After his daughter Becky came home from her outing with an injury, Ken Bloom finds himself worrying over her all day. She insists she’s fine, and the wound isn’t bothering her— Her problem is how bored she is! So, she makes herself some fun. Some unbearably loud, overstimulating fun…. 2,388 words.
It had been a hell of a night for Ken.
When Becky had hurried out of the house, telling him she would be home late, he hadn’t expected “late” to mean “1am.” Nor had he expected her to be asleep and carried up the stairs by her boyfriend Jareth….
Nor had he expected her to return smelling like a public toilet, covered in her own vomit, with a bloody wound in her leg.
He and Jareth had had some very firm words after Becky had been put in bed. Ken had honestly been tempted to send the man home. It had taken a lot of self control not to shout at him (if Becky hadn’t been asleep he was sure he would have lost his temper) but after hearing Jareth out about everything that had happened… Ken just felt tired, and relieved that nothing more serious had happened to his daughter.
Not that being attacked by a dog wasn’t serious— But given the situation, it could have been a lot worse if Jareth hadn’t been there for her.
So he’d let Jareth stay the rest of the night, offering him a shower and some clean clothes to wear, and Isa had given him a lift to school in the morning….
Becky had wanted to go, too. But Isa had very firmly told her no.
It had been a surprise, to hear Becky begging to be allowed to go to school. Usually she was making up any excuse not to go….
She must have been feeling very out of sorts and lonely, Ken had thought.
And her mood for the rest of the day had confirmed it.
She’d spent the entire time Isa was gone moping in bed; only eating after Ken had badgered her to.
Then Isa had returned and, under her instruction, Ken had tried to help Becky get changed and strip her bed of its now-filthy sheets…. Becky had snapped at him before taking her phone and limping into her bathroom in a huff.
She’d been in the bath since. For almost two hours, she’d been watching videos and posting on social media— Ken had gotten a string of notifications about her posts, his phone buzzing every five to ten minutes as she shared something on her Twitter.
He’d tested the waters by replying to one of her posts. And though she hadn’t said anything back she had liked his reply… which was honestly a better result than he was expecting.
He’d also heard her empty the bath and refill it at least three times. Or, he assumed that’s what she was doing, as each time she emptied the bath Mimi would take to its usual habit of scampering up and down the halls, screeching and chirping and trying to knock over the decorative vases.
Something about the sound of the water suctioning down the plug hole had always sent the mimic into a playful frenzy. He wasn’t sure why; he personally found the sound revolting.
Don’t compare yourself to Mimi, Ken reminded himself. Remember what Isa said about that….
Just as he thought it, the mimic began to bolt up and down the hall again, and Ken put down his work.
He should probably check on Becky….
Slowly, reluctantly, and dodging the mimic that kept weaving around under his feet, Ken made his way to his daughter’s bathroom. He gave a timid knock on the half-open door and let out a breath as Becky called back, sounding much more pleasant than she had that morning.
‘Dad? You can come in.’
Ken slowly pushed the door open, and came to face his daughter.
She was leaning on the sink, slowly patting herself dry with a towel. She had her injured leg up off the ground and—
‘You’re still bleeding?!’ Ken gasped, hurrying over to examine the injury.
‘Dad— Dad!’ Becky exclaimed as her foot was pulled forward and she had to grip the sink to keep her balance. ‘It’s fine!’
‘Oh my god,’ Ken muttered. ‘This is so much deeper than I thought it was…. Becky! You said it wasn’t bad!’
‘It’s not bad—‘
‘—I’m calling Igor,’ Ken said, turning and hurrying out of the room. ‘That bite looks severe!’
As he did, Becky let out a loud, exasperated groan. ‘It’s not severe!’
‘My girl, this bite is very severe,’ Victor announced, carefully rolling Becky’s leg over to examine the wound on her ankle and calf. ‘You should have come straight to me!’
‘I thought I was going to you,’ Becky defended, wincing as the Frankenstein couple began to fuss over her and properly wash her wound. ‘But like, I fell asleep. And then when I woke up in bed I thought that it mustn’t have been that bad or like, Adam wouldn’t have dropped me home or whatever. You know? Adam wouldn’t just let me be hurt like that.’
‘Adam must have misjudged how bad it was,’ Ken offered, gently cupping Becky’s shoulder as she took in a sharp breath.
