Chapter no 49 – SALVATION


“Wake up, sweety,” Molly whispered.

As Tom’s eyes fluttered open, she watched him let out a deep cough.

His breathing didn’t sound quite normal, but it was still magic to her.

Molly wiped the tears away from her cheeks. She’d lost more than she could’ve imagined, but the tiniest part of her was eternally thankful that she hadn’t lost it all.

Tom rubbed his throat with his hands. His neck was still incredibly sore from the chokehold that Greg had snagged him in.

“What… what happened?” Tom said. “He saved you,” Molly replied.


“The big fella. He stopped Greg,” she explained. Molly gestured over to Greg’s body.

Tom sat up, and his eyes found his rival. Greg’s destroyed mouth offered a grotesque sight. The divot of congealing blood that covered his snapped nose offered Tom traces of the mayhem he’d missed while unconscious.

“What about the kids?”

Asking the question brought a slur to the delivery of his words and caused a lump to manifest in Tom’s throat.

He suddenly remembered his indisputable reality. Tom wasn’t asking about his own children; he was asking about someone else’s. Still, despite his own horrors and heartache, the other innocent kids remained on his mind.

“We have to wait. He said he’d be back once he’s dealt with that old… woman.”

Molly knew how she’d described Geraldine wasn’t a lie, but the word seemed too good for her.

She wasn’t a woman; she was a monster.

“But he’s been gone for a while now and I just,” Molly paused fighting to keep herself from breaking down.

“Just what?” Tom asked.

“I just hope he finished it. I just need it to be over.”

The loud sound of a heavy thud on the ground suddenly filled the room. Tom and Molly’s eyes widened in unison.

“Don’t move,” Molly whispered.

She placed her hand on Tom’s chest and felt the panic racing inside. His heartbeat was everything.

She slowly ascended so that her head was just peeking over the chair. Molly squinted into the darkness and saw the massive heap of blood-soaked man on the floor. She was beyond relieved to see Rock return, but his condition had declined even further.

“It’s him, c’mon,” Molly whispered.

She rushed back to Tom and helped him to his feet.

When they reached Rock’s body, he was still breathing. But the substantial outpouring of blood from his abdomen and backside didn’t serve as a good omen. Additionally, his right arm and glistening hand stuck out. These parts were riddled with at least a half-dozen deli-style slices.

The exposure of his enormous paw’s massive knuckle made Tom and Molly cringe.

“She’s gone,” Rock said.

“You’re—You’re sure of it?” Molly asked. “Positive.”

The weight of dread and sense of impending doom lifted off Tom and Molly’s aching shoulders; they suddenly felt light enough to float.

But Molly’s reprieve was short-lived. There were injured children that needed medical attention, and, to her surprise, she also found herself thinking about Rock’s well-being.

“We need to call the police and an ambulance right—”

“No,” Rock interrupted. “I—I just need you to help me to the elevator.” “But you’ve lost so much blood.”

“Just forget about that.”

It took a lot out of him just to speak, but the sternness in his tone didn’t allow Molly to mistake his urgency. However, Rock’s demeanor abruptly transitioned. When he spoke again, his gruff voice sounded like a tired old dog.

“I just…I wanna see the kid.”

Tom and Molly couldn’t argue. They were in agreement; the most important task that still remained was getting to the children.

The Grimleys each got on one side of the gentle giant and managed to get him back on his feet. They pulled him forward like an injured football player being helped to the sideline, and they all exited the doorway of the spy room together.


When the elevator came to a stop, the exit didn’t open. Rock had a silver skeleton key ready and inserted it into a hole in the elevator panel. After twisting it sideways, the elevator doors parted and unlocked access to the subterranean level.

“Go right,” Rock managed.

A drizzle of blood fell from his mouth after uttering the directions. “Okay,” Molly said.

Tom and Molly helped Rock out to the basement level and escorted him down the long vestibule.

