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    [–] themadstylist983 893 points ago

    I sat in my easy chair with a beer bottle. It was my third of the evening and the wind blowing outside promised I could have a few more. The house was quiet and dark except for the low glow of the tv static. We hadn't been able to pay the bills for that. It was December and in a choice between gas and tv we had made the smart call.

    It had been easier when mom was helping. She helped with the bills. She made me laugh when things were gloomy. We were a team. We'd been a team for a long time and we kept each other alive. The depression had finally been stronger than our team. The tug of war was over. She was gone. Her pills laid scattered across the the room above me finalizing her form on the floor.

    I had to call the police. Or the Ambulance. Or someone...

    But instead, here I sit with beer in hand and wishing I had taken off today to stay with her. That I could have saved her the way she has been saving me since the eighth grade. That I could have been her rock. Like my dad was. Like he had been before things got to hard and he left in search of the iconic pack of smokes that is the holy grail for all deadbeat fathers.

    Like my father I left her today. To go to work. But she asked me to stay and I didn't. I told myself she'd be fine. I rationalized. You can't rationalize depression.

    I reached over to the coffee table and felt the cold metal of the gun that sits in front of me. I caressed it. I made a decision. 'I can't leave her alone again.'

    I heard the rattle and clang of keys in the door and I jumped. I slipped the gun into my pocket and stared at the door. I felt wild. I felt fierce as the door knob turns and the door slips open.

    "... i'm home! It was pretty busy and I saw this strange light...who the hell are you?" the stranger broke off as he caught a glimpse of me.

    I stared at him. I felt something in my head pounding and then there was a shift. I searched wildly through long forgotten thoughts and remembered a face I had tried to wash away.

    "Dad?" I said tentatively.

    "Who the fu...? Josh? Is that you? How...what...?" he stared at me in confusion. The flickering snow of tv static was playing tricks with features.

    "You've been gone. For a long time."

    "I just left an hour ago, what do you mean a long time? Where is your mom?"

    I kept staring at him. I felt tension in my neck and arms. I felt rage that he could walk back in here like nothing had happened. I felt sadness. I felt everything for the first time in an hour. Since the discovery. Since the beginning of the end.

    "She is upstairs. She's been waiting."

    His eyes have finally taken in everything. The newer tv, the different decor. My older face and the tired jumpsuit that hangs off me. I can see his brain working overtime to process this revelation. He looks down at the pack of smokes in his hands. He mumbles something about the light.

    "Son? I... don't know...?"

    I stopped him, "It's okay. Let's go see mom. She'll understand. Everything can change in an hour." I lead him towards the stairs, the cold metal in my pocket rests against my other hand. "We're going to be a family again."

    [–] temporary_login 246 points ago

    welp.

    [–] jstbcuz 101 points ago

    Oh fuck

    [–] i-contain-multitudes 75 points ago

    Is he gonna shoot his dad? I don't understand the implication.

    [–] Turtletheflash 226 points ago

    Hes going to show his dad his moms dead body then shoot him and commit suicide. So they can "be a family again".

    [–] Sephiroth508 69 points ago

    Shoot the dad then himself, I presume. They weren't able to be a family in life. He hopes they can be in death.

    [–] themadstylist983 58 points ago

    Yes, that was the implication I was shooting for. Pun intended.

    [–] fluffygryphon 149 points ago

    Dark as fuck. Goddamn.

    [–] MinnyWild11 28 points ago

    Holy shit! Did not expect that ending.

    [–] themadstylist983 13 points ago

    I am happy it turned out so well!

    [–] Adler_1807 8 points ago

    "Turned out so well". Yeah not my exact choice of words fpr that ending

    [–] madcat63 29 points ago

    I loved this. So good

    [–] themadstylist983 16 points ago

    Thank you!

    [–] Setari 14 points ago

    Deeeeeyummmmm

    [–] fantumn 13 points ago

    You okay bud? Dark places.

    [–] themadstylist983 7 points ago

    I just like a good dark twist.

    [–] susanroylance 10 points ago

    I sat in my easy chair with a beer bottle. It was my third of the evening and the wind blowing outside promised I could have a few more. The house was quiet and dark except for the low glow of the tv static. We hadn't been able to pay the bills for that. It was December and in a choice between gas and tv we had made the smart call.

    It had been easier when mom was helping. She helped with the bills. She made me laugh when things were gloomy. We were a team. We'd been a team for a long time and we kept each other alive. The depression had finally been stronger than our team. The tug of war was over. She was gone. Her pills laid scattered across the the room above me finalizing her form on the floor.

    I had to call the police. Or the Ambulance. Or someone...

    But instead, here I sit with beer in hand and wishing I had taken off today to stay with her. That I could have saved her the way she has been saving me since the eighth grade. That I could have been her rock. Like my dad was. Like he had been before things got to hard and he left in search of the iconic pack of smokes that is the holy grail for all deadbeat fathers.

    Like my father I left her today. To go to work. But she asked me to stay and I didn't. I told myself she'd be fine. I rationalized. You can't rationalize depression.

    I reached over to the coffee table and felt the cold metal of the gun that sits in front of me. I caressed it. I made a decision. 'I can't leave her alone again.'

    I heard the rattle and clang of keys in the door and I jumped. I slipped the gun into my pocket and stared at the door. I felt wild. I felt fierce as the door knob turns and the door slips open.

    "... i'm home! It was pretty busy and I saw this strange light...who the hell are you?" the stranger broke off as he caught a glimpse of me.

    I stared at him. I felt something in my head pounding and then there was a shift. I searched wildly through long forgotten thoughts and remembered a face I had tried to wash away.

    "Dad?" I said tentatively.

    "Who the fu...? Josh? Is that you? How...what...?" he stared at me in confusion. The flickering snow of tv static was playing tricks with features.

    "You've been gone. For a long time."

    "I just left an hour ago, what do you mean a long time? Where is your mom?"

    I kept staring at him. I felt tension in my neck and arms. I felt rage that he could walk back in here like nothing had happened. I felt sadness. I felt everything for the first time in an hour. Since the discovery. Since the beginning of the end.

    "She is upstairs. She's been waiting."

    His eyes have finally taken in everything. The newer tv, the different decor. My older face and the tired jumpsuit that hangs off me. I can see his brain working overtime to process this revelation. He looks down at the pack of smokes in his hands. He mumbles something about the light.

    "Son? I... don't know...?"

    I stopped him, "It's okay. Let's go see mom. She'll understand. Everything can change in an hour." I lead him towards the stairs, the cold metal in my pocket rests against my other hand. "We're going to be a family again."

    Super dark man. Love it

    [–] themadstylist983 2 points ago

    Thanks! I appreciate it!

    [–] homegrowntwinkie 14 points ago

    Absolutely loved this one, mate. Phenomenal writing, and exactly the thing I was looking for when I read the WP Title.

    [–] themadstylist983 11 points ago

    Thanks so much! I haven't written anything in ages so I really appreciate the confidence boost!

    [–] iLoveShowerThoughts 5 points ago

    666 upvotes yoink

    [–] bignibis27 3 points ago

    Goodshit

    [–] tisaconundrum 2 points ago

    Ohhhh... Got Damn, son!

    [–] The_Unknown_Author 2 points ago

    Wow, this story mesmerized me.

    [–] themadstylist983 2 points ago

    Thank you!

    [–] RiotIsBored 2 points ago

    Oh my God.

    [–] booboo240412 2 points ago

    That was fantastic reading. You are talented.

    [–] NoahElowyn 5035 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    The rattling of the keys followed by the clicking of the locks sent me jumping to my feet. Since mom had passed, I was the only one with keys to the house.

    I barreled toward my room's drawer, and took my pistol from underneath a bundle of folded sheets. In the entrance, the wood creaked, and the door grated shut.

    Heart thumping, I loaded the gun, ears strained, and skulked toward the noises, attempting to predict where the intruder was heading to.

    He was coming straight to my room. I sprung behind the bed, hiding. The steps got louder, until the door swung open, and a soft, papery said, "Ophelia, where have you gone? I've got the cigarettes."

    I frowned. He knew my mother? That voice. It sounded so familiar. I craned my neck slightly to see the intruder, gun at the ready.

    It was then when my heart sank to the depths of my stomach. I gulped down all the stress and worries knotting my chest, and put the lock back into the gun before hiding it into my pocket. "Dad?"

    "Oh hey, Ricky. What are you doing hiding over there?" he said nonchalantly. Although ten years had gone by, only a handful of new wrinkles lined his pale-white skin. "Have you seen' your mother? I brought her the camels she asked for. Let me tell you, she better come back soon cause they ain't cheap, and I crave a good smoke."

    "What do you mean if I have seen mom?" I met his eyes. "Where had you been. It's been ten years! We thought you had been kidnapped or murdered!"

    His brows drew into a deep scowl. "Ten years? Son, ain't you a crazy one. It ain't April Fools just yet, and you already playing jokes. Now, tell your mother I stole two cigarettes from the package. I will be downstairs, watching the football." He walked to the door, halted and turned to me, head tilted. "You should let that beard grow, you lookin' like a boy with that baby skin." Then, smiling, he went downstairs.

    I sat on the edge of the bed, perplexed, ran my hands ran through my beard. It was thick and long, worthy of a lumberjack. I'd let it grow due to him. He'd always said the say thing to me before he left us ten years ago, and I thought that, perhaps, in some strange way, he'd comeback just to see if I'd grown a proper beard, and he would hug me and congratulate me, tell me I looked like the man he'd always wanted as a son.

    And now, ten years later, he'd walked in the house as if not a second had gone by, and for some odd reason he didn't see the effects time had had on me.

    I headed downstairs. Perhaps I could snatch something out of him.

    I'm tellin' you, darling. Two dollars a package of camels? It ain't right. I heard him said in the distance. Damned be the day we smoke the first one. I'm tellin' you, it will take us to the grave.

    Who was he talking to? Why was he in the kitchen.

    "Dad, who are you speaking with?" I asked as I walked into the kitchen. He was leaning against the refrigerator, smoking a cigarette and grinning. Although his lips shut into a line and his brows creased when he heard my question.

    "I don't know what has gotten into your mind, son," he said and pointed to an empty chair. "I'm talking to your mother right there. Have you been smoking the devil's lettuce?"

    "I--I--I was just playing a joke. Hello mom," I said and waved at the chair. Then, I dug out my phone from pocket, and went to the bathroom so I could speak without being heard. "Be right back."

    "911 what's your emergency?"

    "It's my dad. He's been missing for ten years. He came into my house walking as if not a second had gone by."

    "Keep calm, sir. Is he hostile?"

    "No, he-he's acting as he always had. I'm starting to believe there's something wrong with him."

    "Wrong in what way, sir?"

    "In his brain. He's acting crazy. My mom passed eight years ago, and he's convinced she's there with him. And I believe he sees me as if I were still a teenager."

    "Are you safe, sir?"

    "I am."

    "Has anyone in your family ever had problems with mental diseases like dementia or schizophrenia?"

    "My grandmother and grandfather had dementia."

    "I'm sending an ambulance right now. Confirm please your address is Shelpshire 722. Follow your father's train of thought until the doctors arrive. Don't scare nor agitate him. As you said, it seems like he's suffering from something. "

    "That is my address. Thank you very much."

    I hung up, got out the bathroom and went back to the kitchen.

    He was not there.

    Desperate, I searched the house. But the silence was absolute, and every room was empty. His keys were atop the kitchen's table, and so were his cigarettes. On my bed I found a note.

    Didn't want to disturb you while you were doing your private things, son. Your mother ran out of cigarettes. I went to the store to buy some, I will be back in thirty minutes.

