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Introduction:

The monster is loose in the neighborhood again.
Swinging in the Neighborhood Chapter 29 Daddies Revenge

In my last chapter, Sherri had returned home after quitting Art School. She also brought her new husband home with her as well. His name was Brad and I disliked him right away. I blamed him for ruining her life when in reality it might have been me that done that many years ago.

Sherri had a very unstable childhood growing from a baby to a sweet little ten-year-old girl when I met her mom Kay. If you read my other chapters, you will see just what I mean. You may also see that the next twelve years she had me as her dad may have been just as destructive to her.

My daughter has informed me that my business meeting I was to go too was the first weekend of October 1996 not the last weekend of September of 1995. It seems, as I never realized she had been out of our lives and out of my heart from almost a year and a half back then.

A few days before I was to leave I got this feeling. I asked Kay and Cathy to go to the meeting for me. I did not tell them my reasoning only that I was too busy to go. The girls left Friday afternoon while Sherri and I put some final additions on a project together. Sherri was surprised to see me Friday morning when she arrived at work.

Sherri walked into my office in the morning as she asked tilting her head, “Didn’t you have some type of a business meeting to attend this weekend, daddy?”

“Yes however I sent Cathy and your mom to handle it,” I replied. Sherri stood there looking at me and I knew she was wondering why I had. “I had them go as they can get me a better deal on state of the art plow trucks as they look a lot prettier than I do,” I added as I smiled at her.

I watched her go to her office and she took a seat behind her desk. I saw her face go into her hands as she sat down. My little girl was so troubled and I was helpless to her. I was concerned that Brad might have been abusive toward her; I just did not know the full extend of it however, I was soon to find out.

Friday ended with nothing happening as I sat at home all night waiting for a phone call. I thought that maybe I had been wrong. I went to work Saturday. Sherri called me telling me that she did not feel good. I told her to stay home I could handle it alone. I worked until around two in the afternoon before I returned home. I sat by the phone the rest of the day and into the night.

I decided to sit out on the patio for a while to get some fresh air. It was a beautiful fall day and the night was approaching fast. It was around 7 pm. As I sat out back looking down toward the lake. I noticed that the sky started to fill with clouds. These clouds were not normal clouds they were dark grey ominous looking clouds, which was strange, as the weather had called for clear skies.

I sat there watching the clouds, as they seemed to form right over our lake. The hairs on my arm and at the back of my neck started to stand up as I watched. Those clouds seemed to rotate into each other as they formed. I sat there wondering where I had seen clouds do that before.

I closed my eyes as I felt the warm fall wind blowing against my face coming off the lake. I tried to remember when I had seen clouds like those. It came to me with my eyes closed. It had been years ago when I had wreck my truck down into a ravine. I lie there in my truck or on the ground until I woke up finding myself in a strange place.

I looked around and I saw the lovely blue waters of a lake nearby. The light shined and shimmered as it reflected off the deep blue waters of the lake. I walked to the edge of the water standing there looking all around me. There was no one around just green grass, a rocky shoreline and that deep blue water reflecting the sunlight.

I looked down into the water where I saw my reflection. Suddenly the water went from deep blue to clear. I looked down to see many big fish swimming right at the edge of the shoreline. I looked back all around me wondering how I had gotten to this place and just where I was. I turned to look back out over the water as I heard a female voice behind me.

“Mister you do not belong here,” the female voice said.

The voice was that of a small girl. I looked and searched around me but I saw no one. I walked a little ways from the water and I heard the girl’s voice again.

“Mister you do not belong here,” she said in a vociferous voice filled with anger.

Her voice rang clear in my ears this time. I turned back toward the water and I saw a little girl standing with her back to me. The little girl had long flowing blonde hair that blew gently in the lake breeze. I tried to walk toward her but I could not move.

“Little girl where am I?” I asked her.

The little girl shook her head from side to side, as she replied, “Mister you do not belong here.”

The little girl leaned down and she touched the water with her hand. The water started to churn and it became very rough as waves crashed against the shoreline. The waves did not come near the little girl at the waters edge. Instead, the waves broke all around her but never on her or over her. I looked out over the water to see the clouds in the sky start to tumble as they turned from white to gray then to black.

I opened my eyes looking to the clouds forming out over the lake from my patio. It was those same types of clouds. I looked down to our dock. My mind left me sees a faint image of that little blonde haired girl again.

The little girl smiled at me as she said, “Bye daddy until we meet again,” as she slowly faded away from my view with her words echoing in my head.

I knew the phone call I was waiting for would come this night. I walked back into the house closing the patio doors and pulling the curtains closed on them as well as all the windows in the house. The house was dark except for the light beside the sofa. I walked into our bedroom and to the closet across from our bed. I opened the closet and reached toward the back until my hand touched the footlocker I had stored in there.

I grabbed it from the closet with both hands carrying it to the bed. I lay in on the bed staring at it for a few seconds. This footlocker contained a nightmare to most people however; to me it was merely just a part of who I was. The contents inside had been with me for around 26 years.

I stared at the footlocker for a few minutes. Then I brushed my hand across the footlocker sweeping a layer of dust from the top of it. Stenciled across the lid was, “Property of SGT. Jonathon ________.”

I reached into my pocket for a key attached to one lone dog tag. I pulled the key from my pocket and I held it in my hands. My hands did not shake as I took hold of the padlock and slipped the key into the lock. I turned the key and with an “SNAP”, the lock shot opened.

I flipped the lid open as I removed the lock. The lid held a variety of weapons all were neatly spaced and in their place. There were two to three forms of different knives. Some for use by hand, some for throwing both were deadly in the right hands. A couple throwing stars hung near the knives. The stars looked like new and unused.

A coil of thin steel wire hung next to the throwing stars. Steel wire I had used to take the lives of creatures of the night by their necks. A coil of underwater fuse showed from a little pouch next to the wire. I removed it and tossed it onto the bed thinking I might have some use for it. Beneath it used to lay C4 however I had removed that years ago.

Next to that was another pouch that held three tins of war paint one black, one dark green and one of a lime green. I removed one of the tins prying it open. I would not be wearing any war paint for tonight’s mission as it had all dried up.

I looked to the top drawer, which contained bits and parts of various weapons. The weapons once contained in it long gone, most given to a local gun collector for his collection. I also spied a full loaded clip for a M16. I made a mental note to get rid of that old ammo when I finished with my mission tonight. I lifted the top drawer from the footlocker laying it onto the bed. As I did a piece of paper floated to the bedroom floor.

I watched it floating gently with a rocking motion until it hit the floor. I saw that it was no piece of paper. A photo now lie face down on the floor. I bent over grasping it with my hand. I turned it over as I stood back up looking at the photo as I did. It was a photo of Carrie smiling at me. I smiled back at her as I leaned the photo against the lid of the footlocker. I used to look at that photo each time I dressed for a mission in Vietnam and tonight would be no different.

I looked down inside the footlocker with the drawer now removed. Laying there in sealed plastic bags was clothing, not your everyday type clothing. Every pieces of clothing that lie there was deep black, blacker than night itself. There were short sleeve tight fitting shirts as well as long sleeve ones. I pulled a long sleeve one from a bag bringing it to my nose. I breathed in as I held it to my nose. It smelled of damp wet jungle still after 25 years.

I slipped the sweatshirt I was wearing off tossing it to the floor. I slipped my head into the opening of the black shirt. I slipped both arms through the black shirt as I pulled it down over my head and chest. It was tighter than it should be however, it still moved silently as I moved my arms about out in front of me. I breathed deeply in and out filling my lungs with air, so my chest expanded the shirt making sure it was not too tight as to restrict my breathing.

I removed three pairs of black pants with boot blouses around them next. I slipped from the pants I had on and pulled the black pants up and on as I sat on the bed. I stood up to button them and the top bottom popped to the floor. I grabbed another pair from its bag; I yank at the button, which pulled right off from it.

I stood there shaking my head as I slipped the first pair of pants from myself. I grabbed the last pair and I slipped them up to my waist. I tucked the long black sleeve shirt deeply into them. I took a deep breath as I buttoned them. The button held as I left the breath back out.

I squatted a few times as well as doing a few leg lifts. The pants moved as if they were a part of my body. I walked to the closet once more where I bent down looking to the back of the closet.

I pulled another plastic bag out from there then walked to the bed. I looked at the highly polished boots in the bag. A little too shiny for any jungle however I would not be roaming any jungle tonight I thought as I removed them from the bag. I slipped the left boot on first. Do not ask me why as it was something I had always done when getting ready for a mission. I left it untied as I slipped the right one on my other foot also leaving it untied.

I bloused my left pant leg down into the boot. I tightened the bootlaces hoping they would not break. The left one held as I hid the laces so they would not catch on anything as I walked. I bloused my right leg and tightened the boot as well as hiding those laces. I moved my feet around making sure the boots were silent as well as comfortable.

I looked back into the locker on the bed. I had to dig deep into it until I found another bag with black skintight rubber gloves inside. I removed the gloves and slipped one onto my hand. It fell apart as I did crumbling as I pulled it down my hand. I looked to the fingers on my hand; oh well I hope I do not leave fingerprints I thought. I looked back into the locker to find my pull over black face mask. I picked it up then tossed it back into the locker. I would not need it this night as I wanted whoever to see the face of the monster that was to confront them this night.

I turned the bedroom light off before I walked into the living room sitting down onto the sofa. I reached up turning the light off as darkness filled the room. I sat there motionless as I stared toward the fireplace. I sat there listening to the darkness around me. I could hear the ticking of the clock on the wall. The low hum of the refrigerator filled my ears as well. I filter those two sounds from my hearing until I heard nothing. Silence filled my ears as I sat there staring toward the fireplace.

I am not for sure just how long it was until my eyes adjusted to the darkness around me. When it did, I could see the sign above our fireplace, which read, “Hush, hush my love or the creatures of the night will get you.” My eyes also saw the medals behind the glass case that hung below the sign. I looked back to the sign as I saw a small quick flash from Carrie’s ring on the sign then nothing. However, I knew it meant she would be looking over me this night.

That thought filled my mind as the phone rang loudly filling the silence in my ears. I looked to the clock on the wall it was 9:15 pm. I left it ring twice before I picked it up bringing it to my ear not saying a word.

“Daddy, help me please,” “He hurt me daddy.” “Daddy I need you,” Sherri sobbed into the phone.

“Get out of the house, princess,” “Daddy is on his way,” I replied hanging the phone up as I jumped from the sofa.

I jumped in my truck and I did not even use the driveway. I drove straight through the yard and up onto the road. I pressed my foot firmly down onto the gas pedal. I only removed it when I absolutely had too. I slowed for stop sign and red lights never coming to a complete stop. I passed any cars in front of me for they were holding up my mission. It would normally have taken me around 25 to 30 minutes to get to Sherri’s place. I made it there in well under ten minutes.

I roared up their driveway with my tires throwing gravel everywhere. I saw Sherri standing about halfway down their driveway. She was holding her arm in front of her as she stared back at her house. I slammed on my brakes when I got to her. I threw the truck up into park as I jumped from it. I ran to her until I was standing in front of her looking down at her.

Her head was looking downward took the ground or at her arm which I did not know for sure. I saw that she was holding her arm tightly against her chest. It was swollen and mostly likely broken I thought as I stood there.

