Not Anymore

I found myself at a loss for words. Pictures of a twelve year old girl lay fanned out on my desk. Her blue eyes smiling at me.


“Please,” her mother said between sobs. “You’ve got to help us get our Emma back.”


I coughed. The coffee hadn’t completely conquered my hangover yet, and my eyes felt itchy. I should’ve been sympathetic to her cries, maybe lent her a box of tissues. But each sob pounded against my skull like a hammer. I slammed my hand on the desk, jerking the smiling Emma’s askew.


“Okay.” I said, rubbing my sinus.


She, was it Tammy, or Trisha– yeah that sounded right, stopped and unburied her face from the crook of her stark husband’s shoulder.


“You’ll do it.” Relief flooded her face. First her brow, then the eyes, finally to the mouth. “Oh god. Thank you. Thank you so much. You have no idea–”


I threw up my hand to stop her. “I didn’t say that I’d do it. I just wanted you to stop making so much goddamn noise.”


Trisha’s face balled into hurt. “What?” She threw herself into my desk, reaching across to the pictures of her little girl. “Please. Just look.” She held one up. “She’s only twelve. She needs help” Her husband had a hold on her now and pried her back and into his embrace again. His expression had soured into pure loathing.


I saw him mouth the word bastard and slammed my fist again. “What did you just call me?” I said.


He paused a moment, looked at his wife melting into a puddle, then to the pictures of his daughter. He looked up. “I said: You’re a bastard. A cold-hearted bastard.”


I stood up and swept the girls pictures from my desk. “I know.” I said. Standing so quickly was a punch to the gut. I wanted to puke. “I am a bastard. I know you’ve probably heard the stories about me.” I jerked a thumb to the newspaper clippings behind me. “But, I’m not a hero. Not anymore at least.” I fell back down in the chair with a thud and belched. “Now get the fuck out of my office.”


Trisha looked up. Venom oozed from her eyes. “I wish you’d never existed, you worthless drunk.”


I laughed and watched the leave. He slammed the door hard enough to break the glass. I watched as it spider webbed, and reached into my desk for a beer. “That’s makes you and me both, sister.”


Prompt: I’m not a hero. Not Anymore.


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