The Grimley’s reckoned the channel they were heading through served as the backside of the demonic playground. An unsettling sense came over Tom and Molly as they neared the end of the tunnel. The feeling was unexplained; a nightmarish awareness only the parent of a dead child would pick up on.

Their babies were near.

A pair of double doors came into focus at the very end of the dim tunnel. Additionally, to the left of the double doors, another lone metal door stood.

Tom and Molly noticed the singular door at slightly different times. But they both shared a similar, nauseating rumble in their stomachs post-discovery.

They couldn’t deny the truth; they were forced to absorb the grotesque details as they played out on-screen. But it was still hard to believe that any of it was real.

When they approached the entrance, Rock found his footing and held himself up with the wall beside the threshold. He took hold of the massive deadbolt at the top of the door and pulled it out of the wall.

Rock reached back into his pocket and extracted a keyring. After sifting through the blood-stained metal, he finally located the key he was looking for. He stuck it into the lone hole and twisted.

As the lock popped, Rock looked down at the second deadbolt lock that ran across the bottom of the entrance.

“I—I don’t think I can bend down. Can you get the other one?” he asked.

Tom squatted down and pulled the metal bar until the second mechanism was deactivated.

Rock placed his gushing hand over the handle and turned. Due to his injuries, and the weight of the metal barrier, he struggled.

Tom stepped up beside Rock and helped muscle it open.

As the path to the children was finally unveiled, Molly held her breath.

She still didn’t want to accept what she knew to be the truth.

In her heart, Molly wished that Isaac, Sadie, and Sam, through a miracle or otherwise, would be standing safe and sound behind the door. That the horror she’d been forced to swallow on the television was just the cruelest Hollywood special effects gag known to man. If it was, she’d gladly take it in stride. She wouldn’t even be mad. But inside Molly’s twitching gut, remained the reality.

As she took a look inside the playground, the fading flares of her pipedream were indefinitely extinguished.

No Isaac. No Sadie. No Sam.

She expected the hurt to resurface, but that didn’t make it any less devastating.

Tanya remained in the sandbox beside Donnie. The young boy’s burned arm was slung around the shoulders that now held up a disfigured face. The charred skin and melted flesh that covered Tanya’s grisly exterior looked disgusting, but they were both still alive.

The sound of the massive metal spikes shooting in and out from the rope tower offered a slight audible distraction. It was the only one of the diabolical devices Geraldine and Fuchs had created that would never see any use.

The looks on Tanya and Donnie were that of relief and exhaustion. But there was still a certain measure of fear and distrust that wouldn’t be erased until they saw daylight. They were grateful that the attitude and emotions Tom, Molly, and Rock carried weren’t of a malicious nature.

As they read into them further, Tanya and even Donnie seemed content to see people come to their rescue. While they shared a pool of similar emotions, they also held their own unique variants within.

Donnie was glad that he didn’t have to see his mother again. He didn’t fully comprehend the finality of death. For the entire duration of his time in the playground, he debated if they might eventually reconnect, or if the hurt that the big man had put on her would keep them separated forever.

He was grateful that it was the latter.

On the other side of the spectrum, Tanya understood her parents were far from perfect. She was evolved enough to comprehend that what her dad told Bobby to do was evil. Not just evil, but evil beyond anything she believed him to be capable of. But when she only saw the three of them standing at the door, she bawled.

“Where’s my dad and mom?” she howled.

Donnie stroked her shoulders delicately, attempting to ease her anguish.

Molly’s bottom lip quivered. What kind of answer could she possibly give her? Ignoring the question seemed like the only reasonable reaction.

“We’ve—We’ve got to get out of here,” Molly said.

Tanya broke down into a hysterical outpouring. She was overcome with the emotion she’d been forced to subdue for most of the day.

Donnie continued rubbing her shoulders, trying to comfort her to the best of his ability. Then he slid his arm around her hand and helped Tanya to her feet.


When the double doors opened, the five of them were confronted with a tall set of concrete steps. They sluggishly ascended them together and made

their way up to the grass.

