The girl in front of me stared blankly passed me as if looking for someone to give her the words to speak. Her eyes glazed over and her eyes dropped to the ground. The most pitiful look I had ever seen slipped onto her pale, freckled face. “Can you help me?” She desperately pleaded, hands stiff at her sides. “Please.” She grabbed onto my hands with a grip so frail and delicate it broke my heart. Her body was so small, her clothes hung on her like a towel on a stick. How could I say no? Without hesitation I pulled her into my house and shut the door behind us. “Lock the door.” She immediately began to close the blinds to all the windows then took a seat on the couch, glancing around nervously. I went to the back door and locked it as well and when I returned back to the girl she was curled up in a ball crying. I sat down beside her and put my arm around her. I let her cry into my shoulder until she looked up at me with her sad blue eyes. “We’re not safe here.” She said at last as she wiped her sleeve across her nose.
“What happened to you?” I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone. “I’m going to call the-” She grabbed my phone out of my hand and threw it across the room. “What are you doing?”
“No cops.” She tried to sit still and stared blankly at the ground. “If they come here, he will find me.”
“The cops will help. Whoever is after you won’t be able to do anything. We’ll find him.” She remained silent. “Are you hungry?” Still nothing. “I’ll make you something to eat, ok?” I began to stand and the little girl grabbed onto me. She nuzzled her face into my side.
“Don’t leave me…”
I sat back down and wrapped her in my arms. “I need you to tell me what happened? Who did this to you?” Her hair had leaves and twigs sticking out of the knots that entwined her hair. Dirt and grime smeared all over her face and hands now smeared onto my blue blouse. She looked as though she had been living in the woods for weeks or months. Beneath the dirt on her face I could make out purpling around one of her eyes and dried blood on the corner of her lip where it had been split.
The girl lifted her hand to look at the dirt under her nails and the dirt filled cuts that covered her palms and wrists. Her hands were shaking uncontrollably. She then ran her fingers through her hair and pulled out a leaf and just stared at it. “He took me.” She began without taking her gaze off the leaf. “I was eight.” This poor girl had had to be at least in her late teens now.
“Who is he?”
She held the leaf in her palm and poked at it. “He’s going to find me, just like before.” Her sunken eyes glazed over again. “He’s playing hide and seek.” The tip of the leaf started to crumble away as she played with it. “I’m sorry.” She jabbed her finger through the middle of the leaf then crushed it in her fist as she began to shake again. Her eyes squeezed tight with anger.
“I’m going to help. It’s ok. You’re safe here.” I wrapped my arms around her tighter. “I’m calling the police.”
“No!” Her head shot up and she stared me down. She looked violent yet still fragile. “The police can’t help. We’re on our own now.” Something about the way she said that sent shivers down my spine. Or maybe it was just the situation. She brushed her hair behind her ear and there around her neck, the light from my lamp revealed bruising that circled completely around her neck. Not only bruising but I could also see scars running along her cheeks and one very distinct scar that only protruded a small bit past her shirt collar. The scar was wrinkled and obviously a burn mark. It was stretched and oddly shaped as if it had grown with her. “He knows where I am.” A loud bang echoed in my ears coming from behind me. I jumped to my feet and looked around. “He’s here!” The girl rocked where she sat and began to mumble. Her hands were clasped and head bowed as if she was praying.
“I’ll be back.” I jolted for the stairs.
“Don’t leave me!” I stopped and turned to her. Her eyes were on me. Passed her, through one of the window blinds, a shadow passed by. I wasn’t going to sit still any longer. “Stay…please…”
“I have a gun upstairs.” I whispered. “I’ll take care of this. I’ll be only a minute.” I then turned back up the stairs and went straight to my room. There in my closet was my twelve gauge shot gun. A sight for sore eyes. I shoved a handful of shells in to my pocket and loaded up the gun and ran back down the stairs. “I won’t let him touch you!” I stopped midway down the stairs. The girl wasn’t where I had left her. The house seemed to take on an ear splitting silence. “Where’d you go?” I went to the kitchen first but all that was there was my cat, Nina sitting in the sink, as she always did. She meowed at me as her orange eyes sparkled in the light form the living room.
