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I need to find Sabrina. Something bad has happened in this house that was once a home. This was no place for a child, especially for one that calls me Daddy. Within the darkness she lies. Where? I do not know, but I will find her. God help me, I will find her.
My hand reaches for the light switch by the front door. A blinding bulb illuminates the room with a flash, then with a pop, it fades back into darkness. In that moment, I spy my daughter standing atop the warped staircase, "Sabrina!" I call out. A quiet pitter-patter of footsteps echoes upstairs as small bits of dust fall through the cracks of the ceiling.
I took the first step on the flight of stairs with a groan resounding through the empty cavern of a home. With every motion forward, my palms shake more violently along the grimy hand rails. At the last step, I see a word written within the filth covered wall, Guilty. "Sabrina!" I yell down the upstairs hall.
A faint whisper creeps through a doorway, "Daddy." With every step closing the gap, my heart beats faster in my chest and sweat forms at my brow.
While traversing the dimly lit hall, I find a message written in lipstick red to my left on the drywall, Three Counts - First Degree. "Sabrina!"
A shrill voice answers me, "Daddy." I shuffle my way to the last door on the right. I freeze, seeing another message that awaits my viewing, Murder.
"Sabrina! Are you in there?" I shout into the barrier of mahogany.
"Daddy, there's something wrong with mommy." My hand grasps the door-knob and gives it a twist. With a deep breath of musty air, the door opens revealing the small darkened figure of my child kneeling on my bed before a moonlit window.
I step quickly to her and stand at her back near the window. My child rests there on her knees motionless. "Sabrina. What's wrong?" I softly inquire, yet she does not respond. I reach into my pocket and pull out a lighter. With a quick roll of the flint, the flickering light strobes to life a number written on the wall above the bed, 8-2-7-4-5.
My eyes then gaze downward to the horrific sight. There on the bed lies a nude man and woman. The man lays facing downward and the woman upright. A multitude of red gashes speckle their corpses. From them oozes a drying paste of blood that has since pooled onto the bed sheets.
I gasp shaking at the knees as the realization sets in, for there on the nightstand rests a bloodied kitchen knife beside my child. I lean over the footrest and inspect the scene more carefully. The man I recall in a symphony of metallic clanking and gears meshing. The woman is my beautiful wife Vanessa. Judging by the vastly greater number of wounds that dot her, the attacker had the most rage towards my one, my only.
I look back at Sabrina, "What happened?" She slowly turns her head to look at me, in her hands she holds a rag-doll Vanessa seamed together before the birth. She clutches the doll like a dear friend as she shudders and shakes in fear.
From out of nowhere, the doll suddenly animates and reveals the same small knife that had been laying on the nightstand. With slow, deliberate motions, it raises the knife with a plush hand to its mouth. The edge of the blade moves across the embroidered smile and leaves a red streak of blood behind in its jagged path.
The felt mouth begins to move and speaks to me with a low and hoarse voice that could only be mimicked by a life-long smoker, "Look upon the man that lies in your bed." I place a hand upon the dead man's shoulder and roll him over onto his back, "His face. Look at his face."
I peer into the shadowed features of the lifeless corpse. "My friend. A coworker," I stammer.
My head quickly turns back to the doll as it lets out a haggard laugh. "Now, look at the bastard child that loves you so." I make eye-contact with the teary and trembling face of the girl. She whimpers and holds the doll to her chest like a shield. "What do you see?" the soft figure inquires.
"They're one and the same," I say, starting to cry.
"No child of yours," it croaks.
"No child of mine," I iterate.
The doll reaches forward with the knife handle facing towards me, "Finish what you started," it commands.
I take the knife and hold it over my shoulder. "No child of mine. The last five years have been a lie," I whisper.
"No child of yours," it says, goading.
My hand puts a death grip upon the wooden handle as the anger builds within me. "No child of mine."
The girl peeks behind the doll's head, "Daddy, what did you do?"
With a sudden burst of burning-red anger, I scream out the words, "No child of mine! No child of mine! No child of mine!"
The blade slices through the air. In the moment of contact, a flash of darkness fills my vision.
My head jerks upwards out of bed. The nightmare still plagues me as I walk to the sink to cool my sweaty brow. Shivers run down my back as cool water douses my face. In a moment of clarity, I look down upon myself. I have donned the same orange jumpsuit for the last twelve years, bearing the number 8-2-7-4-5. "No child of mine…" I croak in the darkness of my cell, "but she was the only one in this world who called me Daddy."
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