Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Muzzle Flash

Courtesy of the thin walls, my siblings and I usually knew what was going on between my parents – and this night was no different. While we children watched TV in the front room, my parent’s raised voices fought in the background from their bedroom. The fight had something to do with daddy coming home drunk – and he was in his Mr. Hyde form.

“Leave me alone!” he yelled, not wanting to answer my mother’s query as to where he had been.

A scuffle broke out - and through the thin walls, I could hear furniture being knocked around. My brother and sisters could also hear it; each of us silent, wide-eyed, and hanging on to each sound. None of us were watching TV anymore.

My parent’s bodies slammed against their bed. The sound of the bed’s heavy feet dragging across the wooden floor was unmistakable – and then it’s metal frame slamming against the wall. It didn’t matter that the door was closed. I could see everything in my mind.

Suddenly, my mother broke away from him, and he knew that she was headed for the closet. That’s where he kept his loaded pistol. Daddy tried desperately to catch her, but he was too drunk and she was too determined. When he finally caught up to her, she spun around pointing the heavy pistol center mass on his chest. Her finger had already begun to squeeze the trigger. Shockwaves fired through daddy’s body as he leaped away from her. His bloodshot eyes were wide open and focused on the gun. It was almost sobering.


Everyone in the house jumped. Especially daddy, as every hair on the back of his neck stood up. The bullet had barely missed him and gone through the window, out across the street, across the field to rest in high grass. Mama was already taking aim for a second shot, as daddy darted from the room. The door flung open as daddy's stumbling body slammed against it. He ran past me and out the front door, reeking of alcohol, with mama running screaming after him, pointing the pistol at his back. The dark revolver looked large in her light brown hands, as she and daddy vanished into the night. We kids could still hear everything.


Another loud blast seemed to shake the house. It was the first time I had heard real gunfire, not counting what I had seen on TV. The tension in the air could have been cut with a knife. Something compelled my brother Richard and I to tiptoe outside in our bare feet, peering into the darkness with our unfocused eyes.


Another shot fired… this time from the side of the house. It seemed to draw Richard and I like moths to a flame. In fact, I was sure that I saw a flash coming from the gun’s muzzle. Mama was holding the pistol with both hands, pointing it toward the dark alley behind our house. She had a hard time steadying it as she jerked off another round at daddy’s fleeing shadow. He was a fast runner, even in Mr. Hyde form.

Echoes of the blast bounced off nearby houses and faded as neighboring dogs barked. Mama then lowered the pistol, still staring towards the alley and breathing heavy. She then turned towards Richard and me.

“Get in the house!” she yelled.

We quietly and quickly ducked back inside, listening and wondering if the last shot had found its mark. It was silent. Even the crickets were quiet, as we had turned down the TV’s volume. Mama soon reentered the house, holding the pistol at her side. She took it into their bedroom and closed the door behind her. Perhaps she didn’t want us to know that she was hiding it back inside their closet, inside the old shoebox on the lower right-hand corner. Their closet was "off-limits" to us kids.

She poked her head out moments later and told us to go to bed. Considering her tone and expression, no one dared ask any questions. Daddy returned the following day, as if nothing had happened.


Senor Cheeseburger said...


Gavin Ball said...

Awesome story my friend, I was on the edge of my seat reading through it!