Innocence Taken

By: Sin Cesar

Sam runs. His heart wants to burst from the terror, running down those unfamiliar streets. Houses block his way, abandon relics left to rot. He speeds down alleys and sidewalks with fear riding his back, wondering were Central and Madison Street disappeared. Jagged pieces of metal only remain where the street signs should be. Fog settles at ground level, making the night surreal. His night wear is little protection from the arid cold of the night. He looked back every now and than to check up on Melissa. She ran as fast as she could but could not match his speed. She was still in her nightgown from the hospital. The plain white dress gave little privacy or protection. Sam’s pajamas were better suited for this journey, so he could only imagine what she felt like. Her fuzzy slippers clipped and clopped on the hard pavement.

The hospital was finally in sight, the street lamps led them eerily close to their final destination. Sam stopped a couple of feet from the hospital’s entrance door. He wanted to wait for Melissa and catch his breath. Sam looked back and saw Melissa in the distance. The dilapidated houses surrounded them in all directions. Sam never noticed the neighborhood; if he did he would never have chosen this hospital. The relic of a hospital stood there with a mighty presence. A broken street light flickered near the entrance. Sam could almost feel all the lives that were born and saved there since its erection. What came as clear as daylight to him, were all the lives lost.

“How come we didn’t realize all this stuff until now?” Sam says.

“It’s like someone pulled off the blind fold off of us.” Melissa said as she tries filling her longs with the cold air.

“I told you to wait home, Melissa! You can’t be out here in your condition.”

“How can I wait at home, sitting on my hands and not do anything?” She said. Her voice started to fill with sorrow. “Why did this have to happen to…?” Melissa collapses. Sam catches her before she thuds the floor.

“That’s why I told you to stay home! You are in no condition to be running around all hysterical. You were in the critical ward for God sakes!”

“I-I-I can’t believe this happen, what am I going to do?”

“Snap out of it, I want to hear what happen again. I want to know everything that you remembered,” Sam says. He grabs her by the shoulders, shaking her. He realized what he just said seconds ago and stopped. “I’m sorry Melissa, I wasn’t thinking straight. I’m sorry if I hurt you.”

“I’m ok, I’m… ok…” Melissa said. She regained her senses; ached from the jolt.

“Please babe, just tell me again. My anger, it doesn’t let me think clear. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“Well…alright. I…asked the nurse…,” Melissa says. She trails off, lost in her emotions once more. She began bawling her eyes out. They looked like they would pop out of her head.

“Melissa! Please, you have to help me find her!”

“Sam, they took her! They took our baby! She’s gone, gone forever! Well never see Nina again!”

Melissa fell to the floor in a heap of tears. Her words hit Sam hard. He shuddered at the thought of not seeing Nina again. Sam’s baby girl, lost in that death trap of a hospital. How and why this happen cloud Sam’s thoughts. This all started two days ago after Nina’s birth. Sam needed to check up on the house and take a breather from all the excitement. He was taking a nap on their comfy bed when this all began. A thunderous crackling of fist battered the front house door. It was Melissa, in her hospital paper gown and her gold hair all over her face. Her green eyes were like cracked emeralds. She claws at Sam to help her.

Sam is horrified at what she says next. She explains that she asked the nurse to get Nina for her feeding. She agrees and goes out to get her. She comes back a half and hour later empty handed. Her eyes glued to the ground, she couldn’t find Nina in the nursery. She hurries out of the room with Melissa in a stupor. She rushes out to try to find the baby. She looks high and low only to find Nina has vanished into thin air. There was no help from the doctors, nurses, security, or even patients. They looked at her as if she wasn’t making sense. Sam’s face turned pale from this shocking information. He ran his hands through his hair. Thick curls of brown hair stuck between his fingers.

“You wait here Melissa. You sit down and rest, ok? I’ll check things out for myself.”

“Ok, I’ll wait here. Ask that nurse for help,” Melissa says. She plops her weary body on an old seat.

She points to the front desk and the nurse that sits at the helm, who plays with her hair out of boredom. Twirling it and making knots in the process, flicking her nurse hat. Her desk is a mess. Files and trash litter her workplace. A security guard sleeps soundly next to the reception desk. The chair is tilted on the wall; making his slumber relaxing as possible. Patients crowd the waiting room. A man with an open skull bleeds a river of blood. He sits patiently in a seat. A young woman sits on standby with her son. The boy has a line of nails running up his arm, his face twists in pain as his mother tries to soothe his anguish. An elderly woman sits in the corner with a glazed look in her face; her eyes are a milky white.

