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“C’mon Jimmy!” his sister yells. “Let’s play Star Wars!” Running past the bin of loose vegetables, she grabs two large carrots and throws one towards her brother. Carrots and onions spill onto the floor.

Laughing hysterically, Jimmy catches the carrot in mid-air and lunges forward thrusting it towards her bare mid-section. “I’m going to kill you, Obiwan!” he shrieks.

“Noooo! Help!” shouts the girl at the top of her lungs. Parrying his thrust, she swings her carrot wildly in the air barely missing an elderly gentleman trying to negotiate around their flailing arms.

Then another bloodcurdling scream, “Jimmy! Payne! STOP THAT NOW!” A woman in her late thirties with stringy shoulder-length blonde hair rushes towards them pushing a shopping cart overflowing with supplies. Grabbing the girl by the shoulders she picks her off the floor and shakes her like a rag-doll. “You’re driving me crazy! I warned you both. No TV. No computer for a week. And that’s final.”

“That’s not fair!” cries Jimmy. “What’d I do? She started it.”

“SHUT UP! Not another word from either of you.”

As they pull into the driveway, Payne whispers to Jimmy, “Meet me upstairs, okay?” He nods.

The woman collapses onto the sofa next to an unshaved man in his early forties wearing a stained sweatshirt and dirty faded jeans. Crumpled beer cans circle an overflowing ashtray.

“Jesse, I swear I’m gonna kill them kids,” sighs the woman. “Today they practically tore up the Grocery Barn.”

Without a word the man slips the belt out of his pants. Trying to stand up he staggers and barks his shin on the coffee table. “Goddammit!” He gives her a look and pulls his hand back as if to strike.

“No, honey,” she whimpers. “Please baby.” She pulls him back down onto the couch and kisses him while kicking the belt under the coffee table.

“C’mon baby. Jus’ relax, okay?”

Upstairs, two screams pierce the air. “Mommy! Daddy! Help!” Then a single gunshot cracks the air.

A crash as something downstairs breaks. Footsteps pound up the stairs. “Be careful Jesse! Wait for me!”

Cries from the bedroom closet, “Help us!”

Bursting into the bedroom, Jesse moves quickly to the closet and tears the slatted door off of its hinges. Nothing. The woman scampers up behind him and squints into the semi-lit space.

“I don’t see nothin Jesse. Just some dirty—“

She catches a tiny movement out of the corner of her eye. Something in the pile of laundry on the floor—a little black tube poking out towards them.

“Look Jesse. What’s that?” They take a step forward.

Six explosions in quick succession, like firecrackers. Blood everywhere. Cries. Then silence.

Two small forms emerge from the clothing. The girl holds a small revolver at her side.

“It’s like I told you, Jimmy. I can only take so much. Now we can play whatever we want, whenever we want. Go turn on the computer, okay? We’ll clean up this mess later.”

Views: 544

Comment by Misinformed Poet on March 25, 2014 at 12:41

I liked that the girl was the one initiating the mayhem in the grocery store and that her brother blamed her (as brothers always do). I didn't think anything of it on first read, but second time round it jumped out and tied in neatly with the shock at the end.

Comment by Jean Rodenbough on March 25, 2014 at 21:35

There's certainly action and engagement in this story.  A bit brutal though, considering the stories in the news these days.  But this is well written.

Comment by Kera Van Graan on March 27, 2014 at 16:03

Loved it, especially the ending. Very unexpected!

Comment by Stella Turner on March 27, 2014 at 20:01

great story :)

Comment by Rhuar Dean on March 31, 2014 at 17:33

I thought it worked well. I wasn't sure about the term bloodcurdling in reference to the mother's scream as I tend to associate it with the screamer being afraid, rather than angry as I guess the mother was. You also refer to it as 'another' bloodcurdling scream - but I think it's the first. I also tripped on the reference to Jesse as just a man in the narrative but Jesse in dialogue. As a reader I wanted to know what his relation was to the family at the beginning, although the kids shout for daddy, so the answer comes later. Good story and nice twist in a short wordcount.

Comment by Avery Konda on April 2, 2014 at 17:42

That's a really intense story Preston! Definitely had my heart pounding for a couple of moments. You have my like!

Comment by Kirsty Robinson on April 3, 2014 at 21:04

What a fantastic final sentence (We'll clean up this mess later) So unnerving!

Comment by Lesa Corryn on April 9, 2014 at 23:03

I love the fact that they used carrots for lightsabers.  It just gave me a fantastically adorable image in my head, which then made the twist at the end that more severe.  There was one thing I noted and that was the repetition of 'p' in "helppp."  The "nooooo" makes sense to me because you hold out the 'o' like that, but you don't hold out a 'p'.  In my head that came out like a stutter, which I'm not sure is what was intended.  I think "Noooo heeelp" sounds more natural I guess.  At least to me.  Really liked it though, didn't expect that the kids would go that far.  Nice to see neither the kids nor you backed down from something that dark.

Comment by Preston Randall on April 12, 2014 at 16:30

Thanks everyone for the great comments (so far). This has all been very helpful.

Comment by Aditya Prawira on April 20, 2014 at 5:29

NICE story about a girl and her brother!

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