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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1922026-Elias-Chapter-one
by J. A.
Rated: 18+ · Chapter · Emotional · #1922026
After his child is abducted a terrible truth unfolds about his wife death.
Prologue

“How would you feel if your son or daughter died today?  What if you could do something to avenge their death, would you do it? You know, someone said to me once, when you kill a man, let it be by accident or intentionally you’ll acquire a taste for blood and I have to tell you, it’s true. I crave for more, I need more, and I need yours. I will tell you the story of how death changed my life. You know that I am the man everybody is looking for, and some had found me, that much is true, but the others I will find, and I will kill them all. Ah, but you already know this. Don’t you?” I said with a big smile shoving the gun hard to his temple.

”I, am, Elias.”



Chapter One

I was a simple man, I lived in a simple house, and I had a simple job. I loved my daughter; she was a beautiful creature from god himself. She had curly golden locks dangling from her head, and her eyes were as blue as the sky on a clear day. Her smile was like the sun that brightens even the blackest of my days. Her soft embrace was what made me come home every time, that lovely fluffy pillow embrace; that is what she called the hugs when she gave me one. I loved her very much.

She loved animals and liked to take care of them. She liked to take care of me too, me being her father and all, but sometimes I thought she saw me more as one of her pets, but I didn’t care. I loved her and she loved me, it was all that mattered in those days.

Like every kid her age she had an attitude, she wanted things her way, but I as a father would say no to her whims. Now I wished I could have said yes to her more often.

When all this started, on that fateful day of all days, she was running around the house and I yell at her to stop. She liked to talk, and on that day she went overboard. I had to yell at her so she would stop. I know I may not be the best father in the world, but she was still my little angel. She was only eight for heaven’s sake.

On that day we went to the park as we do every birthday after church. I told her not to run away, as every father say to his child.

“Stay where I can a see you.” I said to her and she just glares back at me, clearly still mad for what happened earlier in the house before we left.

On the bench, sitting with a newspaper in my hands while she played on the seesaw and the slides, I checked on her every minute, making sure she was where I could see her. At a moment an article about some war and riots starting in Somalia caught my eye, and I lost myself in it. The minutes passed by and I didn’t look up from the paper nor check on her.

“What is this world coming to?” I whisper to myself as I finished the article.

I felt a touch to the back of my arm and I turn my head with a big smile, hoping to melt her mad face away and get one of those fluffy hugs of hers.

“You’re Elias, right? The father of a little girl with blond curly hair about eight years old?” said a woman I have never seen before.

“Yes, she is right, the….” I utter while looking up and not seeing her. My eyes open wide. I stood fast, looking left and right, letting the newspaper fall and hit the floor, she’s nowhere.

“Where did she go?” I said, my voice sounding low and terrified.

“Oh, she went away with her mother. She told me to tell you.”

“Her mother?” I asked, the women still at my back. “That’s impossible, her mother died six years ago,” and I heard a gasp of surprise come from the woman. I turned around to face her. I saw the confusion of her face. Her long black straight hair was over one of her shoulders. The woman that stands now in front of me is wearing a red blouse with a white coat over it and thin glasses on her face. She could be one of the doctors in the hospital across the street, I remembered myself saying.

“Where did they go?” I asked.

“I… I… I…” she muttered.

“Where did they go?” I screamed grabbing her by the shoulders and squeezing hard, I remember she struggled a little, but did not moved from where she stood.

“I am terribly sorry, she looked so happy after looking at that woman. I… I… I. She said she was taking her. Told me she was her mother. She said that she would be at your house at five.” I notice trembling in her voice, high pitch, but soft like a chirp.

“Tell me, where did they go?” I scream at her again shoving her away to the left that she almost stumbles to the ground. Getting my mobile phone out from my pocket, and dialing 911 I pointed a finger to her face “Don’t move,” I said she was about to burst into tears, but what else could she do?

“This is 911 please state your emergency.” said a stern female voice at the other end.

I turned around to have a better view of where we were exactly, “Someone took my daughter,” my frantic voice crackling in the phone like an old radio show.

“Please sir calm down and tell us where you are.”

I look to my right, “Mellow Park,” I turned my head left, “right in front of the Vanity Fair store,” I took some steps forward, “in front of the hospital,” I said to the voice in the other end of the phone. My breathing was hard it’s almost impossible to inhale into my lungs, my chest felt like if I had someone standing over it, stomping it with every breath I took, then a headache started, but I still looked around, I still needed to find her. Why was I looking, came the question to my head and I did nothing to answer it, but to start running; yelling her name forgetting the phone in my hand next to my ear, the desperation of losing my little girl was so hard that I forgot everything. I only had her in my mind.