I gently wrapped my arm around her shoulder walking her to my truck. I opened the passenger door. I slowly helped her in trying not to bump or move her arm. Once I had her in the truck Sherri stared at me with tears flowing down her cheeks.

Her lips trembled as she asked, “What about him daddy?”

“His time will come right now I need to get that arm of yours looked at,” I replied as I closed her door.

I tore out of her driveway in reverse spinning the truck around as it hit the black top. I put it into gear and floored it once more as I drove her to the hospital. I did not say anything as I drove only watching the road ahead of me.

“Daddy, please slow down before you kill us both,” Sherri said calmly.

She was right I thought as I eased my foot from the gas pedal. I looked over to her to see her staring at me. I would look toward her then put my eyes back onto the road ahead of us.

I looked to her again and she said, “You came for me daddy,” “And you are dressed for Halloween again.” Sherri rather tilted her head as she asked, “How did you know it would be tonight?”

“The stormy clouds of the lake told me so, princess,” I replied turning my attention back to the road.

As I looked down the road I heard Sherri as she replied, “The skies have been clear all day and night daddy,” as I saw her looking up into the clear night sky.

I turned to her as I said, “I know princess,” “I know.”

“Daddy, I am sorry for everything I have done to you in the last couple of years,” Sherri said.

I did not say anything I just looked to her then put my eyes back onto the road. I looked back to her again as I looked down to her arm. I asked, “Does it hurt princess?”

“Not as much as the hurt I caused you,” Sherri replied.

I looked back ahead as another voice said, “Do not lose sight of your mission tonight Sgt. J,” it was the monster with in talking to me.

“What mission, daddy?” Sherri asked.

“Princess, I did not say anything,” I replied.

I knew I had not for the monster within is truly myself. I have learned to keep his voice only to myself especially when others are around me. I also have done it since realizing that he and I were really only me. I took my eyes from the road looking to Sherri.

She smiled as she said, “I know daddy,” “I know.”

Sherri laid her head against her window. I watched as she closed her eyes. I turned mine back to the road. Sherri started to hum a song as I drove. The song she was humming was “Hush little Baby.”

We finally arrived at the hospital and I drove right up to the emergency doors. I threw my truck into park as I jumped out of my door. I ran to her door opening it and helping her out. I saw the pain in Sherri’s eyes as I did. I gently wrapped my arm around her giving her what comfort I could as well as trying not to touch her arm.

“YOU can’t park there,” a man yelled loudly at me.

I turned to him as I yelled, “My daughter broke her arm I will move it in a second,” as I pushed by him.

I took her inside and a nurse took her from me. Sherri was yelling for me not to leave her as they placed her into a wheelchair. They pushed her down the hallway with her screaming, “I want my daddy,” “I want my daddy.”

Another nurse came over to me and she told me that she would need some information. As she was talking to me that man who had yelled at me for parking my truck came up behind me. He grabbed my arm tightly with his hand.

My hand went to his hand grabbing his fingers and removing it as I spun toward him. My other hand went to his wrist as my other hand applied pressure pushing his fingers back toward his wrist. The man screamed in agonizing pain as he went down to the ground onto his knees.

I released his wrist and his fingers as I turned back to the nurse. She stood there with her mouth hanging open as she looked at me. I saw the frighten look in her eyes. I also realized just what I must have looked to them both dressed as I was.

I turned back to the man on the floor. I helped him up telling him I was sorry and that I would move my truck. I turned back to the nurse.

I gave her a smile as I said, “Sorry if I frightened you I did not mean to I am only worried about my daughter.” “Let me move my truck and I will be right back,” I added as I walked out the doors.

I moved my truck and then I returned to the emergency room. I walked in to find three more security guards at the desk. I realized that the man whose fingers I had bent back was also a security guard.

He pointed to me as he yelled, “That’s the guy right there.”

The three security guards came walking toward me. My mission tonight was not with them I thought. However, I would not let them stand in my way. All three placed their hands down to their nightsticks on their belts as they walked toward me. I could see the look in their eyes as they came toward me. That look of we are going to fuck you up friend. I did not want to hurt any of them, as my fight was not with them.

“IF ONE of you three makes a move to those nightsticks it will be something you all will regret the rest of your lives,” I yelled out to them.

The three stopped in their tracks then I heard a woman’s voice that asked loudly, “WHAT the hell is going on here?”

I turned and looked at her as she looked around me to the three security guards as she said, “If I was you I would listen to Sgt. J before one of you if not all of you end up dead.”

I walked toward her holding out my hand as I said, “Thanks Sheriff Gail I did not want to hurt any of them.”

“You boys go wipe the piss from the front of your pants,” “While I get to the bottom of this,” Sheriff Gail said to them. She grabbed my hand and shook it as she said, “I see your dressed for Halloween again,” “A bit early isn’t it Sgt. J.”

“It’s my daughter she broke her arm,” I replied staring down into her eyes.

“Let’s go talk to your daughter,” Sheriff Gail said to me as she headed over to the desk.

The nurse told us what room she was in and we both handed down to it. As we neared the room, we could hear Sherri screaming that she wanted her daddy and she wanted him now.

“I believe that would be her,” Sheriff Gail said with a smile.

We walked into the room as Sherri saw me she yelled, “DADDY, don’t leave me.”

The doctor working on her arm said, “Don’t move miss I am trying to set your arm.”

Sheriff Gail’s radio went off and she stepped to the side to answer it. As she did, I moved over to Sherri taking hold of her hand. Sherri looked at me with tears in her eyes. I stroked my hand through her short hair telling her everything would be all right.

Sheriff Gail came over and she said, “You two stop around later tonight I have a call I have to take,” as she tipped her head to us then walked from the room.

The doctor looked toward me giving me a short but meaningful stare. I pulled Sherri’s face against my chest as the doctor set her arm into place. Sherri screamed and cried into my chest. I closed my eyes to concentrate on blocking her screams from my ears. I could not block them as they filled then echoed in my head. Her screams were unlike other screams I had heard in the dark jungle of Vietnam as her screams I felt in my heart.

Rage and compassion suddenly filled my body at the same time. I felt as if I was going to either explode into a fit of anger or break down and cry. Suddenly and with out any warning my ears filled with the sound of waves as they gently splashed against the shoreline. My mind filled with the vision of the moon dancing across the water of the lake. In the background of the moon were bright shining stars to many for me to count.

I felt the calm spreading over my body. Peace and that tranquil feeling filled me from head to toe. I felt a hand stroking lightly at my face. I opened my eyes and looked down at Sherri as her hand stroked the side of my face.

“She is with you daddy,” Sherri said with a smile.

“She is always with us princess,” I replied smiling as I stroked her hair.

They placed Sherri’s arm into a cast. We had to sit there as her cast dried. She asked me what Sheriff Gail was doing here. I was going to make up some excuse when the nurse in the room turned to her.

“Your daddy there made three of our guards piss their pants tonight,” the nurse said to her before she walked out of the room.

Sherri gave a little smile before she asked, “She wants me to file a report doesn’t she?”

“I suppose she does princess but it can wait until tomorrow,” I replied. “You know I cannot let you go back there right princess,” I added.

“Yes, daddy I know and I want to come home,” Sherri, replied as she laid her head against my arm.

“Daddy, will you take me back tonight to pick up a few things?” Sherri asked.

“Yes, princess if that is what you want to do,” I replied.

“The mission is back on Sgt. J and I am ready,” the monster within said to me.

Sherri lifted her head from my arm as she stared up into my eyes; as I said, “You may not like what you are seeing.”

“It’s OK daddy, bad men need punished for the evil they cause and do,” Sherri replied laying her head against my arm again.

I was unsure of doing my mission tonight. Not once in my life had I ever questioned a mission before until tonight. I thought I might be doing more harm to Sherri if I carried out my mission. On the other hand, that boy had to pay for what he had done to my little girl.

They finally released Sherri and I walked her back to my truck. I opened her door for her helping her up into the truck. Sherri was smiling widely as I did. I figured her pain killers were working. However, I found out it was not them putting the smile on her face.

As I climbed in my door Sherri took a hold of my hand as she said, “You know daddy you are still the only one to open doors for me,” as she kissed my hand.

I drove slowly back to Sherri’s place as my rage and anger grew inside of me. I kept it hidden from Sherri the best I could however, she knew what was on my mind. If given the chance, I was going to make him pay big for what he had done to Sherri.

“Daddy, I know what you are thinking and I will not stop you,” Sherri said as her hand touched mine again.

I did not reply to her instead I just nodded my head. I pulled back into her driveway where we both sat for a few minutes. I told her not to be afraid, as he would never harm you again. I got out my side of the truck and walked over to open her door. I helped her out then walked her up to her door. Sherri reached out with her good arm to open the door.

Her hand trembled slightly as she reached for the doorknob. Sherri turned the doorknob slowly pushing the door open. She started to take a few steps inside the door.

“Where did you run off to you fucking whore,” Brad yelled out.

I stepped from out of the darkness and in front of Sherri. Brad came forward at a dead run to her with his head looking downward. However, he was running now toward me. He lifted his head as I saw his eyes get big.

“OH FUCK,” Brad yelled as he backpedaled his feet.

I grabbed him by his fucking long hair and swung him into the wall. He rather bounced off it right back into my hands. I placed his arm into an arm hold as I looked to Sherri.

“Go get a few things while I have a little talk with Brad,” I said to her as I watched her get to the steps before I turned my attention back to Brad.

“Please don’t hurt me,” Brad begged.

“YOU should have thought about that before you hurt my little girl asshole,” I replied.

I still had a hold of his arm with one hand as I drew my other hand back. I popped him three or four times in his face. Blood squirted from his nose before I stopped. Brad started to fall down a bit as he cried like a little baby. I twisted his arm hard this time bringing him back to his feet, as I was nowhere finished with him yet.

I left go of his arm and I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt with both my hands. I picked him off the floor throwing him onto the couch. He hid his pathetic face in his hands as I walked toward him. Once I got to him, I pulled his hands from his face as I gave him a hard punch to his mouth.

He fell into a fetal position to the other end of the couch bringing his hands up to cover his head as he cried out, “Please stop I am sorry for what I did.”

“NO YOU’RE NOT,” “ONLY SORRY because now you have to pay for your wrong doing my creature of the night,” I said to him as he laid there.

I reached over and I grabbed him by his fingers pulling him up right. I spun around sitting down on top of him as I tucked his arm under mine. I still had a hold of his fingers as I did.

“Sorry you won’t be playing music for a while Brad,” I said.

I took two of his fingers and I bent them back until I heard them snap. He screamed out in pain. This was music to my ears. I pulled my arm forward a bit and elbowed him in his face, which brought more blood from his nose and mouth. Once again, his screams of pain filled my ears as well as my heart with joy.

I stood back up snatching him from the couch. I hip tossed him against the near by wall where he landed with a thud. He lies there lifting his head up to look at me. He turned from me when he saw I was coming toward him again. I stood over him looking down at him as I spied Sherri out the corner of my eye.

Brad looked to her as he cried out, “Please make him stop, Please.”

“YOU never stopped when I begged you too,” Sherri said to him in a normal tone of voice. She looked to me as she added, “I will wait for you in the truck daddy,” as she walked out the front door.

Brad begged her again as she walked away. I stood there over him letting him watch her walk out that door without ever looking back to him. I picked him up from the floor tossing him back to the couch.

