Short Story: Father’s Day

Written by T.C. Harrison

Copyright 2015

Father cursed the day I was born, to him it was the worst day in the world. As I came out of my mother’s womb her spirit went up to heaven and I was destined to know nothing but hell on earth.

He was never a good man. On the outside looking in, one would think him to be a nice and gentle poor soul who through a few unfortunate events simultaneously lost the love of his life and gained his only child. People called him a man of God. They believed him to be a righteous man, one who worked hard to provide for his daughter. Oh how foolish they were.

They had no idea who they were dealing with. But I did. From the womb I knew he was trouble, and inside my mother’s belly I vowed to protect her from him. Sadly I could not. It was he who had murdered my mother with his jealousy and spitefulness.

From the day my mother told him she was with child, he plotted to destroy me. Father was a controlling man who used all sorts of deception, intimidation, and bribery to get what he wanted in all of his life’s dealings. Mother had tried many times to leave but he always found her. He had already cut mother off from her friends and family, moving her three states away so no one could follow. “No one can have you but me.” he had told her on several occasions.

He wanted her to have an abortion and for the first time in their relationship, she stood up to him and would not do it. Upon her refusal, in the hopes of killing me he secretly dropped a liquid poison into my mother’s nightly drink each night. It was miniscule drops of course, but over the nine month period the poison took its toll until finally the plan failed and backfired, killing mother instead of me. And when the doctor spanked my tiny backside, with my first cry I uttered an oath to pay father back for his treachery.

For years I endured physical and mental abuse from this horrible man. No, he wasn’t a man. He was a child who had the body of a grown up, who would throw terrifying tantrums when things did not go his way. No…he was no man. My only reprieve was when he sent me to boarding school, but that did not last long.

As I grew older, I inherited my mother’s features and personality. He began to see me as her and whenever I was home from break, he would try to prevent me from returning to school. Eventually father succeeded and I was to be homeschooled from here on out. Father never touch me, thankfully he wasn’t that far gone. But the beatings and mental abuse continued and increased with great vehemence. I prayed for my sixteenth birthday to come quickly. It would be the only way to get away from him.

When it finally came I ran away. I hoped that would be the end of it, that he wouldn’t search for me since he hated me so much. But it was not to be. His desire for control followed me wherever I went. Tired of the chase, I petitioned the court for emancipation and it was granted. Father was furious, he didn’t like to lose. A few days later the judge was found dead. He had drowned in the fountain outside the courthouse. Police ruled it a suicide but I knew better.

Father hosted a going away party for me. Our neighbors assumed I had gotten into college-I had always excelled in school-as no one knew about my emancipation. He was so fake as he smiled and laughed. He beamed with pride as our neighbors and his friends spoke highly of both him and I.  In my mind I shuttered in despair, as I played along with the charade. Soon it would end and soon I would be free.

As the party began to wind down, I took my cue to leave. Father had already made cheesy speech about how proud he was and blah blah blah. All of which was untrue. When we embraced, he whispered in my ear, “You’ll never be rid of me. I always get what I want. There will be no place that you’ll be able to hide. I will find you!” His threat shook me to the core and I left as fast as I could.

Three years later…

It wasn’t after moving ten times that I finally felt safe. Finally settling down in the city of angels, I started over again. I went to school and graduated quickly with my B.A. and Masters. My nickname was ‘Franco’ due to the class load I took each semester. I took it all in stride, I wanted to live as much as I could because time wasn’t on my side. Knowing any minute would be my last kept me on the go. There was always something to do and I did it.

Using a pen name, I wrote books which were steadily gaining in acclaim.  I had lover and would soon be expecting my first child. There were many restless nights and I lost the baby and the lover, and I knew I wasn’t free.  I couldn’t stand the feeling any longer of looking over my shoulder to find my father there.  In the beginning he had looked for me, on several occasions he had even found me but I escaped each time. Threatening letters would bombard my mailboxes but eventually that stopped and the terrifying creature which was my father ceased to exist in my world. He only remained as ghost haunting me to no end. It needed to stop, I was slowly going insane and destroying everything that I had built. It had to end once and for all.

I didn’t have wait long. Everyday my telephone would ring and when I answered the person on the other line hung up. The mailbox quickly began to be full of postcards which had quotes about children obeying and respecting their parents. Leaving my workplace one evening, I noticed a red car following not far behind me. It took me two hours to get them off my trail.

This happened for three nights straight and then the day after, my tires were slashed and a message left in red ink read ‘YOU’LL NEVER BE RID OF ME!’ Shaken up, I finally got the police involved, to no avail. Father can be very persuasive, supernaturally so.  And the police retreated back into their cowardly corner from whence they had come. Frustrated and angry, I prepared for the final showdown.

The end came on a late Sunday afternoon. Work had ended and as I got into my rental I spotted the red car. It was him. Before I hadn’t been to sure but right then I knew it to be true. Wanting to avoid any witnesses, I took my guest on a long drive. Through the city and suburbs and into the Nevada desert.  Father knew what I was planning and initiated it right there on the road.

