Attention: This chapter gets split up, it begins where chapter 13 left off, but it will jump more into the future later on.
Marrick panicked. His entire body was shaking from nerves, guilt, and sorrow for what he had done to Archor, but he forced himself to snap out of it, not wanting any of the girls to come home and see what he had done, let alone ask where Archor was while he was still dealing with the body. Marrick ran to the bathroom in between Jason and Hitomi’s room and grabbed a bath towel, wrapping Archor in it and he carried him outside to the back yard. Luckily for Marrick, Sadie had locked up Arnica in her stall before leaving with the girls, so Arnica wasn’t there to keep Marrick from coming into the yard. He dug a hole as fast as he could and buried Archor, taking a few moments to look at him, almost trying to engrave how he looked into his head so he could remember what he had done. Such a horrible, terrible thing, and he didn’t want to forget it. He wanted to overcome it, he wanted it to never happen again as he looked down at Archor wrapped up, the white towel soaking up all of the blood he was still losing. “I’m so sorry,” Marrick said in a gentle whisper before quickly returning the dirt over Archor’s body, burying him and hiding the evidence. Marrick then grabbed more towels, bleach, and tons of other cleaning supplies to clean up the blood puddle on the third floor.
It took Marrick roughly ten minutes to make the floor spotless and he bagged up the bloodied towels and threw them into the dumpster underneath other garbage as to not cause any suspicion and knowing the stains wouldn’t come out with just a simple wash. Jason was still crying and wanting attention as Marrick ran back and forth throughout the home to cover up his tracks, “Hold on, Buddy, please.. Daddy’s coming,” Marrick said to himself, hating that Jason needed him for roughly the passed half hour of his cleaning and he hadn’t gone to him yet. Marrick then rushed to the bathroom and finally looked to his face, seeming dried and still somewhat moist blood on him and he still couldn’t calm down his rattled body. He splashed water and soap on his face numerous times, scrubbing and rubbing everywhere to get every spec of blood off of him before he had contact with Jason or the rest of the family. He then looked to his shirt after his face was clean, unbuttoning it quickly and racing to his room to change his clothes since there was blood splattered on his cuffs, arms, and part of his chest.
Marrick changed and bagged up his clothes as well, hating that the shirt he had worn was something Sadie had bought for him, but he had no choice but to get rid of it with the rest of the blood stained evidence. Marrick’s breathing was unsteady and his chest never rose and sank the same, still trying his hardest to contain what he had done within him. He looked at himself in the mirror over his dresser, looking at his own eyes and even noticing himself that he was dangerous; his eyes held mystery and depth, yet an unknown rage and personality shined through on occasion, and this time the other personality overpowered him, and won. Marrick shut his eyes and turned his attention away from the mirror, finally ready to go to Jason now that he wasn’t covered in blood.
Marrick went upstairs to Jason’s room, glancing on instinct at the area he had just cleaned up to make sure he still didn’t see anything that would spark any questions. He opened the door and rushed to Jason, “I’m sorry it took me so long, shh, shh,” Marrick tried to calm Jason’s crying and it only worked a little, Jason’s eyes still refusing to stop tears but his whines and loud cries had gotten better. “Its okay,” Marrick said with a smirk that he found almost impossible to make, his cheeks were even pained a little in doing so as he rubbed Jason’s back, trying to comfort him. Marrick’s breath stopped when he had heard and felt through the house the front door open and close, assuming the girls were home and his heart was beating faster than it ever had before. He was nervous, worried he might slip up, but as he thought about it more and more, he knew that if any of the girls ever found out, he’d be a monster in their eyes and he would lose them forever. Marrick shut his eyes and gently bounced Jason around his room, trying to collect his thoughts and refusing to let himself be the reason for the crumbling of his family.
“Marrick?” Sadie’s voice called out though the house and he didn’t answer, his eyes still shut as he paced around Jason’s room more. He heard Sadie and the girls roaming around the home, searching for him and Sadie soon came to Jason’s room, walking in and seeing Marrick. She gave him a happy, calmed smile when she saw him and he looked at her with little interest, happy to see her, though unable to show any sign of it.
“How was everything?” Marrick asked, looking down to Jason with his continuous blank expression and Sadie smiled wider.
