Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rupert the Bear

Busy with life and writing time escapes me, unfortunately. The Experiment WILL post tomorrow, but in the meantime I wanted to post another flash story I've written from a first line prompt. The goal in the writing for me was to contrast the usual perception of the first line to an emotion at the other end of the spectrum. I hope you enjoy this.


Her laugh broke the silence.

"Daddy, look at me!"

I watched my daughter play on the playground and have fun. She was only four and had no idea what the day was. I knew, and it was a day that broke my heart every time. She slid down the slide and came running over to me in her cute little shorts and tank top, her cheeks bright red.

"It's hot, honey I want you to drink some water." I handed over her purple water bottle and made sure she took several big drinks. Water dripped off her chin when she gave it back.

"Five more minutes, okay?" She pouted, sticking her lip out. "No whining, now. It's all we have left."

She scrunched up her nose and then looked up at me. "Will you push me?" At my nod she was off and running for the swings.

Her giggles and screams for me to push her higher tore at me. Safe behind her back, I let the tears fall silently. I hated this!


"You're late!"

"We were at the playground," I said quietly into my phone. Bethany was buckling herself into her flower booster in the backseat. I wouldn't argue in front of her; I refused to do that to her.

"Whatever. Just get back here, we have somewhere to be."

The drive back to my ex-wife's was full of Bethany's chatter about starting school next week, and her friend Mara from next door being in her class. She wanted to know if I was going to be there to pick her up from school on her visit days.

"I promised, didn't I? Right in front of the school."

She nodded happily. I got out of the car and opened her door, then helped her out and putting her little backpack of clothes on her back. She clutched her bear, Rupert, in her arms. I tried not to, but I couldn't help the tears in my eyes when she wrapped her little arms around my neck.

"Don't be sad Daddy! It's okay, it's okay," she said as she patted my back.

I took a deep breath and nodded my head. "Sorry honey. You're right. It's going to be okay."

Suddenly she shoved Rupert in my arms. "Here Daddy, you keep Rupert this week. He'll keep you from being sad; he's good for hugging."

I gave her a small smile and held the bear. "Thank you baby."

The front door opened, and Cindy stood there glaring at me. I gave Bethany one last hug.

"Time for you to go."


I waited in a line of other cars as the classes came out of the front of the school. I stood next to my car watching as the kids came out in lines. When I saw Mara come through the door I waved. She waved back. Watching, I looked for Bethany's small red head but she wasn't in the line. Maybe she was in another class? When the bigger kids started coming out I realized that she wasn't coming. I rushed inside the school and up to the office window.

"I'm looking for my daughter. I was supposed to pick her up today."

An older woman smiled at me. "First time?"

I nodded.

"Let's see where she could be. What's her name?"

"Bethany Spanders."

The woman typed Bethany's name into her computer and then frowned. She looked up at me and then got on the phone.

When the principal came out I began to panic. I couldn't control my panting. "What's going on?" My voice was strangled.

"You're Bethany's father? Can I see some ID please?"

I nodded and handed over my license. My fingers shook so hard I could barely get it out of my wallet. "Where is she?" I asked desperately.

"She never came to school. We tried calling your wife and the contact numbers in the file, but the numbers were disconnected."

I stared at her numbly. "Ex-wife," I mumbled. I concentrated on just breathing. "She didn't come to school this morning?"

She looked at me with pity in her eyes. I didn't like it. This couldn't be happening. "No. She didn't come at all this week. Look, the police are on their way. Why don't you come sit down in my office?"

I followed her and somehow kept from falling to my knees and screaming during the interview with the police. I even managed to drive myself home. I put my keys down, and walked into my bedroom. I looked around the room, trying to figure out what I was doing when my eyes fell on Rupert the Bear sitting on the nightstand next to a picture of Bethany and me. I lost it. My knees hit the floor as I collapsed, and I shouted and cried; my fists pounded the tan carpet until blood began to soak in and stain the fibers.

Sometime later I finally stopped, my entire world shrunk down to the pain that filled my chest and took away my breath. I crawled onto the bed and reached for Rupert. I cradled him to me and sobbed.

She was gone.

The police would try to find them, but they had several days head start. I would have to be patient. Words rang in my head, but I didn't know what to do.

My baby girl was gone and took my whole world with her.


  1. Omg. Is there gonna ever be a follow-up to this? It needs one. Does he ever find Bethany? Why were they divorced? And what was with the ex-wife? She was rather bitchy...

    1. We'll see! It all comes down to time. Time to write Hypnotic, time to write Experiment, time to write and edit pieces to attempt publishing, time to beta pieces for my writers. . . I never seem to have enough! But I'm glad you liked this short, Cyn, thanks for commenting. :D

    2. Time. Wouldn't it be lovely if there were more hours in a day?

      But then again, that could lead to even more stress. And exhaustion. Oh well.

      Well, if you ever get the time, I would love to read more about this.

      I'm going to go finish reading Hypnotic Ch. 5 now. I wish you luck with getting your time. Plus, I hope you find some time stashed away somewhere where you can kick back and relax. Or have fun. Or both.

  2. *gasp* Oh damn, that was so horribly sad! LOL, not even gonna touch the time issue thingy cause I have the same problem!!! ;)


    1. I think most parents would find this a sad piece to read. Modern pieces that have aspects that could affect you tend to be more poignant and/or scary. This one I drew straight from my worst fear of not having my kids with me; though I don't have to worry about my hubby taking off with them, thankfully! I'm too scary for him to ever do that, LOL! Thanks for reading.


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