“Susie, Susie where are you, please answer me baby, where are you?” I yelled repeatedly, still the phone in my ear, the voice on the other end of the line started to say something, but I didn’t hear nor understood what she wanted to say. 

I ran as far as the tree line to the north from where the bench was, to my right there was a clearing were other fathers and mothers were playing with their kids, having picnics, laughing. I sprinted to them as I took my wallet out to show them a picture of Susie and asked if anybody had seen her. I shoved the picture from my wallet to their faces as I almost screamed at them, “have you seen this girl, have you?” but nothing; no one had seen her or who took her. I ran to the edge of the road to the west looking at both sides and nothing not much traffic, but there was nothing weird about it. Cars passed by the edge of the Park slowly as the sign in the curb said speed limit was fifteen miles per hour. Why am I looking? The woman told me her mother took her.

Right there in the road as cars passed I fell down; there was mud from last night small drizzle, and my knees impales in it like hard wooden stakes. The phone falls from my hand as I start to realize what had just happened. I cover my face with my hands and start to cry, I cried hard the tears falling from my eyes onto my palms, that day was her birthday that was the reason we were at the park.

I could sense the worried, glaring eyes of the people in the park. I can hear the sound of their concern whispers. I look back at them and could see them gathering near the bench I once was, but that would not help me, she is gone. Why Susie? Why her? Why today? I heard my questions ringing in my head as the headache started to get stronger and my left eyes felt like it was about to explode from its socket. I just put my left palm pressing harder to it, trying to forget the pain in my head as the one in my heart started growing from fear to dread.

I remembered her in the car and telling that I can’t love her if she keeps with the attitude, that she was being a brat. One of the last things I said to her in the park was to stay in sight. That’s it, not I love you honey, not you are my precious little girl, not even happy birthday. What was wrong with me that day? As you know those last words burned my heart; the pain is overwhelming and crushing like a giant boulder had just been dropped over my head. I stayed on my knees letting the feeling of hopelessness fill my soul as the headache subsided a little.

“Susie where are you?” I silently whispered as a small breeze passed my face like a small caress of a child’s soft hands. “What have I done?” I whispered again to the small breeze, disappointment flowing like a river onto my heart, slowly filling with more despair, my body trembles as the realization that it was my fault. It’s my entire fault, I should’ve put more attention to her and never say those harsh words.

After moments on my knees embracing my body, I struggled to stand and walked slowly to the bench once more and I slumped down hard, you could feel the trembling of the bench as my massive body hit it. I waited for the cops; head down with nothing in my head, but the image of Susie playing some moments earlier, and her smile. The woman that told me about Susie was still there at my side. She expressed her concerns and said she would stay until the cops came.

When they got where I was, and as they do in every situation like this, one skinny cop with brown skin, big round eyes, and teeth that were protruding outward and with somewhat of an Indian accent that I faintly grasped, asks me what had happened, where I was, how did I knew someone took her, if I get a chance to see any of the abductors? I explain to him all I could muster from my mind, everything I could remember. The woman, the one who told me, was talking to another cop, fat with white hair, the uniform tight to his body as if it was about to burst open. I can see him scribbling on a note pad as did the man in front of me. She was pointing at the bench, a little round cement table to the left still with unwrapped food on it, probably were she was at first, and then at me. I look back at the cop that was still taking notes while I spoke. He asked if I had recent pictures and I handed the officer the newest picture of her.

“I took that picture just a couple of days ago, in the mall.” I told him as my voice cracks remembering the day I took the picture. We were looking for a new Sunday dress for church. She picked a yellow sleeveless dress with a rolled floral waistband that made her look older than what she was. I took the picture with my phone, printed it at home, and put it in my wallet. I could still see her smile as she twirled around and the skirt lifts with the momentum of her body turning.

-“Will mommy like this?” she had said the tears burning behind my eyes as the words came out of her mouth.- 

“Well sir, we will do everything we can to find her, with the Amber alert and EAS system it should not be long before someone spots her and we can get the person or persons who took her.” He said with his Indian accent, taking me out of my memories and I could sense in his voice confidence. Susie, please be safe.