People needing immediate care wait for their name to be called as if waiting for a driving test at the DMV. Sam sees Melissa sitting down in the wave of people. The room was filthy. Food waste and paper littered the ground and seats. The loud speaker would blare out a name. The man with the open head got up. A trail of blood drips from his pant leg and paints the floor on his way through the emergency doors. The officer and nurse seemed unfazed by all of the commotion. They lazily continued on with their own selfish needs. Sam walks towards the desk.

“Miss my name is Sam. I need help finding my daughter.”

“What happened?” she says. Her tone is cross, sounding like she was interrupted from doing something important.

“My baby girl has gone missing.”

“Sir, we are not the police department. I can direct you to one. Just go outside and turn...” She says. She spouts information mechanically.

“No damn it! I mean she’s missing from this hospital!”

“Sir, please lower your voice and refrain from the cursing.”

“What! Who cares about that? Just help me find her lady.”

“Sir, my name is Patty and please calm yourself or I’ll be forced to have you escorted out of here.” She says. Patty points to the door and looks at the sleeping officer.

“Oh god,” Sam says. He takes a deep breath. “Please Patty, my newborn daughter Nina has gone missing.”

“Did you say Fena?”

“No Patty I said Nina.”


NIINNAA, patty” Sam says, elongating her name out of anger.

“How do you spell that?”

“Are you serious…? N. I. N. A.”

“And you said you can’t find the nursery?”

“No! Aren’t you listening? She is gone from the nursery and no one knows where she is.”

“So wait… what happen to her?”

“I told you she is missing!”

“Sir, from where did she go missing?” Patty says, talking in a condescending way.

“From the nursery, she went missing from the nursery!”

“Oh the nursery... and when did she go missing?”

“Today Patty! What’s the point to this! Wake that officer up. Call someone to help me find her. Look for her; your just wasting time!”

“Sir, I'm trying to help you. Please fill out these papers so we can help you,” She says. She pulls out a mountain of papers from out of nowhere.

“I’m not going to sign anything,” Sam yells. He pushes back the papers in a stun. “I’m looking for my daughter, not lost language!”

“You need to fill out a report. This is for insurance purposes.”

“What is there to write miss? My baby girl is gone and we need to find her like ASAP. It’s that simple!”

“First of all, we can’t prove Fena was even at this hospital unless you sign these forms. Here, you write like this,” she says as she doodles on paper. “It’s that simple.” Patty says. Her ignorance is at maximum.

“Miss, you need to light a fire under your ass and find my daughter NOW!”

“Sir my name is Patty and please keep your voice down…”

“Oh shit!”

The idle chatter finally got the best of Sam and he scrambled out of there. He looked over his shoulder, the nurse got back to what she was doing best. She stared blankly into space while she knotted her hair again. The officer slept soundly throughout the whole ordeal. Sam stopped running; realizing he didn’t know where the nursery was. There was a point where the hall split into two different directions. He doubled over to catch his breath. The adrenaline coursing through his body made him sick. Air finally found its place and he inspected his surroundings again. The walls of the hallway were dimly lit. Broken light fixtures made the entire interior of the hospital eerie. From what Sam could see, the walls were in bad shape. Paint was peeling off. Cracks in the wall were prominent. The doors of the rooms were splintering into messy slabs of wood. The room numbers were intelligible. Sam could make out one of the room numbers. Its number was 616. He found a listing next to the room, his location no longer a mystery. The right side of the intersection was for the nursery. The other side was for the morgue. A grim location that he rued even knowing it existed.

The door to room 616 creaks open. It’s blown apart by a massive amount of force. The splinters fly in all directions, none find a fleshy home. It sounds like something detonated from inside the room. A man, from what he could tell by its figure, comes flying out of the room; rolling like a barrel. He stops an inch away from Sam’s blue slippers. He uses his knees and his forehead to reach a crumbling wall. He smacks his head into the wall, using it as a fifth appendage. His mannerisms make him look like a worm. His appearance was even more of a disturbance. His clothes were entirely in black from the black sneakers to oversized hoodie. The hood concealed his face; it generated its own shadow, completely obscuring his face. Sam could see that he was clutching something in his arms; it didn’t get him to his feet any faster. As soon as he saw Sam look at his arms, he bolted out of there. He ran towards the morgue. Sam wanted to follow him; wanted to investigate the loud explosion. He did neither; the top priority was finding Nina.

