Warning: session_start(): open(/tmp/sess_362d82b69e3aa5f179982fa84aadcd29, O_RDWR) failed: No space left on device (28) in /home/dsf/webapps/php/lib/php/set-up.php on line 20

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/dsf/webapps/php/lib/php/set-up.php:20) in /home/dsf/webapps/php/lib/php/set-up.php on line 20
Daily Science Fiction :: Daddy's Girl by Leigh Kimmel
Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






art by Melissa Mead

Daddy's Girl

Leigh Kimmel is a writer, artist and bookseller living in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has degrees in Russian language and literature and in history, and has worked in libraries and archives. Her short story "Red Star, Yellow Sign" appeared in the Innsmouth Free Press anthology Historical Lovecraft, and "The Damnable Asteroid" will be appearing in its companion volume Future Lovecraft. Further information on her current projects can be found at her website: leighkimmel.com .
When they came for her father, he hugged her tight and whispered into her ear, "Never forget your daddy loves you." Even as they tore her from his arms, she promised with all the earnestness a child of seven can muster that she would never, ever forget.
And she didn't, even when they handed her over to a stony-faced woman who told her to forget her father, then smacked her face until her mouth bled when she balked at this new name she couldn't even pronounce. In the orphanage to which that woman delivered her, she comforted herself with memories of his love when the staff took glee in pointing her out as a criminal's get so all the children would taunt her and nobody would ever dare break ranks and be her friend, lest they too be contaminated.
When her application to enter a music conservatory was denied and she was instead sent to toil in a factory, she'd despaired to the point of considering taking her own life. But the fear of never being allowed to rejoin her father in the next life stayed her hand, and she bore up even when people spread nasty rumors and the young man who'd been about to marry her instead dumped her like a stone and no subsequent relationship ever developed.
Even the memories of her father's love had been slender comfort as she'd undertaken to be a single mother to the daughter that callow youth refused to acknowledge or support. By the time her daughter grew up, she'd become inured to the pain sufficiently to say good-bye, because a loving mother wants the very best for her child. In her case it meant never knowing her grandchildren except through the occasional letter, written very guardedly so the youngsters wouldn't be outed as his descendants should it fall in the wrong hands.
When the political climate shifted and it became possible to re-examine the injustices of the past, she applied for her father's rehabilitation, although it meant placing herself in the public eye. She discovered afresh the price of holding fast to her father's love for her, when she fell under harsh criticism by those who believed she should keep her head down and her mouth shut, to live her life as an apology to the real victims. When she asked one of her critics what he would do if it were his father, he wouldn't answer, just looked at her as if the question itself were an intolerable affront.
When the final illness came and the doctors avoided her eyes when they spoke to her, she comforted herself with the thought that soon she would rejoin her father. As the agony worsened she meditated upon every memory of him she could recall, however faded by the passing decades.
And then the pain ended and she stood in a realm of light. Realizing she had arrived in Heaven at last, she called out her father's name.
Before her appeared a figure limned in light. "He is not here, my child."
She stared. "Why not? I have spent my entire life longing to be reunited with him."
"What would you want with the damned? We are, after all, discussing one of the worst monsters of history, a man who slaughtered so indiscriminately that his own masters had to put a stop to him."
"That's my father you're talking about."
The response was at once both patient and chiding. "You do realize he's not your real father, that he adopted you from the very orphanage where the children of his victims were sent."
"He's the only father I ever knew, and he loved me. That's real enough for me."
"Since you refused to be dissuaded, here he is."
Before her stood her father--there could be no mistaking the face she'd sought so many times among photographs from forgotten piles of yellowed newspapers. But when his lips curled upward, there was none of the warmth that had comforted her through life as a political football. Instead, his smile reminded her of a particularly cruel orphanage worker who delighted in making her eat polenta made from rotten cornmeal, saying, "I saved this just for you." When she objected, the worker would beat her until the blood ran down her legs.
She reached for him, imploring, "Daddy, don't you remember me, how we used to play together, how you made my playthings with your own hands? It was the memory of your love that sustained me in the orphanage where all the kids called me names and smashed my things so I'd get in trouble for carelessness, in the factories where people kept whispering about me and getting me crosswise with the supervisors...." Her voice choked up, halting the rush of bitter memories, and she had to pause before she could go on.
"I know my memories were true, that they weren't just wishful thinking like people keep telling me. The last thing you ever told me was to never forget you loved me. What happened to that love?"
He laughed, and from his mouth poured maggots and corruption. "Don't you understand? The damned can will only evil. Whatever virtue may have been in us in life is now erased forever."
"But why? How does it benefit goodness to destroy what is good?"
He gestured to her Heavenly guide. "Ask Him. He did it to me."
She cried out in anguish, "My father loved me. You destroyed that love. Who's the monster now?"
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


Authors talk about ideas coming to them out of the blue, but this one jumped out of a dark alley and ambushed me. I found the idea sufficiently upsetting that I didn't want to commit it to paper, but the cursed thing refused to let me go until I wrote it, polished it, and sent it out. I sure hope I'm done with it now.

- Leigh Kimmel

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

3.3 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us

Warning: Unknown: open(/tmp/sess_362d82b69e3aa5f179982fa84aadcd29, O_RDWR) failed: No space left on device (28) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct (/tmp) in Unknown on line 0