She heard Daddy coming down the hallway towards her room, the old floorboards complaining with every step. Her stomach clenched when he knocked. “Sweetheart? You awake yet? It’s almost seven.” He slowly opened the door to her darkened room, the bright light in the hallway making him a black silhouette.
She hesitated for a moment and considered not answering. She could pretend to still be asleep. But that never worked. Daddy always knew when she was awake, somehow. And he’s a good man, she reminded herself. She had to answer him. “Yes, Daddy, I’m awake.”
“Good. I was hoping you’d be awake.” He drew nearer. Her guts twisted inside her as he loomed beside her bed. He caressed her arm gently. She knew what he was going to say, just like he always said, every time. “I think it’s time again, baby. I think The Need is coming back."
Repulsion washed over her. She hated it, hated The Need and the things it made Daddy do. She wanted to never think about it ever again. But Daddy always knew best, she chided herself. He was a good man. Still, she pleaded, “Daddy, I don’t think it’s time yet, really I don’t!”
Daddy sighed, but still he smiled at her. “Sweetie, I know you don’t like it. But it’s something we’ve got to do, remember? Like the wise philosopher once said, ‘We are the sum of our needs.’ We can’t ignore our needs, even this one, no matter how much we’d like to. You know you have to do what’s right.” He thought for a moment, then added, “ You know Daddy loves you, right?”
“Yes, Daddy,” she replied, holding back her tears. Daddy didn’t like it when she cried about this. And he was a good man, always taking care of them, ever since Momma died. And they had nice times together too, playing games, watching TV. Good times. But there was always The Need, waiting to arise again, ugly and horrible. Evil.
“That’s my girl. Okay, I’m going to get my things together. You just lie here and rest and wait. And don’t worry, I promise I won’t take long this time, okay?” She swallowed hard, “Okay, Daddy.” He kissed her forehead and walked back out, closing the door behind him.
She let the tears flow now, down her cheeks and onto her pillow. She hated this, especially the waiting. That was almost worse than The Need itself, the waiting part. Down the hall she could hear daddy gathering his things: His rubber gloves; his small but very sharp knife. She cried harder, thinking of the knife, of the cutting...
But no, Daddy was a good man. A good man. He only did what he had to do. It wasn’t his fault - no, it was her fault, all her fault. She told herself he would never do that if he didn’t have to, if The Need didn’t make him do it. But he did, did have to do it. Over and over. And that’s just the way it was, period. She knew that. Daddy had explained it so many times, drilled it into her head.
She heard Daddy nearing the door and she quickly wiped away the tears so he wouldn’t see. Her insides twisted painfully, thinking about The Need coming, knowing it was near. Daddy slowly opened the door and stepped over to her bed, the hallway light shining on his rubber gloves. “Okay, baby. Just you relax, it’ll be all over soon.” He kissed her forehead again, so gentle and lovingly she almost smiled.
Then he turned around, walked out of her room and closed the door behind him. She heard the front door noises, then heard his car engine roar to life. It rumbled down the driveway and off into the distance and she sighed, laying there in her bed, body still tense. Because she knew: The Need was still there.
But Daddy would return soon and take care of it. Because he was a good man. And then she could rest again and they’d have happy times again. She licked her lips, knowing it wouldn’t be long now. Her stomach rumbled and she thought of blood. Hot, red and wet. The blood Daddy that would bring to appease The Need… Her Need… Her thirst, vampiric.