HWHH: Seven – Father

Horse With Human Hands

Seven: Father

TW // Various Forms of Abuse, both Physical and Mental.

Previous Entry: HWHH: Six – Carnation

“Noble fathers have noble children.”


“Feast yourselves upon the quarry of your own making.” Our dear Father’s words chimed across the halls, and right to my young, impressionable and sorrow-filled ears.

“Do not dally in regard to your fortune. This world Is cruel and as cruel as it is, it will bend to your will if you let it.”

Each week, in the middling between our first and last days of work he came and preached a gospel the likes of which I’d not heard, and still haven’t heard since.

Dear Father Geo was a man possessed with our ascension. From his youth, he was put down and shamed for being different, for being someone like me.

But unlike myself, he made something of himself.

I’ve been learning how to make something of myself, too.

My childhood was a childhood less than desirable. Born the youngest in a family of eight, raised under the cruel thumb of law and violent doctrine I grew terrified of my feelings. 

I was on the streets when he found me. Lost, alone, barely more than a child and Father Geo took me to safety. Abandoned by my original parents, I was taken by him to an adoption agency and left to be taken into the arms of another, loving family. The family who chose me, though they were far from loving, did take me in off of the streets, for a time.

I will always owe him for that first moment he saved me, more than the innumerable times he’s saved me since.

I looked to my new family as all children do, for protection against the cruel knives which line the lives around our own. My father worked thumb to bone at a manufacturing warehouse, the particular details of his job I never knew. My mother stayed home to feed and teach the lot of us. With such a large clutch of children in the already too-small apartment, she home schooled us for, as she put it, “sanctity of mind.”

I was raised under the same routine daily, with morning worship at daybreak followed by a breakfast of plain toast and one egg. From there, mother would offer us the first of our lessons which rotated on a monthly schedule. Though, the rotation didn’t seem to matter nearly as much as the teachings she provided.

Among the smatterings of history, math and English she taught us scriptures for the vast majority of our day. Enraptured in the stories she repeated, my siblings and I retold the stories and redrew them with our own childish, artistic ability.

Between morning and evening classes, we took a small break for lunch which was rarely comprised of trips to the grocer or, in case we’d all been well behaved, to the park where she would explain the wonders of creation.

When we were finished eating, we gathered round for a bout of classes once more, until father returned home from work and expected each of us to be at the table prepared for dinner. With dinner finished it was off to bed by eight at the latest, but often far sooner.

Until I reached the age of twelve, this was my life. Daily teachings with the occasional trip out of the house. Each of the children, upon reaching twelve years old, became assistants to mother’s teaching, helping her to instruct and guide the younger siblings to their eventual “graduation” which, I learned later in life, was no graduation at all.

When I grew to be twelve years old, I was on a trip with my mother to gather supper for the week, a grace I’d garnered once every few months. While at the supermarket, I saw another girl who kept her hair in curled ribbons, tied with lacy, yellow bows. She was my age, and even at that age I thought she was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

On the way home, my mother berated me for admitting to her I found the young girl a sight. When she then told my father over supper, he ate silently before calling me to his study where he whipped me with his belt.

It wasn’t the first time either of them laid the rod against me, but it was the first time I was left with reminders grown into my flesh. Stripes of scarred skin which are still there to this day.

I didn’t tell them about my feelings as I grew older, but they became more and more frequent. The next time I was allowed to go with mother to the grocer, I was nearly fifteen. Just a few months shy and I saw once again a young woman a year or two older than I whose hair bounced with an excitement I could feel through my thighs and across my fingertips.

I was enraptured, and when she caught me looking I ran from the store, ashamed.

Mother followed me out after finishing her shopping and met me, sitting on the hood of the car with tears of despair flooding my eyes.

“I’m sorry.” I told her, but it wasn’t enough.

I do not know what it was about these feelings specifically, but I knew they were not to be celebrated when she removed a thin ruler from the back seat of the car and sliced me with it int he parking lot.

I learned then, the thorns that grew from our pleasant doctrine stung far more than the pain of some foreign, distant burning torture.

I made my plans to escape that night. With what little I owned, mostly handed down to me by my older sisters, I packed a bindle and prepared to leave. I couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing mother and father like that again.

After supper, father stopped me in my room and sat on the edge of my bed, not knowing I wore my jeans and hole riddled sneakers beneath the covers.

