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Uploaded by Dr. House on Jun 28, 2016
Daddy!
"Daddy! I'm hungry!" The little girl's pathetic cry tore through the devastated man's heart like a ragged knife.

With the exception of a candle in the small bedroom and another burning in the kitchen, it was dark in the eerily quiet house. The darkness made the man feel even more hopeless as he looked down at his young daughter. He stroked her cheek as she lay in her bed. "I know sweetheart. I know."

He could think of nothing more to do to comfort her, so the helpless father bent over and kissed her on the forehead, "we'll have a nice breakfast first thing in the morning. I promise."

"That's what you said last night and the night before that." Her tone was more petulant now.

He squeezed her shoulder, gave her a pained look, and stood up to leave the room. He paused to blow out the candle next to her bed. As the night engulfed them, he waited for his eyes to adjust to the reduced light before walking down the short hall to the kitchen.

He could just make out her emaciated figure with the pale moonlight coming through the window as he turned to say, "I love you, sweet pea."

"I love you, too, Daddy."

--------

Dave Johnson had already starved himself to the point that he was having a hard time keeping himself upright. He had no energy and he frequently became confused. At least the hunger pains had subsided -- mostly. When he looked in the mirror every morning, he could count every rib in his chest. Dave was only 29 years old but the reflection he saw was an old man with hollowed out eyes staring back at him. It seemed very ironic to him that the only part of his body that still looked young and alive was the one part he couldn't care less about: his genitalia. Oddly, though the rest of his body was emaciated and sick appearing, his cock was full of life and he frequently had an erection. One of the oddities of starving to death he decided.

Sarah was 11 but for the last month had been acting more like a five year old. He remembered reading somewhere that children often regress to an earlier age when under great stress. He decided starving to death was probably one of the greatest stressors a person could suffer, so her behavior made sense. Besides, what difference did it make now anyway if she acted like a little girl instead of the preteen she was? The world was going to hell and if things didn't get lots better really soon, then none of it would matter.

He wasn't even real sure how they had gotten to this place. Everything seemed to happen so fast! One day he was working a good job at a local factory, making more money than he had ever made in his life, the next day not only had he lost his job, but the entire factory had closed. Before all this happened, he had heard people talking about the economy going down but he knew he and his family were safe - that factory had been there for more than 30 years and was one of the best places to work in the whole county. His own father had worked there since it opened. He never thought things would get so bad that the factory would close! But, it did. As he walked out of that hulking grey, dingy building for the last time all he could think was "thank God I live in America - at least I can get unemployment".

Dave did apply for unemployment the very next day and a few weeks later a check showed up in the mail for a paltry sum barely enough to put food on the table. The following week, no check arrived. Same the next week. He called the unemployment office to find out what happened and all he was told was that congress was still fighting over the budget, so it might be a while before his checks started coming again. That had been six months ago.

Dave had never had a savings account. He had always worked - since he was 16 years old, he had never gone more than a few days without a job. So he never really thought about saving any of his earnings. When he had started a family, he went into debt. First the car, then the house. Add to that the cable bill, the cell phones, insurance, groceries, utilities, and all the other things that make up the typical American experience, there just wasn't anything left to save, even if he had wanted to.

Since the unemployment stopped, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't find work of any kind. Even the local McDonalds laid off most of its employees. The owners tried to run it themselves, but the place went out of business a few weeks later. Then his car was repossessed and his phone was shut off. Then the cable was disconnected. About two months ago, the rest of the utilities had been turned off. He had applied for every assistance program he could think of but nothing came through.

The first week that his unemployment check didn't arrive, Dave and his wife, who had still been with him then, went to the local food bank. They had waited in line for over an hour. By the time they got inside the pickings were slim. They walked away with a few bags of food, but they both knew it wouldn't last long.

They heard about another food bank in a town just a little farther down the highway that was giving out fresh eggs and meat. It took almost all their gas to get there, only to discover that they had arrived too late. There was nothing left.

