Noah and Chris thought they'd escaped the terror, but they find out they're wrong.
Illy sits in her room, playing. Christian can hear her in there talking. But she doesn’t sound like she’s just playing with her toys. She wasn’t using her silly voices she like she usually doesn't when she's playing. Chris was sure she was talking to someone. But Jordan’s downstairs with Noah, probably helping him make lunch. He listens at her door for a moment. “But, I’m not allowed to, I told you.” It‘s obvious that she’s getting upset her voice is ster, serious. “My daddies will get really mad if I do that.”
“Do what, sweetie?” Chris opens the door and finds her alone in the bedroom. “We’ll get really mad if you do what?”
“If I go in the pool by myself. But, don’t worry, I told him I can’t. I know better.” She looks so innocent and he struggles with the concerns running through his mind.
“Told who, honey?” He sits down on the bed next to her. “You told who?”
“My friend. He wants me to go swimming with him, He said I didn’t even need my floaties, but I told him I couldn’t.” Her words alarm Chris. Not by the fact obvious fact that his four-year-old daughter has created an imaginary friend, but that her imaginary friend would tell her to do such a thing. He tries to put the thoughts out of his mind, he breathes deeply, trying to calm himself. Illy’s mother had spent much time in and out of psychiatric care for most of her life, until she died three years ago. Mental illnesses have been proven to be inherited, and that scares him more than anything..
“Does your friend have a name?” She smiles at him and nods her head.
“But I’m not supposed to tell you about him.” She looks down at the carpet, so as not to look at him.
“You’re not? Well, why not?” The more she says, the more afraid Chris becomes. Suddenly, he feels almost a chill in the room.
“He said you wouldn’t like him coming to visit me.” Illy looks to the corner and furrows her brow.
“Is he here now?” Thoughts of what might cause such a chill race through Chris' mind.
“He disappeared when you opened the door. He always does.” She smiles at the corner, nodding her head. And though the room begins to warm, Chris' blood does not.
“Honey, it’s okay to have an imaginary friend. But you can’t let your friend talk you into doing something that could get you hurt. We’re not going to be upset about your friend."
“But he’s not imaginary!" The distress and frustration is obvious in her voice. “He’s real! And he comes to see me every day. He said if I tried to tell you that you wouldn’t understand! That you‘d be mad.” Rather than pressure his sensitive little girl anymore, he thinks it might be best to go downstairs and ask Jordan about this 'friend'. Jordan is the less emotional of the twins, and just happens to know all of Illy's secrets.
“It’s okay, sweetie. Don’t get upset, you don’t have to tell me any more if your friend doesn’t want you to.” His voice as calm soothing as possible. The same tone he always uses with the girls, especially Illyana. He kisses her forehead and gets off the bed. “I love you, sweetie,” He smiles at her as he heads for the door.
“I love you too, Daddy.” I'lly's relief is obvious as she realizes that her daddy isn't going to be upset with her, even if he won't believe her..
Chris closes the door and goes downstairs to find Jordan. As expected, she’s in the kitchen with Noah, helping him make lunch. Helping out in the kitchen has always been one of her favorite things to do. And even though she was only four, she thought she could help cook. He sits down at the kitchen table. The same table they’ve had for years that he and Noah sat around during many intense conversations.
“Jordan, can I talk to you for a minute?” He looks at Jordan and Noah making lunch. She comes over to the table and sits in the chair next to him.
“Of course, Daddy. What’s wrong? You look like something’s wrong .” Jordan's always very empathic towards other people’s moods and emotions. Especially her father’s.
:”I want to know about Illy’s imaginary friend. Can you tell me anything about him?”
“He’s not imaginary. He’s real! I’ve seen him. I see him all the time, when he comes to visit. He comes everyday, but mostly he just visits Illy. I don’t like him. He scares me.” She sniffles and tries not to let her hands tremble at the thought of the 'friend'.
“Why does he scare you, honey?” Noah puts aside the food at the kitchen counter and walks over to the table. He sits in the chair opposite Chris, next to Jordan. For some reason he doesn't quite want to understand, he feels a knot of fear forming in his stomach.
“Why don’t you like him?” Chris looks at her. “What does he do?”
“He doesn’t do anything. But he’s always trying to get us to do stuff. Bad stuff. And he doesn’t want us to tell you about him. He says you’ll be upset." She's biting her lip and starting to look more concerned.
“Why would we be upset with you?” Chris and Noah both look at her, waiting to hear her response, they both wonder if the other is thinking the same thing.
“Not with us, with him. He says he’s not supposed to be here. He said he used to be with us, but then Daddy……” The fear in Noah’s stomach grows to a full-blown panic. Chris gets up and starts his normal nervous pacing.
“What’s his name?” Noah finally forces the words out of his throat where they seem to be stuck. Both are afraid of the answer.
“Damian.” She pauses just long enough to take a shaky breath. “He says he’s our brother and that Daddy let him die.” Noah‘s blood runs cold the instant he hears those words.