Short Story: Father’s Day Part I: Emancipation

Originally published in 2015, updated in 2018. Enjoy!

Written by: T.C. Harrison

Copyright 2018


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 believe 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 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 tried many times to leave but he always found her.

He cut mother off from her friends and family, moving her three states away so no one could follow. On several occasions he told her “No one can have you but me.”

He wanted mother to have an abortion and for the first time in their relationship, she stood up to him and would not do it. Enraged by her refusal, father sought to kill me. Each night in secret he would drop a liquid poison into my mother’s tea.

They were miniscule drops of course, but over the nine-month period the poison took its toll. To my father’s shock the plan failed and backfired, killing mother instead of me. When the doctor spanked my tiny backside, I uttered an oath to pay father back for his treachery with my first cry.


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 grownup, 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 even 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 returned home, he would try his darndest to prevent me from returning to school. Eventually father succeeded and I was homeschooled from there 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, drowned in the fountain outside the courthouse. Police ruled it a suicide but I knew better.

Putting on his mask of deception, father hosted a going away party for me. As no one knew of my emancipation-father paid a handsome price to keep that quiet-our neighbors assumed I was going away to college. I had always excelled in school, so this role was easy to play.

At the party, father beamed with pride as our neighbors and his friends spoke highly of both him and I.  He was so fake as he smiled and laughed but the mask never cracked. I shuttered in despair, as I played along with the charade. But I kept telling myself: Soon it would end and I would be free.

As the party began to wind down, I took my cue to leave. Father made a cheesy speech about how proud he was of his only child, and our guests ate up every false word. 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 from me. 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 in three years that I finally felt safe. Finally settling down in the City of Angels, I started over for the umpteenth time. I went to school and graduated in speedily fashion with my B.A. and Masters.

My nickname was ‘Franco’ due to the class load I took each semester. But I took it all in stride.  Knowing any minute would be my last kept me on the go. There was always something to I wanted to do and I did it. I wanted to live as much as I could because time wasn’t on my side.

Using a pen name, I wrote books which steadily gained in critical acclaim.  For the first time in my life, I felt free. I had a lover and would soon give birth to my first child.

But it was not meant to be.

The trauma of having lived with a monster gave birth to many restless nights. I endured the loss of my child and not too long after, my lover. I knew I wasn’t free.  I couldn’t stand it any longer of looking over my shoulder to see if my father was there.

In the beginning he had looked for me, and on several occasions he had even found me but I had escaped each time. Threatening letters would bombard my mailbox each time I moved, but eventually that stopped and the terrifying creature which was my father ceased to exist in my world. He only remained as a 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 too far behind my own vehicle. One night, it took 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 was left in red ink on my windshield which read ‘YOU’LL NEVER BE RID OF ME!’ Shaken up, I got the police involved but it was to no avail. Father can be very persuasive, supernaturally so.  The police retreated back into their cowardly corner from whence they had come. Frustrated and angry, I prepared to take matters in my own hands.

It was time for the final showdown.


The end came on a late Sunday afternoon. Work had ended and as I got into my rental I again spotted the red car. It was him.

Before I hadn’t been too sure but right then I knew it to be true. Wanting to avoid any witnesses, I took my guest on a long drive. Giving my stalker a tour, we drove through the city, the suburbs and finally into the Nevada desert.

Father knew what I was planning and initiated the fight right there on the road.

The red car slammed into my car’s rear and I held onto my wheel for dear life. Trying to keep control of the car, I dodged oncoming traffic, veering in and out of the single lanes on the winding highway. The red car followed easily.

Not wanting to endanger anymore lives, I went off road into the vast desert, picking up dust as I sped on sandy surface. I needed to have a few more moments before the end. Thinking we were far enough away from anyone to notice, I turned my car around to face the dusty path I created and my tormentor.



I spotted the red car’s headlights on the horizon. With their fast speed, they would soon be upon me. My heart beat rapidly as 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, he hadn’t changed at all.  His dark green eyes still had the sly glint as he gave 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 beacon of hope, glowing in the horizon as the sun began to settle for the oncoming evening.

In a flash I returned to the day I was born.

