by Ken Aclin
I hated the place. It smelled of urine and old people but, when I heard he was there, I knew it was probably my last chance to face the bastard before his mind was totally gone. He was in his room with his family. They stared at me like they had seen a ghost and gathered around his wheelchair to shield him. I despised him and they knew it.
“Don’t say a thing,” I warned as I shook my fist, “It will only take a minute to let him know that, after thirty years, I’ve survived despite him.” My heart was pounding as I bullied my way closer until they retreated. It was like the old days and they were still afraid.
“Look at me, old man,” I ordered.” He raised his pallid face until our eyes connected. His once penetrating stare had lost its authority and his large and strong body was now small and frail. The thick red hair had become thin and white and his boney, spotted hands trembled. Time and disease had left him a shadow of the monster he once was and I considered it reparation for the misery he caused during those awful years. Suddenly, I realized how differently we carried our burden. While I was sustained, he was slowly and painfully consumed. I felt confused and powerless to reject a feeling of remorse. My well-rehearsed words hung in my throat. I broke out in a cold sweat and there was a crushing pain in my chest.
“Thanks for coming, Suzie, I knew you would,” he said in a moment of clarity.
As I was falling, I saw him smile.
“Oh, Daddy,” I gasped.
Ken loves to read a good story no matter what the genre and loves the challenge of flash fiction. His stories have appeared (as if it matters or anybody really cares) in SciFi Flash, Schlock Magazine, and Yellow Mama and he is a past Grand Panjandrum winner of the infamous Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. He is currently institutionalized in an office in the deep South and lives for the day when literary fiction is again worth the time to read.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.