General Fiction posted May 26, 2017


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A Knock at the Door

by frogbook

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.



There was a knock on the door. My heart longed for answers, yet cringed to know them.

Rising from the chair took supreme effort, not just because my legs were leaden from sitting for hours, but because they were weak with trepidation.

I walked stiffly to the door and had to will my hand to turn the knob. I didn't look out the peep hole because I did not care if something happened to me. I would rather die, than hear the news that might come. If it was someone come to hurt me in another way, then let them come.

When I opened the door and slowly peered around the edge, my weary eyes flew open and adrenalin coursed through my body. My hand jumped to my mouth. Tears sprang to my eyes. It was my Jenny, missing now these three weeks. Officer Frank stood next to her, sweetly holding her little hand.

I rushed to her, picked her up and began covering her with kisses and spinning in a tight circle. I heard myself laughing and weeping at the same time.

Suddenly, I noticed that Jenny lay quietly in my arms but had not returned my embrace. I looked at the Officer who had been so kind, and stuck with the case. I saw the sadness in his eyes. I held Jenny forward. She looked at me.

"What is wrong, my love. Aren't you happy to see Daddy?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know, why not darling? My heart was pounding in my chest.

"I don't know who my Daddy is. I think he left me here."

As I listened to the small quiet voice and looked at the sad face, tears now streamed down my cheeks. I looked at Officer Frank for some comfort, some explanation.

"I am so sorry. She doesn't seem to remember anything." I saw tears in his eyes also.

"But, but, where did you find her? Who was she with?"

"That's the thing, she was all alone, just standing at that rest stop, outside of town on I-25. When we asked her her name she didn't even know that."

"So, we don't know who took her, what happened, where she was?"

"No, sadly, so far, there is not a clue. We are still processing the scene, but with no answers from her, and no evidence there, It's looking grim."

"I always thought to have her back was all I wanted, but I never imagined..." My voice trailed off.

I turned to my precious daughter who stayed silent in my arms. "I'm your Daddy."

"Are you sure? I remember another man."

"Oh, yes baby, I am very sure. What did the other man look like?" I asked anxiously.

"I don't know, he just wasn't you. I just don't remember, don't know what happened."

I wanted to break down, but I had to stay strong for my child.

Officer Frank and I talked. He said that Jenny would need to have mental health help. The Doctors told him it would likely be a very long process. I wanted to just slip to the floor and cry.



Jenny ate when she was told, and bathed when she was told. She sat on the floor now, playing silently, my formerly cheerful, fun filled child, robot-like in her movements. As the quiet filled the room, anger raged, pounding in my brain. I sat with her every day trying to help her recall her home. I took her to her therapy appointments, but nothing was helping.

If I couldn't have my child back, there was only one other thing I wanted...revenge.

It ate at my brain and made my skin prickle, the need was so strong. I had taken leave from my job to care for my daughter, but I knew I couldn't have worked with the constant thought of finding this person gnawing at my being. Soon, I would need to return to work, but how do you leave your child with anyone after a thing like this? My wife had died two years ago, after a short, but horrible battle with cancer. Our parents were dead and siblings were scattered throughout the globe. I had a day care, where she went, before this, but now, how could I send my daughter there when I viewed everyone with suspicion. I saw the kidnapper in every face.

I held Jenny for hours. I rocked her. We watched T.V. I read her every book we owned and bought more. She remembered how to read, and her little five-year-old sounding out of the words made me cry. So, innocent, yet what lived within the recesses of that small head. She talked some, but mostly when prompted. She never called me Dad. The therapist said not to worry, but worry, I did. Would she ever know me again?

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It happened the week before I was due to return to work or lose my career.

I was sleeping lightly, as I had since Jenny had been taken. I had moved her to the room next to mine and I got up several times a night to check on her. I made sure she knew she could wake me at any time, but she never did. Sometimes I would find her wide-eyed, but silent when I checked on her. I would sit on the edge of the bed until she went back to sleep.

That night I heard movement and listened to see if she was just going to the bathroom or if she would come in to tell me of a bad dream. The movement stopped. I strained to hear. I got up and went to the door. Just as I reached it, I was surprised by a figure dressed head-to-toe in black, not unlike a ninja. With a movement, as fast as one, he knocked me to the floor and put his knee in my back.

I screamed, "Who the fuck are you?" struggling and kicking as hard as I could.

I felt his breath on my neck as he hissed. "I want the girl back. I want to be her father."

"NOOOO, you can't. I am her Father. Why would you let her go, then come back for her? I will kill you."

"I got scared and left her, but I need her. She's mine now."

Tears of rage burned my eyes and I tore at my bonds, screaming helplessly. He left the room. I inched over to my pants hanging off the chair. I pulled them down from the chair and managed to get the knife from my pocket. I was cutting my hand badly while hacking at the ropes but I didn't care. That's when I heard a God-awful banging on the stairs.

About the same time, I felt the rope give way. I stood up, my hands dripping blood, and ran into the hall. Jenny ran toward me.

"Daddy that man tried to get me. He's not my Daddy, you are."

I wanted to pick her up and hug her, but my hands were bleeding, and I had to find the man first. "Where is he?" I asked Jenny.

"What happened to your hands?"

"Don't worry Honey, Daddy is all right, but where...?"

Just then, I saw the man crumpled at the bottom of the stairs. He wasn't moving. "Do you know what happened, Sweetheart?" I asked gently.

"He was trying to pull me, but I knew then, that you were my Dad, not him. When I pulled away from him he tried to grab me, but I went down a few stairs and he fell. I'm sorry, Daddy."

Now she started to cry. I didn't care so much about the blood, anymore. It had started to dry some anyway. I picked her up and held her close.

"Don't worry, Darling, it was his fault, not yours."

Just then I heard sirens. How had the police known?

Jenny turned toward my face, "I dialed 911, Daddy, is that okay? I heard it on T.V."

"It's better than okay," I said, laughing.

The police arrived, thankfully with Officer Frank, because the first guy got shook up about the blood on my daughter. He thought I did something to her. Officer Frank knew better after all this time.

The man had struck his head and was unconscious. When the police removed the mask, I was stunned to see a neighbor from two houses down. He had helped in the search. I wanted to strangle him but for obvious reasons the police wouldn't let me at him.

They took him away quickly. He died two weeks later, never regaining consciousness, so we never knew the whole story. When Jenny could put together a little of it, she told us, he had picked her up walking from the bus. He just told her, she was his daughter now. I didn't know him well, but knew his wife had died a few years earlier. Police said relatives told them, he had been odd since then. Jenny was never able to tell us much more so I could only hope nothing too horrific had happened.


It's been two years now, and Jenny seems fine. She doesn't want to talk about what happened. She doesn't seem so traumatized by it, it seems to be more 'old news', that she is sick of rehashing. Her new stepmother, one of the mental health workers, seems to think she is doing well and adjusting, after a trauma.

The neighbor's house was torn down as part of the project for the new park that Jenny plays in everyday, though still never without a parent there. It was cleansing to see the parts of the house taken away.

I still have a bit of trouble sleeping on occasion and one of the cuts on my hand partially severed a tendon, so my finger juts out at a strange angle that we all joke about. I never thought things would get back to normal, but we're pretty close.

I'm not afraid to answer the door any more.






 


Sentence writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story that starts with this sentence: There was a knock on the door.
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