I sighed, stubbornly wiping the beginnings of tears from my eyes. I loved my grandma, and her little collection of knick knacks. I was so flattered to find that she had left them to me. After the funeral, my first action was to put up the quaint wooden shelves in my room, and fill it with all the bits and bobs I had inherited. Thimbles, wooden carvings, key rings, home made treasures- my grandma was quite the collector. It ran in our family- both my sisters collected things too. Mum was an especially avid collector, her preference being fridge magnets. Our fridge was covered in them, from carefully crafted childhood works to tacky and lurid additions from travels around the world.
After finishing filling in the shelves, I realised how much grandma's death had affected me. My room was starting to smell, and I'd lost my focus on life. I shook my head, looked around my squalid bedroom, and decided to head out. The smell was becoming too strong. I'd clean up once I was back.
It was a glorious day, warm but not hot. A pleasant breeze played about my face as I strolled to a popular nearby spot. I'd lost track of the days, and I realised it must have been a weekend, as there were lots of families out in the park I'd chosen to sit in. I watched children playing, and felt the familiar sting of tears in my eyes. Another family member gone. One more member of our group, of our own collection, lost. You see, I didn't have a father. I know virtually nothing about him, and I remember very little. All I know is that it's something I don't have.
I realised with a start that my tearfulness was attracting attention. A man, possibly early forties, caught my eye. His young son was holding his hand, and was clearly wondering why I was crying. Oh, how alike they looked. The father had soft brown hair with a slight wave to it, whereas the boy's was still in tight curls. The child, however, had the exact same kind blue eyes as his dad. Lucky child. He would be very handsome one day. Just like his father.
I woke suddenly. I had that moment of blind confusion, trying to work out where I was. I realised that I must have fallen asleep in the park, lulled by the warmth of the sun. It was dusk, and the sounds of laughter and bicycle bells from the sunny afternoon has long died away. Gathering my thoughts, I made to leave, and make my way home. It was just as I was getting up that I saw him.
The man from earlier was sitting on a bench not too far from me, watching me. His boy was no-where to be seen. Had I been in a functioning state of mind, I would have panicked, but my emotions were so dull, I felt nothing but a minor annoyance. I wasn't a child. I didn't need babysitting. I didn't fancy the thought of making conversation with a stranger, so I pretended not to notice him. If he attacked, I would retaliate, but I saw no reason to be concerned. Yet. As I stood and brushed myself off, I heard him stand up. I knew, that moment, I was being followed. I had to make a decision- walk calmly but risk him catching up, or run but give him the right to make chase? I still had no idea what his intentions were, or who he was, or why he was interested in me. I decided to play along, and walk away as if nothing was wrong.
Thankfully, my house wasn't far from the park I had been sitting in. Although my breath was quickening, I kept my footsteps relaxed. I could still hear him following me, his shoes clip clopping on the concrete pavement. I knew something was going to happen. Something bad. The air was tense, and my walking was steadily speeding up. I could hear him mimicking my speed, keeping pace with me. My heart thumping in my chest, I broke into a trot. I sensed him behind me, speeding up. Adrenalin flooded through me. I panicked. I ran.
I could see my house.
I was almost at my front gate.
I was fumbling for my keys.
For a weapon.
I felt his breath on my neck. I turned, and came face to face with him. I had no other choice. He was asking for it. He deserved everything he got. I punched him, forcing him to bend over, wheezing, from the blow to his stomach. I plunged my thumb into his eye as he was gasping. Pity, his eyes were so kind... He slumped to the floor, his handsome hair fallen about his face, passed out from pain. I sighed. I didn't want to have to go through this again. Oh well.
I unlocked my front door. After checking the house was empty, I went back over to his unconscious form. Time for the hard bit. Dragging him by his collar, I hoisted him up the garden path, and into the hallway. Shutting the front door carefully, I prepared for the struggle. Adjusting my grip on him, I heaved him up the stairs, one step at a time. It was agonising. He wasn't large, but I am not an athletic girl. I wiped away the beads of sweat forming on my forehead, and pushed my bedroom door open. Damn. I had forgotten how much it reeked. Grasping his ankles, I brought him into my room, and swiftly bound him. I was getting rather good at tying people up.
I waited. I hated this part. I was casually tossing a tennis ball up and down as I waited for him to come round. He stirred. I paused my throwing game, watching him with interest. Those gentle eyes fluttered. Opened. Widened in horror. His mouth gagged, it was hard to tell if he was screaming or crying. His eyes cast over the pile of bodies next to him. Yes, I know it smells. I was planning to clean, but this man had to get in the way. One of them may have still been breathing. I'm not sure. They were all male, and in varying states of decay.
Sighing at the mess, I slid my eyes back to my latest addition.
I tossed the tennis ball to his feet.
“Play with me?” I asked.
Yes, all my family are collectors. My grandma had her knick knacks. My mother has her magnets. Me? I collect something I don't have.
I collect fathers.
Written by BeepRobotKitty