“Your mother and I are concerned, with the behavior you’ve been exhibiting, Annie.” He told me.

He placed a hand on my thigh, and with all the composed sorrow of a man betrayed, he began to shed tears.

“I know this is my fault, I didn’t show you what proper love looks like. I was too concerned with work, and for that I am sorry.

The woman I’ve since become would have slapped him across the mouth for it, but I was only a girl. I hardly knew what the world could have been like. So, I forgave him. I told him of my plan to run away, how I didn’t feel welcome in the house and he took his soft eyes to mine for a brief moment, a gentleness washed over him which I’d never known.

It was gone in an instant as he pummeled my cheek with a closed fist and began shouting at me, outraged for my perceived disobedience.

Would you have stayed? Would you have done any different than I?

I scrambled to my feet and ran, barely escaping his grasping hand. Out the door I went into the Chicago night air and for the first time I didn’t know what was going to come. I had no more schedule, and no more classes to pass. I was free in a way I hadn’t thought I would ever be free.

My parents chased after me, as too did some of the older kids, but I pounded pavement as hard as I could and ran from them. I didn’t have a final destination, and only knew I wanted to run.

In the middle of the city, lost, and alone, I found a hole in a wall which led from the alley into the building, and within I found a few musty sleeping bags and dirty pillows. Not understanding what the place really was, I found a corner for myself and fell asleep against the sound of the busy city night.

I lived then, on the streets for another few months. My fifteenth birthday I celebrated in the attic of a family of two, living off of their beans and sprouts, I’d made a place for myself behind their Christmas decorations and knew that by the first snowfall I’d be gone.

It wasn’t for a while after that, that I met Father Geo. On one morning, out for a run of my own, I saw the man I recognized, but didn’t know I did, on the park trail singing a song with words that weren’t English.

He waved to me and there was something about his countenance that drew me in. A sort of supreme gentleness to him that made me feel, for the first time since I was a little girl, at home.

“You look like you’re having a difficult day.” He told me on our first meeting.

“I am.” I told him in return.

It was a difficult life.

“Why don’t you sit down?” He gestured to a picnic basket filled with fruits and jerky picked up from a local grocery outlet and I obliged, considering if he wanted to kill me he already would have.

He introduced himself as Geoffrey and asked if I’d ever heard his music. He was a number of years older than me, perhaps a decade older than even my father, and in fact I hadn’t heard his music.

So he played.

We spent hours there in the park together until the sun showed signs of setting and he packed his things, including the small glass jar he’d marked as a tip container. 

“I’d like to offer you to come past my place, just up the road there. Every weekend we throw a little party, if you’re interested in meeting anyone else wo might want you to join, The bond between a vessel and a soul is a strong one. I would love to have you there.”

My second meeting with Father Geo was unexpected, but it made me wonder.

Would he accept me for who I am? Would he allow me the freedom I craved?

I decided, hope against hope, I would go. I didn’t have anything left to lose.

Geoffrey’s home was a delight. As soon as I entered, I was awash with the scent of perfume and incense. Ten or twenty people gathered around his living room, sipping from tall plastic cups and laughing together. Some of them danced, some of them smoked from small cigarettes with a strange smell and in the center of them all was Father Geo, long before I knew him as such.

He wore a long, canvas tunic with a pair of well-worn sandals. His ratted brown hair hung over his shoulders and framed a host of many colored beads draped around his neck. He sang aloud in the room and repeated, over and over, how much he loved them all.

I made myself comfortable in the kitchen before a young woman with dark skin and puffed up, fluffy hair offered me a drink. She wore an outfit similar to Geo’s, decorated with all manner of beads and dangling accessories.

“Hey there, want a drink?”

Were her first words to me.

“I’m Diana, welcome to real life!” Her smile was wide, delicate, and when she handed me a cup filled with a sickly sweet drink, she was the most beautiful thing in all of creation.

The drink smelled sweet as my mother’s strawberry pie, but was far more bitter to the tongue.

I had six cups.

At some point in the night, Geo thanked me for stopping by and told me about the party, a group of friends who used to all play music together and grew closer, especially with the news of the Vietnam War on the horizon. Just after the soldiers shipped out they got together to do something positive, to fight against the horror of the growing conflict.

I watched them all dance and sing together bewildered at their love and shared passion. It was more than I’d ever had, and I adored every moment of it.