I went over to him and I grabbed both his hands. I reached into my pocket pulling out the underwater fuse uncoiling it in front of him as he whimpered and whined. I was not for sure he was even alert enough to know what I was doing or what I was about to do to him. I tied his hands together with the underwater fuse lacing it between his fingers of both hands before I tied it off around his wrists.

“PLEASE I will do anything,” Brad screamed out as he sobbed loudly.

“DIE for me you piece of fucking shit,” I screamed at him as I backhanded him across his face.

I stepped away from him turning my back completely on him. I stood there with my back to him giving him his one chance. Just as I had thought, he was a fucking coward worst than a fucking coward as he beats up on women. He had his chance when my back was turned maybe if he had at least tried to do something to me I would have fore gone what I had in mind for him.

I turned back toward him snatching him up from the couch. I dragged him out to the kitchen slamming him down into a chair. I walked to the sink once again pausing with my back to him. He did nothing other than moan and cry holding his tied hands to his face. I turned the water from the kitchen sink on before I turned back to him.

“Brad if I was you I would listen well to what I am about to say to you,” I said to him.

I leaned back against the kitchen sink as I told him. Do not ever try to see my daughter again. Do not call her. Do not write her I told him. Do not let me catch you within ten feet of her. I walked over to him and I grabbed a hold of his hair. I yanked at it pulling his head back wards, as I stuck my face into his.

“Because I will kill you the next time BOY,” I said in a loud clear tone of voice. Then I asked, “You understand me BOY?

Brad did not say anything until I yanked his head back again. He moaned out between his sobs, “Yes, I understand.”

I walked back to the sink where I stuck the drain stopper into the sink. I left the water run until the sink was almost full then I shut the water off as I turned back to him. I walked toward him as he once again hid his face with his hands. I grabbed his hands as I reached into my pocket for my lighter.

“That fuse is going to hurt like hell as it burns through your skin.” “I hope you suffer as much as you made my daughter suffer,” I said as I clicked the lighter bring up a flame.

“If you’re lucky you can put your hands into the water in the sink before it burns your fingers off,” I said as I moved the lighter to the end of the fuse hanging from his wrist. “Remember my warning boy,” I added as I lit the fuse.

Brad was still screaming and yelling as I walked through their house. I was at the front door and turned to see him sticking his hands into the sink. I opened and walked out the door closing it behind me as his screams filled my ears. I wondered what he thought when he placed his hands under the water in the sink and the fuse kept burning.

I walked to my truck where I got inside, closed my door and backed from their driveway. Sherri just sat there looking ahead of her. Much as I did as I drove away. A few blocks away Sherri reached over with her good hand touching mine.

I looked to her as she smiled to me as she said, “Thanks daddy for letting me hear him scream for once instead of myself,” as she hung her head down.

I rotated my hand so I had her hand in mine. I gave her hand a squeeze in mine. I then brought her hand to my lips placing a kiss lightly onto her hand.

I looked to her as I replied, “He will never hurt you again princess.”

I drove us home without either of us saying a word. We would look into each other’s eyes and that was it. As I was driving, I realized the monster within me never told me what to do on this mission. I guess we both had the same plan of attack or he knew I did not need him on this mission.

It was after four in the morning before we got home. I helped Sherri from the truck and into the house. I told her she needed to get some sleep as I kissed her on the forehead. I pointed her toward her bedroom as I went over to the sofa.

I sat down leaning my head back against the sofa. I closed my eyes thinking about what I knew was going to come within the next four to eight hours. For one thing, Kay and Cathy would be home around eight in the morning. The other thing that was coming stuck in my thoughts for a while.

“Daddy, can I sleep out here with you?” Sherri asked.

I opened my eyes to find her standing in front of me looking down at me. I swung my body up onto the sofa stretching out with my nightclothes and boots still on my person. I scooted back making room for her to lie down in front of me. Sherri lay down with her back against my chest as I wrapped my arm around her. I rubbed my fingers on the cast on her arm.

“Daddy will you be gone for a long time?” Sherri asked as she started to cry.

“I don’t know princess,” I replied as I pulled her against me cuddling her tightly.

“I’m sorry daddy,” Sherri sobbed out as I held her.

“Its OK princess your home that is all that matters right now,” I replied to her.

I closed my eyes holding her, as her crying grew softer until I knew she had cried herself to sleep. Her tears were OK this time for she did not cry for herself as she cried for me this time. I must have drifted off to sleep myself as the next thing I knew I was being awaken by Kay.

I slipped silently from behind Sherri leaving her asleep on the sofa. I embraced Kay as I just held her for a few minutes. I walked Kay to the kitchen to see Cathy sitting at the kitchen table looking up at me. I sat Kay down at the table explaining to them the events that took place last night.

I explained to them about Brad breaking Sherri’s arm and taking her to the hospital. I told them about running into Sheriff Gail and about the guards at the hospital as well. I had just finished telling them what I had done to Brad when I heard a knock on the back door.

“That’s for me girls,” I said as I stood up.

I walked into the living room and gave Sherri a kiss on her forehead. I looked to Carrie’s wedding ring on the sign as I asked her once again to watch over her. I walked back into the kitchen to Cathy wrapping my arms around her.

I kissed her on her lips then said, “Keep an eye on them both for me.”

I turned to Kay and wrapped her in my arms. I squeezed her tightly against my body as I told her how much I loved her. I placed my lips onto hers kissing her deeply and with passion as I heard the knock at the back door once again.

I broke our kiss and I placed my hand to the side of Kay’s face as I said, “That is Sheriff Gail to take me away.” “There is nothing you can do until Monday.”

I took Kay back into my arms as her tears started to flow. I looked to Cathy who also had tears in her eyes. I asked Cathy to go let Sheriff Gail in the back door. Her hand touched the side of my face as she walked by.

I whispered into Kay’s ear, “Watch over our daughter.”

My head moved from Kay’s ear to see Sherri standing there staring at me. I smiled to her as I heard Cathy letting Sheriff Gail through the back door.
I turned toward the back door to see her with two male deputies at her side.

I turned my back to them with my hands behind my back. I lowered my head toward the floor. One of the deputies grabbed my hands as he slipped handcuffs onto them.

“Those will not be necessary,” Sheriff Gail said to him. Then she asked me, “Will they, Sgt. J?”

“NO, I will go peacefully,” I replied looking up at Sherri.

“PLEASE don’t take my daddy,” Sherri screamed out.

“Princess, I did wrong and as you know bad men must be punished for the evil they do,” I said to her. I turned to Sheriff Gail as I added, “I am ready.”

The deputies led me from my house on the lake. I looked down to the lake one last time in case I never saw it again. The deputies placed me into the back of the sheriff’s car closing the door behind me. I gave a little chuckle as I thought that was the first time anyone had opened my door and helped me inside the car.

Sheriff Gail came walking down the back steps with Kay, Cathy and Sherri standing at the steps. They were holding each other for comfort and for support. I could see the tears flowing freely from them. I stared at them as Sheriff Gail got into her car. I brought my finger to my eye touching it then I placed my finger on my heart before I pointed three fingers toward them as the sheriff pulled away with me in the backseat.

Sheriff Gail did not say a word to me as she drove. I saw her look back to me in her rearview mirror. I also saw her wipe a tear from her own eye as she did. I leaned my head back into the seat as I closed my eyes.

My ears filled with the sound of waves as they gently splashed against the shoreline. My mind filled with the vision of the moon dancing across the water of the lake. In the background of the moon were bright shining stars to many for my eyes to count. That peaceful feeling came over me in the back seat of Sheriff Gail’s car.

At the sheriff station, the deputies took me into a room with a table and two chairs. There was a mirrored window at one side of the wall. I folded my hands across my chest as I sat down leaning back into the chair. I waited for almost an hour before Sheriff Gail came into the room. She sat down across from me with a note pad. She placed a tape recorder down onto the table.

“You know why you’re here Sgt. J, don‘t you?” Sheriff Gail asked.

“Yes, all because I once fixed a pair of roller skates for a sweet little ten year old girl,” I replied.

“You’re lucky you did not kill that boy,” Sheriff Gail said looking harshly at me.

I looked deeply into her eyes peering into her soul as I replied, “That boy deserved to die,” in a firm powerful tone.

Sheriff Gail reached to the tape recorder and turned it off as she said, “He did and others like him deserve what he got.” She rather looked away from me as she added, “I will do what I can for you Sgt. J, as I know you follow a code that the rest of us do not.”

“Thank you and all I ask of you is to make sure my family is safe,” I replied.

Sheriff Gail nodded her head then slide the note pad to me as she said, “Write down for me what happened last night in your own words.”

She handed me a pen as she stood up from the table. I stood up as well as she walked toward the door. Her hand went to the doorknob and she turned back to me staring at me for a few seconds.

“I have to ask you one thing Sgt. J,” Gail said.

“What is that,” I replied.

“Why the underwater fuse?” Sheriff Gail asked.

I explained to her that I filled the sink with water. Then I told him that if he placed his hands under the water it would put the fuse out as well as the pain. Sheriff Gail stood there with a puzzled look on her face.

“But you can’t put out underwater fuse in water,” She said with a questioning look on her face.

“EXCATELY,” I replied smiling at her.

“Damn I just know that had to play with his mind,” “No wonder he kept screaming it “WON”T GO OUT,” when I interviewed him in the hospital,” Sheriff Gail replied shaking her head as she walked out the door.

I sat down and began to write the events as they went down that night. I knew then as I know today, what I did was wrong. However, as Sheriff Gail had said I live by a different set of code than others. I tell you my readers the same as I wrote in my confession.

I feel no remorse, no regret for what I did to him as that boy had it coming. I will not lose any sleep over what I did nor will it be on my mind or in my dreams the rest of my life. Unlike what will be in Brad’s mind as well as in his dreams for the rest of his life.

I spent Sunday in the Sheriff’s jail. I was not locked up the as the jail cell door was opened. Most on the Sheriff department knew me as well as Sherri. The men and the women would drop by during shift change to ask me if what they heard I had done that night was the truth.

“It was not right for me to do it,” I would tell them. Then I would ask, “What if she had been your daughter?”

None of those people turned from me in disgust. Sure, the boy had two broken fingers. Probably a broken nose, some loose teeth and some burns around his fingers and his hands. However, according to my code he was lucky I left him live. Another reason for the using of the fuse around his fingers and hands was. I wanted him to see those scars each time he played any instruments like a guitar and think of me.

Monday afternoon came and I went into the judge’s chambers where he reviewed everything and asked the prosecutor if there were to be any charges filed. He told the judge not at this time however, the case was under investigation and would remain open for now. The judge told me not to leave the state. The judge waited until the prosecutor walked from his chambers before he turned to me and shook my hand.

“That form of justice is not totally wrong according to the book I follow,” the judge said pointing to the bible on his desk.

I thought about what he had meant. He was referring to the Old Testament that stated, “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and hand for a hand." The law of "an eye for an eye" is usually called the law of retribution, or "lex talionis" (Latin, lex [law] and talio [like]; the punishment is like the injury), or the law of equivalency.

He talked with me for well over an hour, I was not for sure but I think he might have been just making sure I was not a total nut case. I walked from his chambers to find Kay, Cathy and Sherri waiting for me. I hugged them all and we joined hands as we walked from the county courthouse. As we walked through the doors, I heard cheers and clapping. Men from my company as well as their families lined the steps along with many of our town folks.

