Dream Worlds Are Born

Story 635:Elowen & Birch 3

Elowen was singing a song playing on the radio as she drove through the rain. Most the time Tod would sing with her when it was just the two of them like this but she guessed he didn’t feel like it today and didn’t ask him why. When they arrived at the museum the two had been heading to Tod grabbed his mothers hand just as she was going to unlock the doors “Tod?”

“Mom…I really need to talk to you about something but I’m scared” she could hear it in his voice. “You never have to be afraid of me honey. It makes me sad you’re afraid to talk about something”

“I just…I dont want you to be scared of me but I’m worried if I just ignore this…I’ll do something bad”

“Tod what’s wrong”

“I think whatever was wrong with my dad is wrong with me”

“your biological father?”

“yeah…do you know why he did what he did”

“No, Tod, sweetheart. I love you, Birch loves you, Mei loves you, your little brother adores you and nothing you tell me is going to change that…just tell me why you’d say something like that”

“I just, I want to eat peoples insides…I…and its like the more I like them the more I want to do it…like Sabela…that girl I took on a date…I couldn’t stop looking at her stomach…I couldnt stop wanting to rip it open” he started crying “Mom I’m broken and I’m scared I’ll hurt somebody and just so you know I didn’t hurt her. You haven’t seen her again because I drove her home and told her to never talk to me again”

His mother did the last thing he expected, she hugged him and it made him cry harder. “Thank you for telling me…this must be so hard…you’re not a monster”

“what if I become one”

“I wont let that happen, you wont let that happen. Thats why you drove that girl home and thats why you’re telling me now”

“I’m sorry”

“for what”

“I dont know, for being this way. I thought I could handle it but I…I wanted to eat her insides so bad mom…it terrified me how bad I wanted to do it”

“It’s going to be alright baby, I promise. We’ll talk to Birch and get you some help.”

“Okay.”

Elowen hated that her ex was still haunting them and hated even more that it was being done through Tod. “Do you want to go home?”

“Yeah, I don’t want to go in there with all those people. I’m scared of what I might do. What if I attack one of them?”

“Okay, we’ll go home then.”

“I’m sorry I ruined our day out.”

“You didn’t, I promise. We’ll just have a day in and I’ll text Birch to come home.” He nodded and sat back in his seat. She could tell he thought this was some failure on his part, but it wasn’t his fault, he hadn’t asked for his biological father’s genes and she had faith that Birch could help.

Tod looked more anguished than even before when he was admitting everything to her as she parked her car back at the house so she took his hand “Tod, having those thoughts doesn’t make you bad. What you do determines who you are and you’ve chosen over and over not to hurt people”

“but I also didn’t warn anybody I was struggling…what if I would have hurt you or…or Faust eventually”

“I have absolute faith you’d never allow yourself to give into those urges” Tod wiped at his face “To clarify though I never think about that with you or dad or Mei or my little brother…I just…I’m sorry…I just really hoped this would go away if I ignored it long enough”

“Lets go inside sweetie, I’ll make you some tea”

“I think I just want a soda”

“Okay” Elowen let go of her oldest sons hand and the two went inside. While Tod went to the kitchen Elowen messaged Mei to ask how Fausts playdate was going. She had taken Faust, Elowens eight year old to a friends house. “Have you messaged dad?” Tod asked and Elowen answered “No, I was checking in on Mei and Faust”

“are you going to ask her to keep Faust out if his playdate ends before we can sit down with dad?”

“Do you want me to? I don’t see any need. Tod, I would even still trust you to watch Faust by yourself and I know your dad would to”

“thats stupid mom, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be disrespectful but I’ve just told you…” he couldn’t even say it and she pointed that out. “Those urges make you so sad you couldn’t even finish that sentence son. Just try to breath, I’ll message your dad and see if he can come home”

Birch was at the tail end of a meeting when his phone vibrated. He pulled it out and was surprised to see it was Elowen. She didn’t generally text him while he was working unless it was at the end of the day, so his heart gave a stutter of worry. He got up, apologizing as he stepped out of the room and opened her message. It was asking him to come home because Tod had an emergency. He went back into the room and quietly told his coworker he had to go, that it was an emergency. He was given the okay and hurried from the room, texting Elowen as he went. “Is he okay, is he hurt?”