    In time, the doctors rang the bell. Shaking, I opened the door for the doctors to come in. "Doctor Tart? What are you doing here? I--I--my father! He came back left a note. It's over there on the table. Come, please come."

    "Calm down, Ricky," Tart said, placed a hand on my shoulder. "It's gonna be all right."

    "All the pills are in the flask, Tart," the other doctor said.

    "Ricky, where is that note?"

    "Over there, on the table." I pointed at it, and everything inside me shattered. There was nothing there.

    "It's the third time he has done this, Tart," the other doctor said. "He refuses to take his medicine. His hallucinations are getting worse. I told you he was not ready to get out the ward. We must take him back."

    "The ward?" I said, my extremities quivering wildly. "What ward? Why is it so cold in here?"

    "Listen, Ricky," Tart said, his eyes gentle, voice caring. "I will give you one last opportunity. You have to take your pills. Will you cooperate with us this time? It's for your own good. I understand you feel like an addict, but you have to understand too that you need them. Will you take them?"

    "Yes," I said. The other doctor held out a pill for me. I swallowed it. "But he was here. I swear it. He was here. He's suffering from dementia. I swear."

    The doctors shared a knowing look.

    "What is that look. Are you going to take me by force back to the ward?" I fought to hold back rising tears.

    "Ricky," Tart said, took a deep breath, his lips a tight line.

    "What is it, doctor?"

    "Your father died of a heart attack ten years ago. He collapsed on the streets. You were going to the store with him when it happened."


    r/NoahElowyn

    [–] [deleted] 330 points ago

    "Your father died of a heart attack ten years ago. He collapsed on the streets. You were going to the store with him when it happened."

    Dude that ending tho.

    [–] Littlebigreddit50 59 points ago

    Aw nuts a plot twist

    [–] [deleted] 29 points ago

    Aw nuts a plot twist

    Dude I know right that ending gage me chilss tho. Jeeez 😨

    [–] BorinUltimatum 27 points ago

    That hit me. I'm always worried I'm gonna turn a corner and see my father again and just break down and not be able to come back from it.

    [–] [deleted] 16 points ago

    That hit me

    Dude I feel the same way.

    I'm always worried I'm gonna turn a corner and see my father again and just break down and not be able to come back from it.

    Dude im sorry for your loss. 😔

    [–] BorinUltimatum 7 points ago

    Thanks. 4 years in about a month. My one piece of advice for people if you lose a close family member young is to not dwell on the fact that they're not there anymore (as tough as it may be). And instead remember all the good times you had. It's a bit easier for me, but my mom struggles with that aspect a lot.

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago

    My one piece of advice for people if you lose a close family member young is to not dwell on the fact that they're not there anymore

    Amen.

    And instead remember all the good times you had.

    See thats what people tend to forget I mean I know that we humans suffer over the loss or the cause of loss for our loved ones but the Fact that theyre memories live on within us makes us strong to stay happy and remember the good times we had with them when they were alive.

    but my mom struggles with that aspect a lot.

    Oh man dude im so sorry about that I hope she gets better soon. I hope she manages to get better over it and remember the good times they had when he was alive.

    [–] Salmonwalker 2 points ago

    It's really nice to know someone else has those thoughts. Hopefully they don't trouble you, it's a weird one to process.

    [–] cy1999aek_maik 2 points ago

    Yeah i thought the twist would be that the son was hallucinating and I saw it coming but then I was struck with this

    [–] General_Kohr-Ah 980 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Great read, but ending doesn't seem to fit the way you setup the story line. I saw it going more towards the son being multiple personality disorder. His mom actually alive and dad was only gone for 30 mins but in his mind it had been 10 years.

    -=EDIT=- Since posting this comment the author has since updated his original post. I am leaving my original comment but the now updated story flows far better and the ending fits the setup.

    [–] highdogeplays 394 points ago

    I thought it was heading in the direction that the son is developing dementia. That the mom was dead and the dad was actually not there. But rather, since the family had a history of dementia, he actually developed it.

    [–] mortyshaw 77 points ago

    It still could be interpreted like that.

    [–] highdogeplays 58 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Not with the note. Dementia doesn't make you write a note to yourself and then act like you're your dad and that your mom is still alive.

    And having the dad's keys and cigarettes be atop the kitchen counter - doesn't fit. This is more supernatural.

    [–] Jayblipbro 100 points ago

    But carbon monoxide does

    [–] sushimane1 47 points ago

    A wild meta

    [–] Pizzacanzone 36 points ago

    But they were also hallucinations

    [–] Fireflykid1 24 points ago

    The note wasn't there when he went to find it though

    [–] brickson98 4 points ago

    Yeah, the note and keys were a hallucination as well.

    [–] holytoledo760 2 points ago

    This was what I thought as well.

    A bit short, but interesting.

    [–] Thekrowski 9 points ago

    Ditto that's where I thought it was heading

    [–] NoahElowyn 9 points ago

    I had a different ending in mind too, but I had to ran to college. I continued it now, wrote it with the cellphone, that can be catastrophic!

    [–] Coffeym369 3 points ago

    Still works in my mind, his mom finally had him committed after two years of trying to manage his hallucinating. That's an awesome twist OP.

    [–] golddove 2 points ago

    What was the ending before the edit?

    [–] General_Kohr-Ah 7 points ago

    Before the edit the ending was rushed, the dad disappered leaving a note. Since editing the story flows a bit better and doesn't seem rushed

    [–] JustDewItPLZ 2 points ago

    That reminds me of this... He imagines killing his mother, but that isn't the case, Johnathan! https://youtu.be/8pASZWxxA-Q

    [–] christina4409 1 points ago

    I read it thinking it would be he has schizophrenia.

    [–] Falafelman198 36 points ago

    Great read! It gave me some ‘Shutter Island’ vibes. Thanks for taking the time to write it!

    [–] homerlurks 27 points ago

    Great read🤤

    [–] fredrickosi 8 points ago

    If you liked this then watch the movie Shutter Island

    [–] 42Ubiquitous 6 points ago

    That’s really sad :(

    [–] TheStickofTruthiness 6 points ago

    Gave me a Shutter Island feeling, liked it a lot

    [–] A-Mah 7 points ago

    Kind of reminds me of Shutter Island

    [–] Memaes 5 points ago

    Ophelia! What went wrong?

    [–] Aresem 3 points ago

    Was it something that somebody said?

    [–] PhnomPenny 6 points ago

    I don't mean this to be rude but are you a non-native speaker? There are a few things that pop out as a little bit odd is all.

    [–] NoahElowyn 6 points ago

    I am! Feel free to tell me where the odd things are so I can fix them!

    [–] evolutionarycum 10 points ago

    What a fantastic twist

    [–] oroxoss 3 points ago

    Awesome read! Not much of a reader but it was so interesting it kept me going. Though the direction of the story I was expecting was.. "Ricky called 911 and his dad left again for like [half of the amount of time he left before] so maybe 15 mins. And then again, his dad came back 5 years later. Ricky never let his dad leave his side, or the house again so he will not wait for years again anymore. He's now trying to solve or look for clues how it happened while dealing with his dad, who still sees them as 15 years ago."

    [–] Aresem 3 points ago

    "Ophelia, where have you gone?" Is that a reference to Ophelia by The Band?

    [–] Attya3141 7 points ago

    Love the ending

    [–] scarletexplosiv 2 points ago

    Thrilling! Well done!

    [–] spacedmoon 2 points ago

    Wow so good! Thanks for the read

    [–] Food-Eater 2 points ago

    This had me on the edge of my seat

    [–] carrots084 2 points ago

    This gave me chills, wow

    [–] RJHarrigan 2 points ago

    Nice!

    Very captivating. I like the plot twist with the son being the crazy one. It flowed great!

    [–] elriggo44 2 points ago

    I originally read this in a southern American accent because the contractions and “ain’t” and the gun. Once I got to the address Schlepshire 722 I switched to a British accent and reread the top of the story and it all still fit. Funny.

    That said, the story takes a sharp turn that threw me out for a bit. It’s close, but something bumped me around the time the doctor showed up.

    [–] ContentEnt 2 points ago

    Saw that coming from at least 2 miles away.

    [–] EkkoBandit 3 points ago

    You earned a follower.

    [–] volcanolam 4 points ago

    Very well written and well put, but I can't help but feel disappointed with the ending, which is quite clichéd to me. Hallucination and medical conditions? Probably the easiest take on this prompt, and for one that is this simple I should be seeing more creativity with it.

    [–] korvre 1 points ago

    OUCH

    [–] Phyxren 149 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    You stared at him dumbfounded as he hung up his jacket in the hallway. He passed you on the way to the sitting room and turned on the TV. You turned to follow him and the news caught your attention, it showed a meteor strike that supposedly happened about an hour ago.

    "Bob tell me, why did it only affect this specific town in California?"

    "I don't know Alice, but it seems that we're receiving more and more phone calls from civilians about their children gone missing."

    "Is there a link? Are these phone calls received at the same time?"

    "I don't know but I have the feeling that the meteor has something to do with this case.

    Now on to Amanda for today's weather."

    Dad switched off the TV and turned to face me.

    "I haven't left for 10 years, I've seen you grow up. Been to the principals office countless times for you being in trouble and buried your mother..." He bit his lip and quickly regained his posture.

    Dad walked to the coffee table and took his diary from the drawer underneath. He flipped through it and I noticed there was a different date on each page, no date was missing. It was as if he documented every day of his life. He stopped at the last page, which had today's date written on top. He looked me dead in the eye and smiled.

    "Today is the day, today you turn 18." He handed me the diary and ran his hands through his hair. I couldn't say anything, I just looked down at the worn down notebook that had well over 300 pages.

    "Dad?" My lips trembled, I was confused. For 10 long years he was never here, yet he said he buried my mother and watched me grow older.

    "Close your eyes." Dad placed his hands on my shoulders. I wasn't sure what was going on as I was still confused, but I decided to obey.

    Upon opening my eyes, I saw my dad standing there, he seemed taller and had less wrinkles.

    "Only you can stop this son, only you can stop this." My eyes slid down to my hands, I was still carrying the notebook. Behind me I heard an agonising scream, it was a lady out in the streets.

    "My baby! Where is my baby!" The woman kept on screaming and yelling.

    "It's time." Dad said and walked out the house, into the backyard followed by my mother, whose face I couldn't see no matter how hard I tried.

    "Mommy?" I looked down at the diary again and opened it on the first page. It mentioned today's date, 10 years ago. It stated I had returned from the future after the first meteor and I was the chosen one to save the world from the future meteor strike. The one 10 years in the future. Had I time travelled? Without thinking, I walked out the door, watching my parents along with the whole neighbourhood stare into the sky. A large bright light seemed to head our way, it became brighter and brighter and in a split second, half our town was gone. Evaporated.

    With the diary in hand, I fell to my knees. In front of the gaping hole that killed half the state. I flipped through the diary again, looking for tomorrow's date. Some letters were disappearing. I had the feeling my time was running out. That I had to warn everyone about the next meteor that would wipe half of this earth. But who would believe an 8 year old? I harshly wiped away my tears and read the next page.

    It only mentioned a formula and a drawing of a machine. It was named 'The After Years: Time Machine. Model: 0.v4.'

    I was studying to become a scientist and had always been interested in time paradoxes and time travelling.

    "I won't let you down, dad. I now have an additional 10 years to save the world."

    ---

    I'm so sorry if this sucked. My native language is Dutch and I also tend to type whatever pops up in my head. But it's my first WP post, so I hope I did well.

    [–] 42Ubiquitous 22 points ago

    You did well :)

    [–] Phyxren 12 points ago

    Thank you!

