DADDY’S GIRL (Episode 22)

 

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Helena sat in the taxi as it drove off towards the restaurant where she was supposed to meet up with Arnold in less than fifteen minutes. She sighed and rolled her eyes, looking out the window as the cold breeze washed over her delicate skin.

She smiled… She loved it when such a cold breeze blows on a hot day… Helena chuckled as she watched two children playing around and then her eye suddenly darts into a corner as the car kept moving… From afar, she could see a little girl, not more than seven or eight years old. She was in pink pajamas, her hair in a ponytail and a man with a hood was with her…

She frowned… Why did she feel like she knew the girl…
“Well,” she muttered and shrugged, turning her attention to something else.
It could have been one of her students or better still some random kid…

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“Shut up you little brat else I would cut out your tongue” the man warned Fiona who was screaming…
“I said quietly. Shhhh!!” He warned again bringing out a pocket knife and stacking it to her throat…
Seeing the knife placed on her neck, Fiona suddenly stopped screaming and went quiet, her legs shaking out of fear.

“You know princess. You almost damaged my eyes remember?” He asked with a wicked grin, caressing her wet face with the tip of his knife…
“But not to worry because now that you are here, I would settle scores. Come, princess. Let’s take you to daddy”
“No…..no……you’re a monster” she cried… She might be a kid but she knew too well he was not taking her to her father.

“Don’t be stubborn. Come on” he held her hand but she bit him and made to run but his strength was a thousand times more than hers. He grasped her and pulled her back, taking out his handkerchief, he sprinkled some chloroform onto it and pressed it to her nose.

She struggled with him till the medicine took its effect and she slumped into unconsciousness… He carried her on his shoulders and walked off to get a cab…
With a sleeping child over his shoulders at day time, no one would suspect a thing. Everyone would think he had gone for a stroll with his child and she had fallen asleep and being a good father, he decided to carry her…

“Like mama always said, its good to be prepared at all times. Whoever thought I was going to need this chloroform today!!! Praise be to God, who gives me such wisdom and brings my prey before me without stress… Praise His name!!!” He chuckled and whistled as he flagged a taxi…

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Helena glanced at her wristwatch for the umpteenth time. It was 11:00 am, an hour past their scheduled time and he still hadn’t shown up… She glanced at the entrance of the restaurant but there was no sight of him…

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Another one hour had passed and she was still seated waiting for him. She glanced at her watch again, it read 12: 15 pm…
“Excuse me, ma’am, do you need anything else?” A waiter approached her
“Ermm no thanks…here..” She stretched her hand and handed over some money to him. Placing the almost empty glass of juice on a tray, he handed a receipt to her and walked away…

Helena picked up her handbag and exited.
She didn’t even know why she had accepted to meet up with him in the first place. And now he had stood her up and made a fool out of her for the third time… Jerk!!! She spat inwardly, frowning as she made her way through the parking lot…..

“Helena!!!” She turned when she heard her name from behind. Without a doubt, she knew who the voice belonged to. Arnold!!!
Frowning, she increased her pace without stopping as he kept calling her name and running behind…
“Please wait!! I’m sorry… ” he said when he was a few inches away from her.

“Enough of the sorry Arnold! Enough!!!! I was stupid to have come here. Just leave me alone” she snapped.
“I need you. Please. I need your help”
She eyed him angrily and turned to leave without a word.
“My daughter… She’s missing. I couldn’t make it in time because I’ve been combing everywhere searching for Fiona”

Helena turned sharply, her eyes wide opened “What? When?”
“Just this morning… As soon as we were done speaking on the phone, I went to her room to call her for breakfast but she was nowhere to be found… I’m desperate Helena. So desperate. Where could my girl be?”

