This is the piece I wrote for the writing prompt: “Wanted: Dad” A little dark, but I wanted to go away from the obvious and try something different.
Melody was itching. The high from the last ad was wearing off. She sat in her apartment, staring at the TV but she had no idea what was on. She sat perfectly straight, feet on the floor, toe tapping the carpet, fingers drumming on her thighs, and her heart beating as if she’d run a marathon. Most evenings, the TV was the only light in her apartment. No one could see in if the lights weren’t on.
She jumped up and started pacing, tripping over Chloe’s chew toy.
Melody kicked the bone across the room, watching it bounce off the wall. Her hands flew over her mouth, her eyes popped out of her head, expecting the neighbor to beat on the wall in retaliation.
“Under the radar, stupid!” She whispered to herself. The last thing she needed was people noticing her in the hallways. If people started to notice her, they would see her at the market or the post office and want to say hello. Pretty soon, she was no longer moving along the edges of society – she would be smack in the middle.
You can’t kill people if everyone knows your name.
To that end, Melody went out of her way to blend into the scenery. She ran her own website design company from home. Most of her work was handled by phone and email, so most of her clients had never seen her face. She ordered groceries online.
The dog was long gone. Her mother thought a puppy would make her feel better, but the damn thing barked and whined and, worst of all, needed to go outside. In public. Sometimes during the day.
“Mother should have gotten a cat.” Melody tended to keep third shift hours. She could leave the apartment more often under cover of darkness. A cat would happily sleep all day and poop in a box. Easy.
Sitting down at the computer desk set up in what should have been a dining room, she went to the local newspaper’s website and placed a new ad: Wanted: Dad 312-555-1234.
She paid for it with her mother’s credit card. Melody hated taking advantage of her mother but she certainly couldn’t use her own card. Her mother was now in a nursing home after taking one final blow from her husband. It was the only way Melody escaped. He was thrown in jail and the abuse finally stopped. The authorities would never believe this woman who no longer remembered her name or her child could have harmed anyone. They would assume the card was stolen. Certainly her mother was safe. Certainly, so was the daughter no one knew.