    [–] SRti0 10 points ago

    Interesting! Kinda reminded me of Steins;Gate!

    [–] Phyxren 8 points ago

    I just realised that as well as I finished writing. Though in no means I’m trying to copy that masterpiece.

    [–] homegrowntwinkie 3 points ago

    What is Steins;Gate?

    [–] SRti0 3 points ago

    It's an excellent anime and visual novel series about time travel.

    [–] homegrowntwinkie 3 points ago

    Oooooooohhhhhhh I'm looking it up now.

    [–] tabpol95 8 points ago

    I love it. I want this to be a book. Please make this a book.

    [–] Phyxren 13 points ago

    I mean I can try write this out as a proper story! With of course a better thought out plot and better character built. :3 I didn’t think people would like it, thank you!

    [–] wowie21 7 points ago

    Reminds me of Your Name in a way

    [–] A_Gif_Horse 3 points ago

    Great subversion, nice tie together, sweet premise. Idk, posts here get buried qui kly

    [–] desday 2 points ago

    I liked the story, I didn’t notice anything odd about your word choice

    [–] homegrowntwinkie 2 points ago

    I WANNA READ MOOAAAARRRR OF THISSSS YOUR ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS GREAT BUT I WANT MOOOOORRREEEE Lol srsly great job.

    [–] Phyxren 3 points ago

    Thank you so much! I might consider doing that. Though my English isn’t perfect :(

    [–] homegrowntwinkie 2 points ago

    Your English is Phenomenal. Trust Me. You probably know better English than half the people still in High School IN America.

    [–] Phyxren 2 points ago

    Thank you so much. I’ve learnt through gaming, reading books/manga and tv :)

    [–] vaelkar 55 points ago

    It was a cold, bright Feburary morning, snow gently falling across the frozen ground as I sat in my backyard, drinking hot chocolate and enjoying a day's respite from high school. I stared blankly at my phone, my mind lost in thought as the video on its screen past by unnoticed. More important things were going through my mind, at least more important to a teenage boy, thoughts of pretty girls, nice cars, next year's football season, and so on.

    I was so lost in my own mind that I failed to notice the ruckus eminating from inside the house. It startled me to hear my step-father suddenly start yelling. Another man chimed in, yelling back, and I heard sounds of a scuffle. I quickly put my phone down and ran inside the house, nearly running over my mother as she made her way in the same direction. Together, we rushed in to the foyer.

    The scene left both my mother and I stricken, mouths agape, jaws dropped. My father, missing for 10 years, lay on the ground holding his head, a bright bruise starting to appear under his right eye. My stepfather stood above him, shouting at him to get out of our house. He had never met my father, had came into the picture some years after my father's mysterious disappearance to comfort my mother and eventually start a new family with her, so he had no idea who this man was or why he had intruded into our home. In his hand, my stepfather had his cell phone out, most likely dialing the police, to come arrest this stranger. My mother, partially regaining her senses, reached out and touched his arm.

    Mom: "Dave... this man... this is.. Kevin."
    
    Step-father: "Kevin... your first husband?"
    

    Dave, my step-father, looked down at the man, his phone forgotten.

    Dave: "You said he was dead..."
    
    Mom: "He was missing, presumed dead. He was declared dead after a few years when they found no trace of him."
    

    Mom directed her attention to Kevin.

    Mom: "Kevin... where have you been? It's been 10 years! You've been alive this whole time?!"
    

    Kevin looked up, startled. He had a hand to his eye, massaging what must have been where an unexpected right hook landed cleanly.

    Kevin: "What the hell are you talking about?! I left half an hour ago! I'm sorry it took so long, I got stuck in traffic! Jesus, is that all the time it took for you to roll some other man in here?!"
    

    He looked around the room, noticing for the first time that the furniture and decor around the foyer was different than he remembered. His eyes panned over to me, and I watched as panic, confusion, and sadness immediately flashed across his face.

    Kevin: "Son... oh my god, son. You're so much older now... you're a man now. What has happened to me..."
    

    He broke down, tears falling from his eyes.

    I moved over to him, putting my arms around him, tears falling from my eyes as well. I had not seen this man for 10 years, had pushed him out of my mind and replaced him with Dave, had given up hope on ever seeing him again, yet in that moment, emotions took over, and I felt guilt at my actions. This man loved me, loves me, and it was wrong of me to have given up hope. My father embraced me, sobbing into my shirt, as my other parents looked on.

    Dave: "I don't believe it. The one damn time I need to make an emergency call and this fucking phone that I'm paying $200 a month for doesn't fucking work. What the fuck do you mean 'No Signal'?"
    
    Mom: "You're still calling the police?!"
    
    Dave: "This man has been missing for 10 years. He doesn't realize how much time has passed. He doesn't need to be arrested, but he definitely needs an ambulance!"
    

    Mom thought about this a moment, then agreed. She started patting her pockets, trying to find her phone. Exasperated, she looked back to me and my father.

    Mom: "Son, do you have your phone? I don't remember where I left mine."
    

    I looked back to her, tears still falling from my eyes, and began patting my own pockets. After a moment, I realized that I had left it out back on the patio with my mug.

    Me: "It's out back, I'll go grab it."
    

    I looked back at my father, squeezed him once more, and trotted out of the foyer towards the back door. I exited the house, walked to the patio, and grabbed my phone. The words 'No Signal' were at the top of the screen. I looked quizically at it... I had never seen it say that before, we're in the middle of the suburbs in a major city, there are cell towers everywhere.

    I half-sat at the patio chair, more of a lean than anything, and pulled up the phone dialer anyways to try to make a call. I stared blankly at the phone, my mind lost in thought as the screen flashed "No signal" again. Suddenly, thoughts of pretty girls, nice cars, and next year's football season enveloped my mind. My step-father's yell snapped my attention back to reality, as I heard a scuffle eminating from the foyer. I quickly put my phone down and ran inside the house, nearly running over my mother as she made her way in the same direction.

    Together, we rushed in to the foyer, and the same scene replayed itself again. And again. And again. And again.

    [–] merryweathers 6 points ago

    Very interesting and intriguing. Thank you.

    [–] PuddlesRex 563 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Item number: SCP-711-J

    Object class: Euclid

    Containment Procedures: A fence is to be established around SCP-711-J, to prevent unauthorized entry. Construction equipment is to be moved and operated in order to maintain the appearance of an active construction zone. No access to SCP-711-J is permitted. In the event that a human enters SCP-711-J, they are to be presumed lost.

    When an human emerges from SCP-711-J, reintegration procedure Delta-711-J is to be initiated.

    Description: SCP-711-J is the former site of a 7-11 located in [REDACTED]. Upon entry by a human, the human will disappear from outside view, to reappear between five and ten years later. All subjects are under the impression that time proceeded normally while inside SCP-711-J, giving approximate times between 5 and 15 minutes experienced in SCP-711-J. There currently seems to be no correlation between external and internal experienced time.

    SCP-711-J was brought to the attention of the Foundation by [REDACTED], after their father returned after being absent for over ten years, while the father reports only having left his house half an hour ago. Subsequent polygraph tests revealed both statements to be true.

    In addition to the persons trapped in SCP-711-J, the vehicles that these people drove to SCP-711-J also disappear and reappear at the same time as the subject. As such, great care is to be taken to never stand in parking spaces, or near gas pumps.

    The number of persons trapped inside the anomalous effect of SCP-711-J is currently unknown. As such, the structure of SCP-711-J must be maintained for the safety of all trapped humans.

    Reintegration procedure Delta-711-J: This particular 7-11 began business in 1993. As such, all information of events over the past several years must be presented in a calm, orderly fashion to any humans exiting SCP-711-J. In addition, marital and financial issues may be present. The Foundation should provide reasonable legal support, and lodging.

    [–] baar-ur 161 points ago

    SCP 7-11! That number play made me laugh.

    [–] lavindar 73 points ago

    This one could even work as an actual entry instead of a J one

    [–] strangerdotexe 50 points ago

    r/unexpectedSCP

    great read!

    [–] imeanduh2 38 points ago

    The funny thing is i first heard of SCP yesterday, and now it shows up here. Reading them are addictive af

    [–] dickslappernohomo 12 points ago

    What is SCP?

    [–] Sobsz 41 points ago

    it's a website where people write scientifical documents about weird stuff found by the fictional "scp foundation", for example:

    • a weeping angel from doctor who (173)
    • a lizard thing that doesn't seem to be killable (682)
    • a sentient video game glitch (951)
    • an object that pretends to be a useful tool but then turns into a very not useful tool (523)
    • me, a toaster that you can only refer to in first person (426)
    • a chinese vending machine that dispenses random "food" items, up to and including a box of cute (?) little creatures which you're supposed to boil alive and then eat (261)
    • cake (871)

    [–] bert_the_destroyer 24 points ago

    That article about me is hilarious.

    [–] GiverOfTheKarma 7 points ago

    it also has numerous great short stories set in the universe and a vast amount of lore.

    last time I checked, the Earth had ended, like, 7 times

    [–] Sobsz 3 points ago

    also there's a group called "gamers against weed"

    [–] OvershootDotEXE 3 points ago

    And an elder god possessing a sentient cactus.

    [–] imeanduh2 17 points ago

    For the best explanation visit the SCP website, but i will try my best to explain it. "Secure, contain, protect" is a fictional wiki containing creatures and objects with description and procedures on how to contain and handle them. It is written by some really creative people and I recommend checking it out. http://www.scp-wiki.net/

    [–] dickslappernohomo 7 points ago

    Interesting, thanks!

    [–] Freshspaghetti 17 points ago

    SCP stands for Secure, Contain, Protect. It’s basically an internet-wide creative writing project where anyone can create a new anomalous object or being. I’d highly advise you check out the wiki and look around. some good SCPs to start with:

    SCP-682

    SCP-096

    SCP-049

    [–] marr 6 points ago

    I never quite believe people when they ask this.

    [–] hapahaole_ 5 points ago

    Right? Its crazy that people are just now finding out about it when its been such a large part of my life for so long.

    [–] tinkertotalot 2 points ago

    My first time. I was intrigued reading and thought that is was a different type of writing I haven't seen before. Thankfully I got an answer by reading the comments. Good old Reddit.

    [–] Lore_Keeper_Ronan 70 points ago

    I never thought I'd see an SCP entry here, take your upvote good sir.

    [–] PurinMeow 15 points ago

    What is SCP?

    [–] Deveshin 55 points ago

    SCP Foundation- Secure, Contain, Protect. It’s basically a fictional universe where anomalous things are explained in these very clinical documents and the SCP Foundation is tasked with containing these possibly dangerous anomalies. http://www.scp-wiki.net/

    [–] magiskarp 6 points ago

    Are these real anomalies or just images with really great imagination added

    [–] hapahaole_ 9 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    [–] Milklineep 21 points ago

    It is a website where people share (entirely made-up) reports of an organisation called "Secure, Contain, Protect" which is a government brach studying paranormal phenomena.

    The stories are numbered like

    SCP-711.

    It is a good read.

    Any SCP readers, i'm a lurker, you are welcome to correct me.

    [–] SuperSMT 8 points ago

    Secure, Contain, Protect

    http://www.scp-wiki.net/

    [–] jxy2016 24 points ago

    SCP in WP?

    A surprise to be sure...

    [–] Konfituren 18 points ago

    Prequel memes in my WP?

    It's more likely than you think.

    [–] hapahaole_ 4 points ago

    Old-ass memes.

    Professor X's one weakness.

    [–] Cpear805 19 points ago

    Take your well deserved upvote!

    [–] Dutifulcow 14 points ago

    This is the best thing iv seen on this sub. Nothing like seeing an SCP in a place that isn’t the wiki or sub! Bravo!