‘He was very preoccupied,’ Igor agreed. Then he glanced to Victor. ‘Stitches?’
‘Definitely,’ Victor replied. ‘And antibiotics. It’s already showing signs of infection.’
Ken felt faint, and was very glad he had chosen to sit beside Becky on the couch while she was being examined.
Already showing signs of infection?
Oh, god. He should have checked on her leg the moment she got home! He shouldn’t have assumed she would be okay….
‘So like, am I going to lose my foot?’ Becky asked, much to Ken’s dismay. ‘Cos that would totally suck. I need that.’
‘Certainly not if I can help it,’ Victor chirped, taking a needle from Igor and carefully poking it into Becky’s injury. ‘And if you do, well! I’m sure I can find you a new one somewhere.’
The noise that escaped Ken seemed to humour Victor, who chuckled to himself as he began preparing the sutures for Becky’s leg.
‘Okay, now, once that anaesthetic starts working, I’ll fix you up,’ Victor said to Becky. ‘And then I want you to rest, yes? You understand? The most important thing for you to do right now is to rest.’
Becky had not followed Victor’s instructions at all, and for an agonising hour Ken had felt like he was at his wit’s end.
He had begged Becky to sit still. But she was restless and full of energy; something he would have loved to see if she wasn’t supposed to be laying in bed for the day….
She’d argued with him, saying she was fine and her leg didn’t hurt— And he’d argued back, that was because of the painkillers the Frankensteins had given her, not because she was miraculously healed!
She’d barely listened.
Though, Ken had finally managed to find time to sit and relax after Isa had come home and distracted Becky with some old boxes pulled from the spare room. Boxes that they hadn’t touched since she was a child. Since—
Ken sighed as he remembered Barbra.
He’d always been too scared to go through the boxes and face those memories….
But he could hear Becky laughing from his study, and knew she was finding her old toys and clothes and games.
‘Ooooh my god!’ she exclaimed. ‘Mimi! Mimi! Look! Look! It’s your old toy!’
Mimi’s old toy? Ken felt himself tense. She couldn’t mean—
A loud shriek escaped the mimic, followed by a wheezing squeak from a toy and the sound of something hard and rubber being slammed against the floor repeatedly.
The fucking rubber steak.
He thought Barbra had thrown that thing away years ago… but, he guessed she’d just put it in storage….
‘Oh my god,’ Isa’s voice floated in from the study door, and Ken spun around to face the drow as she walked in. She was rubbing her temple and looked half-frustrated, half-humoured. ‘I’m going to regret letting her go through those boxes, aren’t I?’
Ken gave a defeated nod. ‘At least she seems happy?’
‘What on earth is—‘ Ken cut off as Becky appeared at his study door, scooting herself along in an old office chair. ‘Oh, Becky….’
‘I don’t need legs anymore, Dad!’ Becky declared, continuing to scoot past his door and towards her bedroom. ‘I found myself some wheels!’
Rump…. Rump…. Rump….
‘Oh, the floors are not going to survive today, are they?’ Isa sighed.
Skutter skutter skutter—
SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK!
Mimi skittered after Becky, passing by Ken’s door with the rubber steak clasp firmly in its teeth.
SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK!
Skutter skutter skutter—
‘Becky?!’ Ken leapt out of his chair and hurried into the hall. He saw his daughter in a heap on the floor by her bedroom door; her chair overturned underneath her and Mimi running in circles around her. ‘Becky are you alright?!’
‘Yeeeeeah,’ she drawled, rolling onto her knees and struggling to lift the chair back up. ‘I got caught on the rug….’
‘Maybe the chair isn’t the best idea,’ Isa sighed. ‘I’ll put it away—‘
‘—Nooooooo!’ Becky whined. ‘It’s mine! I need it!’
‘You’re going to hurt yourself.’
‘Yuh-huh,’ Isa argued, side-eyeing Ken. ‘Your father agrees. Don’t you, Ken?’
‘—No fair! You can’t bring Dad into this! That’s two against one!’
‘It’s two against one because I’m right.’
‘Ugh. Ken! What do you think?’
Ken jolted as both women turned to look at him, and blurted out the first thought he had. ‘Uh— It— It should be okay but— But only… downstairs?’