“Oh, it was wonderful.. We went to the beauty parlor and got our nails and toenails painted, then went and saw a movie the girls have been wanting to see, then we ate and now we’re back,” she replied, but Marrick’s lack of response and silence caused her to worry, her smile fading and she came up closer to him, “What’s the matter?” She asked, giving Jason a quick kiss on the forehead before looking back to Marrick.
Marrick didn’t know where to begin, he had only just finished cleaning up his horrible mess no more than a few minutes before they got home and didn’t really have too much time to think about how to explain Archor’s demise.. He continued his rather depressed expression, turning away from Sadie and putting Jason back into his crib. He stood there for a few moments in silence, Sadie’s expression filled with worry as she stood there, watching him and how he was acting. “Is.. Everything okay?” She asked, trying to get him to say something, anything.
Marrick looked to Sadie and slowly came over to her, pulling her into his arms and holding her tightly against him as he continued to think of what to say to her. She was warmed by his hug, but it almost made her worry more as she held him in return. Marrick took a deep breath and drank in her scent, enjoying smelling something sweet instead of the bitterness of blood and he exhaled slowly. “Archor’s dead,” Marrick came right out with it just above a whisper.
Sadie gasped and withdrew herself from Marrick, putting her hands to the sides of his face and looking into his eyes, “What?” She asked in a panic, “What do you mean..? How?” She continued, her voice beginning to weaken and wanting to cry, but she held back her tears as she looked at Marrick.
“I was.. Out. Walking him.. Earlier, and..” Marrick’s voice was still quiet, his words fumbling and it took him a few moments to eventually recover, “Another dog came out of nowhere.. I was holding Jason in one hand and Archor’s leash in the other, and it bit me, so I let go of the leash,” he continued, removing his hand from holding her and showing her his wrist were Archor had bit him, trying to defend himself from Marrick.. “Archor got into it with him and chased him, getting away from me for a few minutes and when I finally caught up, I found Archor in the grass.. The other dog had limped away, Archor got him pretty good, but.. Not good enough, I guess,” Marrick finished and wrapped his hand around her waist again, looking down and avoiding eye contact as his lip began to quiver the tiniest bit, knowing the truth behind the lie.
Sadie was in disbelief, horrified that another dog had came after the both of them for no reason, “Oh, Marrick.. I’m.. I’m so sorry.. He loved you so much, it was good that he had protected you and Jason, though, even despite the outcome.. I’m so sorry, babe, I loved him too.. We all did,” she said softly and her tears began, falling down her cheeks as she pulled him close and held Marrick, trying to give him the best comfort she could. “Where is he now?” She asked, slowly pulling away from him and looking to his face as she wiped her tears away.
“He’s.. In the back yard, it happened right after you girls left.. I didn’t want to wait, so I buried him,” Marrick replied and Sadie nodded in understanding. “But.. I’m glad you girls had fun, we can tell them about Archor tomorrow..” Marrick suggested, “I’m just.. Going to go to bed,” he finished, bringing one of his hands to her face and kissing her lips softly before exiting Jason’s room.
Marrick walked out of Jason’s room and Hitomi was walking to her room, but stopped when she saw her father, “Hey, Dad,” she said with a smile, but it quickly faded when he didn’t give her a smile or really say anything that she was so used to hearing, like ‘hey, beautiful’; that was her favorite, and he only said it to her. “..Dad..?” She said once more and he finally looked at her while going downstairs.
“Did you have fun today?” He asked with little interest and she made a rather reluctant expression.
“Yes..” Hitomi replied and she watched as he gave a fake smile.
“Good,” Marrick answered, “Get to bed on time,” he finished with and continued down the steps, Hitomi not answering his last statement as she worried for him, wondering what was wrong.
Sadie had wiped all of her tears away before leaving Jason’s room, seeing Hitomi standing in the hallway, looking a bit lost. “Are you okay, sweetie?” Sadie asked, watching as Hitomi looked to Sadie and gave a rather worried expression.
“Is Dad okay?” She asked, “He seems.. Sad. I’ve never see him like that,” Hitomi said with concern in her tone and Sadie sighed, not wanting to lie to her daughter.
“Well.. He is sad,” she replied, taking a few seconds to gather her words before continuing, “I need you to keep this from your sisters, just until tomorrow when Daddy and I are ready to tell them, okay?” Sadie asked, Hitomi’s eyes widening a little.
“..You’re pregnant again?” She asked, sounding rather unamused and Sadie smiled and shook her head ‘no’.
