A man wearing his costume, a hat and carrying a suitcase on his left hand walks into a dark bedroom. He kisses his three kids goodbye. While he tries to leave quietly, one of them awakes.
"Dad? Dad? Is that you?"
It's Joe, the youngest child. He is only 5.
The man stops at the door. He closes his eyes and whispers to himself "Oh my God... I didn't want him to hear me."
Joe had no choice, but to turn around. His eyes were moist with tears.
"Dad? Where are you going?"
"Hey little fella. Go back to sleep. I am here... I..."
"Why are you crying dad?"
"I... I am not crying tears of sadness, my son. These tears are tears of joy." (Wipes his tears with a tissue.)
"Yes, my son. Daddy is going to leave for a few days. OK?"
"Nooooo... why? Where are you going?"
"I am a going to a place that's not far from here." (Smiles with difficulty, mostly to ease his pain.) "It's called... (stops to think for a while and then opens his eyes widely) DRAGONLAND!"
"WOW! Dragonland!" Joe's eyes sparkle!
"Shhhhh...! You're gonna wake up your brothers."
Joe whispers "Dad, are there real dragons out there?"
"Joe, of course there are!"
"Dad, can I come with you?"
"No. It is very dangerous Joe. You should stay here with your brothers and mum. I will return from my quest to defeat the dragons all by myself. I will return... soon. OK?"
Joe nods his head in agreement.
"Now... listen Joe. This is going to be our little secret. OK? You should tell no one where I am going. OK?"
"No 'buts' Joe. Please."
Joe nods his head.
"Now, go back to sleep little fella."
"OK dad! Please, be carefull."
"I... I... will Joe. I will."
The child falls fast asleep, hugging a small teddy bear.
The man leaves instantly, closing the bedroom's door behind him and then bursts into silent tears.
He heads down the stairs and finds himself silently thinking "Don't look back Sam O'Reilly! Don't you dare look back."
Tears stream down his face. He opens the front door, exits and then closes it gently behind him. He doesn't want to wake anyone else up. Doesn't want to face anyone else. Doesn't want to explain. Even if he did... his family wouldn't understand.
A car with its engine idling is waiting for him across the street.
Two men are sitting in the front. Another, is sitting in the back and lighting a cigar.
Sam gets in the back.
"Are we OK... now?" Sam asks the two men in the front.
"Oh, we are OK alright! As long as you do as we tell you!"
"You promised you won't hurt my family!"
"A promise is a promise Sam O'Reilly! Although, I would really like to have a piece of that lovely woman of yours." (The two men sitting up front, end in laughter)
"DON'T YOU DARE! YOU..."
One of the two men sitting in the front, points his gun at Sam.
"Hey! Hey! Calm down! Jack, here, was just joking alright?"
Sam did not answer.
"Alright?!" he asks again loudly, in order to get him to answer.
Sam nods in agreement. The idea of his wife being raped by a bunch of criminals and the thought of his sons being slaughtered, were not thoughts that he could get out of his head so easily. These thoughts were something akin to a nightmare. Only, he was not asleep."