Ajmal jerked awake at his kitchen table, there was the knocking again. He didn’t know somebody knocking on your front door could be creepy until now. He would hear a loud pound then two seconds of silence, a loud pound then two seconds of silence. It just reapted over and over until he answered. At this point Ajmal knew he was dreaming, he had had this dream so many times and he didn’t want to answer that door. At this point he knew what lurked behind it. It would be one of those demons that gave him all these scars. He didn’t want to answer and tried to will himself awake but just like every other time there was no waking up until he opened the front door.
He didn’t understand these nightmares. He had them for a short while after the attack but hadn’t had a single one in years but ever since his daughter was born he had them almost every night. He paced his pitch black house and the knocking kept coming. A loud pound then two seconds of silence, a loud pound then two seconds of silence, a loud pound then two seconds of silence, a loud pound then two seconds of silence. It was enough to drive anybody mad. He fumbled for a knife then hesitantly answered the door. This was the first time the dream was different at all. Normally the demon was alone and attacked him, this time he held his daughter and just behind him Ajmal could see his wife, bloodied and sprawled on the ground. “Now your wife looks just like you Ajmal” his voice was so menacing but fear didn’t over come him this time. It wasn’t just him in the dream, his family was there and that bastard demon was still holding his child.
He attacked, but he fell through the demon and flipped over onto his back at the sinister laughter. The demon held his knife and had it poised over the sleeping baby. “No, please.” The demon grinned as he raised the knife and Ajmal screamed as he brought it down, his eyes snapping open as the sound woke Rubie and his daughter.
Rubie grabbed his shoulders, shaking him. “Ajmal, you’re awake, listen to me, you’re awake.” She said loudly. “Ajmal.”
The cries of their little girl seemed to pull him out of his terror and he blinked, noticing Rubie for the first time. His heart hammered in his chest as his attention was drawn to their child and he was out of the bed in an instant, Rubie behind him as he lifted the crying baby. “Shh, it’s okay, it’s okay.” He said, feeling himself choking up.
“Ajmal.” Rubie said his name softly and he slowly handed their daughter to her. “What happened?”
“Another nightmare.” He sat down on the floor, his head dropping into his hands. “You were both there and…I couldn’t…what’s happening to me?”
“It’s the stress of being a new dad. Now it’s not just you and I, we have a little one to keep safe. I’m sure this is going to pass Ajmal” He continued to hold his tears back but his bottom lip trembled as he said “I’m waking our little girl up too and I hate that..she’s growing and” He had to stop talking, he didn’t want to cry again. He knew Rubie didn’t think less of him but she had to deal with their crying little girl, she didn’t need her grown husband crying aswell. Rubie soothed their baby girl back to sleep then pulled her husband out of the room “let me make you something nice to drink or some sort of snack” Ajmal looked out at the pitch black night. It was still late but he didn’t think he was going back to sleep anyway so he said “coffee?”
“coffee it is, I think we have some cheesecake left too. Comfort food will do you good Ajmal”
“I’m sorry” she had been walking away to start the coffee but she came back, taking his hands in hers “you have nothing to be sorry over. You went through something terrible”
“I just hate burdening you”
“You aren’t a burden and our little girl went right back to sleep. She is getting plenty of rest” He pulled her into a hug, hating a few tears slipped from his eyes and into the strands of her dark brown hair. “I love you Rubie and I love our little girl Unmada”
“she is blessed with a good dad no matter what you may think. You are so strong. You were strong then to survive and you’re strong now to be so held together despite having nightmares every single night”
“I just hate this, I hate she’s going to grow up with a father that wakes screaming every night.”
“Hush now, everything’s going to be fine, you’ll see.” She kissed him then let him go to start the coffee. Once she had it brewing she grabbed the cheesecake and sat it on the table. He dropped into one of the chairs and pulled her onto his lap, his arms holding her tightly against him. She didn’t say anything, just let her fingers move gently through his hair. She hated how upset he would get over something out of his control. The coffee machine clicked when it was done and she got up and made them both a cup.
“You’re really one of the best things to happen to me.” He said as he took a sip of his coffee and then a bite of the cheesecake.
“I’m alright.” She reached over and let her fingers rub his neck, helping to ease the tension out of his body. She was sure he must hurt from being so tense.