“Please do,” my only two words, at that moment my emotions all drained away the aches and pain on my body all but a dry self of what I was in the morning. Starting to walk to the car I turned around once more to see the jungle gym empty, cops all around looking for clues I assumed and when I looked away I looked to the blue sky remembering Joanne, my wife. Why did you have to die? Six years have passed since her death, and now Susie was gone, what am I to do? I said to myself as I was walking like a zombie, dragging my feet step by step slowly and with no vision but the old memories. I climbed in the car without thinking, once inside I looked at the rearview mirror I twisted my body and looked at the empty seat and right there I collapsed crying, my head hitting the steering wheel hard as my cries filled the silence of the empty car.

After settling down started the car and drove home, no sound from the back seat. I look at the rearview mirror from time to time; my bloodshot eyes trying to find her still safely tuck in the back seat. I think of her and of the moments when we played. I see the image of her smiling in the rearview mirror. I hit the brakes and turn my head back, hoping, but all I see is the empty seat. I didn’t even notice that where I stopped is where her mother, Joanne, car was found flipped over, broken glass fire spewing from inside and a single bullet hole on the front windshield. I started my trip back to the house looking again at the rearview mirror, still with hope in my heart that Susie will come home soon.

When I got home, a grand Victorian house with its turret glaring high to the sky and a dual wraparound porch, a three stories house were once there was the sound of laughter and joy inside, now in front of me stands but only an empty box, in silence. A silence so deep that even the ghost of an abandoned cemetery would feel scared from its massive tranquility. I opened the front door and walked straight to the kitchen grabbing the phone and taking a card from my pocket and called the officer who took my statement, his accent still faintly in the phones speaker making me wonder how he got to be a cop, but he said that there was no news, yet. He said that they will find her, again with the same confidence as before. I cradled the phone putting one hand to the wall looking down. I just pushed my body away in frustration from the corner of the kitchen were the phone was and I walked away to the stairs and stopped in front of them as I glared up at those steps, nothing in my head at the moment. I walked upstairs still in a zombie like state. My strides are short and wobbly as if my legs were just made of rubbery sticks. I came to a stop in front of her room and I stood paralyze at her opened door. I stare at her toys scattered on the floor. Her room painted pink with white dancing clouds. I saw her mirror standing on the white eight-drawer dresser staring at me from the back of the room. The only window in the room to the right curtains drawn to its sides and the last of the afternoon sun shining through making a yellowish stain on the floor. On top of a little tea cup play table to the left is her Classical Victorian dollhouse where she played endlessly.

-”Look daddy the family is all together to eat, Me, Mommy, and you.”- She said one day and my eyes watered.

Right beside the little house is the canopy bed still undone. I stare at it, her white sheets a mess, her pink pillows staring back at me. -Fluffy pillows- I walk towards her bed and I start to cry harder than before as I bend my knees at its side. I reach out to one of the pillows as if I am drowning and her pillow is the hand that will save me from this death that awaited me. I drag the pillow through the bed and squeeze it hard to my chest not letting go, feeling her fluffy pillow embrace in my head. The bellow of my cries echoes hard in her room and all through the house as the cry of an Irish mythical banshee wails the announcement of a death in the family.

I had nothing left now; her mother had died in a car accident six years ago, although her body was never actually recovered, we all knew no one could have survived such an accident. I remember crying too, but this time, Susie was the only immediate family I had left. My mother died so many years ago and my father died of lung cancer. Joanne and Susie were my only family, now they were gone, I am all alone.

For some moments I stayed in the floor crying till my eyes were dry and I was spent, then I heard a knocking coming from the front door, but I didn’t care, I didn’t move. I hear the doorbell; still I stayed on the floor. Then my name came from the front door, I didn’t recognize the voice and I pull my head off Susie’s bed, dry tears on my cheeks.

“Mr. Tomopolis? Hello? Please, we need to talk.” I heard and then more knocking. I got up, and walk down the stairs to the front door in a slumbering state. When I opened the door, in front of me was the women from the park, still in her red blouse, but now without her white coat.

“What do you want?” My voice breaks on every syllable of the sentence. I didn’t notice that still on my chest, I was clenching Susie’s little pink pillow.

“I am terribly, sorry I should have known better than to let her go,” she said and my anger started rising inside of me, raging madly like a volcano about to erupt, and then subsiding, letting go as if waves came on the beaches shore and cool the lava, then going back without damage. She really couldn’t know. She was told that whoever took her was her mother, right? That Susie just smiled at her. Isn’t that what she had said? I still looked at her from top to bottom.

“Come in,” I said and move myself slowly to the couch in front of the TV. Still clenching my daughter’s pillow and throwing myself down, putting one hand on my face.

