With a keen eye and animalistic instinct, Tryferós shadowed the fireball’s trajectory.
Without an ounce of doubt or hesitation, Tryferós launched himself over the flaming time bomb and quickly glanced up to see his family still fleeing, ensuring they had distanced themselves. He guaranteed their safety.
Now slightly further ahead and unaware of his husband’s dire predicament, Pénthos looked around as he realized a lack of footsteps.
“Papa…?”, muttered Pénthos, looking around frantically to locate his partner. A sense of fear shot throughout his body as he immediately saw what he was not prepared for. From what seemed like miles apart, Pénthos recognized a flickering flame searing the underbelly of his lover.
“TRYFERÓS!!” roared the distraught husband, startling his oblivious yet now frightened daughter.
Auriel squealed, “Baba! What is happening?!”
Her curiosity was muffled and blinded by the firm, protective embrace of her father’s arms as they wrapped around her head.
With his signature cheesy smirk and crinkle of his mustache, Tryferós, a man of his people, husband to a lover, and father to a beautifully gifted daughter, stared soulfully at his husband in admiration one last time. Flexing with all his might, he curled himself into a meat shield.
Auriel did not see or hear what Baba experienced. Her sanity and innocence stayed intact from the sights and sounds of gore.
The truths in silence had never resonated so loudly.
“Baba…? Say something! Let me go! I cannot see or hear! Where is Papa?” She struggled her way out of his dwindling strength.
Tryferós laid motionless on the floor while his mutilated remains were splattered across the green garden. Sprinkling delicately across the beautiful array of flora was the fluttering mist of blood.
Auriel, having been temporarily deafened and blinded by the love of her father, could only guess what was and could have happened. She saw nothing but crimson, steaming liquid sprawled about in front of her. There was little for Auriel to hear but she could smell crisp, singed flesh.
“B-Baba…? W-what happened? Where is Papa?! I am frightened!” She whined in terrific confusion, begging for reassurance.
The family of two looked forward. Baba, petrified to stone, never averted his gaze from the massacre. Tryferós and his once massive body was but a mere amalgamation of the human anatomy on display. His face looked as if he was lathered in acid, contorted and peeling. His remaining eye was seared shut yet bloated from the liquids erupting from the intense, instantaneous heat. His muscular arms were blown off from its sockets, resting elsewhere in the garden. His once bulging chest was ruptured open and reduced to smithereens. His abdomen lay bear for his unwilling audience to see, with intestines on the ground, soaking in his crimson blood. His spine, visible and draped with loose tendons, was still intact, maintaining the same arching position as when he became the reluctant shield.
In a state of shock, the widower softened his grip and relinquished something he paid no mind to. Down floated the symbol of a happy family, the handpicked floral necklace was crushed under his trembling knees. Pénthos stared at the gruesome sight for what felt like a treacherous eternity.
Auriel called and reached out to Pénthos out of fear and confusion, but he did not acknowledge her. He too was blinded and deafened by unspoken farewells. Death had placed a veil over his eyes and whispered sweet nothings into his ears. He could not see his own daughter in desperate need of his guidance, of hope and reassurance. There he knelt, in utter despair, while Auriel could only follow suit as the loving family fell from grace.