Announcement: 3 Week Break.

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to make a quick announcement, for the first time in five years (Yes! Five! I was equally shocked) I’ll be away for the next 3 weeks, so there won’t be any short stories for that time. Don’t worry though you can still read through all the previously published short stories, of which there are over 650 and over 50 flash fictions. There should be enough there to keep everyone going until I get back!

See you all in three weeks!

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A New Start. Short Story.

Holly stood in the centre of the room, panting. Her heart was thudding heavily in her chest, her arms felt heavy, she was holding something in her hand. Without looking she released it from her grip and hear the familiar sound of a knife hitting the ground. She stumbled over to a chair and sat down, she couldn’t remember what exactly happened, but she knew. She had gotten angry again. She shivered slightly and looked around at the mess she had made. It was a big one this time. Catherine and Danny lay on the ground, they were covered in blood, their bodies still. She had liked them both, she must have gone for Danny first, he was taller than her, stronger too. Catherine was small, just over five foot, with a thin, lithe body. Holly herself wasn’t all that tall, but she towered over poor Catherine, everyone had.

Once Holly had gotten her breath back she stood and grabbed a glass and filled it with water. Everyone else had already gone home for the day, she knew that much, the three of them were staying back late to work on a project. She had time to figure out what she was going to do. Her options were pretty limited, she could hide the bodies, pretend like nothing had happened, or she could run. It wouldn’t be the first time, and her parents would help if she asked. They had told her it would be the last time they’d help the last time she had gotten angry, but they said that a lot. They would always help for fear that she would get caught and tarnish the family name. She sipped her water and took a slow, deep breath. She had some time to decide. She glanced at her watch, it was just past seven, the last thing she remembered was around half five, when they were talking about getting some food delivered. She didn’t see any takeaway containers littered about the lunchroom, so it must not have happened. It would be difficult to get rid of the bodies herself, if she chose to stay she’d need help, if she chose to flee she could get by, at least for a little bit. Change her name again, pretend to be someone new. Perhaps they’d think someone had killed the others and kidnapped her, that was what they thought the last time. At least that was what they thought when she stopped following the news on it. She didn’t like thinking about that kind of stuff, it made her feel bad and she didn’t like feeling bad about it. After all it wasn’t her fault. It was theirs. If they hadn’t made her angry it wouldn’t have happened. She set the glass on the table. She liked her life here, but no more than she had liked any of the others. She stood from the table and went to the sink, there she washed her hands, making sure to get the blood off them.

Once her hands were clean Holly left the lunchroom and went to the ladies bathroom, there she could see the damage in the mirror. She was splattered with blood, all across her face and body. She couldn’t hide the bloodstains on her clothes. Quickly she washed the blood from her skin, watching as the pink water swirl down the drain. Once that was done she stripped off her t-shirt and turned it inside out. The blood was cold and tacky against her skin. She tried to ignore it as best she could. Once she had her jacket on no one would notice the t-shirt was inside out. The blood splattered on her jeans would be impossible to hide, but in the evening light they would just look like stains. No one would know it was blood.

Back in the lunchroom Holly looked at the two bodies, she might as well just leave them where they lay. She turned and paused, the smell of blood was strong in the air, and the police would be able to find evidence that she had been involved. She didn’t remember what she had done exactly, but at the very least there would be fingerprints and people knew that she was staying behind. She chewed on her lip for a moment before nodding. A fire. It was the only way.

The plan to get the fire started was simple. She left a trail of paper all around the office and in the lunch room. Finding a way to light it was a bit more difficult, she had to go through Danny’s pockets to find his lighter, but after a few attempts found it to be empty. Holly stood for a moment looking around when she had another, better idea. She took a pan from the cupboards and put it onto the small stove, turning the stove up as high as she could. Quickly she filled the pan with oil, smiling as she went, she grabbed a plastic bowl and carefully filled it with some water, she gently placed the bowl into the pan and left the room.

She wasn’t sure how long it would take for the oil to go on fire, or for the plastic to melt, but if it went as planned the resulting fire would be spectacular and destroy most, if not all, of the evidence. Holly took the stairs, moving quickly, the stairs didn’t have cameras, and the ones in the lobby had been on the fritz for the last week, someone was supposed to come and repair them, but it kept getting pushed off.

Holly left the building, stepping outside into the cold air, she kept her head down and started walking.

