Writing Exercise #5.

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Prompt-1.284 A parent uncovers a dark secret on their child’s computer, smartphone, music player or gaming device. A secret which involves the parent’s significant other. What is it? Prompt from Instigation Creative Prompts on the Dark Size by Michael A. Arnzen (affiliate link) written in the last couple of hours between work calls.


I always told myself I wouldn’t be this father. Mine was like this and after I left home, the last time was the last straw, and I never went back. My daughter asked me to do some work on her laptop, all ican think of is her beautiful brown face, her sweet gravelly voice, “thanks Daddy. I’ll be back after work. Love you.” She kissed my cheek and bounced away, the beads on the ends of her braids clacking away, her braids swinging, “hey baby goat bring some paper towels home. Love you baby.” 

My baby goat, my beautiful, rambunctious, leaping, agent of pure chaos and here I am with her laptop open in front of me, knowing full well what I’m going to do. I have paid close attention, kept our relationship open, I talked to my Mama, I thought I was ready and then two weeks ago I heard her and now I have to know. 

I go through the usuals; spot check some emails and look at a few items here and there. I have no heart for this. I open her tiktok and smile, she works so hard on it. Her little dance videos are so cute, she looks just like her Mama did at that age. 20 years old, a stank attitude and the uncanny ability to express herself so freely and joyously, I miss my wife so much but I can’t think about that now. My wife and I had learned early on about the warning signs, I thought my baby would get away but, as I opened a folder marked drafts I saw. 

As soon as the folder loads, I understand. I was right. Fuck.  

When my wife and I met, we knew right away. The scent of the gene active for lycanthropy is a scent we all know. If the gene is active, we know. Unless of course it is your own child as we found out. When two people with the active gene mate and produce offspring, both parents are nose blind to the lycanthropy of their own child. Evolution is ridiculous but, that’s where we are at. 

Before my wife passed, we had a talk with her, and I thought it was handled. I was so proud of myself after my wife was gone. I handled her period like a man, I let her wear my sweatpants and eat every scrap of food in the house and wasn’t even mad when she snarled. Her behavior through childhood was normal for us. She was always a little more bitey, a little more observant than other children but I thought we were past the danger zone. 

When the pandemic hit and she moved back home, we had a good solid agreement about our boundaries. The house is big enough and we have each had our own space, I went for weeks at one point without seeing her. There have been clues here and there, a few bites taken out of chickens in the fridge, what might have been howling. I start updating her computer and text her that I’ll pick her up from work. 

My wife told me before she passed to teach her our ways. I got some things together and puttered around the house for hours until it was time to go. When I pull up at the bar she waves, hugs the bouncer and fairly prances to the car. “Daddy guess what? One of my regulars came in with like a whole big ass group of people and they tipped me two hundred frickin dollars.” she shows me the cash and wiggles in pure glee. “That’s great honey good job. Was it those bank guys?” She shakes her head and gets settled. 

She chatters as I pull onto the freeway until she stops mid-sentence and looks at me. “What’s wrong? Do you have to poop?” I laugh, she’s such a country soul. “No, I just um, listen. Have you been changing honey?” When I look at her, her shoulders are up around her ears, and she squirms. “I am not mad at you honey, I just want to make sure you are safe and feeling okay.” 

“Daddy, I um- I have been doing something that might make you mad. But please hear me out before you get upset?” I steel myself; I keep imagining her out there alone, running scared, maybe getting stuck by the freeway or worse. I nod, we had an agreement that when she asked, I would not immediately get angry. “Okay so like, I read all of Mom’s journals and everything, so I was pretty ready. I was a real late bloomer. I didn’t change the first time until right after my eighteenth birthday. It was pretty rough and I woke up cuddling a half-eaten rabbit.”  

I let her go on. “So then after I got laid off, I kept thinking about it so basically, I founded a um, spicy website with Irina and some other girls. We change and then, it depends.” I glance at her, “spicy like um, I-” she smiles at me. “Don’t think about it too hard. It isn’t super dirty, but the market is wide open. Basically, we’re just naked and furry and doing kinda normal things unless it is a mukbang then we like eat stuff the customers buy us. There are a lot of us now and well, I was gonna wait until your birthday to tell you something else-” 

My mind is blank. “Go ahead sweetie.” She puts her hand on my arm, “well we did well enough in the first half of the year I um, I saved enough to pay off the house and on your birthday they are gonna deliver a side of beef and some donkey bones and I invited Irina’s family, some of the other girls and um, I got you a date. She works with us and you’re gonna love her.” 

I know that folks would expect me to be upset. My daughter, my lil goat naked on the internet but, I’m fine. Not totally fine but, when I look at how proud of herself she is I can’t be angry. I pull off the highway onto a little forgotten road and turn to face her. She looks on the verge of tears, “Daddy please don’t be mad at me.” I take her hands and kiss them, then I lean over and kiss the tears off of her cheeks. 

“I’m not mad. I’m a little freaked out. I’m happy you’ve adjusted. Um, I don’t really know what to say. Is there, anything you need advice about?” The way she lights up and almost leaps into my arms tells me we’re going to be okay. “You wanna go chase javelinas? And if you catch one I’ll let you eat it in the backyard.” She squeals and claps her hands, “no cheating Dad you go park the car, I get a head start.” She covers my face in drooly kisses, puts her purse under the seat and jumps out of the car. I watch her streak into the night and turn the car to head home, relieved and terrified.   

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