The hallways were silent. His footsteps made the hospital livelier. He finally sees the big window for the nursery. It was dark in their, perhaps to let the newborns sleep. He tried for the door but it was locked. The halls were strangely quite, no one was in sight. Sam went to the nurse’s office for assistance. There was a sign with a clock drawn on it, stuck to the door with clear tape. It said that they had “Gone to Lunch”. The chicken scratches were barely readable. The clock’s hour and minute hand were torn off. A jagged little hole was in the middle of clock sign. He ran back to the nursery’s door and yanked hard. The door wouldn’t budge.

“Here’s the key.” Melissa says.

“Oh God! Melissa! You scared me!” Sam yelps. He lets his fist relax.

“I’ll open the door. I think Nina is in there.”

“Melissa! I thought I told you to sit down! Remember your condition! Where did you come from?”

“Don’t you yell at me Sam! Not now, not ever again! You wait here while I open the damn door!” Melissa yelled. She pushed him out of the way.

“Melissa…I…I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound angry. My temper…”

“Just shut up. Ill get Nina, she is in here. You’ll see.”

She opened the door with the key. She quickly goes in and stumbles to find the switch for the light. Sam can hear tables move and slaps on the wall. Something buzzing passes his ear; flies fly out of the room. The light finally comes on. His eyes center on the cribs. Sam couldn’t comprehend what his eyes showed him. There were rows upon rows of dead and dying animals. At first, Sam looks around to see if someone was in the hallway. His thoughts were of a prank; a cruel joke that he was unwillingly apart of. No one was there like he wished.

He returns his gaze on the puppies and kittens that lay motionless in their little open coffins. Flies were feasting on the small corpses. The smell hit him like a brick to the face. Some were still alive and trying to crawl over the side. Some didn’t have the strength anymore. Others could be seen crawling on the floor, trying to make it to the now open door. All of them were ribs and bones. They looked like they never seen a drop of food in all their miserable lives. All of the cribs had names on them. Amy, Brain, Cedric, Daniel…Nicholas. They were the names of the missing infants.

The window to the nursery got farther and farther away. His body was in control now; he was not the captain anymore. Air became harder to breath. His whole body began to tremble at this terrible sight. His feet finally gave way like a tree caught in a tsunami. The floor was cold, his rear went numb. He heard the footsteps of Melissa as she walked out with something wrapped in a cloth. She came over where Sam was toppled and squatted next to him. She stroked the cloth as if there was something precious inside.

“I told you I would find her,” She said as she smiled at the bundle. “Say hi to your dada Nina.”

“Get that thing away from me,” Sam said. The words are blurted out, his gaze never averted from the package. He scrapped the floor with his feet; inched a bit from her.

“Why? What’s wrong with you?” Melissa says. Her puzzlement said it all. “Are you coming down with something?”

“Melissa, where did you get that? I didn’t see Nina in there.” Sam says. His eyes never move from the bundle she carries.

“She was right there waiting for me,” Melissa said. Her smile widens. A smile that Sam hadn’t seen in a while, it had joy in it. “She is so…so beautiful!”

“But I didn’t even see you pick her…” Sam chokes out. Melissa cuts him off.

“You have to see her, she’s giggling, and it’s so cute!”

She opens up the blanket. She exposes the tiny face of a dying puppy. The dog’s eyeball spills out of its skull; swinging in midair by the eye’s vein. The puppy yelps when it hits the arm of Melissa. She extends the package to Sam, gesturing to take “Nina” from her. Sam heart drops as the dog comes near. The sight of it hurts to look at. The puppy comes near Sam’s face. The pungent smell of feces and rotting flesh was choking. Sam musters the energy to move away from the dog and Melissa. Fear and shock gave him the push.

“Get that thing away from me.” Sam says it shakily to Melissa.

“What is wrong with you Sam?” Melissa says. Her mouth twists out the words like bullets out of a barrel. Her tone shifted to anger.

“Just get it away from me.” Sam repeats. That’s all he could think of.

“Why don’t you want Nina now? She your daughter!”

“That isn’t Nina, look at her Melissa. You’re carrying a dog…”

“A dog? Don’t say that you bastard! I can’t believe you said that!” Melissa yells. She swipes at Sam’s face but misses. “Hold her now Sam.”

“No! Snap out it; please look at what you’re holding. Nina isn’t there!”

“You’re so cold,” Melissa says. She looks down at the puppy. It whimpers from the pain. “You made her cry you hurtful man.”


“Kiss her. Hold her. Love her. Accept her!” Melissa demanded. She juts the package to his face. The smell and sight is transcending.

“God damn it, I said get it away from me!”