She got to her place without any trouble, no one had paid any attention to her. Once there she worked quickly, grabbing a single change of clothes and some of the cash she kept laying around for emergencies. She changed out of her blood splattered clothing and threw it into her back pack, she would dispose of them later. Everything else she left as it was. The less it looked like she had run the better. They’d come check out her place and find it normal enough, they’d think maybe she was killed too, or someone had kidnapped her. She grabbed her spare cell phone, the one that was kept turned off and only for emergencies and left, closing the door behind herself.

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Day After Day. Flash Fiction.

Mark took a sip of his coffee, it tasted like shit but it got the job done. He looked back at his computer screen, eyes flicking to the clock. Still three hours left before he could go. Sighing, he started typing. This wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life, but he had allowed himself to become stuck. The job was taken as a quick way to raise some money, but that had been three years before, when he still had dreams and hopes. He started to zone out as he typed, it wasn’t like the job required any real focus. He let his mind wander, imaging himself exploring the world, travelling anywhere he wanted. This was just supposed to be a quick pit stop in the journey that was his life. He hadn’t intended to set up camp here. He shook his head, don’t think about it. He took another sip of coffee. Not thinking about things was his way of dealing with them. There were plenty of things he had wanted to have done by now, hell he had thought he’d be married at this point, maybe with a kid on the way. Of course that was before Angela cheated on him, some random dude she’d picked up in a bar, he might have been able to forgive her eventually, but random dude wasn’t the first, nor was he the last. She seemed to take pleasure in getting caught, that little grin when he walked in the door that vanished a second later, replaced by faux concern and sadness. He was ashamed to admit how long he had tried to keep things going with her before she sat him down and broke up with him. That was the worst of it all, that she was the one to dump him.

Mark left the office with a stream of others, he had no plans for the night, he never had plans. Friends had stopped inviting him out after he turned down their invitations one too many times. Sometimes he’d look at his phone and go to text them, but something always stopped him. He didn’t want to sit in his apartment and stare at the TV, which was only ever on so he wasn’t just sitting alone in the dark like some weirdo. He paused outside Smiths, the bar he used to go to, then kept walking. He couldn’t go in alone, only alcoholics drank alone. He walked a few more steps before he stopped. Was this his life? Get up in the morning, go to a job he hated, then go home to an apartment filled with resentment and memories only to do it all again the next day? He could change it. Do something. Anything. But what?

Mark shrugged off his backpack and dumped it onto the ground, he kicked off his shoes and moved deeper into his apartment. The air inside felt thick, stale. He opened a window, but it didn’t seem to help, the entire place felt like it was too hot, almost suffocating. He loosened his tie and stripped out of his suit, throwing on a pair of jeans and an old t-shirt. He had money saved up, what was stopping him from just going somewhere? He paused again. Could he do it alone? Explore the world? He laughed, it sounded bitter, even to him. He couldn’t even get out of this damn apartment, how was he going to get out into the world? He could feel the couch trying to draw him closer, sucking him in. He knew if he sat down he wouldn’t move for the rest of the evening, except maybe to grab something from the fridge or answer the door for take away.

Mark flopped back onto the couch, he could feel the usual shame beginning to rise up, he pushed it back down, he wouldn’t think about it. If he did he’d just feel worse and worse. Today, like every other day he told himself to get up and do something, just one thing, but he could already feel the energy draining away. It was too much effort to get up, to tidy around, to plan, to think. It was easier to just sit here, with the TV on, the noise of it drowning out his thoughts.

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Weird New World. Short Story.

Ella walked down the street slowly, the sound of her high heels echoing off the buildings. The city was so quiet now, she had never noticed how much noise everything created. Now there was nothing but the sounds of nature, the breeze, the call of birds. There was a distant, high pitched shriek, Ella shivered, of course there was that too. She was safe, she didn’t know why or how, but she knew that much, yet still she felt the need to run and hide. She had chosen the dress she was wearing, long and red, because it looked elegant, but now she was regretting that decision. Playing dress up was fun when she was inside somewhere, where it was safe, but not out here, in the open. She hadn’t seen anyone else, at least no one like her, but that didn’t mean they didn’t exist. She had been stupid, so goddamned stupid, what if she needed to run? She wouldn’t get very far in these high heels. And sure the diamond bracelets, necklace and jewel studded tiara looked great, but they were pointless extra weight, clinking and clacking, even the flashing of the gems in the light could give her away if she needed to hide. It didn’t matter that all this was worthless junk now, people got funny about things. Like the man she had seen half running down the road, clutching a small TV to his chest. She didn’t know what he was running from or to, but there was no electricity for that TV and nothing was being broadcast. Not anymore. Ella stopped walking and took a slow, deep breath. She had felt it the last few days, the blanket of fog that was falling over her, the numbness. She had welcomed it, but if she wanted to survive she needed to get it together.

