It's Near

Time for a short story. This is a response to the Writers Digest prompt for the week of the 28th.

My grandfather always told me to never have children. He was scared our children would end up complete messes. His children certainly did.
I was raised by my grandfather. My mother was "addicted to controlled substances," but I knew she was a sex-crazed meth-head. My father was a womanizing sports car driver with an enormous ego and severely diminished id. He didn't stick around.
So, I tried to follow my grandfather's advice and aim for a life of celibacy. I joined the seminary, got a job preaching, and wound up a deacon, married, with three kids.
I met my wife in the summer of '03. I was one of the pastors of our church and Anna was a recent college grad who was unconvinced religion was real.
What ensued was 188 hours of deliberation, libations, and sex. My grandfather tut-tutted, but 10 years later, he's a proud grandpa.
My kids, Eli, Nicole, and Claudette, are 7, 3, and 2 months respectively. We got a huge house (for a steal) out on the lake. Grandpa lives next door so we can keep an eye on him. He's getting old, he jokes. But he is actually getting old.
However old he gets, though, he will never be as old as the grandfather clock next to our kitchen. He claims it was made by his great-grandfather, a man he had never met, and it has been in the family ever since. I can only say for as long as we've had it, it has never stopped ticking.
That is until Eli and Nicole bumped into it, driving into the horizontal and spilling the glass everywhere.
I think the words that came out of my mouth will be repeated back to me at Saint Peter's gates.
"Daddy, I'm sorry," squeaked out of Eli's mouth. Nicole started crying.
Well, we bonded over the next couple of hours while I, Eli, Nicole, and Anna cleaned up the mess.
"Darling..." Anna held up a note, addressed to me. "I found this among the shards of glass."
"That's an odd place to store a letter. I might have put it there when I was younger."
Anna gave me that 'what are you talking about' look followed by the 'well, aren't you going to open it' look.
I sighed and cracked the envelope. It was old, real old. The paper was brittle and the note's creases almost tore the paper into thirds.
"Huh, it's a letter for me." I scanned down to the post script: H.M. Laurie. My mother's maiden name was Laurie.
"Isn't Laurie your mother's maiden name?" Anna asked. "And wasn't your great-grandfather's name Hannibal?"
She was right. I brought the letter closer to my eyes. In bold letters:
You have no idea what your blood contains. For your safety, and the safety of the world, this secret has been kept from you. Your wife, Anna, and your children, Eli, Nicole, and the new one Claudette, have found you on purpose.
Then, the note burst into a blinding flame, so blind that I couldn't see for a few seconds afterward.
"Daddy, it's here." Eli tugged at my pants. When I glanced down at him to ask what in the world he was talking about, his face had transformed into a black hole, sucking into it all light. Anna reached out with a hand encased in flame, Claudette a crying ember. Nicole spread ashen wings.
It certainly was here. And I knew I had to be the one to stop it.


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