The Dutiful Father – Short Story – 9-27-22

The Dutiful Father - Short Story - 9-27-22

The Dutiful Father – Short Story – 9-27-22

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Chapter 1 – Coming Home To Daddy!

The Dutiful Father - Short Story - 9-27-22 . Chapter 1 - Coming Home To Daddy!
The Dutiful Father – Short Story – 9-27-22

Under normal circumstances, Mitchell Stuart was the kind of man who chose his words carefully. He’d never been one to wear emotions on his sleeve, but since his wife passed away a few months back it didn’t really matter, since there weren’t many to show anyway.

However, what he saw in the back of his truck made his blood run cold and kneeling on the ground in front of him, was his hard-headed son Ronnie, who brought it there.

Looking down at that hard head, he asks, “who is the girl in the back of my truck, Ronnie, and why ain’t she moving?”

With both hands on his face and head hanging down towards the damp Florida soil, Ronnie answered his father with a whisper, “Lily Anne Greene”.

“I hope to Jesus I heard you wrong boy. You mean to tell me, you put a passed out drunk Lily Anne Greene in the back of my truck and drove her here?”

Throwing his hands up, he continues berating the crying teenager, “you got any idea what the sheriff will do to us if he finds out his little angel was taken advantage of by the likes of you?”

Ronnie refuses to look up, even after Mitchell grabs him by the shoulders, “I’ve always known you weren’t the sharpest tool in the shed boy, but I didn’t know you were this damn stupid.”

Without lifting his head Ronnie says, “she ain’t drunk daddy”

Lowering the tailgate of the pickup truck Mitchell says, “what’s wrong with her then, high on something?”

Head still down, refusing to look at his daddy’s disappointed & worried face he answers, “no daddy, she ain’t high, we ain’t done no drinking or nothing, I swear it”

Mitchell moves the blanket covering the girl and shakes her lifeless foot. He instantly pulls his hand away and jumps back, “poor girls colder than Christmas morning boy”

Ronnie completely breaks down, “What am I gonna do daddy, what am I gonna do?”

Up until this very moment Mitchell Stuart only thought he knew what fear felt like. Looking at the Sheriff’s dead daughter and back to his son he could barely speak the words,

“Time boy, and a whole heap of it too, unless we get rid of this girl with a quickness”

Mitchell looks at his crying son, who appeared to be nothing more than an overgrown toddler.

Through the tears Ronnie replies,

“Everybody knows we left the river together daddy, everybody knows, they all watched us leave”

Kneeling down next to his son Mitchell asks,

“When you left the river this girl was alive though boy, why ain’t she still alive? What’d you do to her?”

“I ain’t done nothing to her daddy, honest to God, we were parked down on old Franklin road fooling around in the bed of the truck and she started shaking all over and white stuff started coming out of her mouth, next thing I know she wasn’t breathing. I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat there staring at her for a while, and then I drove home”

Ronnie screams, “Maybe we should call the police, I didn’t do anything wrong, maybe they’ll……”

Cutting his naive son off mid-sentence Mitchell says,

“Maybe hell, you won’t ever get out from behind them bars boy, not once the sheriff gets his hands on you. I bet you a dollar to a donut he’s got men out looking for that girl already”

Mitchell stands back up and walks towards the truck.

“I’m telling you, son, this is one hell of a pickle you got yourself into. But one thing is for damn sure, ain’t no son of mine going to prison, especially not for something he ain’t done. Your momma would roll over in her grave if I allowed that to happen.”

Wrapping the blanket snuggly around the girl’s cold body, Mitchell carries her from the bed to the passenger seat of his truck.

“You get on in the house boy, try to get some sleep. I’m taking this girl home to her daddy”

Mitchell fires up the old pickup truck and starts rolling slowly down the long driveway heading off of his property before saying.

“Don’t worry boy, I got you”

Ronnie, still crying, lifts his head slightly to look at Mitchell’s terrified face for the first time.

“Thanks, daddy, I don’t know what I would do without you” as he musters just enough strength to give Mitchell a small grin.

“Like I said, boy, I got you” replies Mitchell.

Chapter 2 – Taking the girl home

The next few hours were one big blur for Mitchell, he drove up to Sheriff Greene’s house with his dead daughter sitting next to him. He explained to the Sheriff and his distraught wife how the kids were hanging out at his house and once it got late he decided to bring the girl home.

How Lily Anne started shaking and convulsing from the mouth during the drive. How he’d tried his best to revive her but there was nothing he could do and that he was truly sorry. The last part was actually true, he was sorry, but not as sorry as he would be.

