Chapter 24: Warmth (Part I)
“Mommy, you’re home!” I raised my head and saw that mom had come home from work.
“Yes indeed, did you guys have fun today?” Mommy asked with a smile.
“Daddy cheated, he always eats my pieces without me knowing!” I pouted and complained.
“Oh, so daddy always wins at Chinese chess!” Mommy smiled.
“ Where is daddy now?”
“Daddy is writing stuff in the room!” I said with a face full of childishness and kept moving the pieces. I kept thinking, why was daddy’s pieces always a step ahead of minet?
“Come Luvian, give this bottle of blood to daddy. Daddy must be thirsty.” Mommy brought out a thermos from her bag and handed it over.
“Okay!” I grabbed the bottle and rushed upstairs.
“Daddy! Daddy! Hurry and drink, mommy brought blood back.” I yelled as I barrelled through the door of my parents’ room.
“Come, baby.” Daddy turned around and grabbed me in a hug, putting me on his legs. I smiled as I handed the bottle over, looking into daddy’s eyes. His black eyes were filled with fatherly love. That kind of love had a color to it — the color of night. Therefore I liked night, the colors of the night, and the love that accompanied nightfall.
“Thank you baby.” Daddy smiled as he raised the bottle in his hand and started drinking.
Watching daddy drink blood reminded me of that night half a year ago. The night was just as dark, with an occasional startled bird in flight disturbing the peace it should’ve had.
“Luvian, we’re home.” I was too lazy to walk and had hitched a ride on daddy’s back. He pushed open the garden gate.
“You lazy bug, come on down! Daddy must be tired!” Mommy said with a laugh behind me.
“No, I’m not tired. How could I be tired with our baby on my back!” Daddy said hurriedly. And just like that, our family of three walked in talking and laughing. I didn’t come down from daddy’s back until we reached the main hall, and went to do the homework that teacher had assigned today.
“Dear, I’m going to make dinner. Rest for a bit and we’ll have a big meal later to celebrate our baby jumping into third grade.” Mommy said as she carried a large bag of vegetables into the kitchen.
“I’ll wait for dinner then.” Daddy followed me up the stairs, as if he was going to rest for a little while in the room.
Everything was so natural, so harmonious and warm. We were the most perfect and happiest family in anyone’s eyes.
“Ah! Let go of me! Who are you? Let go of me, you’re hurting me! Daddy! Mommy!” The sudden ambush that hit me as I walked through my room door made me scream involuntarily. I only remember struggling fiercely, and the unending pain that followed. It was that pair of hands that brought me endless pain and drew back the curtains of my tragic fate.
The first person to appear in front of me after hearing my screams was daddy. When daddy saw the person holding me, the fear on his face was as if he had seen an alien. That was the only simile I could think of in that moment. But daddy quickly overcame his shock and asked, “Who are you? What do you want? Release my baby.”
To be honest, that was the first time I’ve heard daddy speak in that kind of tone. Calm, grave, and a kind of tone that commanded the other person’s obedience like he was the commander of thousands of troops and horses.
“Who do you think you are trying to order me around? Why don’t you live to three hundred first!” It was a mocking tone. Although I couldn’t see his face, I could imagine it was an insufferably arrogant face.
“Release her. Take me instead. I think you want more right now!” Daddy still had traces of authority in his voice.
“Alright!” The person behind me had already hurtled in front of daddy before I could react. The next thing that happened greatly impacted my entire perspective on life.
The person opened his bloodthirsty mouth, revealing a pair of sharp teeth, and bit down onto daddy’s neck. But in the blink of an eye, daddy had also grabbed that arm and bitten down sharply. In that moment, not only I, but also mommy (who had appeared at some point in time) froze in our places like dummies. But we weren’t the ones who were most surprised. Rather, it was the person who had attacked us. He released my daddy’s neck in astonishment, allowing daddy to continue feeding on him.
When daddy let go of his arm, that man, or creature, had long since gone. Only daddy was left sitting on the floor, curled up in extreme agony, frightening howls emitting from his mouth. Mommy sat helplessly at the door, her face full of sorrow.
I could watch no longer. I ran up to hug daddy and cried out, “Daddy! Daddy! What’s wrong with you?” But daddy pushed me away and gave himself over to the pain. Mommy walked over to hug me and kept comforting me. I no longer remember what she said, but it was probably something that went along the lines of, “Don’t be afraid, nothing’s going to happen, everything will be fine.” Stuff like that.
It was just as mommy said, everything was “fine”. Daddy regained his vigor the very next day, and no traces of last night’s pain could be found on his face. Except that he never set foot outside the house from that day forth, and I left school after that day. I left my classmates, my teacher, the environment of a normal child. I stayed at home, like I do now, playing Chinese chess with daddy and relieving him of his boredom.
Even though it wasn’t like before, but our family now led a peaceful, quiet life and was still happy.
I wanted to lie closely in daddy’s embrace. Even though daddy didn’t give me warmth like he did before that day, I still liked to lie in his arms. It was only there that I felt safe and unalone.