A few weeks later, I’d gotten into the habit of meeting Geo in the park, to talk to him about all the things I’d never learned about the world. Diana started to show up after a few meetings, and I couldn’t keep myself from blushing when I saw her.

I could feel the wrath from above beating down on my spine every time I imagined what her lips might feel like against my own, or gliding down my body.

Geo and Diana, among the others in their “band” they called it, played music in the park every day for passersby. They collected tips to fund the parties I was lucky enough to go to, and eventually, Geo invited me to stay at the house with them. I’d been living so long without a roof or fresh food, I accepted immediately.

A month before my sixteenth birthday, almost a year and a half since I’d left my adopted parent’s home, and I was with a family who truly, genuinely loved me.

From sixteen to eighteen I became a fundamental member of Geo’s family, and I’d grown close with Diana in a way which would have made my father curse my name. After my eighteenth birthday at one of our celebrations, Diana asked me about my parents.

I hadn’t thought about them in years, truth be told, and she suggested I go get the last word against them. To go tell them how I felt about their treatment. To tell them I didn’t need them anymore.

I couldn’t wait to see the look on my mother’s face. Her shock and horror when I came home with another woman roundly arm to tell them I didn’t need them anymore. It was scintillating, and that night I expelled all of that energy, as Geo suggests we did, with he and Diana in our shared bedroom.

The next weekend I made due on my promise, to tell my parents what I had done with my life, no thanks to their influence.

Approaching the door with Diana at my side was, in no uncertain terms, the most frightening thing I’ve ever done.

My mother answered the door with tears in her eyes, large and fake as she was, she cried out for my return.

“I’m not coming home, mother. I have a new life apart from you.”

The conversation was longer, but I don’t remember it like it happened. It was all so fast, and when my father arrived he tried to make it violent. If it weren’t for Diana by my side, I might have crumbled beneath their threats and returned to the home which built its walls on words of hate, and lies of love.

When he raised his fist, I did not cower. For the first time in my life I refused to shudder at his infantile show of dominance, and instead I turned my back on the Chandler family forever.

The celebration that evening was the best I’d ever participated in, and for the first time, I accepted one of the paper tabs Geo loved to give out so much. The taste was bitter, but the experience was impossible to describe. I saw the world in shifting colors and vibrant hues, echoes of themselves spoke when they were nowhere to be found and the sky itself could have opened up before me in my excitement.

Diana, that night, pulled me aside with some of our other friends and tucked us into Geo’s room where he was sitting, cross legged, on his bed.

“I’m so proud of you all, especially you, Annie.” His closed eyes did not shrink his smile, and my heart warmed. “You’ve grown so much here and we are so glad that you’ve come to accept us.”

I shivered with excitement.

“But despite all of the fun we might have, if you are going to stay here long term, I need you to know some things. I will always have your best interest in mind. I don’t want any of you to be led astray.”

I nodded, watching his body shiver in colors I’d never seen before.

“We are here to be a family, as there is no greater love than that. I would die for any of you, and I hope, if necessary, you would do the same.”

In that moment, and even now, I would.

Oh god I would die for them, even Diana, still.

The following months came and passed in a blinding flash of seconds. Between the drugs and the parties, I’d hardly realized I’d been living with Geo and the others for five years. Diana and myself had made a reputation in the family as his right hand women, and we’d become the premiere members of his band. Myself singing, and Diana playing drums.

Thanks to my outgoing personality, I helped with outreach, answering questions about our goal of spreading peace and positivity to anyone who was willing to listen, and over time our numbers grew.

Five years on, and I realized I’d not seen my parents since the night I turned them away. One night, after a handful of mushrooms and a long joint, I thought of them. There was a sadness inside that I couldn’t figure, and I realized I wanted them to join me in this joy, in this jubilation.

They never would, and I knew that.

Even if they did, we were busy. New members of the family were joining by the minute, it seemed, so quickly we needed to purchase a larger house. Father Geo, putting his own income on the line, got us a loan and bought a mansion in the center of the city five or six times larger than my old house, and maybe three or four times larger than our family home.

There, he promised, we would expand our family more than ever.

I continued to help, of course, and my relationship with Diana grew deeper and deeper.

“I think I really love you.” She told me one night.

It was a strange thing to hear.

