There Was A Man Who Did Things To Me As A Child. He Came Back.

I said nothing, my shell shocked eyes staring into nothing.

Tommy nodded, “I know this is probably upsetting. That’s why I wanted to talk to you in private. I’m worried about your sister and how she’s going to take all this. I’m worried about how it will affect her parenting.”

My eyes rose to meet his, my voice incredulous, “Y-you did this…”

Tommy ignored my accusation, “Matt, I’d like you to stay here with us for a while. Keep an eye on your sister. Help her through this. I’m afraid it’s the only chance we have of settling her mind after such tragedy.”

My fists were clenched by my sides, “One day someone is going to stop you.”

Tommy smiled, but there was no humor in it, “Careful Matt…”

“Just leave my sister alone, get out of her life,” I said through gritted teeth.

“I can’t do that,” Tommy insisted, “Not with such beautiful children to be raised. In fact, that’s the reason I’m here so early. I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to see them.” His eyes glowed, twin spotlights cutting into the darkness of my mind.

I took a step towards him, whispering, “What the fuck are you…”


I stayed with Stephanie that night. It had taken her almost three hours to clean up Lewis and when she was finished, she went up to her bedroom and collapsed. I put the babies to bed after giving them a bottle and stood on the balcony, staring down into the empty living room. Everything felt wrong, like I was dreaming. The shocking events that were slowly twisting my life dug into my brain, unearthing every horror I had spent years burying.

A hand rested on my shoulder.

I turned to see Tommy, the light in my sister’s bedroom glowing behind him.

“Go. Be with her tonight. It’s important she feels the warmth of a man beside her. It will help ease her husband’s passing.”

I said nothing, just stared into Tommy’s smooth face. Every ounce of me screamed to plunge my fingers into his eyes.

Tommy pushed me towards Stephanie’s bedroom, “Go.”

Wordlessly, I walked down the hall and into my sister’s bedroom. I shut the door behind me and went to sit on the bed. Stephanie was under the covers, staring at the ceiling through bloodshot eyes. Her skin was pale and heavy bags dripped down her cheeks.

I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing. I laid down next to her and turned off the lamp. After a couple hours, I blessedly heard the shallow breath of sleep beside me.

Good, I thought, let her mind have a few hours peace. The deep hours of the night snuck up on me, but I barely even noticed. My mind refused to shut down, ideas and possible ways out circling my exhausted head like water circling a drain.

Something Tommy had said kept echoing in my mind.

I only need one of them…

I examined those words, wringing out every possible meaning and scenario they could represent. I didn’t like what I found. I glanced at my sleeping sister next to me, her suffering apparent even in slumber. My heart screamed for her and I felt my eyes well up. She didn’t deserve this. Not again. Not for another five years. I couldn’t watch that. I couldn’t let it happen.

What was I willing to do to save her? What kind of person would I have to become? How could I possibly live with myself if I…if I did what the darkness whispered.

You know how to save her, something chuckled from the black, Tommy made a mistake tonight. Or was it? Maybe he’s testing you? Either way, you know you can’t continue like this. You can’t live knowing your dear sister is breaking…

I covered my face in the dark, tears staining my face.

What kind of person would I be…

At some point in the night, I became aware of something by the bedroom door. I turned my head and saw Tommy watching us through a crack in the door, his blue eyes illuminating the darkness to cast a soft glow across his smiling face. I shivered and turned away.

It was hours before I felt his gaze leave me.

I awoke to a scream. I bolted upright, sleep leaving me in an instant. I didn’t remember falling asleep, but the dark gloom from the window told me it was late. I glanced at the clock on the bed side and saw it was almost ten. Rain threw itself against the house, a wind slamming angrily against the windows.

Another scream shot me out of bed. It was Stephanie. I looked at the empty bed and my heart began to race. I sprinted out of the room into the hallway.

Tommy was marching up the stairs, holding my sister by the hair. She was grasping at his wrists, tears running down her face in agony as he shook her, screaming down into her face.

“When will you learn!?” He howled, never slowing his pace.

My heart crawled up my throat and sickness boiled in my stomach, “What happened!? Tommy let go of her!”

Still dragging my sister, Tommy ascended to the top of the stairs. He reached out and palmed my face, throwing me hard against the far wall. Stars exploded in my vision as my head bounced off the sheet rock, sending me to my knees.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! I wasn’t calling anyone I promise!” Stephanie howled as Tommy pulled her towards her bedroom.

“The police can’t help you, Matt can’t help you, only I can help you,” Tommy snarled. He threw her across the room onto the bed and turned back to me. Fury stretched his face and burned in his eyes.

“Your sister needs another lesson,” He growled before slamming the door and locking it. I crawled to my feet, racing to the door. I jiggled the handle and pounded on the wood, screaming, begging. From inside, I heard something crash and then my sister’s voice arched and rose, reaching an almost animalistic height of hysteria.

“TOMMY STOP IT! TOMMY PLEASE! LEAVE HER ALONE!” I cried, slamming myself against the door. It didn’t budge and my sister continued to howl.

I spun in the hallway, clawing at my hair, eyes wide, “FUCK! FUUUUUUUUUUCK!”

My heart motored in my chest and my whole body shook, a sense of maddening helplessness and anguish threatening to overwhelm me.

Stop this! My mind screamed, You have to stop this!

I pounded the wall, tears rolling down my face, “NO NO NO NO NO!”

She still has a chance! She can recover from this plague! DO SOMETHING BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! My mind howled.

Breath hitching in my throat, my sister’s scream echoing and crashing into my skull, I turned to the twin’s room. I squeezed my fists together, world blurring through tear soaked eyes, and went in.

