The next day, Jason strolled casually into the kitchen, thinking hard to himself and repeating Hitomi’s words in his head over and over.. “I don’t care what you say, it wasn’t this dog”.. Those words stuck with Jason, causing him to eventually second guess himself and wondering if he really had just seen a dog that just simply resembled his fathers deceased canine companion.. Jason checked Hitomi’s room and all throughout the house, not finding her, Anya or Julia anywhere and he was angry at Hitomi; she agreed to help him look for the injured dog that morning, but she had left with her sisters to do who-knows-what, going back on her word to him and he knew he would hold it against her for longer than she deserved.
“Morning,” Jason said softly to his mother, trying to get her attention and butting into his parents conversation without a care. Marrick had been looking at Jason since he had entered the kitchen, but didn’t bother to acknowledge him and Jason even respected Marrick a tiny bit for knowing not to utter a single word to him; he wasn’t in the mood to get into an argument that him and his father notoriously found themselves in at least once or twice a month. Marrick’s eyes fell to the table and he minded his own business, watching as Sadie’s face lit up when she saw her son and she smiled happily.
“Hey, sweetie. Where have you been all day? Did you sleep well?” She asked, watching as Jason stood in the center of the kitchen, his expression deep in thought.
“Yeah, I guess..” He replied simply.
“Where’s Hitomi? She was supposed to.. Help me, with something today,” Jason asked, watching as his father stood from the table and decided to wash dishes out of nowhere, seemingly wanting Jason to not be in his sights anymore, so he turned his attention to something else.
“Her and the girls went out, I think they went to the mall,” Sadie replied, hearing Jason then sigh with aggravation and Sadie grew concerned for him. “What was she going to help you with? Is it something I could help you with, instead?” She offered.
Jason pondered her offer for a few long seconds, wondering if he should bring up the injured dog that he saw and wondering what Sadie might think about it. “Well..” He began, but hesitated, second guessing himself and wondering if he should continue.
“I.. I woke up last night at random.. I looked out my window and I saw a dog. It was badly hurt, it’s entire underbelly, paws, legs, even its tail a little was soaked in blood,” Jason began, catching Marrick’s attention and he looked over his shoulder at his son, waiting for him to continue.
Sadie gasped lightly, “Oh my.. That’s terrible,” she said with concern.
Jason despised how Marrick was looking at him, Jason seeming to strike a nerve or a curious brow from his father, but he couldn’t tell which he had struck, so he continued anyways, “I-I went downstairs as fast as I could and went outside to the back yard.. I then saw the dog a little better, but still not much, it was really dark.. But, when I went to get closer and went around the tree, the dog was completely gone and I didn’t know where he went, so I couldn’t help it..” Jason continued, watching as Marrick then seemed strikingly interested in his words as he took a few steps closer to Jason and Sadie did as well after standing from her chair.
“Hitomi said she would help me look for it today to see if we can find it and get it help, but she’s been gone all day.. It’s going to be night soon and I wanted to look during the daylight,” Jason continued in a whining manner, watching as Sadie’s expression went slightly warmed at Jason’s caring personality and wanting to help the poor creature. “But..” He continued, looking to Marrick’s eyes and hesitating as his father stared at him, waiting for Jason to continue. The expression on Marrick’s face was beginning to intimidate Jason and he didn’t want to continue anymore, “Never mind..” Jason finished.
Sadie’s face grew concerned once more and she pried, “But, what?” She asked in a sweet tone, coaxing Jason to continue and he hesitated briefly before going on.
“There’s a picture.. In Hitomi’s room of a black and white dog, you’re dog,” Jason continued, Marrick’s face then growing slightly more intimidating and Jason felt the fear building up inside of him from his fathers gaze. “His name was Archor, right?” Jason asked and Marrick’s expression twisted in anger.
“What about him,” Marrick more demanded than asked, his deep, strong tone echoing through the kitchen a little and Jason began to tremble slightly at the look in his fathers eyes; he had never seen him like that before and it was slightly terrifying.
