Seven years passed, since that fateful night at the hospital. Young Damien grew into a sweet, obedient, child, raised on his family's estate just outside of Washington, DC.
Today – Damien's seventh birthday – the young boy played party games among senator's and diplomat's children, while his parents held a huge party in their massive garden. There were clowns, jugglers, ponies, a carousel, a mini ferris wheel and a cake so large, the birthday boy could roll in it. But he knew it wasn't for him. His father wanted money to go live in a big white house in Pennsylvania – or something dumb like that – so he invited his stupid friends to beg; what a week and pathetic man.
“Gather 'round, kids,” a young woman – the party planner – called out. “Time for Pin the Tail On the Donkey.”
As with every game, Damien went first. And, as with every game, he did poorly. On his third try, he'd managed to pin the tail on the donkey's nose. Being as his playmates were being on their best behavior to appease their ever-judging parents, they clapped and said their “Nice tries”; save for one.
“You are much dumb,” said a large child. Nikapol Ivanovich – the Russian Ambassador's son. “You should be in school for retarded.”
The planner scolded him, as a couple of the children snickered. Damien didn't show any sort of care; this wasn't the first time he'd been made fun of by the chubby Russian and it certainly wouldn't be the last.
The children broke apart to play on their own, before the next party game. Damien watched, as they went off into pairs and groups, while he remained. As the lonesome child stared at the ground, a pair of polished black shoes came into view.
A smile had already stretched his lips, as he look up into the eyes of an old, tall, black man; dressed in a tail coat suit.
“Hi, Payton,” Damien greeted.
Payton – the butler – bowed slightly, as he said, “How are we doing, young master.”
“You shouldn't call me that. Father doesn't like it.”
“I will refer to you, however you wish... Damien. Now, I hate to say it, but you seem to be in ill spirits, for a young man celebrating his day of birth.”
“It's nothing... well...”
“Ambassador Ivanovich's son again?”
Damien nodded. “He keeps calling me retarded, every time he sees me.”
“Pay him no mind. Only foolish peasants try to hold themselves in higher order than their superiors.”
Again, Damien nodded. Payton always talked funny, but he was always right.
Payton tussled Damien's hair and nudged his cheek. “Now, I believe the next game is about to begin. Do have fun.”
Damien ran off, as Payton's eyes scanned the party and eventually fell upon Nikapol. He gave the boy an eery smile, as he made his way to the gathering of children around a large tree. They huddled together, as a donkey pinata was lowered from one of the branches, by one of the Thorn's employees.
Again, Damien went first. He held the bat tight in his little fingers, as he swung. Miss. He steadied himself and swung again. Miss. By the third attempt, the employee tried giving Damien an edge, by barely moving the pinata, but he missed again.
More halfhearted clapping and “nice tries”; followed by Nikapol's jeering.
“Jeez, Thorn. Even paper donkey smarter than you; all it need do is nothing.”
Damien remained silent, as he joined the rest of the children, as they began taking their turns. Eventually, it was soon to be Nikapol's turn. Payton's eery smile crossed his face again, as he winked. The employee holding the rope suddenly lost his grip and the pinata fell to the ground. It remained intact, but the rope had burned the employee's hands.
Payton stepped up to him and looked at his hands. “My, that's a grievous wound indeed. I suggest going to Mrs. Baylock and have that bandaged. The meanwhile, I will tend to the children.”
The employee made his way toward the manor, as Payton took hold of the rope. “Are we ready, children?”
They cheered, as the boy before Nikapol went up next. Nikapol was eager for his turn, as he stood in front of Damien. The children cried out for there to be candy spilled upon the ground, as the boy swung and missed. As the boy readied his next swing, Payton looked over to Damien.
Foolish peasants, all of them.
Damien shook his head a little, before staring intently at Nikapol's back.
Damned peons. They need to know their place.
The boy with the bat took a second swing and managed to catch the pinata's head, but it didn't burst. He butted the bat on the ground, as he tried to get a firmer grip.
