Fear clings desperately to the fading glaze usurping her eyes. Wide open- uncomfortably numb. She has finally lost control, after all these years- invincible no more. Don’t worry, daddy’s got you now. I cradle her head in my arms, her dreaded locks spill over my forearms. I wince and blink away bitter tears when I glimpse the telltale marks scarring shivering skin. Remember when we used to build railroad tracks baby? And daddy was the conductor and you made the train noises? Well, daddy the conductor is back, and you can wear the hardhat this time baby I promise. I gently smack the sunken cheeks, attempting to rip her out of the perpetual nightmare that has become her life. Come back to the light…I blame myself for this baby, I failed you…I’m so sorry, help will be here soon baby hang in there, don’t give up on me…Like I gave up on her. Father time is checking his stopwatch. I check her pulse- barely discernible. When I get home baby, I’m gonna load up granddaddy’s old shotgun and kill that motherfucker. Her breathing grows heavy, I shake her vigorously. Tears gushing, I plead. Please baby, forgive me…I have failed you. Daddy loves you, give me a sign, please. My hand grasps her hand, and she squeezes in one squeeze for me, before I feel the hand go limp. Paramedics burst in, commotion ensues, respirators, sirens- yet I hear only one sound. A girl’s boisterous laughter, and a cacophony of train horns. The sun begins to rise to my left as I gaze out the window. I would have been your conductor to the end princess- but I missed that train. Fate gone and mixed up the tickets.