“No, I’m going to sound crazy and no one’s going to believe me! Hitomi didn’t either!” Jason randomly burst out in anger, unable to stand his fathers eyes on him any longer and hating how much he couldn’t get his body to stop shaking.
Marrick’s gaze only grew more intense and maddening when Jason called himself crazy, Marrick’s heart sinking and realizing that his worst nightmare was beginning to come true; his son was just as insane as he was, Jason didn’t need to continue with his ramblings any longer before Marrick was already convinced. “Stop looking at me like that!” Jason yelled at Marrick.
“Like what?” Marrick asked in anger.
“Like I’m crazy! I know what I saw, and I saw Archor! It had to have been him.. He was identical to the dog in Hitomi’s picture! He was even standing by the grave and everything,” Jason continued, his eyes soon welling up with tears and he grew more emotional as he went on, knowing how ridiculous he must seem in front of them, but wanting desperately for at least one person to believe him.
“Sweetheart.. I’m so sorry, but that’s just not possible. Archor passed away a long time ago, your father buried him himself,” Sadie was with a saddened tone and she touched Marrick’s shoulder to give him comfort, hating to see her son in such turmoil and wanting to get off the subject of Archor before Marrick got any more upset.
“That’s enough,” Marrick demanded, Jason flinching slightly at his fathers angry response and Jason grew angered again as well.
“See? No one believes me! He was right in front of me.. I could even smell the blood, it was so potent..” He continued to try and reason with them, but again, he could read the disbelief in both of their expressions.
“Jason, sweetie.. I want to believe you, I really do, but it’s just not possible.. He’s dead,” Sadie continued.
“But, Ma.. I saw..” Jason replied and he grew saddened once again, Marrick stopping him from continuing and he was fed up with the conversation.
“Listen to me for once in your life,” Marrick began angrily and after each word Marrick spoke, Jason only grew more intimidated and saddened, his eyes still soaking in tears but still refusing any of them to fall down his cheeks, “You didn’t see Archor, and you’re not going to look for that dog. If he was as injured as you claim, the thing is probably long dead by now, there’s no point in helping a bullshit cause such as that one. It’s dead,” Marrick snapped and Jason’s eyes widened in shock from his words.
“Marrick!” Sadie hissed at him, wanting him to calm down and stop talking to Jason with a disrespectful tone.
“I don’t even want to hear his name come out of your mouth again, is that understood?” Marrick threatened and Jason couldn’t hold anything back anymore; the man that stood before him, barking orders and acting like an actual father was nothing to him now, if Marrick even meant anything to Jason before that..
“It was him, I know it! What happened to him? How did he die, if he even did!?” He demanded to know and Marrick was done with the argument.
“I said that’s enough! You’re lying, now go to your room!” Marrick finally raised his voice and Jason’s entire body filled with fear, cowering to his father.
“I hate you,” Jason gave one last reply and his body moved on it’s own, frazzled and completely ignoring Marrick’s words as he made a dash for the front door.
“Jason Richard Dubois!” Sadie called out in anger at her son, “Get back here this moment!” She demanded, but to her surprise, it was the first time ever that Jason disobeyed her and she looked to Marrick, losing track of all that had just transpired and she worried greatly for her son. Sadie went to go after him but Marrick stopped her, Sadie looking to Marrick with complete and utter depression, but noticing for the first time in their entire relationship together that Marrick was genuinely hurt by Jason’s words as his face fell victim to a sadness that Sadie herself had never witnessed. “..Marrick.. You know he didn’t mean it, he-” Sadie began but Marrick put his hand up to stop her words.
“Yes he does,” he replied quietly, Sadie watching as Marrick bit his bottom lip to keep it from quivering and he escaped the kitchen quickly and went to his room, refusing to let Sadie see him that way; so vulnerable, fragile and hurt, it wasn’t something she was used to and he refused to let her see him in the weak state that he was in.
