The second time Daisy heard The Father talking to her, it didn’t speak in the same voice.
Nor was Daisy’s last name Ironfield; she had gotten married to a man named Chester Williamson and they had a baby together, a baby boy which Daisy named Hilter Odolf for reasons she firmly believed in at the time of his birth but could no longer remember. But that’s all right, life is ironic that way; besides, she wrote her first baby a letter explaining it all, a letter he wasn’t to open until he turned eighteen years old, which was about fourteen and a half years after the day The Father spoke to Daisy again.
She was at the beach with Chester, Sandy Hook specifically, as it was the only beach Daisy’s father ever took her to as a little girl. The Williamsons were living down in Piscataway at the time, and the drive wasn’t terribly far, so they hired a babysitter to look after Hilter and they took themselves a day trip. The Williamsons didn’t just want to get away from their baby, though – Daisy had some very important news to tell her husband. It seemed that the condom broke… again. Daisy was pregnant, Hilter would have a little brother, and Daisy wanted to take her husband somewhere special to break the news. So there they sat on a pair of towels as the waves crashed against the sandy shore. Daisy took Chester’s hand, turned to him, opened her mouth, and said…
Nothing. Daisy said nothing, because she heard a voice in her head. A deep voice, a voice course like dried lava, a frighteningly masculine voice. A voice which called itself The Father.
‘You don’t sound like The Father,’ Daisy thought back to the voice. She had dealt with many voices speaking to her from within the confines of her skull by that time, and she had learned how to talk back without moving her lips. She had gotten quite good at it, in fact; sometimes, talking to the voices inside her head felt more natural than talking to other humans for Daisy Williamson.
‘Yet I am The Father,’ the voice growled. ‘Leave that man and take a walk, Miss Daisy. I have a favor to ask you.’
Daisy didn’t realize Chester had been looking at her the whole time. She closed her mouth and dropped his hand, then got up.
“What’s wrong, darling?” Chester asked as he prepared to get up himself. “You looked like you were about to say something.”
“Um… I need to take a walk,” Daisy said nervously as her left hand absently started playing with the end of her hair. “Alone. I’ll be right back, just… just stay here, please.”
Chester looked concerned – not half as concerned as he felt, for he knew when his wife, bless her soul, was hearing the voices – but he respected Daisy’s wishes nonetheless. There was nothing stopping him from keeping an eye on her though, which is exactly what he did.
Daisy fought the urge to sprint away from her husband. She wanted to get away from him, from all the other folk laying out on their towels that day; she wanted to be alone so she could talk to The Father again. She hadn’t spoken to The Father once since she was a child, she missed The Father. The Father was the first one to tell Daisy that she was special, and for that, Daisy loved The Father. Lots of her friends and lovers told Daisy she was special over the years, too, but none of them meant it like The Father meant it. The Father saw Daisy for who she truly was; she couldn’t quite explain it, but she knew The Father saw her differently than everyone else saw her. Even if The Father sounded differently the first time they spoke, it was still The Father speaking to her now. And she wanted privacy when she spoke back.
There was nobody blanketed out by the jetty, so the jetty is where Daisy stopped walking. She turned back and saw Chester sitting up rather than laying down. She knew he was looking at her, keeping an eye on her, and she thought it was fine. As long as he stayed back there, she didn’t care what Chester did. She was now alone with The Father, and that’s all that mattered.
‘Are you there?’ Daisy asked. She sat down on a large black rock to look out at the green ocean. She saw a fishing boat out in the distance, and a flock of seagulls floating past where the waves started breaking, but she didn’t get an answer. Not until she got up to start walking back to the camp where her loving husband was waiting for her.
‘I’m always here, Miss Daisy; and how convenient it is that you came to the very spot I wanted you to go.’
Daisy froze in place, then sat right back down. ‘What do you mean? And where have you been all these years? I’ve been calling out to you ever since you showed me the clearing in the woods by my old house. Why didn’t you ever answer?’
The Father scoffed rudely in Daisy’s mind. ‘The laws of time’s passage do not apply to those like me, Miss Daisy. I have many children, some of whom are more important and deserving of my attention than you are. I am here now, is that not good enough for you?’
