A Fathers Love. Short Story.

We always thought the end of the world, or at least the end of humans, which face it, is the world, would be some loud, brash thing. Some cataclysmic event which shattered the globe and left small pockets struggling in its aftermath. Or some horrific disease which turned peoples innards to soup, sweeping across the nations and leaving nothing in its wake. The truth however was much more benign. One thing is for sure though, I never thought I’d see it, and I never thought my own child would be a part of it. I’m proud of her. Is that weird? I mean, it’s hard not to be, after everything she’s achieved already and it isn’t really her fault, it’s none of their faults really. She’s my daughter and I’m her father and nothing can change that. I know she’s going to miss us when we’re gone, but perhaps we’ll be the only people she’ll miss. She’s had a hard life, which I wasn’t surprised at, but I was disappointed, as any father would be. Sitting up late at night wondering what new and inventive phrases would be left spray painted on our house during the night. Fearing that she’d get attacked while on her way home, that some testosterone driven assholes would start a fight and I’d be left without a daughter.

She was born on March 5th, a healthy baby girl, though we didn’t know that for sure at the time. At the time we were worried sick that she wouldn’t pull through. The doctors were of no use then, of course they weren’t, they hadn’t a clue what they were dealing with. They thought it was some new disease or birth defect. It wasn’t. Her forehead was ridged, her eyes a cloudy grey, her nose was small but pointed and her mouth appeared to be too large for her little face. But we loved her anyway, she was beautiful to us.

She grew at what seemed like a phenomenal speed, though every parent must think that. Her body grew normally, but her mind didn’t. She was ahead of the curve at every moment and when the time came to send her to preschool she was already reading full length novels. It was a difficult time for us, she was a voracious reader, but we had to read the books first to make sure there was nothing inappropriate, which in and of itself was hard to decide. I remember on her third birthday, while she sat in her high chair and talked to us about the tensions between Russia and America. She had seemingly been paying far more attention that we thought at the time. Her discussion was reasoned and mature. She never went through temper tantrums. That we were grateful for. She was a serious child who considered all sides of anything. She understood why people were cruel to her, laughing or making mean jokes. It didn’t take the sting away, but she understood. Things began to change on her sixth birthday, when we found there were others like her. We went to a support group for parents. It might sound odd, but really, we needed help, we had no idea what we were doing. Everything in the conventional baby books and usual child advice was completely and utterly useless. So we went to swap stories and we found a group of caring people who had gone through what we had. We brought her the next time and while we talked about raising our extraordinary children in one room, they debated physics and politics in the other. They all became very close to one another, understandably. They understood each other, they were of the same intellect and didn’t talk down to one another for being in the body of a child.

When she started puberty we found out exactly what had happened to her and the other children. Apparently her mother and I both possessed recessive genes that created a chain reaction of some sort. I don’t personally understand it, but you can’t really tell your child you have no idea what they’re talking about. It seems crude. Her mother seemed to grasp it all far better than I had.

We didn’t know what a few of them were planning, no one knew, how could we? It seemed to be all very civilized. One moment everything was fine, the next birth rates plummeted, within a year there were perhaps twenty thousand babies born a month. More and more of the children were born with the same genetic strangeness that had occurred in our daughter. She sat us down one day in our old kitchen, with the crooked curtains I always promised to fix and told us what the others had done. She didn’t deny being aware of what they were doing, but she didn’t actively help them. She knew there was no point in trying to stop them, if it wasn’t them it would be someone else. So here we are, slowly ageing to our deaths and once the humans are gone, there be nothing but my daughters kind. The next stage in our evolution, apparently.

There was no war, no bloodshed. The world entered a period of peace that was unknown in mankind’s history. That in itself isn’t that surprising, after all what was the point in fighting? It was too late. Most of the human population was sterile, there was no new babies being born, no new soldiers to replace those that died. They’re much more intelligent than we are, that much was clear from the beginning, they’ve accelerated our knowledge far beyond what anyone could have predicted. It seems like it was overnight that most of our problems have been solved. It might be a slow death, but it is a kind one. We live in a utopia. I don’t know if I’m sad to see the old world gone. I mean, we had it to ourselves for so, so long and look what we did with it. I can blather on about the wrongs and rights, but in the end it won’t change, so why bother? Her mother became depressed after finding out what she did. She just sits around the house all day, sometimes staring out the window. We’re left alone now. No one leaves horrible messages, no one shouts slurs in the street. It’s nice, though it may not have been worth it.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this down. Perhaps sometime in the future my grandchildren or great grandchildren will read it. Maybe they’ll be told something different, that it was all an accident, but it wasn’t. I don’t know how they will talk about us, how they will view our kind, I hope they don’t judge us too harshly for what came before. I hope they look at what their own people did to elevate themselves, I hope they take it as a warning, as a sign to be more careful. We damaged things in our primitive way, bumbling around in the dark, but they committed genocide of an entire people in a cold and calculated way. I want you to learn from that, take what ever lessons you can from it.

Most of all, remember my daughter, remember her as a pioneer. She was one of the mothers of your people. She struggled through life but  she was just a person. If one day you condemn the many for the actions of few, please forgive her.



About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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