Coming home felt good yesterday. Daddy had a strange anticipation to his step. An excitement evident in his bouncing gait and eager fingers squeezing just that bit too hard on my neck, steering me towards the door.
Coming home felt good, a happy memory. Not like now: leaving couldn’t feel worse.
“Close your eyes little one.” The memory of his words flash across my mind as I look feverishly at the door from my position, crouched in the corner of the room.
I remember each step into the house, the same steps I now take in reverse. Now creeping out silently in escape. “Close your eyes and step inside.” I remember him saying as he guided me blind through the doorway. Safe in his big hands. Safe in our home.
I’d entered our home carefree, lightly skipping across the threshold into my safe space. Now I freeze at the the thud of heavy footsteps on the floorboards upstairs. I can’t do it. They’ll see me. They’ll catch me.
I glance back and see Daddy close behind me. I’m comforted by his presence. He catches my eye and encourages me without words. A single finger to his lips, bidding me silent. Safe in his big hands. No longer safe in our home.
The beauty of our transformed home had overwhelmed my sightless senses. The smell hit me instantly. Blood. Delicious blood. My ears filled with the groans of countless playthings, playing softly like music.
Crouched here, trying desperately to stay silent, I long to reverse time, to relive the excitement and squeals as Daddy uncovered my eyes and showed me each beautiful creation he had made for me.
A fairground. A perfect fairground just for me. Bright with a thousand candles for light.
I turned in circles to take it all in, to appreciate the detail in Daddy’s work. “To cheer you up.” He had offered me in his words; showing me the games and rides he’d crafted especially for me. To make up for the the ordeal with that wretched whore: the woman he brought into our home, the one that was supposed to look after me.
The fairground had worked. I’d felt so much better, barely thinking about her as I was playing Daddy’s games. Now I can’t get her face out of my mind. That disgusting face turning lazily about the pole as Daddy beat her broken corpse. Pulverising her into a soft mushy sack after he had taken his fill of her holes. That disgusting face now superimposed on the heads of the pony boys that made up our carousel. That horrid clown smile smeared in lipstick underneath dead eyes.
Daddy had filled the house with all sorts of things for me to play with. He had spoiled me. A coconut shy, pin the tail on the donkey, a carousel, a helter skelter, a bucking bull, a swing boat and so much more.
I pass a stiff and cold corpse hanging on a rack and recoil, repulsed by the dead flesh devoid of the joy it once brought me.
Reaching the front door I look back, unable to let go. Not yet. I’m not ready. Memories of our fun flooding my mind.
“Oh Daddy, it IS fun. Look what happens when I do this, look Daddy, look” I had held the log back before I let it go, making sure he was watching.
“I am looking sweetheart” he promised “I can see, you’re doing really well.”
The heavy wood flew through the air, chain rattling, landing with a wet thud against the target. I remember how it moaned underneath the gag. Such a soothing sound.
“Yay! Same spot as last time! I got it again Daddy! I win a prize” I remember his smile of pride and satisfaction as he helped me choose a new teddy bear, plucking the writhing boy down and into my arms. I could see it relaxing him, easing his tension. He hadn’t been right for days.
Reaching up to the door handle I turn it ever so gently with a click. A click I wouldn’t normally notice. A click now as loud as a drum in the eerie silence. My gasp muffled by his hand instantly wrapped over my mouth. I taste the blood and sweat on his palm.
It tastes of bitter fear, not of the pleasure and excitement usually invoked.
I remember drinking the blood from his cupped hands. Thirsty after the excitement of repeatedly climbing up and sliding down the helter skelter. Daddy had lined the stairs with soft bodies, bound together with plastic wrap, crushing and warping their faces in the most amusing way.
I eagerly supped the red liquid that ran down his arm, fresh from the wound torn open with his own knife. “Drink up babygirl,” he had said. “Drink up and you’ll big and strong like Daddy.” His words soft and caring. A simple ritual. Blood we share. Blood that binds.
Daddy gently swings the door open to the darkness of night outside. A cold, wet and windy world that whips at my senses.