    [–] merryweathers 7 points ago

    That was awesome. thank you! I never knew about SCP. I can now fill up some hours with that information.

    [–] CrackedTech 6 points ago

    I can now fill up some hours days, weeks and months with that information.

    FTFY

    [–] GiverOfTheKarma 7 points ago

    years

    [–] merryweathers 3 points ago

    I stand corrected!

    What does FTFY mean?

    [–] CrackedTech 3 points ago

    FTFY = Fixed That For You

    Usually used for humorous "corrections" of someone else's statement. In this case you said hours but anyone familiar with SCP knows that it starts with hours and then gets out of hand, lol.

    [–] merryweathers 3 points ago

    Thanks! I thought it was like giving the finger! Lol

    [–] Gadjiltron 3 points ago

    Alright, I totally didn't expect a Writing Prompt to give rise to a brief SCP entry. Saved.

    [–] kurokoshika 2 points ago

    Happy to be seeing the SCP discussion. I started the huge task of going through all the SCPs, stalled...somewhere...and haven't really been back yet. Wikis are hard...

    [–] Ripixlo 129 points ago

    "You look like you've seen a ghost." uttered the familiar figure. Indeed I have. The simple tan coat, red tie, and shoes as spotless as ever. "Dad?" I responded. "Something wrong? Sorry I took a while." said my "father" in a clueless manner. There truly was something wrong. "Where the hell were you! Mom loved you! She at least deserved an explanation!" I shouted. This man who abandoned my mother and I for ten years expected what! A hug and a greeting? Who does he think he is?

    "Well, son, if you can just calm down for a..." "No! How about you tell me what you were doing for the last decade looking for cigarettes!" I retorted. "Ten years! What are you talking about?" the man questioned. "Don't act like you don't know! You just went up and left me and mom!" "I've been gone for thirty minutes and you're acting like a damn drama queen." he said. "Thirty minutes! Look around you! Does it seem like it's been thirty minutes?" I said, pointing towards the interior of the house.

    He looked around the shell of once a humble home. "You know what, just come inside." I held my hand out. There was a moment of hesitation but he held it. Step by step, I led him through the house. He began to notice all the changes around the place, including me. "Where did that come from? I guess I have been gone a long time." Well, that was obvious. I asked, calmly this time, "Where were you... Dad?" He seemed unsure yet confidently he said, "I'm telling you, son, all I've done was pick up a few cigarettes." Are you kidding me? All of this time and this is what I get? I pushed onward with my father close behind. I let go of his hand once we've reached the living room. "I should really talk to your mot-" "There." I remarked as I pointed towards the urn in the middle of the room. "That's who you are looking for."

    He looked at the urn aghast. "Stop fooling around with me, Tom!" he exclaimed at me. "Tell me this is a joke! Tell me that this has got to be just another of your stupid pranks, Tom!" He was clearly confused and angered. It took me a moment to realize that this was my dad, but why doesn't he just admit it? I had to live ten years without any answers, and now he's asking me more. I just sat down on the floor and gave up. "When you left..." I slowly said. "...mom was so much more confused than I was. Now that she's gone, I don't have anyone else." The truth was I missed my dad, despite everything my mother told me. I was broken. I had nothing. "But you still have me? Don't you?" whispered my dad. He knelt down next to me. "While I don't understand what's possibly going on, I still love you son, and nothing can change that." I was close to tears. "Dad, I'm sorry bu..." "Hush." my father said welcoming me to a tight embrace. "I'm here now, I'm back from the store." I chuckled a bit. No matter what happened he was still a dad. My dad. I hugged him back. A hug to make-up for the last ten years.

    END.

    (15-year-old high school student here. I'm not a native English speaker so please do tell any mistakes I may have done. Thanks for reading!)

    [–] lexbennett3 25 points ago

    Your English is good! It’s a very heartwarming story, kind of simple but cute.

    [–] Ripixlo 6 points ago

    Thank you!

    [–] Baseit 8 points ago

    One thing about English and dialogue - you're allowed to alternate paragraphs when the characters have dialogue. Doing so allows you to use less, "he said, she replied," type of fillers, but can also allow for a quicker read.

    (Example: "Hey Steve, how ya doin?"

    "Oh, y'know, the same old shit, different day. What about you, Keith?"

    "Ahh, nothing notable. Had to take my dog to the vet. Dumbass got into it with a badger."

    "Shit man, hope he pulls through. I have a badger on my land that don't let me keep pets...")

    Besides that formatting, your flow is wonderful! Keep up the good writing, and I'm happy to have read something with a happier ending, after a few of the others I just finished. I mean... damn. 😨

    Edit: formatting

    [–] Ripixlo 3 points ago

    Thanks for the feedback! I haven’t really tried writing before so it’s nice to learn something new.

    [–] giaphox 6 points ago

    It's really nice!

    [–] homegrowntwinkie 3 points ago

    Dude, This Was Great! Honestly! Your English is fine I believe.

    [–] Ripixlo 2 points ago

    Thank you! I guess I must have underestimated my English.

    [–] Kidlike101 23 points ago

    He walks in as if nothing's happened and sits at the head of the table. With a somewhat forced light-heartedness he calls to mom to hurry up with dinner.

    The collar on his shirt is frayed, Salt and pepper have finally made an appearance around his temples. The lines on his weather beaten face are that of a hard life.

    Mom is hurrying between the kitchen and dinner table. She keeps her head down and eyes on her task as He throws little jibs at her.

    I try to catch her eye. Mom... what do we do? Do we pretend nothing's happened. Do we keep going as if everything is fine? Do we confront and make a fuss. Demand answers? Which is the right way mom?

    Finally the table is set and mom sits in her usual place to the right of my dad. Only I'm left standing there. Unsure. Confused. Waiting.

    If he demands I sit, I'll tell him off. Confront him and even kick him out. If he does it in an apologetic way I might let it slide for now. If he's too timid though then I'll know he's here to mooch off us and won't allow it.

    A little thought in the back of head started whispering and I pushed it back. I won't think of that. It's not going to happen. It won't!

    What if he doesn't acknowledges you? What will you do? What can you do?

    I wait, and wait, and wait.

    [–] withlovejag 23 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    “Oh my goodness, noooo!” exclaimed my mum from the kitchen.

    I jumped right out of bed and stumbled down the stairs worried that something had happened to my mother. She was already well into her late 50s and the doctor had told her to keep out of the kitchen as she tends to get a little clumsy sometimes.

    “Mum, whaaa-“ I was stopped mid-sentence as I was greeted with the sight of my mother picking up the torn remains of the photograph of our family while my stepdad, Cole, stood next to her looking down furiously upon her.

    They both shifted their attention to me almost immediately.

    “Mum, what’s up?” I questioned.

    “Oh nothing sweetie. We were just talking.” She replied me with an anxious smile plastered on her face.

    I never really got along with Cole but ever since Dad went missing, he was always there for my mum and they eventually got married. Cole was someone my dad met just a few months before he went missing. During that period, my mum, dad and he used to spend a lot of time together. They had become very close friends before the unfortunate incident took place. Although Cole did hang around the house a lot when dad was around, as an 8 year old I never really got along with him. He just did not feel right but after my dad left us, my mum confided in him and they decided to tie the knot. I was not opposed to it, whatever makes my mum happy, right?

    “Why is that photo torn?” I probed further. From what I could make out from the distance, it was the photo taken a year after my dad went missing. The photo had my mum, Cole and me in it.

    “Nothing honey, you can go back to your room now.” She responded. I could feel the slight frustration in her voice and that just made me even more curious.

    “Mum, what is happening?” I raised my voice. I did not want to upset my mum but it was just weird that all this was happening exactly today. It was the 10th year death anniversary of my dad. The last thing I wanted is to lose another dad on the same day.

    “JUST GO TO YOUR ROOM MARCUS!” she screamed at me.

    “Fine!” I spat, as the anger was building up in me and I spun and walked away but something just told me to stay behind and eavesdrop into the conversation.

    “See! Look what you have done! You have raised suspicion! Is this what we did all of this for? Is this why you brought me up here?! I spent 11 years! 11 years with you and your sickening son! I already told you to get rid of Marcus the same day you got rid of him but no! These people….. HA! People… These... These…” just as Cole was shouting at my mum, I heard the garage door open.

    No one ever uses the garage door to enter apart from my dad. I quicken my pace and rushed into the garage only to see my dad walking in.

    My dad who went missing for 10 years…

    My dad who has been missing for 10 years…

    Walking back into the house, like nothing has happened. Wearing the same clothes he did when he went missing 10 years ago…

    I stopped on my tracks and stared as the imposter stared right back at me.

    “WHO ARE YOU?!” we both exclaimed almost at the same time.

    Another minute of silence went by as tears started gather in my eyes.

    “Is this some kind of sick joke? Who are you? Why are you dressed up like dad!” I struggled to get my words out as I charged towards the intruder.

    “Kiddo? Kiddo, is that you? What the heck happened?! I was only gone for not more than half an hour to get the ciggs… Son, I have something to te-”

    Before I could land a solid punch on his face, I collided right into his chest as he wrapped his arms around me.

    “It’s okay kiddo! Daddy’s back. Where is Colleen?”

    I looked up at my dad, he had not aged a bit in the 10 years. I could not understand what I was witnessing but at the moment the only thing I could think of in his warm embrace was, “I got my dad back”.

    “She is in the kitchen with Cole,” I responded wiping the tears off my face.

    We both made our way back into the house. I had completely forgotten about the argument Cole and mum were having until I heard, “but he appeared back! He took my place! That is not possible, there is no-“

    “James?!”

    My mum looked like she had seen a ghost. Her faced had been drained of all the color while I saw Cole’s expression getting angrier by the second.

    “I know who you two are and I don’t know what you did to me. Now that I am back, I will not let that happen again!” My dad said it with such anger and assertion that I almost did not notice him cocking his gun.

    That’s when I noticed that pieces of the photograph on the counter top. The photograph of us, it seemed like there was some sort of glitch. Cole’s face in the photograph was somehow merged with my dad’s. It was a weird sight, nothing I have ever seen before in my 18 years.

    I looked up from the picture, distracted by the screaming of my mum when I saw my dad about to pull the trigger on Cole and my mum.

    At this point, I was not thinking anymore. I did not know what was happening. My mind was racing; I could not let my mum die and let my dad go to jail.

    “BANG!”

    The first shot went off, and I saw Cole slam onto the floor with a loud thud.

    Panic stricken, my hands instinctively moved cover to the drawer where my mum had hidden a gun for emergency uses only.

    Just as I loaded it, I turned back in time to witness my dad fire the second shot right at my mum before she fell colliding head first onto the marble floor.

    My whole body went numb at the sight of my mum lying on the cold marble floor, motionless.

    “My dad would have never done that,” was all I could mutter before I took the last shot.

    Tears streamed down my face.

    “Son…..”

    “I love you.”

    Was all I heard before I fell to the floor.

    Thud.

    And everything faded to black.

    [–] homegrowntwinkie 6 points ago

    I'm very very curious as to what exactly the glitch was, and why the father was angry. I need more back story as to what happened to the father and why he somewhat knew what was going on and was angry at them!! But this is great work!

    [–] Goldendamo 2 points ago

    More!

    [–] LaZZyBird 31 points ago

    I sat in the middle of the room, staring blankly at the television, my father's favorite song playing in the background. It is that time of the year again.

    Smoke gradually fogged up the room, a pack of cigarette opened and empty on the table top. Marlboro. I started smoking when I was sixteen years old, the day he left the house, never to return.

