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My Father's Pride

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My father, for as long as I can remember, had been a proud man, and too self-assured for his own good. He often told me, whenever I asked him for advice, that with pride you can do anything. I guess this was his idea of motivation, but to me his arrogance was absurd; he had never accomplished anything in his life, and had lived in his brother's shadow since they were young.

I had once, and only once, seen him smile, and that was after my uncle died. My father had always hated his brother; hated him for being rich, for being handsome, for marrying a beautiful woman who loved him. My father envied his brother, and took great joy in his death. He never cried a single tear at him, sneering at those who did and denouncing them as weak. I saw him smile though. He hid it well, it was almost impossible to see, but I saw it; his lips curling into a sadistic smirk, the slightest of chuckles coming from his dry. cracked lips. I almost shuddered at the mere sight of it, but I restrained myself as I was paying my respects to my beloved uncle.

It was shortly after my father's death we moved into the villa; it had been a parting gift from my uncle to my father, only to be given to him after his death. My father took this as his brother mocking him, as if even beyond the grave he was flaunting his success. My father, however, was a greedy man, so he accepted the villa and his share of my uncle's fortune, and we moved in weeks later. At the start, it was just me, him, and my sister; I loved my sister more than anything I had ever known, and would gladly die for her, but I despised my father. He knew this, and in return he never made his preference of my sister over me anything less than absolutely clear. I was, after all, the remnant from his first marriage, a living memory kept only as long as unnecessary, to be cast aside as soon as possible.

My father quickly grew accustomed to his new lifestyle; the life of the rich, as he said, was one he was always destined for. He took great pride in his new home; there was never a day when he didn't clean everything, or get me and my sister to, and he used to make us listen for hours as he droned on and on about how proud he was to live in such luxury. Never once did he mention his brother, never once did he thank anyone but himself; he seemed to think that he had earned all of this just by being himself. I grew more and more hateful of him every day, but my sister remained blissfully unaware.

After a few years, my father took another wife; then another, then another, then another. My father was a notorious womanizer, a 'gift from the gods' as he so put it. Let me be fair though; he was a handsome man, and to those who did not know him, his arrogance appeared as confidence. He just seemed to attract women, and the sudden increase in funds he had gained due to his brother's death definitely didn't hinder that. He seemed unaware of these woman's true intentions, probably have never even considered that they were only dating him for his money. In retrospect, not telling him about this was the worst decision I ever made, but I doubt it would have made much difference in the end.

His fourth wife, a blonde (of course, my father had always had a thing for blondes) named... Clara? I'm not sure. Her name is not important; what is important, however, is that after my father had arrived home in a drunken stupor and struck her, she managed to successfully divorce and sue him; it was agreed that my father would pay her a lump sum for compensation, and due to this he would need to sell the villa, having squandered his vast inheritance on failed business ventures and, eventually, alcohol. My father, of course, did not take the news well, and so he returned home that night... somewhat drunk.

In fact, it would be safe to say that this was the drunkest I had ever seen my father; he was crying uncontrollably, switching between incredible anger and complete self-pity. My sister, being as kind and loving as she was, had tried to calm him; he had responded by at first staring quizzically at her, and then, the confusion passing, knocked her to the ground. He started to yell at her, driving her to tears, and it was all I could do not to attack him there and then. It became clear after a while that, while he was yelling at my sister, he was clearly imagining her as his wife; my sister, for example, does not have blonde hair, and yet he referred to her as 'the golden devil' more than once. Eventually, my father retired to bed, and I held my sister in my arms as she wept.

The next day, my father was unusually quiet; even without taking his assault of my sister into account, he seemed strange. I knew that his wife was coming to the house one final time that night to collect the last of her things; I had arranged for my sister and I to go out for the night to avoid any arguments the two would have, so when it was seven at night we left my father to his own devices. we had a good time on the town; we laughed and joked about her school, talked about the boys she liked (and had one extremely awkward conversation regarding my last girlfriend, Valerie) until she decided she wanted to head home. I was reluctant to return, but she made her cute pouty smile at me, and I gave in.

I shouldn't have gave in.

The first thing we noticed was the smell; it was repugnant, and it was especially strange considering that it was coming from our villa; my father had always kept it clean, why did it suddenly, smell so badly now? We knocked on the front door, and when there was no answer we walked in slowly. Normally, our father would have let us in-this was the first time we had to use our own keys. After yelling for my father, and getting no answer, I decided to head upstairs to look for him; as soon as I stepped on the first step I heard a whimper, almost inaudible. I stopped dead in my tracks, but forced myself to go on, my sister immediately behind me. He was probably drunk again, just lying on the floor and weeping, I thought to myself. Pitiful, but nothing out of the ordinary. We ascended up the stairs, and we heard no more whimpers; perhaps I had just imagined it. I was getting paranoid, so we decided to check in our father's room just to be safe.

We saw the blood almost immediately. It was, quite literally, everywhere; it seemed to have been spread around as deliberately as possible, done so almost gracefully. Chunks of what I assume was an arm lay strewn across the floor, obviously not done with such care as the blood. There was an open suitcase on the ground, filled with beauty products and fancy clothes; it was obvious who it belonged to, and the long, blonde hairs scattered around the room did nothing to dissuade me. My sister screamed, and I was tempted to do so as well, but the sight of the detached head lying in the centre of the room rendered me speechless. I was close to fainting, which was probably why I didn't do more in the moments to follow.

Mere moments after we had entered the room, my father appeared; standing in the doorway, holding what looked to be a very sharp knife. His sleeves were stained with blood, and there was a strong stench of alcohol coming from him. He seemed to be barely aware of what he was doing, and yet he was crying. He lunged at us, wailing hysterically, frantically waving his knife around like he was trying to swat a fly. I desperately tried to avoid him, backing myself up against the corner, until I saw my sister standing there, oddly still. I barely had time to notice the blood trickle down her neck before she fell to the floor. My father, in his delirium, had once again mistaken her for his wife, and had slit her throat while I was cowering.

I screamed. No, it would be more accurately describe as a roar; a primitive, desperate yell, the mix of fear, confusion and complete sadness manifesting itself as rage. My father had done one, only one good thing his entire life, and he had thrown it away because of his selfishness and madness. I screamed, I roared, and I sprang upon him; I had never been a strong man, but I wrestled control of the knife easily enough, and he barely had time to realise what was happening before I drove it back down.

Ten minutes later, I emerged from the house in a fresh set of clothes, and took my sister to the hospital; she was dead, of course, but I wanted to try, even if futilely, to save her. I was told there was nothing they could do, and that, given the circumstances, I was lucky to have gotten away unharmed. This was little comfort, but I couldn't help but feel somewhat relieved; even if she didn't live to see it, I had taken my revenge. I had not killed my father, but I imagine he probably would have preferred that.

My father once told me that with pride you can do anything. Well, my father had pride to spare, so let's see if that's enough to save him with his fucking limbs severed.

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