Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Child of My Desire (The Fourth of a Series to Get You in the Mood for All Hallows)

Again, here is an old chestnut written many years ago that I have resurrected for your enjoyment, the fourth story of five in preparation for All Hallows. If you enjoy this dark little tale or any of the others, providing a link on your social media to share one or more of them with your own friends would be most appreciated.

Nonetheless, thank you for allowing me to entertain you.

Child Of My Desire

by Alan Loewen

Dr. Abraham Winslow stopped outside the closed door to the hospital conference room and watched the man within through the small window. Joel Dekker sat at the table staring at his hands, not looking much like a best-selling author. His doughy face, heavily-lidded eyes, and fat, quivering lips spoke more of a man who could barely remember his alphabet. Scarlet scratches, still only a few days fresh, marred his face.

Winslow rapped on the door and opened it. Dekker looked up, but did not stand.

"Mr. Dekker," the doctor said, "thank you for meeting with me."

A flash of pain went across Dekker's scratched face. "My daughter, is she okay?"

"There has been no change in her condition, but, Mr. Dekker … a few questions have come up about Dierdre."

The doctor sat down at the table across from Dekker and opened a large file.

"When your daughter did not respond to traditional medications, we did a full medical scan on her. The results are … puzzling."

"But you can help her, can't you?" Winslow saw the flash of tentative hope, a glance he had seen on the faces of countless parents.

"We want to help your daughter, Mr. Dekker, but first we have to explain some very strange anomalies."

Winslow checked the medical file in front of him. "We gave Dierdre some very powerful anti-psychotics to try and bring her rage under control. We used every one in our pharmacy with no effect, so in trying to discover what was happening, I ordered a full blood scan."

The doctor looked up from his notes. "Mr. Dekker, your daughter does not have blood as we know it. No red cells. No white cells, nothing we would expect to find in blood. Your daughter has some reddish fluid in her veins that acts as blood, but we don't know what in God's name it really is."

Dekker looked back down at his hands. Winslow continued. "We did an EEG. Your daughter has no brain waves. And there's more." He flipped a page. "Dierdre has no fingerprints, an ultrasound showed lungs, a heart, a rudimentary digestive system and nothing else. Physically, she is a beautiful fifteen-year old, but in reality, she shouldn't even be alive."

Dekker looked up, tears threatening to spill from his eyes, "Dierdre is ... special."

"Dierdre is a medical impossibility, Dr. Winslow responded. "We had our legal department do a quick phone call."

Dr. Winslow waited silently until Dekker looked up to look into his eyes.. "Mr. Dekker, Dierdre has no birth certificate." He closed the folder. "Mr. Dekker if you want us to help your daughter, you need to tell us what is going on here."

Dekker looked back down at his hands. "Dr. Winslow, you are a man of science. I can't ask you to believe the truth."

Winslow sat back in his chair. "I am a man who deals with reality. Dierdre is a reality though she should not even exist. Try me. You might find me more open than you think."

"Tulpa," Dekker whispered.

"What?" the doctor asked. "A tulpa? What's that?"

"A child of my desire," Dekker said. "Sir, before I discuss all this, could I see my daughter for just a few moments?"

Dr. Winslow gave Dekker an impatient glance. "She's not under control, she's still in restraints, she almost clawed your eyes out which is why she is upstairs in restraints. I'm sorry, but until we can discover what is happening here, I have to say no."

"Just a few minutes."

Winslow shook his head. "I'm sorry."

Dekker looked back down at his hands. "I appreciate all you've done to help my daughter. It means more to me than what you know.

"Fifteen years ago, I was a nobody." Dekker mumbled. "I had a job as a shelf stocker that I held for twenty-two years, a dead-end, minimum wage job I got when I was sixteen. And I was so lonely. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with the retard. No dates. No friends. No life.

"I needed somebody so badly, somebody to love and somebody to love me. I thought about it night and day and one morning, I woke up and found Dierdre laying next to me. Just a baby. About one year old. I had no idea where she came from, but I took her in as my daughter." He looked up at the doctor. "Understand. I was born that day with Dierdre. I gave Dierdre life and she gave it back to me tenfold."

Dekker looked up at the doctor, but Winslow's face remained impassive. Dekker looked back down at his hands. "Can you imagine how it must have been for a loser like me to suddenly have a goddess in his life? I moved a few days later to this city so nobody would ask questions. I got a better job. I started to act like somebody, and why not? I was a father.

"When Dierdre turned eight, I wrote her a story. She showed it to her teacher. The teacher wanted me to submit it to a magazine and that started a whole new career for me." He slowly stood from his chair. "Dierdre has been my muse since then. I wrote stories, poems, novels, all inspired by her, every word for her. You see her as she is now, but imagine a smiling, loving child as beautiful as Dierdre in your home."

The doctor smiled for the first time. "Yes, I can imagine."

"Then you can imagine the inspiration that could motivate even a man like me," Dekker said. He looked toward the door. "I have to use the lavatory. Can we continue our talk in about ten minutes?"

"Of course," Dr. Winslow said. "I'm going to my office. You know where it is. Meet me there in ten minutes."

Winslow left the conference room and walked to his office as Dekker shambled toward the lavatory. Sitting at his desk, Winslow pulled a huge dictionary out of the bookshelf and leafed quickly through its pages.

* * *

Dekker walked past the lavatory and up the stairs to the fifth floor. Avoiding the nurses, he went to Room 521, opened the door, and entered his daughter's hospital room.

His daughter lay on the bed, her hands and legs firmly tied to the bed with strong leather restraints. Huge scratches formed a horrible scarlet latticework across her face when she attempted to gouge out her own eyes. Moaning, she fought the restraints that held her to the bed.

Her eyes focused on her father standing passively be her bed. "Father!" she screamed. "Father, help me!"

"Hush now, sweetheart. Daddy's here."

He placed his hand on her brow and Dierdre stopped her thrashing for a moment and looked in her father's eyes with a mixture of fear, hatred, and loathing.

"I found a way to put you at peace," he said with a smile. Slowly, one tear trickled down his own scratched face. "You are my child, sweetheart, but not the child of my loins, but the child of my desire. I thought you were a muse sent from heaven, but you came from my own heart, my own need."

His hand went from brow to cheek in a loving touch. "You gave me fifteen years of life instead of the living death I had before you came, but that much joy can't last forever." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bottle. Dierdre followed his hands hungrily as he poured a handful of white pills into his palm.

"I love you," he said as tears began to flow more steadily down his cheek. "And I owe a debt. Please know that I love you more than anything in the world and I do this because of my love and in repayment for all you have done for me."

* * *

Back in his office, Dr. Winslow read the passage in front of him. In the Bon religion of Tibet, the article said, there is a belief that desire can be made corporeal, a tulpa that can take on an existence independent from its creator. Tradition states that tulpas eventually turn on their creators and must be dissolved through certain rites or the tulpa will eventually kill their masters whereupon they disappear themselves.

Winslow checked his wristwatch. Dekker was five minutes late. His eyes grew wide in sudden understanding.

He bolted from the floor, ordering his secretary to have security meet him immediately in Dierdre Dekker's room.

Inside, they found Joel Dekker dead on the floor, an open, empty pill bottle by his hand.

On the bed, Dierdre Dekker's restraints still lay fastened, but empty, as if the tormented child had simply faded away.


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