From time to time I try my hand and brain at writing and sometimes I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with some great people, this is the story of a little story that has now appeared in three formats.
this story was written to appear in the charity anthology Kizuna: Fiction for Japan. The audio version was recorded by my very good friend and talented author and voice actor Tonia Brown although the story is actually told from a male point of view I think her voice has a soothing and appropriate sound, and the video was put together using Tonia’s recording by Daz Zombie Productions headed up by CJ Hutchinson
It is a short piece and shares the fears and feelings of a Father as he tries to care for his little girl during a post apocalyptic setting.
It is a very personal piece for me as I call my own little girl ‘baby girl’ and my greatest fears in this life is that I may not, at the required time be able to protect her and her two older brothers.
I am not sure if ‘enjoy’ is the correct sentiment for this piece of work but I hope it at least stays with you.
FIRST IN PRINT:
THE LAST EMBRACE
a short story
It had felt like an age since he had taken her deep into his arms to try and offer some form of comfort, with each passing moment the warmth of her small body diminished. Brushing aside one small blonde curl he ran his finger across her forehead; the fever had now broken and the impending coolness had begun to set in.
It had been his job to protect her; to keep her safe but once again he had failed. It was only a few days ago he had been running through the tall grass behind the summer house, the tweeting of the birds carrying on the soft autumn breeze. Her soft pink hand held in his, she had looked up at him so adoringly as if she had not a fear in the world.
Then they came, no one knew what had happened. It could have been a virus, some alien bug but he knew it was most definitely a curse however it had started. For a few days he had managed to keep her protected, keep them away from her. The news said it took only on scratch or bite and whatever it was would be passed onto the new host. He had locked the door and barricaded the windows but she was only five she didn’t understand that she wasn’t allowed to go outside.
He had yelled for them to leave her alone when he saw she had opened the door and stepped outside into the sun. They were all around and her scent had sent them into some sort of frenzy.
Left and right he had fought them off, punching and kicking with all the strength he had, this wasn’t like the movies where the hero carried a machine gun or bat, this was real life and he had felt his energy drain quickly. Eventually he had managed to pull her back into the safety of their small home and bolted the door.
He had taken her by the shoulders and shook her, his fear turning into anger. But his anger soon disappeared as tears started to cut through the dirt on her cheeks to uncover the soft pink peach-like skin beneath. Pulling her to him, he squeezed her until she started to squirm with discomfort. He had been so afraid. Lifting her into his arms to carry her into the kitchen had been the first time he had noticed it, a small scratch on her arm. He couldn’t remember if it had been there before or if she had been scratched outside. This time a tear fell down his cheek and into the corner of his mouth.
That had all been two days ago. Last night she had crawled into his arms and went to sleep. She had not slept this long since she was a baby. As he held her now her chest no longer rose and fell to the rhythm of her breathing and hadn’t done so for over an hour. He placed his finger into the palm of her hand and with his other hand rolled her fingers around it like they had done so many times before. He watched as the pink of her skin slowly turned to a cold grey, and remembered watching the exact opposite effect as he held her in his arms for the first time moments after she was born; her tiny finger nails taking on the warm glow of life. Now he cried as that warmth left her once again and her finger nails returned to that lifeless pallid grey colour.
He rocked back and forth with his ‘baby girl’ in his arms humming one of the many songs he would sing to her when she woke crying from a nightmare. He knew what was coming; he had heard on the news what would now happen. He knew he should deal with it but this was his ‘baby’ and he knew he’d be unable to.
The cold form that rested in his arms moved ever so slightly and nestled further into the crook of his neck, he place his hand on the back of her head and slowly started to stroke and he stopped humming and began to sing.
‘Hush little baby don’t say a word,
Daddy’s going to buy you a mocking bird,’
As he sang the word ‘bird’ he felt a sharp pain in his neck and he knew his worries were over?she was feeding. This was just one more time he would be able to care for his baby girl. His eyes closed and he fell into his last deep sleep.