Meet Andrew Morris. Your normal, office working, individual. His life is pretty good, considering the thoughts of his late wife are still ingering in his mind, but he has his little daughter, Sarah...
'You can't go there! It's a bad place. Everyone that I know that has been there have been found dead in or nearby.'
The man was now beside him, making him weaker still. Withering in pain, hearing more voices than he could comprehend, only one voice stood out among the rest. It sounded so much like his late wife's. A made tears dance in his eyes when he heard it. So calming, welcoming compared to the chaos that was happening before his eyes.
'You still have things that you need to do...'
And this voice was right. He did have things he needed to do. He may have been a single father, but he couldn't leave behind his daughter.
Andrew Morris shot up like lightening in his bed and gave a great sigh. It was just a dream after all, he thought over and over. Though everything felt real. The wails, the blood, everything. It was like he was living inside a horror movie and he couldn't get out. Everything was real to him and he'd be damned if he was going to have taco salad before he went to bed again. The fight that was going on in his stomach in the dream felt real, as he could still feel it's effects. He slowly got out of bed and made his way to the nearby bathroom.
Once inside, he opened the cabinet hidden behind the mirror and took out the Pepto Bismol. The pink liquid tasted like old ink as it slithered down his throat and into his stomach, hopefully making it ease after a few minutes.
'Daddy...?' a small whisper said. Andrew turned to see the beautiful face of his only daughter, Sarah. After his wife died, he didn't know if he could look at their love child the same again, and to be frank, he was still having trouble doing so, but he wasn't going to let Sarah know that.
'Yeah baby?' Andrew asked bending downward to be face level with the small ten year old. Sarah was small for her age, standing at only four feet and a shoe size of two in a children's size, but she had big dreams. One day, she would want to be a singer, and the next, an adventurer. Sarah knew that all that took time and her father would tell her to go out and accomplish those dreams and to do the things that he never did when he was her age, even though she was only but a child.
'Samie's making funny noises.' she said with worry littering her voice. Samie was their dog that Andrew had practically begged his wife to let him keep. After Sarah was old enough to play with him, she never wanted to be without him.
'Oh really? What do they sound like?' Andrew asked standing back up and taking his daughters cold hand. She was sleeping without the cover again.
'Like a monster.' she replied in a sleepy tone as they made their way to her room. The soft pattering the rain that pelted the windows was the only thing that could be heard at that moment in time.
When they reached little Sarah's room, she stayed in the door way as Andrew made his way toward her small bed. Samie was a half breed of a beagle and dachshund, so his breathing would sometimes sound funny to anyone that was bothered enough to listen.
After a quick look at the small dog, Andrew came to the conclusion that nothing was wrong with him, and that Sarah was just making up something. He turned to face his daughter and said;
'It's nothing babe. If it worries you that much, I'll take him to the vet tomorrow and get him checked out.'
Sarah let out a small gasp and pointed to the small mutt. Something was wrong with him and he was wanting to take it out on Andrew.
'Sarah, get out of here! Whatever you hear, no matter what, don't come in here!' Andrew practically yelled at his ten year old. She ran into the next room whimpering.
As she hid behind the table in the living room, Sarah covered her ears so that she wouldn't have to hear anything that was happening in her own room. She didn't want to hear the death of her own puppy, which she knew her father was capable of. She squeezed her eyes closed so that she wouldn't have to see anything that might jump out at her. She only opened them when she felt a familiar warmth on her head. She looked up to see her father with the same warm smile on his face that she loved.
'Is Samie okay?' she asked, her voice shaking.
'Yeah, he won't be making any more scary noises.' Andrew replied patting her head lightly. He lifted her up into his arms and gave her a small hug. This was when she knew that something had happened to Samie. 'How about you sleep with daddy tonight. Is that okay with you?' she heard him ask ever so lightly. She mumbled a yes into his golden hair and hugged him back finally.
Andrew carried his daughter into his bedroom, laid her on his bed and covered her up. He lied to her by saying that he was going to get him and her a glass of water and left the room for her to sleep.
He walked outside with the defunct puppy in his arms, quickly dug a hole with his hands and buried the poor animal. He didn't know how to explain to Sarah that he had to kill her only puppy, but he would make it up to her somehow. And with no final thoughts, he walked back inside, washed his hands and filled up two cups of water.