Ella stripped out of the dress quickly, the high heels had been discarded as soon as she was safe to walk barefoot. The ground was littered with broken glass these days, it looked pretty, glittering in the light, but there was no one around to clean it up. It was almost mesmerising, moving through them, like walking on water. The image came to her, flooding her mind and pushing everything else to the side. She shook her head, she needed to focus, she couldn’t go into daydreams and fancies. She dressed quickly in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, the light coming in the windows was just enough to make the store gloomy rather than dark, but the sun would be setting soon and she didn’t want to get trapped in here when that happened.

Ella left the store with a bag of clothes, in the distance she could hear rhythmic banging, the metallic sound seeming to fill the world, just above it she could hear something else, what sounded like hooting. The damned things were just getting weirder and weirder as time went on. She picked up the pace, her stomach was grumbling sullenly and she wanted to be home before dark.

Picking the penthouse suite had been glamorous at first, a huge place with a balcony and a great view, but it was times like this, when she was struggling on the twentieth floor, that she regretted her choice. Ella sat for a moment to catch her breath, tomorrow she’d start moving to one of the lower floors. Maybe even leave the city itself, she could steal a bicycle and go out to the suburbs. Find a nice, sunny suburban dream home with a pool and a big back yard.

Back in her apartment, Ella dumped the bags and grabbed an energy bar, wolfing it down in two bites, she had two more before the hunger started to subside. She grabbed another and walked over to the balcony while chewing it slowly. Outside she could see a bit of the city, see where they had set up camp. They were a good distance away, but the original owner of the penthouse, either a perv or a stargazer, had a telescope that had been set up and ready for her to use. She looked through the eye piece and tried to figure out what they were doing. When Ella had first started looking at them it felt kind of fun, like she was on safari and had discovered a new species, but now the reality was sinking in. It was only her, her and those things. She didn’t even know what to call them, after all they weren’t even people any more. No one had a chance to figure out what was happening before it was all over. If she was being honest, the mass suicides did make things easier, there were no rotting corpses to deal with. Most people fled the cities, though no one seemed to know where exactly they were running to. The suicides were done in groups, people seemingly compelled to gather together in the middle of nowhere to end it all.

Ella entered the apartment and looked around, the place was a mess, food wrappers littering every free surface, piles of clothes heaped in the corners. She sighed, it wasn’t like she really needed to clean up after herself, after all she could move into a new place every day for years to come if she wanted to. She grabbed a bottle of water, twisted off the cap and took a drink. It was time to get serious, this whole end of the world thing had been easier to deal with than she would have thought before, but then that was a benefit of not having any real family or friends. No one to miss when they were gone. The thrill of walking into a shop and taking anything she wanted had begun to wear off. Once or twice she even found herself hoping that someone would call out to her as she left, ask her what she thought she was doing. That it would turn out to be some weird fucked up hallucination. She took another sip of water. There was no chance of that happening, if there was she’d already be in the loony bin by now. She looked out the window at the setting sun, it really was quite beautiful. She looked back at the dirty apartment, tomorrow. She’d find a better base tomorrow. Once she had a good nights sleep she’d wake up and be ready to take on this weird, fucked up new world.

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Revenge. Short Story.

Sharon looked into his eyes, she could see it, the dead gleam of a predator sizing up his pray. She smiled at him, it was a small smile, meek. Just as she had seen the predator in him, he saw the prey in her and he smiled back. Wide, bright, charming. If you weren’t paying attention you could hardly tell the smile never reached his eyes. He moved through the bar to her, when he arrived he put his hands on her waist and leaned in slightly, Sharon wanted to instinctively pull away but she stopped herself. “Hey gorgeous, what do you want to drink?”
She giggled, hating the sound as it left her mouth, “Um, I was having vodka and coke?” He nodded, “Coming up.”
His hand slid down her waist lingering slightly at her outer thigh before he turned and moved to the bar. Sharon took a slow breath, it would all be over soon.

He returned a few minutes later with her drink, she was sure he had put something in it, though there was no way to tell without drinking it. She feigned a sip, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, though I should be thanking you, it’s not every night you get to spend time in the company of someone so beautiful.” Sharon giggled again, His hand reached out and brushed some of her hair behind her ear, she barely suppressed her shiver.