I remembered my father striking the doctor after he delivered the news of my birth and mother’s death. I watched my father’s struggle with the nurse who held me, and his crazed appearance when he overcame her.

Holding my tiny body, our eyes locked as he attempted to choke my barely new life out. Even then I remember being defiant and that angered my father more. If it wasn’t for the doctor knocking him out, my life would had ended as quickly as it began.


Jostled by my own car’s movements, I came to just in time. For we had reached a cliff and my car barely hung by a thread off of it.  Seeing that he required more momentum to finish what he had started so long ago, father backed up. In that moment our eyes locked once again as our trigger fingers dangerously jumped.

Tires screeching, I made my move. Struggling to unbuckle my seatbelt, I kept my eye on the red car. 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 my father’s car.  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, only to find the seat unoccupied.

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. He roared as he fell to his knees and dropped the sinister blade from his hands.

Reaching for the weapon, sand stung my eyes and I felt his hands grab my legs. I fell 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 honestly think you had gotten away? I always knew where you were.”

“Liar!” My legs thrashed in every direction as I struggled to get away.

“Oh but 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 your freedom. But you never did darling. And you never will!”

To my advantage, the wind blew and cleared my eyes of the sand that blinded them. As I opened them, I spot the weapon a few feet away. With father holding both of my hands, I needed a distraction.

Spitting out a mixture of blood and sand, I scoffed at my father’s pronouncement, which only infuriated him. “What’s so funny?” he asked.

“You actually thought I believed I was free and clear of you? “Why do you think I brought us out here old man?” Confusion filled his face as I egged him on.

“You thought that everything was going to plan. Huh, some plan. I knew where you were the whole time. What do you think of that? Who’s fooling who now?” I jeered.

A grin breached my mouth as I watched him come to terms with the realization that his prey had turned the tables on him. “YOU LIE!” He shouted as he hit me.

While it had been years since I physically felt his wrath, I handled it as best I could. I needed to so I could focus on retrieving the weapon. “You think you could fool me?” He retorted, as he rained hit upon hit.

I was able to avoid some of the blows. With each avoidance, I squirmed and then crawled towards the knife. Unfortunately, I only made it a few inches before father grabbed my legs and slammed my body back onto the floor.

I wasn’t ready for the rage of blows that came next.


“No” I cried, “Please don’t!”


“You think you could trap me?” he yelled.


“You always thought you were smarter than me, but you’re not!”


“You’re nothing but a murderer!”


“A curse upon the earth! You will obey me!”







Sitting up on his knees, he breathed heavily and looked upon his brutal work of art. My head rang loudly and my body shook with an uncanny pain that I had never felt before. My right eye was completely closed and while I could barely keep it open, I was still able to see my surroundings.

With my head still ringing, I focused in on the actions of my tormentor. He began to drag my body in the opposite direction of the car and closer to the knife. “We’re going home and that’s where you’ll remain for the rest of your life.” he wheezed. Throughout his entire life, father kept in shape but his love of cigarettes had weakened him.

But it wasn’t enough.

As he heaved and hoed, I uttered a curse. “What was that?” he asked leaning down by my face. “Fuck you!” I whispered.




His strength returned and he laughed as he tormented me anew. “No one can have you but me!”

I too found a newfound strength which I used to head-butt my oppressor. As he recoiled from the blow, I grabbed the knife which had been inches away. As I gutted him, he uttered a skin crawling scream.

But again it wasn’t enough.

So I struck him repeatedly, till he cried out over and over again. My ears were closed to his pleas of forgiveness and mercy, and my lips curled into a snarl similar to the one I had seen on my father’s face so many times…

My mind revolted from this satisfaction and I dropped the knife. It was now my turn to be out of breath.  Suddenly the screams and pleas stopped, and I came to. I stared at my father’s body, as blood seeped from it and flowed onto the sand.

He was no more.

I rose from the ground. Viewing the bloody mess before me, I spat and muttered, “Happy Father’s Day.”

Returning to the red car, I gathered any remaining supplies. Then I started the trek along the dusty landscape towards my salvation, the small dot in the distance now glowing in the moonlight.

My life now officially my own.


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