When you live in a small town like ours news travels fast. I stood there for a second not knowing what to make of it. The girls were standing in front of me as Kay pulled my head down to hers. She used her finger to wipe the tear that was forming in my eye as she said, “I think you have something in your eye John.”

“Must have been some dirt or dust,” Cathy added as she smiled to me from along side Kay.

I smiled back to them as I replied, “Let’s get this family back home where we all belong.”

The girls and I walked down the steps with me shaking hands and receiving pats on the back. I had no praise coming nor did I want any for what I had done. I handed out my own justice only in case he slipped through the system.

As we were walking down those steps, I also noticed something about Sherri. She was hanging on to me for dear life. I also noticed that each time a man’s hand came toward her she flinched or moved closer to me. At Kay’s SUV, I opened the back door helping Sherri in first then I helped Cathy into the front seat as I walked Kay over to the driver’s door.

I opened the door as I said, “I hope you do not mind driving home as I believe I am needed in the backseat,” as I wrapped my arms around her.

Kay kissed me on my lips then she replied, “I know John I too saw what you saw.”

I helped Kay into the driver’s seat then opened the back door climbing in beside Sherri. She laced her good arm through mine as she laid her head against my arm. Kay drove us home with not much talking during the drive. Once at home I got Kay out first then Cathy. I opened the back door and Sherri just sat there looking straight ahead. She had a lost look on her face as well as a lost look in her eyes.

“Princess, we are home,” I said as I reached for her hand.

Sherri smiled to me as she took a hold of my hand. I helped her from the SUV. I went around to her left side, as that was her good arm. I laced it through mine as I patted my hand on her hand.

Sherri looked up to me as she asked, “Will you sit with me on the back swing for awhile daddy?”

“You girls go on inside, I will sit with her for awhile,” I said to Kay and Cathy.

I nodded my head to Sherri as I walked her toward the swing. It was a lovely day out I thought as we walked. The sun was shining and the temperature was nice at right about 67 degrees. I looked down to the lake as we walked toward the swing. Nothing looked more beautiful to me at that time than did the lake, as I had not figured on seeing it for some time. I sat Sherri down into the swing as I sat down beside her. I used my foot to rock us gently. Sherri curled her arm around mine as she took my hand into hers. She looked up to me as tears ran down her face.

Sherri asked, “What will happen to you now daddy?”

I wiped tears from her eyes as I replied, “You need not worry about me princess.” “They will investigate it then the state will decide my fate.”

“Sheriff Gail had me file out a complaint as well as give her my side of the events leading up to Saturday night,” Sherri said. She paused for a few seconds then she asked, “Are you disappointed at me again, daddy?”

“Not at all,” I replied. “Why would you ask me that princess?” I asked her.

Sherri looked deep into my eyes as she explained it to me. Because I did not defend myself against his abuse when I knew how, Sherri went on as she explained she wanted too fight back however she could not. She told me his abuse started as soon as they moved into their own place. When he had hit her the first time I wanted to leave him and come back home right then.

I could not because I wanted to show you that it would be OK between us.
He told me that he was sorry and he loved me daddy. However, his abuse kept getting worst each time.

“I was alone daddy with no one to turn to,” “Not you daddy or angel Carrie,” Sherri said. “You had turned your back on me and angel Carrie had walked away from me because of being tempted,” Sherri added.

“Tempted by what princess?” I asked.

“The life I was living without you around me daddy,” Sherri said. “I did the same as mom; I sold my body for money for us well for him to survive.” “I became a creature of the night,” Sherri added as she hung her head down.

I sat there listening to the story she was telling me. I had heard the same story before from her mom Kay. My mind drifted back to the time we were watching monster movies together. Sherri and I had told each other our greatest fears. Mine being alone and hers that she would end up with a man like the first two husbands of Kay.

I started to realize as she told me about her life on the street in Las Vegas. My demons had not got into her they were Kay’s demons that had. Sherri explained that at first it was not too bad as she only went on dates with older men. There was mostly nice to me and they always paid me the most. There was one man who reminded me of you daddy Sherri told me. Sherri looked to the ground for a few seconds before she looked toward me again.

“However I found out he was a bad man and hurt me,” Sherri said. “After that night I had nightmares of you daddy because of what I had done with him,” Sherri added.

She explained to me that she told Brad about it as well. His solution was for her to turn to drugs to keep the nightmares away. It seemed to work for a while however when my nightmares returned they were still about you daddy. Sherri hung her head to the ground as she started to cry again.

“I cuddled her telling her that everything was going to be alright,” I said to her rocking her on the swing gently.

Sherri lifted her head from my body as she said, “When I returned home I saw that you had found the letter I had written you when I returned to school.”

She went on to explain that she had not told me everything in that letter. Angel Carrie told me that she had to leave because she cannot protect anyone who accepts the darkness willingly. Sherri also told me that she believed that Angel Carrie had removed the bond that we shared. I knew that as she walked away with her hand sticking out by her side and the little blonde haired girls hand appeared holding her hand. I am not for sure daddy but I believe that was Melissa with her. I yelled for them to stop please do not leave me.

“The little girl turned and looked at me as she said, “I walk again with my mom as you will follow your mom’s foot steps as well,” Sherri said to me. “I did not know what she meant until now daddy,” she added as she cried some more.

I rocked her gently on the swing telling her everything was going to be OK. I knew nothing of the demons she had faced. However, I did know someone who I thought could help her more with those demons than I could.

I put my hand under her chin and I looked into her eyes as I added, “You should talk to your mom princess as I believe she can help you more than I can right now.”

“I will daddy but just hold me for now,” Sherri replied as she laid her head against my chest.

I rubbed my hand through her short hair giving her comfort as well as giving it to myself. It had never entered my mind that it was Kay’s demons inside of her. I felt angry with myself for having missed the possibility that Sherri’s worst fears had come true for her.

I held her and rocked her on the old swing for about a half hour. Then I walked her back into the house. Kay and Cathy were sitting on the sofa talking as we walked in through the patio doors. I was a little surprised when Sherri walked right over to her mom.

“Mom, could I talk to you in private?” Sherri asked her.

“A course sweetie,” Kay replied getting up from the sofa.

Kay took her by the hand and they walked back to our bedroom closing the door. I walked over by the fireplace staring at my medals in the case. I wondered if I had not gone off to war would I have done what I had done to that boy. I looked from my medals to Cathy sitting on the sofa.

“Come sit with me hero,” Cathy said as she smiled to me.

“I am no hero just an ordinary man,” I replied as I sat down beside her.

Cathy took a hold of my hand as she said, “Heroes are the people who do what has to be done regardless of the consequences.”

“I only did what I thought was right,” I replied looking into her eyes.

Cathy brought her hand to the side of my face as she said, “Laws control the lesser man.” “Right conduct controls the greater one.”

I wrapped my arm around her pulling her against myself. Cathy always seemed to know the right words to use on me. We sat there talking mostly about me. I knew she was trying to make sure I was OK as Kay talked to Sherri. I had not slept to good in the jail cell, as the damn bunk was metal with no mattress on them. I leaned my head back and was out like a light. When I awoke, it was nighttime and I was alone on the sofa. I sat up ward on the sofa realizing that Kay and Cathy were in the kitchen. I heard Kay and Cathy talking out at the kitchen table.

“She is afraid of what the future holds for her.” “She is afraid of what will happen to her daddy as well,” Kay said. “She wants to talk to her daddy and tell him everything but she is afraid he will turn his back on her once again,” Kay added.

“She feels safe with him like we do,” Cathy replied to Kay. “But she is worried about losing him,” Cathy added.

I got up from the sofa and walked into the kitchen as I said, “I will never turn my back on her again.” I wrapped my arms around them both as I added, “Let’s all just get to bed right now.”

“Sherri is in our bed John, she asked if she could sleep in there tonight,” Kay said.

“I understand,” I replied as I walked them down the hallway.

I opened the door to find Sherri cuddled up with my pillow clutched tightly against her. I leaned down kissing her forehead. I turned to Cathy and gave her a kiss on her lips. I turned to Kay kissing her deeply and passionately.

“Good night my love,” I said to her with my hand on her face.

“John, there is enough room for us all,” Kay replied taking my hand into hers.

“No the sofa is where I belong tonight,” I said kissing her hand.

I grabbed a pair of sweat pants before I walked from the bedroom. I made my way back into the living room. I sat down onto the sofa and removed my boots and the night clothing I had worn. I tossed them to the floor as I put the sweat pants on and lay down onto the sofa. I grabbed the two small pillows and made them into one as I lie my head down.

I had no trouble in falling asleep and I was soon lost in my dream world. I was standing on a rocky shoreline along the lake facing into the east. It was that time when night and morning meet. The moon danced slowly one more time across the tops of the waves as Orange Island started to arise out of the east.

I felt a set of arms wrapping around me from behind as a pair of hands rubbed at my chest. Long blonde hair flowed over my shoulder as the smell of “White Diamond filled my nostrils. I did not have to turn to see who it was behind me. I ran my hands to hers that lie upon my chest. I took her hands into mine squeezing my hands tightly around hers.

“She is safe now John,” Carrie whispered lightly into my ear.

I stood there rubbing her hands with mine as I asked, “Why did you leave her?”

“I had to remove Melissa from her to keep her safe,” “In doing so I was no longer connected with that sweet child,” Carrie replied.

“Will you ever return to her?” I asked.

“I can not say for sure John as only time will heal her wounds as well as her heart.” “I will do what I can for her but I must be careful as for now I am only your guardian angel and not hers,” Carrie replied. “Angels sometimes must stand back, as she works things out for herself - these are the times when we feel alone, the dark before dawn,” Carrie added.

“I know the dark well as for me, Life is a walking Shadow--full of Darkness,” I replied.

“Your darkness has ended except for one more walk into the darkness.” “At which time you must choose which path to take.” “Only you can make that decision when the time comes. “Chose wisely when that time comes for the heart you guide will be your own,” Carrie said as Orange Island crested above the water.

I felt her hands rub up my chest and across my face. I could not see her, I only smelled her as I felt her lips touch mine. Her lovely kiss ended as Orange Island took its place in the morning sky. I awoke from my dream to find the morning sun shining in through the patio doors. I sat up and looked across the way to see Sherri sitting in the chair her drawing book in her lap as her good hand danced across the paper before her.

“Morning princess,” I said as I stared at her.

Sherri said not a word nor did her eyes leave her drawing book. Her one hand moved here then to there on the paper. I knew she was drawing something as I have watched her draw hundreds many even thousands of times. I noticed she looked troubled and confused sometimes as she worked. I was thinking maybe due to the fact she was using only one hand to draw. I was going to ask her if she was having some trouble to see if maybe I could help.

Sherri threw her drawing book to the floor as she screamed, “It’s no use, nothing comes through clear any more,” “I am useless at drawing just like everything else.”

Sherri’s eyes rained out tears as she stood and ran to her bedroom. I heard her door close behind her as I stood up from the sofa. I walked over to her drawing book picking it up from where she had thrown it. I sat down in the chair. I flipped the cover up to an unfinished drawing that looked more like a jigsaw puzzle than a drawing.

There was stuff drawn in this corner and that corner a bit at the top and at the bottom of the page. The middle of the page had something drawn on it as well. However, none of these bits matched up or touched. It was as if she did not know what went in-between the bits of drawings around the page.