‘No, it is good enough,’ Daisy assured the voice of The Father, her heart pounding out of her chest. ‘I just… I missed you… I love you.’
Disgusting, sick laughter. ‘Then you shall do for me the favor I ask of you, now won’t you, Miss Daisy?’
‘Yes,’ Daisy told The Father without a moment of hesitation. ‘Yes, I’ll do anything you want, please, just… please don’t leave me again.’
The Father said, ‘Climb on the jetty and walk out to the end.’
‘What’s at the end of the jetty?’ Daisy asked, but she got no answers. She began to weep, but then straightened herself up and climbed onto the jetty. Keeping her eyes pointed at her feet, Daisy walked down the row of slippery black rocks, totally unaware that Chester had gotten up and started away from their camp.
Salty green ocean water sprayed up and wetted Daisy’s face when she reached the end of the slick jetty. She wiped it off with the bottom of her tee-shirt, taking her many tears with it. ‘Okay, I’m here. What should I do now, The Father?’
The Father did not answer.
‘Hello? The Father? Are… are you there?’ Daisy sighed, and the tears began to spill anew. “Were you ever there…?”
‘I am always here, Miss Daisy. I see every move you make, I hear every twisted thought to spin through your mind. You talk to voices, Miss Daisy, you speak to beings who aren’t really there. You are sick, you are broken. But I can fix you.’
The breath fled from Daisy’s lips. She felt a terrible tightness in her chest. Something was wrong, The Father would never say those things to her. The Father said she was special, not sick. The Father–
‘You’ve done well to come out here. Look between your feet now, Miss Daisy.’
But Daisy refused to look between her feet. ‘Why do you keep calling me that? You didn’t call me that the last time we spoke.’
Daisy’s mind was quiet as a mausoleum for a moment. Then, ‘Do you really doubt me, Miss Daisy? You dare cast doubt upon The Great Father, the One Old as the Earth Itself? Perhaps I was wrong about you, Miss Daisy. Perhaps you’re not who I believed you are. Perhaps you’re not one of the special ones.’
“No!” Daisy shouted at the ocean, then threw her hands up to her mouth. She didn’t bother turning around; she knew the others were probably looking at her now, wondering what’s wrong with her. But they were just upset because The Father hadn’t spoken to them; they had a void in their hearts, a gaping chasm they didn’t know how to fill, a chasm they didn’t even know they had because they’d never spoken to The Father before. Because The Father had never spoken to them. ‘No, I… I’m sorry. I’ll do as you say, The Father. Whatever you want.’
‘Then look down between your feet and pick up what you see.’
Daisy looked down between her feet then. They were firmly planted on two different rocks, and wedged in the crevice between those black rocks was what appeared to be a glass bottle. Daisy bent down and wrestled with it a bit, but she eventually got it out. It was a glass bottle, all right, one that should hold a message, but this bottle was empty. It had an old piece of cork stuffed into its mouth, and on the side of the thing was a painting of a little boy. No… it was a clown, and he was saying Oh Noooo.
‘Is… is this what you wanted me to find?’
‘Yes,’ said the ugly, drooling voice inside Daisy’s head which called itself The Father. ‘Now open it, Miss Daisy.’
‘Why do you wan–’
‘Open the vessel, Miss Daisy, and all shall be revealed.’
Daisy opened the bottle, and suddenly, the ocean disappeared. The jetty disappeared. The sky, the clouds, the bright shining sun, the mirthful sounds of playing children, the smell of salt on the air – Sandy Hook was gone. Daisy Williamson was alone, floating in a black miasma of darkness, holding the vessel in her hands.
‘Well, Miss Daisy, it seems that we’re at an impasse.’
“What do you mean?!” Daisy Williamson screamed defiantly into the darkness. “Where am I, what’s going on?!”
‘You are with me now, Miss Daisy. All alone in the darkness.’
“You’re not The Father! Who are you?!”
‘I am the Great Old One, Miss Daisy. I am the darkness under your bed, the shadows which consume your shack in the forest of your youth when the sun falls and the moon refuses to rise. I am everything you fear, mortal woman, and I am here for your soul.’