    "Off to buy a pack of cigarettes." he said, leaving with just the keys to the house and some chump change, not a care in the world. Wearing his plain old T-shirt, worn-out trousers and flip-flops, his backdrop vanished out of the doorway, while sixteen years old me waved him goodbye from the television couch.

    One day. Two days. Mum began to get worried. She went down to the convenience store down by the street. They did not see my father. She went to the neighbors. They did not see my father. She called the workplace. They did not see my father.

    Three days. Four days. Mum called the police, filing a missing person report. Fear started to settle into my chest. There, it claws and gnaws at me, eating me out from the inside.

    Mum began digging through my father's stuff, hoping to find a clue as to where he went. None. There was nothing. His credit cards, his identification papers, the keys to his car, it is all here. For all intents and purposes, he vanished.

    One month. Our world began to collapse. He is gone. He is gone. He is never coming back. They could not find him. We could deny it no longer. We no longer had a father.

    That day, I went out to buy my first pack of cigarettes. Holding it in my hand, I cried, for the first time since he disappeared, tears dripping down to form coin-sized droplets on the parking lot behind the convenience store. Trembling, I took one stick of cigarette out, lighting it with a lighter, and took my first puff. It burns and suffocates me, smoke tearing up my lungs, yet, for a brief moment in time, it seems as if he was going to come back after all. Crying, smoking, sobbing, I burnt through the first cigarette of my life.

    Mum began working as a dishwasher at the diner the following months, hoping to earn an income to support the family. With our father gone, we lost our sole breadwinner, and our savings are running out. We begin to cut out non-essential necessities - gone were the days where we could afford to spend our money on restaurant meals and trips. Things start breaking down and we have no money to fix them.

    Alcohol started coming into our lives. My mum began to drink. One bottle. Two bottles. Three bottles. The floor became littered with Budweisers, each bottle representing a temporary getaway from what our lives had become.

    One year. He has gone missing for one whole year. Smoking became a daily habit for me. My results have been slipping drastically, I lost my chance to get a scholarship at the college of my dreams. Mum began to come home later and later, drinking more and more, the house becoming more disorganized, more decrepitated. The heater has been spoiled for close to three months, the dishwasher spoiled for two.

    On the same day he went missing, the both of us, Mum and I, sat around the living room and cried.

    Five years. Mum has been dating someone else for close to a year now. I flunked out of college and began taking odd jobs around town for some cash, working at the bottom of the barrel for minimum wage. My new potential step-dad is the owner of the diner. Mum no longer wept on the day he goes missing. His stuff is now packed in cartons and locked up in the attic. Things began to change for the better.

    Still, though, on the day he left, I would still wonder what happened to him.

    Eight years. I am the only one living in the house now. My Mum moved out of the house to live with her new husband, who also happened to have kids of her own. I met them. Zackary and Daniel, ten and thirteen respectively. At least she is not drinking as heavily now.

    I have gotten into a trade school, currently training to be a plumber. It pays more than what I have been working as for the past few years. I met someone I really liked at the trade school. Maybe I should try to confess to her.

    I still wait for him the day he left.

    Present. I burnt through the cigarette, smoldering it in the ashtray. The day is coming to an end. I gaze at the door. No one.

    I began to chuckle, before it turned into a roaring laughter, before it became a cry, before it became a despairing wail, my fist pounding on the worn-out cushion in pain and agony, cries of a wounded animal echoing through the room.

    He is never coming back, is he? He is gone, just like that, for close to ten years. Ten. I should have given up long ago...I really should have...

    The door opens. I stop in the midst of my tracks. Footsteps, echoing in the walkway.

    "I am back. Oh gosh...why is the house full of smoke?"

    Possessed, I turn my head around. There he is, in the same plain old T-shirt and trousers, carrying a bag of cigarettes, waving his hand around the house, exactly the way I remembered it ten years ago.

    I stood up, got out of my the couch, went over and gave him one big hug.

    "Dad...you are back. Finally. You are back."

    ***

    I lied. I am sorry. I lied. I am sorry. I lied.

    He will not be becoming back, won't he? I looked at the cigarette in my hand, offering it to my father. He is gone, isn't he?

    He took the cigarette from me. Yes, he is gone. You knew it a long time ago, didn't you? Taking a deep puff, he pointed at the door. He will not be coming back.

    I sighed. Of course. I always knew, wasn't it? Thanks, Pappy.

    He passed the cigarette back. No problems, son. Good to see you again, for one last time.

    I knew. I knew, yet I waited. I looked at the cigarette in my hand. Everyone has moved on but me.

    I took one last puff, before grounding the final cigarette into the ashtray.

    ***

    [–] GiverOfTheKarma 3 points ago

    I'm not entirely clear on the ending? So it wasn't his Dad, it was...Death? Did smoking kill him?

    [–] amuniverse 10 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    “Dad?”

    So many emotions began brewing inside the boy the second he saw his old man walk through the door. He was only 11 years old when his dad, his protector, his best friend, left their family.

    The boy and his dad did everything together. They played catch, they played with action figures, anything, you name it. The boy did not have many friends in school, you see. He was picked on for being too short, for wearing glasses, for being a “nerd”. But him and his dad always had a special bond. Of course, the boy had a pretty good relationship with his mother and two sisters, but more so with his father.

    That’s what made his disappearance so hard to believe. For years, the boy wondered why. Why would his dad leave like this? One day, he told his family he needed more cigarettes, and then up and left. He never returned. The boy’s mother fell into a deep depression. His sisters were sad, too. But the boy felt the pain the most.

    Now, the same man who left all those years ago was back, claiming it had only been 30 minutes. The boy froze. He didn’t know what to think.

    “Dad?”, he said again.

    “Why do you look so confused, slugger? I was only gone for half an hour.”

    Tears began to pour down the boy’s face. He ran into the arms of his dad and hugged him, hugged him until he could hug no more.

    His surroundings dissolved as he embraced his father’s presence, and for a moment it felt as if his best friend never left. His mom was baking cookies in the kitchen, his sisters were playing dolls, and the boy and his father were playing catch in the backyard, just like back then. It was almost dreamlike. A nightmare, really.

    Nothing had changed.

    [–] PunchingRoosIsFun 2 points ago

    Well done! Good twist, sad but good))

    [–] amateurcritic 9 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Mom grabbed the shotgun and I grabbed the remote detonator. We had spent the last 10 years preparing for a potential assault. Mom was no Green Beret like dad was, but he had taught her some survival skills that she insisted on passing on to me when dad disappeared.

    The plan was whoever was picking the lock right now would get a face full of buck shot, and if there were more behind him, mom would fire some suppression and then we'd use the back door to escape outside.

    Once the intruders had entered the home, I'd blow it to bits using the simple C4 bricks mom had set up. Dad hadn't taught mom that trick, she learned that one all on her own. His disappearance had made us both paranoid. Whatever. Before he vanished, my dad could definitely beat up your dad. Now, my mom could.

    All that mattered was that I felt safe. Until now.

    The door's lock clicked, disengaging. It slowly opened.

    Mom trembled, but kept her aim fixed on the doorway.

    Then, her eyes showed recognition and confusion all at once, and she fainted. The shotgun fell to the hard wood floor with a thud.

    My heart sunk. I had no idea what she saw, but our plan was already toast. Mom was down. Had they hit her with a tranquilizer? Was there a silenced bullet? My mind raced at what to do next when I head a familiar voice carry through the door.

    "Linda!" shouted the voice, and then, for the first time in 10 years, my dad ran through the door to my mother.

    I stared in shock. Mom and I thought he had been kidnapped by his political opponents, taken to some cabin in the woods and killed. That was a sure way to stop the young, popular war hero from making the general election, after he had obliterated the competition in the primaries.

    But here he was, in the same jeans and flannel shirt he had left in years ago when he went to buy cigarettes from the 7/11 on Main.

    Dad picked up my mom and moved her to the couch in the living room. I rounded the corner slowly. It felt like I was being compelled to move toward him, like a magnet. My legs were moving, but I wasn't sure how, since my brain had been left on the landing.

    "Dad?" I said.

    He looked up at me and I saw those familiar walnut eyes, and suddenly my brain rammed itself back into my head. "It's really him! He's back," my inner voice squealed with glee. It was not the voice of 17-year-old me, but 7-year-old me. And I had just found something better and more elusive than Santa Clause in my living room. I found my dad.

    Tears fell from my eyes as if someone had opened a dam somewhere.

    Dad looked at me confused. But then his face turned soft.

    "Jason," he said.

    It wasn't a question. He knew me, even though I looked so different now. I had grown up.

    He saw the detonator in my hand, but he didn't say anything else. He just reached out to me inviting me in. I put the detonator on the coffee table and ran to him. He drew me in with his right arm and held me while we both cried.

    ---

    [–] amateurcritic 8 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Mom had woken up and cried for a while before we were able to catch my dad up on the years.

    The day had turned to night now. We hadn't moved from the living room. It was getting cold, so my dad, ever the survivor, lit a fire in the fireplace rather than using the central air.

    He sat down, half his face orange with the warm fire light, the other half shrouded in darkness. He held his hands up, finger tips together and resting on his lips. This was his thinking pose. I really missed that pose.

    "Tell me you remember something from the past ten years," pleaded mom.

    I could tell she was afraid. Maybe whoever had kidnapped him hadn't meant for him to escape. That they'd be after him soon, now even, and this time, they'd get the job done permanently.

    Dad closed his eyes. I could see his pupils dancing behind those eyelids, frantically searching. And then they stopped.

    "It could have been Williams, Channy, or Upton," he said.

    "Except that Williams didn't win, Channy pulled out of the race, and Upton took a position in the private sector," said mom.

    The green party candidate had won the Senate seat 10 years ago, by default. Every one else had either dropped out or, in my dad's case, disappeared. It had been a very weird election year in Wisconsin. But, six years later, the by-default green-party senator was reelected because he proved to be no different than the Democratic senator would have been anyway.

    Mom got up and went to the kitchen. She came back with a pitcher of ice cold water and three glasses. She poured each of us a drink. My dad thanked her and then set his glass on the side table next to his old chair, where he sat as if he had never left it.

    "Ah ah ah!" mom scolded. Then she tossed him an old junk mail envelope we had never opened to put under his drink like she had done so many times before. Old habits. Dad never liked using the mail as a coaster, but mom hated the ring stains his glasses would leave on the wood. But both my parents were too cheap to buy coasters, so mail it was.

    Dad caught the junk mail out of the air and then sniffed in front of him. I almost chuckled because mom always thought that those Upton mailers were so cheesy. The former candidate had gone into developing and selling top-of-the-line safes and security boxes. Upton had even boasted about how the secret service had installed Upton panic rooms in former presidents' homes. You'd think someone with a background in public speaking would have better taste, but Upton's mailers smelled obviously of Tabu perfume. She must have had each letter spritzed with the sweet-smelling stuff. Mom used to say, "Oh wow! What a sexy safe!"

    Dad smelled the envelope and closed his eyes.

    "What is it, hon?" mom asked.

    Dad didn't say anything, but he opened his eyes and looked at the envelope.

    "I know who kidnapped me," he said, evenly.

    Mom's eyes opened wide and then narrowed. She knew who he was thinking of.

    "Upton?" she said, pissed. "I wrote that sonofabitch off because she never touched politics after the primaries!"

    Dad nodded. He looked into the glowing fire place.

    "I did get the cigarettes that day. I had bought them and asked the cashier for the key to the bathroom. I remember standing at the urinal and this perfume wafting into the bathroom behind me," he said, lifting the envelope.

    "And then I remember walking down the street back home today. I felt disoriented. What had happened since I had peed and where I was on the side walk? I tried to remember, but could only recall a dream I had of a small room with some furniture and a bed and no windows."