When he finally made it back to his room, his daughter was fast asleep. He gulped down his water and put his daughters on the nightstand beside his bed and crawled under the sheets carefully. He wrapped his arms lightly around Sarah and fell into a light slumber.
He never would have imagined that, that it would be the last time he saw his daughter alive.
Andrew bit his lip. He was already late for work and he still had to drop Sarah off at Mary's. Mary had been her babysitter since she was about two. Sarah enjoyed Mary's company, even though she was young. Being only fifteen, Mary needed money to pay for her cell phone bill and came to Andrew personally. He was needing the extra help with Sarah anyway, so they made a deal. He would bring Sarah to Mary's house every other day that he worked and Mary would come to his house on the other days.
They finally pulled into Mary's driveway when Andrew would be thirty minutes late for work. He sighed, but gave Sarah a heart filled embrace and a kiss on the forehead. He looked to the porch and saw Mary waiting for them to arrive and she ran to the car.
'You're late aren't you?' she asked with a sly smile plastered on her face.
'Yeah. I'll be back around five. Is that okay?' he replied. Mary nodded and ushered little Sarah inside. Andrew watched as Sarah waved to her him and he quickly, but carefully, backed out of the driveway and made his way to work.
He was sure that he was going to get a lecture from his boss about being late. Hopefully, Mr. Morgan would buy the story about him having car trouble before work. Andrew opened the door to his office and started doing the paperwork that was due for the day.
Faint knocking sounded as he was just getting into signing what felt like the thousandth paper.
'Come on in.' he said nonchalantly, still signing. He looked up to see one of his co-workers standing in the doorway.
Alyssa Smith was a small woman, standing at five two, but she could handle herself at anything. Blonde hair with bright green eyes, and a heart shaped face. Andrew thought she was pretty, no matter what she said. She would be her type if he wasn't still getting over the fact that his wife had died just a year before.
She walked inside and handed him a manila folder and smiled.
'Mister big shot wants those before you leave.' she explained somewhat professionally. Andrew knew that her act was just a decoy to get information for the boss, but he didn't mind talking to her. They even went on a few lunch dates, but nothing serious happened later. He didn't want to be in a serious relationship currently. Sure, he could use a woman in the house and some extra help with Sarah to give Mary a break and there was nothing like a woman's cooking that made him feel better after a long, hard day, but he just wasn't interested.
'Got'cha. They'll be done here in a few minutes. I'll call you back in when they're done.' Andrew replied taking the folder. He opened it and sighed. More documents that he was going to have to read and sign. Something about the caretaker and the knoll. 'These again? He just wants my opinion on them right?' he asked not moving his head, but his eyes to look up at her.
Alyssa chuckled. 'Yeah, just an opinion. Why he's making us read stories about some lazy caretaker named Smee and a large hill has got me baffled, but whatever. I'm not going to get fired just because I don't want to do them.' she said walking slowly to leave. 'Let me know when you get them done and I'll take them to Mister big shot.' she said putting her hand on the brass doorknob and opening the door. She heard Andrew heave another sigh before she left.
Andrew skimmed the story quickly, located the dotted line before he took his black fountain pen and signed his name. This was nothing out of the ordinary for his boss. Ever since about three years ago, his boss had gotten into writing for some reason. Most of them were small fairy tales, but he would sometimes make up something rather interesting. And then you had the boring, dull ones about a caretaker and a knoll. What was the point in this story anyway? Andrew thought as he marked the story lacking and boring in his head. He pushed it aside, checked his watch and signed a couple more papers before he left.
As he walked out of his office, Alyssa was watched the news in the lounge. There was a murder somewhere, Andrew didn't catch it all because he was already running late to pick up Sarah. If only he would have stayed to watch part of it. He put the folder on Alyssa's desk and left quickly before she could ask him out to dinner or to the movies.
Police and FBI personnel welcomed Andrew once he arrived at Mary's house. They were shouting things like; 'Keep busy!', 'Keep him away!' and other things that blended together in a strange chorus.
'What happened?' Andrew asked Martha Shaw, a neighbor. She stood just at his shoulders. Clad in a blue house dress and a matching shawl over her shoulder and black bed slippers.