Someone needs to remind them.
Damien poked Nikapol, urging him to turn. “What is it, retard?”
Damien stared at him, with cold unblinking eyes.
“You are retarded. Maybe ask Mama to go to retard school, before it too late.”
Damien looked over Nikapol's shoulder and saw the boy had gotten his grip and was ready for his last swing. “It's you turn,” said Damien.
Nikapol shoved him back and shook his head, as he walked backwards toward to pinata. “Stupid reta-”
There was a sickening thud, as Nikapol's head was shaken by a heavy blow from the bat. The fat Russian fell on the ground. He convulsed, as blood began to run from his nose. His body began to shake even worse, as blood began to pool on the ground just under his head. He was shaking so terribly, his left eye fell from it's socket; dangling just above the bridge of his nose.
The chorus of the children's screams brought everyone running to their aid. The adults began corralling the them away from Nikapol, as others had to hold back the raving Russian ambassador.
While the adults were distracted with their commotion, Damien knelt before Nikapol. Without any emotion in his eyes or on his face, he said, “imetʹ veselʹye, v zamedlyatʹ shkola.”
Damien stood and calmly walked away; mingling into the crowd of distraught onlookers.
Later that day, as the sun began to set over the horizon, Payton was walking away from the Thorn estate, with a suitcase in hand. The party planner had told the Thorn's she saw him yank the pinata up at the last minute; resulting in Nikapol being struck, instead of the faux donkey. Payton had apologized for his error and resigned.
As he neared the end of the driveway, he turned back to the sound of hastened footsteps. Young Damien came to a halt in front of him.
“Yes, young Master?”
“Father told me you quit,” said Damien, coolly. “I wished to apologize. It was my fault as well.”
Payton knelt down and looked upon Damien with a toothy smile. “There was no fault, in this matter. The peasants now know their place. They may tell themselves this was an accident, but deep down, they know this was a command: Never forget, you are beneath me. That boy will live the rest of his days as a simpleton; a brainless pawn to be shuffled off of the board.”
Damien nodded. “You're right, Payton. You're always right.”
Payton lifted his hand and ran his finger across Damien's cheek. “I have to leave you now. But, before I go, I wish to show you a trick.”
Damien smiled. “Show me.”
Damien and Payton walked along the tracks of a train yard. Payton walked on a rail, with inhumanly agile footing. Damien tried to mimic him, but couldn't come close.
“Tell me... Damien. What did you say to Nikapol?”
“I don't know,” he continued his rail-walking.
“You know it was Russian, right?”
“It was?” he asked, undaunted.
“Yes. In fact, you told him to have fun, at retard school.”
“I guess it makes sense.”
Payton released a uproarious cackle. “Your humble superiority amuses me, young Master. It will serve you well, in the times to come.”
Payton stopped, as he saw a light in the distance. “It's time I showed you that trick. Stand over there, if you would.”
Damien stepped off the track and stood on the other side.
A loud horn echoed, as Payton faced down the track and fell to his knees. He turned his head and look upon Damien with caring eyes... eyes black as night.
“Watch close now,” he said, as he reared his head back and let forth a scream so loud and distorted it sounded like thunder during a hurricane. His back arched to the point the top of his head almost touched the ground. Payton suddenly straightened his back, as he doubled over and vomited a black ichor onto the tracks.
Payton gasped for air, as he look around him; confused. He saw Damien.
“Where the hell am I?”
Damien just looked at him, as he pointed.
Payton followed his finger to the bright light barreling toward him. He held up his hands and wailed like a banshee, before being struck by a train. His body tore apart, this way and that.
Damien watched his head – still in the air – before it landed at his feet. Half of Payton's face was gone; replaced by skull and muscle. The rest was frozen in the scream. Young Damien Thorn reached down and pluck the head from the ground.
He turned the head to it's side and brought his lips close to it's ear.
“Do it again.”