The boy sat alone in the pitch black house, on the floor of what must have been the kitchen, tears streaming down his cheeks. Out of habit, he did his best to sob quietly even though the drying blood beneath his fingertips told him he didn't have to worry about Daddy anymore. The freezing cold winter wind blew in through the open window above the sink and peppered his flesh with goose-bumps. "I didn't mean it." he thought to himself, which was half true.

He hadn't meant for the knife to go in as deeply as it did, hadn't wanted Daddy to fall back into that mirror. He had just wanted Daddy to leave him alone and let him put his clothes back on. But that didn't matter now. Nothing did. Daddy was still now, laying down on the floor and looking up at the ceiling with eyes that didn't see anything, the boy was alone and all he wanted now was to vanish into the blackness that surrounded him, so nobody could find him and hurt him for what he did. He curled into a ball and lay still against the thin, cracked tile, and cried, this time as loudly as he wanted to.

He layed there until the darkness outside turned into light, and then into darkness again. He wanted to go still, like Daddy, because he knew that if he was still, he wouldn't be cold or scared anymore and that seemed better to him than the freezing floor. He lay there for so long that he wasn't sure if he was awake or dreaming when the Man in Black came. The boy didn't notice him at first, hadn't heard the door open or heard any footsteps and he couldn't really even see him in the blackness of the kitchen. At first, the boy thought it was just a shadow until he realized that shadows didn't have pale blue eyes and that shadows didn't smile. He felt the chill melt away as the Man in Black covered him with a warm blanket and helped him slowly to his feet. "Why are you crying son?" he asked. His voice was kind and reminded the boy of his grandpa.

Not his real grandpa, the boy had never met his real one, but the one he saw in his dreams that always made him feel loved and safe. "Daddy's...hurt." He said softly, so softly that the Man leaned in closer and said: " Speak up son, you have nothing to fear from me." " Daddy's hurt," he repeated meekly. " I know." responded the man with a sincere smile. "That's why I'm here." "How do you know?" The boy asked. "This place reeks of spilled blood and pain, it calls to me," he said casually as if that made all the sense in the world. " What?" the boy asked confused. The man sighed as if to show that an explanation would be far too exhausting for him and he just ruffled the boy's hair. " Don't worry about it son, what matters is that I'm here now." " Am I in trouble?" the boy asked with a trembling lip. " I didn't mean it... I'm sorry."

" Of course you meant it son, and don't be sorry! " said the Man in Black with a gentle, reassuring tone. " You did something grand, and show so much potential." The boy didn't know what the man was talking about and didn't really care, he was just thankful to be warm and out of trouble. "What's going to happen now?" the boy asked. " Now, you're going to come with me, you have a great future ahead of you, and I'll show you how to get there, but first I think we ought to get you cleaned up, and then get you something to eat, you must be hungry no?" said the Man with a sly grin as he extended his hand to the boy. The man's offer of a meal, and on a deeper level, the man's kindness towards him, filled the boy with joy and caused his eyes to fill with a different kind of tears. looking up at the Man in Black, he asked him something that in the back of his young mind he knew couldn't be true but desperately wanted it to be. " Are.. are you my grandpa?" he asked. The man paused for a moment as if thinking over the question before replying with the warmest smile he could produce, " Of course son, now no more questions, it's time to go home." With that, the boy took the Man's hand and they walked out of the decrepit house side by side into the shadows. The boy's tears dried up that night, after that he never cried again.