Farmer Ed was one trigger-pull away from blowing the head off his daughter’s golden retriever. It’s body would most likely fall on Tommy’s.
Tommy was Farmer Ed’s infant son, whose bloody corpse lie in the hay.
“Dad, don’t!” The shout came as the barn doors flew open. “Don’t kill him, daddy! I don’t want Ruffy to die!”
“Get out.” Tears filled Farmer Ed’s eyes. He used the rifle to direct her outside. “Leave dammit!”
Molly hugged both her arms around Ruffy’s collar, then began sobbing into his fur.
It had been a long day, one that had begun just like any other – plates with stacks of pancakes, a jug filled with orange juice, and grace before breakfast.
Farmer Ed had sat across from his wife, to the side of his daughter Molly, and nearby the crib of his son Tommy. Now, just a few hours later, Molly and Farmer Ed were the only surviving members of their family.
The sound of sirens prompted Farmer Ed to rise. He rushed over to the barn doors, then used the bolt to lock them close.
Farmer Ed rubbed his forehead as he paced frantically around the barn.
“Where’s mommy, daddy?” said Molly softly.
Farmer Ed paused to look at her, then returned to his frantic walk.
“Dad?” said Molly, as she made her way over to him. “Did something happen to mommy?”
Tires screeched outside. “Come out with your hands up!” came the voice from the police microphone.
Ed stopped pacing, walked over to the haystack, then sat. He turned the rifle on himself, then stared straight into the barrel.
“What happened to mom, daddy?” said Molly. She walked over to him then grabbed his big hand with her little one. “Did something bad happen?”
“Come out with your hands up!” screamed the voice through the microphone once more. Farmer Ed continued to cry as he stared down into his rifle. His breath felt uncontrollable, his entire being felt as if it were on fire.
…to be continued.
– Thomas M. Watt
– Author of A New Kingdom