Absence of Fear

Started by Abigail Archer, May 11, 2018, 08:32:01 pm

Abigail Archer

It was a calm cool day, Santos was known for it's beauty, it's blue skies, and picturesque scenes..and crime mainly associated with mob bosses and gambling.  Though at the bright age of ten Abigail was unaware of the ugly side of her planet. All she knew was that her dad worked for the Casino and she was loved. She was an only child though, unbeknownst to her, her parents had begun to discuss adding another child to the family.  They had Abigail at a young enough age where they could still have kids. Sure they'd be a few years apart but Abi was well adjusted, almost grown up for her age.

"Abi it's time to come in and wash up for dinner. You're father will be home soon." Abigail looked back and smiled at her mother, blonde hair flowing in the wind. She nodded and picked up her toys to bring inside. She put them away and scampered off to the bathroom to wash her hands and face.  They had dinner every night and it was her favorite time of the day.  Abigail was getting big, but not too big for her father to pick her up and spin her around the room like a ship.  That was her dream, one day anyway.  To join some kind of crew and fly off and explore the planets, and her parents supported her. They just wanted her to learn some skills beforehand.  They were almost relieve when she said she'd never want to be a doctor, the amount of blood made her queasy.

It would have been a fortune to send Abigail to school and while they were getting by, they didn't have the means to send her to medical school. At this point she'd probably go somewhere that taught her some kind of mechanical skill, it was a safe place to be, near the ship's engine.

Abigail emerged from the bathroom and sat at the bottom of the stairs waiting for her father to return. Her hands rested underneath her chin, like they did everyday, oh so patiently. The phone rang but she didn't move from her seat, her mother had picked it up,

"What do you mean...you....she's waiting for you....Gerald." The phone clicked after that. She heard her mother sigh. Lorraine Archer walked over to her expectant daughter and ran her hand through the small child's hair,

"Honey, he's stuck at work again.  Come on over and eat." Abigail's head hung slightly, this wasn't the first time in the last few weeks that her father hadn't come home on time. But she chalked it up to her father doing well at work, otherwise why else would he be so late. 

Abigail sat down at the table with her mother and smiled, "I love you mom."



The dice weren't rolling, the cards weren't coming.  Just one more hand and he'd call it, he wasn't that far behind.  Gerald Archer, Gerry to his friends coddled a whiskey in his left hand as he fingered the cards on the felt as they were dealt.  The ice had melted an hour ago and the already watered down drink was basically whiskey flavoured water.  His luck was about to change though, he could feel it or more accurately he could see it.  Pocket aces.  He took a silent but deep breath, fighting all urges to react as he looked around the table.  He was immediately to the left of the dealer which meant he was out of position but with a big hand like this he wasn't going to miss his shot.  He raised the pot to root out some of the other players but hoped someone would call his bet.  It went around the table, six folded, five remained.  Once all bets were called the dealer produced the flop another Ace and two Fours, he couldn't believe it he'd flopped a house.  Playing cool he merely checked, it came around to the man who'd taken most of his chips a big better and bluffer.  He put in a hefty raise which knocked out all the remaining players except Gerry.  He called and it went to the turn.  A Seven of Hearts came which changed nothing in his eyes.  They checked around to the River.  A jack of spades.  Taking a risk of leaving chips on the table Gerry checked and his opponent eyed him before casually moving a large stack of chips in.  Gerry checked his cards to be sure, he had the nuts he had to.  He re-raised all in, this was it.  This would get him back in the black for the night and with enough to pay down some debt, more importantly he was going to get his little girl that bike she'd always wanted and his wife something special too.  It was there anniversary in a few weeks.  His opponent called and Gerry flipped his hand.

It wasn't a feeling like the world went into slow motion, the world actually did.  As the first four flipped he felt his collared shirt tighten, there was no way he'd played for too long to get a hand like this and have this happen.  Reality set in when the second four was produced, he didn't even hear the dealer call the winner or hear the man rake the chips in.  That was it, all of it.  Everything he had.

He knocked back the rest of his drink and grabbed his jacket, slinging it over his shoulder he left the table wondering if his legs would even carry him they felt like jelly.  He left the casino and moved through the parking lot to his car.  He wasn't alone however.  Behind him three men followed until he reached the car and began to unlock it, their reflections appearing in the car window behind him.  He turned to look at them.

"Gerry.  Gerry.  Gerry."  A broad man in a pinstriped suit called a look of disappointment on his face as he shook his head.  Gerry went to speak but was quickly silenced.

"How many chances did the boss give you?  You should've walked away.  Boss wants payment and he knows you don't got it.  Here."  He slipped a card into Gerald's jacket pocket, still dangling from his shoulder.

"He wants to meet with you this Saturday.  Address is written on the card, don't be late.  He needs payment and we all know you don't have it so let's just say other arrangements have been made on your behalf.  Most generous of him if you ask me.  He likes you.  Be happy, other people wouldn't get this sit down."