I looked at the drawing trying to figure it out. I looked at all the bits of the drawing before I touched my hand to the bit toward the middle. I realized what it was even with her drawing not being complete. It was Carrie’s long blonde flowing hair draped over a set of shoulders. I looked to the east on the drawing to see a crest like thing rising from the water.

At the bottom of the page was the rocky shoreline where we both had been standing. To the left of the page was the moon dancing across the water out of site. I realized the drawing she was trying to make was the dream I had just awoken from while on the sofa.

I tucked her drawing book under my arm as I walked toward her door. I knocked and asked her if I could come into her room. Sherri told me yes and I found her sitting on her bed with her head looking to the floor. I sat beside her with her drawing book on my lap. Sherri looked to it then to me.

“Just throw it away daddy, I can not concentrate enough to know what I am even drawing,” Sherri said as she turned her head from me.

I turned her head back toward me as I opened her drawing book. I laid it in her lap and handed her the drawing pencil. She took it in her good hand as I pointed toward the east on the paper.

“That is Orange Island rising from the east,” I said to her.

Sherri looked at me questionably as I told her to draw what I had told her to draw. Sherri went to work and soon had a rough sketch of Orange Island where it belonged. I pointed toward the bottom as I told her that was to be a rocky shoreline. She went to work sketching that as well.

“Over here the moon was dancing from our sight,” I said pointing to the left.
I moved my hand to the middle as I said, “Carrie stood against my back with her hands on my chest.” “Her long blonde hair blowing lightly as it draped across my shoulders.” I pointed along the shoreline and everywhere in-between as I added, “Waves gently filled in theses area as we stood there.”

Sherri went to work sketching in quickly what went where. I looked at it knowing it was a drawing of my dream. It was just a rough sketch however; I knew what it looked like for I was there.

Sherri laid her pencil on her paper as she took a hold of my hand as she said, “Thanks daddy,” kissing me lightly on my cheek.

I turned my hand in hers bringing it to my lips kissing it lightly before I replied, “Together we will get through this princess.” I wrapped my other arm around her neck pulling her toward me as I added, “This I promise to you princess,” as I kissed her fore head before bringing it to my chest.

I held her for a while before I asked, “How about some pancakes for breakfast, I’ll even let you help?”

“You go ahead daddy I want to finish this drawing while it is still fresh in my head,” Sherri replied as she went back to work.

I reached over and I stopped her hand on the drawing book as I said, “I built you a room to draw in and it still sits as you left it,” smiling at her.

I stood her up from her bed and walked her to her drawing room. I sat her down at her drawing table. I went to the all window wall pulled the curtains back as the morning sun filled the room. I rubbed my hand through her short hair as I walked by her while she worked.

“I will call you when breakfast in ready,” I said looking back to her as I closed the door behind me.

I walked into the hallway to find Kay and Cathy standing there together looking at me. I smiled to them as I said, “With compassion and love we will get through this.” I then asked, “So who is going to help me make pancakes?”

The girls each laced an arm through mine as Kay said, “We will make them you just sit down and rest,” as they walked me toward the sofa.

They both kissed me on my cheek before they went to work in the kitchen preparing breakfast. I sat there as a small but bright flash caught the corner of my eye. I looked to the sign where Carrie’s ring sat on one of the branches of the frame. It sparkled brightly then slowly faded away. I knew angel Carrie was with us and would guide me on my way.

Sherri and I stayed home from work the next few days leaving Kay and Cathy to handle almost everything. Sherri and I did not talk a lot about what she had gone through. She would take some time during the night to talk to either Kay or to Cathy. I would ask the girls about what they had talked about when together. I wanted to know if I was to blame for all of this or not.

This went on for the next three weeks. One of us always stayed at home with Sherri at all times. I showed her compassion and love by holding her hand, hugging her and I would tuck her into her bed at night. I had questions that I needed to ask her however, I did not want to rock the boat so to speak.

“Nothing that concerned you or was about you,” Kay and Cathy would reply when I asked them about their talks.

Kay said to me, “When she is ready John she will deal with you,” giving me one of her looks.

“Kay, I never really helped you through your time did I?” I asked her.

“You were my protector John not my healer,” Kay replied.

“Why did she stay with him instead of asking for help sooner?” I asked Kay.

Kay went on to explain that an abused woman often comes from a violent home and feels that such abuse is inevitable. She may believe that was how love is supposed to be. Because that is how "love" was expressed growing up until, she was ten years old.

“I blame myself for never talking to her about this,” Kay said before she went on to tell me more.

It may have been Humiliation. She does not want anyone to know that she is being beaten or that her partner is an abuser. Whether to protect the family name (often at the urging of other family members) or because they do not believe they deserve any better or to keep others from finding out that they made a mistake, women hide the bruises and pretend everything is all right. They go on hoping their abuser will change.

“She did not want to disappoint you or me,” Kay said then she told me.

It could have been out of Fear. Many abusers threaten to hunt down and seriously injure or even kill the woman and even her children. The women are threatened with isolation and/or alienation from family and friends. Threats against the woman's family or place of employment also serve to keep her tied to her abuser.

“Abuse comes in many forms and is intended as a means of control. Just as rape is not about the sex, but about power, abuse is NOT about what the victim did or did not do, but about the power the abuser has over the victim,” Kay said to me.

I was finding out that the demons Kay and Sherri carried with them almost made mine seem like saints. I also talked to Cathy trying to find out from her anything Sherri may have told her about me. Cathy was always straightforward with her words for me. She would not beat around the bush as Kay did with me sometimes.

“Sherri has suffered emotional abuse as well as physical abuse,” Cathy said to me.

I was not for sure what emotional abuse was. Until Cathy explained that is when a woman is slowly isolated from her friends and family by her abuser. She is told to prove her love by NOT seeing a certain person again. Her self-esteem was assaulted along with her body. She is left feeling useless, helpless, completely dependant on her abuser for everything.

“Even something as simple as replacing the dad who had turned his back,” Cathy said.

“Could I have caused her emotional abuse myself?” I asked Cathy.

“If you did it was totally without meaning too,” Cathy replied.

I believed that was her way of telling me that I had. For the next three weeks, Sherri seemed distance, as she would spend a lot of time in her drawing room or just sitting in her bedroom. I would try to get her to go to the store with me just to get her out of the house. However, she would not leave the house for anything or with anyone other than to go to the doctor.

I was the one she wanted to take her to the doctors as well. It was there during our first visit I knew why she wanted me there. They called Sherri’s name to go see the doctor and she got up from beside me in the waiting room. She walked a few steps before she turned back looking at me giving me those help me eyes look.

She walked back to me and she whispered into my ear, “Come with me daddy, please I am afraid.”

I went in with her and I could tell she was scared to death to have the doctor who was a male touch her. Sherri never once looked him directly in his face or his eyes during his exam of her. She had a hold of my hand and each time the doctor touched her she would squeeze my hand tighter.

I asked her on our way home, “Princess, are you afraid of men?”

“Yes, daddy I am,” Sherri replied. “I can no longer tell the bad men from the good men,” Sherri added as she turned from me with tears in her eyes.

“You’re not afraid of me,” I said to her.

Sherri placed her hand onto mine as she replied, “You’re my protector,” “The only fear I have of you is not being with me,” giving me a little smile as she did.

As I drove us home, I remembered Kay had gone through a similar stage when I had first met her. I noticed as I drove I was getting low on gas so I turned into the nearby gas station to get some. I was standing there beside my truck watching the gas pump with my back to the truck.

“DADDY, DADDY.” Sherri screamed from inside the truck.

I turned to see Sherri ducking down in the front seat. I also saw a man about my age back away from Sherri’s side of the truck. He threw his hands up into the air as he came back toward the bed of my truck.

“I was only going to ask her for directions,” the man said to me.

I could tell from the look in his eyes that he spoke the truth. I gave him directions to where he wanted to go and then finished getting my gas. I returned from paying the gas to find Sherri still down on the front seat with the doors locked. I tapped on the glass but she would not look up until I called her name. She unlocked the door and sat back up as I got into my truck.

I wanted to ask her about what just happened however, I did not because of the look she had. Her look was one of those I do not care to talk about it looks. I seem to get quite a few of those from her lately. I did not press the matter as I thought to what Kay had told me. “When she is ready John she will deal with you.”

Later that night, Sherri wanted to return to work. She asked me as I sat with her on the sofa after Kay and Cathy had gone to bed. I told her I did not think it was a good idea with her arm and all. I saw the hurt fill her face as she just stared at me. I knew instantly I had not told her what she wanted to hear.

“I tell you what princess, you can if you just work around the office as I don’t want you near the heavy equipment or job sites just yet,” I said to her thinking quickly to change her mood.

“Thanks daddy,” Sherri replied giving me a hug.

The next day Sherri and I drove to work. We went into the office together and Sherri went to make some coffee as I went into my office sitting behind my desk. That is if that was what you could call it. I had paper work lying all over my desk. I have a habit of not filing paper work instead; I leave it on my desk where I know I can find it when I need it. I would have agreed with anyone however that my desk as well as my office looked like a tornado had gone through it.

Sherri came walking into my office with two cups of coffee. She handed me my cup as she looked down at my desk. She stood there shaking her head back and forth looking at my desk.

“How do you find anything in this mess daddy?” Sherri asked.

“I know where everything is at on my desk,” I replied with a smile as an idea came into my head. “Besides that is your first duty reorganize my paper work as well as my office,” I added as I stood up from my desk.

“That might take me the rest of the year,” Sherri replied with a smile.

“I will use your office for the time being,” I said as I walked from mine to hers.

I sat down behind her desk watching her going through the paperwork on my desk. Sherri was reading a piece of paper then she came to me with it. She handed it to me and I read what I had written on it, meeting with client on such and such date, which was today. I asked Sherri to get me the blueprints for this job. She did as I asked and she left me to go over the plans as she went back into my office.

I was looking the blueprints over when I heard voices I looked up to see Chuck and two men from his crew walk into my office. You may remember him from an early chapter where he and I did a bit of dancing together and I put him in his place. Chuck had impressed me so much after Sherri left he had become my right arm so to speak. He had become one of my greatest assets in my company. I jumped up from behind Sherri’s desk as I did not know how she would take them walking into the office. I made it to her door and then stopped.

“Welcome back boss lady we all have missed you around here,” Chuck said to her. The rest of the men added their welcomes to her as well. “We were all worried about you as well,” “ Your dad kept us all up to date however he did not say you were returning so soon,” Chuck added.

“It’s nice to be back where I do not feel useless or out of place,” Sherri replied looking straight at him instead of down to the floor.

“We all have felt that way one time or another,” Chuck said. “I remember I used to feel that way a lot until I came to work for your dad and you know how that started,” Chuck added.

I turned back and sat back down behind Sherri’s desk once again checking over the blueprints. I heard Chuck ask her for some plans and Sherri got them for him. Chuck came walking over to Sherri’s office and he placed his hand onto the door frame looking in at me.

“Bye sweetie,” I will see you around noon,” Chuck said blowing me a kiss.

I politely flipped him my middle finger as his men and he had gotten their laugh for the day. They walked from our offices laughing all the way out the building. I looked over to see Sherri busy arranging the paperwork on my desk. Maybe her coming back to work was a good idea for she had a smile on her face as she did.

Kay and Cathy soon came walking in and they saw Sherri hard at work and did not bother her. Instead, they came into her office to bother me. The three of us were in Sherri’s office talking when we heard a knock and I heard a familiar voice.