Jason slammed the door on his way out, his footsteps hard and angry on the deck and he completely skipped the steps, jumping off the porch and racing down the street as he continued to hold back his tears. “I hate him! IhatehimIhatehimIhatehim!” Jason repeated to himself numerous times as he ran further and further away from the home, the sky already beginning to get dark.
Jason wandered around for a while, still trying to calm himself down and before he knew it, he was in the middle of the city, standing in front of the large fountain and calmly listening to the sound of the water being spewed proudly out of each faucet. The wind picked up the water droplets a few times, lightly misting Jason and he shut his eyes as he took a deep breath in, savoring how free and relaxed he felt now that he was out of the house and far from his father.
Jason stood at the fountain for about 10 minutes, still calming himself and he checked all around him as the cars raced down the streets, wondering if each car would be his mother looking for him, or worse, his father. A single, gentle bark filled Jason’s ears and he looked all around him frantically, finally noticing a dog in the distance to his left and he recognized the dog from last night. “A-Archor?” He asked himself in a whisper, looking at the dog and seeing that it was starring at him from not too far away across the street. “Archor!” He called out, “Come here, boy!” Jason attempted, but the dog only wagged it’s tail once to it’s name, confirming to Jason that it indeed was Archor. “I knew it,” Jason said with a smile to himself, then watching as the dog turned around and took off on it’s feet.
“Hey, wait! Come back!” Jason called out, racing after the injured canine passed the fountain, cars beeping at the child as he ran through the street without checking both ways. Jason chased the dog for miles, all the while getting further and further from his home and far from the city as he raced over the bridge that lead to the suburbs. “Where are you going? Stop!” Jason attempted to call out, but the dog simply looked behind it’s shoulder briefly as it kept going, barking a few times. Twice Jason had lost Archor, but he would notice tiny drops of blood on the ground and follow it until he found him again to continue the chase. Jason soon slowed his pace and he walked across the bridge, being completely out of breath and he struggled for air as he saw the dog stop at the end of the bridge, watching Jason and waiting for him to catch up. Jason’s legs ached and throbbed for how much he had ran, but he bravely continued on, determined to hopefully catch the dog so he can bring it home to show his parents, mostly his father, that he wasn’t a liar.
Jason took to his feet again after walking all the way across the bridge to catch his breath, running after Archor and following him down a road that lead to a dead end. “Nowhere for you to go, now,” Jason said to himself, hoping the dog would give up this game of chase and finally let Jason touch him or bring Archor home with him. “..Is that where he lives?” Jason asked himself when he noticed the dog was running towards a house, but it looked like no one was home.
Jason reached the home and watched as Archor ran to the back yard, but Jason was puzzled on why he had brought him here. Jason looked to the front yard and noticed an old looking ‘for sale’ sign still in the grass, then looked in through the windows and noticed no one lived there, it hadn’t looked like someone lived there in well over 10 years and he raised his brow in confusion.
Jason soon walked away from the window and went around the back to see where Archor had gone, then noticing a red dog house just like the one they had back at his house. Jason walked more towards it and it had Archor’s name written along the top arch of the doorway, “Whoa, no way.. Is this where you and Dad lived..?” Jason asked no one, inspecting the doghouse and he could still see black and white dog hair scattered about on the floor of Archor’s red house. Jason then heard Archor bark in the back yard and he then ignored the dog house, continuing to the back yard of the home and seeing nothing once more.
Jason walked to the back and looked in through the back door, still seeing nothing and no one and still wondering where Archor had gone, “Archor, here boy!” Jason called out, wondering where he had gone to. Jason could still smell the blood that soaked Archor fur, but he still couldn’t find him. Jason noticed a few bugs on the ground and walked over to them, “Oh, cool..” He said softly, playing with the bugs and even picking one up to inspect it more. The bug bit him and he quickly dropped it, watching as it scurried away and Jason looked to his finger, watching as a bump was forming and turned red with irritation.