Upstairs the boots move again, a pair of pairs. The low rumble of the police officers’ voices echoes through the floorboards above.
“Quickly, to the truck.” Daddy whispers to me. “Go now baby. Go.”
I steel myself before running out of the door, darting across the sodden earth to our truck. Unlatching the door I throw myself deep into the darkness of the footwell.
Panting, wet and muddy. “My dress.” I whisper to myself in disappointment. A large tear tracing up from the hem.
The wind rattles against the windows of the truck and silences everything else. Terrified I creep up to the window and ever so cautiously peek through the glass back at the house.
Daddy has closed the door.
Each of our beautiful painted tapestries have been torn down from the windows, exposing the once peacefully enclosed house for all the world to see. The yellow glow of fireplaces and candles illuminate each scene behind bare window panes.
I see Daddy stalking back from the front room through to the kitchen. He vaults the bucking bull made for me. I remember how hard it was to stay on him, even tied down as he was. He bucked and writhed as Daddy struck him with the burning red hot poker.
The large muscular bull-man is silent now. The wound at his neck gaping, blood pooled on the floor. Daddy’s sharp knife making quick work of this thick neck. Daddy works through the whole house, dispatching the remaining lives of each of our playthings. Such a tragedy for otherwise worthless creatures providing such beautiful service.
Two shrouded figures rip down the last of the cloths covering the window in the bedroom This room is darker than the others lit only by the fire in the hearth. It held my favourite game, the bobbing apples. Daddy was so clever and had filled my paddling pool with red delicious blood. The four girls he drained now hung in full view on the wall. Beautiful little maids to be made into a delicious feast for us.
I had barely even started bobbing when the men broke down the front door. Daddy’s hand firm around my neck and forcing me deep into the pool until I thought I would pass out, unable to breathe.
It was a wonderful game until they came and ruined it. They ruined everything.
Daddy was quick to react and we snuck quietly into the secret passage behind the fireplace. The fire was well fed and roaring hot, the iron door handle had burned Daddy’s hand when he wrenched it open. He didn’t make a sound though. Daddy’s are brave and silent and good. They never make a sound when they are in pain, when it hurts; even when it hurts deep inside, Daddy is so good he would never say a word.
I know though. I see it in his eyes. I see right into his dark storming soul. Such a good man. So brave and good to me. My…
“Daddy!” I gasp as I see him climb up the stairs on all fours, silent and lethal. Skipping expertly between the debris of limbs used to play skittles in the hall above. I gasp because I see the two men turn to leave.
Two worlds moving from window to window inevitably going collide. Black silhouettes against the amber flames of firelight. Slipping from one room to the next, closer to each other with every moment.
My heart pounds with fear. The two men stop and draw their guns. Daddy must have made a sound, a mistake, but he is nowhere to be seen. He was in bedroom but now he is gone.
The men move with caution across the hall and pause outside the bedroom door. My heart pushes blood through my veins with an almost painful pressure. The sound of rushing blood is loud in my ears. I think I will pass out. What would I do without him, my Daddy?
I imagine the sound of the door crashing down as they kick it in and burst into the bedroom, guns aimed at nothing.
“No!” I scream helplessly against the endless deluge of rain.
At that moment a big shadow launches up from one corner of the room and the flash of gunfire bleaches my vision white. Blurry shadows of a big dog tearing down one of the men strobes in the window as the other man continues his volley of fire.
Swift and violent, I see Daddy turn on the second man and snap his neck with little effort. The man stands stunned for a moment before eventually dropping like a sack to the floor.
Reaching into the fire Daddy pulls out a log aflame like a torch and sets our bed alight. Frozen in shock, I watch as Daddy calmly moves from room to room and sets the house on fire.
Our home. Daddy burns it all.
At last he comes walking to me, illuminated by the house ablaze behind him. A soldier of the night. He is my Daddy. He is fire.
Face black from smoke he slides into the driver’s seat and starts the engine without a word. We drive for hours without talking. He doesn’t even look at me.
Eventually I reach out and touch his arm. The effect is immediate and I see his walls come tumbling down.
“Everything ends, little one.” His voice low and almost broken. “Everything.”