Sam smacks the bundle out of Melissa’s hand. It is sent flying. Sam looks at his hands and sees pieces of hair and maggots on his fingers. The puppy splatters on the nursery window. The remains smear, wet chunks of meat dot the floor. Melissa let’s out a guttural scream. The type of scream that can turn hair grey; make bones jump out of the skin. Melissa dives for the corpse and picks it up. She holds the blood soaked blanket to her face. Kissing and stroking it as if this act would bring it back to life. It wouldn’t from the grizzly sight. Sam’s stomach turns as he sees Melissa baby the corpse.

Sam leaps to his feet. He runs out and through the halls. Anywhere is fine; just as long as he can get away from that sight. Fear grips him once more. He fly’s down the halls not knowing where he is going. The halls maze in different directions. The little white hat with the Red Cross is a familiar sight. It’s a nurse from what he could tell; closer inspection turns his stomach sour. It was the front door nurse, Patty. Her hair in ropes tied together by clumsy knots, very bizarre. She looks up from the clumps of paper she clings onto. She stops Sam before he can run on by.

“Wait Mr. Sam, I was looking for you.” Patty says. She reaches for him, forgetting the tree she was lugging around. The papers make a hollow splash on the floor. “I got someone important waiting.”

“Oh really, thank God! You found Nina?” Sam yells. His joy spills out. She takes Patty in his arms and embraces her. “You’re a saint Patty”

“What? Get off of me! What’s wrong with you?” Patty says. She pushes him off.

“You said someone important to me right? I was looking for my baby girl Nina, remember?”

“I said something important. Not someone.”

“No you didn’t, you said someone Patty.”

“You’re mistaken. Anyways, here’s what you forgot to take with you before you ran off to the bathroom or whatever.” Patty says. She hands him one of the papers off the floor.

“What is this?” Sam says. He looks at the paper. Itemized services from the hospital and outrageous costs litter the paper. “Are you serious?”

“Of course I am. We are a very professional hospital.” Patty says. She wades through the papers. Her matted hair bounces as she walks. “I need you too sign your name so we can charge our services to your credit card.”

“Tour of the hospital, hallway usage… tropical scented air intake?” Sam reads, shocked by the bill. “You’re charging me breathing in the air? Unbelievable!”

“Sir, calm down. We have a very affordable payment plan.”

“Even if I lived five lives I wouldn’t be able to pay this off! The fact remains that you lost my kid!” Sam yells. He crumbles up the paper and throws it to the ground. Patty picks it up and writes on it.

“Littering in the hospital is 100 dollars per item. All of these pieces of paper are your property so I am adding it too what you owe.”

“Are you out of your tiny brain!?! I’m not paying for any of this! When I get Nina and I'm out of here, I’m going to sue all of your asses for child negligence!”

“Ignorant comments like that will get you know where.”

“Miss, your ignorance is out of this atmosphere!” Sam yells. His patience waning; he turns his back to walk in the other direction. “If you were a man, I would knock your teeth in.”

“Just like all woman in your life, she has left you to.”

“What was that…?” Sam says turning around. No one is there. She’s gone with the shadows. Sam’s emotions get harder and harder to control. Each moment he spends extra in this hospital makes his body react abnormally. The senses get bombarded with alien stimuli.

“What is going on in this damn place? It’s like everyone has lost their minds. Nina! Where are you?” Sam yells. The halls are darker. No one is in sight. He runs down the hall. He sees a shadow pass his line of sight. He doesn’t wait for the information to be processed and chases after the shadow. He runs at it like a dog chasing the mailman’s truck. Down maze like halls that seem to go on forever. A flash of light grinds him to a halt; it comes from a door. Sam looks down the hall but can’t see what he was chasing anymore. Sam decides to see what is going on through the window of the door.

He sees two surgeons talking. Sam can’t hear what they are saying but sees their masks fold. They hover over the body of a patient. Sam notices the cleanliness of the room; it shares the same standards of the rest of the hospital. The surgical tools were lying in a pool of liquid; rusty pieces float in the substance. The room seemed barren. A lone light shined an oval barrier of light. It centered them in the room.

Sam starts to pound at the door; desperately wanting their attention. They do not listen to his pleas. He watches them begin to argue. Their faces twist with rage as they shove the crusty tools back and forth. Sam can’t hear what they are saying. Finally, one of the doctors gives up and snatches the tools from the other’s hand. He slams them on the surgical table, liquid explodes from the pool. The other surgeon gets bright orange color on his blue scrubs. Angry doctor picks up the scalpel.

Sam doesn’t turn away. The doctor holds the metallic rust in his hands and systematically cut a Y into the victim’s chest. The points of the letter went from the both shoulders all the way down to the belly button. He peels the skin away to expose the breast plate. Stained doctor grabs a circular saw and hands it to angry doctor. He snatches it from his hands and turns it on. The doctor thrusts the spinning blade into the chest bone. Powder flies. The horrid sound of bone splitting fills Sam’s head; the sound amplified by a dull blade and bad power supply. He removes the plate. They both take a look, looking at each other to make sure they both see the same thing.