Jason was drawn away from his bug bite when he heard Archor whimpering by the shore, Jason’s eyes widening in shock as he looked to Archor now lit up by the moon and Jason then convinced himself he had to be seeing things. Jason slowly stood up straight and looked at Archor, now seeing the extent of his wounds and seeing the deep, numerous stab wounds the dog had been subjected to. Jason put his hand over his mouth in shock, watching as blood continued to drip out of his wound as if they were still fresh. “O-Oh my.. God.. Archor?” Jason could barely form words as he looked to the mutilated dog, “Y-You.. Should be dead.. By now.. From those wounds,” Jason said softly, his voice shaking as he began to slowly walk towards Archor, “Who.. W-Who did this to you..?” Jason asked sympathetically, his body shaking in slight fear as he looked to the mangled animal that should indeed be long dead from serious wounds such as those.. There’s no way he could’ve survived the night.. Jason thought to himself.
There was rustling behind Jason and he quickly turned around, a light being shined on him from a bright flashlight and Jason covered his face to hider the light, “Hey, you! Are you Jason Dubois?” The man asked, Jason now realizing it was a police officer.
“Yeah.. I was following this dog, it’s really hurt, it’s right over-” Jason began but looked back, not seeing Archor anywhere and wondering yet again how Archor had gotten away so quickly. “He was right there.. I swear!” Jason pleaded and the police officer gripped his arm and pulled him towards his vehicle, “Let me go! I have to find it, it’s seriously hurt!” Jason tried to plead more but was shoved into the car without the officer giving a single care what he was saying.
“Your parents are worried sick, I’m taking you home little man, no buts,” the officer demanded and Jason grew discouraged, hanging his head in the back seat in defeat as he glanced out the window as the car pulled away, not seeing Archor anywhere and sighing heavily to himself.
“Uh oh… Looks like the run-away is home!” Hitomi said teasingly as she watched the gentle flashing of the blue and red lights coming from the cop car when it pulled up along the curb. Everyone had been watching television as Sadie paced around the home nervously, wanting her baby boy back more than anything and her expression was excited after Hitomi’s words.
“And in trouble,” Marrick added with a displeased tone, the rest of the girls worrying for Jason and wondering what the extent of his punishment was going to be. Marrick went outside and made everyone else stay in, Sadie getting antsy and wanting to follow to greet her son, but she assumed that Marrick wanted a word with him.
“Thank you, officer,” Marrick began, watching as the cop tipped his hat in a ‘you’re welcome’ gesture and pulled away, leaving Marrick and Jason alone on the porch together. Jason refused to say anything, looking to his father in disgust. “Did you have fun?” Marrick asked sarcastically and Jason scowled at him.
“More fun than being around you,” Jason replied with a cocky tone and Marrick’s anger jumped up a few levels.
“You worried your mother,” Marrick added, getting the subject off of him and talking about Sadie so Jason would eventually feel bad for what he had done, “She’s been a mess ever since you stormed off, go apologize, now,” Marrick demanded.
“I’m not apologizing to you!” Jason yelled angrily.
“I didn’t ask you to, go inside and see your mother,” Marrick demanded again, but with less anger in his tone, genuinely concerned for Sadie and wanting her to feel better now that her son was home.
“Whatever..” Jason replied and stormed inside, Marrick sighing and following him inside as well.
“Oh! My baby boy!” Sadie cried out, going to Jason quickly and pulling him into a tight hug.
“Hey..” Jason replied, hugging her in return and soon feeling her kiss his cheeks a few times.
“I was so worried, where did you go? Why did you leave? I’m so happy you’re home,” Sadie continued, tears forming in her eyes and Jason soon felt terrible for leaving. “Don’t ever do that again!” Sadie pleaded and Jason sighed, smirking slightly at how much he was missed and Sadie stood from hugging him, looking down at his face and smiling with tears in her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I won’t,” Jason replied and Sadie let out a sigh of relief. Marrick watched the two together, staying silent as he watched his wife and only son getting along wonderfully while he was left in the dark. Marrick still wondered why Jason hated him so much, but he knew that Jason truly meant the words he said just before he ran away and that’s all that had been running through Marrick’s head while Jason was gone.