The red car slammed into the back of me and I held onto my wheel for dear life. Trying to keep control of my car, I dodged oncoming traffic as I veered in and out of the single lanes on the winding highway, but Red followed easily. Not wanting to endanger anymore lives, I went off road into the vast desert, picking up dust as I went. I needed to have a few more moments before the end. Feeling that we far enough  away from anyone to notice, I turned my car around to face the path I had came.

There were headlights on the horizon and they were approaching fast. My heart beating rapidly, I released a huge breath from my lungs. And then the crash came. For the first time in three years, I saw my father’s face. Wrinkles and gray hair withstanding, it hadn’t changed at all.  His dark green eyes still had sly glint as he smiled the same disingenuous smile.

As his vehicle careened into mine at full speed, I didn’t fight back. I let him take us further and further away from civilization until it became a small glimpse, glowing in the horizon as the sun began to settle down for the oncoming evening. In a flash I returned to the day I was born. I remembered my father striking the doctor after he had delivered the news of my birth and mother’s death. I watched as he struggled with the nurse who held me and finally overcame her. Our eyes locked as he attempted to choke the new life out of me until finally, the doctor knocked him out.

Jostled by my own car’s movements, I came to just in time. For we had reached a cliff and my car was barely hanging by a thread off of it.  Seeing that he required more momentum, father back up. In that moment our eyes locked and our trigger fingers were dangerously jumpy.

Tires screeching, I made my move. Struggling to unbuckle my seatbelt, I kept my eye on Red. With only seconds to spare, my belt came loose and I dived from my seat. Landing, I heard a crash and then the explosion of the rental on the ground five hundred feet below.  Jumping up, I looked at Red.  It’s tires furiously turned as smoke rose from its hood. The beast growled and snarled but did not move. Cautiously, I approached the driver’s door, but there was no one to be found.

Suddenly, a sharp piercing pain overcame my back and a red stain appeared on my chest and I cried out. Turning around I found the monster smirking at his work. “I told you girl. I always get what I want.” “Not today!” I yelled, spitting in his face. I kicked him in his balls and he roared, falling to his knees and dropping his sinister blade.

Reaching for the weapon, sand stung my eyes and I felt his hands grab my legs. I feel onto the desert floor with him on top of me. His breath smelled like sour milk as he uttered, “No one takes what’s mine. Did you really think you had gotten away from me? I always knew where you were.” “Liar!” I said, struggling to get away from him. “Oh I did girlie. Sure I got off track a few times, but deep down I always knew. I scared you a few times and then I purposely took a break to allow you to think you had gotten away scot free…but you didn’t did you darling? You didn’t did ya?!”

“Why do you think we’re here?” I asked.  Thankfully a wind was blowing and that helped my vision to clear. Opening my eyes, I located the weapon. It was a few feet from us. “Why do you think we’re here huh old man?” I asked. He had both of my hands, I needed to get to the weapon. “What’s so funny?” he asked. “You actually taught I believed that I was free and clear of you? Who’s the fool now?” I jeered.  Confusion filled his face. “And here you thought that it was all going to plan. Huh, some plan. I knew where you were the whole time. What do you think of that?”

A grin reached my mouth as I watched him come to terms with the realization that his only child had turned the tables on him. “YOU LIE!” He shouted as he hit me. I could handle the pain. I needed to handle it so I could focus on the weapon. “You think you could fool me?” I squirmed and was able to crawl. He grabbed me and slammed me back onto the floor. “No” I cried, “Please don’t!” BAM. “You think you could trap me?” he yelled. SLAP. “You always thought you were smarter than me, but you’re not!” PUNCH. “You’re nothing but a murderer!” PUNCH. “A curse upon the earth! You will obey me!” BAM. “You will fear me!” SLAP. SLAP. PUNCH. PUNCH.

Sitting up on his knees, he breathed heavily. My right eye was completely closed and I could barely open, but it was enough. “We’re going home and that’s where you’ll remain for the rest of your life.” he wheezed. All his life he had kept in shape but his love of cigarettes had weakened him. But not enough.  “What was that?” he asked leaning down by my face. “Fuck you!” I whispered. BAM. SLAP. PUNCH.  His strength had come back to him and he laughed as he said. “No one can have you but me!”

With a newfound strength, I headbutted him and as he recoiled from the hit, I grabbed the knife which had been inches away. I gutted him like a fish and he uttered a skin crawling scream, but it wasn’t enough. Repeatedly, the knife struck him and he cried out over and over again until he was no more. Like a miniature flood, blood seeped from his body and flowed onto the sand.

It was my turn to be out of breath. When it came back to me, I slowly picked myself up from the ground. Viewing the bloody mess before I spat and said, “Happy Father’s Day.” I returned to the red car and gathered up supplies before making my way back to the small dot now glowing in the moonlight, my life now finally my own.

 

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