They dove right on in. Sam couldn’t see that deep in the woman’s chest. They took their time wading in what Sam thought would be organs and blood. What came out dumbfounded him. Their hands cupped mounds of wet garbage. Greasy paper, crushed cans, and rotting banana peels came out of the cavity of the patient. The doctors sifted through the trash; letting the trash fall as it may. It seemed like it would never stop. The trash made a mound around the operating table. A veil of refuse now covered the face of the patient. The doctors stopped excavating. They snapped their necks in the direction of Sam.

Their blood colored eyes resembled that of a fly. Sam could feel them looking at his soul. It felt horrible. His knees give out and Sam buckles. The descending angle reveals the stalks holding the eyes out of their sockets. He lands on his buttocks, making a wet splat. His body is dripping with sweat. The loud buzzing of insect wings blow in his ears, he swats at air. He scrambles to his feet and jets it out of there. He doesn’t get far before slamming into something. It felt hard as a wall before his fingers registered the fleshy feel. It was the black hooded man that was knocked on its back. The screams of an infant fill the hall. Sam looks down at his arms. Nina was crying. She looked at him. Her face glowed at his sight; a relief that her ordeal was now over. Sam face felt hot. All this time, all the time spent searching for Nina. It could have ended with their first encounter; never would have known of the horrors of this place. Sam now had someone to blame for the kidnapping.

He didn’t expect what he saw next. His hatred wasn’t quelled. The kidnapper had no face. Skin stretched over any distinguishing feature. Eyes, nose, mouth, and ears covered by a mask of flesh. The faceless man covered his shame with his hood. Sam’s body felt hot; unfazed by the freak. He covers Nina’s face with his forearms and jumps too his feet. Sam reaches and grabs the arm of the thief. He yanks at it and catches a glimpse of Nina’s now terrified face. Hooded man squirms free from the painful grasp and sprints down the hall.

“Wait you dirty…” Sam says. Hooded man turns the corner without losing speed. Sam is hot on his heels. The hospital becomes dimmer yet again. It is as if someone’s watching him on a hidden camera somewhere; playing with the lights when things get rough. Sam didn’t care though. He would tear that hospital down to the last brick for her. The endless halls and sharp corners were even harder to transverse. Sam somehow keeps up with hooded man. He could barely make out the figure he is chasing. A door ahead of him slams. He speeds through the double door almost knocking the entire thing over.

The room was pitch black. He fumbled around the wall for a light switch, turning on the power when his index finger finds it. He’s in the morgue of all places. The room was a simple, white room. The center of the room was lined with wheeled tables. On those steel tables were body bags. Sam scans the room for any sign of movement. The hooded man vanished into thin air. The walls were plain white tiles. The table’s legs were skinny and hid nothing from sight. Sam humored himself to look up at the ceiling. The creep wasn’t there. He begins walking around, doubting himself for possibly picking the wrong room. He could have sworn that he heard him go in here. He searches the tidy floor but no one was there. He sets his eyes on a body bag. It was the next logical step in his search. Sam cringed at the thought of having to disturb the newly deceased.

“Well, might as well try.” Sam says. The cold zipper sends him a warning. The bag jumps up. It makes the table hum as it lands. He steps back as all of the bags make jutting movements. The bags dance as if someone was trying to escape a straight jacket.

“What in God’s name…” Sam says. Sam goes for the door. A writhing bag falls off the steel table. The zippers open themselves and the contents shoot out. Garbage lands on his feet. All of the bags begin to open like rotting flowers. The rotting stuff flows off the tables onto the floor. It moves across the floor. It climbs the walls, snuffing out the ceiling lights to a trickle. Darkness, yet again, begins to invade the room. Out of a corner, a figure materializes out of nowhere. The hooded man slides across the garbage and out the door. Sam snaps out of his daze. He gives chase as he slips on a dirty diaper. He regains his footing to late, slamming into the doors. Down the corridor, Nina’s cry’s muffled by the arms of the madman. He could hear them very clearly in his heart now. They were loud and clear. She needed his help.

Sam grasps for the walls. The air is thick with something strong and putrid. It invades his lungs, driving out the oxygen. Sam collapses to his knees; he covers his head with his arms. He feels like suffocating. He hoped the fetal position would get him right again. Sam could feel the walls try to cave in around him. Their flat wide faces wanting to see Sam’s suffering. He waves his right hand to get them away. Sam takes a look. Nothing was out of the ordinary.