About an hour later Rubie asked “If I go to sleep will you be okay? I know that one was harder emotionally than the other nights”
“Yes, you get some rest for our daughter in the morning. Thank you for the coffee, for rubbing my neck and being such a good wife in general.”
“Everything’s going to be okay, you know that right? I’ll be here to fight with you if those demons ever dare show their face again” Ajmal lovingly pressed a kiss against her forehead “I married an incredibly strong woman, I know that We’re merely humans though and it scares me to think of them ever harming you or our precious little girl”
“Humans kick demon ass all the time, especially parents with children to protect. Seriously, let those bastards even think of harming little Unmada.” She hugged Ajmal “I love you so much, promise me you’ll get me back up if you need me. You aren’t being a baby or pathetic in any way and I want to be here for you if you need me”
“I will baby, just sleep.”
It was almost too quiet when he was alone and he decided to work out in hopes he could distract himself. He wished he could forget everything that had happened to him, that he didn’t remember the sting of claws as they tore into him or the excruciating pain he went through while healing. He wished he could forget their faces and the sound of their laughter as they tortured him. Rubie did so much for him, showed him more patience and love than he thought he deserved and he wanted to get stronger for her and Unmada. He pushed himself until he was dripping sweat and only stopped when exhaustion started to set in. He went to the kitchen, filling a glass with water and gulped it down then washed what dishes he had used and moved quietly into his room to get some clean clothes. He paused for a moment, his eyes drawn to his beautiful Rubie. Her rolling over snapped him out of it and he grabbed some clothes and went to take a shower.
He heard his daughter wake up shortly after he was in but he knew this was about the time for a feeding. Her cries soon stopped and he knew Rubie had woken up and was tended to her. When he got out Rubie said “I think she’s up now” Ajmal smiled, taking his daughter into his arms “good morning beautiful” she cooed at him, causing his smile to grow. “are you going to try to nap?”
“No, I’ll make you breakfast”
“but you barely slept”
“it’ll make me feel better. I really do know you don’t mind and want me to wake you but please, you just hold our little one” he gave Unmada back to Rubie before going into the kitchen. Rubie followed him “so what did you do while you were awake?”
“I worked out again. Things were too quiet while you slept”
“Please nap later today, I can lay down with you when she takes her first nap”
He played with his little girl after breakfast and was glad that once again he seemed to be forgiven. He knew she was just a baby and didn’t understand what he was going through, but her smiles and little giggles helped him feel better. Rubie took her once nap time came around and Ajmal was about to head to bed when someone knocked on the front door. He froze, his heart picking up its pace as fear coursed through him. “Ajmal, who is it?” Rubie asked as she came back out. She started past him and he grabbed her arm pulling her back and away from the door. “Ajmal?”
“Ajmal, it’s okay. It could be anyone.”
“Please just go into the room with Unmada and wait there, please.”
She reached up and gently stroked his cheek. “Okay, but call me if you need me.” He nodded and let her go so she could go to their little girl.
The knocking came again, plunging him further into terror after all the nightmares he had, especially after the one he had last night. He forced himself forward. Ajmal was ready to fight to the death over his family. He had finally found happiness after their last attack and if they returned they weren’t about to wrench his happiness away again. He was now at the door, swallowing his fear. This wasn;t the time to be a coward. He practically flung open the door and to his relief he had been worked up over nothing “Ajmal, are you all okay?”
“sorry for answering like that”
“Of course you’d answer like that. The group of demons who attacked you were apparently seen in the area last week. I only just heard of it so I rushed over to warn you and Rubie. I’m assuming you heard”
He shook his head as he moved to let his brother in then closed the door. “No one said anything to me.” Terror crept back in, sending a chill up his spine and causing his stomach to knot. “Rubie, it’s Kaelani.” He called and she came out.
“Are you serious?” Kaelani looked furious. “Everyone knows what they did to you.”
“Know what? What’s going on?” Rubie asked, seeing the look on Ajmal’s face.
“The demons who nearly killed him are back.”
“How did you hear?” Ajmal asked, his voice quavering.
“Someone overheard someone talking in a bar and because I was the closest they came and told me. I thought I’d come over and make sure you hadn’t been harmed.”
