Life is magical when you’re seven. The Transformers toy in Seth’s little hand was as real to him as the park swing he had been flying it on. In childhood the world is full of wondrous things; superheroes, cartoon characters, magicians. Things that fill a child’s mind with great fantasy and often seem so real. His mother would take him to church and speak of angels, but Seth was usually more interested in getting home to his Sunday morning cartoons.
But the world of childhood is also filled with monsters, like the one Seth was sure hid in his closet whenever the light was out; and the one that had just shoved him to the ground and pushed his mother down onto the park bench while pulling at her clothes. “Just lie there and shut up” the monster growled at him. His mother, looking horribly frightened squirming beneath the strange man, told him to do the same. “Stay there baby. Just stay there. It’s okay.”
Seth knew it wasn’t okay. One of the world’s real monsters had come. He was frozen there, the side of his face pressed against the sand, his Transformer toy held tightly to his chest. His eyes were clenched shut, forcing the tears out faster. In his ears his mother’s voice was pleading, begging, and when her voice became too loud the monster hit her, and her screams turned to silent sobbing. His mother’s surrender only heightened Seth’s terror and sense of helplessness.
Moments later footsteps near his face made Seth open his eyes. A large black motorcycle boot stood motionless beside his face, the single silver buckle glistening oddly through the fog of his snot and tears. Seth’s panic grew; another monster had come. The boot shifted into the sand as the second monster leaned down, and Seth felt a hand on his back. A gentle touch, a rub, and the hand stayed there pressed against his back for a moment, now somehow calming and soothing. Seth looked up, and above him the face of a man with a finger over his lips signaled him to stay quiet, and Seth watched the boot walk away towards his mother and her attacker.
For the next few moments Seth couldn’t turn away, couldn’t close his eyes, as he watched one monster tear apart another. Later, when he would re-tell the story, he no longer called the second man a monster, but an angel, like his mother had told him about in church.