“Mom, I’m not a liar! I swear.. I went to the city because I was mad, I was going to turn around and come right back, but..” Jason stopped, briefly glancing behind him and noticing his father was still right there, listening to his words and Jason was scared to continue, but he was determined to convince them. “I saw.. I saw Archor, again!” Jason stated and caught everyone’s attention, all looking to Jason as if he was crazy and Marrick sighed heavily behind him.
“How many times are we going to have this discussion.. He’s dead, Jason,” Marrick added and Jason completely ignored him.
“I followed him! He ran all throughout the city, over the bridge.. He even brought me to an old house for sale at the dead end of a road.. I found his old doghouse, a red one. B-But, I saw him again! He took me there, I don’t know why.. He was by the shore and he was still hurt and bleeding, but the cop showed up before I could catch him and bring him back with me to show you guys!” Jason continued and Marrick had had enough..
Hitomi, Anya and Julia kept to themselves, pretending to watch television but really keeping their full attention on what was going on with Jason and their parents. “Stop, stop right now. I’m not going to take this any longer, he’s dead Jason. End of story. No more. This is ridiculous and it’s gone too far. I’m warning you, if you ever mention Archor again, you don’t even want to know how long you’ll be in trouble for,” Marrick threatened Jason. Jason looked to Marrick, seemingly not phased at all by his threat and he was fed up with his fathers demands that Marrick knew he would never listen to.
“Show me,” Jason dared Marrick.
Marrick was completely thrown off by Jason’s request, “..W-W..What?” Marrick asked, his heart beginning to race as he pondered Jason’s words and hoped he simply just misunderstood him.
“I said show me, prove to me that he’s dead! Because from what I’ve been seeing lately, he’s not! He’s alive and hurt! I want to help him, but if he’s really dead, then I’ll stop! So show me! Let’s go right now and dig up that fake grave you have in the back yard!” Jason threatened and his expression was filled with rage. Marrick’s expression was blank, shocked by Jason’s words and he couldn’t find a way to respond to him. If he said no, then Jason would only hate him more, but if Marrick said yes.. Jason, along with the rest of the family, would know what Marrick had done to Archor; Archor’s body wouldn’t have any fur or flesh, he would’ve already became one with the dirt, but the bloody towel that Marrick had wrapped Archor in would still be there. Marrick panicked, unsure of how to answer his son.
Sadie gasped, horrified by her sons words, “Jason Richard! You go to your room this instant!” Sadie raised her voice slightly at Jason and he looked to her, “Right now!” She continued, Jason was shocked by her words and he quickly escaped the room as tears fell from his eyes.
Sadie felt guilty for yelling at Jason as she heard him cry while running to his room. She sighed, “I’m going to go talk to him..” Sadie then came up to Marrick and caressed his cheek lovingly, trying to give some comfort to him after Jason’s hurtful words and Marrick only shook his head in disbelief. Anya and Hitomi came to their father, wanting to comfort him as well after Jason’s behavior.
“Are you okay, Daddy?” Julia asked from the couch.
“It’s okay, Dad, Jason’s the only one that doesn’t believe he’s gone.. I can’t understand why he’s acting like this..” Hitomi said with a defeated tone.
“It’s alright.. He’ll realize the truth sooner or later and give up this charade, hopefully soon,” Marrick replied to his girls in a quiet tone.
“I’m sorry Jason treats you so horribly, Dad. I really wish he would just grow up,” Hitomi said in defeat, hugging her father and Marrick soon had a smile on his lips from his daughter’s affection, needing love from his children now more than ever, though he wished he was getting it from his son, too. He was well aware that his daughters loved, respected and cherished him, but never once had he felt any respect from Jason and it hurt more than the rest of the family knew.
