“Can you keep a secret?” Linda McDonoghue once asked me. I told her I could and I wasn’t lying, I was holding onto a big secret. I never got a chance to tell her but I’ll tell it to you if that’s OK.
This is the story of a boy who could see into the future and the past, and he had the ability to pull things through time, all sorts of objects could be summoned. On more than one occasion he would summon a newspaper which seemed to be from a future date and each time the events in that newspaper came to pass. Not just newspapers though but all sorts of every day items appeared, anything he saw he could drag into present day and I believed he might even have the ability to summon people. He could also look into timelines and with the power of touch he could transfer what he was seeing to somebody else. Such power will always be unwelcome and even as a baby the boy was hunted.
On the day that I was to meet him I opened my eyes and to my amazement I was not in bed, I was standing in the middle of a farm, I was just stood there, as if I was on my way to do something important but how or why had I been sleeping this way and how had I got there? I looked around, I saw nothing but farmland and small country roads, seemingly I was slap bang in the middle of English countryside.
I saw a farmhouse and an old barn and decided to investigate. I approached the barn first and as I got closer I heard the cry of a baby, it was unmistakable. I made my way inside the barn and I saw that the baby was a boy. He was screaming his little lungs out, although that turned into instant silence when he saw me. I was no baby expert, but he looked to be two or three months old and seemed to be OK and in good health. He was wrapped only in a towel which had become slightly unraveled exposing his stomach. He must have been freezing. I had to find his parents. I carried him in my arms and headed for the farmhouse. I thought I saw him smile but maybe that was just my imagination.
When we reached the farmhouse I knew immediately that something was amiss. The windows were all smashed and the door was ajar. I took a deep breath, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I took a step inside and my anxiety deepened, the furniture had been knocked over and most of it had been smashed to smithereens. When I reached the foot of the stairs I saw blood on the bannister, I began to climb the stairs, My heart was beating faster than I had ever felt before. At the top of the stairs was the body of a man, he looked to be in his early Forties and he was completely soaked in blood, I assumed him to be dead but knelt down and checked his pulse anyway, I was correct in my assumption. I rose again to my feet and it was then that I heard it. How do I describe the sound? It was almost a scream but it had the tone of a croak. It was a cry for help though I can tell you that. The room ahead was ajar and I made haste towards it in pursuit of the voice.
I saw a woman on the floor, she was covered in blood like the man I had seen, she seemed to be of a similar age but she was alive and attempting to crawl. As I approached she stopped moving, our eyes met and she spotted the little bundle I carried. She tried to speak but no sound came out. She looked defeated and closed her mouth in frustration. A moment or two passed before she took a deep breath and tried again.
“My Boy!” She managed. I had assumed as much. I also assumed the man to be her husband or at least the baby’s father. She had lost too much blood I knew she wouldn’t last much longer, there was nothing I could do. She must have read the look on my face because she nodded and smiled but it was a sombre smile. Without speaking a word she had just told me that she knew her time was up. She was a very beautiful woman. She had the most mesmerising eyes, they were large and bluer than the ocean, the boy had her eyes too. I imagined she would have made a wonderful mother if she had been given more time to do so. I smiled back at her.
She stayed silent for what felt like the longest time before finally she spoke again.
“Take him please, I trust in you”.
I wanted to protest, I didn’t think I was parent material. I could hardly even take care of myself but when I went to tell her that I wasn’t the man for the job, I looked into her eyes and then I looked into his and I nodded, she smiled and placed her bloody hand in mine then closed her eyes.
