The door burst open and Lara pressed her back against the cold wall. She shivered, feeling the frosty air cut through her thin clothing. She held her breath, knowing that the white puff of air would give away her hiding place to whoever is looking for her. She swore and then grasped around under the bed for her walking stick. Lara had thought she had everything hidden, but the awful truth was her walking stick was still out in the open.
They would know she was there.
A little under a year ago, Lara's sense of touch had been expanded mightily after her first round of torture. Her eyes had been forcibly removed, all because she refused to deny the Cause. But she couldn't be put through that again. Fear ruled her life as much as touching did. She rubbed the thin cotton sheet between her fingers; just touching the fabric brought her some comfort. It brought back memories of her friends and family from what seemed to be a lifetime ago. Back when she was safe and protected—but that was before she was arrested and her sight was stolen from her. Lara didn't know what else they could take from her.
She could hear the footsteps moving closer. Lara could feel the floor vibrate with each step, and they were coming closer. The movement stopped and Lara could hear the bedding lifted and a gentle chuckle filled the still room.
A strong hand touched Lara's shoulder and she withdrew deeper into the recesses of her hiding place.
The hand touched her shoulder again, this time gentler. Lara had no place to go. Desperately she fought against the owner of the hand.
"No! You can't take me back!" She begged. The man wordlessly put her hands on his face. An unspoken order passed between them.
Lara touched his face; high hairline, bushy eyebrows, high cheekbones covered with a stubby beard, full lips.
Could it be?
A familiar but callused hand brushed across her cheek and Lara started to cry. "Daddy! You’re okay," She whispered. She pressed her face against his chest, just resting in the simple knowledge that her dad would protect her as long as she was resting in his arms.
He tilted her face up and kissed Lara's forehead.
"You left your pole out in the open," he whispered playfully and then grew serious. "But, there's no need to hide anymore. The persecution is over. Let's see what the world has in store for us now."
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