They talked for what seemed like hours, but in reality was only twenty minutes, before he suggested they get out of the bar. Sharon nodded, smiling coyly. Her drink was sitting untouched on the table. They moved through the crowd easily, they seemed to part before them, his hand was placed firmly in the small of her back, guiding her along. Outside in the cold air Sharon finally allowed herself to shiver. “Cold?”
“A little.”
“Here.” He stripped off his jacket and passed it to her, Sharon shrugged it on, thankful of the warmth. They walked a short distance to his car, of course it was parked near by. She got into the passenger seat. He turned on the car and turned up the heating so it was full blast, he picked up a CD and slid it into the CD player. As he drove he continued the conversation well enough for the both of them, hardly aware that she was barely listening. Sharon watched the trees and houses pass by, wishing she was tucked up in bed.

She was surprised when he pulled up in front of a house that was classier than she was expecting. She had him pegged for a hunt her in the woods kind of guy, or at best he’d have a crappy house that was falling apart in the middle of nowhere. He got out of the car and walked around to her door, opening it for her. She stood out and smiled at him, he leaned in for a kiss, Sharon was about to pull away, but now was as good a time as any. She leaned in, their lips touching. She could feel it happening, she could see it too. Watching from a strangers eyes as he tortured and killed her, feeling each mark on her flesh. It was over as quickly as it begun, he pulled away from her and slipped his hand into hers, holding it firmly he began to walk towards the house. Sharon allowed herself to be pulled along.

The house was familiar, she had been here before in her own, odd way. He walked her into the living room, “I’ll grab us some drinks, vodka coke ok?”
Sharon sat on the couch and waited. It was going to kick in any second. He returned a moment later and passed her the glass, as she took it their fingers touched and his eyes widening slightly. Sharon smiled, her first genuine smile of the night. There it was. He gasped and dropped the glass, “What’s happening to me? No, please.” He collapsed onto the ground, his words slurring. Sharon stood and went into the kitchen, there she washed out her glass and put it away. As far as anyone would know, she was never here. She walked past the man, still struggling to move on the floor. She paused for a second, watching. She had been through this before herself but the memories of it were thankfully gone. He tried to push away hands that weren’t there. His eyes were cloudy, but the fear was bright. He would relive every moment of what he had done to the women before her, except this time he would be the victim. Sharon turned from him and left the house. She was a little out of her way, but she’d walk for a bit, then call a taxi. She took the jacket with her, it was a cold night and the jacket was warm.

Outside she felt the tension easing from her body, tonight had been a good nights work. They had been visiting her since she was about fifteen, ghosts of those who had been wronged. Her job was simple, she would find whoever did it to them and then, well, the ghosts took care of the rest. Sometimes it was easy, like whoever she had left in the house, other times it was more difficult. Not everyone was young and not all of the victims were recent. The last guy she dealt with had been a child molester, racking up numerous victims. When the victims started dying they had come to her, and she had gone to him. He was old now, infirm and in a nursing home. She had pretended to be a niece and she had sat by his bed, hand loosely holding his. She had watched as it had happened. They had gone into him, altering his memories. He relived each of the abuses, over and over again. She had left him like that, unable to move, unable to speak. He deserved it though, they all did. They were monsters and it was her job to hunt them down, to make sure they couldn’t inflict their evils on anyone else.

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Love. Short Story.

“Can you not feel her love as she watches over us?”
“No, I can’t.”
Frank frowned, “Have you accepted her into your soul, completely and utterly?”
“Yes, I have. I could feel it yesterday, but not today.”
Frank looked at Bob, his face was still, but his eyes betrayed his worry, “Then you must have done something to offend her. Think, was there anything, anything at all that you did differently since yesterday?”
“No, I swear. I ate dinner with everyone, then I went to my room to meditate. I slept then got up for morning prayers.”
“What did you meditate on?”
“Nothing, I just let my mind go blank and felt her love filling me, guiding me.”
Frank nodded distractedly, “Hmm, perhaps this is a test.”
“Maybe…Maybe if I saw her she could tell me what I did wrong.”
Frank frowned again, “Perhaps, but she might strike you down for interrupting her.”
“I’m willing to take that chance. Life isn’t worth living if she isn’t in it.”
Frank nodded slowly, “I’m sure she will grace you with her love if you’re truly deserving.”
Bob nodded quickly, hopefully. The feeling of warmth and security, of loving and being loved was gone, replaced by a vast emptiness. How could he go on living like this? So alone, so unloved. How could anyone live like this? It would be better to be struck down and freed from this agony than have to endure it for the rest of his life. He would do anything for her love again. Anything.