In that moment I had a vision. I saw both parents running, the mother with the boy in her arms and the father taking on two hooded attackers single handedly, both attackers were armed with Scimitars, I couldn’t make out if they were men or women, each one came at the man from both sides, I bet he was dead before he even hit the ground. The vision was incomplete like a badly edited video or a dream with missing pieces and the next thing I saw was the two attackers face the boy’s mother but the boy was no longer in her arms. I knew that I had found the boy in the barn but how had he got there? She was in the very room where I had found her, she would have had to pass her attackers twice to hide her son in the barn and then return to the house. I didn’t know how then but I knew it was the boy, he was special. Thankfully the vision ended before the attackers took their Scimitars to the boy’s mother. It would have broken me to see that. When I came back round to reality she was dead, her hand still in mine. The vision seemed incomplete, something was missing. What had I missed? I didn’t know what it was but I had a feeling, I put it out of my mind.
I knew what the attackers looked like now, so I would be prepared if they came back but having said that I was unarmed and didn’t fancy my chances, so I decided a quick exit was the best plan. I found some baby clothes in a chest of drawers in the bedroom where the boy’s mother now lay and I made my best attempt at dressing him. I had never dressed a baby before and I’m sure I did it badly but I didn’t have time to worry about it, I didn’t even think about the boy not being toilet trained, I should have wrapped his bottom half in a towel as a temporary measure, but I was new to parenting and wasn’t thinking clearly. I found out all about it later in a non-pleasant fashion.
The boy’s name was Dillon Parker. I didn’t know how I knew his name but I did. I had always known. I had already decided I needed to get him away from there and fast. He was already in danger, I didn’t want to risk making it worse. Where was I to take him? I didn’t even know where I was. As it turns out, I was in Rochdale. I didn’t even know where that was. I had a feeling the boy had summoned me there I just didn’t understand how or why.
Three months later we had made our way across the country and were in Cornwall. I thought it would be as good a place as any to raise Dillon but I let my guard down and convinced myself that we could live a normal life. I didn’t know how it was possible for me to survive and to raise the boy. We had no home, I had no job, how could I build a life for him on the streets? That was when I met Linda McDonoghue.
I had already decided that if we were to meet anyone I would say Dillon was my son, disrespectful to the memory of his parents? perhaps but to keep him safe I needed a false backstory and so that’s the one I went with. That was how I came to Linda’s attention. They say that women melt when they meet a man who is not only a single father but a caring man in general and I guess that’s what did it for Linda. I never should have let her in but we really did it hit it off from day one and when she offered to help me find a job and let me and the boy stay in her spare room and said that she would be willing to look after Dillon while I worked, I knew that would be the best offer I was going to get. It wasn’t long until I had found myself a nice little Nine to Five job in the local hardware store. The Owner Jim Talbot was a nice guy but he was getting on a bit and needed someone to do the leg work for him, I was happy to oblige. The money wasn’t amazing but it would help us survive. Linda worked evenings at the local pub “The Bleak Hand” and so she was more than happy to have Dillon in the day. I felt bad and tried to talk her out of it so many times, I didn’t like the thought of her using up all her free time to help me out but she eventually talked me into making peace with it all when she kissed me like I had never been kissed before and said “you’ll make it up to me” with a wink that said it all. Not long after that I was upgraded to Linda’s room and Dillon got the spare room to himself, one of us was a lucky boy that day, I’ll let you decide who that might have been. I let myself believe that my life was all rainbows and butterflies but it wasn’t, it never would be.
A year passed and we were happy, I thought I might marry this woman. I had almost forgotten about the reason we were hiding there. Dillon was healthy, he had a head full of brown hair now and a few teeth in his mouth which had left their mark on my fingers on more than one occasion. Passers by would often tell me that he looked just like me which was ludicrous to me but I would stay in character and thank them of course. Just three months after our year of bliss, reality struck.