It took a moment before any of the visitors realized that they were standing in the backyard of The Borden Estate. They were all just a stone’s throw from the harmless-looking playground where the disturbing day began.

They had come full circle.

A somber silence had fallen over the entire group. No words were going to change the horrors that had transpired in the bowels of The Borden Estate that day. They would all now and forever be missing pieces; pieces of their hearts and pieces of their families. No matter how dysfunctional or difficult they could be, they were still family.

But in a way, when the mishmash of misfit bloodlines stood beside each other, it almost felt like their collective horrors and heartaches had fused them together. And as the waning sunlight shined upon them, the broken stood as one. Just because the scattered fragments had been drawn together in Frankenstein fashion didn’t change the result. If anything, the extreme suffering and severe trauma made them closer to a traditional family.

The bond they all shared was odd and unintentional, yet, still, undeniable.

Rock staggered over to the wall, continuing to lose blood from his belly, back, and hand. He turned his attention to the gray electrical box with a single keyhole on the side of the stone exterior of The Borden Estate.

He inserted a key into the box and twisted it sideways. A variety of switches were revealed. Rock scanned the labels inside until he located the one marked ‘FENCE.’

His bloody finger coated the white plastic, and he pulled the tiny lever downward.

“What is that for?” Molly asked.

“The gates out front, they’re electrified. Geraldine had it installed so if things went haywire, no one could get off the cliff,” Rock replied.

A moment of awkward silence arrived once again.

Rock looked over to the fenced-in, beautiful playground that the sun was now setting behind. He summoned the strength to get a few more words out.

“You’re free now.”

Tom looked over to his wife, unsure what to say next. He was thankful, but still emotionally destroyed.

A strange, untranslatable sadness found Molly. The quiet, blood-drenched man in front of her had been part of the worst day of her life, yet somehow, she still took pity on him. She now understood that monsters weren’t born, they were created. In Rock’s disastrous case, anyway. It was a complex goodbye, but what her soul wanted. Molly finally found a way to put it into words.

“We need to get you to a hospital. There are two cars. Tom can take the kids in ours and I’m—I’m going to take you in the other one,” she stammered.

A coating of gloss welled up in Rock’s eyes accompanied by a subtle curl at the corner of his lips. There was an acceleration in his pulse and a vibration in his soul.

During his entire life and times, Molly’s words were the first to make him feel like someone was actually concerned about him. He was grateful to finally be able to appreciate what someone’s care felt like. Even if it was coming from a stranger. Even if it was fleeting. He was still thankful.

It was the greatest gift he’d ever been given.

It was a feeling that was warm and wholesome.

It was a touch that he knew he’d never taste again.

“I’ll be alright. Just take care of the kid for me,” he said.

The tears trickled down his face as Rock stared into the boy’s lost eyes. His own eyes.

Again, Rock saw himself in Donnie. The endless accrual of hurt and sorrow that he’d endured didn’t have to be that for the kid. Rock knew he didn’t have another chance in him, but more than anything, he felt that he didn’t deserve one. But when he looked at the burned little boy, he knew that Donnie did.

“No, you—you helped us. I know you didn’t want this. We need to get you—”

“Just go!” Rock roared.

He didn’t have much energy to yell anymore, so he hoped that Molly would just listen to him.

“And what are you gonna do?! Just lay here and die?!”

Rock glanced back past the playground toward the sagging sun. There was still an hour or so of daylight left.

“No. I’m gonna do something—”

Rock coughed up more blood. He used his forearm to wipe his lips, but his arm was so bloody, that it only made his face more of a mess.

“I’m gonna do something I never got to do before.”

The tears gushed from Molly’s eyes. She didn’t want to ask him. She didn’t want to hear or see anything else that hurt. Her jaw chattered as she barely got the question out.

“What’s that?”

Rock looked away from the picturesque area and locked his eyes with Molly’s.


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