I realised that my cunning plan of scheduling these posts went awry while I was in Melbourne, and now I’m behind. So I’m posting them this week so I can be back on schedule.
Language warning, possible blasphemy warning (though it’s a fictional God, in fairness), lack of editing warning.
Character sketch for Mya and Gabriel.
It doesn’t matter where I go, I expect to see him.
A year on, and I still look around for him. Still expect the faded jeans and army surplus jacket, dull against whatever wall he’s leaning against. Still expect the shit-eating grin at full wattage, with the humans faltering at the beauty of him. Hiding as a human or not, there’s no hiding Dad’s grace. Not really.
A year on, and I still expect to feel the rush of his grace welcoming mine, and I still expect the smart ass to give me hell for taking my time finding him.
It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself he won’t be there when I open my eyes, it still hurts like a gut wound to look around and see no sign of him. The human heart has a habit of breaking itself over and over in the name of hoping. But then, didn’t Dad always hope that his brothers would grow up or calm down? Or that his Father would show up for more than the creation of a morbid little craft project of a daughter?
Maybe foolish hoping isn’t just a human failing. Maybe I got screwed over by both sides of the family tree.
My Dad? He believes in the Grandfather in a way I don’t know how to. Maybe it’s the human in me: we try not to blindly trust people with a habit of creeping out in the middle of the night. But to hear Dad, his Father has a plan, always. God vanishing was clearly just a part of the plan Dad is yet to fully understand.
If there’s a plan in any of this, I’m not seeing it. How exactly do you plan for the end of the world? Pray some more? Hoard the toilet paper?
This can’t be a part of a plan, though, can it? I mean, really. To call it part of the divine plan means saying that God himself is okay with the body count. It means He’s okay with his oldest kids tearing apart his youngest.
I don’t want to believe that the thing that created me, that created my Dad, is capable of that. I hope Dad is wrong. I hope all of this isn’t a part of the Grandfather’s plotting and planning. The body count is too high. Dad always taught me to plan to keep the body count non-existant, that it’s a sign off weakness of character and poor planning to have a body count on a mission. You plan to save them all, because there’s no such thing as an acceptable loss of life.
I wonder sometimes if Dad is missing some of the big-ticket issues because he loves his Father too much to pay attention.
I wonder, sometimes, if I do the same.
I’ve been running around for a year, trying to find him. But what if he’s not in trouble? What if this is just another prank, like the time he charmed it so I’d hear a soundtrack to my life for an entire week?
Or, more likely, what if the reason I haven’t found him isn’t that he can’t be there, but because he doesn’t want to be?
And this, right here, is why I shouldn’t drink on Fathers Day.
He ambles up to the chair beside me, orders me a drink without bothering to find out what I’m drinking. Not a great start, that.
There’s a certain kind of man that trolls the bars on fathers day, the sort that realises the women are drinking down their daddy issues and are ripe for the hunt. His not drunk, not really, though you wouldn’t tell if you weren’t looking for it. It’s in the oily slick of surface thoughts, chock-full of want and rage. I’d be his third refusal of the night on an ego that can’t tolerate or comprehend the refusal. Lucky me.
Maybe I’m not the only one with daddy issues here tonight.
Sooner or later, you learn to spot a predator in a crowd. This guy? He’s not the king of the jungle, not by a long shot, but that doesn’t change what he is.
The flirting is the wrong side of shitty, all false bravado and the stench of bullshit rolled up in pretty words. He’s trying to con his way into my pants, and I let him. The rage pouring off him sobers me up better than coffee. There isn’t a plan, not beyond keeping his focus on me and well away from the drunk women around us. Smiling and flirting are less satisfying than kicking his balls up and into his nasal cavity, but you do what you’ve gotta to avoid a scene.
His breath stinks like he’s never heard of toothpaste, it burns against my face as he mock-whispers an invitation to sleep it off at his place. Spit flies at me with every word, and it’s hard not to imagine it burning like acid.
It’s not too late to run. I don’t owe these people a damned thing. If wishes were horses, right? Sensible isn’t what you’d call a family trait. So I play drunk, and lean against him, giggling and agreeing. We stagger out to the parking lot, unnoticed by the sea of people.
The car gives me pause. The moment the door opens, the stench of month old, rotting fast food hits like a suckerpunch. Would a drunk human notice that? Should I say something? Fuck. I hope for the best, force my ass into the car when all I want to do is get away before I throw up. It’s hard to pretend to fall asleep in a shitty, tiny car that smells like Satan’s asshole.
He drives carefully, winds down the windows until the cold wind screams through the car and starts blowing the newest wrappers out into the night. The noise makes it hard to keep pretending to sleep. I assumed he’d just find an alleyway, but we’re headed out of town. Not good. The smells of the city make way for the smells of the forest, held back by the stink of exhaust and fuel and sun warmed asphalt.
The road gets bumpy as he turns off the highway, and he slows to a crawl to try not to wake me. It feels like an age of driving before he rolls to a careful stop. The rustle of fabric and the shifting of the car is all the warning I get. His hands are rough, grip painful. It’s not a quick fumble so much as a sadist wanting a fix of fear and pain.
Didn’t he pick the wrong victim?
There’s a terrible sort of pleasure in opening my eyes, and grinning at him. Predator, meet apex predator. His grip slackens in shock, and I don’t even try to hold back.
Humans are fragile. Their wrist bones break so easily. Their leg bones take more effort, but his screams aren’t what I’d call a hardship. They’re drowned by the ghosts of this place. His victims.
He’s begging for mercy, begging God for an intercession as though the Grandfather gives a flying, beardy fuck about some asshole serial killer in the middle of butt-fuck nowhere. But the ghosts are screaming, too. The magic that keeps them here lights them up, until ever wound and injustice is easy to see on their broken bodies. They want to see him suffer more, want him to bleed and die, and never touch another living creature ever again.
Yeah, he’s not getting mercy from me.
The begging stops- his, not theirs- and I can finally start taking care of the souls begging for an end to their torment. I can help them, at least. Him? He can stay here a while, think long and hard about his shitty life choices.
It takes an hour to get them all loosed from their bindings, each soul vanishing upwards like confused meteors. Another touch of grace to make his death look like a suicide, complete with hand-written confession.
It’s hardly the best fathers day gift I’ve ever given Dad, but it’s certainly not the worst.
Wherever he is, I hope he knows I’m thinking about him.