“Why, her? Why? What did I do wrong to you God? I have always followed your rules and loved you for everything you have given me, even when you took her mother away. Why God, why have you forsaken me now?” I said tearing my face from my hand and looking at the ceiling, holding tighter the pillow.

I had not changed my dark blue suit, it’s now wrinkled and mud still on my knees, my tie undone and my shirt out of my pants. I don’t know what time it is and I didn’t care all I want is for Susie to come back to me.

The women from the park sat down close to me putting her hand on my back moving it in circles trying to comfort me. I think she is a kind soul, but who was she?

I turned the TV and surf through the channels and I can see the amber alert fly underneath the information scrolling from right to left, Susie Ann Tomopolis eight years old, disappear from Mellow park at 2:00 PM, last seen wearing a yellow dress with floral waistband, it scrolls in the little strip under the TV show they were showing. The woman from the park was sitting by my side, her hand still on my back. I look at her.

“Can you tell me why? Why is this happening to me? Why my daughter? Why especially today?” I begged of her for an answer, but she just looks down, ashamed, then back at me.

“Why today? What’s so important about today?” she asks.

“Today is her birthday, the anniversary of her mother’s death. You see, her mother died in a car accident six years ago. She is all I have left. My entire world, she is my soul.” As I finish those words I slumped at her lap crying, harder. I passed out or I was just too tired to continue. I’m so exhausted from the day’s event that I didn’t mind leaving a stranger in the house. I didn’t know who she really was or why she was here, I just didn’t care at all.

I woke up some hours later alone in the couch and my headache started all over again with the sound of the phone ringing through the house. The ringing stabs my brain like if I just woke up from a hard night of drinking. I sat up and rubbed my eyes with the palm of my hands. I yell, “Susie, get the goddamn phone!” slurring my voice as I was still sleepy, tired and forgetting what happened earlier in the day. I look down and her pillow is still clenched tight to my chest. I didn’t let go as I slept. I looked to every side of the room and knew I was alone at that moment; the phone was still ringing as I let out a scream of frustration. I hugged the pillow harder burying my face to it when I heard someone say hello from the kitchen, a small sweet voice. Her voice came to my mind as I stood up and ran to the door, my feet thumping naked and loud on the wooden floor. Someone took my shoes off and I didn’t notice.

“Susie?” I cried with a smile as I got to the kitchen door, both hands to each side of the white wooden frame steadying me. In my left, Susie’s pillow swings from side to side from one of its corners. She was home, I wasn’t alone it was all a nightmare I thought.

When I saw her, the long hair women with the red blouse, I fell to my knees looking down, my eyes red and bloodshot, dry as a desert. I feel beaten down, hurt, stabbed in the heart and bleeding out. I look up and she has one hand covering her mouth with open fingers, her eyes wide open, her expression saying, oh my god. I got up in a hurry shoved her to the side and took the phone from her hand.

“Please tell me you have found her,” I desperately said without knowing who was on the other side of the phone.

“Sorry sir, we have not, I think?” this time it was not the Indian cop, it was someone new, his voice sounded disinterested as if he did not cared and he made me enraged for his lack of interest.

“You think? What are you talking about? Either you found her or not there is no maybe.” I hollered furiously to the man on the other end.

“We need you to come to the morgue.” He said with the same disinterest and my eyes opened wide, my heart stopped, and I hold my breath without knowing until my chest hurt and I had to exhale. “No, it can’t be, No way. No. No, no, no. This is not happening.” I screamed to myself and the phone.

“It’s not,” I say to myself in a whisper again, loosing myself in utter disbelief “it is not Susie.” My voice now just but a whimper of my screams earlier. I push the horror away as I take three steps back. What if it’s her? No, it is a lie. It has to be.

“Please tell me it’s not her?” and as the words came out I let go of Susie’s pillow that was still clenched in my left hand. I watch it slowly fall to the floor, hitting and bouncing finishing at a side with a dark pink heart.

“Can you come in sir and identify the body?”

“It‘s not her you hear me. It’s not her.” I screamed to the phones as I got another whim of air in my lungs as if it was a person in front of me. I grab the phone and ripped it out from the wall making a hole the size of my fist in the plaster, when the woman inside the kitchen touched my shoulder. I turn around at her; she flinches taking her hand away, my anger focusing on her.

“This is your entire fault, you should have told me. She is not dead you hear me, not dead.” My furious voice slices through the night’s silence, as she puts her hands midway in defeat. 

”There is only one way to be certain.” she says and moves closer, putting her hand back on my shoulder. “I can take you; you clearly are in no condition to drive.”