Gerald wouldn't have thanked them so profusely if he'd have known what the other arrangements entailed.  Still he was a nervous wreck, driving around town awhile until he was certain his sweet little girl was in bed before pulling into his driveway.

Lorraine was still up, sitting in the kitchen with the light on but the rest of the house was dark.

"Where is she?"  He asked, his wife looked at him the look on her face was enough to shame him.

"Sleeping.  She waited up for you."  She responded.

"Baby I'm sorry.  I... I thought I had it... I just wanted to make things better for you... for her.  For us."  He sat at the table, laying the jacket across it as he hung his head.

"We don't need anything.  Why can't you ever see that?  Abigail's ten years old, we're working on a sister for her.  She just wants her father in her life.  So do I."

She said as she took his hand across the table.  The card had slipped slightly out of the breast pocket of the jacket.  She picked it up despite his attempt to grab it first.

"You went to him?  Again?"  She said as she flipped the address to face him.

"You were lucky to get out the first time.  What if he kills you?  You know what business he's in."  She was furious and terrified, on the verge of tears but unable to produce them.

"Sweetheart.  It'll be alright, we go way back.  It's just a meeting, I'm sure we'll work something out.  Then after this.  I'm done.  I promise."  There were no more words between them for awhile, they just sat and held each others hands in unspoken prayer for a miracle.

Abigail Archer

Abigail had woken up early the next day, her father already gone.  She had woken up the night before and heard her parent's conversation.  She wasn't sure what they were talking about but the tension was foreign to her. To Abigail her parents were picture perfect, loving, kind, they never fought.  Their conversation wasn't normal. Her mother's voice pulled her out of her thoughts,

"Abigail it's time for school come down and eat your breakfast."

"Coming mom." Abigail hollered back. She finished getting dressed and quickly ran down the stairs grabbing a piece of toast for the walk to school, "See you later mom, love you." Lorraine stopped the young girl abruptly and gave her a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek,

"Love you too Abi."  She release Abigail and waved as the young girl scampered off to school.

The first bell had wrung by the time she had arrived, Abigail never had many friends, she was a bit of a loaner, that and she was some how bigger than the rest of the kids in her class. It made her an outsider, but she never got picked on. School continued on and Abigail listened quietly as her teachers talked about Math, English, History. She was a decent student, mainly B's, some A's. Nothing spectacular.

Recess and lunch came and Abigail sat by herself at the picnic table watching the other kids.  One in particular, his name was Martin. He wasn't a big kid, shorter than the rest, kind of sickly looking, but he got picked on a lot.  She was never a fan of bullies and tried to stay out of their way, but today was different.  Today was his birthday and the kids didn't have the common decency to just leave him alone.  They started the usual ritual and began pushing him around, then they took his lunch and threw it out, then they picked him up and started to tie him to the flag poll. 

Abigail put her sandwich down.  She wasn't sure what was different about today but it just didn't feel right, she got up and walked over to one of the bullies and tapped on his shoulder,

"Hey can't you leave him alone today? It's his birthday." The kid just gave her a look like what did it even matter to her and just shook his head, continuing to hoist Martin up. She tapped on his shoulder again, this time a little harder,

"I told you to leave him alone." She stated firmly, her fist clenched. The boy looked down and shook his head, "What are you going to do? You're just a girl." Abigail smirked and shoved the boy who fell to the ground. He had scraped his palms . He got up and began to come towards her however due to Abigail's size, he felt it would be safer to walk away.

"Don't worry Martin, we'll get you later."  The bullies ran off and Abigail assisted Martin off the poll,

"Us oddballs gotta stick together right?" She gave him a reassuring smile and handed the backpack to the boy.

In the distance she saw to men watching what had occurred, maybe they were the bullies parents, she wasn't sure.  Either way, it gave her an unsettling feeling in the pit of her stomach.


May 12, 2018, 03:18:36 pm #3 Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 03:43:07 pm by RUNE
Ghenis Phen rested his hands over the considerable expanse of his waistline as they rose and fell in time with a near clockwork cycle of snoring, wheezing, and smacking his drool-soaked lips. Occasionally he stopped breathing in effort to break the monotony,  after several seconds of which Ghenis would sit upright and wide-eyed awake. After looking about for a culprit, Ghen would slump lazily back into the squeaky green upholstery covering the groaning springs beneath him.

From a corner, the man in the pin striped suit and a well-groomed youth with similar features observed the snoring man with the sort of trepidation usually reserved for sneaking past a sleeping bear. The youth turned to the man in the suit, whispering. "Why's it gotta be Phen-Phen?" The man in the suit squared a silent fist as if to strike the youth, stalling his attack only when the youth flinched away. "Because, Joshen, the boss likes to keep Ghenis in the loop. It's a respect thing. Big man don't look like much and smells like a lot these days, but twenty or so years ago they were tellin' guys like me stories like he was some kinda boogerman. And you - you're payin' your dues. You should learn to respect your elders while you're at it, baby brother. Now wake him up and take him to the spot." Joshen nodded in tight-lipped compliance and began the unsavory task of shaking Ghenis into consciousness.