When the car got repossessed, they started relying on neighbors to help get them to the food banks. But most of the neighbors were in the same situation as they were. A large number of them had worked for the same factory. Those who didn't were suffering their own hardships as other businesses around town continued to close. After a while, it didn't really matter anyway as the food banks themselves began to shut down because they didn't have anything left on their shelves.

Dave and his wife had always had a rocky relationship. She had never really wanted to get married, much less have a family. Fighting with one another had often seemed like the only thing they did together. He reckoned that this current situation had been the last straw. He woke up one morning a couple of months ago to discover that she was gone. No note. No message to anyone else. Just gone.

Before she left Dave would be able to do chores for one of the local ranchers not far from their house. It wasn't a job but it would earn him a few bucks so he could buy a can or two of food at the only grocery store in the little town. Now that his wife was gone, his daughter was having to go with him no matter where he went. He didn't dare leave her home alone as there was an ever increasing number of home invasions as starving people were looking for food. On more than one occasion, the mobs had turned to violence and rape when no food had been found. As his daughter walked with him she was burning what little energy stores she had been able to build up.

Dave had grown up as an antheist. His parents had never been believers as far as he knew, so it had never occured to him to be religious. But lately, he had been in church every Sunday. He and little Sarah would be dressed up, as clean as they could get without running water, and sitting in the front pew. He loved it when the preacher gave a sermon about charity and helping your neighbor. They would always get a free meal then - if there was anyone there who could afford to share. As time went on, the crowd had become more and more sparse. It seemed that very few were immune to the economic devastation sweeping the nation. Even the preacher - always quite a portly fellow - was looking more than a little thin.

A few Sundays ago, he and Sarah had walked the mile to church as usual. At first, he thought he must have gotten his days mixed up - there wasn't anyone there. As he thought about it, he was sure that it was Sunday. He had been back both Sundays since then, but no one had ever shown up. It seemed that the church, too, had closed.

Not long after he lost his job he started getting notices from the mortgage company about late payments. Then the notices changed to warnings, talk of repossessing the house. The last notice he got made him laugh out loud. The bank had called in his loan and was demanding full payment. He tossed the letter into the trash. The notices stopped after that - partly because the mail had stopped running - and three weeks ago he heard that the bank had shut down. It seemed like poetic justice to him.

He and the neighbors talked and tried to help each other out as much as they could. Many of them were starving now too. They all asked themselves how it could be that a country as great as America could allow an entire community to starve?

Dave and several of his friends gathered at the home of a man who had installed solar power panels several years ago and could get TV broadcasts for an hour or so each night. They were all in disbelief as they watched the news reports of riots in the major cities, of the military gunning down waves of people as they stormed the now abandoned banks and government buildings, looking for answers. Looking for revenge. The reporters talked about economic collapse on a global scale, of this being far worse than the "great depression".

Dave didn't care about the details or what time in history was worse than this one. All he knew was that his daughter was starving to death and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

----------

The shovel dug deep into the soft soil but the tears couldn't seem to come. Dave couldn't understand why he couldn't cry. Perhaps that would come later. For now, all he knew was that he needed a deep hole. For several hours he dug. He was so weak from starvation and dehydration that even that amount of time had yielded a hole barely big enough.

Finally, he knew he could do no more. He went into the house, picked up the little body, wrapped tightly in the sheets from the bed, and carried it outside. He stumbled once and almost dropped his sweet little girl. But, he recovered and arrived at the hole. In silence and solitude, he carefully laid his daughter, nothing more than skin and bones now, into the shallow grave. As he began to put the dirt in on top of her, at last the crying began. He could hardly see as shovel-full after shovel-full of black dirt covered the only thing that mattered in his life.

All alone now, Dave knew that there was no reason to continue living. What was the point? His wife was gone. His daughter was dead. The country was falling apart all around him. The more he thought about it, the more he knew that his decision was the right one. Funny, it didn't even hurt really as he slid the knife across first his right wrist, then his left one. He sat in the dark in his favorite chair, blood draining onto the floor. It wouldn't be much longer now.

Daddy!
Daddy! I'm hungry!" The little girl's pathetic cry tore through - Read more

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