Someone was walking around upstairs. Did she go up there when I wasn’t looking? I kept the gun aimed ahead with a ready trigger finger. “Hello?” I called out. As I went up the stairs, each step creaked eerily behind me. “Are you up here?” down on the floor were small red spots on the white carpet. “Are you hurt?” My stomach sank at the thought that whoever was after her had gotten into my house somehow. I held the gun tightly against my shoulder as I passed down the hallway. First room, mine. I pointed the barrel of the gun in first and scanned the room from one end to the other with the end of the barrel.
To my left the bathroom door shut. I went to the door and there on the door knob, more blood was smeared. My heart sank to the floor but I knew that no matter how frightening this was I needed to help the poor girl at all costs. I gripped the knob and turned. My palm slipped on the blood and the door swung open.
The door swung open fast enough for me to see the girl fall to the ground, hitting the back of her head on my bath tub.
Blood…everywhere. A bloody hand print smeared along the mirror and the sink splattered in blood. On the floor was the girl with one of my kitchen knives in her hands and blood spilling from one of her arms. The cut was from her wrist all the way up to the back of her elbow. She wore a blank glare, emotionless, empty, dead.
I dropped to the floor and threw the knife to the other side of the bathroom. I grabbed her face in my hands hoping maybe I could wake her up. I desperately patted my pockets looking for my phone then painfully remembered it was downstairs somewhere on the floor. I got up to my feet with the shot gun in hand. As I turned around to face the darkness at the end of the hallway a dark figure stood there in the shadows. I readied my gun and aimed it at his head. “Don’t. Move.” My hands began to shake and I couldn’t hold the gun straight. The man at the end of the hallway took a step forward then another. “I said don’t move!” I screamed but he kept moving forward. “I will shoot!” Still the man didn’t listen so I prepared myself. Gun firmly against my shoulder, eye locked on him and finger against the trigger. I couldn’t bear the thought of killing an actual human being but this was serious. This was my life or his.
The man then stepped into the light that glowed from the computer room. It beamed on his face revealing his features.
My finger fell off the trigger but the gun remained against my shoulder. Those eyes. That mouth. That face. I know it. I know him. A wave of pain fell over me as my knees quivered and I couldn’t let go of the gun. “Dad?” I hadn’t seen my father or even heard from him since I was ten. That was fifteen years ago. The man stopped dead in his tracks. He was again in the dark but I could see a shimmer in his eyes. Silence fell on the both of us. “Say something!” My eyes began to water and burn. I was terrified but I didn’t know what was going on. All I knew was a dead girl lay in a puddle of her own blood in my bathroom while a man I haven’t seen for fifteen years since the death of my mother stood on the opposing end of my shotgun barrel.
“Lisa?” His rough voice finally came.
“What are you doing here?” My fright turned straight into anger. I kept the gun pointed at him.
“Lisa dear, put down the gun.” He put his hands up like a criminal. “It’s daddy.”
“Leave…Now!” I gritted my teeth and took a step forward. “You’re not wanted here.” Why would this man show up now? In my house. On this night. My mind just couldn’t wrap around the idea of him being the criminal. It was too much. “GO!”
“Ok, I get it.” He said calmly then dropped one hand into his coat pocket.
“Now!” I then fell to the ground after he made a fast movement. I dropped my gun and all I could feel was a horrible pain that radiated through my entire leg. I looked down at my leg and I realized I’d been shot and blood was now spouting from my knee. As soon as I was able to focus on all that was going on I reached for my gun but it was no longer on the ground but instead in the hands of my father. “You son of a bitch!”
“My dear child.” He said as he looked down on me. “If you only listened to your daddy.” He grimaced, got down on one knee and brought his brown eyes close to my face. “You look just like your mother… just before I killed her.”
No. He didn’t kill her. I was told it was a car accident. “You…”
“Only difference is…” He put the pistol he used to shoot my knee against my temple. “You have your fathers’ eyes.” My eyes are green.