Art credit "Fear" ~ Zhamso Radnaev
She’d told me to run. She said the minute the door opens I should scoot out the window and high tail it for Mister Barclay’s house. She was so afraid; she tried to be brave but I could see her hands shaking as she wound one around the other, her head twisting toward every tiny sound, each quick motion nearly pulling her right off her feet.
She said it was a man she’d known once, that she owed him something; that we’d moved to this outback cabin so as to get away from him and his kind. But he’d found her somehow, and now was skulking about on our property, looking to collect some unmentionable tithe from my poor sweet mother.
I ran as fast as I could, and may have made it all the way to Mister “B”s if not for her screaming; it stopped me in my tracks as surely as if I’d been tethered to a fence post with two inch chain. And now as I stand here peering over the tall grass, trying to catch a glimpse of movement in the only western window, I pray I have the wherewithal to make the right decision before it’s too late. I know where grampa keeps the shotgun, even though he tries to hide it from me. And I know how to use it because I took it once and shot a squirrel that had taken over my tree house on Johnson’s Creek; the little booger wrecked everything, he had to go.
But I’m not sure I can shoot a man, and if I can’t there’ll be hell to pay for aiming it at all. Yet, it’s a mile to the Barclay’s and I run like an elephant. God I can’t take the screaming anymore, he’s hurting her I just know it, and nobody hurts my mom while I’m alive. Daddy, if you’re watchin’ over me, steady my hands and let me shoot straight, or prepare to welcome me and mom to heaven, ‘cause my decision’s been made.