Trisha was undeniably a beautiful young woman. The only daughter of Tim Allen, she was his life. Ever since cancer had claimed her mother's life he had completely dedicated himself to raising his baby girl. A shy man with a good heart, he had often felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a single parent but Trisha had always quieted his doubts with a kiss on the cheek and a loving smile.
But is was Trisha's absence which was tormenting him that chilly night.
Like the steam billowing out from the hood of an overheated car, his heavy breathing marked his path as he frantically tried to hurry down the icy street, seemingly slipping everywhere possible. *She promised to wait for me inside the club.* he moaned to himself. *She doesn't know what kind of trouble she can get into in the big city.*
The loud sound of trashcans smashing into each other reached his ears. Several muffled thuds and a hair-raising snarl quickly followed.
*Oh, God, please let her be alright.* he prayed as he tried to sprint forward. Without the stabilizing aid of the cane he had disdainfully left at home, he was unable to keep his balance and fell. His hip made a cracking noise upon impact and pain seemed to spike throughout his entire body.
"Not now. Anytime but tonight." he begged. Gritting his teeth, he forced himself back to his feet and staggered over to the nearest wall. "I can do this," he mentally coached himself. "For Trisha." Carefully and at an excruciatingly slow pace, he worked his way to the corner by supporting as much of his weight as possible on the wall.
Rounding the corner and entering the next street, he looked up to see a trashcan lying on its side in the street. It appeared to have rolled from an alley halfway down the block. "Trisha is in there."
A shot rang out loud and clear on the cold night air in mocking verification of the location of his daughter.
Tim sobbed as he dragged himself down the impossibly long distance from the alley. His body screamed in protest from the continued abuse. A little taunting voice in his head chortled in derision, "You're too late. She's already gone. You let her down. You're too late."
After what seemed like an eternity of hellish torment, he finally reached the darkened alley. "Trisha?" He stared intently into the thick darkness, forced to stop to allow his eyes to adjust to the sudden absence of light. He took another tentative step forward, then another.
Reaching down quickly, he scooped up a stray brick and hefted it overhead before continuing his shuffling advance.
A moan of pain came through the obscurity from somewhere in the alley.
He stumbled against a trashcan, causing a loud crash which threatened to overwhelm his already taunt nerves.
"Trisha?" his voice cracked. Trembled fiercely, Tim moved forward. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he removed his key chain. Trisha had lovingly teased him for years about how often his arthritis-ridden hands would drop the keys in the dark before he would finally find the right key. Finally, for his last birthday, she had presented him with a small penlight for his key chain. "Trisha?"
A voice was whispering something too softly to be understandable. As Tim moved closer, the speaker, a dark figure crouching behind one overturned trashcan, slowly became visible. The speaker fell silent and turned his face away so that only his dark hair was visible. Keeping his face averted, the stranger pulled a red mask over his head.
"Who are you?" Tim asked in a shaky voice.
Two eerie, white orbs suddenly gleamed in the blackness as the masked man looked towards him. Tim could see the reflection of his own pale features and silver hair in the stranger's eyes.
Tim gaped in shock as the strange apparition.
The featureless eyes seemed to regard him for a moment before looking back down. Wordlessly, the stranger backed away and melding into the shadows. A soft scrambling sound filtered down from the high alley walls.
Tim looked up to see the dark figure momentarily peer down from overhead before disappearing from sight.
A soft, choking sound brought his attention back to earth. "Daddy?" his daughter rasped.
"Trisha!" he scrambled forward.
Her long, red hair, just like her mother's, was the first thing he saw. He dropped to his knees beside her. "Oh, Baby." he gasped. Her brand new outfit was torn and dirty. A series of parallel scratches ran almost from her ear to her chin. A splattered layer of blood covered his baby. The red liquid ran from a jagged wound in her neck, soaking her white shirt, matting her hair, and puddling around her head in a grotesque mockery of a halo.
"I'm okay." she vainly tried to reassure him. Her hand came up to grasp his. Her voice was strained and laced with gasps for air. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I know you told us to wait by the club. But there was this cute guy and Jessica said we'd only be a minute." Tears streamed down her face and she choked. "But he was a monster. His face changed and he was drinking my blood and Jessica is dead, Daddy. She's dead and it's all my fault! I'm so sorry."
Tim followed her gesture to see the dark outline of another slim figure sprawled awkwardly upon the alley floor a few feet away. "Hush, baby. It wasn't your fault." he tried to tell her but Trisha didn't seem to hear.
"I tried to fight him but he was too strong." she clutched her father tighter, her blue eyes gazing sightlessly through him at some hideous memory. "He just laughed at me. I couldn't stop him."
Tim stroked his daughter's head. "Isn't okay. It's over now. We just need to get you to a doctor." he tried to assure her.
"I screamed but you didn't come." She coughed and red froth bubbled at the corner of her mouth. "And then Spider-Man…" she coughed again. Her voice was fading into a gurgling whisper that was impossible to understand. Trisha gasped weakly for breath. "… And I saw Spider-Man's face, Daddy. I saw his face…" she trailed off.
"Trisha?" he asked, panic stricken. "Trisha?" he shook her limp body but his daughter didn't respond. Tim pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her head, his whole body shaking with sobs.
Trisha was undeniably a beautiful young woman. The only daughter of Tim Allen, she was his life.