A light sparks from the darkness; a creature born from another dimension. Sam looks at it as if he never ever seen it in his life. He picks himself up and follows the flicker dancing on the wall. He reaches out to grab it, closing his fist around it. It disappears. He unclenches his fist to enjoy his prize. The light was gone. Sam heart drops; hope has faded like the light. He looks around; he was near room 616. It was where the hooded man made his entrance.

“I’d give anything to ring your thieving neck. You had Nina in your damn arms like she was your kid. I…I feel so stupid! Nina! Where are you!?!” Sam yells. His yells dissolve in the darkness. The door has a faint glow coming from within. Sam decides to investigate 616. The bathroom wall was blown apart. Jagged concrete remains litter the floor. Outside the broken wall was a clear, full moon. It bathes the hospital with its light. Mist rose from the ground; it glows a mesmerizing white from the moon, like a body of water. It ripples with the breath of the air. Sam couldn’t tell where the ground was or if it had disappeared altogether.

Sam scanned the damage to the room. No toilet; possibly blown to pieces. The room was ill kept; the smell added to the fact. The floors and walls were covered in brown sludge that smelled awfully like sewage. The only recognizable thing was the sink. It was covered in red rust. Sam turns on the faucet; red colored water drips out. There was nothing left in the room. There were no more clues on what to do next. Sam looks around the room regardless. His mind races, nothing real can be found. Sam collapses to his knees.

”God! What is going on here! I don’t understand. Why is this happening? That girl’s insides were trash, what the hell was that!?! That nursery full of dying animals, that stench of rotting flesh! This hospital and the people in it are mad! Even my own Melissa… My Nina is still missing! I’m starting to lose my mind too.” Sam cries out. His pleas escape into the night. He covers his face with his hands. His tears quickly fill his palms. They run down his arm; his clothing drinks the precious liquid. “God! Help me please. Please help me!”

Sam feels something splatter on his face. His tears are warm but this felt significantly cold. It drips down his cheek. His instincts make him touch it, he inspects the foreign substance. The darkest blood he has ever seen drips from his fingers and face. He darts his eyes to the ceiling and almost falls backwards. “Gah! … God Almighty…”

The blood red eyes illuminate through the small hole in the ceiling. The dark eyed beast was gawking at him; its stare piercing. The eyes leave the peep hole and are replaced by a rancid mouth. The yellow teeth disappear behind a sore infested smile. It speaks.

“There is no God here! Only negativity resides here; far from anything sacred,” The creature says. The mouth disappears into the darkness. His voice is the only thing that pierces through. “You entered a bad place, human. More like someone has called you here. Find he who is the summoner and your mind will ease, never to return here.” Sam is dumbfounded by what is happening. The creature’s raspy voice and visage never scared him, his words were more alarming. After a couple of seconds elapse, his voice booms from the abyss. “One last thing human, here is a gift from the damned!”

Sam’s hand magically shoots out. His palm awaits the gift. The object falls between the creases of his skin. The skull fragment was covered in fresh blood. Sam looked at it with silent awe. It felt warm in his hand like it was just removed. The object plants dreadful thoughts into his head. Nina’s sweet face pops out of nowhere in his mind. Her face melts away to flesh and than to a skull. It repeats over and over in his head, each time it disturbs him far greater than the last. Sam drops the fragment and the intensity of the images goes with it. The horrible thoughts linger in him.

“What in God’s name was that?” Sam says to himself. He couldn’t answer. He begins yelling at the hole in the ceiling. “Who the hell are you? Answer me! Who is the summoner? I’m looking for my little girl, she’s not a boy!”

The hooded man comes bursting into the room, always at awkward times. He sees Sam; he runs back the way he came. Sam is startled; everything around him slows to a crawl. Sam hand moves like lightning while hooded man moves runs as if he was underwater. He grabs the man’s arm with his right hand. He exposes the still frightened Nina. His free hand claws at the hooded man’s face. The hood is shredded with his rage. Hooded man’s face still was blanketed by his skin mask; uncut by Sam’s razor like nails. Sam winds his fist back and blasts it with all his might. It connects. He dents hooded man’s cheek, jarring him violently. The veil is torn asunder like a nuke disintegrating a flimsy shack. The skin fall to the ground in a big heap; Sam finally had a face. The hooded man’s dirty blonde hair is the first feature Sam’s mind etched onto itself. The silver piercing that skewered the bridge of his nose shines in the moonlight. There is fear in his eyes. Sam takes another swing. The man steps back and releases himself from his grip. He staggers to the blown wall. “No! Wait! Don’t do that. Give me the baby. Come on man, enough of this. Just leave him with me. Please!” Sam says. He doesn’t notice his slip.

