And just as quickly he fell silent. Cindy didn’t wait around for the others to look over and see her. There were a few on the ground still mobile that had been thrown off the roof by her father and they were slowly crawling her way. She weaved around them and followed in the general direction her father had gone.
It didn’t take long for her to find her father. There were long skids in the middle of the street she followed to a car that had slid into a wooden electric pole. On the other side of the vehicle she found her daddy on top of what may have been a human being or a hunk of a side of beef, pummeling it with a piece of rebar. She hoped it had been beef, although it appeared to be wearing a pair of shoes.
“Daddy!” she screamed. He went on whacking it for a minute longer before stopping suddenly, standing upright, and pitching his head back. He began grunting like he was making some wordless chant. “Daddy,” she said again. He turned on her.
For a long second there was no recognition in his eyes. He held the rebar up halfway as if considering whether to defend or attack. Cindy took a step back and his eyes dropped to get feet.
“Cccccindy?” he asked as if her name was his best guess to a complex question.
“Daddy,” she said as if recognizing the man beneath the layer of gruel he was covered in.
“I… killed him, Cindy. I stopped the bad boy.”
She sensed this as a pivotal moment. That her father could be her ally in this strange world or her enemy, lost to her forever. Despite her gaggle of friends and the fact she would have probably have been leaving her parents’ home in less than two years she was lonely for them. She had missed being their daughter and all the rights and privileges afforded therein. Even though she still referred to them aloud as Mommy and Daddy she hadn’t been their little girl for a long time. Not since that fall afternoon several years ago when jealousy of her little brother had lead to her making a mistake that would cost her beyond the estimating of a twelve year old, protected suburbanite tweenager.
Beneath all the bits of bone, the spray of blood, the sheen of fear-sweat, and a considerable amount of insanity stood her father, seeing her for the first time, albeit through a warped glass if not a dark one, in many years. Even though her lies had gotten them to this point but with no guarantee for the next few minutes, Cindy had him to herself in a way she’d been craving, to her own surprise. But the attention fueled on her continued deceit, her survival too, so that his question, as heart-breakingly simple-minded as it was for a man with two PhDs made her answer to his question simple, albeit a dagger in the vacancy left by her soul.
“I… done good?” he asked, glancing at the corpse between his feet.
“Yes,” she replied. “You done good.” She looked over her shoulder at the slowly approaching figures coming out of a sudden fog. One of them wore a skirt that may or may not have been the same as her mother’s. “Now it’s time to do more.”
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