Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997


It really started like a normal day. That did not exactly mean good, but better than bad. After the 2:45 bell and dismissal, Marcus started his boring walk down the hill. It was not anything special, just a straight route with a single bend to where his too-small house was. After waiting for the too-long stoplight, he continued on his way. He had nothing of note to do, no big projects for school, no extracurricular sports to play, no friends to hang out with. It would just be him and the computer, then him and his annoying brother complaining he was on the computer. The thirty min- ute head start Marcus got over him never crossed Jakey’s mind. All his eight-year-old brain thought was that Marcus was in his way.
Marcus crossed over to his street, the only turn needed to get to a home that could barely be called liveable.


A house that size could not possibly fit Marcus, Jakey, their parents and their grandma, but unfortunately that was what they had. Marcus yearned for greater things; A finished basement big enough for parties, a bedroom that did not have Jakey’s toys all over the floor, a bath- room that was not the size of a closet. He had seen them at other houses, but not his. It was not like they were bad off either. His mom made decent money as a saleswoman and his lawyer dad, while missing dinner a little too much for the family’s liking, made plenty for a better place. However, since it was “good enough” for dad, they were stuck there.
Marcus crossed what was technically a front yard, but felt and looked like Weed Central. That was Marcus and Jakey’s name for it. The weeds were more frequent than the j-walkers that ran wild on his street to get to the Target on the other side. The Target used to be one of Marcus’ least favourite things while the building was being made. The constant noise of jackhammers and cement trucks would cancel out any noise in the house. Now, it was fine. It existed. Nothing more, nothing less. Fine.

After finally entering his house, laying his too-heavy bag on the too cluttered floor, he sat down at the computer. The computer was workable, Marcus figured. It was not too new or old, ran fast enough for him, it did everything he needed. He opened his email, hoping that the artist he commissioned had finished his sketches now. He asked the artist to draw something simple, a dragon with a sword. At least Marcus considered it simple. It had taken a week though. He doubted the artist was that busy, or he would have said so. Luckily, it was finished. Today Marcus was going to do it. He was going to present his book to his parents. It had everything Marcus liked. Danger, swords, romance, dragons, and treasure. Everything Marcus wanted in real life. It had been three years in the making, but was only confident now that it would woo his parents. Of course he had been a little worried about it, however he knew it was great. He inserted the dragon in the document he had the grand story in. Hundreds of pages and thousands of words. He did a pretty good job keeping it secret too. His parents were in for a surprise.

As he got up to get a drink, Marcus’ doorbell rang. He guessed that his mom forgot her keys and her and Jakey were locked out or something, as he always locked it behind him. Precautionary methods were the norm in the house, for as long as Marcus had been alive. It went from always needing the front and back yard doors locked, to having an app on his phone that would tell his par- ents who he called and texted. It always seemed a little far, but his parents would deflect his criticism by saying “You’ll be thankful later.” Later was yet to come, and Marcus doubted it ever would.

“Be there in a second.” Marcus called out. He closed his document so that they would not see it and got the door. He expected to see his mom’s big smile or Jakey’s pouty face on the other side, but instead there was nothing. No one waiting for him, and there was nothing on the front step or in the mailbox. Marcus was probably just the victim to some annoying kids playing Ding Dong Ditch. Pretty juvenile.

Marcus shut the door and turned around, but as he went back to the kitchen for the drink he promised himself, he saw something. It was dark and elongated, almost like a shadow. The figure’s sense of mystery got the best of Marcus, who dropped his still empty cup and went to investigate. It appeared to be in the misused dining room, where all of the family’s excess possessions were stored to be forgotten about. As Marcus neared where the shadow was, he got more and more uneasy. However, he felt like he could not go back. As much as he wanted to stay still, one foot went ahead of the other, whether he liked it or not. As he got right up close, the shadow moved. It got up, prac- tically flying over Marcus and into the living room. It then took a different form.

“Hello, Marcus.” The now humanistic figure said with what sounded like a voice that came from down the busy street.
“Wh-who are you? How do you know me? What are you?” Marcus tried to ask in a terrified shout however no noise came out.

Despite the fact Marcus failed to make noise, the figure answered “Salvation, Marcus. Your salvation.” The figure answered. It had at least three feet on Marcus, although that may have been because Marcus was now on his behind, slowly crawling in fear. It had on nearly all black, what re- sembled a suit with a little red handkerchief in a front pocket. The figure failed to have legs.

“My... salvation? What do you mean by salvation?”
“I know you yearn for more. You, Marcus, need more to be satisfied. I’m your salvation from being unsatisfied.
“Unsatisfied? I... I have no clue what you mean. I like it here.” The fear seemed to have rendered Marcus a liar.
“No, you don’t. I have extensive knowledge on you Marcus. I know what you want. Bigger house, less annoying brother, a dad thats there a little more. I can give this to you. Any and every- thing you have and will ever want. Yours.”

Marcus’ eyes got larger. Anything he wants? That sounds great! Just earlier he was dream- ing about getting out, and know he can! “What do I have to do!? This is all I really want!” Imagine that. Marcus would be known as a great author, in a great house with a great family. Everything would be bigger, everything would be better. He would live his life the way he wanted, untampered by anyone.

“Alright then Marcus. Close your eyes.” Marcus closed his eyes in anticipation, blinding himself from what the figure was doing. The figure went up and engulfed Marcus, making him disappear into a sea of black.
Marcus was never heard from again.