I approached the warm, tan door frame and stared at him. The weight of my ratty teddy bear in my left hand was nothing compared to his pistol in my right.
“Hi Dad.” I whispered. He didn't like anything louder than that.
He grunted. All he ever seemed to do these days was grunt. He must have heard me, but hadn't turned from the entrancing glow of the TV screen on the other side of the room. I could barely make out the news channel label in the corner of the screen from my spot in the hall. Not exactly the same as the old comedy movies channel that he preferred, but at this point it didn't matter.
Not to his numb mind.
I raised the pistol level with his head. I wouldn't miss. Seconds ticked by and I fought a growing slight ache in my arm. I'm stalling.
What's wrong with me, this monster was no longer my father.
I squeezed the gin stained teddy.
It took my mother and childhood from me. It deserved death!
I caught my reflection in the hallway mirror. I saw a skinny, scared girl standing before the doorway. She didn't have an ounce of courage in her blood. She used to be this bad two years ago. She was well on her way to be worse. He... but he saved her. He believed in her when everyone else had given up. He believed in her when mom gave up. He loved her.
I stepped back and out of the mirror's accusing view. He deserved a last chance.
"Maybe the threat of death will jog his humanity." I think optimistically.
Without lowering the gun I tucked the teddy bear's arms in my belt.
“Dad!” I yell. It shouldn't matter, since we lived all the way out here and no one could hear the screams. That, or they always ignored mine.
Sluggishly, the large man turns to me and then stilled. Dad’s dark brown hair was long and filthy. His jaw was slack as if I should expect him to be drooling. People used to tell me I had eyes like him. Before I stopped seeing much of people. I hoped it was also before his eyes were driven to be so dead and done. Dad had always been so strong and so controlling. Now he was unkempt and - well - a zombie.
It's funny, I just spent days doing everything I could to avoid noise and now that I want his attention he only gazes at me with a dazed look. Maybe he's listening. Hopeful, I start talking to him.
“Dad, I need-”
The burly beast suddenly shambled towards me before I could finish and at a steady pace I wasn't expecting. He knocked a wood chair over in his wake and it fell right onto my toes.
I yelped and stumbled backwards in surprise. Metallic thunder boomed. A force pushed my right hand upwards nearly hitting myself in the chin. It shook me to the bones and sharp pain shot up my entire right side. A bullet was lodged in the mirror-free wall.
Dad, stimulated by the gunshot, was now rushing at me and his arms were outstretched for me. My pain, shock, fear, and will to live all pumped my blood and I ran backwards and out of his grasp. His hands did grab my teddy and yanked it, which shook my balance. My teddy, the gun, and I fell. Blood burst in my mouth as I bit down on my tongue from the backwards fall. My eyes prickled with tears. I scrambled back as Dad lunged at my feet. I felt the pistol hit my palm. Desperately griping it in both hands I lifted it and aimed the barrel to his head.
I tried and there wasn't a slight show of humanity. He didn't seem to even register his pistol in my hands. Maybe he doesn't think I can use it. Maybe he doesn't think. Or maybe all of these past few days since he turned on mom feel as much like an awful dream as they do for me.
As he reaches for me she wakes up. The courageous warrior mom claimed to see in me before she left. The warrior squeezes the trigger. Chunky crimson explodes behind his head as a deep, red pops up in between his eyes. They roll back. I jump back as his body drops forward. Dead.
I stand up staring down at him. I let the too heavy pistol fall from my hand, faintly thinking I should turn on the safety. Iron and stinging pain fill my mouth, but I swallow it down. I just can't deal with any of it right now. I have an urge to kneel next to his corpse, but my disgust and fear are stronger. Instead I kneel down in the door frame with it in front of me. I reach for my teddy bear when an obnoxious bell dings and I jump almost losing my balance. It was only a common, cheerful commercial jingle on the TV. I look back at my dad.
What now? How am I going to get away with this? Will I have to plead self-defense?
Before I can calm down the jingle is promptly cut off. I whip my head to the TV, adrenaline still pumping.
Breaking News flashes across the screen. The anchor's voice was panicked and rushed, but the subtitle “Zombie Virus Outbreak” was all I needed to see.
I should've been scared or anxious. An actual zombie apocalypse is crazy and not the fire or ice Frost promised. In fact, this entire day was escalating into more and more of a nightmare. I just killed my dad. Instead, I was relieved. Having to plead in court had never been my strong suit. Last time I was there I ended up living here. Now, not only would I not have to do that, but I'll also be a brave, little, tween girl that took out her zombie dad.