“No, sweetheart.. Umm..” She started but stopped, still unsure of how to tell Hitomi the news; she was the closet to Archor out of all the children, but she was unsure on how she would take the news.
“You’re Dad is sad because he.. He, lost Archor today..” Sadie said with a sad expression, looking to Hitomi and her eyes widened.
“Well where did he go!? We have to go get him! Why didn’t he go after him? How can he lose him?” She contested, beginning to get angry with her father.
“No, no.. He’s gone, sweetie.. Archor died while we were gone,” Sadie finished and Hitomi looked into Sadie’s eyes for a few long seconds, letting the words sink in and soon, Hitomi’s eyes filled with tears and she began to sob, Sadie feeling her tears come back as well and she quickly hugged Hitomi, “It’s okay.. He’s in doggy heaven, now.. But, please, just keep this from your sisters, just until tomorrow when your Dad and I tell them.. Alright?” She asked, pulling away and wiping Hitomi’s tears off her cheeks and watching her nod in understanding.
. . . Present Day, One Year Later . . .
“Come on, Jason, I know you can do it,” Marrick said softy with a smile, beginning to get irritated with how Jason was refusing to cooperate with him. “It’s not hard, I know you can.. Come on, now,” he continued, picking Jason up from the floor by his hands for the hundredth time and slowly pulling him along so he would walk, “See? You can walk when I’m helping you, but not by yourself?” Marrick asked, knowing that Jason could walk on his own and getting more frustrated that he wasn’t taking initiative.
“My girls did it so easily and quickly, but your son refuses,” Sadie said with a gentle laugh, teasing Marrick .
Marrick sighed after Sadie’s remark, not really in the mood to get teased as he struggled to teach his son how to walk on his own. He pulled Jason up to his feet once more, then stepped back and held out his arms, “Come on, Jason! Do you want candy? A new toy? Then come to Daddy,” he insisted, still holding out his hands.
“Hey, no fair! We never got bribed,” Anya pointed out, letting out a laugh as she watched the television with Hitomi.
“Because you were good girls from the start, I didn’t need to,” Marrick replied with a smile, being proud of his girls, but he lost his smile as he looked to Jason once more, “Come on, buddy.. Please?” Marrick continued, wiggling his fingers in requesting for Jason to come to him. Jason looked to Marrick and made a fed up expression, plopping down on the floor and pouting. Marrick sighed and hung his head, “Fine, I give up,” Marrick continued.
“Maybe he’s just stupid,” Hitomi suggested as the cause for his lack of walking skills, laughing after she said it and even Anya joined her in laughing.
Marrick and Sadie were anything but amused, “Watch your mouth,” Marrick hissed, giving Hitomi an intimidating glare and she quickly lost her smile, continuing her attention on the television and so did Anya. The bus pulled up along the curb outside and Marrick noticed it, “Bus is here, have a good day, girls,” he continued, his tone still rather intimidating and neither of them said anything as they fled from the home and away from getting into more trouble by their father.
After the girls left for school, Marrick picked up Jason and decided to call it quits for the day on teaching him to walk, he was beginning to get upset more and more the longer Marrick pushed him to try. Once Marrick picked Jason up, he began to cry, seemingly not wanting to be held by his father. As Jason got older, and ever since that fateful night that Marrick had gotten rid of Archor, Jason had lost his ‘calm and content’ nature and acted up more often, crying and causing a fuss when it was unnecessary for him to and there was usually no reason behind it. What Marrick and Sadie didn’t know, though, was that Jason wanted nothing to do with his father. Jason was scared of him, didn’t trust him, and didn’t want to be anywhere near him, let alone be taught how to walk by him and be forced to go into the arms that Jason never wanted around him.
Jason was still unsettled in Marrick’s arms, still giving a fuss and wanting to be put down. “Okay, okay,” Marrick said to Jason, giving in to him not wanting to be held anymore and he put him on the floor.
Sadie was concerned for Jason, she wasn’t really sure on how to take his personality change ever since Archor had died; Jason didn’t even know who Archor was since he was too small to remember him, trying to figure out why he had changed so much since then.. Sadie looked to Julia in her arms and smiled, “Go play with your brother, okay? Daddy and I need to talk,” Sadie said softly, watching as Julia smiled and nodded, Sadie then putting Julia on the floor as well.
“Come on, Jason! Let’s go watch cartoons!” She said excitedly, walking towards the television and Jason crawled with her and away from Marrick and Sadie, finally calming down now that he wasn’t in his fathers grip.