“Calm down Arnold… Let’s get a cab and inform the authorities. I’m sure they will form a search party right away because of the recent attacks on you. Common let’s go”
“My car is parked there” he pointed to the far end of the parking lot and they walked in silence, the anger she felt a minute ago, disappearing into thin air…

As they sat in the moving car, she watched him as he constantly closed and opened his eyes, muttering a few words almost as if he was praying silently…
“Ermm do you recall what she was wearing or something? I mean anything that can be used to identify her” she asked

“All I remember is she was wearing pink pajamas”
“What? Wait for a hold on… By any chance were there big white floral prints on the pajamas? And was her hair let loose or tied?”.
Arnold thought for a moment ” yes. There were big White floral prints on it and her hair was in a ponytail”
“Oh my God!!!” She exclaimed covering her mouth with both hands.

“Driver please make a U-turn and take us to Banaras junction”
“Why Banaras junction Helena. We need to report this before it gets out of hand”
“She’s the one I saw. It’s her” she exclaimed precisely to herself, remembering why the girl had looked so familiar to her…..

“What?”
“Yes, Arnold. On my way to the restaurant, I had spotted her. There was a man with her. I couldn’t see her face properly but she felt familiar. I’m sure it’s her”
“Step on it driver!!!!! Quick!” Arnold shouted as the driver increased his speed…

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“Where did you see her?” Arnold asked as they alighted…
“There” she pointed “under that tree”
“Let’s split. I will ask those around this side and you and Felix go there” he told his driver and Helena…
They nodded and parted, stopping anyone they came across, giving them a description of Fiona.

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TWO HOURS LATER
Arnold waved and walked up to them near his car.
“Did you get anything?” He asked, wiping the sweat off his forehead before bending down to pull the ends of the jeans to his knees…
“Nothing!!” they both chorused…
“Are you sure it was Fiona you saw?”
Helena runs her fingers through her hair, wondering if she might have confused Fiona for another girl…

After all, there were many girls her age, who walked around with perhaps similar clothes as hers…
She sighed… Doubting herself…
“A moment ago, I was sure of myself but now, I’m not sure so sure”
In frustration, Arnold rammed his fists into the car window, shattering the glasses into pieces… His fists bleeding as small pieces of glasses pierced his skin.

“Sir!!” Felix exclaimed…
“Why is this happening Helena? Why? Where did I go wrong? Huh!! First, my girlfriend disappeared, then I lost Amanda, next was Grace then Musa… Why does everyone close to me have to suffer? Do you now see why I push you away from most at times? Because I don’t want you getting hurt.”

She looked at him and realized he was not as bad as she thought. He was just a frustrated and lonely man who used his anger and arrogance to cover it up.
“Arnold it’s okay. Listen let’s….”
“No, it’s not okay Helena! It’s not. Whoever he is, why can’t he face me and tell me what issues he has with me. Why Fiona? Why???” He screamed ramming his bleeding fists into the car door as passersby stopped to look at him…

Helena rushed to him.
“Arnold get a grip on yourself, please!! We are in public.” She said throwing her eyes around…
“I’m with you Arnold and trust me when I say nothing will happen to your daughter. We will find her. You should be strong for her sake please!”

“Its all my fault. I shouldn’t have scolded her like that. I’m to blame. I’m such an irresponsible father. If anything happens to my girl I will just die.” he choked, the fear in him coming out as tears, tears he was trying so hard fight.

“You’re the best father there is Arnold. We will find her. Trust me ….. You trust me don’t you?” She asked wiping his tears with her thumb
“Yes,” he whispered.
“Then come with me” she stretched out her hand and he took it. Together they sat into the car as Felix drove them to the police station, his head buried in both palms as he prayed silently …….

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“I’m in love with the shape of you, push and pull like a magnet…….. I’m in love with your body!!!” He sang as he pushed the door of his cottage open and dropped her on the bed.
“Plan A, check! Plan B, in motion. Let’s see how far sweet daddy is willing to go for his girl” he chuckled as he stared at the unconscious form sprawled on the bed.

DADDY’S GIRL (Episode 21)

TO BE CONTINUED…

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