“Sgt. J, could I get you to come with me?” Sheriff Gail asked as she walked into the room.

Kay and Cathy rather parted from in front of the desk letting me see her standing there. I handed Kay the paper with the clients name on it that the blueprints went too. I told her she could handle it while I was gone as I stood up from behind the desk.

“Where are you taking my daddy?” Sherri asked.

“The judge and prosecutor have made a decision on his case,” Sheriff Gail replied.

“What ever daddy did I am I also to blame,” Sherri said. “I am as guilty as he is and I wish to go with him,” Sherri added.

“If that is how you see it miss so be it,” Sheriff Gail replied. “I will wait for you two outside by my car,” she added as she walked out of the office and out into the parking lot.

Sherri grabbed her jacket as well as mine. We both gave hugs to Kay and Cathy. As Sherri was hugging Cathy, I wrapped my arms around Kay. I whispered into her ear.

“Do not worry I will send her back if anything happens to me,” I whispered to her.

“We all should go along, John,” Kay replied.

“NO Kay, the company has a client to look after and Cathy and you need to be here,” I said as I grabbed Sherri’s hand.

I walked us out to Sheriff’s Gail car where I opened the driver door giving her a smile before I opened the back door for Sherri. I helped Sherri into the backseat as Sheriff Gail shook her head from side to side.

“Always the gentleman you are Sgt. J,” Sheriff Gail said as she closed the back door behind me before she got into the car.

She drove us to the county courthouse and walked us into the judge’s chambers. The judge sat there as well as the prosecutor. The judge looked to me then to Sherri. He then looked to the prosecutor raising his eyebrow as he did.

“What is she doing here?” the prosecutor asked.

I did not get a chance to say anything before Sherri said, “What ever wrong my daddy did he did because of me and for me.” “My daddy is not a bad man for his heart would never allow it.” Sherri reached over and she took a hold of my hand as she added, “What ever punishment you hand him you must also hand me as I am just as guilty as him,” as she hung her head to the floor.

The judge looked to her then to the prosecutor as he said, “First time I have ever heard a daughter confessing to her fathers sins,” as he looked to me with a smile on his face.

“Mr.______ no charges are to file in this case,” “However, we could still charge you with the assault of the security guard at the hospital,” the prosecutor said.

“But after talking with the judge and the sheriff we all feel that no charges shall be brought against you.” “However in return you must do 300 hours community service,” he added.

The judge said, “Your service will be with the Sheriff department training Sheriff Gail and her men in your ways.” The judge looked to Sherri and he added, “As to where you stand in all this, I believe you to stand where you do today.” “That being beside your daddy,” “So you too will do 300 hours community service with the sheriff department as well young lady,” as he looked back to the prosecutor.

“The state agrees,” the prosecutor replied. “Do both parties agree to the agreement?” He asked looking to Sherri and me.

“Sounds fair to me,” I replied. I looked to Sherri lifting her head with my hand turning her face toward me as I asked, “Does it sound fair to you, princess?”

“Yes, daddy,” Sherri replied.

The prosecutor said, “Case closed with no papers filed as we all know you’re a man of your word,” as he grabbed his briefcase shook my hand and walked from the judges chambers with Sherri moving closer and tightly against me as he walked by her.

The judge came from behind his bench toward Sherri and I. Sherri almost was hiding behind me. The judge looked to Sheriff Gail giving her a little nod. Sheriff Gail wrapped her arm around Sherri asking her to come with her as the judge wanted to talk to her dad. The judge waited until Sherri was out of the room.

He looked to me as he asked, “That girl going to be OK?”

“I believe so with a little help from an angel above,” I replied as I stuck out my hand to thank him.

“We all need an angel with us from time to time son,” “And from the stories I have heard of you I would say yours is always with you,” the judge said as he shook my hand.

“To live in one’s heart is never to die,” I replied as he walked me to his door.

“Good luck Sgt. J if you or that sweet girl need anything you just let me know,” The judge said giving me a pat on my back before returning to his office.

Sheriff Gail drove us back to our office. Along the way we talked about the training, I was to give her and her men. She wanted her men as well as the females on the sheriff department to be able to sub do a threat as I had at the hospital. Once at our office as Sherri was going into the door Sheriff Gail wanted to talk to me.

“Let’s not start the training until she feels a little better,” Sheriff Gail said. “In fact come spring would be OK with me,” She added as she tipped her hat and drove away.

I walked inside to find Sherri in Kay’s office. The three of them were hugging so I figured that Sherri had told them the outcome. I walked into my own office to find a new contract on my desk. Kay and Cathy had done their part while we were gone. I sat down behind my desk looking to Kay’s office where I saw Sherri standing there.

“Sherri, I would like to see you in my office,” I yelled out.

She hurried into my office and I said, “Close the door young lady.” “Pull yourself up a chair as well,” I want to talk to you.”

Sherri closed the door and sat down in a chair as I said, “Just what did you think you were doing at the courthouse.” “What if their decision was for me to have been locked up,” I asked.

“I was doing the honorable thing as you raised me daddy,” “Honor isn't about making the right choices.” “It's about dealing with the consequences.” “I was willing to accept the consequence for my actions,” Sherri added.

“What actions was that?” I asked looking at her puzzled.

“I could have stopped you daddy,” “I could have told you he was not worth it, however I did not,” Sherri replied. “I wanted him to feel the hurt, the pain and the despair I will feel the rest of my life,” she added.

I stood up and walked from behind my desk to her. I stood her up and wrapped my arm around her as I pulled her tightly against my chest as I whispered into her ear, “You made me proud today, princess,” “It took courage as well as bravery on your part to stand beside me as well as to face the consequences of my actions.”

Sherri smiled at me then she whispered into my ear, “Not your actions, our actions.”

I had to break our little hug as I felt some dust getting into my eye. I told her to finish getting my office in order as I walked from it. I walked by Cathy who saw me wiping my tears as I passed her by. She simply smiled at me as I walked outside to our heavy equipment building. I needed some alone time and no one was around out there.

I returned inside and as I was entering a floral delivery person was leaving. I walked to Kay’s office to find out just who was sending her flowers. She smiled and shook her head as she pointed to Sherri’s office.

“Chuck and his crew had welcome back flowers delivered to her,” Kay said.

I walked to Sherri’s office to find that she was not in there. I went on in and checked the flowers out she had received. There was a small card that read, “Welcome back Boss lady it feels nice to have you back almost as nice as sending flowers when you have not done anything wrong,” signed Chuck and the rest of the crew.

I told Kay that I was going to run out to Chuck’s work site to see how it was coming along. I told her to hold down the fort and I would return shortly. I walked to my office to tell Sherri where I was going however, she was not in my office. I figured that maybe she was wiping dust from her own eyes in the women room.

I walked out to my truck and as I opened the door, Sherri was inside sitting on the passenger side. I got in and I turned to her to ask her where she thought she was going. I was just getting ready to say something to her.

“I am only coming along to thank them daddy, I promise not to get in the way,” Sherri said.

“You have never been in the way and stop thinking like that,” I replied realizing it had been in my military voice and not my daddy’s voice.

“YES boss,” Sherri replied with a smile on her face.

As we drove to the site I asked, “Your little talks with Kay and Cathy do they seem to help you?”

“Yes, daddy it lets me know that others have faced what I did and survived,” Sherri replied. “However I still have another problem to deal with as well,” she added.

“That be with me,” I said. “I am here when your ready, princess,” I added.

“I know daddy and when I get it all figured out I will find you,” Sherri replied as she took a hold of my hand into hers.

We soon arrived at the work site. I was shocked when Sherri got out of the truck by herself. She walked right over to Chuck and his crew who were on break. I sat there wondering why these men did not have the same effect on her as other men. The more I sat there wondering the more confused I became over her. I was trying to understand the demons she faces however; I was unsure just what they were. I had to understand them before I could help her I thought.

I got out of the truck and started to walk toward Chuck and his men. Chuck stepped from his men and he met me halfway. Chuck removed his hard hat and stuck out his hand.

“We are ahead of schedule boss and under budget,” Chuck said smiling as he shook my hand.

“Thanks Chuck for what you and your crew did today,” I replied as I drew my hand from his.

“Hey boss she is one of us now,” Chuck replied.

When Chuck had said that I realized then why Sherri was not afraid of these men. These men were like me, we all had some form of demons in us at one time or another. Like me, these men lived by a different code in life. Like me, these men knew what it was like to face the person you never wanted too, that being yourself.

“You tell your crew they made the boss happy he hired them,” I said to Chuck as my hand went to his shoulder. “You all earned yourselves a little bonus today,” I added as I turned toward Sherri to see that she was helping with some of the work. I was about to yell at her when Chuck stopped me.

“Boss, her arm is already broke she can’t break it again,” Chuck said to me.

“Just a little overprotective I am,” I replied, as I knew what he was getting at.

“As a good parent should always be,” Chuck said with a smile.

Chuck went back to work as I went into the site trailer to go over the plans. My mind was not really on the plans as I sat there. My mind was thinking why Sherri had not found herself a man like Chuck. To bad, he had gotten married last year I thought to myself. Sherri came walking into the trailer as I sat there. I looked to her as she entered.

“They chased me away daddy,” Sherri said. “They told me I was making the big boss nervous.” “Sorry daddy I was just helping where I could,” Sherri added.

“Go on back and help where you can just be careful for daddy, please,” I said.

Sherri came over and she hugged me as she replied, “Thanks daddy,” as she kissed me on my cheek before she left the trailer to rejoin the crew at work.

I looked out of the trailer to check up on her every now and then. She seemed to get along with Chuck’s crew very well. Chuck had asked me to hire the men that worked with him as his crew. At first I was hesitate to do so after doing some background checks on the men he wanted. The four men on his crew were no saints. Three had done time for armed robbery and the fourth had a long record of stealing cars. I confronted Chuck about those men before I hired them.

“I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into with picking them as your crew,” I said to Chuck.

“I know those men I grew up on the streets with them,” Chuck replied. “Like me they need to be given a chance to prove themselves not to us but to themselves,” Chuck added.

I was now proud of those men for turning their lives around. In the year and a half they had been working for me not, one of them had gotten into any trouble. I had also seen the compassion they had for Sherri as well.

On the way home from work that night Sherri asked me if it was OK if she went through our company lawyers to get started on her divorce. I told her that would be fine as it would be a start to putting this all behind her. Three week later Sherri got her cast removed and her arm seemed as good as before with no long lasting affects other than the mental ones she carried.

She still did not want to go anywhere unless I went along. Sherri would not even go shopping with Kay and Cathy. I asked her why she could not go with them.

“I do not feel safe with them just yet,” Sherri replied. “They had to be pulled from the darkness like I was,” she added.

That night as I lie in bed with Kay and Cathy, I told them how Sherri had explained they all had been pulled from the darkness. I lie between them sharing my own thoughts with them. I wondered who had pulled me from mine.

After Vietnam, I would say Carrie had. However, who had when I was in Vietnam and who had when I lost Carrie and my daughter Melissa. Who had the thirty or fifty more times I slipped back into the darkness through my life.

I felt Kay’s hand rubbing against my face and as I looked to her she said, “You did John you pulled yourself from the darkness,” “Same as you survived the war in Vietnam you became the monster who is simply you,” as her hand rubbed my face.

I felt Cathy’s hand rubbing at my chest and as I looked to her she added, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or by hell.”