I could have saved Linda but I had been working. I had strolled home with a smile on my face looking forward to seeing my lady and Dillon who was my son to most but who I liked to think of as my little friend. I stepped in the front door and my smile instantly dropped. Dillon was screaming, not crying, screaming. He had never screamed like that, not even on the day of his parent’s demise. I knew this boy, he wasn’t crying for help, this was a warning, he was raising the alarm. How did I know that? I didn’t really understand, I just knew, just another line in the mystery of Dillon Parker. I dropped my keys and ran to the sound of the boy’s scream. He silenced Immediately just as he had the first time I met him. That was when I saw him in the middle of the horrific scene of Linda’s butchered corpse. Blood was all around the room and it sickened me to see what remained of the love of my life. She had suffered and where was I? Stocking shelves and selling drill bits! I blamed myself, I still do. I should have been there or I should at least have told her the truth, she may have left, yes, but she would be alive, I’d do anything to bring her back, she didn’t deserve that. I wanted revenge but I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t leave the boy, I didn’t even have time to grieve. We had to cut and run. It broke my heart to leave her like that but I had to get the boy out of there, I hoped that she would understand. I’ll never know for sure but I think she would have done the same in my shoes. She loved that little boy.
That little boy is now fifteen, and we are now living in Scotland. I have told Dillon that dangerous people are after us but I’ve not given him the full story. I have spent years learning the craft of swordsmanship, and I am training Dillon in the art, so I hope we will be ready when those two attackers return if they ever do. Part of me thinks they either lost our trail long ago or are dead but another part of me is always prepared and even if they are dead, others will come, I don’t think they will ever leave us alone. The boy is a good fighter and a quick learner, he shows promise but continue to train we shall, there really is no such thing as too prepared.
One day not too long ago I was thinking about Dillon, about everything that had happened, some things continued to bother me, if he was the one being hunted then why had his attackers left him, not only on the day I met him in the farm but also in Cornwall too. Then, I thought again about the vision I had had at the farm when his mother had held my hand, there was something else about that vision I couldn’t remember. Then I saw her in my mind, my head began to throb, this wasn’t just a thought, this was something else. Those eyes of hers, those beautiful eyes. The next thing I knew I was back at the farmhouse holding her hand again. I went into the vision again but this time it didn’t end before Dillon’s mother was attacked, I saw the whole thing and it hurt my heart to see her scream in pain. A moment passed and then I saw her come over to me. I knew it to be her spirit. She had passed when she had taken my hand. Just another thing that I knew but didn’t know how. She spoke.
“I am gone now. When you awake you must take the boy and be swift about it. People like us are hunted and always will be. You must take him to safety”.
“People like you? I had asked, puzzled.
“People like us” she replied, looking at both me and the boy.
I replied with silence. Confused, speechless silence.
“I brought you here” she had said. “It weakened me but it was necessary. The process will affect your mind, you’ll forget things, most things I expect, perhaps even this but focus on Dillon. You must”.
“I don’t understand” I now remember I had told her.
“I must go” she said. “My time is up”.
“But who are you?, who is he and why me?” I begged.
“Don’t you see?” She asked, smiling broadly. “I am your mother, Dillon. You won’t see me again, but he will, when it all comes full circle. Make me proud. I know you will. It pains me to know that I won’t see you grow but it makes my heart swell to see the man you’ve become”. I saw tears in my mothers eyes, I have those same eyes and there were tears in mine too.
My memory never fully returned but I know enough. I know that the boy I have raised is in fact me. I am Dillon Parker. My mother brought me here to protect my younger self which I have done up to now. I will continue to do my best. I have to. If he dies before he reaches my age will I cease to be? I don’t know that, did my mother even know? I don’t even know where I was when she summoned me or what year I was in. How old am I? I haven’t a clue. The big question on my mind though is do I tell him? I’ve been thinking about it and I think not. He thinks I’m his dad. He calls me Dad. He doesn’t know my real name, of course he doesn’t. If he starts to suspect something is off I won’t lie to him but for now I just need him to concentrate on his abilities and his survival and if I do my job right I will die before he does. I will never see my mother again but I know he will see her and I can live with that. I wonder if I die fighting, if I do I hope it’s the same hooded attackers who killed my parents, the ones who killed Linda and if they kill me I can live with that because this time the boy will finish the job, he’s younger than me, he’s faster, and he is everything I have ever been and more. I trust in him.