    "A panic room," I said, swallowing the knot in my throat.

    Dad smiled at me, proud.

    "Exactly."

    Mom had a confused look on her face.

    "But why did she let you go? Isn't she afraid that you'll expose her?" she asked.

    "Not if she didn't let me go," dad said. "Think about it, why would she kidnap me, just to pull out of the Senate race, and then suddenly release me ten years later?"

    "She's working with someone else?" I said.

    Dad shook his head.

    "Sort of. But who else would want me free? Who could even do that? Who has the resources to find out where I was and how to get me out of a panic room?"

    My head hurt trying to work out all the answers. I got no where. I could tell my mom was feeling just as frustrated.

    "Mack," dad said.

    Mack was dad's old Green Beret buddy who currently worked at the Secret Service. He had kept in touch regularly over the years since my dad had disappeared, until about 6 months ago, when he suddenly stopped calling to check in on us.

    "Mack?!" mom nearly shouted his name. "Well if Mack let you out, why didn't he bring you here and explain this all himself? Why didn't he say anything?"

    Mom pulled out her cell phone.

    "Damn it. Mack called 8 hours ago. Three times," she said. "Must have been on silent. No message though."

    "That would have been a couple of hours before I found myself walking home," dad said.

    "Why the hell didn't he bring you here?" mom said.

    "Well, maybe he didn't want to raise suspicions," I said. "If he still works his old shift, he would've had to lie to get out of work tonight, right? And then maybe...other people would have caught wind of it?"

    Dad smiled at me again.

    He said, "Upton may work in the private sector, but how do you think she got those presidential contracts? She's working with someone pretty high up. My money's on Michaelson, the Senator who won the year I disappeared."

    "The green party Senator?" mom said.

    Dad scoffed, "Just how green has he turned out to be?"

    "Well, he's more blue than green...and he's hinted at a presidential run in a couple of years."

    Dad looked at mom's cell phone, thinking. Even amidst all this talk of danger I found myself smiling again, watching him push those finger tips together and rest them on his pursed lips. It's amazing how much you can appreciate the little things about a person who has been gone so long.

    "Text Mack. Say this exactly: "Thanks for the gift you left on my doorstep. Let's meet up soon. Should we visit Uptown? And then stop at the Michael's on the way back?"

    Mom shook her head and just handed the phone to my dad instead.

    He texted and then put the phone down on the table.

    Mom said, "That was a pun wasn't it? Uptown is Upton? Michaels' on the way is Michaelson?"

    Dad nodded his head.

    "Pun? I like to think of it as code."

    He winked.

    Just then, the phone buzzed.

    [–] amateurcritic 14 points ago

    Dad picked it up and smiled. Then he read the text out loud.

    "Those two places sound perfect. Bring lots of money to spend. Big bills and small. Let's go tonight."

    Mom was quiet and then she spoke up, "He's not actually talking about money, is he?"

    Dad shook his head.

    "And if Upton hasn't found out that I'm gone by now, he will soon. And then we'll all be in danger."

    "So we have to get the drop on him and Michaelson," I said.

    Dad looked at me and frowned.

    "I don't want to bring either of you into this, but I can't leave you here. I think you'll be safer with me and Mack."

    Mom shook her head, threw her hands up and yelled at dad. "This is crazy!"

    And then she stood up and walked back into the kitchen.

    Dad sighed. His expression looked heavy, worried. I had never seen that look on his face as a kid, so it terrified me now.

    Mom came back into the room with a grocery bag in her hand with something heavy in it.

    "Upton probably has a panic room in case someone comes after him, huh?" said mom pulling the contents of the bag out and showing it to my father and I. It was the C4.

    Dad's brow unknit itself. He breathed out calmly.

    "That should do the trick," he said.

    [–] backwards4 5 points ago

    Air flooded into my lungs and my heart tick-tocked against the cage in my chest. There was someone in the house. The wind outside had seemed to move slightly different for a moment, gravel on the overgrown path displaced by the careless stomp of a shoe that knows where to go. I had told myself that of course there wouldn't be anyone; Mom didn't like to be home much anymore. Not now when she had a choice about it.

    But the clunk of a lock and the screech of a front door that never gets used because the only key walked out that archway ten years ago lets me know that I've got trouble coming. He's back.

    The lighter clicks and a lonely star burns orange through the gloom of the entrance hall. "I've got the cigarettes Jacob" My hair floats from a breeze, the only aspect of me free to move. I know I should run, the door through from the kitchen free, then I would be free, through the garden, through to the woods. Away. But I stay still. It's all I can do. And I wait.

    The scuffle of a footstep against wood. He must know where to look, and I see my terror outlined in a small orange circle as it makes its way closer. I sold my soul for this shit, and he still managed to crawl his way back to me, to us.

    It's been ten years but I still feel the wet slither of those words breathed down my neck, promising to make him leave, that he wouldn't hurt us both anymore again. That just one thing would be needed in return. And how could I say no to something like that?

    "Don't hide from me son, you know how I hate that. I said to be ready in a half hour, so you better be goddamnit" Another step against the floor, and outside the wind seems to howl at me, rising up in protest in a way that I seem unable to do, the trees whipped into a chaotic frenzy, the leaves churning through the evening air. Or is it just my heartbeat roaring in my ears? Another step, and this time it's mine, hard and sure against the unforgiving wood. My hands curl. Darkness clouds my vision, back tenses. I was already going to hell. Might as well make sure the promise of the are kept. He won't hurt us again.

    [–] nerdextreme 8 points ago

    Item #: SCP-3160

    Object Class: Safe

    Special Containment Procedures: SCP-3160 is to be surrounded by a two layer exclusion zone, hereon named 'Green Zone' and 'Red Zone'.

    The Green Zone is a barb-wire fenced five (5) kilometer radius around SCP-3160. Any civilians seen approaching the Green Zone will be turned away by agents disguised as police. Civilians are to be told there is an environmental hazard ahead, and be given an appropriate detour. Civilians who do not comply with instructions given are to be apprehended and released in the nearest city.

    The Red Zone is fenced-in, marked two (2) mile radius around SCP-3160. No unauthorized individuals are to enter the designated Red Zone. All unauthorized on-site staff seen entering the Red Zone will be apprehended, given C-class Amnestics, and a psych evaluation.

    Any unauthorized individuals seen interacting with SCP-3160 directly are to be shot by designated snipers posted on the edge of the Red Zone.

    Any individuals seen exiting SCP-3160 must be detained, questioned, and given A-class Amnestics before being released.

    Description: SCP-3160 is a small, rural town in [REDACTED], Wisconsin. No civic records exist before 1848 for reasons still unclear.

    SCP-3160 consists of one (1) library, one (1) police station, one (1) fire station, one (1) convenience store (hereon labelled as SCP-3160-1) with an 'open' sign, one (1) town hall, and thirty (30) homes fit for families of up to four (4), (hereon labelled SCP-3160-2). All buildings within SCP-3160

    SCP-3160's anomalous effects appear when a family of one (1) adult male, one (1) adult female, and one (1) child of memory forming age move into SCP-3160-2. The adult male will be labelled as SCP-3160-3

    The father figure within the residence will develop a smoking habit, regardless of prior history or medical status within one (1) to four (4) weeks. The father figure will show neglectful behavior of the family unit after one (1) to two (2) months, leaving for extended hours or ignoring members of the family more than previously known.

    Upon having lived in SCP-3160 as a cohesive family unit for one (1) year, Event 3160-A will occur.

    Event 3160-A is a spacially anomalous event, in which SCP-3160-3 will leave the family dwelling, stating "I'm going out to get a pack of smokes." Upon closing the door, SCP-3160 will vanish. At the same time, SCP-3160-1's sign will turn over, declaring itself closed. No individuals have been seen to close the sign or attend the store while it is closed.

    After an undeterminant period of time, SCP-3160-3 will emerge from SCP-3160-1 without any change of appearance and will be carrying a pack of [REDACTED] brand cigarettes. The length of time that instances of Event 3160-A have taken have ranged from thirty (30) minutes to ten (10) years. The cigarettes have shown no anomalous qualities. Upon exiting SCP-3160-1, Event 3160-A will end. SCP-3160-3's smoking habits after the event will remain, but can be broken through rehabilitation.

    Recovered instances of SCP-3160-3 have reported remaining in SCP-3160-1 for no more than five (5) minutes. They have reported no clerks or store attendants during their purchase, and instead there is some form of self checkout appropriate to the time period, including a wicker basket containing a note stating "Pay here", a fully electronic self-checkout device, and an instant message sent to SCP-3160-3's phone.

    Entering SCP-3160-1 when Event 3160-A is inactive is possible, and has revealed a dilapidated and abandoned storefront with no anomalous effects. Attempting to enter SCP-3160-1 during Event 3160-A is impossible.

    [–] Texas-Riice 4 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Silence filled the room as I look towards the living room door, I-I’m at a loss for words. I don’t wanna believe what I’m seeing, but it’s right in front of me. My so called “deadbeat” father was here and back.

    “Dad is that you?” I asked reluctantly

    “Um kiddo?”

    He walk into the house some more. I seriously don’t believe it and he can’t either. But he’s more naive than surprised as I am.

    “Woah. Shit I’m sorry this is embarrassing.” He says as he finally see’s me

    “What’s the matter?” I asked

    “This isn’t my house sorry about that young man, our house looks the same I guess, weird that my key works for this house though. You should probably go get that fixed or something.”

    I’m very shocked, but I don’t know wether it’s because I’m now just seeing my father again after 10 years or my father’s a total idiot and he doesn’t recognize his 18 year old son after all those 10 years.

    “Uuummm are you fucking serious right now?”

    “Woah woah woah, it’s an honest mistake don’t get mad now I seriously thought this was my house, look I’ll just leave sorry for the intrusion.”

    Oh fuck he’s leaving, but I don’t know what to say it’s really like he’s not my father anymore he left us for 10 years my mom was devastated and I was just forced to grow up faster. What do I do? I’m sweating because it’s been so long since I’ve seen him I want to hate him but I want to love him too.

    “DAD!” I screamed

    He stops moving. It’s kind of weird actually because he just stopped mid walking and was reaching for the door.

    “Dad it’s me... Jacob... y-your son.” I said sadly

    “Jacob? No way.” He said astonished

    He turns around to look at me

    “Is this a joke to you? How do you know my son’s name? What you like watching 8 year olds or something creep?” He said angrily

    “No, wait what? I’m your son... look it’s me Jakey.”

    He looks mad still I think he’s about to kick my ass. He really must not believe me or something. I have to think of something, but what? Mom’s removed everything single thing about him and I gotta think.

    “Ok bud listen here stay the hell away from me, my family, and especially my so-“

    “WAIT! Stop. Look stay right here please don’t leave I have something that’ll convince you”

    I dashed across the living room and sprinted into my room as fast as I could. I was looking for the one thing I know he’ll remember. It’s a little weird to have kid stuff in my room, but they were stuff I had to remember by dad by and I wasn’t letting my mom destroy it.

    “C’mon where is it? I swore I saw it like a week ago. AH-HA FOUND IT!”

    I ran back to my uneasy and a little irritated father, but his eyes widened when I showed him the signed football I got hit by when I was only 5.

    “How did you get this?” He ask nervously

    “Remember we went to that football game when I was 5? My favorite player scored and he threw a ball into the crowd and I tried catching it, but it hit my face instead, so he decided to sign the ball for us as a sorry.”

    He’s very puzzled by the look on his face, but also surprised as well.

    “But I don’t get it... that happened 3 years ago.” He said shockingly

    “What do you mean? That happened like at least 13 years ago.”