He stops, thinks of Sam words. He pops his head out of the shredded wall and back to Sam. Their eyes meet; information is transferred. Sam knows what is going to happen next; his body acts without his command. The thief has one leg out before Sam stops him. Sam uses all his strength to restrain him. He tries pulling him back; his grip wasn’t strong enough. The man takes a nose dive out of the building. He is swallowed by the mist in an instant. Sam follows him into the abyss. His body spins in the gray stuff. He catches a glimpse of the hospital. The monolith is a black shadow of itself. The black outline is noticeable against the gray skyline. It gets smaller and smaller as he falls. Sam doesn’t hit the ground at all. He twists and turns in the fog for what seemed to be an eternity. Falling through a void, there is no ground to catch his fall. “You bastard! I saw you. I'll find you. You’ll pay for this.” Sam screams into the fog. “I’ll get you man. Than I’ll get my …” Sam hits the ground at last. There is no sound; no pain. There is just darkness. Finally, the light comes.

“Nina.” Sam whispers. His throat is parched from thirst. He opens his eyes. He feels the warmness of something soft covering his face. He pulls off his blanket. The light of his lamp is still on; the horror book he could not put down laid splayed on the carpeted floor. He tried moving his leg but it was caught in his blue blanket. The sheet was wrapped around his leg like a cast. He looks around his room. His white pillows are on the floor; one tossed near his bedroom door. Sam gets off his bed to clean up the mess he had made. Sam bends over to pick up his book when he has a sudden urge. He grabs his phone, dialing in a fury. He looks at the clock during the time the phone rings. It is two o’clock in the morning, He doesn’t care. A drowsy man picks up the phone. “Hey. Sorry about calling so late Frank but can you put on Melissa for me? It’s kind of an emergency.” Sam asks. There is a rustling of the phone. Soft voices trade information. A sleepy voice answers.

“Do you know what time it is Sam?

“Ya, I do. Sorry Melissa but I felt like I needed to call.”

“So, what happen?” Melissa yawns.

“I had a bad dream.”

“And you needed to wake me up for that?”

“No, it was a bad dream about…”

“About what? Spit it out already.”

“Is Nina ok?”

“Um, yes Sam. She’s sleeping in the guest room.”

“Are you sure she’s in there?”

“Why are you so worried? She’s in college now. No need to baby her anymore.”

“Well I know she isn’t a baby but can…”

“She had a long ride coming here,” Melissa says. Her sleepiness mixes with annoyance. “Call her cell in the morning.”

“I know but in my dream …”

“She’s sound asleep. Just call her tomorrow.” Melissa says, her annoyance is at maximum

“Alright. Listen Melissa… I’m sorry for waking you. Tell Frank I’m sorry too.” Sam says. He gives up trying to tell her but is satisfied that Nina was ok.

“Fine, bye.”

“Bye Melissa.”

The phone dies. Sam wanted to say sorry for other things. But it would take hours. It wouldn’t have mattered now. He finishes cleaning his room. His bed looks enticing now; his body tells him to give in. He lays himself down; turning off the lights and his eyes. Sleep doesn’t come for him at all. He tosses in his bed, turning the objects around him. A half an hour passes. His room looks the same as it did before. Something was eating at him, a little nagging feeling in the back of his head. He sits up in his bed. Wide awake, he gets up and looks out his window. The moon is full. Moonlight showers his backyard in beautiful light. Tonight, the moon looks like a planet. All of the secrets are there to be seen. It makes him feel at ease. A thought pops into his head. He remembers the moon from the dream. It moons match up to what he sees now. Almost like déjà vu. He grins a little at how weird the moment feels. The fear of that dream seeps into his soul again, just a small amount. Losing Nina was a terrible ordeal, even if it wasn’t real. That fear festers in him in a short amount of time. Anxiety that tells him he shouldn’t be in his house now. It moves him through his house and out the front door. He let it guide him.

Sam races down his front stairs. The American flag waves in the silent night. The streets are quiet; no humans or machines are up and running. A slight breeze makes his head turn towards the side of his house. His legs move him to the small corridor on the side of his house. Sensory lights turn on and light his passage to his backyard. He moves to the center of the fenced in yard. The anxiety doesn’t recede. The alley gate was opened. He goes to close it but instead just walks right through it. The anxiety turns into a ball in his head. The pressure makes him do these things now. It gets stronger when he follows it subliminal messages. The alley is devoid of life; his feeling tells him this isn’t the right alley.