Bob stood outside her room, there were no guards, there didn’t need to be. No one would ever dream of harming her, she was more precious than anything on earth. Anyone who saw her would instantly love her. He raised his hand and gently knocked, a thrill of fear going through him. What if she was angry at his interruption? Or worse, what if she refused to see him entirely?
“Come in.” He shivered at the sound of her words, her voice was smooth and sweet, almost melodic, it reminded him of lazy summer days. He opened the door, heart thudding heavily in his chest. She was sitting on a chair, a regular chair like anyone else would. She was so humble, many in her position would want a throne. She smiled when she saw him and he felt his heart ache again, he needed her love more than anything, if she denied it to him he would simply stop, he would be unable to eat or drink, nothing would ever satisfy him as her love did. “Ah, Bob” He shivered as his name danced across her tongue, “Is everything all right?”
It took him a moment to speak, “No, I’m afraid it isn’t” She frowned, Bob felt another thrill of anxiety, he was awful, worse than dirt to make her worry.
“Something has happened to me, I can’t feel you anymore, did I do something to anger you? What ever it was tell me and I will do everything in my power to fix it.”

Her eyes grew sad, “No, you did nothing wrong. It is not your fault, it is mine.”
“What? No, nothing could be your fault.”
She smiled at him, the smile lit the room, almost blinding in its beauty, “It’s nice of you to say, but I can make mistakes, just like everyone else. Last night as you were meditating, I could feel you, your strength, your love for me. I tried to help, give you more, but I’m afraid I over did it.”
“Over did it?”
She nodded, “Yes, and I’m afraid I damaged the part of you that allows you to feel my love.”
Bob started trembling, “But you can fix it right?”
She paused for a moment, then nodded. “Yes, I can, but I’m afraid the cost will be high.”
“Anything. Anything at all.”
“To feel my love again, you will have to become one of my high priests.”
Bob gasped, the honour, it was too great, he was not worthy of it, he opened his mouth to speak but she raised her hand. “It is a difficult job, and a thankless one, but you will feel my love with you always. It will be stronger than you’ve ever felt it. But you will need to make a sacrifice. You will have to spend your life serving me, you will not be able to leave, you will never have a family besides us. I’m afraid you will lose the ability to speak and the transformation will be painful, almost unbearably so. It will take you to the very brink of death.”
Bob opened his mouth, then closed it. He opened it again, “It would be an honour. Living like this is worse than death, I will do anything for you.”
She nodded as if she expected no other answer. You will not see me again after this for a year, but you will feel my love. The other high priests will look after you and train you in your duties. The days will be long and tiring, but there is no higher honour.”
He nodded quickly, “What do I need to do.”
“It’s simple, you must kiss me on the lips.”
Bobs mouth dropped open, did he dare? He had no other choice. He wasn’t worthy. His feet started to move him forward, her eyes locked on his. He leaned over her, the scent of her was intoxicating, she smelled of everything good in the world, each one identifiable but blending together at the same time. Their lips met, hers were soft and hot. He closed his eyes, sinking deeper into the kiss. Her tongue parted his lips, slipping through, teasing his. He responded in kind, their tongues moving over one another. Hers withdrew from his mouth and his chased after. Her teeth bit down in one swift movement. Pain, white hot and unbearable, but he didn’t pull away, he leaned into it, welcoming it. When she broke the kiss he collapsed, blood covered them both. Two high priests stepped from the shadows, “Take him away, train him.” She looked down at Bob, “I am truly sorry for what I have done to you, but there was no other way.” The two high priests dragged Bob from the room, a single tear slid down her cheek.

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Getting Old. Short Story.

Becky grabbed a napkin and used it to carefully pick up the knife, she didn’t want any blood getting onto her. The knife was speckled with drops of blood. Usually her father wasn’t this sloppy, but he was starting to slip in his old age. She brought the knife to the sink and covered it with bleach, then she washed it thoroughly. Once that was done she put it back onto the knife rack. She suspected her father was downstairs, she wouldn’t disturb him now but she would have to talk to him about his habits soon. Last week he had tried to grab one of the neighbours, they thought he was just starting to go a bit senile and that he wasn’t dangerous. Becky knew the truth. She had spent her whole life helping her father clean up after himself. She never indulged in his particular hobby herself, killing people just wasn’t for her, but she never really judged her father too harshly for it. He never made her do anything she was uncomfortable with and she was just fine with helping dispose of everything. Actually murdering someone was just a step too far for her. Her father told her that that softness had come from her mother.

