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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

TITLE: Nomine Tenus Tantum
By Allison Egley


Gary pointed the gun at Molly's head. "I'll do it."

Jackie lunged towards Molly and picked her up, trying to comfort the sobbing child. "No you won't, Gary. How could you? She's your daughter."

"She's not my daughter. She's yours."

Jackie didn't even try to contain her anger any longer. "Yes she is. The day we said 'I do' she became your daughter as much as mine. You even signed the adoption papers."

"Yeah," Gary replied, still holding the gun in the air, "Well, this is the day I say 'I don't.' I am not your husband and I am not her father."

Jackie's eyes narrowed as she stared at Gary. "You're right. You're not her father. A father is someone who loves unconditionally. A father is someone who looks past faults and failures to see who Molly can become. A father is someone who tucks his daughter in at night and checks under the bed to make sure there aren't any monsters. So yes, you're right. Molly hasn't known a real father."

"Oh, and that's supposed to melt my heart and make me come back, right?" Gary lowered the gun. "The only reason I agreed to marry you, Jackie, was to win a bet with my friends." Jackie gasped, as a hand went to her mouth. "Yeah." Gary snickered, as he once again pointed the gun at Jackie and Molly. "That's right. My friends said I could never snag someone like you. They said after your first marriage, that you'd see right past me; but I just turned on my charm. You were too stupid to notice the difference.

"It was simple, really. All I had to do was pretend I loved Molly. I took her to the zoo, pushed her on the swings at the park. She didn't know the difference. She though I was the cool guy. But now? Well, now I'm done. Yeah, I could just walk out and leave you two alone; but you see, I work hard for my money. I don't want to have to waste any of it on child support to pay for a kid who isn't even mine."

Jackie huddled in the corner, covering Molly and whispering a desperate prayer. Through clenched teeth she seethed, "I don't even know you, Gary. You've lost your mind. I don't care if you won't pay child support; but to threaten to kill a child to get out of paying? Well, that's just lower than low."

"Oh, this is getting fun, now, Jackie. Were you praying? Do you think your God is going to save you?" He stepped closer to Jackie and Molly. "Do you?" He took another step. "Do you?" Another step. "Do you?"

The doorbell rang. The gun clattered to the floor as Gary ran to the back bedroom. Shaking, Jackie put Molly down and held her hand as the both approached the door.

"UPS here. I have a package for Jackie Hollingsworth that needs a signature."

Still shaking, Jackie picked up the pen and signed her name. The deliveryman looked at her carefully.

"Ms. Hollingsworth, I thought I heard some noise and someone running when I rang the doorbell. Do you need some help?"

Nomine Tenus Tantum means "In Name Only" in Latin.

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This article has been read 935 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry04/17/08
This certainly explores the darkest side of fatherhood. It's tense and left me wanting to call 911!
Laury Hubrich 04/20/08
This was very sad and very scary. So glad the doorbell rang. Wow. Close one.
Glynis Becker04/21/08
You're right: there's no 'fluff' here! Great action, well-written dialogue and you left me wanting more. Great entry!
Jan Ackerson 04/21/08
The best part for me is the climax--his "Do you? Do you?" interrupted by the doorbell, and the answer to prayer. Superb!
Shayne Catoe04/21/08
I like the title. This had real suspense building power. Good job.
Sheri Gordon04/21/08
This is very good, Allison. You did a nice job of building the suspense, and I loved the doorbell at the end. Very creative story--nice job with the topic.
Dee Yoder 04/22/08
Boy does that title match this father! What a gripping tale-you had me on the edge of my seat with this one. Good story-telling.
Joshua Janoski04/23/08
A very different take on this week's topic. The sad part of this story is that things like this really do happen.

You had my heart racing, as I anxiously waited to see how this was going to end. Good job building up the suspense.
Loren T. Lowery04/23/08
Well, I certainly don't like that Gary flake and all I can say is good ridence and I hope he keeps running. You certainly evoked an emotional response from this reader. Well done.
Joanne Sher 04/23/08
Wow, Allison. Amazingly powerful and tense. This was almost TO real for me. Astounding job with atmosphere, girl!
Sara Harricharan 04/23/08
Oooh, I don't like that idiot Gary at all. I hope that she gets some help and gets her daughter out of that situation right away! Very intense writing and I liked how you were able to keep the suspense at a good 'rate' nice job. ^_^
Lyn Churchyard04/24/08
Definitely not a fluffy story. My heart was pounding. God answers prayers in unusual ways sometimes. I want a sequel and see Gary get his comeuppance big time. Revenge? No, only just punishment. Super job Allison!
Chely Roach04/25/08
Oh, Allison...this was great. Scary and tense, with a great climax!
Catrina Bradley 09/09/08
Wow, Allison. Frightfully good. Love the end, and the answered prayer.