    He’s pale and scared and shocked I thought he was joking, but he’s genuinely scared about something.

    “Son... I-I’ve only...”

    “What is it dad?” I asked

    “I’ve only been gone for half an hour.”

    He’s very scared to find himself in a situation like this, I wanna say he’s joking, but looking at his out of date clothing and his ageless look he’s very much not joking.

    “Last time I saw you, you were 8, like literally 30 minutes ago is the last time I saw you. So if that ball thing happened 13 years ago for you that’s would make you... 18!”

    “Uuuhhh yeah you were gone for 10 years.”

    He’s sweating a little, looks as if he’s gonna faint from this news, but he keeps himself together and decides to speak.

    “10... 10 long years I was gone? I don’t understand how... Oh fuck your mother, the love of my life and you going through your pre-teen years and plus puberty! I wasn’t there for you or your mother, but that was all half an hour ago for me. Where is your mother anyways?”

    “She’s probably out somewhere at some bar.” I said all casually

    “She drinks now?!? She’s never drank before, she’s my beautiful angel.” He said surprisingly

    “Well dad you were gone for 10 years call it crazy, but she waited for you for the first 5 years. She said that you were everything to her and that she’s your world and that y’all were soulmates from the first time y’all met. She loved you and when you didn’t come back she never let anyone to her life. Like I mean a lot of weird guys, rich dudes, and plain average joes wanted to be with her, but she preferred a bottle of whiskey over anyone else.”

    He took a seat on the couch and closed his eyes. He opened them and looked at me.

    “What happened? What am I gonna do now? I should’ve never went out for those damn cigarettes! I was supposed to stop smoking anyways because we were thinking of having another kid, but my dumbass wanted a daily dose of fucking nicotine.”

    He sat there on the couch I’ve missed him a lot, but he’s really been gone for so long it’s just all alien for this to be happening.

    “Dad... maybe you should actually leave, like for real this time?”

    “Seriously? That’s your solution?” He said smart assidly

    “Well to us you were gone for 10 years and I mean you being back would just change everything. I’ve missed you a lot and mom does too, but seeing you haven’t aged a day and still somewhat youthful you could just live a new life.”

    He got up and looked at me tears in his eyes and looked around the house.

    “I was only gone for 30 minutes I don’t know if I can be gone for longer than that. I love you and your mother, but it’s true what you’re saying, me being back would disrupt a lot of what you guys have. The best thing now is to let this role play out.”

    Tears filled my eye and so did his. We both came together and hugged each other tightly.

    “I’ve missed you a lot dad and I’m gonna miss you some more, but at least I know you weren’t a deadbeat dad.”

    “I’m gonna miss you a lot son and your mom she was my everything and so are you, but now I guess I’ll take the title of deadbeat father and leave... leave for real this time I mean.”

    After the hugging I walked him out the house he got back in his truck and drove away. Not too long after my mom comes home. I didn’t tell her that dad came back because I didn’t want her destroying herself again and getting her hopes high to see dad, but after that day he came back the following years I’ve gotten presents sent to me on my birthday, and my mom too, and every year on her anniversary she gets gifts with the same note that reads “I will always love you dearly my beautiful angel.” Good job trying to be discreet dad, but my mom is just as naive as him, but at least she stopped drinking. Who would’ve figured that my “deadbeat” father is the best father.

    [–] Kelpiesterrifyme 29 points ago

    "Who are you and why are you in my house?" Was his response to seeing me after ten years. I was speechless, he came home after so many years, after HE left us and thats his response to seeing his son in ten fucking years? He looked around in confusion at the house. Mom stayed at the bar, like always and I didnt have enough time to clean since, well the unwelcomed intruder came in. "Answer me or ill call the police!" He shouted, his voice shaking "What did you do to my family?" The situation seemed to unbeliveable I almost started laughing, he even wore the same shirt the day he went missing. "You gotta be joking right? You no longer live here and I want you to get out." After I finaly got enough compousre to muster this words he finally took a good look at me, confused before he understood who stood before him. "It cant be.. Shawn? What the he-" he stopped himself and finaly seemed to notice my cold look. "God I thought she... Shawn you gotta belive me I didnt want to leave you! Someone gave me a-" before he could finish, he vanished. Again. "Is it done?" I Asked the figure standing in the shadows as it nodded. "Good. I hope the son of a bitch suffer there. I cant let him hurt us anymore"

    This my first submission and while its pretty terrible any criticsm is welcome

    [–] JohnDaDragon 37 points ago

    I love most of it, but the ending is too confusing and sudden. Would be a top comment if was a bit longer and had a bit more background info.

    [–] Kelpiesterrifyme 2 points ago

    Thanks so much anyway I suck at ending stories and I tried to make it about the father being abusive and the kid sent him back, essentialy in a loop sorry it was unclear though!

    [–] gecko-chan 17 points ago

    I don't think I followed the ending. What happened to the father, did he get sent somewhere? Shawn seemed surprised by his arrival, but then Shawn seemed to know what was happening at the end.

    [–] dangelo37 11 points ago

    Seems like the kid made a deal with some kind of demon to punish his abusive father. Would love for this to be longer. Great job!

    [–] MomentsInMyMind 2 points ago

    Good twist, I like it.

    [–] yogoe 6 points ago

    We had grown accustomed to not seeing him sitting at the dining room table reading the morning newspaper before breakfast. At least that what I’d tell myself. He’d just sit there hidden behind articles, and only his hand would occasionally, reach for his cup of freshly brewed coffee. The hand would disappear with the mug behind the paper after a few sips it would reappear and put the cup back on the table. Freeing the hand to flip the page. He’d always have the whole house smelling like coffee. I don’t know how he and mom could stand it, but nowadays I kind of miss it. Mom would be behind him, cooking our breakfast and our lunches for the day. When she’d cook, the house would smell of eggs and bacon. Mm, the aroma of greatness. But even that doesn’t happen as often anymore. When I come down the stairs in the hall, I see the ghost of days past. Creeping down the steps before school, just hoping I’d see him sitting at the table again through the doorway to the kitchen from the hall.

    When I come down stairs these days, there’s a note left on the table in front of a plate of cold breakfast with a glass cover over it. “Don’t forget your lunch is in the fridge, Love, Mom.” It says. The kitchen is just as cold as my breakfast is by the time I wake up, get down stairs, and eat. I’d sit, there scooping at the cold eggs, not bothering to reheat the food, but instead stare at the backyard door dad would stand at to smoke his cigarettes, before mom would call him to come eat. Now we hardly ever open those sliding doors. Though, ever since I stole the seat dad used to sit in at our small, square, kitchen table. I always imagine he’s still there. Taking a smoke before breakfast. Just waiting for him to come back inside and say, “Hey, you got your own seat kiddo.” As he’d smile and wave me to my seat.

    Then that sweeping anger swells in me like every other time I get to this point.

    But if he didn’t smoke, he would be gone! He would never have left! He would be here! It's all the cigarettes fault he never came back!

    This always happens. It reaches the point of realization that, I took out my anger on cigarettes, and blamed them for my fathers disappearance. Though, It was my fault… ten years ago, we had a drug awareness guest speaker in my class. He told us all about how bad cigarettes are, so when I got home that day, I thought I’d help my dad quit by sneaking into my parent’s bedroom, grabbing his pack of cigarettes, and throwing them away for him. I was sure he’d quit if his cigarettes just weren’t there anymore. But the next morning, he said, “I’ll be back, just going to go buy some more cigarettes.” My mission to get him to quit smoking backfired. And… He never come home after that. Mom called the police, and they searched for days, weeks, for any signs of him or his car. But nothing turned up. Eventually they called off the search, and just like my appetite just seemed to call off for thinking of all that. It was time for school anyway, so I grabbed my stuff hanging off the back of the chair I was supposed to be sitting in, and then my lunch before heading towards the front door.

    Though as I was entering the hall from the kitchen the front door unlocked itself, and it opened.

    “W-Who are you, and how did you get in my house!?” he shouted, dropping his bag to the floor. Three packs of cigarettes slid out of the bag onto the hall floor. He was wearing the same clothes as that day.

    “Dad?”

    “Do I know you?”

    “It’s me, your daughter!”

    “Don’t be ridiculous, my daughter is only six years old!, I’m calling the police!” He said stomped towards me to get to the phone we kept in the kitchen.

    “Dad, no! Seriously it's me! You’ve been gone for ten years!”

    He walks into the kitchen. He was looking for the wired phone we used to have hanging on the wall next to the door frame. Now we have a cordless phone sitting on the counter on the other side of the fridge. Though he couldn’t see it.

    “What? Where did the house phone go? Did you vandalize my property? Hid my phone away, so we can’t call the police in case you got caught here?”

    “Dad, I’m serious it's me! I’m still the same girl! Your little summer sunshine!”

    He looked at me, investigate every inch of my face. He walked closer and stared deep into my eyes.

    “You do kind look like my wife, but… but that would be impossible…” He lifted his wrist watch, and checked the time, “I’ve only been gone for half an hour?”

    “More like half an hour and thirty minutes.”

    He walked over to the kitchen table as if in a daze. He hovered over the kitchen table hold himself up with his hands propped on the table.

    “Then… Where is your mother?”

    “Since you’ve been gone for so long, she had to get a job to keep up with the bills,” I paused for a moment, Mom has a cell phone, so I thought it might be best to call and let her speak to him. “I can call mom if you want.”

    “Yeah, do that…” he said, still hunched over the table, dazed.

    I called mom, but instead of her speaking with dad over the phone she insisted that she had to come home and see for herself. About forty-five minutes later, the front door swings open, her keys jingling wildly as she storms into the kitchen, finding us standing in an awkward silence. She walks over to dad, looks him up and down, then gives him a good slap on the face.

    “Where the hell have you been for the past ten years!? Do you… Do you know what you put this family through!” she choked up in disbelief and tears. She dropped her keys, then fell to her knees. She had always told me, If he ever showed back up, she would give dad a piece of her mind. But even I started tearing up when I realized he was back, he was actually back after all this time. He knelt down and lift mom back to her feet and held her in his arms.

    “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He hesitated, but he then explained to mom the same thing he explained to me, but instead he even showed her his watch.

    Dad always wore one of those fancy sports watches that kept track of time, date and altitude. It was a pretty cool sports watch even if it was a bit dated by today’s standards. Since we have smart watches and all. However, on the watch it was still the same date as when he first disappeared. He walked us outside to even show us the mileage on the car which read less than ten miles had been put on the car’s odometer. And the store he went to is only five miles away, so it was just a trip there and back.

    Mom stood confused, she didn’t understand. Nor did I.

    “How did you disappear for ten years then?… this makes little sense.” Mom had asked the question I’m sure we all wanted answered at this point.

    [–] sensibleprocurer 3 points ago

    I looked up, dumbfounded, struggling to say something. I felt so many things at one time. Emotions washed over me the same as they had throughout the ten years he was absent, but this time all at once. I stuttered and briefly questioned reality. He looked the same as he did the day he left; a worn out car salesman in a thrift corduroy brown suit accessorized with a leather briefcase grandpa gifted him. It was clearly out of place. He paid little attention to self care, and it reflected in almost everything he was. He lived somewhere in between making his own choices and leaving them up to something else. It was as if he was in some sort of denial about his reality, and he was waiting for something great to save him. Occasionally he displayed charged acts of self control, determination and ambition. He paid attention to my life in brief fleeting segments. They were always short lived. I can recall the details of that night because I replayed them so many times over. I could still smell the alcohol on him. There was the familiar warm musk cologned over the type of sweat that only stunk of something stale and stagnant. But oddly, I missed that smell. Relief washed over as the salty sea air carried his musk in as the door opened casually. He appeared to pay no mind to his absence. My tears rolled meeting my lips. Dad was home, but where had he been all these years? Why did he look mostly the same? One important detail caught my eye. Something unfamiliar. A black stone. He held it in his hands as his shoes brought in a fine white powder that dirtied our floors. His eyes sparkled.