Becky had never met her mother, her father was reluctant to talk about her. Any time Becky brought her up her father’s face would drop and he would become morose and distant for a few days afterwards. Sometimes he would bring her up himself, share a few titbits, mostly it was to tell Becky how much she looked like her mother.

Becky sat in the kitchen, waiting. Her father would be up soon for dinner, she would have the talk to him then. They’d have to figure out what to do. He couldn’t be sent to a home, that would be dangerous for everyone involved, but Becky didn’t have the time or money to look after him herself. That left the option of home help, an option that also wasn’t safe. Her father wasn’t quite gone yet, but what if he attacked the carer? It had been a few years since he had killed anyone, mostly it was just animals. Then again, that streak may have been broken today, she still wasn’t sure what was down in the basement with him.

Her father walked into the kitchen, he was smiling and using a blood soaked rag to wipe at his hands. “Hey love, how was your day?”
“It was ok, how was yours?”
“Oh just excellent. I started a new project downstairs, you can come see if you like?”
“No, that’s ok. Maybe after dinner.”
Her father nodded, he went to the kitchen sink and turned on the water, “It’s a lively one, man, you should have seen the struggles.”
He washed his hands slowly and when he was done he walked away from the sink to grab a towel.
“Dad? The tap?”
“Oh. Sorry love, I’m just distracted is all, planning. You know how my brain is always whizzing around.”
Becky nodded and smiled, she didn’t have the heart bring up his other little mistakes. She took a sip of her coffee, she would have to do it sooner or later. She sighed, “Dad, I wanted to talk to you about something.”
“Oh?” he sat down across from her.

“Yeah. I’ve noticed a few things lately and it’s making me worry.”
“About me?”
“Yeah, about you.”
“There’s no need to fret, I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been.”
“It’s not your physical health that’s worrying me. I’ve noticed stuff, like leaving the tap on.”
“Everyone has moments like that though.”
“I know, but you’ve been doing it a lot and it isn’t the only thing either. There’s half eaten foods left about the place because you forgot about them, you left a pan on the stove the other day. Luckily I caught it, it could have burned the house down.”
“I already told you I only left it for a second because I had to use the bathroom.”
Becky shook her head, “Look, it’s just for my piece of mind, we need to figure something out. Everyone gets a bit forgetful when they get older and there’s no shame in that, but I worry about you. I think we need to do something, maybe get someone in?”
Her father frowned, “What? Have someone in the house? Pawing through my things, poking their nose in my business? I don’t think so. I won’t allow it.”
“We have to do something dad, I can’t be here all the time, I have to work. We can set rules up, that they won’t be allowed into the basement, or they’ll just pop in to check up on you a few times a day.”
“No. It’s too dangerous.”

“Well something has to be done, I can’t stay here forever dad, Tony asked me about moving in with him, I want to start a family in the next few years. I can’t keep looking after you forever and I know you don’t want to move somewhere new with me.”
“Well what about-”

“No, Tony can’t move in here. He needs a space for his work, he’ll want to see the whole place, including the basement. It’s easier for me to go.”
“I’ll be fine by myself if you do. I’m not too old to look after myself.”
“I know dad, but I’d feel better if there was someone else checking in too.”
He sat for a moment, looking at her. The kind of look that always made her feel uncomfortable, like he was trying to gaze into her soul. He shook his head, “Fine. You win. We’ll figure something out. Maybe set up interviews with a few different people, see how we all get along.”
Becky smiled, “Thank you dad, I’ll find someone great, I promise.”
“I know you will love.”
Becky stood from the table, “Dinner’s just about done, I put on one of those oven meals you like.”
“Thanks love.”

Becky opened the oven and grabbed out the foil tray, being careful not to burn herself. She turned and gasped, dropping it as her father swung the frying pan at her head. Her eyes widened, she didn’t feel the burns on her legs, she opened her mouth to speak just as he hit her in the side of the head. She crumpled, whimpering, before she could regain her senses her father swung the pan again and again.

When he was finally done he was gasping for breath, his old body wasn’t used to such exertion. That was one of the benefits of being older, people tended to underestimate you. He put the frying pan into the sink and bent over his daughter, “There. Now you can stay and look after me and we won’t have to get anyone else involved. Trust me, you’ll be happier here with me than you’d ever had been with Tony.” He grabbed her under the arms and started to drag her towards the basement. He had a lot of work to do and it needed to be done quickly, but it would be worth it, she’d be as good as new in no time.

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