“I really had no idea, but…”
“I’ve been having nightmares about them lately, worse than the ones before.”
Kaelani clenched his hands into fists. “Those bastards, hiding this from you. What did they think you would do, freak out? Did they think they’d just handle it before you heard?” He took a deep, calming breath. “No one knows what they’re doing around here, they just showed up.”
“I doubt they were thinking much of anything when it came to me. You know I’ve been a sort of outcast since they made me look like this”
“well fuck them, I’m glad I heard and could come let you know. How are the nightmares worse?”
“They mar up Rubie just like me…and thats at the least. She’s not moving when I see her but they actually kill Unmada right in front of me”
“I’m going to go get my wife and call Talitha who can contact Wynne and Jantje. You wont be a lone human against them this time.” Kaelani left in a hurry. He would have gotten everyone else first but this was something Ajmal really needed to know. Rubie wondered, if somehow on an unconscious level Ajmal had known they were near somehow and that was the real cause of the nightmares, not Unmada being born.
“I can’t believe this.” Ajmal said, feeling suddenly sick.
“Everything’s going to be alright.” Rubie guided him to the couch where she sat with him, pulling his head down onto her shoulder and running her fingers through his hair.
“You don’t know that, you weren’t there when…when they attacked me. They played with me like a cat does with a mouse.”
“Ajmal, you’re stronger now and you have not only me, but your family as well. We can get through this together.”
He wrapped his arms tightly around her and pressed a kiss to her neck. “I love you, thank you.”
“I love you too. Why don’t you take a nap.”
“I don’t think I could, I’m terrified.”
“I could read to you.”
“we could try that” Rubie found a book they both enjoyed then went back into her bedroom with him. He laid down first then let her get comfortable cuddling up to him. Rubie’s comforting voice began to fill his ears as she read each page of the book. An hour passed and she didn’t stop, she was determined to help him sleep. Another hour came and went but he managed to drift away before another hour passed them. He ended up falling asleep just before his family got there. Rubie was grateful he did because he might have given up relaxing enough to sleep if they had gotten here before.
She hugged them all and requested they be quiet since he had been up most the night. They were all happy to, deciding they should talk outside to make sure their voices didn’t stir him in the house. Rubie was happy his family could come, especially since there were fairies in the mix now to help. With four on their side Rubie felt confident the demons really couldn’t harm them. Jantje, Wynne, Talitha and Anthony were already showing their wings, obviously ready to fight in a moments notice which was good since they had no idea if the demons planned to come to them. For all they knew they were on their way right now.
Unmada crying a little while later woke Ajmal and he practically fell out of bed getting up to go and check on her. Rubie was there at the same time and he felt so relieved he nearly collapsed. “It’s okay baby, I’ll get her. Why don’t you go out there with everyone else.”
“Sorry, I just thought…”
“Hush, it’s fine, go on, I’ll be out in a minute.”
He nodded, pressed a quick kiss to her lips before leaving her with their daughter. He felt an odd feeling of foreboding as the door closed and headed into the living room. He started to greet everyone when a loud knocking came from the front door. He felt a sudden chill move up his spine. “I’ll get it.” Jantje said.
“No.” Ajmal practically yelled and Jantje froze. “Just don’t.”
The knocking came again, this time more insistent. “I know you’re in there, human.”
The whole house tensed and Rubie began trying harder to hush their child. She didn’t know what she should do, they hadn’t really discussed it. She decided for now staying put was best. She knew what Ajmal needed from her was simply to protect their daughter. He had the rest of the family to help fight the actual demons at their door. “Unmada, come on sweet girl, no more” she soothed, hearing the fear in her own voice. Anthony joined Jantje before they both went to the door. Ajmal was close behind. They were here for him and he wouldn’t let Anthony and Jantje do everything.
