World of Radiation

Daddy’s Got You

Continued from ‘Mercy

I flail my leg away from him.

He lunges for it, throwing off his balance. His free hand collides with the ground. He steadies himself.

My leg bends at the knee before extending. It collides with his jaw.

He falters backwards. His grip loosens.

I yank my leg. It slips from his hand and drops to the pavement with a thud. Not wasting time, I push off the ground with my feet. The space between us grows only a few feet before he regains his awareness.

One hand touches his jaw. The other dangles at his side as he stands, towering over me. The sinking sun casts his shadow across my body.

I force myself not to cower. I slide myself farther and farther back as he advances on me, taking easy, purposeful steps. My foot kicks wildly again, aiming for anything within reach.

He hops back. His hands swing wide to keep his balance as his dark eyes settle on my swinging feet.

“Stay away from me!” I scream, my voice cracking.

“I have to do this.” Unlike my other attackers, he holds no smirk. He holds not an ounce of satisfaction and yet he does it anyway.

“Why?!” I demand, bracing myself on my hands to keep my legs free. “Why do you have to do this?!”

His hands drop to his sides, palms up, as if pleading with me. “Because I’m saving you!”

My head shakes, unable to comprehend his reasoning. “Killing me isn’t saving me!” I screech, my frustration gurgling under the fear. Ignorance has always bothered me. It also has a direct link to my mouth. “I’m not your problem! Why do you care what happens to me?”

Something flashes across his face. Sorrow?

“I have to save you! I won’t let them take you again! I won’t let them do that again!” His teeth grit, an anger curling his fists.

What? The man’s eyes meet mine, but he doesn’t see me. The vacant look is back.

He swallows hard as if fighting back tears. “I can’t watch them-” He chokes off, shaking his head. With a deep breath, he settles himself and gains control once more over his trembling arms and angered expression. “I’d rather you die than be forced to go through that again.”

“Again? What are you talking about!”

The man lunges.

My legs extend, colliding with his chest, but he wraps his arms around my legs, pinning them together. I jerk them back and forth, trying to loosen his grip.

He doesn’t let go. Rather he pins my legs to the ground, focusing on them with such intensity I think he means to break them. “This is for your own good.” His voice is a whisper, as if speaking to himself.

“Don’t do this!” I struggle in his grip.

Once more he stands, my legs pinned against his chest. As he lifts, only my shoulders and head touch the ground, dangling me in front of the man. “It’ll be over shortly,” he coos.

“No!” My hands claw at the pavement, but catch nothing as he carries me back towards the knife. “Please!”

“It’s okay, darling,” he whispers. “Daddy’s got you.”

Confusion cuts through my fear a moment. “Daddy?”

He doesn’t respond. He glances at the knife as if he were in a dream, as if he were sleep walking.

If only I could knock some reality back into him. I shake my legs, trying to kick him, but his grip tightens. “You’re not my father! Let me go!”

I dangle upside down, the world swaying back and forth as he approaches the knife. The blade glistens in the waning sun. It calls to me. I reach for it, my fingers just grazing the handle when the man yanks me away from it. My head scrapes across the asphalt. My scalp burns from the movement.

“No, darling! Daddy’ll take care of it. He’ll take care of everything. He’ll make the pain go away.” With me out of reach of the knife, he extends one hand to grab it himself.

My feet slip.

Yet, he continues for the knife.

I take my chance. My foot launches up, connecting with the bottom of his jaw.

He reels back. His arms sprawl.

My back slams into the pavement as gravity takes hold. Pain ricochets up my spine. I recoil from it, groaning, but through my tear-streaked vision, he gains his balance.

“That wasn’t very nice.”

Not making the same mistake as last time, I flip onto my stomach and climb to my feet. I don’t look back as I race along the bridge. My legs jerk, trying to find an appropriate gait. My spine screams with each step. My head burns. I throw my hands in front of me as a car arrives in my path.

My body collides with the metal object. I slam into the hood, scramble across the surface and tumble over the other side. I land on my feet, but my feet land on metal. It sweeps out from me. My balance teeters and my hands claw for anything to stay standing.

Solid railing greets my bloody palm, but gravity tightens its hold. It yanks my torso over the edge. My arms twist as my hands latch onto the railing. My shoulders pop from the awkward angle and pain forces me to release, sending me plummeting to the deep, dark river below. The same river my professor killed himself in.

Next Installment: Drowning


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