TODAY’S BREW: Hazelnut Pecan. Fancy as hell.
In honor of the season, our Flash Fiction Fridays will be all horror, and I personally picked the people to do these stories because I NEEDED THEM. So, get ready for this guy, who you may never have heard of. This is D.C. Perry. If you’re not on Twitter, you may know him as the dude who made that textbook you should have read. Yeah, seriously! But I know him because his imagination is INSANE to me. He is the most hilarious thing in the Twitterverse, massively underfollowed, and he is my spirit animal.
Trust me on this. Follow @DCPerry or you will live to regret it. This busy bastard wrote something creative for me, and it is unfuckingbelievable as I knew it would be.
Daddy’s Little Girl
by DC Perry
Jim was out of bed before he understood what woke him. The sound scampered at the base of his skull, but he couldn’t get a grip on it. The water heater, probably, or maybe the cat. And then it came again, loud and piercing and unmistakable. A scream. A child’s scream. He ran down the hall to check on Brent and Stephen, but he found them both sleeping peacefully. How did the scream not wake them? How did it not wake Rachel, for that matter? Everyone else slept. Jim paced. There it was again. It sounded like a little girl, and it was definitely nearby.
He knew he was insane for following the screams, but he’d be damned if he was going to wait for the police. He was a father. He couldn’t just listen to a child scream. And so he went outside against his better judgment and listened. The Walters, he thought. They have a little girl. Jim approached their house and opened the front door. No sign of forced entry, he thought, but he was sure of what he heard. He turned on his flashlight and went inside, glad he let Rachel talk him into buying a gun. It shook in his hand as he entered the Walters’s front room.
Slaughter. That’s the only word for what he found inside the house. The front room was littered with mangled bodies, torn open, damn near inside out. Jim forced himself to remember their names, to remember they were people. Mike and his two daughters, Tammy and . . . Susan? Jim thought her name was Susan. What kind of neighbor am I? he thought. I can’t even remember this little girl’s name, and here she lies eviscerated in her own home. So young. So frail. The girls reminded him of his two sons at home, sleeping in their beds, oblivious to these girls’s dying screams. Shit, he thought. Dying. This must have just happened, which means whoever did this must still be in the house. The bile crept up inside him, threatened to choke him. And then he heard it again. The same scream that woke him, the same scream that brought him here, but much closer this time. Upstairs. Did the Walters have three children? Was he that oblivious? No time for that now. Whoever that third little girl was, he had to find her. He had to save her.
Jim tried like hell to steady the gun as he started up the Walters’s stairs. Everything was dark, and he didn’t dare turn on any lights as he explored the house. His flashlight would have to do. He knew he should wait for the police, but fear for that little girl’s safety burned inside of him. He had always wanted a daughter of his own. He loved his sons, but they were already pushing him away, too grown up to show him any public affection. Daughters weren’t like that, he thought. He saw how his sisters treated their father, how his wife treated hers; girls grow up, but they never outgrow their daddies. But he and Rachel could never have another child. She nearly died giving birth to Stephen, and the doctors told them both that another pregnancy would almost certainly be fatal for Rachel. He didn’t resent her for it, but he wondered why the little girl’s screams hadn’t woken her. Why they hadn’t woken anyone else in the house. Why he was here all alone.
Jim shook his head as he reached the upstairs hallway. Hell of a thing to think about now, idiot. Focus. There’s a killer in this house who may be about to kill another child — who may be about to kill you if you’re not careful, and your head is full of daydreams about the daughter you never had. He looked down the hall and saw three doors. Death could be waiting behind any of them. He hadn’t heard any screams since he started upstairs, just his footsteps and his heartbeat. He steadied himself and checked inside the first room. Gun. Flashlight. Nothing. No one. This must be the girls’s room. There was a crayon drawing in the middle of the floor of a little girl and a man holding hands. “To Daddy,” it read. This must have been for Mike. Brent and Stephen never called him Daddy anymore. He checked under both beds checked and inside the closet. The closet was full of dresses, the kind of thing he had always imagined Rachel dressing a daughter in. Jenny. He would have named her Jenny. His eye lingered on a little blue one, and he imagined taking his daughter to the park in that dress. He would push Jenny on the swing set or join her on the see-saw. Her laughter was wonderful. It made him so happy.
The next sound he heard snapped him out of his daydream. No scream this time. Crying, very soft, coming from one of the back bedrooms. He aimed his gun in front of him and forced himself across the hall and through the open door. She was in the corner. A little girl in a tattered, bloody blue dress. Despite his fear, he smiled when he saw her. She looked just like his little girl. Just like the daughter from his daydreams, right down to the pigtails and the little white shoes. She was on top of another body. Probably her mother, Jim thought. He hadn’t seen Melissa’s body in the front room. He approached gently, not wanting to startle the little girl who looked so much like his very own daughter. She was sobbing, her whole body heaving rhythmically as she lay across the woman’s corpse. Closer, slowly. Her sweet little face was wet. He wanted to hold her close, to wipe away her tears. As he approached her, he realized that her face was not wet with tears. Blood. The little girl turned to look at him, guts trailing from her mouth back to the gaping wound in the woman’s body. Not crying. Not sobbing. Eating. Feeding. And his heart skipped a beat.
Poor thing, Jim thought. She just needed a meal. It must be hard for her, being so different. He would take care of her. She’d be happy with him. With his family. She wouldn’t be alone anymore.
Jenny stood up, wiped her mouth and reached up for Jim’s hand. He took it gladly, overjoyed at the sweet, loving smile she beamed at him.
“Let’s go home, Daddy,” she said.