“Thanks girls but I believe you two may have played a hand in it as well,” I replied as I cuddled them both in my arms.

Sherri had her divorce by Thanksgiving thanks to a certain judge who had befriended us both. Brad never even showed up for court. Rumors filled everyone’s lips and ears in our small town. They ranged from Sherri having killed him to me having done him in and burying him at my latest job site. The truth was that the judge and some other members of our little town persuaded him to leave town and never come back here again.

Sherri seemed to be getting better after Thanksgiving. When at home she seemed cheerful, however she spent most of her time in her drawing room. I never went in to check her drawing book, as I did not want too. OK I will tell the truth I was afraid of what I may see. The other drawing book of nightmares seemed to linger in my head.

Sherri seemed to be the happiest while at work. I figured that like me it kept her mind off her real problems. I had to figure out a way to make her face her fears. It came to me one day out of the blue. It may not have been the proper way but hey, it worked.

Sherri and I were on the way to the store one evening after work. As I parked the truck, I went to her side to open her door for her. Well my foot slipped on some loose stones and I fell down.

Sherri jumped from the truck as she screamed, “Daddy, are you alright?”

She bent down to me and it came to me what I needed to do. “No, princess I think I have broken my foot,” I replied. “Help me back into the truck,” I added.

I reached into my pocket and I pulled the grocery list Kay had given me earlier in the day. I handed it to Sherri as I said, “Please get the stuff on the list for your mom then you can drive me to the hospital.”

“The list can wait daddy,” Sherri replied.

“NO they will be closed by the time we get back here,” “Please for me princess,” I begged as I gave a little moan reaching down to my foot.

Sherri shook her head OK and off she walked inside the store. I slipped from the truck and into the store. I followed her as stealthy as I had followed any of the enemy through the jungles of Vietnam.

I observed her every move and her reactions to anyone around her especially any males. Sherri had a good game plan called avoidance. If a male came toward her she avoided him at all cost. I saw her even just turn and go all the way up the next aisle then back down the aisle, she had left just to avoid him.

I followed her all through the store. I went outside the store to keep an eye on her as she checked out, a male waited on her. She never really ever looked up at him as she held her head down toward the floor as she handed him the money.

I ran back to the truck getting back to it before she did. I jumped out as she approached the truck. I grabbed the bags and loaded them into the back of the truck.

“I thought your foot was broken daddy?” Sherri asked as she stood there looking at me.

“Must have just been a Charlie horse in it,” I replied as I smiled opening her door for her.

Sherri wrapped her arms around me before she got into the truck and she said, “Thanks daddy I know what you are doing.”

As we drove home, we talked about her experience in the store. How she felt being alone. How tense and distraught she felt when a male walked toward her. I also told her that she was never alone as I was behind her hidden at all times.

“I was scared daddy,” “I have never been so afraid in my life,” Sherri said.

“We all are scared that first time at anything we do in life,” I replied. “Hell each time I had to learn to walk again it scared the hell out of me.” “What scared me more was what if I had not tried too,” I added as I took a hold of her hand.

“Daddy, you made my nightmares go away once will you help me to overcome my fears once more?” Sherri asked me as we pulled into the driveway at home.

“Yes, princess and I may even overcome some of my own along the way,” I replied.

We started working on her fear of men right away. We would go to a store and I would stay behind her just out of her sight. It took her a while however each trip to the store she went one-step further. She went from avoidance to simply not looking at a male that walked by her. Then it moved to where she could look at the male for a few seconds and finally to where she could stare at a male as he stared back. This change did not happen over night it took until spring of next year to get her to that point.

We even had a Christmas that year. The whole family went with me to get the Christmas tree that year. The girls decorated the tree the weekend before Christmas of that year. It was a Saturday afternoon. Sherri and I had spent most of the morning removing snow from the roads in our area. The snow this season so far had been average and with her helping me as well as two other men from our company, we did not have to plow day and night.

We had two brand new state of the art plow trucks. That was where Kay and Cathy had gone when Sherri’s phone call came. Hell, I was glad I had sent them as they got me a damn good deal on them.

Christmas Eve was soon here and the four of us sat in the living room with a fire in the fireplace and just the lights on the tree shining. I sat around checking my watch as I had a phone call coming and I wanted to make sure none of the girls answered it. The phone ring and I answered it.

“OK boss, I called so now what,” Chuck said into the phone.

“NO don’t worry about it I will go make sure,” I replied into the phone then hanging it back into its cradle.

I turned to the girls in the living room as I said, “I have to run to work to make sure the truck gate is locked.”

“I will come with you daddy,” Sherri replied.

“No princess you stay here and keep your mom and Kay Company,” “I won’t be gone that long,” I said as I grabbed my coat on the way out the door.

I had to have Chuck call me in order to get me out of the house. My Christmas shopping was not over yet as I still had one more gift to go pick up for a special girl. I drove up to by the lake to that kennel ran by the same family where we had gotten Coco at.

I had called them a few days ago and asked them if they happened to have a German Sheppard or Doberman puppy that would be ready on Christmas Eve. They told me that they had a Doberman puppy that would love to be part of our family.

I drove up there and picked the dog up. He was pure black except for the little bit of rust color at the tips of his ear and a small patch on the top of his head. They took me to see the dog and as I looked to the dog, he turned his head a little sideway looking back at me. I saw the little stub of his tail wagging back and forth. I told them he would do nicely.

I carried him to my truck with him licking at my face as I placed him in the front seat with me. He checked the inside of the truck out for a while. He was sniffing here and there, as he went from the seat to the floor of the truck. He even found some pepper packs that he decided to chew on which had him sneezing rather for a while. He finally settled down with his head on my lap. I pulled into our driveway as I told him that some one would be out to get him in a few seconds. I walked into the house and into the living room.

“Damn it, I forgot the blueprints I picked up while at the office,” I said looking toward Sherri.

“I will go get them daddy,” Sherri replied as she grabbed her coat before heading outside.

Kay and Cathy looked at me, as they both knew that I was up to something. I sat between them wrapping them both in my arms. I told them they were about to meet the newest member of our family. Sherri ran back into the house with the dog in her arms.

“Daddy is he mine?” She asked as she cuddled him and he licked at her face.

“He is all yours, princess,” I replied.

“What are you going to name him?” Kay asked her.

“Call him Pepper,” I replied as I told them the story of him getting into the pepper packs in the truck.

I had gotten Sherri that dog for two reasons. One since she had been home I saw how she would stare at the drawing of Coco hanging over the fireplace. The second reason was for protection, as when the dog was old enough he would be going to attack school. Everyone was happy and cheerful during Christmas of that year. Sherri seemed to be the happiest; however, I also saw the looks she gave me sometimes. I knew she was getting ready to deal with her other problem, which was I.

We all brought the New Year in with a party at our house on the lake. A few close friends and who ever else happened to drop by that day and night. My kiss at midnight was with Kay, as I would have it no other way. Cathy got the next one and I explained to Sherri the only reason was that Cathy was older.

“I understand daddy,” Sherri said as I took her into my arms.

She kissed me on my cheek then whispered into my ear, “This starts a new year as well as a new life for me,” “If you have the time daddy I would like to talk with you tomorrow.”

“I will always have the time for you princess,” I replied.

The party went on for a couple more hours until it was only Kay, Cathy and I. Our guests had left and Sherri and Pepper were asleep in her bed. I took Kay and Cathy into our bedroom where I told them about Sherri wanting to talk to me. The girls just stared at me not saying a word.

“What no advice, No warning me to keep my mouth closed and my ears opened,” I asked them.

“This is between you and your daughter John,” Cathy said smiling at me.

Kay placed her hand to my heart as she added, “As always John your heart will guide you,” smiling then kissing me.

The next morning after breakfast Sheri asked me if we could go for a ride as it was a fairly nice day for in January almost in the 60‘s. I walked her to my truck and opened her door. Sherri stood there looking at me as a smile came over her face.

“You have been the only man to ever open doors for me daddy,” Sherri said pulling me down to kiss my cheek. “Thank you for always being the gentlemen,” Sherri added as she got into the truck.

“Where would you like to go, princess?” I asked as I got into my truck.

“Could we go to the special spot up on the big lake?” Sherri asked taking my hand into hers.

“Sure princess anything for you,” I replied.

We did not talk much on the way. I believe she was rehearsing what she was going to say to me. We got to that special spot Carrie and I used to go to when I came home from Vietnam the first time. I pulled in there thinking how the place had not changed that much in the last 27 years. The parking lot was bigger. Other than, that if I looked very hard I could see Carrie standing there with her arms folded looking out over the water. I sat there in my truck staring at the spot I used to stand with her in my arms. I was lost in my own thoughts as we sat there.

“Daddy, daddy, are you here?” Sherri asked.

“Yes, princess just lost in my memories,” I replied. “Now what were you saying?” I asked.

“Where do I start daddy?” Sherri asked.

I turned to face her taking her hand into mine as I replied, “At the beginning princess always start at the beginning.”

That is where Sherri started with the story she told me. It started like this. One day a man came into my grandma’s home where my mom and I lived. I did not know this man nor did I really care too. I spied on him as he sat on our couch. I wondered how he was going to hurt my mom and me.

All the other men in my life had hurt either my mom or me. This tall, strong man scared me at first. I could also see that look of uncertainty or even evil in his eyes. My mom had told me he was a good man however; mom did not really know how to pick her men.

However, you passed my test that day you fixed my skates and that meant a lot to me as no other man had ever been able too. I knew then you were not like the other men. There was something special about you.

I knew I was right when you would include me when you and mom went out together. I had been hurt so much before I forgot how to have fun as a little girl until you came into our lives. You showed us both how to enjoy life again.

“However, it was not to last because as I grew into a young adult I ran into a problem,” Sherri said as she hung her head down.

I picked her head up with my finger as I asked, “What problem did you have princess?”

Sherri looked at me and she replied, “I fell in love with you.” “I wanted a man just like you but why risk it when I could just have you.”

Sherri turned away then turned back to me as she added, “After seeing photos of Carrie when she was younger I redid my hair so I looked like her more.” “I used Carrie to try to get you to make love with me,” “I know it was wrong now but back then it seemed so right.”

“After you rejected me when I tried to seduce you,” Sherri replied. “I know I told you I understood however I did not daddy.” “I thought since you did not want me no good man would ever want me,” Sherri added.

She went on to explain that with me rejecting her and the nightmares she was having back then that she would be better without dating men. She told me that was when she had turned to Cathy and they had become more than just friends.

“Daddy, I almost killed Cathy once over you,” Sherri said hanging her head down to the floor of the truck.

“I know princess.” “You stopped yourself that was all that mattered,” I replied.

Sherri went on that she dated a few boys back then but they were all bad boys. She gave up on men after that she explained. She went on as she told me about meeting Pam and how they had became more than just friends.

“You was right that day you took us both fishing, we were in love and lovers as well,” Sherri said even giving a little smile. “I ruined our friendship and the love between us when we went off to Art School,” Sherri added.

She explained how she got mad at me because I did not call or come see her and Pam at the Art School. How it made her feel even more alone. I tried to explain it to Pam that it was your entire fault daddy. Pam stuck up for you daddy and that even hurt me more. We got into a big fight and I told her I could never love or be with her again. I broke off my relationship with her and found Brad as I walked alone one night.

