Hannah was scared. She’d seen Daddy shouting at the man who’d put his head in their car. She was crying too. In her chair in the back of Daddy’s car she wanted to help Daddy but she couldn’t as she was strapped in. Daddy had opened the door of the car and the man had been knocked down. The man had a gun like her brother Dominic. This one had made a nasty bang though as the man had been knocked down and Hannah’s ears hurt and it had made her jump. Daddy had then got out and he had hit the man many times. Hannah didn’t like the man, he’d frightened her and upset her Daddy. She loved Daddy. Her and Daddy had been shopping and Daddy had let her ride on his shoulders and he’d bought her some candy floss and thrown her up in the air and they’d laughed and laughed and Hannah was so happy. Then they’d got back in the car and Daddy had put her in her seat and had smiled and ruffled her hair and she was so happy because she’d had such a lovely day with Daddy and then the man had appeared.
He smelled horrid and he had hair on his face like Daddy did some mornings but worse and he’d shouted some things and pointed his gun like Dominic’s at Daddy and then at Hannah. Hannah had wanted to shout at the man to go away and leave her and Daddy alone but the man kept shouting. She couldn’t see Daddy and the man now, they were shouting though, she could hear them. Daddy was using bad words like he smacked Dominic for saying and some other words that Hannah didn’t know. Daddy and the man were shouting. There was another loud bang and Hannah screamed, crying more than before. She struggled in her seat and the straps hurt her arms.
They were in the big car park that Hannah liked as they got to drive up and up and up. She got Daddy to drive them right to the top and she could see for such a long, long way across the big town.
“Daddy!” she screamed, “DADDY!”
Daddy stood up, he was breathing funny and he had blood on his face, on his chin. Hannah screamed in fright and Daddy smiled at her. He was holding the nasty man’s gun, like Dominic’s.
“Hi baby. It’s ok,” Daddy said smiling again.
Hannah was so pleased that Daddy was OK. She couldn’t see the man but she heard him say something and Daddy turned around, his face becoming angry and he kicked out. She heard the man shout and then he was quiet. Daddy put his head in the car and smiled at her again.
“Are you ok Daddy?” Hannah said, still crying. She hoped Daddy was OK and the nasty man hadn’t hurt him.
“I’m fine baby,” Daddy said giving her a kiss and putting the gun on the seat where Mummy sat when they went out with Dominic too.
“Who’s that man Daddy?” Hannah asked, her tears drying as she saw Daddy was ok.
“He’s just a silly man baby. Listen Hannah, I need you to be a brave girl and do something for me ok?”
Hannah paused, her tears stopping and she nodded, “OK Daddy.”
Daddy looked down at where the man was and he looked angry again for a moment, then he turned back to her and smiled. “I need you to close your eyes and sing a song for me ok? Remember that nursery rhyme we sang about Jack Be Nimble? Can you sing that for me now baby? But you must close your eyes!”
Hannah nodded and Daddy leaned in again to kiss her forehead. “There’s a good girl,” he said. “Now please sing it Hannah, close your eyes and don’t open them until Daddy says so OK.”
Hannah nodded again and closed her eyes tightly. She began to sing unsteadily, “Jack be nimble, jack be quick, jack….jump…err…over the candle stick.”
“Brilliant baby. Just keep singing it as loud as you can and keep your eyes closed ok?”
Hannah kept her eyes shut tight and kept singing the song Daddy had sung to her at bedtime a few days ago. While she was singing she could still hear Daddy start shouting at the man again.
“THREATEN MY FUCKING DAUGHTER? YOU FUCKING CUNT!!! YOU’RE FINISHED MATE!!!”
“No please I’m sorry. NO!”
Hannah heard the man shout again then his voice faded away. After a few seconds there was a loud crash, like when Dominic had fallen over the dustbins in the back garden.
She opened her eyes and saw Daddy looking over the wall in front of the car, the one that looked out so very high over the big town. Daddy turned and saw she’d opened her eyes. She thought he’d be cross but he smiled at her again and walked to the car. He took the gun like Dominic’s off the seat, wiped it with his sleeve (why did he do that?) and threw it over the wall. Then he came back to the car. “There’s a good girl, bit of silly behaviour from that man eh? Nothing to worry about.”
“Where’s the man gone Daddy?” Hannah asked looking around, the straps in her child seat stopping her from seeing behind her.
Daddy sat in the seat and closed the door. He started the engine of the car and made it go backwards. “He ran away baby. He ran away.”
They drove home singing again, Daddy forgot the words a few times but Hannah remembered them all.