Marrick and Sadie walked into the kitchen and Marrick looked to her, wondering what she wanted to talk about as he noticed the worry on her face, “What’s wrong?” He asked.
“I just.. It’s taking him a while, you know? To learn to walk.. The girls would be running and playing already, but, not Jason. Do you think.. Well,” she paused, looking away from Marrick briefly, then back to his eyes, “Ever since Archor died.. I mean, Jason never knew Archor, but he completely changed after he was gone.. He’s so, unloving.. Towards you,” she pointed out and Marrick grew slightly nervous, but hid it well.
“Well, you said it yourself.. He didn’t know Archor, it’s impossible for him to remember him, so why would he be affected by his death?” He asked, trying to make her doubt herself and wanting her to think what happened to Archor wasn’t to blame.
“I guess you’re right.. It’s just odd that it happened around the same time.. I want to know what changed him. It seems like he just, doesn’t care, or doesn’t want to learn anything..” Sadie continued, discouraged and Marrick could tell that Jason’s upbringing has been different than the girls, causing him to fall behind a little.
Marrick smiled, “He’ll be just fine.. He’s just a late bloomer, that’s all.. And he just doesn’t like me because his mom is so beautiful.. I wouldn’t want to be held by me, either, if you were around,” he flirted slightly, causing Sadie to smile and he cheeks blushed a little. “Come on, we should go to the park or something.. Get these kids out and about. Who knows, maybe Julia will coax him into playing with her and he’ll just learn to walk on his own,” he suggested, seeing her smile wider and she nodded, agreeing with him and feeling a little better now that he had comforted her worried soul.
Marrick and Sadie brought Julia and Jason to the park to play, liking that their children had the entire playground to themselves. “What do you want to do first, Jason?” Sadie asked him, watching as he looked around and tried to decide. They first pushed Julia and Jason on the swings, then watched as they both played in the sand pit for a little while, then went over to the slides. They then let the two of them play together and went over to the bench and sat to watch them play, admiring them from afar and Marrick began to think of what Sadie had said earlier about Jason changing because of Archor..
They had only been there for two hours before Julia wanted to leave; she could only stand the outside for a little while, she hated the outdoors and no one could really understand why. Julia made her way over to her parents and pulled at Sadie’s leg, “Can we go now?” She asked, her expression getting irritated and Marrick let out a gentle chuckle.
“You want to leave already?” He asked, watching as she nodded her head ‘yes’ quickly and he nodded as well, “Alright, let’s go,” he added.
Sadie stood first and picked up Julia, Marrick joining her in standing and he looked over towards Jason, “Time to go, buddy,” he said with a smile, walking towards Jason to go pick him up. Jason looked to Marrick and made a slightly scared expression, crawling back and soon standing on his own. Marrick’s eyes widened and he let out a chuckle, “Oh, now you know how to walk, huh?” He teased, “Where are you going?” He asked, walking quicker as Jason then began to run but Marrick caught up to him in time before he left the park. Jason began to cry and Marrick sighed, feeling Jason squirm within his grasp, “I know you don’t want to leave, but it’s time to go. Stop fussing,” he somewhat requested, walking to the car and Jason stopped crying when he was put into his car seat and no longer in Marrick’s arms, feeling comfortable in the back with Sadie and Julia.
Later that evening after they all ate dinner, Marrick when to check on Hitomi and Anya, knocking on Hitomi’s door and being let in, seeing the two girls doing the homework. “School work almost done?” Marrick asked.
“Yeah, I just have one more problem to do,” Anya replied, Marrick smiling and nodding in approval.
“Hitomi?” He asked, waiting for her answer.
Hitomi could feel her fathers eyes on the back of her head and she sighed, “Yeessss, Daaad,” she teased and Marrick let out a gentle snicker.
“Good, make sure you both get to bed after this, alright?” He requested.
“Do you mind if I stay up for a bit? I wanted to finish a painting I’m working on,” Hitomi asked and Marrick looked to her easel. He was no artist, but judging by her painting, she looked like she was almost done and it wouldn’t take her long.
“Well.. Alright, but if you’re still up working on it around 9, I want you to call it quits and finish it tomorrow, okay?” He asked, watching as she looked over her shoulder and nodded happily.
