Chapter 1

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Friday 1st April 2018

It had been a long, hard five years and Reggie was enjoying the fresh air. He had only served a third of his sentence, but considering the mess the FBI had made of Blake's arrest years ago, he was relieved to find that the FBI were more unorganized than the agency. He still had no idea what agency Reed had been working for, but as he walked down the pavement in the brilliant summer sunlight, he found that he really didn't care. It was just so good to be a free man again.

With a spring in his step he sauntered up to the mesh fence and grasping it with one hand, scanning the running, screaming kids on the playground for a familiar face. Just his luck, his two kids were in different schools. Dicken was in the second grade and little Clare was in kindergarten. Strangely, he could spot Dicken playing with a yo-yo at the back of the playground, sitting on a bench by himself. He wasn't sure why he was in the kindergarten playground but he was relieved to see that his job would be made all the easier by it. Clare was playing on a hopscotch board drawn on the ground in chalk, while three other girls waited their turn behind her, happily giggling and talking as they played.

"Clare! Honey its daddy." Reggie called over as he approached the mesh and metal gate. He managed to make his way inside without being spotted by anyone other than his daughter. Who suddenly looked up from her spot on the number six square and ran across with a beaming smile.

"Daddy!" She called excitedly, rushing towards him as Reggie hunkered down on his heels and held his arms out to catch his little girl. He was a little surprised by her reaction since he had never been particularly affectionate with his children but it certainly played to his advantage. He hugged and chatted with his daughter, planning to cross over and grab Dicken and take them both with him. He had no idea that Dicken had heard Clare's voice and caught sight of his father in the playground.

Because he was much smarter than Reggie gave him credit for and knew more about his father than he would like, Dicken ran straight to his old teacher and pointed his father out. "The man holding Clare is a bad man, Miss. He's dangerous." He explained. Instantly, the three teachers within hearing distance turned to search for Clare, and spotted Reggie immediately. They marched across with Dicken in tow, his fists clenched at his sides in recollection of all the things his father had done to his mother.

"Clare...come here." The teacher reached out to take Clare from her father's arms but Reggie pulled her out of reach instinctively. He had never liked anyone telling him what to do and that hadn't changed. He would have argued with the woman but he was outnumbered three to one and knew that playing it cool and calm was his best bet of getting out of trouble. "Sir, I suggest that you hand over that little girl right away or else I'll have to call security." She gave him fair warning of what her actions would be if he didn't cooperate. But as Reggie saw it he was being treated like a criminal all over again, for no reason. He was trying to see his children, he shouldn't be penalized for that.

"I'm her father. There's no need to cause a scene." He explained calmly, setting Clare back down onto her feet, wondering why the teachers looked so surprised. But it really wasn't their fault. They had never heard about Dicken and Clare's father before, other than that he had gone away and wasn't expected back again. Seeing him there before them was a bit of a shock. Reggie beamed down at Dicken and tried to reach out to him, only for the young lad to back away a step, looking absolutely furious with the man who claimed to be his father. "Dicken, don't be afraid, it's daddy."

"I know who you are. You're a bad man. You hurt mom!" He spat the words back at him, a host of memories flooding his mind of times when he would be yelled at or shaken because he was playing with his toys too loud or had interrupted his father. He remembered seeing his mother with bruises and crying a lot, all because of his father. He remembered the first and last beating he had ever had at his own fathers hands and how his mother had sobbed buckets while putting a plaster over a cut on his forehead. He hated his father and he hated the man who stood before him for representing those things. He hated that he had tainted every childhood memory of his mother and that at that moment, when he had thought himself and his sister and his mother safe, he was being reminded that they weren't. His father was free and worst of all, he was free to torment them once again.

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