I was twelve when I made the promise – the vow – to carry on the family name; the business of tracking down and killing evil.
I didn’t know what it meant to do that.
Dad just gave me a BB Gun and told me to promise to do it… to fill his shoes when the time came. My brother had made this promise to him – as had my Mum and now, it was my turn.
To me, the Shotgun Promise wasn’t really anything to take seriously; as I didn’t like firearms. I hated killing anything. I hated taking aim, carefully moving with that animal and pulling the trigger; but Dad had been teaching me to shoot a gun since I was around five years old.
And in this day and age, you had to learn young.
After all the apocalypse had arrived by the time I was fifteen, and it was kill or be killed… and I had to make sure my friends were safe. It was my duty to go out and check on them one by one at their houses every day and know they were still here with us… collect them together and work them as a group to keep us living; to combat the growing number of demons that were now walking the planet.
I know it’s a big responsibility to have a teenager to go out and take care of people who refuse to leave their homes… but I understand why they want to stay in them.
They feel safe.
They want to have a sense of normality around them.
Their stuff is in that house; and they feel close to that stuff.
So… who am I to tell them to get out of there and live in a shitty old library where there’s no heating, no air-conditioning, not showers or toilets, no place to sleep and hardly anyone to talk to?
Yeah, I’m in no position to order them around… but Dad told me to always pack light and be ready to move. And so my brother and I have always been the new kids in school, the new kids around the neighbourhood, the kids who carried knives and holy water, who excelled in Latin, Gaelic and could read any dead language you stuck in front of us.
We were the kids who had no permanent friends simply because we never stayed in a place long enough to make the certain connection with people… no matter where we moved, I couldn’t have a best friend for long before Mum and Dad moved us on. My brother couldn’t have a girlfriend, go to a school dance, give a girl a Promise Ring or enjoy a long-term relationship simply because of Dad’s job… and that’s not the worst of it all.
We weren’t allowed to tell anyone exactly what Dad did as a job. As far as anyone knew, he was a salesman. Of what? Well, name it and he can sell it. However, a good salesman doesn’t move fifteen times a year and yanks his kids out of school to follow the next job around… instead he tries to keep that job he has. So, when my brother and I attended five schools in one year, Mum sat Dad down and suggested we started learning from home instead; as it was beginning to look suspicious to the government.
By the time I was seventeen, Mum was dead. A demon had possessed her on the way home from a job and Dad tried to exorcise it but failed. It shattered him to shoot her, but he didn’t want his wife being ridden by this bastard until she was dead inside.
We packed the truck quickly that night and left the rented house and got as far away from the area as possible… but Dad took us back to our home town. He said if the shit was going to hit the fan big, it was going to back at home…
I didn’t believe him, but I went along with him anyway.
And it wasn’t until we arrived back at our house that my brother and I both knew the game was up. The shit was going to hit the fan – and hit it fast.
“Alright boys, time to get out.” Its gravelly voice muttered from Dad’s mouth.
“Crap!” My brother shuffled out of the car as I climbed out as well, grabbing the gun from under the seat. The gun I had hidden there with special rounds I had been working on for an occasion such as this. These rounds didn’t have salt inside them. They weren’t made of silver. They had a Devil’s Trap carved into the side of them… put there when I made them with the die I had designed just for this particular type of occasion.
I picked up the gun, closed the door to the truck as Dad rounded the front, pointed at his head and...
I didn’t hear the shot…
I didn’t feel the recoil…
I didn’t feel anything… as the shell of my father hit the ground and demon shattered and sputtered out within him, going back to hell.
“Hey!” my brother shouted, “You bitch! He was going to save us!”
I turned to him as I watched his eyes turn from blue to black to red, and I knew I had nothing to lose – well, except maybe my life and soul. But I had a promise to keep.
Whether I lived to see through that promise? Well, that was going to be something else altogether. I turned the gun on my brother… then… looked around as a sea of black eyes turned toward me.