Sam is running, for what he doesn’t know. Sam runs down the alley, crosses the street, and goes into the next one. The dark roads are forbidden at night; images in shadow dance all around. The utility lights shine on the filth of overflowing trash cans. Concrete paths are conquered one after another. The houses look foreign now; he doesn’t know where he is. The sense in his head is massive. Sam can hear his heart beat in his head. He stops when the pressure is immense. The feeling dissipates in a flash. It is gone; he is left alone to ponder if he has lost his mind.

A faint crying is heard. It travels from his hand, down his spine, and echoes in his heart. The black garbage can his left hand is resting on. The sound is not heard by conventional means, it is heard by touch. Sam lifts the lid. It slams into the metal fence behind the can; it’s muffled by the owner’s backyard grass. Nothing out of the ordinary is seen. Sam knows he heard something. Garbage bag fills the rectangular can to the brim. He lifts one bag out and tosses it. A dog barks in the distance. A tiny black cat meows from some undisclosed area; it is defiantly close though. All the clues are coming together; the dream makes sense just than. The next one he sees gives him a shudder, fear that no person should ever feel. Sam takes hold of two folds of plastic. He tears them in half. Sam is transported to a void. His hearing fails him, he hears nothing. Tears quickly fill his eyes; a steam quickly becomes a water fall.

Nicholas hospital band is still wrapped around his tiny wrist; the first thing that catches Sam’s attention. His light blue eyes stare at Sam; the moonlight glints in them. It moves Sam deeply. Food water dyes his brown hair and blue skull cap darker than they are. The blue blanket wrapped around him keeps Nicholas from being trash. The smell is putrid. Sam grabs him and cradles him in his arms. The boy doesn’t cry but seems relieved. Sam’s crying fills his own ears now; he does enough for the both of them. The baby smiles at Sam. He balls his fist and shakes it in the air. Sam wipes the tears away, he clears his throat.

“Where… Where you calling me Nicholas?” Sam says. He chokes back the tears. Nicholas looks at Sam, starring deeply into his eyes. He begins to wiggle happily. It infects Sam, he smiles at the baby’s movement. Sam walks towards his house. Sam hold’s his treasure close to him. “Don’t worry Nicholas. I’ll find what hospital you were taken from. Find your parents too, they must be worried sick. I told you I would find you, right?” Sam says. Nicholas smiles back as Sam takes a peak at his face. “I’ll take you to my house first, clean you up. We can’t have you smelling like garbage for your papa and mama. I’ll call the police. I’ll tell them what happen.” Sam says.

The alley doesn’t seem so dark anymore. A feeling of satisfaction washes over Sam. His tone is filled with justice. “Nicholas… It must have been scary for you. It was scary for me, I felt it. That man… I saw him through your eyes. I remember his face as clear in my mind as I can see you right now. I’ll do whatever I can to get that lowlife kidnapper behind bars. Ok? You can count on me.” Sam says.

He enters his backyard. Sam sighs in relief to see his house. He goes up to the back stairs this time. “Everything is all right now, get some sleep now Nicholas. It must have been tough on you, rest up for now.” Sam says. Nicholas fell asleep minutes ago. Sam carries him to his bed, gently placing him there. All is right. Sam reaches for the phone.

Innocence Taken Author Notes

First off I want to try to use this as my author handle to sell books hopefully one day. Sin Cesar. My first name is Cesar but I like using sin in that handle as it something I believe we all do whether you acknowledge it or not. But i dunno, let me know in the comment section if its good or not please.

So this was my very first short story that I completed back in 2009. I sent it out to a magazine in a hope to sell the short story for some sort of money! But life has a crushing way of not working out the way you want so the story was rejected. So instead of letting it collect dust in an old flash drive haha, I thought I'd let it breath and let the public see it for free.

This story was inspired by a nightmare I had one night that was so surreal and scary that it has left an impact even to this day. Usually my dreams are choppy segments that are forgettable but some stay with me over the years. This one stayed with me and I expanded that dream into something cohesive and solid rather than my muddled and short dream.

I love children, especially little girls, so when I dreamed this one up I was pretty shaken when I woke up. The idea of kidnapping a newborn is a hideous notion, that is why I named this short story innocence taken.

I think the nightmare came from a new story about a little newborn, cant remember the sex, being found in a trash can in a Chicago suburb. I dont recall if she or he died but that was beyond that fact for me at the time. The thought of a human being throwing a child away like common trash really resonated with me back than and now. It is beyond evil that action and too horrible for me to even fathom it. But than again I dig horror because of that fact of how evil human can be.

I hope you like this short story.

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