Eric Watson: The Hand That Feeds You

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Marisol's hair, while drenched with blood, started to fall out onto the wet pillowcase. The skin on her face sunk, revealing her cheekbones that protruded out in a hideous way. Her beautiful attributes she displayed while alive were now decaying away as she joined the dead.

Eric waited for another episode of reanimation. Keeping an eye out for her killer, he tried to retain attention on the body. Any sign of movement, and he would have to do something about it. He couldn't leave her there if she was going to become one of the undead – what if her children found her and she woke up and killed them?

The thought dawned on him. The children. He hoped beyond hope that they were at school or something, even though that would have been impossible due to the power outage. The positive thoughts turned to ash, and fear set in. He would have to check their room to make sure. Maybe they're still alive. Maybe he could help.

With the passion to save at least someone, Eric exited the bedroom without looking back. A slight slip on the blood only faltered him for a second, and he continued straight for the kids' room. His head moved side-to-side, checking the rooms briefly where the doors were open.

Once he reached the door with the drawings on, he hesitated. Whatever he would see inside the room, he would never recover from. He knew that. It would tear at his soul every single day until he died. Whatever image, whatever outcome, whenever he closes his eyes, he will see it. He took a moment to emotionally prepare himself before placing his hand on the handle.

"One..." Eric began, as if he was about to play a sport and the game was about to begin. "Two..." He closed his eyes and prayed one final time. "Three."

He opened the door.

God did not hear his prayer. Eric let out an angry cry and slammed the door shut at the first sign of the blood. He knew what had happened – he did not need to see it in detail.

His hand remained on the handle while he scrunched his eyes shut and sobbed. The longer he stood there, the angrier he became. The sorrow was passing; rage was setting in.

"Hey asshole!" Eric yelled, aiming the insult at the Mannequin Man he knew should still be in the house. "Come out you coward. Face me! Or hide. It doesn't matter – I'll kill you eventually for what you've done. I'll make you suffer, you son of a bitch."

He made his way into several rooms looking for the masked killer, but every room appeared empty. Eric was about to give up when he heard the front door open.

"Marisol? Kids?" The low familiar voice – it was Marisol's husband, the father of her children. His children are dead, his wife is dead, and here Eric was, covered in their blood.

Eric knew it wouldn't look good... at all. If Detective Tremaine got involved, he would be crucified. He felt awful for leaving, for allowing Marisol's husband to walk in on this scene, but he knew he had to go. Despite silent prayers that the Mannequin Man had left so the husband was safe, Eric had doubts, but knew he wouldn't be able to do anything when he had nothing to help him with.

Footsteps were coming up the stairs. Eric panicked and quickly hid in a closet near the stairs and the children's room. He didn't let the door close completely or it would make a sound, so he waited inside, his eye peering out.

The form of Marisol's husband appeared. "Marisol?" He said, and passed the children's room and down the hallway.

Eric knew he had to move quickly. He slid out from the closet, making as little noise as humanly possible, and carefully tip-toed down the stairs. His hand almost touched the banister, but the implications if his prints were found inside the house only just dawned on him – the door handle.

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