Dan didn’t have the word to express how proud he was of his daughter. Abigail had not only seemingly recovered from her ordeal in less than a year, but she had used her own experiences to become a source of strength to others.
The five thousand pounds returned by the late Joshua Billings was put to use in setting up a small fund for the victims of child abuse and sexual trauma. She had used her television appearances to plead for donations that could be used to fund their counselling and recovery.
He had watched from the background as his daughter, who could easily have slipped into an attitude of denial and self-loathing, become a media-celebrated heroine. Most girls of her age fought for popularity and acceptance at school. Abigail didn’t have to try to dwarf the efforts of her school friends.
After the initial hype had died down, pledges of further funds kept on coming.
Her efforts led to a major children’s charity taking over, bringing her on board to be a spokesperson.
After some amount of coaxing and encouragement, she had started to write down her story for future publication. She had graciously handed the care of the Wooden Doll Fund to the charity, able to focus on the occasional public appearance, and of course on being a teenager.
With some effort, and with the help of Dan, she had tracked down the girls that had been replicated in miniature. Each had accepted the offer of their own wooden doll, as well as counselling, paid for by the fund. She had not only found a way to get her own life back on track, she was helping to rebuild the confidence and abilities of the other girls whose lives had been damaged by Joshua. There was no doubt that the Castle family had a truly remarkable girl in their care, and in their care she would remain for a few more years.
Dan’s reflections were interrupted by yet another call for his services as a Private Investigator. Law enforcement agencies were amongst the clients calling. The agony of losing a daughter to the monstrosities of child abuse, and his ability to do anything to make it right, had prepared him to assist in the most difficult of child abuse and abduction cases.
Every time he thought of the previous psychological pain of his daughter, he unconsciously rubbed is shoulder. There’s no sign of my pain going anywhere. It might well be here for the rest of my life.
Every day, and even more on cold mornings, he felt a dull pain in his shoulder similar to someone pressing their thumb hard into it as hard as they could. He could move his arm without a problem, but the ache remained; a permanent reminder of his determination to keep his family safe, whatever the cost.
Shrugging off his own injury, he was determined to succeed in his own business, thriving to the point of expansion. His investigation and security organisation was growing in popularity daily, which helped him to feel that his family’s future was secure.
The Castle family were closer than ever before, and their energies had been re-focussed on helping others who had experienced similar trauma in their own lives. It was all thanks to Abigail, and her ability to help defeat Joshua Billings, the Doll Collector.