She sent back. “He’s okay physically, we’ll talk when you get home. Love you.”

He was still worried, but he trusted that if Elowen thought it was best to wait, then it was best to wait. “Alright, be home soon.”

“Is he coming?” Tod asked.

“Of course he his. How about we get a cake started. It’ll help you calm down.”

“Strawberry?”

“Sure baby.”

The cake was in the oven baking by the time Birch pulled into the driveway. Elowen comforted Tod again “he’s still going to love you and he’s going to help figure out why you feel this way and how we can help” Tod didn’t look sure, he even stood in such a way that clearly indicated he was ready for Birch to hate him, to not want him anywhere near the rest of the family. He still couldn’t understand why his mother was so accepting, anybody should be terrified. Birch Rushed through the door, obviously worried “what’s wrong? Why aren’t you two enjoying the museum like you planned?”

Elowen looked to Tod, hoping he could find the strength to tell Birch so Birch could hear the pain in his voice she had heard but after a long pause and Birch prompting again she decided to answer for him. She explained what Tod had told her earlier then said “I don’t know, I mean, maybe its a passed down mental disorder or…maybe I never knew what he was. Maybe hes some sort of creature that we’ve never realized…I’m really leaning toward we need to figure out precisely what his dad was and what that makes Tod”

Birch looked at Tod and hated that his son actually flinched away. “Tod, hey.”

“I’m sorry.” Tod replied. “I…”

“Whoa, easy buddy, it’s okay.” He moved closer and gently rested a hand on Tod’s shoulder. “It’s not your fault.”

“But…I just…I just don’t want you to think I’m bad.” He teared up. “Maybe I am bad.”

“Tod.” He hugged him and Tod started crying again. “It’s okay, everything’s going to be okay.” He let him go and Tod wiped at his face. “I could never think you’re bad, okay?”

“Okay.” He took a deep breath. “Sorry, I’m just scared and stressed.”

“It’s understandable baby.” Elowen rubbed his back, feeling the tension in his muscles.

“What do you remember about your ex?” Birch asked. “Did he have any weird habits other than the obvious?”

“I really can’t think of any, he seemed like a completely normal guy. I mean I always assumed he was a psycho human but he could have been hiding anything…I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to figure out…that he was killing people” Tods heart ached a little for his father. He was a murderer, he had hunted down and tried to kill his mother for not staying but with how badly he had wanted to eat his dates insides, his father had controlled himself for years around his mother and to Tod, knowing what he knows now. He knew she must have meant a lot to him.

Tod wasn’t about to empathize with his father out loud in this very moment though. He hadn’t lost his family and he didn’t want them to start questioning his sanity. Tod just counted his blessings his father had let her live so long and he hoped with all he was that he would continue to be lucky and not have to fight these urges with his family.

“Alright Tod, can you tell me exactly what happened with you when you felt the urge to…”

“Eat my date?”

“Yeah.”

“Well it started while we were at the movies. I could suddenly hear her heartbeat and breathing over the sound of the movie, it was so loud and then I was staring at her stomach. I didn’t even notice until she took my hand. After, we went out to eat and it just got worse. I kept looking at her stomach and it was like a voice in my head urging me to attack her, that her insides were…that they were delicious, better than the food I was eating. She smelled so good.” He started to tear up again. “I started panicking and I took her home and the whole time all I could feel was this urge to eat.”

“Okay, it’s alright.” He patted Tod’s back. “You have heightened senses, probably for hunting.”

“Hunting?”

“All demons have the same thing, it’s because they’re predators, but that doesn’t make you bad and neither do the voices. They do narrow it down though. Not all demonic creatures hear voices like that, so it has to be a species trait.”

“You really think you can figure this out dad”

“I know I can, I wont rest until you can have peace within you Tod.” Birch walked over to their computer and started researching different types of demons, hoping something online could help.He quickly found a few things Tod could be descended from. Birch struggled to pinpoint one since they didn’t have much information besides his deep need for organs and the voices in Tods head but one thing was for sure, Tod had to be some sort of demon. Maybe talking to some might help but Birch was hesitant to make any posts in fear of causing trouble for Tod.

