Stephanie heard the distant sound of angry voices gradually growing. Worried, she walked into the kitchen to check on her husband.
“So…” she began with a hint of precaution in her tone, “you seem to be really fond of that baby ogre, huh? I didn’t know you had time to buy it little baby clothes.”
“We went shopping yesterday, babe,” said Carl, tiredly. He held in one arm a fat, little green baby with curly red hair and antenna-like ears poking out of either side of its head. Carl and the baby ogre wore matching Batman pajamas.
“Are you still sure ordering that thing was a good idea? It’s an awfully big responsibility, being a parent. Maybe this is the sort of thing you should talk to your wife about, first.”
Carl, whose baggy eyes have been fixated on the baby ogre, momentarily gave Stephanie a menacing glare. “Took forever to get that reseller to drop the price of her by $2,000, babe.”
“Yeah, but was it really worth the money? You don’t even know what to feed it.”
In his free hand, Carl fed the ogre a chicken sub with cheese, bacon and tomatoes. Bits and pieces of the sub flew about them, making a mess of their respective Batman logos.
“She doesn’t like lettuce, yet, babe,” said Carl.
“Maybe it should start off with ogre milk, or ogre baby formula,” said Stephanie. “I bet getting what it actually needs would be very, very, expensive over time. We still have to get new tires for your car, and replace my aunt’s old hand-me-down furniture, make mortgage payments on this house every month. A baby’s too expensive for us right now.”
“She’ll be alright with subs for now, babe.”
“Have you given any thought as to how I’d feel about it?”
Carl yawned “About the sub, babe?”
“No, about the baby.”
“You like babies.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t want to buy a green baby off the internet. I want to, you know, make the baby.”
“You can’t make baby ogres, babe.”
There was a level of frustration in Stephanie’s voice, when she finally noticed the angry voices mingled with the sounds of marching approaching the house. She rushed to the living room. Peeking through one of the windows, she saw an angry mob inching closer to their lawn, armed with torches and pitchforks.
“A little help would be appreciated, Carl,” cried Stephanie as she dragged the couch in front of the front door.
“Busy with the baby, babe,” said Carl.
“I think, right now, I need you more than that little…thing you love so much.”
“Which name you think is cuter, babe, Tammy or Rhonda?”
Stephanie scrambled to stack more furniture in front of the door. “Now is really not the best time to be thinking of baby names.”
The living room windows shattered from the outside. Some members of the mob were tugging and pushing through the blinds, while others were trying to kick the door down. Stephanie ran back into the kitchen. The words “monster” and “kill” echoed among them.
“CARL!” she yelled. It was then that the baby ogre shot out a stream of green and yellow vomit, dowsing Carl’s face. The couple stared at each other for a moment with expressions of surprise and disgust.
“She doesn’t like to be startled, babe,” said Carl. The baby ogre began to cry. “Ssshhhh, it’s okay,” he said to the baby. He began to rock it from side to side. “Daddy knows you’re always hungie. Daddy knows just what his baby girl needs.”
The mob began to poor into the house. Stephanie, being a world champion in both karate and muy thai, began to fight them off as they approached the kitchen area—pitchforks were being dodged, teeth were flying in the air, and bodies were hitting the floor. Carl turned to open the fridge as he continued to try calming the baby.
“Honey,” said Stephanie, half out of breath, “do you have a sec to give me a hand?”
“A child this young shouldn’t be exposed to violence, babe. She’s still hungry, anyway.”
“You know why these people are attacking us, right?”
“Nope. It might have something to do with you kicking them in the face, though.”
An older woman walked up to Stephanie and pointed a gun to her head. Stephanie leaned to the side, avoiding the proceeding bullet that grazed Carl’s shoulder and shattered a beer bottle in the open fridge. Stephanie extended her hand to the side. A magical katana teleported into her grasp, and, with a single stroke, she slashed through the gun-wielder and all the members of the mob in front of her. She then turned to her husband.
“Carl, you are the bravest, most kind-hearted man I’ve ever known, and I love you every day for it. But the house is a mess—part of it might be on fire right now—your face is dripping in vomit, and I’m once again covered in the blood of my enemies, which you made me swear to never do again years ago. And I know that you know that none of this would be happening if we didn’t have an ogre in the house.”
“Wow, Steph.” Carl turned to face his wife. He was now feeding the baby ogre whole milk straight from the carton. “To suggest that such a random event as this is because our daughter is an ogre is a completely racist thing to say. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Sounds of shattering glass and hurried movement came from other areas of the house.
“I’m putting my foot down.” threatened Stephanie. “We are not keeping that ogre, so get rid of it this instant!”
“Tammy-Rhonda stays here,” yelled Carl, “and there’s not a damn thing you or anyone else can do about it!”
Suddenly the four prongs of a pitchfork were shoved through Stephanie’s back.
“Chill, homies,” cried Carl, addressing the angry mob. “Can’t you see we’re in the middle of something?”
A sea of people poured over Stephanie, Carl, and the baby ogre before the couple could process what was going on. The mob gathered at that singular point in the kitchen almost as quickly as the flames spread through the otherwise quiet suburban house. Their collective lungs filled with smoke; their eyes watered in unison as though they were mourning together at a funeral. And the flames grew and grew, until it swallowed the house whole, until there was nothing left but fire.