Sadie was in Jason’s room with Julia, getting Jason changed for bed as Julia played with his blocks before being put to sleep herself after Jason. “You ready for bed, handsome boy?” She asked with a smile, Jason smiling and giggling in return. “Can you say Daddy? Or Mommy? J-u-lia?” Sadie asked, pronouncing the words well for him and he moved his lips as she did, but nothing came out; he was shy to try. “Maaaama?”
“M-Ma..” He began, trying his hardest to mimic her. Jason stopped trying to repeat her when he heard the hard, recognizable footsteps of his father in the hallway, his grip getting tighter on her clothing and he looked to the door.
Marrick came into the room and smiled at the sight of Sadie and Jason together, walking over and giving Sadie a quick kiss on the side of her head. Jason kept his eyes on Marrick, weary of his actions but before he could make a fuss, Sadie tickled him and he couldn’t help but let out a joyous laugh. Marrick could sense Jason’s discomfort, causing him to worry if what Sadie had said earlier was true. What if he remembers..? What if he knows what I did to Archor? No.. He was too young, no one remembers anything from that young of age.. Marrick convinced himself.
“Say goodnight to Daddy,” Sadie said to Jason, Marrick then tousling Jason’s hair and forcing Jason’s forehead to connect to his lips, even despite Jason making an uncomfortable face and trying to get out of his grip the whole time. “Oh, stop it,” Sadie said to Jason, desperately wanting him to get over this ‘phase’ of him hating his father. Marrick was only a little bothered by Jason’s actions, if it was true that Jason changed because of what he heard on the other side of his door that one fateful night, then Marrick assumed he would never get over the fear he had for his father. There was nothing more he could do but watch his son grow up to despise him for a reason he wasn’t even sure of.
Marrick went to Julia as Sadie turned off Jason’s lights, “Ready for bed, baby girl?” He asked her, watching as she held out her arms excitedly for Marrick to pick her up. Sadie walked over to them and they all began to leave, “Say goodnight to Jason,” Marrick added to Julia, watching as she waved goodbye.
“Night night, Jason!” She called out. Jason stood in his crib and began to cry, not wanting to be alone, but Marrick and Sadie had learned to ignore his constant need for someone to always be with him, especially wanting Sadie.
As Sadie shut the door, Jason continued to cry out, “M-Ma.. Maa! Maama!” He yelled and Sadie stopped herself from closing the door, hearing him say her name for the first time successfully and she went to go back in, but Marrick stopped her.
“Sadie..” He said with a demanding tone, her looking to Marrick and giving a defeated expression, “He needs to learn to sleep on his own, we can’t keep coddling him.. He’s not going to hate you,” he finished. Sadie sighed and shut Jason’s door, continuing to hear him call for her as they went to Hitomi’s room to wish her goodnight before going downstairs.
Sadie wished Julia and Anya goodnight and went to her room, not joining them in the girls’ room and Marrick knew he had upset her. He changed Julia into her pajamas and put her into her crib, kissing her on the forehead as Anya talked with him, “Is he ever going to walk?” She asked, Marrick soon losing his smirk as he looked to Julia getting comfortable within her crib.
“He walked today, ran actually, when we went to the park,” he replied.
“Oh, good! I knew he wasn’t stupid,” she answered and Marrick chuckled, remembering Hitomi’s words from that morning.
“No, he’s not stupid,” he confirmed.
“Which one of us learned the fastest?” She asked next.
“Well, it kind of went in order.. Hitomi learned the quickest, then you, then Julia, and Jason took the longest, but it was still at a good pace,” he replied and smiled, looking back to Anya, “Now get to sleep, don’t you have a test tomorrow?” Marrick asked.
“Yeah, I’m going to ace it, though, so it’s okay,” she said confidently and Marrick smiled more, going to Anya and hugging her goodnight.
“I know you will, you’re smarter than anyone else in the class,” he replied, “Goodnight,” Marrick added, feeling her peck his cheek before walking over to her bed.
Jason knows.. He has to know something, remember something, anything.. He acts so strange around me, like he always needs to keep an eye on me, like he’s.. Frightened. I don’t know what I’ll do if he turns out anything like me, I don’t know what I’ll do. Will he grow up wanting to hurt animals? ..People? His own sisters? ..His mother..? Marrick cringed at the thought of losing any of them, worrying if Jason was going to turn out anything like him. I’m not insane.. I’m not insane.. And neither is Jason, he never will be.. He’ll ever be like me. Marrick repeated to himself over and over again as he waited for Anya to get situated in her bed before shutting off the lights to their room.