His father's words

Erik drove along the highway without a care in world. Everything that would make his life whole was in place. The rocky tunes of a REM track kept him content with his afternoon trek from work, even though the traffic was not all that great. He looked onto the horizon and a storm was brewing but that didn't disturb the contented look on his face.

He turned in on the driveway, the sounds of the CD player drowned out the horrors he was about to expose to his ears. He switched off the stereo and heard the screaming of a man, a man of mature age, bellowing out orders or demands. Erik's perfect world was instantly shattered. He sat in the car for a few seconds not knowing what to do. Soon anger and fear took over his senses and he leapt out of the car, but didn't rush into the house to protect his family right away. He ran to the garage and searched through to the back. He instantly spotted what he was looking for, his gun. He had been given it for his 18th Birthday. His father had left him with the words, "This will protect you," and Erik held those words in him, but was lucky enough to not have to use the piece of metal that he held in his soft hands. A decision to use this had not been considered, he didn't doubt his father's morality. He opened the gun to display two unused bullets sitting inside ready to unleash its horror, on another horror.

He burst into the house through the back door. Things weren't calm in this situation, as most would assume, it was the noise of the unknown man screaming, the noise of his infant child crying an unknown fear. He dove into the front room, he wanted things to be back to normal. He didn't want one dent in his perfect world. He flailed the gun around in a hysterical gesture of perceived bravery.

"What the fuck are you doing?" The man said as Erik went to his wife, still pointing the gun. In this position Erik could see everything. He could see his baby wrapped in the hands of this man. A fear like no other ripped through Erik's body. It made him tremble with an anger that could send him insane.

"Give her back!" Erik screamed as he waved the weapon uncontrollably.

"Hey man," The men held his free hand up in innocence, he was clearly unarmed. But that didn't suppress Erik's unforseen emotions that now made his body tremble. "Hey man, I just want a bit of money that's all. I don't wanna hurt anybody. Please If I don't get some money soon, I'm gonna go crazy, I could do something to someone that I couldn't live with." The man's emotional plea didn't dint Erik's stance, his baby in that man's arms kept the gun pointed. Erik's fear didn't allow for rational thinking.

"Then why have you got my fucking baby?" He screamed back. His eyes were focused on the life he had created with his wife, and nothing else.

"Because, I know how much this means to you, and maybe you will see that if you could help me out, everything would be OK for everyone." The man continued to plea, like he was pleading for his life. How would Erik even know, he could be pleading for his life? Erik didn't know the full story, but through fear he continued to point an instrument that destroyed life, but through his father's words gave him the perception it preserved it.

"I don't care about you," He exposed the truth of the matter, his fear was a greedy emotion, and it was going to drive him to do something drastic and regrettable. The man refused to let go of the kid, his eyes a portal to his desperation. Erik clenched the gun. The man held the child tighter, the situation was beyond reasoning.

"Please!" The man begged, holding the child to show it's innocence, and it's need for protection. This highlighted this man's innocent need for protection, but Erik's fear dulled the highlights.

"No!" Erik screamed as all perfection in his life left him through the form of a silver bullet. A shot fired by a scared man is indirect and can do anything.

Erik opened his eyes, as he sat on the ground holding the discharged rifle. He woke to screams of his wife, but no other sound could be heard. He looked up in confusion. He now felt a new kind of fear, a fear that caused him to drop his rifle. He searched for what had happened. He searched for the reassurance that could tell him that he had been a father and he had protected his child. He searched for the confirmation that he had been brave and done the right thing.

But what he found was a pool of blood. The crimson liquid belonged to someone. It belonged to two people. The man lied dead on the floor, and on top lay the body of his child. Erik's life flashed before him, like he was about to go to the eternal abyss himself, but it was his child that was gone. He had failed. His father's words had led him to his ignorant failure. His need to know that he had done right by his family lay dead also.

He turned to his wife, in one last respite from the shattering event. But to no avail, the stare she cast was not one of compassion or hope or anything that he could have wished for. It was one of questioning. A question that also now lingered in Erik's mind.

"Was that really the right thing?"