Flash Fiction Friday
He watched the children playing, enjoying the golden curls of the girl bouncing as she ran with the others. His eyes never left her, never missed a movement, as if fearing she would vanish if he looked away. He sat on the bench on the edge of the park, keeping to himself and avoiding eye contact with anyone. He’d never been to the park before, but had to come today. He had to see her. The girl laughed, and his heart ached. He knew that soon he would be responsible for ending her happiness. He would make her cry, and the thought brought tears to his eyes.
“Sir, are you OK?”
He groaned inwardly and reluctantly shifted his gaze to the woman standing a few feet from where he sat. His irritation at the intrusion must have shown in his eyes, and the woman flinched. “I just want to be left alone.” He turned away from her, hoping his rudeness would make her walk away.
“It’s just that I know all these kids’ parents, but I’ve never seen you before.”
He sighed and pushed off the bench, walking toward the children. “No, you wouldn’t have.”
She grabbed his arm, but he spun on her and snatched it out of her grasp with a growl. She gasped and backed off. “I don’t want any problem here, but I’ll call the police if I have to.”
He grimaced. “Go ahead, call them, but I’ll be gone before they get here. Now leave me alone.”
With determination he walked toward the children, ignoring her shouts behind him. He’d just grab the girl and leave before they could do anything. It wasn’t their business why he was there or what he needed to do. It would certainly be the hardest thing he’d ever had to do.
The little blonde girl was only a few feet away, and he reached out for her, when a strong arm grabbed his shoulder and spun him around.
“Hey, buddy, you need some manners.”
He faced the angry man and tried to pull out of his clutches. “Release me.”
“You were rude to my wife, and you need to get your pervy ass away from the kids.”
His eyes widened at the accusation and then anger rushed through him. “It seems you’re the one being rude. Now take your hand off me before things get ugly.”
Without another word, the man struck him. He doubled over from the pain and hit the ground. The little blonde girl turned toward them and focused on the fallen man. Her face crumbled and she screamed, “Daddy!”
He caught her as she flung herself in his arms, and he tried to ignore the pain in his face, which wasn’t nearly as bad as the pain in his heart. His assailant backed away in surprise.
“Damn, man, I didn’t know Tammy was yours.”
As he hugged his daughter, they both cried. He’d never been in the park before because his wife always picked up Tammy after school. But she couldn’t make it today due to a thief breaking into their house and killing her. He’d just spent several hours dealing with the hospital and the police, and now he had to tell his six year old that she’d never see her mother again.