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A Hero...Or a Monster?

Short story By: poet 3

A story I just had an idea to write about, so I did...

Submitted:Dec 30, 2007    Reads: 380    Comments: 3    Likes: 0   

"If you saw a child, alone in the water, would pull him out and you pat him dry?
If you heard a child cry out, from pain or despair, would you comfort her until all her tears were shed?
Or would you turn away and continue to hide from your own guilt?"
A quiet town, hidden in the forests of Maine, was the fabled home of the ugliest and cruelest man any person had ever laid eyes on or so they said…
Connor, a middle-aged man, about thirty-five, was rumored to be the ugliest and cruelest man in the world. In the small town of Caswell, Maine, the people believed that the devil lived in Connor, the man who, when he was a boy, watched his two brothers drown without a single word. They scorned him and mocked his face, the scarred and torn face of a once beautiful boy. They never really remembered what had happened to him, but they didn't care. They didn't care that it was them, the children he grew up with, who made him what he was. They didn't remember how they and his brothers had beat him endlessly with stones and sticks, whatever they could get their hands on. All because he was too beautiful compared to them. He never told a soul, not once did he mention any names when questioned by relentless adults. He was always silent, no matter what they offered him, he didn't tattle. So they went about their lives, free of the guilt they should have been riddled with. Connor was, on the outside, the man they claimed him to be. Cruel and ugly, but on the inside he wasn't any different then you or me…
"Kyle!" The shrill voice of a little girl called through the dark.
"Kyle! Come on, we have to go home! It's so dark out here, I can't see a thing!" Illisa searched for her twelve-year-old brother in the dark, seeing only the snow falling directly in front of her face.
"Kyle? Where are you? I'm scared, I wanna go home! Kyle?" Illisa stumbled on into the darkness, feeling her way forward through the cold snow. She continued to call out for Kyle, but with no success. She wadding through the now foot deep snow, searching for a way back home. After twenty minutes out in the cold, Illisa saw a light through the trees. She ran as fast as she could toward the light, coming upon a small cottage with a lantern hanging over the door. She pounded on the door, calling out for help, the last thing she remembered was seeing The Devil Man, Connor, open the door before she passed out. When she woke up she saw Connor bent over her asking her questions and rocking her gently until she stopped crying.
"Why were you out in the dark Illisa? Who is Kyle? You were calling his name for a while." Illisa looked at him and cried out.
"He's my brother, he is out there somewhere, and I don't know where! I have to find him and get home to mommy…" Connor set her on a bed and stood up, reaching for the phone.
"Kyle is still out there? How old is he?"
"He's twelve…" She said softly. She didn't like talking to strangers, but she trusted Connor for some reason.
"I'm going to call the police and have them pick you up, then I'm going out to look for your brother." He said as he dialed a number on the phone.
"Officer? I have a girl up in my cabin… No she wasn't causing any trouble…She's cold and terrified and her brother is still out in this storm. Yes, I am going to look for him, his name is Kyle Brooks, yes the girl is his sister Illisa. I see, well I'll leave her here for you guys, I trust you still know the way to my cabin? Good." Illisa could hear the click as he hung up the phone and turned to her.
"I'm going out to find Kyle, can you tell me where you last saw him Illisa?"
"It was about twenty minutes walk that way." She said as she pointed to the door.
"Thank you Ilisa, the police and your parents should be here shortly. I'll find Kyle don't worry." He turned and opened the door, disappearing through the trees at a run. He ran in the direction Illisa had pointed out, he ran for ten minutes before he started to call for Kyle.
"KYLE? Kyle? Can you hear me?" He listened as the wind swept through the trees, covering all signs of his voice. He started to walk through the branches trying to find any sign of his passing, after five minutes of staring at the ground, he found a set of small tracks. He followed them for a while until he came upon a bush, that started to wriggle as he moved closer.
"Daddy? Is that you?" A small voice sounded from behind the bush.
"No Kyle, but I'm going to take you to your daddy, ok? I need you to come out."
Kyle crawled out from the bush and Connor knelt down to pick him up. He started walking back the way he had come, but veered of to the path that led to the main road where the Chief said the parents would be waiting. As he walked Kyle kept asking him a question.
"Who are you?"
"A friend." was the only answer he would give. They reached the road in ten minutes, stopping at the edge to set Kyle on his feet. Kyle looked out over the road and found his parents and Illisa waiting by a car as the Chief told them what was being done to find Kyle.
"Momma! Dad!" Kyle yelled as he jumped into his fathers arms.
"Kyle!" His parents exclaimed when they took in what just happened. They all got into the car and started down the road, Kyle looked over at Illisa and quietly asked.
"Who was he Illisa? Momma, who was he?" He looked to his mother when Illisa just continued to stare out the window. His mother was about to answer when Illisa turned her head and whispered, with tears running down her small face.
"He was an Angel Kyle, an Angel…"
To the day he died, Connor was always known to everyone as The Devil Man, to everyone except two children, and their children. The two Brooks children always believed he was an Angel sent to earth to help the helpless… So was he a Hero, or a Monster?


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