“Of course you do,” I kissed her neck. “We all love one another.”

Another of our family, a boy with a long unmaintained beard kissed my thigh.

Diana glanced at him and looked away. This time, more quietly, she spoke.

“No, Annie. I love you.” She sighed into my ear and the tingle rushed down to Geo’s hands on my back. “I want you.

I giggled.

“You may have me, whenever you want.”

Diana, however, wasn’t pleased with that answer. She stood and stepped out of the room with tears in her eyes.

As soon as she left, another man took her place, a new member of the family, Simon, who eagerly left his lips upon mine as we descended into our passions together.

When we’d finished, I sought out Diana.

She was where she always was when she felt uneasy, sitting atop the manor balcony, in our room which bridged Geo’s.

“Dear, what is the matter?” I asked her, but she could barely speak though the tears.

“Geo is punishing me.” She replied. “He barely touched me tonight.”

I knew he was, of course, we all knew when Geo was upset. He was our Father, and disobedience was not allowed.

“What do you think you’ve done?”

“It’s Simon.” She replied, checking his room for sound before she continued. “Father is obsessed with him. I don’t know why, but he wants Simon to replace us, I know he does.”

“And what if he does? We all have our places, Diana.”

She swallowed hard.

“This is different.”

“Jealousy is the crack in our wall, my love. Don’t you know that? It’s why we share everything. It’s what will bring us to godhood.”

She then did something I never expected. She hopped from the railing toward me and embraced me.

“I can’t quell this jealousy.”

She took my cheeks and kissed me with more passion than she’d ever done before.

“I will miss you, my Annie. Unless you want to come?”

“Where are we going? Did Father ask us to travel?”

I asked, the thrill of her kiss electrifying me.

In lieu of an answer, she shook her head and stepped past me.

“Goodbye, Annie.”

That was the last time I saw Diana.

Later in the night, I told Geo what she said. He didn’t get angry, he never did. Instead, he took me into his arms and cradled me as I wept.

“Oh, child, I know you loved her so.”

His words were a small comfort, but there was a question that burned inside of me.

“Why does she think you love Simon more than the rest of us?”

He patted my hair. “She was jealous, my dear. Jealousy is the crack in our wall.”

I’d heard it before, a thousand times, but it didn’t answer my question. With my old family, back when I was a child, when I questioned their teaching they responded with anger, but their anger offered me answers. At least they told me directly why they believed the world was the way it was.

Father Geo never did that, and I realized in that moment, I loved him all the more for it.

“I will tell you, but this is a special secret. A piece of knowledge known by few of us. Simon is a special man, and he will be bringing us into our ascension.”

His heart beat against my ear while he spoke, a comfort I’d grown to adore in my time spent with him. The gentle man, an embodiment of love to all of us, told me in confidence…

“Simon is pregnant with god, child. He will be giving birth to that which guides us all.”

Thank you for reading the seventh entry in Horse With Human Hands.

The final entry comes out tomorrow!

Horse With Human Hands is a fiction story I’ve been wanting to tell for a long time. This is only the beginning. These characters and the lives they’ve led are part of a much larger whole. Immediately after Lifeis+2023, I’ll be focusing time to expand this narrative into something I hope you are excited to be a part of.

Thank you for participating once more in the Lifeis+ celebration. I’ve got a lot to celebrate this time around so you’ll be hearing from me often. If you’d like to read more, you can check out me current fiction project Sisters of Westwinter & The Heart, Felt Series below!

If you’d like to support what I’m doing here, you can click either of the links below to be taken to ways you can help you (if you feel so inclined!)


I’ve recently started a Ko-fi Shop online where, if you would like to help support me as I continue to work on my various writing projects here and over on Vocal, I would be so, so appreciative.

As of the publication of this post, it’s a little barebones but I’m working on getting it spruced up! I’ll be linking it at the end of each of my posts going forward if you are interested in helping me keep my eyes open at all. Anything offered through Ko-fi will go directly back into the blog, or toward other projects I can’t afford at the time.

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Mental Health Support

Consider donating to a charity with the intention of aiding those struggling with thoughts of Suicide, Self Harm or Depression.

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Creativity is sometimes like a spark. Once it lights, it can set fire to every soft thing within you until you are left with a smoldering pile of ash and jewelry made of earth & glass.

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One Reply to “HWHH: Seven – Father”

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