I turn around and walk away, head down. I know she is looking at me with concern. Who is this stranger? Why is she still here?

I thought on going upstairs and take a shower, but I just change cloths as fast as I could, putting on a white t-shirt, black jeans, and black tennis shoes. In the living room, the woman is sitting on the couch her hands on her lap TV off, just waiting. She looks at me.

“Ready to go and confirm it’s not your daughter in the morgue?”

Those words really filled me with hope. Confirm that it is not your daughter and I inhaled deeply.

“Ok” I say in a jaded voice. My anger all but dissipated, pain and aches all over my body. She was right; I’m in no condition to drive.

We got to her car that was park right in front of my house; it’s a blue Suzuki Rav4. I don’t know much about cars, not like Joanne did, but the car looks like it’s in good condition. The interior is taken care pretty well. I turn my head over and look at the back seat, there are lots of papers scatter around.

“Who are you anyway, how did you know where I lived?” I ask as I turned my head and look forward clicking the seatbelt.

“My name is Bernice Templeton; I work at the hospital across the street from the park and I asked the officers for your address.”

“Why would you do that and why are you still here?”

“I am a psychologist at the hospital. I deal with rape and abused children.”

“Oh, that’s why you are here?  Because you a going to analyze me?”

“Not really. I cannot make any assumption about you, it is not my job. Besides, I work with kids and teenagers. Not adults”

“Okay, let it be more talkative you and me” I slurred the words out without thinking.

“What?”

“Sorry, I’m not making much sense.” I hear myself so distant; my voice is not my voice, deep, cracking, singular, not hard, determined, and focused.

“Why don’t we try and talk about it. It’s a start don’t you think?”

“What were you doing at the park?” I asked

“Having lunch, I like to see the children have fun while I eat my meals. It brings memories.”

“Memories?”

“Yes, old ones.”

“Would you care telling what those memories are?”

“I prefer not to talk about it. Let’s say you and I have more in common than you think.”

“How do we have something in common?”

“Please, not now,” she looks down for a second or two before looking at the road again.

“Okay.” I said wondering what this strange woman meant.

She asked me some questions, but I didn’t feel like answering any of them. She drove in silence for maybe one more hour while I sunk down in the passenger seat my head leaning at the window my eyes gazing endlessly outside. Thinking of all the times Susie and I used to play the monster’s tea house party, a game her mother invented so long ago. She made me put on this big, red, monstrous ugly hat with a white flower. We would both laugh while holding the plastic teacups while act like if munching on plastic cakes, sitting on the uncomfortable little chair behind the table where the dollhouse usually sleeps.

-“Daddy you look so pretty,” she would say with her tender voice.

“No, I am an ugly monster that is going to eat all your love,” I would say and jumped forward tickling her, the red hat flapping from my head as I moved forward. Then the phone would ring, most of the time when I play with Susie, and I would have to stop.

“Don’t go daddy we still need to finish eating and read to the bunny Popples,” she would say.-

The bunny Popples is her little rabbit plush toy she always carries around. I just realized that it was not in the car where she left him while she played in the park. Where was he?

-“Honey, later daddy has to work now.” I would say and smile at her, she would start with a tantrum and start shoving everything to the floor, the plastic teacups, her plastic cakes and turn the table around.

“I don’t like playing with you.” She would stomp and pout and I would let her be, while I finished with the call.

After I finished with whatever problem happened in the store I would go up and ask her to clean her room and then we would read a story to the bunny Popples. She would say, “No ugly,” and stick her tongue out, start the tantrum all over again and then my patience would give and I would start yelling at her.- Just like today.

She didn’t want to go and see her mother’s grave nor put flowers over it. All she knew of Joanne, her mother, was from the pictures we had of her around the house, she especially liked one that was beside the front door. A crystal frame with frosted lettering saying I love you. Susie would stare at that picture for hours. It was a picture of three us, Susie on her mother’s arms looking forward smiling, I over Joanne softly letting one hand rest on her shoulder looking forward, but Joanne’s face was the most astonishing thing it felt as she was there always watching over us, protecting us. She once said.

-“Daddy it is sad, mommy does not deserve our love, she left us all alone.” To what I would answer pointing at the picture beside the front door.

“But she is always watching over you, protecting you.”-

I could not know if she missed her or not because Joanne died when Susie was entering her second year of life, but still those words would bring tears to my eyes, she was a kid she could never understand the things that happened to her mother, heck I don’t even understand all of it myself. All she wants to do was stay home and play, why had I pushed her to do otherwise.