“I realize now I was jealousy of Pam because she had you once,” Sherri said. “I decided to run away with Brad to get as far away as I could,” She added.

“When I first met Brad he was sweet and loving like you and he replaced my need for you.” “I knew you were mad at me and that I could never come home again,” Sherri said. “Brad agreed and even told me that a man like you was incapable of loving anything.” “I believed him daddy as you were no longer in my heart,” Sherri added as her tears ran down her cheeks.

“Then why did you come home, princess?” I asked.

“I looked into the mirror one day and I no longer knew who I was,” Sherri replied. “I was hoping you could help me so I came home only to find out if what angel Carrie had told me was the truth,” Sherri added.

Sherri explained how at about this time her nightmares of me started. The drugs Brad had me do only clouded my mind as well as my judgment. The drugs stopped them for a time however when they returned Angel Carrie returned into them as well.

“Angel Carrie just stood by in my nightmares of you never helping me just standing there shaking her head,” Sherri said.

“Then one night she told me good bye daddy,” Sherri said. “She told me I was now unworthy of her protection,” “I also knew you and I no longer shared our special bond as when Carrie told me good bye she had Melissa at her side,” Sherri added hanging her head back down crying.

“Princess, that was just the drugs I told you they will make your demons stronger,” I replied lifting her head up and toward me.

“I am not for sure daddy as everything she had told me before had come true,” “Even when I returned home everything she had told me was true.” “One will turn his back on you, which was you daddy,” “You will have his rage and no power to control it until your will becomes broken not by him but for him,” Sherri said telling me what Angel Carrie had told her.

“Fighting with you when I came home took its toll on me until all the fight was gone from me daddy,” “I just gave up and decided I was to follow in mom’s foot steps as I was once fore told,” Sherri added as she looked to me.

I cuddled her as I replied, “I know princess all the fighting between us caused you to just give up hope.”

“I did not give up on hope daddy, I gave up on myself as well as on you,” Sherri said. “My monster within told me to follow not his footsteps but follow your moms.” “I knew a longtime ago the type of man I was to end up with daddy,” Sherri added as she cried some more.

“Princess, I’m sorry for all the pain and despair I have put you through or that I place on you,” I replied as I held her. “Maybe I never should have told you about Angel Carrie watching over us,” “And the story of the love we shared,” “Maybe that story should never be told again.” I added.

“NO daddy, if not for having Angel Carrie none of us would be here right now,” Sherri replied. “Without Angel Carrie we would not have who we needed the most,” she added.

I looked at her puzzled then she said, “You daddy,” “Angel Carrie guided you to us three troubled souls who one day would need your caring, your protection as well as your love.”

I sat there thinking then I replied, “Not entirely true princess,” “You forget you saved me from taking my own life once.”

“No daddy not me,” “It was you who gave me the bullets from that gun,” Sherri said. I looked at her even more puzzled until she added, “The monster within you gave me the bullets a few days before that event occurred.” “He told me to keep these from Sgt. J,” “I knew from reading Carrie’s journals that the monster within you was you.” “That was why the lock was never broken or tampered with because you gave me those bullets.”

“What about you knowing or hearing the other me talk of my mission on the way to the hospital?” I asked her.

“Daddy I know the code you follow after all you raised me on it,” “Truth, Honor, Bravery and the courage to take action when others do not,” “To always do what is right and just,” Sherri replied. “I learned about another code you follow even thou you may not admit to it; that is having and showing compassion when needed,” Sherri added.

I did not know what to reply as no words came to me. That was until I thought about one of her drawings in my head. “What about the drawing you once did where I was fighting with Joe?” “The knife was on the ground and not sticking in my arm princess why?” I asked her.

“Back then you was Superman to me and Superman does not bleed, daddy,” Sherri said. She added, “As to the rest of my drawings I can not explain how they come into my head especially when I am around you,” “It was as if I could always see into your mind as well as into your heart,” “That was until it all stopped when I ran away not just from you but from myself.”

I sat there in my truck pondering all she had just told me. It started to all make sense to me. Kay, Sherri and Cathy were not here to help me it was I who was here to help them. I thought about something Carrie had told me once “Always do for others as their wants and needs will always far out weigh yours John.”

I looked over to Sherri who was no longer in the truck. I looked through the windshield to see her standing at the rocky shoreline looking out over the lake. Her hair had grown out some in the last 3 to 4 months it blew from her shoulders in the lake winds. I saw that she had her arms folded in front of her as I walked toward her.

I walked up behind her putting my arms around her as I asked, “Are you cold princess?”

“A little daddy my heart is still a bit cold yet,” Sherri replied looking up and back to me.

I took my jacket off and I wrapped it around her pulling her against my chest. I held her in my arms as we both looked out over the water of the lake. It had not frozen yet and the waves rolled across the lake in a gentle rocking motion until they gently splashed against the shoreline.

I whispered into her ear, “Close your eyes princess and think back to the happiest day of your life.” I gave her some time to get there before I added, “Now filter all the sounds you hear until you hear silence.”

I watched her eyes go closed as I held her. I could feel the calmness that had came over her as she filtered out the last bit of noise. I watched as the sides of her mouth curled up into a smile.

I whispered softly into her ear, “That is your happy place princess no one can ever harm you when you are there, not even yourself.” Her smile grew larger as I added, “When you feel troubled or ill at heart just close your eyes and go to your happy place where all your wants and needs will come true.”

“Yes little girl I can fix those skates,” I whispered softly into her ear.

Sherri turned in my arms as she asked, “Daddy, how did you know?”

“I just knew princess, I just knew,” I replied as I wrapped her tightly in my arms. I pulled her head against my chest placing her ear against it.

I held her like that, as I filtered the sounds around me from my ear. Silence filled my ears for a few seconds before I heard two hearts beating. Their beats were far different for a few seconds until I felt a slight pain in my chest. It was as if my heart had stopped beating.

“Daddy,” Sherri said pulling her head from my chest.

I pulled her head back against my chest as I felt my heart start to beat again. I closed my eyes and listened with my ears. Our two hearts merged as they started to beat as one. Sherri pulled her ear from my chest and she gave me a nice smile.

“I was worried there for a second as it sounded like your heart stopped,” Sherri said.

I replied, “Me too princess,” as I walked us toward the truck.

I drove us home knowing that we were once again daddy and that sweet little girl of ten who had tugged at my heart. I also knew someday I would have to let her go once more but until then I would keep her close and read between the words she spoke to me. I would never impose my will, my wants or my needs on her ever again.

This will end this chapter. I left the sex out of this chapter in respect to abuse to women. As I thought, it might be inappropriate to tell of our sexual adventures while also dealing with what seems like a never-ending cycle of abuse toward women. There are many types of abuse as I found out with dealing with Kay and Sherri. I may have even been guilty of emotional abuse toward all of them without ever realizing it.

I had asked them all if I had been and their replies were, “No, John you were just being yourself.”

However, after this went down I tried to be more compassionate as well as careful in how I handled each of them. I found that they were all different in some ways. Kay would never question me or pass judgment on how I handled Sherri as well as herself. That was until I realized I had handled it wrongly then and only then would she point out where I made my mistakes.

“That is how you learn about life, John only by the mistakes you have made,” Kay would tell me.

Cathy on the other hand was not one to be afraid to confront me about the errors in my thinking. She knew I was hardheaded and the mostly like way to get through to me was being firm and strong. She had come from a military family so she may have understood me far better than I understood myself.
During this time in our lives Cathy had a polite way to telling me when I was being Sgt. J and not John.

She would snap to attention in front of me and with a smile on her face she would ask, “Should I drop and how many do I give you SGT. J.” That being in regards with “Drop and give me twenty solider,” which meant for the soldier to do twenty push-ups.

Then there was Sherri my princess. Since she was ten, I had wanted her to be the daughter I had lost. When she became older, she was Carrie to me. I tried to shape her life into their lives, which was wrong and selfish of me. Sherri was what I wanted her to be not what she wanted and was to herself. In trying to make her, what I wanted. I almost lost her as well as myself.

I blame myself for what she had to endure all because I raised her not as Sherri that innocent ten-year-old girl whose skates I had once fixed. I had raised her to be what I wanted and needed never considering what she needed most. I had taken her hopes and dreams from her and replaced them with my own. In doing so, I might have even place a little bit of myself into her. I had instilled into her person my anger, my temper and even my hostility. That was until she left home and became alone then and only then did she become herself.

I made more than a few mistakes raising that child however at least I had instilled, “Truth, Honor, Bravery and the courage to take action when others do not,” “To always do what is right and just,” into her. I may not have been proud of anything else during this time but that. Sorry was late in getting this chapter out as Mother Nature was giving us hell at our little home on the lake. Some trees down onto the house as well as all electricity in our area out, took out the damn cable lines as well. It scared the fucking hell out of us all as we were fast asleep when the storm hit the house. Thankfully, no one was hurt other than our home and that is already being repaired.

The final chapter will be out soon dealing with more of Sherri’s recovery as well as that one more walk into the darkness that Angel Carrie had fore warned me about. I leave you with something I used when dealing with Sherri and the abuse she faced Kay found it for me and suggested I followed it.
SGT. J



What WE, your loved ones, want YOU, the survivor to know.

1. We LOVE you. Unconditionally.
2. We will NOT "prove" our love by physically, verbally, emotionally or sexually abusing you like others before who have said they love you have done.
3. We're NOT perfect.
4. We will make mistakes.
5. We need you to tell us when we make those mistakes so we don't do it again.
6. We are NOT ashamed of you because of what you have survived.
7. We KNOW you are competent of caring for yourself, but we would like to help IF you need/want it.
8. We trust that YOU know what you need to do to heal and will support you every step of the way.
9. We UNDERSTAND that you may not be able to fill all of our needs right now.
10. We need someone we can talk to when you are unable to do so.
11. We can NEVER understand the pain you have suffered because we cannot walk in your shoes.
12. We CAN empathize with you because when you hurt, we hurt.
13. We will perceive things differently because we have experienced things differently.
14. We cannot be polluted, tainted, defiled or turned into a bad person by loving you or being loved by you.
15. We will listen when you want us to listen, talk when you want us to talk, hold you when you want us to hold you. You need only ask.
16. We will follow your lead as you heal, knowing that you are in control of your healing, not anyone else.
17. We CHOOSE to go through this experience at your side because we WANT to, not because we feel obligated or guilty.
18. Our actions and words are motivated by LOVE for you-- if you perceive anything we say or do as something other than love, we need you to tell us.

And finally, lest you forget,
19. WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!
23 comments

anonymous readerReport

2013-10-25 19:12:25
lC0sjm I appreciate you sharing this blog article.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

anonymous readerReport

2013-09-13 02:43:57
dd80hJ Say, you got a nice article.Really thank you! Much obliged.

anonymous readerReport

2013-09-07 19:22:22
Ly8nXW Thanks-a-mundo for the blog.Thanks Again. Cool.

anonymous readerReport

2013-02-17 04:30:52
I think this has been one of the best chapters seeing all of you together again. I hope that everthing continued to be a great life for you all. Wonderful writing Sgt J. Thank you for your military service.

anonymous readerReport

2012-08-03 16:26:47
I loved your life story and how you say it so much. My mother tongue is not English but how you've explained it makes me feel like I understand all of what you have explained through the chapters. I'm looking forward to the last chapter and I wish you Sgt J and all those three women the best.
Z, the Persian girl

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