what he was looking for; a sleeping girl with red hair.
He grabbed her by the back of her hair, and she jolted her body awake.
"There ya are, little girl!"
She instantly began to shake.
He let go of her hair and grabbed her arm.
"You've been bad, Autumn. You don't run away from home. Now you're getting a whuppin'!"
She closed her eyes as cried.
"No… Flaky don't wanna get a whuppin'..."
And suddenly, she felt him grab her tiny throat with one hand, and she was raised off the ground. She was staring with crying eyes at her father, who was too angry to think. Her tiny legs were thrashing about, and she was grabbing his wrist trying to loosen his grip.
"YOU LIKE BEING STRANGLED, YOU LITTLE WHORE?!"
She choked out silent words.
"THEN GET YOUR ASS HOME, NOW!"
She continued to gag as she felt no air enter her lungs. She felt this kind of pain all the time, but she felt ever worse at this moment, since she saw Phillip on the floor and not moving.
She finally nodded.
He let her down.
"Good… Now come on!"
He grabbed her wrist and started to pull her along. She tried all she could to get away, not wanting to go through his daily torture anymore. She hated the man, she hated his hands, she hated everything. Except for Phillip.
She looked back at him, and was shocked to see he was beginning to get up.
"PHILLIP! HELP FLAKY!"
Her father pulled her arm.
"Shut up! Wait a minute…"
He turned around, with his grip still strong on her hand. And he himself watched as the boy was beginning to get up. Having enough of the brat, he reached into his pocket and flipped the blade, shocking Flaky.
"No! Don't do that to Phillip!"
He looked at her.
"Better shut yur mouth!"
Flaky was bawling as he started to walk towards her friend.
Suddenly, she watched her father be tackled to the ground, and he saw the same boy he saw before on top of his chest. But something was different about him; his once bright eyes were now ugly and yellow, and his teeth were like white knives.
And his voice was different as he got up.
"Surprise, you bastard!"
The man was suddenly terrified as he actually tried to crawl away, and Phillip looked down and noticed he dropped his knife. He picked it up and walked after the man, with Flaky watching the whole thing.
Her innocent eyes watched as Phillip kicked the man over onto his back, and he climbed onto her fathers chest, very snake-like. And suddenly, she watched as he plunged the blade into her fathers chest, over and over again.
Her eyes filled with tears, and her mouth remained agape. He thrust the knife into the man again. And again. And once again. She heard her fathers blood curdling screaming, and the splatter of his flesh be penetrated by the sharp blade. And the whole time, the boy doing the stabbing kept his sharp toothed smile.
He finally stood up, with the bloody knife in his hand and red splatters all over his arm and clothes. He put his free hands fingers to his mouth and licked the sweet essence. He chuckled a bit as he turned his attention to the little girl.
She jumped up in fright and ran away, heading deeper into the woods. The boy smiled greater and walked slowly after her.
"Wanna play rough, huh? Fine. Let's play."