'There was a murder. They say that everyone inside was found dead.' Martha replied not looking at him. It didn't hit Andrew until a couple seconds later.
'Everyone was found dead?' he asked, fear rising up in his voice. He turned to Martha. 'What about a little girl, comes up to your waist, long brown hair?' he then asked putting his hands on her shoulders.
'Everyone honey. You should sit down...'
'I don't want to sit down. I want to see my daughter!' he yelled at her, making her shake just slightly. He turned to run into the house. 'I'm sorry Martha for yelling at you, but my daughter was in there!' he said apologetically and breaking into a run. He was going to get inside that house whether anyone liked it or not.
Sadly, he didn't get into the house. The police stopped him just as he got to the steps, but that was enough. He could see in the inside of the living room, covered in the same crimson liquid as his dream the night before. He wanted to see his daughter, but no one would let him go near the house. Tears threatened to fall as he called out her name.
'She's just right there! Why won't you let me inside? My daughter's in there for Christ sake!' he yelled as they were prying him away from the banisters that held up the awning over the porch.
'Sir, let go and we will let you see your daughter!' the police ordered. The mentioning of his daughter made him let go. He was led to a nearby ambulance, the back standing open. The form of his daughter was covered by a thin sheet, stained with the red crimson that littered the living room. Andrew climbed into the back of the vehicle and gaped at his daughters form, tears finally free from their prison. He knew that the police were still behind him for some obscene reason. He guessed it was so he wouldn't try to run of her body or something.
'Don't lift up the sheet. We had enough problems looking at her and now we're happy that she's covered up.' one of the policemen said.
'Come now Ben, it's his daughter. He has the right to see her, even if she looks like that.' the other policeman said calmly. The other male heaved a loud, annoyed sigh, but told Andrew that he could see her.
Andrew gingerly took the top right corner of the sheet and carefully slid it downward so that he could see Sarah's lifeless face. He doubled over once he saw it. Everything about her was different. Her eyes, which were bright blue, like her mothers, were gone, leaving gaping dark holes where they should have been. He mouth, left half open with chapped lips like she always had, smeared with her own blood, her tongue missing. He mustered up enough courage to stifle another quick glance. This was what was left of his daughter, an empty shell of her former self. Looking at it wide-eyed, he finally covered her back up and went to sit at the edge of the open doors.
'I'm sorry for your loss sir, but there was nothing we could do. When we arrived, they were already like this.' a police officer that he just met said. How could he say that? This man didn't know what it was like to loose your only daughter, the only proof that you had of your wife. He would hear no more of this man's nonsense. He ran to his car, got in, and sped home. He had to get away from this town.
It was this town that he met his wife, married her two years later, and gotten her pregnant on their second honeymoon after a year into commitment. They had Sarah when he was just twenty-two, and when he was twenty-six and Sarah was four, his wife died in a car accident with an eighteen-wheeler. And now, he was thirty-two, he lost his last remaining hope, his daughter, who was only ten.
He left his house after packing up the few belongings that he wanted to take with him, some clothes to last him for a short while before he would need to go shopping for more, his wallet and some other of life's necessities. He didn't know where he would go, but it was better than being in this town that he held so dearly inside of him. All his memories that he had there, everything was gone at four o' clock and fifty eight minutes. Everything that he held dear to him was finally gone, which was the thing he feared the most.
He would go somewhere, into a new town, and start anew. Hell, maybe he would get a new name, but as he thought about that, it was too drastic. It wasn't like he was the one that killed those children.
His tears were now falling more frequent than he wanted them to, but he didn't care anymore. He didn't care about anything anymore. He wanted his daughter back. When he thought about it, he remembered the life he had before he got married. He was living in an apartment building in Ashefield in North Carolina. He knew what he would do. He would go back there, get a room there and start over from there. He didn't know if anything had changed in his absence, but he didn't care. He wanted to get as far away from Seattle Washington as he could, and he thought that being on the other side of the country would be a good start. He would get a new job, start from scratch. Maybe he'd re-marry now. He didn't care what he did anymore. He wasn't going to be the cautious person that he was before. He wanted to be a new person all together.