Fandom: Charlie Parker Novel Series
Characters: Charlie Parker, Sam, Ruth Winter, Others.
Word Count: 480
Spoilers: A Song Of Shadows.
Summary: A very bad man is dead, but Charlie Parker is troubled by the events surrounding his demise.
Written For: Challenge 205: Glue at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own the Charlie Parker series of novels, or the characters. They belong to John Connolly.
Parker stares at his own face, reflected in the night-darkened glass of the hospital window, but he’s not really seeing it any more than he sees the view beyond the glass. It doesn’t matter; he’d scarcely recognise himself anyway.
He hurts. That’s nothing new; he’s been hurting for months, all through his long, painfully slow recovery from an attempt on his life that had come perilously close to succeeding. Now though, after the incident in the dunes, he feels held together by glue and bits of string. Maybe he is, a haphazard construct of paper and card, shaky and fragile. He hopes it’ll be enough, at least until his wounds finally heal.
The physical pain is familiar, a constant if unwelcome companion; he’s learning to set it aside, not let it be the centre of his thoughts, not let it define him, but it’s a work in progress and he still has a way to go. That’s not what’s bothering him right now. Physical pain can be treated; it’s the other kind that’s harder to deal with. That, and the knowledge that he failed.
Ruth Winter was a woman in trouble. He’d known she was afraid, and he’d wanted to help. Needed to, perhaps as proof that he was still able to. Now she’s dead, murdered in her bed, and despite trying he didn’t, couldn’t, get to her in time. He let her down, and worse, he may even have precipitated her murder. Why hadn’t he thought that maybe she was being watched? It’s a mistake he never would have made before. Was she killed because she was seen talking to him? Quite possibly.
And then there’s Sam, his daughter, only six-years-old, and yet she’d known about the bad man in the neighbouring house. She said she saw him, but there’s a good distance between the two houses, and it had been dark, so how much could she have seen?
Worse than that, there’s the fate of Ruth’s murderer, buried alive as the dune he was standing on collapsed, sucking him down beneath the clinging grains of sand to suffocate on them. The man’s death doesn’t bother him, even the method of it doesn’t, it was no more than he deserved, but…
Sam did that. Parker doesn’t know how, but nevertheless he believes she did. She willed him dead, and he died. Parker saw it in her face as she stood over the still-forming grave, staring at it, implacable, emotionless.
She’s just a child, his daughter, the glue that holds his life together, but at the same time he knows, perhaps has always known, that she’s something more. He just doesn’t know exactly what, and he’s not sure he wants to.
There is nothing he wouldn’t do to protect her, but that night the roles had been reversed and she’d been the one to save his life. What happens now?