Biography of Rick Balder

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Rick Balder is a fictional character in a novel series I’m writing.

Nurtured by one, abused by another, Rick grew up torn, thinking women were the weakest link and men were above them. Except he thought his mother to be strong for not showing fear when he’d flinch at the sound of his father’s heavy footfalls.

Daniel Balder, Rick’s father, was an abusive alcoholic and a smoker. If he didn’t have one on hand, he’d have another, thus creating a trigger for Rick to go into a panicked state whenever he hears a can being crushed or popped open, or if he smells smoke or hears the flick of a lighter. When nervous, he has the habit of running his hands along his arms, where slight scarring is from his father burning him with cigarette butts.

While young, Rick had been growing his hair out to have a shaggy look, but when he’d accidentally been caught holding one of Daniel’s alcoholic beverages, moving it aside to reach some cereal, he’d found what it felt like to have some of his hair ripped from his scalp. At that point, he’d kept his hair cut short, until finally shaving it completely.

When Rick wasn’t being abused by Daniel, it was Leanna, Rick’s mother and Daniel’s wife, taking the brunt of the damage. Every day Rick saw a bruise on his mother–fresh or old–and seeing them on a woman who’d help him with his own injuries and would talk to him until he fell asleep made Rick never want to be the man that his father was. He grew up telling himself he’d never have a kid, never put the kid through the kind of torture he himself had to deal with through childhood.

His mom died after she slipped and fell on a wet spot on the kitchen and cracked her head on the counter.

Rick believed his father’s heavy hand had something to do with it.

Eventually Daniel also died–drunk driving in the middle of the night, he’d careened into a tree. Not able to take the loneliness of a house that used to be aggressively alive, he took up a construction job just like his father had done. The noise drowned out the sounds in his head and being in the Arizona heat all day helped him sleep easier.

Before he went to work, he’d order coffee from the local shop and from there met Christine Simmons, eventually marrying her and having a child.

A child that he never wanted.

He spent weeks, arguing what to do with the unborn child, but when he found out it was a girl, he couldn’t let his wife go through with the abortion. He told Christine about his relationship with his father, and he vowed he wouldn’t be like his old man. He vowed he’d keep his baby girl safe and have her live a life he never knew. One of happiness.

So Emma Balder was born.

Sunday was Funday for him and his daughter, one of the only days he didn’t have to work. He’d do whatever his little girl wanted, from watching Disney movies all day, to munching on nothing but sweets and earning stomach aches in the process.

Then the storm came.

Emma had been playing under the tree in the front yard, and the stuffed animal (a whale) Rick had won her from a crane machine was sitting out there. She went out to get it. Lightning struck the tree and Emma screamed as it caught fire.

A second strike took Emma’s life.

Rick’s brain shoved the information of what had happened into the very back of his mind, ultimately forgetting that moment in time, and so he still imagined his daughter to be alive, despite never returning to work and being fired, and watching Disney shows on his own.

Fights broke out between Christine and him, until he eventually wound up in a mental ward where he became aware of the supernatural world. He constantly sees a dove and a crimson butterfly, and travels the path of the butterfly, which he later finds out to be the symbol for the god of revenge.

He’s using the people he meets to find his daughter, but they’re using him for another purpose. In the end, his mind unlocks itself to that day his daughter had died, and the key was the selling of his soul.

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