Daddy’s Girl

He was distraught. “It must have different countdowns depending on the owner,” he says, suddenly guilt-wracked. “I never had the chance to tell her…anything”

“I’m right here, dad,” The Girl says from the couch irritatedly, knowing her questions can wait but refusing to let them. She still had plenty of time in what can only be called the present. She’ll depart sometime in the early hours of the Christmas morning. She can hear carolers outside somewhere in the distance, their echoing voices bouncing through the valley in a ghostly fashion. She remembered the other end of this situation all too well, beaming into medievil Europe for a week in her pyjamas. That had been a brutal introduction to the whole time-leap thing.

“I know,” he says, obviously not knowing how to handle the whole time leap thing from this perspective.
“Sucks on this end, huh?” she said, not really intending the venom that somehow swashed itself over the sentence but had no desperate feeling to amend it. He looked over, hurt or angry she couldn’t tell.
“I always did my best to get back,” he said, standing up and pacing towards the kitchen, stopping in front of the wall and simply staring at it. “Whenever I landed anywhere in your timeline I came to find you.”
He had. She remembered the infrequent visits, always short, a dishevelled, destroyed man turning up at some foster home or another. “I always found you, didn’t I?”

She remained quiet. Something was splitting inside. A coldness cracking. She shrugged it off as if it were an annoyance and look with a damning gaze to her father. “Why’d you give it to me? Why now? Why ever?”

“I couldn’t do it anymore!” he almost shouted, turning and gripping the back of his armchair as if an airlock had opened behind him, threatening to pull him out, “I jumped for decades, I missed everything that was ever supposed to be important. I missed your birth for God’s sake. I missed her death…” he trailed off. He’d never liked speaking of her. She was a stranger to The Girl because of his own selfish cowardice, and she knew she wouldn’t find any answers now.

“But why me? Why not pass it off to a stranger? Pawn it?” she said, refusing to just be shouted down from her indignance.

“Because you were the only person I could trust!” he announced, throwing his hands in the air, and she wondered if he’d always been this dramatic. “I’d seen the world tear itself apart a million times, I’d seen every good man cave to corruption. The bearer needed to be someone perfect. Someone pure. The task needed someone great. You were the only great person I ever met.”

The room fell silent. It was hard to make sense of. She’d always known the watch had a purpose, it was impossible not to know.
“You don’t know what it wants either, right?” she asked hesitantly. He shook his head and the tiniest amount of hope she had let herself harbour fractured inside of her, hurting regardless.
“You ever land in the exodus?” she asked, even quieter this time. He looked at her and grimaced.
“I’m so sorry-” he said, the guilt of a decision he’d only just made crashing over him in an instant.
“I used to think the past was rough,” she said, smiling a little.
“Tell me about it,” he said, walking around and sitting down in his chair, lost in thought of his own travels no doubt. The silence began to settle in before he repeated, “seriously, tell me about it.”

The jumpers began to talk.

 

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~ by Joseph Blame on March 2, 2011.

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