Ghenis stopped breathing sixteen times on the way to the school. Joshen counted, hopelessly incapable of ignoring the burdensome beast known as Ghenis's distinctive breathing and even more distinctive odor. As Joshen finally, greatfully, pulled the canopied hovercarriage to an inconspicuous spot where they could quietly observe the playground, Ghenis awoke with another start. "Hey! Where am I? What..What're we doin' here, boss? Oh no. No no no. You ain't the boss! Who the rut are you!? Little Jo-Jo! What are you doin' here?"

Joshen sighed as he flipped down the visor above and retrieved a flat, rectangular, long-range viewing device.  "We're at the school, Uncle Phen-Phen -" "Hey! Don't call me Phen-Phen! It's ruttin' disrespectful, and I know my niece raised you better! Now gimme dat, you greasy mook." Ghenis swiped the viewer from Joshen's recoiling hand. After a few long minutes of watching Ghenis take in the local scenery, Joshen piped up. "Uncle Phennnnnis," Joshen drew the syllable out hoping the ancient soldier wouldn't notice, "do you remember why we're here?" "Yeah! What, you think my head's gone as soft as your pigu? We're here uh...We... We're lookin'! Lookin' for uh... y'know,| dat thing! You know what, just shut up and hand me the capture!"

Joshen reached in his vest pocket and produced a palm-sized capture of a smiling girl with pale yellow locks. On a loop, the capture frame snuck up on the girl. Her look of surprise turned to joy as she shared an eternal moment with whoever recorded the capture, and Joshen took some relief in knowing that within that capture she'd stay bright-eyed and happy forever. Ghenis snorted dismissively at the moving image. "Poor kid... Looks like her old man, huh? Y'know, Harry? Yeah? Well what do you know about it, anyway?"


Joshen eventually drifted to sleep, awaking to Ghenis making an odd whooping noise. Joshen took a look at the pile of cracker crumbs and spots of sardine juice on Ghenis's shirt and assumed the old man was choking. After frantically trying to figure out how to get the behemoth out of the hovercarriage to even attempt a Heimlich maneuver, Joshen breathed a sigh of relief when the old bruiser turned to him and smiled.  "Joshen, get a load of this! They're actually runnin' this geek up a flagpole!" Joshen took the viewer, watching the events unfold and wondering why Ghenis wasn't focusing on the girl. Then she stepped into the scene. Aserting herself in size and will, she stared down the offending group's ringleader and offered the hapless mark a hand. "Huh. She's brave, Uncle." "Yeah? Good for her. Life she's in for, she needs to be. Let's go, Jo-Jo. I wanna get somethin' to eat. Come on. You can buy me a ramen. We'll follow her home tomorrow."

I know that I hung on a windy tree nine long nights, wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin, myself to myself, on that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run.
No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn, downwards I peered; I took up the runes, screaming I took them, then I fell back from there.
The songs I know that king's wives know not Nor men that are sons of men.
So do I write and color the runes.

Abigail Archer

School finished promptly at 3pm and Abigail started her walk home. Her mother never picked her up and her dad, well, he was working. Or was he? She couldn't quite figure out what was going on.  Abigail's mind wandered back to Martin, and the two men in the parking lot. They made her nervous. Though really was there any reason? She didn't know them, and it's not like they were looking at her.

Abigail continued her walk home and opened the front door.  Her mother was sitting at the table, looking through family photos, crying. "Mom, what's wrong." She walked over to her mother and sat down, first placing her bag on the floor. "Is everything okay?"

She leaned her head on her mother's shoulder to provide solace and comfort, "Yes dear, everything's fine." Her mother turned and kissed her on the forehead, closing the book, the page was on a picture of them as a family. Happy, smiling, content with life the way it was.  Lorriane stood up and nodding towards the stairs,

"Go ahead and start on your homework, dinner will be done soon....and, don't expect your father." Abigail sulkily walked up the stairs to her room where she pulled our were work book and continued to work in silence until dinner.

Abigail Archer

The next day came quickly, her father never came in to say good night, and he wasn't there for breakfast either.  Her mother seemed particularly on edge, tired, and frazzled.  It was odd and Abigail knew something was wrong.

"Mama what's wrong?"  Lorraine continued to look down at the table, she wouldn't look at her daughter. "Mama?" Abigail put her hand on top of her mother's and looked at her, with her piercing blue eyes.  Lorraine took a deep breath and looked up at her daughter, tears in her eyes.  She put her hand on Abigail's face and brushed the hair out of her eyes,

"I love you." Lorraine let go of her daughter's face and looked away again, this time getting up and walking into the other room.  Abigail confused by what had happened looked up at the clock, realizing she would be late for school.  She grabbed her bag and left the house, chewing the inside of her cheek, not sure what was wrong.

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