Short Stories


“Father Instincts, Like Father, Like Son”

An Anthology of Murder and Malice
MJ Sydney 06/25/2016


Flash fiction about a father’s actions to protect his daughter.



By the time my father’s abuse came to light I was in my middle teens, a slouchy, sullen teenager who wouldn’t look anyone in the eye. My father took delight in beating me where it would leave few visible welts, and I wasn’t going to show everyone my narrow chest with the purple and green fading marks. Dad said he got no pleasure from thrashing me, but I knew the lie for what it was. Later, when my grandparents got custody and the bruises faded they thought I would want to talk about it. I didn’t. My father came slinking around from time to time every thirty days or so, his visits controlled by the courts. When I turned eighteen and the legal system had no power over me I told him I didn’t want to see him anymore. He exited my life, exclaiming he didn’t want anything with his good for nothing kid anyway.

When I had a daughter he came around again, saying that he wanted to see his granddaughter, and I was wrong to keep her from him. I saw the malevolence on his face, as if he had a plan and only needed opportunity to put it into action. I’d seen that look before. She was eight hundred and five days old when he touched her for the first time. She was one day older when he touched her for the last.