She's not your child Igor. She never was.
The doorbell chimed and footsteps echoed into the pub.
"Ah, Igor. You're late, I see." a man sneered.
The group chortled loudly.
Igor flushed brightly, but it quickly subsided. He sank into the hard, stool with ugly green stains splotched over the side.
The man, who soon came to be known as Elijah chucked the cards to Igor.
"Pay up. I'm betting on meself," he said.
Igor smiled. "What? Ya think ya gonna win, chap? I think, not."
Elijah's smile faded, as he clenched his teeth. "We'll start easy, then Igor. Two hundred dollars."
Igor frowned and slammed a wad of bills onto the table. Elijah creased his lips.
A bloke with hair dyed, royal blue snatched a card from the deck. He cursed several times and groaned in disappointment. "Aw, man."
Elijah smiled, chuckling. "Ah well, tough luck Milos. Get me two pints, will ya," he said.
Milos glared, his yellow teeth glinting between the bar lights. "Get it yerself."
"Alrighty, lads. Cards, face down."
A chorus of groans and curses packed the pub. Elijah snatched the thick wad of bills on the table. "Again. Fifth time in a row, old geezer. I told ya, nobody ain't gonna beat a King," he seethed.
Igor stood up suddenly and slammed his empty beer mug on the table. "I have to go. It's getting late,"
And without a word, he swept on his feet out of the bar.
"Papa, papa! You're back,"
Igor smiled, his smile returning on his face. "My little lassie, my little princess." he kissed her smoothly on her cheeks.
"Daddy, you stink! You stink of rotten eggs."
Igor chuckled. "That's the flippin' beer, hon. I'd better take a bath, eh? Before I stink too much."
His daughter giggled, and let herself be swept into the air by him. "So tell me, Hanna. What did you do today?"
"I painted a picture."
"Oh yeah? Show me, darling."
Hanna presented a picture proudly to him. His heart sank.
She'd drawn a picture of him and a lady standing next to each other. A tiny little toddler stood between their feet, clutching a rose.
"Who's that?" he pointed to the woman, although he didn't want to know the answer.
"That's Mama," she said, beaming. "Is that how she looked like, Papa?"
Igor had dreaded this.
He'd recalled the words, ever so familiarly. She's not your child. What had she meant by that? That Hanna was not his? She'd left him. A long time ago, with no love and no longing to keep Hanna. Hanna had been thrown aside like a garbage dump to her father. She left without another word, never bothered to visit. Never made inquiries about Hanna. Or him.
And now, he'd found an old photograph, that'd been buried deep under thick layers of dust, and she'd written in clear handwriting; she wasn't his child.
How he was going to explain this to Hanna when she grew older was a mystery.
Igor blinked. "Mhm, I'm listening, hon." he tucked back a strand of strawberry blonde hair behind her ears.
Igor pursed his lips. "She-she uh, she's gone, honey."
Hanna's face changed. "You mean - she died?" she echoed, on the brim of crying.
"No, no! She went on - vacation."
Hanna's eyes brightened up hopefully. "Where?"
"I don't know, honey. But all I know is that she's not coming for a long time," Igor inhaled.
Hanna slumped back. "Why don't I have a mama? Can we please get one, Papa?" she looked plain miserable.
Igor buried his hands into his face. "I don't know, Hanna! Listen, why don't you pop in the bathtub for a bit, eh? I'll put those damn bath bombs if you want."
Hanna slumped her shoulders, and walked away, her eyes brimming with fresh tears.
Igor twisted his hands and clenched his fists. Why did everything be so hard for him?
Thirty minutes later, three empty beer bottles were laid on the table.
Igor groaned. It was one way to clear his mind.
"Hanna? Honey, are you done?" he murmured, as he placed a hand on his head and ushered to the bath, giddily.
He swallowed two headache pills, walked to the bathroom, thrust it open, and moaned softly. "Hanna? Hanna?"
Igor washed his face, and dug his nails, anxiously. "HANNA! Honey, come out! It's no joke, anymore!" he yelled.
No Hanna came.
He slammed his fists over the table, crashing the beer bottles. What had he done? What had he done to his only child? She probably wasn't even his actual child.
He hauled on a suit, wrenched on his boots, and his car pulled up onto the road, screeching as the wheels rolled onto the road.
"Hi, sir, how may I help you?" A cop pointed to a badge on his chest.
"My daughter, please. Please. She's gone." Igor sobbed, slamming his passport onto the table.
"Right, I need her picture, and her last whereabouts, sir."
Igor flipped his wallet and thrust a picture of Hanna to the officer. "That's her. She was last at the house sir, please. You have to find her. She's the only one, I got." he sobbed, as sweat glistened down his cheek.
The cop nodded. "Of course, sir. We'll try our best. I'll have two cars circling your area."
Igor wiped the tears. "She can't have gone far, I hope," he whispered.
"We can only hope that she hasn't gone too far, sir." the cop agreed.