“We love you, Daddy,” Anya said with a smile, hugging her father next and Marrick’s smile only grew, trying to forget about Jason’s words as he received more than enough comfort from his other children.
“I love all of you so much more,” he replied, letting Anya go and putting one of his hands to either side of their faces. “I’m going to bed, don’t stay up too late, girls,” he said with a smirk, watching them nod in agreement and Marrick walked towards the couch, bending down to kiss Julia on the top of her head before going upstairs.
After the girls knew they could talk among themselves, they continued about their father and brother, “What the hell has gotten into that boy? Seriously?” Anya asked, trying to figure out her confused brother and Hitomi shrugged.
“Who knows, maybe he just hit puberty of something, he’s probably just going crazy because he doesn’t know how to deal with it. He’s too emotional and he hates dad too much to probably talk about it with him,” Hitomi said softly, flipping through the channels on the television.
“Maybe he really does see Archor,” Julia added, Hitomi and Anya looking to Julia as if she was stupid.
“It’s impossible, Dad’s said it a million times.. He’s dead, like actually dead. Not coming back, not roaming around, nothing, he’s in the ground in the back yard. The fact that Jason had enough courage to dare Dad to dig up the grave of his best friend and prove it shocked the hell outta me,” Hitomi continued.
“But, what if it’s like.. His ghost, or something..?” Julia tried to convince her sisters.
“..Yeah, if you even believe in the mumbo-jumbo, ” Hitomi replied and rolled her eyes.
Anya sighed, “I just don’t understand.. I hope he gets out of this phase, and soon.. Archor meant the world to Dad, I just want Jason to stop all of this before Dad really looses it,” Anya said jokingly.
Marrick was in his room, standing at one of the windows that looked down to Archor’s grave. Marrick’s thumb tapped against his bottom lip in agitation, anxious about the last half hour he had been standing there waiting for Sadie to be done talking with Jason. He starred at the grave, displeased that Archor was still manipulating him, and now he was manipulating his only son, “You lead him so far away from the house, he could’ve gotten hurt. Why did you take him back to the old house; to prove who you were? Why are you doing this to him? To me?” Marrick talked to himself, beginning to bite at his nail in anxiousness. “He was fine before you showed back up, and now he thinks he’s crazy,” Marrick hesitated after his own words, “Well, maybe he is..”
Sadie soon walked into the room, breaking Marrick’s attention on Archor’s grave and he looked to her and saw grief in her eyes, “What did he tell you?” He asked quietly, walking over to her and she wrapped her arms around him.
“He honestly believes that he sees Archor, even though he’s never even met him. He describes him perfectly, even mannerisms that only we would know that Archor would do. I don’t know what to think of all this,” she began, averting her eye from his, “He.. He said that he got a good look at him and he was still covered in blood, even had stab wounds.. Marrick, I don’t want our son to be seeing such gruesome things,” she pleaded.
Marrick’s heart stopped when we realized Archor was pinning Jason against him this entire time, wanting him to see what Marrick had done to let him know the true wrath of what his father was capable of doing to his loved ones. Sadie was right, ever since that one fateful day when Marrick had disposed of Archor, Jason heard everything, and even though he was a baby, he’s always known subconsciously that there was a reason to stay away from Marrick the best he could. “H-He’s just a growing boy that doesn’t know what he’s seeing or doing, his imagination is just running wild, I assure you that it’s probably just a phase,” Marrick replied, trying to ease her worry.
“What if.. What if there really is something wrong with him? Why is he seeing such things? How do we fix this and help him?” She wondered, still worried about Jason and whatever he was going through.
“He doesn’t need help, he’s fine. It’s a phase, don’t worry about it so much. He’s probably just been staying up later than he should with the girls and watching those paranormal TV shows and having nightmares.. Just, let me handle it, I’ll think of something to do about this,” Marrick assured her, resting his forehead against hers and she soon nodded, having confidence in him and hoping he would find a solution soon.