Like every birthday we would go to church in the morning, then to her mother’s grave and then we would go to the park. I would let her play there for hours, but today she really had a big fit in the car, she didn’t want to go to the park. She wanted to go back to the house and stay there. She said that she wanted to see TV and play with her doll house, but I insisted and told her it is our tradition to go to the park.

If only I had just listened to her. Only if I had not said that she was a brat. She would be here right now looking outside the window with me, maybe even having her birthday dinner at Chuck and Chees, her favorite pizza place. I’m sure she really likes the games more than the pizza there. I smile at the image of her playing around the place she loves so much, looking back at me and smiling, her golden hair twirling as she turns her head. Tears started to burn my eyes, as I remembered that she was not here with me, not right now. I noticed we had stopped in front of the hospital, my eyes fill up with tears, and Bernice works here, in this building, this white structure five stories high with a long “L” shape to the far end. We were going to the basement, the morgue, where dead bodies are stored. She is not dead; a voice rings in my head.

We got out of the car and I am drained of all energy walking like a zombie. Bernice is at my side holding me straight, helping me get to the big double glass door and unto the elevator. She hit the “B” button and we started moving downward.

Finally, at the morgue I gagged at the stench of antiseptic and some other smell I couldn’t decipher, it was overwhelming at first, but then one got used to it. The actual smell was like if you left an uncooked piece of meat on a table for days out in the sun and then cleaned the table with alcohol to hide the smell. I could imagine some cops putting some kind of Vicks vapor rub under their nostrils just to mask the real stench before losing their lunch from the smell alone. I have to say that at least the movies got one thing right everything is stainless steel, the coolers and even the stainless steel sheeting on the walls.

After some moments looking around the room, the coroner looked at me and with his dirty blue scrubs asked if I was ready.

“As much as I will ever be,” I said as in my voice you can clearly feel the exhaustion I felt.

My first time inside a morgue, and it was for my daughter, since the body of Joanne was never actually recovered; I had no need come down here for her.

They open a drawer about half my height, about three feet and a quarter from the ground. There was a body covered in a thin white paper sheet. They looked at me one more time and I looked back and nodded. Am I ready? I asked myself as I walk some steps forward. They pulled the sheet back, up to the waist of the body. My eyes started to burn as they became blurry with tears, my heart pounded in my chest as I kept walking closer to the open drawer and when I look down, there she was, my beautiful little daughter, her blue eyes closed, and her tender face emotionless staring to an empty ceiling, just eight years old on a stainless steel slab still with mud and blood on her hair half covered in that white thin paper. I leaned over and hugged her lifeless corpse, tears running down my cheeks, nothing holding them back. I asked her to open her eyes; that the joke was over, that I wanted her to be by my side always.

“Come on baby this isn’t funny no more.” I told her softly in her ear as tears were flowing down my cheeks as the emotional dam broken and nothing was holding the water anymore. I pick her body putting one hand on her cheek, telling her to wake up, to come back to me as I kissed and caressed her cheeks and brushed her hair away from her eyes.

This is not happening. This is wrong, something here is wrong I keep telling myself, but she was there, dead, with a stab wound on her back.

The people around me moved closer and I backed away from them falling down and hitting a tray. Her body in my arms dissolving what was left of me onto more uncontrolled tears, telling myself this is all a bad dream, this is not happening. I started to rock her body back and forth holding her tight to my chest as I did her pillow. I will not let go, not again, not ever again. I kiss her forehead and stroke her golden curly hair matted with crimson chunks of dried blood. I see the shadow of someone moving to my side and I glared mad at the person in front of me and saw that it was the woman named Bernice.

“This is your fault; you did this, get out, get the fuck out, leave me the fuck alone!” I screamed at her then turning my head to look at Susie’s face again. I stroke her golden hair several more times as I did every night when I tucked her to bed, and remembering her smiling face. That day was my last day with her, with my little angel, with my life, with whatever was left of my soul. She was motionless in my arms as I rock her back and forth, no more smiles, no more laughter in the big house, her hands rested lifeless on the floor.

Someone got closer but I didn’t care looking up; I kick at them.

“Don’t touch me. I need more time with her, she is my daughter!” I screamed as if she was still alive in my arms.

Then I felt a sting in my right shoulder while I still looked down at Susie’s serene face, my vision started to get blurry, I started to feel tired, as if dozing off after so many hours awake, and I knew at that moment someone had shot me with a tranquilizer.

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