Jack and Jill were sniffling in their cribs, staring up at me with confused, scared expressions. I looked down at them, sobbing, placing my forehead against Jill’s crib.

“No, no, no, no,” I wept, “please…please…”

I righted myself and reached down, stroking her soft cheek. Snot bubbled from my nose, face a wet mess of agony and mental devastation.

“I am so sorry, little one,” I whispered, Stephanie’s shrieks collapsing my willpower. “But you can’t understand the pain your mother is going through. What she’ll have to endure. I love you and Jack with all of my heart…but I love my sister more.”

I picked up a pillow and placed it over the child’s face.

It took forty-eight seconds for Jill to die.

Hoarse cries rattled my chest, prayers of forgiveness poured from my lips.

I went to Jack’s crib and killed him.

When it was over, I threw the pillow against the wall and slumped down to my knees, raining the floor with tears of horror at what I had just done. My mind cracked, ripping in two and bleeding sorrow and self-hatred through my body.

Suddenly, something was roughing hauling me to my feet. I coughed as I hand gripped my throat and slammed me against the wall. I blinked and stared through grew stricken eyes into Tommy’s enraged face.

“What-have-you-DONE!?” He bellowed, shaking.

Through the misery, a deep, murderous hatred blazed in my chest like wildfire. I leaned into Tommy, voice like hot steel, “I’m freeing this family from your shadow.”

Screaming, I smashed my face into his as hard as I could. My vision blinked, the darkness quickly clearing under a storming rage.

Tommy howled, stumbling backwards, clutching his face. Something yellow and thick dripped from his mouth. He looked down at it, eyes growing wide.

“I knew you could bleed,” I snarled, wiping the tears from my face.

Tommy stared at his covered hand and then back up at me, fury reigniting, “What have you done to the CHILDREN!?”

“I killed your lifeline,” I hissed.

Before he could respond, I charged him. I threw my body into his, slamming him against the far wall with a heavy thud. The surprise and pain that rippled across his face fueled my sudden murderous hunger. I grabbed his hair and ripped his face to the side, burying my teeth into his soft throat.

He screamed as my jaws snapped shut, my mouth filling with warmth and shredded flesh. I spat the mouthful out as Tommy shoved me back, hand going to his gushing throat. His fingers coated with the yellow liquid, pouring down his shirt and chest.

I didn’t let him recover. I grabbed a lamp and brought it crashing into his skull, bringing him to his knees. I drove a fist under his chin while simultaneously swinging the lamp again, driving the butt directly into his eyes.

He howled, falling against the wall, reaching out, desperate. I knelt over him, tossing the lamp aside. My fists thudded into the gaping hole into his throat, summoning new howls of agony. It fueled me, ignited me, filled me with rage.

I stood and kicked him onto his stomach. He started to crawl towards the door, but I brought a foot down into his spine, causing him to twist and shriek. Keeping my foot on his back, panting, I leaned down, voice like venom.

“It’s over Tommy, you motherfucker.”

Even through the obvious pain, his twisted, his eyes burning with hatred, his voice hoarse, “You can’t kill me. There are other families.”

I reached down and gripped beneath his chin with both hands, “But not my family.” I pulled back as hard as I could, muscles straining and screaming.

Howling, thrashing, Tommy’s neck bent backwards until the skin in his throat split with a sickening pop. I didn’t stop, sweat pouring from my brow, fingers digging into his skin.

With a deafening crack, Tommy’s spine broke at the base of his neck.

And then he was still.

I collapsed onto the floor, gasping, muscles burning. I stared at the motionless body, fresh tears in my eyes.

I had done it.

I had killed Tommy Taffy.

A wave of relief and sorrow rolled through me like a rising tide, hot and cold crashing into each other as the consequences of my actions stabbed me with needle thin blades.

What have you done…

I rushed Stephanie to the hospital, calling the police on the way. I told them an intruder had broken into the house and murdered Lewis and the children. I didn’t wait for the questions, my main concern getting my unconscious sister medical attention.

That day, something in me broke. Something I can never heal or replace. A dark shadow hovers over my soul, a deadly reminder of what I did to save my sister. Guilt and anguish…those are just words compared to how I feel. I don’t know if I’ll be able to live with myself much longer.

But I know Stephanie will live, my dear sister.

The news of her children’s demise rocked her to the bone. I stayed with her through it all, those long nights in the hospital filled with overwhelming sadness and grief.

I told her Tommy had killed them.

And it’s a lie I will take to the grave.

Whenever that may come.

And even when the sorrow threatens to kill me, I know, deep down, that Tommy is forever gone from our lives.

Because of me.

Because of what I did.

Our family will die free from the shadow of that monster.

Tommy Taffy. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

THE THIRD PARENT by Elias Witherow is now available!
Read the whole story of Tommy Taffy here.

About the author

Elias Witherow

Elias is a prolific author of horror fiction. His books include The Third Parent, The Black Farm, Return to the Black Farm,and The Worst Kind of Monsters.

“Growing up reading the works of King, admiring the art of Geiger, and knowing fiends like Pinhead left me as a pretty jaded horror fan today. It takes a lot to get the breath to hitch in my throat and the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end.. My fiance is quite similar, so when he eagerly begged me to let him read me a short story about The Black Farm by Elias Witherow, I knew it had to be good… And I was not dissapointed. Elias has a way of painting a picture that you can feel with all your senses and plays the tunes of terror created when our world meets one much more dark and forces you to keep turning the pages hungry for more.” —C. Houser

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