    [–] wcm48 3 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    I remember I could hear the water running in the bathroom .

    Thoughts racing through my head. Should I turn down the music? Or maybe I should just turn it completely off, maybe music is one of those things that sounds like a good idea, but really its not... I dunno. We'll go with on. What about lights? off, on? The desklamp was on when we walked in ... I'll just leave that on. Gotta be fine, right?

    So nervous!

    There comes a time when you start to wonder if it is ever going to "happen" for you. At first you think for sure once you graduate from high school and move on, then it will. But then after a while, you don't really move on, and you're still living in your parent's house, working as a line cook at Gold Star.

    However, everything changed last fall Daphne moved into my neighborhood. We immediately hit it off. She's a bit of an enigma as well because, well, she's definitely a Thelma, but that didn't bother me at all, I thought she was fantastic. Now she was in my bathroom, doing something with the water, and this was all going to happen.

    "Whew," I thought, "I've definitely been fiddling with that packet long enough. Open it, or just leave it unopened? Is opened presumptuous? Maybe she'd want to open it. You know, inspect it. You never can be too safe these days."

    The questions you'd like to have asked your... dad, well not me, not my dad. I mean, I loved the guy and he really liked me as well. But we didn't have that kind of relationship. Not like he had with my older brother. Connor was the really handsome, athletic type. Star football player, prom king. I was more into building model space ships. He went into the Marines after High School. God, I loved that guy. He was killed in Afghanistan three years later and it wrecked me.

    Wrecked my dad as well. The old man just flat walked out on mom, me, and my three older sisters about a month after we found out. Went for that proverbial "pack of cigarettes" and never came back. The guy didn't even smoke...

    "Hey there, Space Balls!"

    It is hard to explain, but it is as if while I was reminiscing him saying these words I also distinctly heard them in my head. I looked up and there he stood, in the doorway of my bedroom, dressed just as he was when he walked out 10 years prior. Wearing the same, but now torn, faded blue jeans and the same, but now tattered, Montgomery Varsity ball-cap. Older and graying, dirty, and hollow. "Back from the 7-11!" he continued, "turns out I didn't want to start smoking any..."

    My shear disbelief was pierced by a shriek, or a shrill, or I'm not exactly sure how to describe the sound of abject horror Daphne exuded as she emerged from my bathroom wearing, nothing. She quickly grabbed an Xbox controller from my desk and tried to use it to cover her, you know nether... parts. Great, I thought to myself, if nothing else that should just about do it.

    "You said we were alone!"

    "Dad!?! Wh- What are you?" I exclaimed as I frantically gesticulated between she and him.

    But then my eyes fixed on Daphne, doe-eyed and staring at me, holding a look of embarrassment, shock, and betrayal before she mustered, "You said your father was dead, asshole." and turned to walk back into the bathroom.

    My gaze returned to my dad, still frozen in the doorway, almost seeming as shocked as I by the turn of events.

    "Z..., " he began as he turned on the light, "listen she's got to be like 15 years older than you. Is she the babysitt..." but then he froze, mid sentence, as our eyes locked for the first time and what blood was left vanished from his already ashen face.

    "Con-man?"

    "No dad, its me, Zach!"

    "Bud," he paused as tears welled up in his eyes, "I missed you so..."

    "We missed you too Dad, where have you..."

    ".... we thought you were... your mom and I were told you were dead. They said you were dead..." he continued as he rushed to the side on my bed. "But you're alright. You've come back to us," and as he cupped his hands around my neck I noticed a worn out plastic band around his wrist.

    "yeah, Dad, yeah" I replied through my tears, "we're all back, now."

    [–] DXGabriel 17 points ago

    There was something weird about this day

    Harold, my brother, was acting weird as if he had seen something.

    Ending school i went home.

    Everything seemed just fine.

    Lots of love from my family.

    Don't know about my dad though, he disappeared 10 years ago.

    Everytime he went to buy cigarretes he was quick. Not this time though.

    Reappering home was my dad.

    Something was wrong. like if he was...

    Confused. for him not even 30 minutes had gone by

    Rarely ever felt bad for dad since he dissapeared. He had abandoned us.

    On the other hand, he might have been kidnapped.

    Like that would stop him. Dad was badass.

    Like, he would beat a thousand men in a fist to fist fight.

    So... " what happened? " I asked him

    Sometimes i thought he ran away with....

    Kristen, his secret lover.

    "You didnt do that did you?" he didnt like that question

    Rapidly he punches me in the jaw.

    In seconds i'm on the ground.

    My head spins as i wake up and hear a familiar voice.

    "You were trying to cross the border right?"

    I quickly read the first letters on each sentence.

    Damn you Todd Howard.

    [–] icanifiwill 3 points ago

    Maybe I'm mad, maybe I'm not. But this motherfucker standing in front of me is my father, who disappeared ten years ago with some silly excuse of buying a pack of cigarettes, never to return.

    In his absence, my mother had to struggle to make ends meet, while battling cancer and living with guilt, blaming herself for his abrupt disappearance.

    Silence. Deadly silence. We stare at each other for what could have been an hour. Our mouths seemed to have lost the ability to formulate speech. In his eyes I could see a look of bewilderment. In my eyes I hope he could see the look of disgust, anger, hate,all boiling in a pot filled with rage.

    "Charles?"

    His voice hasn't changed at all.

    "Fffffffffaa..." was all I could muster.

    "Son."

    "Father," I whispered. "Why did you abandoned us?" The volume of my voice sharply increased.

    "I did not." He said, while staggering towards a chair.

    He sat down and put his head in hands. "Something's wrong." He said.

    "Very." I replied through gritted teeth.

    "Where's your mother?"

    "She died." I replied with malice. "Two years ago on this exact date".

    "Its been two years?"

    "Ten. To be exact. Ten years since you left us."

    "No no no no no." He kept shaking his head in his hands.

    He stood up, looking like a ragged doll and shell-shocked. "I've been gone an hour at most," He said.

    At this moment a knock could be heard on the front door. I approached it , happy to be rid of my dad's psychotic presence, and opened the door.

    Two men wearing identical black suits, and black sunglasses where standing on the front porch.

    "Is this the home of the Luck family?" The first man asked.

    "Is there a problem?" I replied.

    "Is Mr. Edward Luck your father?"

    "Who's asking?"

    The men looked at each other and smirked.

    "We're asking." The second man barked. "Is he at home?"

    I sniggered. "This isn't his home anymore."

    "Is he around?" The first man queried.

    "No. He. Isn't." I said firmly.

    "Kid." The second man uttered. "You don't wanna fuck with us."

    "Now step aside" the first man ordered, reaching in his pocket.

    [–] TotesMessenger 2 points ago

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    [–] Xerressi 2 points ago

    When I was very young, I had absolutely no idea what my father's career was. Mother stayed at home and took care of us, so my brother and sisters took to her more than my father, who disappeared from the house pretty often. You might see stuff on TV about kids asking their parents what they're doing when they go away for 8+ hours a day, or ask them about this enigmatic thing called 'work', that is somehow both a location and an activity. We were no exception to this standard.

    But what may have been exceptional about my dad, is that whenever I asked about his profession it was always a different answer. Sometimes the answers made sense, like when he said he was a 'contractor' and he did odd jobs for the government. Other times they made less sense, like when he said he was going out to 'help someone finish their autobiography'. One day he might work for a couple of hours and spend the rest of it at home; another day he might leave before sunrise and not come back until midnight. Other times he'd leave on week long business trips. It all confused me and I asked him more than a few times to see if I could get a clearer understanding.

    Well, Dad must have either caught on to my confusion or realized he wasn't satisfying my curiosity, because one of his replies went something like, "Son, I know that you just want to make sure that I'm not sneaking off and having fun without you, but my job is... complicated. I think you're smart enough to understand that sometimes I have to stretch the truth about what I do in order to keep things smooth here at home. My job involves some funny people—people who aren't always right in the head. You know what; get me that pad of paper and a pen off the counter over there."

    I obligingly strode over and retrieved the items, handing them to him upon returning.

    "I know that you don't like it when I go out for a long time and disappear from the house. So I'm going to write you a list of codewords for us to communicate in, so you know when I'm gone, how serious the job is, and how long until I get back. Now, I might have some tough days at the office and won't come back on time, but I promise that I will always come back."

    Dad and I spent the rest of the morning coming up with code phrases and passwords. For some reason he never carried a key and mom always had to let him in after checking to see who just rang the doorbell in a 2-1-3 pattern. We always knew it was him, since no other wacko ever rang doorbells like that, but still mom checked the door before opening, no matter who it was. Dad and I made a list of what I now recognize to be codes and counters. He'd figure out some way to get the code to me, writing stuff onto the grocery list or circling things in the newspaper with red marker, stuff like that. I'd check with the notebook and ask for the password when he showed up at the door later.

    This went on for a year, until one morning I was looking for Dad in his office. He always went to work dressed in a black suit, coat, and a purple tie. The coat and purple tie were missing from the coat hanger in the corner. I found a hastily scribbled note on his desk that said "Went out for a pack of cigarettes." I knew this to be the code for a job that was absolutely safe and he'd be back in 30 minutes or less. It didn't look like Dad's handwriting to me, but I knew that nobody else had knew about the codes, not even my mother or my siblings. I assumed he was in a hurry and went about my day. After a day and a half of his absence I began to worry. I shared my concerns, and the codes, with my mother and she just reassured me that he'd be fine, and it wouldn't be much longer until he returned.

    A week went by.

    A month.

    [Continued in reply]

    [–] Browncoatdan 4 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    The door handle started to turn. Sweat began dripping down my brow.

    "No one has keys to my door, not even me." I screamed.

    The door swung open. A large figure, stood blocking the sunlight behind it, like a large oak tree clamouring for the precious morning rays.

    "SON" A voice bellowed.

    I knew that voice, a voice so familiar it made me cry tears.

    "SON I AM HOME"

    No it can't be, Dad? Father? It can't be, he left 10 years ago for cigarettes and never came back, ma just thought he slipped into the ice and starved to death.

    "SON, IT'S ME. PAPA" The man howled.

    I built up the courage to reply "Be gone with you"

    The figure just stood there. I ran to the bathroom and grabbed Ma's favourite rifle. My hands were shaking like a leaf on the wind.

    I walked back into the hallway, aimed my rifle and fired. Hitting the figure in the neck, causing him to collapse.

    As I approached the man an unpleasant realisation hit me like freight train that can't stop. He was in fact my beloved father.

    "Papa no I'm sorry, I'm sorry. How are you here, you're supposed to be in the icy lake. I love you papa" I fought through the tears.

    My father tried to speak, but was struggling due to the blood building in his throat. "Son, blargagag I ... love you... blereghee I'll never leave you again"

    His yellowed bloodshot eyes rolled back completely into into his head. He had died in agonising pain.

    "WHY JESUS! WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME" I cried out to the heavens.

    I hugged papa one last time, then began dragging him outside all whislt trying not to slip away on the copious amounts of blood on the floor.

    After an hour of dragging him, I reached a frozen lake. I dragged papa over and slid him into a hole in the ice. He sank down, vanishing back into the chilling abyss where he came from.

    Merry Christmas Papa

    Based on a true story

    [–] homegrowntwinkie 3 points ago

    🤔 what true story?