The demon slammed his hand against the door and let out a growl. Jantje reached for the door handle, glanced at the others then pulled the door open. They were surprised when there wasn’t anyone there and even more so when one of the living room windows imploded, sending glass raining down on everyone. They all turned and Ajmal’s heart gave a leap at the familiar face. The demon grinned, his eyes moving to Rubie and Unmada. “I thought I heard a baby.” There was a startled cry from behind them as Jantje was grabbed by another demon and pulled outside. Wynne, Kaelani, and Nara followed while the others stayed, torn between the two. The demon was faster than Ajmal remembered and it had Rubie by the throat before he could even register what was happening. He felt himself shaking, his body burning with the remembrance of pain. Unmada cried as Rubie held onto her and something in Ajmal snapped. He didn’t remember moving, only that his fist had connected with the side of the demon’s head as his other arm wrapped around Rubie’s waist, pulling her back as the demon stumbled and released her. He barely had time to get them out of the way as the demon lunged at him.
“Get them out of here.” He ordered, too afraid to take his eyes off the demon. Talitha was the first to move and she quickly helped Rubie up and pulled her to the bedroom.
“But, Ajmal.” Rubie said as Talitha went over to the closet and pulled it open.
“You have to hide and protect Unmada, we’ll help him.”
Rubie listened to Ajmal’s sister. She wouldn’t be foolish, they’d do better without worrying about her and the baby. Talitha was pissed as she joined the fight. Unmada was still so little, her beautiful baby niece. If Rubie had accidentally dropped her when that demon attacked who knows what may have happened. Even so that was only the cherry on top to her anger. These were the demon who hurt her brother, the ones who almost killed him, who had cost him so much because people were cruel and often unable to look past someones cover. She joined the fight, she was ready to kill these horrible creatures with the help of her husband and family.
Ajmal couldn’t believe he was going toe to toe with one of his worst nightmares, but with each blow he struck, he gained more confidence in his ability to fight back. He realized that this is what he had been working towards before meeting Rubie. He never wanted to be the victim again and had pushed himself every day to become stronger. Anthony and Talitha were there with him, lending him their support, unflinching under the demon’s violent onslaught. New cuts covered his arms and chest, but he didn’t care, it didn’t matter as long as his family was safe. He worried about the others and hoped they were doing okay with their own fight. The demon’s fist collided with his jaw and he stumbled back slamming into the wall. He couldn’t afford distractions and he sent up a prayer that they were okay.
Ajmal barreled right back for him as if the fight had only started. In Ajmals mind this was a fight to protect his family and he wouldn’t allow them to over power or even slow him down this time. Though the magic Anthony and the other faries in their family possessed was the main cause of wiping out these horrible demons they all stood impressed by how well Ajmal had fought them. All laid passed out so Talitha asked “should we end their existence fully brother? I think we should. They are obviously deranged” Ajmal wanted to talk to his wife about it first. He wanted them dead but he wanted to be sure his wife would still look at him the same if he gave his sister that answer. Rubie let him know she agreed with ending their lives so Jantje and Anthony took care of them, sparring the rest of the family such a task.
Ajmal couldn’t believe it was over, that the monsters who had haunted his dreams were really gone. He sat down, exhausted and relieved that his wife and daughter were safe and unharmed. “Are you alright baby?” Rubie asked softly as she rocked Unmada.
“Me?” He turned to her, let his fingers slide gently over the bruises at her throat. “He hurt you.”
He turned his attention to Unmada, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. He felt tears burning in his eyes at the thought of almost losing them. He had come so close. He looked around at the destroyed living room and busted window. Everything would need to be fixed and replaced. “Kaelani, could we stay with you until I get everything fixed?” He asked.
“Of course, you know you’re more than welcome.”
“Let me heal your wounds.” Jantje said.
“Rubie first, please.”
Rubie smiled, he had been through so much more and all he cared about was her, just as things always were. Jantje took care of Rubie, looked over the baby again then tended to Ajmals wounds. He fixed the entire family up then everyone helped move what Ajmal and his family needed over to Kaelanis. The first nights were emotionall hard for Ajmal and while some wouldn’t understand Rubie did. Deep down, knowing those beings were alive had been tormenting her husband ever since the attack. They had been emotionally wearing at him, torturing him even when they weren’t near so having them truly gone from his life was such an emotional relief he couldn’t help but sob in her arms.
Thigs slowly got better and Nara loved helping with teh baby, spoiling her with endless toys. Nara was sad they all wouldn’t be there full time any more once their place was ready but she was happy for them, knowing they were glad to be returning home. Their lives could truly have peace now and everyone in the family couldn’t be more relieved.
~ The End