“Tod?” He turned from the computer.

“Yeah?” He was sitting on the couch, next to his mom, watching a movie, trying to get his mind off of everything.

“I want to make some posts asking for help, would that be alright?”

“Do you think it would help?”

“It might.”

“Do it then, I want to know what’s wrong with me.”

“There’s nothing wrong with you sweetie.” Elowen said.

“Mom…I want to eat people.”

“That’s not your fault honey.”

He sighed. “I know, I just don’t want to hurt anyone, I want to be normal.”

“I know, baby.”

“I want you to make as many posts as you have too, even if they get negative responses, I don’t care.”

“Alright.” Birch said and turned back to the computer.

Birch was careful not to mention anything that would tell beings who they were in any way out of fear of backlash against Tod. Once he was better and in his right mind he didn’t want Tod to experience the hurt of people holding on to this image of him. The first few hours none of the responses were helpful and some were outright trolls being trolls but Birch hadn’t expected someone to instantly give them the answers they were looking for. Tod seemed defeated the rest of the evening, especially when his brother came home. Normally Tod spoiled his little brother but now he seemed awkward around him.

“Is Tod mad at me?” Faust asked when Elowen was putting him to bed that night.

“No honey, he’s just going through some things right now and he’s a little scared.”

“Oh.” He reached over and grabbed the German shepherd plush Tod had bought for him the year before. Faust had been having nightmares and Tod had wanted him to feel better. He had told him that if he ever got scared or had a nightmare all he had to do was ask the toy chase them off because German shepherds were tougher than monsters. “Could you give this to him for me?”

“Of course baby, but are you going to be okay without it?”

“Yeah, he needs it more.”

“Okay.” She pressed a kiss to his forehead. “Love you, sweet dreams.”

“Sweet dreams mom.”

She pulled his door closed on the way out and headed down the hall to Tod’s room. He was sitting at the head of his bed with his legs pulled up and his arms wrapped around his knees. “Tod?” He raised his head and she could see he had been crying. He quickly wiped at his face and she crossed over to him and sat down. “Sweetie, talk to me.”

“I’m just so scared, mom and Faust probably thinks I hate him.”

She held up the stuffed animal. “He told me to give you this, just in case.”

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Elowen saw her sons lip tremble “but…”

“He’s worried about you, he loves you so much and was hoping this might bring you as much comfort as it’s brought him since you bought it for him. You’re an amazing big brother and you don’t need to be afraid to play with him.You aren’t going to hurt anybody, you’d never let yourself do that son” A few tears tumbled down tods face “I’ll…I’ll be a better brother tomorrow”

“why don’t you go say goodnight to him now and thank him for the stuffed animal?” Tod wiped at his face and got up “that’s an amazing idea mom” Elowen smiled as her eldest son walked out of his bedroom. Tod slowly opened Fausts door, being careful just incase he was already asleep. Fausts little head turned toward his brother and how excited Faust looked almost broke Tod “hey baby brother” Tod greeted softly and Faust sat up “Hey”

“Thank you for sending this to me with mom”

“do you still like me?”

“of course I do” Tod assured as he went to hug his little brother. They held eachother a short while then Tod said “I wont be so weird tomorrow alright”

“good, I missed you today”

“Me too bud, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Sweet dreams.”

“Yeah, sweet dreams.”

He left Faust’s room with the stuffed animal and got ready for bed, putting the shepherd next to him and smiling. He didn’t know what he had done to deserve such an amazing little brother, but he wasn’t going to ever make him feel sad again, no matter how hard it got.

“How is he?” Birch asked as he turned from the computer once again.

“Upset, but I think Faust helped, he let Tod borrow his puppy.”

Birch gave a little chuckle. “He’s a good kid, they both are.” He held out his hand and she crossed over to him, letting him pull her onto his lap. “And how are you?”

“I’m fine.” She sighed. “I hate he’s going through this, how scared he is. Has anyone said anything yet?”

“No, not yet.”

“Should I make us some coffee?”