A Penny For Christmas

A Penny For Christmas Chapter 5: Facing her demons

Sarah woke up with a bandage on her head, a cast on her arm, and a broken lip. The familiar smell of antiseptic and morphine gave her an indication of where she was. ‘Madam, please don’t move. You suffered a concussion, and you need to take it easy. I’ll let the doctor know you are awake.’
As she watched the nurse leave her room, she tried to recall what happened. The weasel was downing beer like water when she confronted him, ‘How could you do this, Heb? Your own daughter! Whatever did she do to you?’
‘Shut your mouth,’ he threatened, but she went on.
‘Leave Daisy alone. You can have anyone you want. Leave my daughter alone!’
He rose like a beast emerging from hell.
‘Are you challenging me, minx?’ he bellowed. Her heart jumped, but she stood her ground.
‘I’m asking you to leave the girls alone. If you want to take your anger out on anyone, take it out on me! It’s me you are angry at, right?’
He hit her with the power of a bull. Her head hit a shelf on the way to the floor.
‘It’s the brat! She told you, didn’t she? Well, I will have my fill with her soon enough!’
‘Heb!’ she screamed before the impact of the blow she suffered made her lose consciousness.
She closed her eyes in a bid to forget what he did to Daisy and what he threatened to do to Penny. Wait! She left Penny in school!
‘Nurse!’ she cried out. ‘I need to go get my baby!’
‘Mum!’ cried Penny, as she ran into the room and to her mother, closely followed by Chris. ‘Mum, are you ok?’
Sarah hugged Penny but kept her eyes on Chris.
‘Mum, remember Chris? I mean, the man at the store that offered you the job?’ asked Penny excitedly. ‘He saved you, mum! He beat dad up! He’s a superhero!’
‘Are you alright?’ Sarah asked Penny.
‘Yes, mum. Chris took care of me.’
She sighed nervously. ‘Thank you,’ she uttered.
‘Penny, please can you go with the nurse to get some ice cream from the cafeteria? You can bring me a cup on your way back’, said Chris, handing her a hundred dollar bill.
She made a funny face. ‘You need to talk to my mum. I get it. I’m going’.
Chris smiled nervously and waited till Penny and the nurse were out of the room.
They stared at each other for what seemed like hours, then Chris said,
‘Herbert should be in jail as we speak, and the police officers were able to locate Daisy. They are bringing her here now.’
‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘We will soon be out of your hair. I appreciate your help.’
He raked his ebony hair with his fingers. Sarah missed that.
‘Why does Penny have my mother’s name?’
She shifted uncomfortably. It had to come out. ‘She is yours. I didn’t say anything because I was trying to protect you’.
He felt an excruciating pain inside his chest. ‘Protect me from that weasel or both of you? Aren’t you ashamed of what you did to me? Wasn’t that enough? You had to hide my child from me as well?’
She looked away as she felt tears forming in her eyes. ‘I suppose you want custody of Penny.’
‘Wow, what a loving mum you are!’ he snapped. ‘Just when I thought I couldn’t despise you more, you show up with a daughter I never knew I had! Yes, I want custody of my daughter. I saw the marks. He’s been hitting her under your watch. An eight-year-old girl! ‘
She was crying now.
Daisy knocked and came into the room. ‘Mum, are you….’ She saw Chris and stopped. ‘Daaa..d?’
She was five the last time he saw her. Daisy. Penny told him what happened to her. He couldn’t take it anymore. He shook his head and left the room.
Daisy ran to her mum’s side. ‘Mum, that was dad, right?’ She had to ask because she couldn’t trust her memory. Sarah nodded in tears. ‘We have to leave here, Daisy.’
‘Leave? Dad is here. We should go with him!’ Daisy cried.
She had to come clean. She would lose her daughters just as she lost the love of her life, but she had to tell the truth. She had ruined their lives enough. No more.
‘He’s not your dad, Daisy,’ she said. ‘Herbert is your dad.’
Daisy went numb. The news hit her like a bolt of lightning. She stepped back. ‘You’re lying. He’s my dad. You took me from him when you got divorced!’
‘No baby,’ Sarah said, stretching out her arm, hoping Daisy would come to her, but she didn’t.
‘You are Herbert’s and mine. We played a dirty game on Christopher. I didn’t think it would go this far!’
Daisy felt like dying. ‘That monster can’t be my dad! That’s a lie. I hate you! I hate both of you!’
She ran out, crying.
‘Daisy!’ she called out, and her blood pressure spiked, but another doctor came in to stabilize her. Christopher was gone.

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