“I fear nothing!” Daisy shouted, and she felt the words scrape against the inside of her throat. It burned, but it felt good, like the bruise you walked away with when you finally stood up to that mean bully who made fun of you for laughing when nobody told a joke. “I’m rugged, just like my father told me! And I’m special, just like The Father told me! You can’t have my soul, you terrible thing! You’re not even real!”
‘Oh I’m real, you sniveling little shit; my true form is putrid, ghastly, horrifying, the bane of all innocence; what I truly am cannot be described by the words of mere mortals, but you cannot see me as I am. You refuse to see me, because you are not afraid of me, and that is very noble. But look around you, Miss Daisy, you of the glimmering mind; you are lost in darkness and the darkness is me. I have you, Miss Daisy, and I will not let you go with hunger in my stomach. You will stay here in limbo until you surrender to me that which I crave.’
“I refuse this soul to you, Great Old One!” Daisy challenged, or rather, heard herself challenge; those words were not her own. Those words were that of The Father, The Father had come back to Daisy at long last. The Father came back to save her! “I refuse you this soul, you vile, pathetic demon! Relinquish yourself to The Void! Return to Godspace for your inevitable rejection! Return to The Sandbox to be banished to nonExistence where you belong!”
‘Silence!’ bellowed the Great Old One as the darkness around Daisy trembled. She was alone again then, with no memory of The Father’s presence in her being. She knew only that the Great Old One was angry, that He was angry at her. That His darkness was beginning to swallow her physical form. That it hurt terribly to be here in His darkness, that the pain would only grow more severe until there was nothing left of her. The Great Old One might not get Daisy’s soul, but her life would end in a blink, and in the back of her mind, Daisy saw a vision of young Hilter Odolf growing up without a mother. His life would be ruined. Unless…
“Listen to me, vile blaspheme!” Daisy screamed as she began to sob. “I will die before I give in to you, Great Old One! You may not have my immortal soul… but…” she trailed off, afraid of her own intentions. Was she really going to do this?
‘Yes, yes you are, Miss Daisy. I may not have your soul, but…’
“But… I cannot leave my baby boy without a mother. I grew up with only a father, and I do not wish the same on my Hilter, I can’t. I am carrying his brother, Great Old One, I am in possession of another soul. A soul…” She almost couldn’t get the words out, but that was okay. Daisy didn’t have to say them alone. The Great Old One would help her. The Great Old One would pull the words out of her. “A soul you may have if you release me from your hold and never approach me again.”
Sunlight eviscerated the darkness. The bottle – nay, the vessel – now full of the purest, whitest sand, fell from Daisy’s grasp and disappeared back between the rocks. Daisy’s legs were wobbling. She felt weak, she felt a gaping hole in her stomach like something had been stolen from her. And she fell.
And Chester Williamson caught her, pulling her back up on the rocks.
“Daisy!” Chester shouted. “Daisy, wake up!”
Daisy drifted somewhere between awake and asleep, aware of the world around her but unable to answer its pleas.
Chester checked her pulse. She was alive; her pulse was slow, but she was alive. As he approached from the shore, Chester called her name many times, but Daisy didn’t answer. She acted like she didn’t even hear him, like she slipped into a coma or something while she was standing out on these slick black rocks that nobody should be walking on in the first place. Carefully Chester manages to carry his fainted wife back to the beach, and when a troupe of lifeguards came up to question him, he gave them an earful about how there should be warning signs, that his wife nearly fell into the ocean and broke her neck! And the lifeguards did put up signs, warning signs that will go totally ignored by many human beings, both young children and grown adults alike, for a great number of years to come. The warning signs will be especially ignored by one child specifically: a boy named Tad, Tad Flannigan, the boy who will find the bottle with the clown painted on the side when his family is vacationing here many years in the future, and that family will be consumed by the Great Old One just like Hilter’s unborn baby brother, for not all those like The Father are quite the same as The Father, something Daisy Williamson found out on that bright and sunny day, and only because she chose to listen.
Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the last story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.
Convenient Incidents is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Convenient Incidents is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Convenient Incidents and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~