‘HAH!’ Becky let out a victorious laugh, and began to scoot towards the stairs. ‘Then I shall head downstairs—‘
‘—NOT ON THE CHAIR YOU WON’T!’ Isa shouted, grabbing the back of the chair and pulling Becky backwards. ‘Do you want to break your neck?!’
‘I’ll be fine!’ Becky scoffed. ‘I won’t fall!’
‘Ken— Help Becky downstairs, would you?’ Isa gave an exhausted, defeated sigh and shook her head. ‘I’ll take the chair….’
Ken nodded, and obediently took his daughter’s arm; helping her out of her chair and down into the lounge room.
Isa followed them, dragging the old office chair behind her and depositing it beside the couch.
‘You better be careful, Becky,’ Isa warned, pointing a finger at the girl as she settled into the chair. ‘Or I’ll take it away.’
‘I will, Isa, I will!’ Becky assured her— And then immediately began scooting away.
Isa gave a sigh, and looked to Ken. ‘I have to do the washing…. Keep an eye on her.’
‘I’ll try,’ Ken promised, flopping onto the couch and letting out a deep breath.
Everything was so loud.
It was overwhelming.
But at least downstairs the sound of Mimi mauling its toy was muffled….
‘Here,’ Isa sighed, picking up one of the couch cushions and placing it gently onto Ken’s face.
‘Thank you,’ Ken muttered through the fabric before wrapping his arms around it and pressing it down firmly; blocking out the light and sounds of the house until all that was left was the gentle vibrations of his daughter’s chair as she began to roll laps around the room.
Mimi hadn’t stopped playing with the rubber steak. It had been almost forty-five minutes, and Ken could still hear the mimic running around upstairs, smashing its toy into every surface it could.
The faint sound of Mimi’s bap-SQUEAKing was going to haunt his dreams. He knew it….
But it was worth it to see Becky so happy.
She was finally happy.
He was finally doing things right.
And he wasn’t going to ruin that by getting mad at Mimi for playing with a toy— No matter how mind-numbingly annoying that toy was….
Ken watched as Becky scooted another lap around the lounge room and felt himself smiling.
‘Mimi!’ Isa called from the kitchen. ‘Come here, girl! Treat! I have a treat!’
A shriek escaped the mimic, and Ken heard it bolting at full speed down the stairs.
A blur of pink passed by him, squeaking loudly as it leapt over the coffee table. It weaved under Becky before disappearing into the kitchen and falling silent.
‘There you are!’ Isa cheered. ‘Look at what I’ve got for you! A big, meaty bone! Look at how tasty this is! Take the bone! Take the— Good girl! There you go!’
Ken let out a breath as the house went blissfully quiet; the only sound now was the rump rump of Becky’s chair as she scooted around the lounge.
Then, Isa emerged from the kitchen with the rubber steak. She held the slobbery, dripping toy at arm’s length as she hurried to the bookshelf and, with a quick glance back at the kitchen, hid it on a high shelf.
She then wiped her hands on her apron, and looked up at Ken.
‘I’m going out to pick up something for dinner,’ she told him. ‘Will you be okay here?’
‘Yes, I’ll be fine,’ Ken replied, dropping his voice as Isa made her way over to him. ‘Now that blasted toy’s away!’
‘Hmh,’ she chuckled as she wrapped her arms around him. ‘For now…. I’ll be back soon— I love you.’
Isa made to peck a kiss onto Ken’s cheek— And, for a moment, Ken almost put up his hand to stop her.
What if Becky sees us? he thought. We have to ease her into this….
But the thought only lasted a second before he remembered that his daughter had caught them in bed together the other night and, somehow, hadn’t realised that he and the drow were an item. She’d simply assumed they were cold, and climbed into bed with them.
It was honestly rather astonishing that she hadn’t made the connection yet.
Ken hated to admit it, but his daughter was not the brightest….
So, instead of stopping Isa, he eyed Becky cautiously and returned her affection with his own kiss.
Becky was too preoccupied with slowly attempting to scoot herself into the kitchen.
‘Becky!’ Isa called as she released Ken and made for the front door. ‘I’m going for groceries. Behave for your father!’
‘Mmkay!’ Becky called back, not bothering to look back. ‘I will!’
That was, of course, a lie.
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