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Stranger


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John was sitting at the old wood desk in his office, divorce papers in one hand and a glass of vodka in the other. Too drunk to care about his sleeping daughter he began yelling at his wife as if she were there.

“B****,” he called out. “You dirty, skanky w****.”

Several profanities later he barely heard the creaking floorboards as his little girl made her way into the room. Through slightly blurred vision he saw his daughter standing in the doorway, holding the tattered arm of her stuffed bunny in one hand and her blanket up to her ear in the other.

“Daddy, I can’t sleep cuz the monster under my bed,” she whimpered quietly.

Drunk and angry he yelled, “Get back up to your room! There are no monsters you little brat!”

Frightened, the little girl ran back up the stairs and into her bed where she curled up under her blankets. John realized how harsh he was and for a second he actually felt bad, but then the alcohol over came him once again and he went back to yelling. Too riled up to sit still he began pacing, skeptically eyeing everything in the room. He thought the paintings were mocking him, and the books were laughing at him. He just knew that the animal heads on the wall were silently teasing him and taunting him as their beady eyes all glared into his.

“Stop looking at me! Stop laughing at me!” He hollered as loud as he could. This mental breakdown of his intensified and he began ripping the books off the shelves and violently throwing them across the room. Pages were flying all over the place and his screaming increasingly got louder. This time he didn’t hear the little footsteps, or even the gentle sobbing, that arrived once again in the doorway.

“Daddy?” she called out with no response. “Daddy,” she tried a little louder but still he did not hear. “Daddy!” she yelled this time and quickly ducked out of the way as a heavy old leather bound book went flying inches above her head.

“I thought I told you to go to your room!” He yelled as he quickly appeared in front of her. He crouched down on his knees so she could she his unshaven face and bloodshot eyes. She tried to hide behind her blanket from her fathers glare but he wouldn’t let her. “Why are you down here again?” he asked sternly.

“Daddy make the monster go away,” she cried.

“Lily there are no monsters! Say it one more time and I don’t even know what I’ll do to you!” he said as he grabbed her shoulders and shook her.

“But I can hear it!” she whimpered.

“That’s it,” he yelled as he grabbed her arm and forcefully pulled her up the stairs. He ignored her cries of pain and moved faster picking her up and violently putting her in her bed. “Do not move,” he told her as he pulled her blankets right up to her chin. “Do not talk, do not make any noise, don’t even breathe!” He yelled maniacally as she suppressed her tears. John’s face was now red with annoyance and he couldn’t sputter even one more word before turning around and heavily walking out of the room. Before he reached the door he heard faint footsteps behind him and as he slowly turned around he growled, “I thought I told you not to move!”

“I didn’t move!” Lily cried from under the covers.

“Yes you did! Now give me that!” he yelled as he grabbed his daughters stuffed bunny. “If you ever want to see this again you wont move!” She began crying and pleading for her stuffed animal back but her father ignored her as he returned downstairs and slammed the door behind him. He stormed into the kitchen and stuffed the tattered bunny down the disposal, watching as patches of cotton were spit back out. He clumsily stumbled over to the cabinet and began drinking various alcoholic substances and leaving the empty bottles scattered across the floor.

Out of nowhere he heard a piercing shriek from upstairs, louder than anything he had emitted that night. Dizzily he started towards the stairs then quickly turned back. He was angry now and couldn’t think clearly as he pulled the steak knife from the drawer in which it belonged. All he wanted was peace and quiet and the little brat was making that impossible. He slowly stomped up the stairs, stabbing the knife into the peeling wallpaper with each step he took. He opened the door to the little girls room letting the light from the hall pour in. There his daughter was, held firmly in the arms of a stranger. A man, old and dirty with a hand clamped over her mouth, smiled a set of yellow crooked teeth at John. Before he really understood what was happening, John lunged at the man, successfully knocking his daughter to the ground. He then cornered the man and forcefully held him up against the wall, the blade of the knife tracing a vein on the strangers throat.

“What are you doing in my house?” John yelled right into the man’s face.

“I just wanted to play,” he replied as he licked his lips greedily. “She’s very pretty,” he slurred as his eyes traced every inch of the little girls body. “Very, very pretty.”

John was overcome with anger and the knife quickly found itself wedged between the strangers rips. He smiled at his murderer before silently sliding down the wall and collapsing in the corner. John ran over to his daughter to make sure she was alright and she wrapped her arms around his neck and cried. He held her close and felt the water rise to his eyes as well.

“Daddy?” she asked as she pulled away from her father.

“Yes honey,” he answered softy, as to not scare her again.

“How did you know he was in here?” her blue eyes questioningly looked up at him.

“I didn’t sweetheart,” he answered truthfully.

“Then why did you bring that knife?”

John didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know how to answer such a terrible question asked so innocently. He hung his head in shame and closed his eyes as he tried to come up with a better answer then the truth. His thoughts were violently pierced by another shriek from his daughter and the simultaneous burst of pain which exploded throughout his back. The stranger stood behind John as he fell back to the ground, choking on his own blood. The pain was warm and quickly began to fade, along with the rest of his body. He couldn’t feel a thing and his eyelids felt heavy as he struggled to keep them open. The stranger bent inches above Johns face and looked right into his eyes.

“She’s mine,” he said with a crooked smile and laughed until John could no longer hear a thing.



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