Chapter 3 – The Interrogation!

Chapter 3 - The Interrogation! The Dutiful Father - Short Story - 9-27-22
The Dutiful Father – Short Story – 9-27-22

Sitting in a gray room with nothing but a metal table and 3 black chairs Mitchell waited on the detective to come in and grill him. He knew if he stuck to his story the coroner’s report would come back proving she died while having a seizure like Ronnie said they’d have to let him go. Suddenly the door opens.

“Hello Mitchell, my name is detective Walls”

Mitchell nods his head towards the round detective as he sits down and tosses a notebook and a large folder on the table.

“So, Mitchell, I hear you were driving poor Lily Anne home when she had a seizure and died last night, is that right?” Detective Walls says without emotion.

“That’s right”

“Were you the only one in the truck with Lily Anne at the time?” asks the detective.

“Yes sir”

“What time would you say she had her seizure, Mitchell?”

“I guess it was a little after 10 pm when I told Ronnie I’d drive her home, so maybe 10:15 or 10:30”

“You ever drove Lily Anne home before”

“First time I ever met the girl” answers Mitchell, these questions were making him a little nervous. He starts tapping his foot and places a hand on the table separating the two men.

Mimicking Mitchell’s posture detective Walls asks, “just curious, why didn’t your son Ronnie drive her home?”

Mitchell had been waiting on this question, he had an answer ready, “I needed a pack of cigarettes anyway, so I figured I’d just drop her off, no big deal”

“No big deal huh?”

“nope”

Detective Walls tapped a finger on the large envelope laying in front of him,

“Just so you know, the coroner’s report shows Lily Anne did have a seizure last night. From what I understand, the girls suffered from the things her damn whole life.”

Hearing that, relief swept over Mitchell as he regained his composure, confident the detective knew the girl died the way Ronnie said and that soon this nightmare would be over. He was thankful he’d decided to drive the girl instead of Ronnie. He knew they wouldn’t have believed the boy didn’t do something to cause her death. He knew he…..

Snapping Mitchell out of his inner monologue the detective says, “Thing is, your son Ronnie told me a rather interesting story about last night.”

Mitchell looked the man in the eyes as he tried to figure out the head game this guy was trying to play.

“You talked to Ronnie without me being there?” He snapped, a little irritated at the detective.

“Your boy turned 18 two months ago, he’s a grown man, but you already knew that, didn’t you Mitchell?”

“Like I was saying, he provided some very interesting information. Said you and him argued over who would take Lily Anne home last night. That you sucker punched him when he wouldn’t agree to leaving without him. I gotta say, you left a hell of a shiner on his eye too, boy’s face is all messed up. How do you explain that Mr. Stuart?”

Mitchell’s head was spinning now, the detective just called him Mr. Stuart which meant that he was through playing games. Thinking back on last night, he didn’t get a good look at Ronnie’s face because he kept his head down the whole time.

Chapter 4 – The Good Son

Chapter 4 - The Good Son! The Dutiful Father - Short Story - 9-27-22
The Dutiful Father – Short Story – 9-27-22

Detective Walls was much more forceful with his words now,

“In fact, says you even pulled a gun on him, told him to get in the house before you, how did he say it, blew what little brains he had all over Lily Anne’s sweet white titties”

“He said what?”

Half believing, half hoping the detective was still trying to play with his head.

Detective Walls slowly opens the envelope, placing 3 pictures of Lily Anne’s body in front of him. Letting the corner of each one snap against the cold steel table.

“You see Mitchell, Lily Anne did have a seizure last night, that part is true, what I need to know from you is, was the seizure before or after you raped her.”

Visibly shaking, Mitchell yelled, “I didn’t rape that damn girl.”

Striking the pictures hard with two stiff fingers the detective points to the evidence.

“You see these ligature marks on the wrists and ankles? We already know you tied her up and raped her Mitchell, there’s no use denying that. If you confess now, maybe you can save yourself from the death penalty, but that’s a big maybe.”

Leaving the three pictures laid out across the table in front of a confused Mitchell Stuart he says,

“I’ll give you some time to think about what you say next Mr. Stuart”

Detective Walls exits the room, leaving Mitchell alone with his scrambled thoughts. He can’t quit staring at the marks all over this girl’s body. It never occurred to him to look under the blanket. At that moment he sees the mental image of Ronnie barely lifting his head and saying,

“Thanks, daddy, I don’t know what I would do without you”

What Mitchell couldn’t have known at that moment is, when he told his son, “Like I said, boy, I got you”

Ronnie thought to himself, “No old man, I got you”

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Read the last Short Story “I Want Mommy”