I’m currently rather busy with schoolwork, so all I have for you today is the unfinished piece which I tried to write last week. I still haven’t decided what my new schedule should look like, but it will probably end up being a post on Tuesday or Wednesday, and another on Friday. Read on for violence.
Tick. Grandmother’s watch is heavy on his wrist. He eyes the road, shimmering with heat. Three cars coming. He turns the egg timer beside him, wires wending away in the dust towards the road below.
Tick. They don’t see him, cheek nuzzling Grandmother’s rifle, eye to the ancient scope. Last time they were here, they were in control.
Tick. He begins to exhale, tracking slowly. His finger tightens.
Grandmother had told Father not to welcome them. Father’d ignored her, said they’d be safe with anyone his son brought home. Brother had walked in with a sickly grin, called him Sister, told him to go to his room.
Tick. The rifle’s report startles him, and he scrabbles to bring his eye back to the scope. He needs no magnification to see the panic inside the lead car. His lens shows him blood, gore, meat and bone, the scream of the man riding shotgun silent with distance.
Tick. The lead car, a station wagon, veers gently towards the roadside ditch where they’d left their victims last time.
Father hadn’t understood until Brother’s friends came in the door with their guns. Grandmother had known. She’d given him the key to her ATV, told him to run, stay below the hilltops.
They’d burned the house when they couldn’t find Father’s money. Brother had cursed Father for not giving it over, cried and spit rage as he lit the roof. Grandmother had killed two of them before they got her. Weak old woman, they’d called her. She would have had three if her knife hadn’t stuck in the second’s spine. He’d almost stayed too long, hoping she’d make it out.
Tick. The gunner on top of the wagon dives, a futile escape as the car rolls over them. He wonders idly whether it was Brother.
Tick. He reloads without thought, smooth reflex guiding him. The makeshift armored jeep, second in the column, speeds up. Their roof-gunner opens fire on the wrong hilltop, machine-gun clattering.
Tick. He shoots the jeep’s unprotected tire.
Three days out in the wild, alone. Grandmother had always planned ahead. Her rifle was clean and well-loved. She’d taken it home when she mustered out, just before the End Times came. She’d always said it was a better husband than Grandfather had ever been. He knew now why she’d said that.
Tick. The jeep turns, wobbles, flips and skids. The minivan in the back, strapped down with supplies, opens fire on his hilltop as it accelerates. They’ve finally seen him.
Tick. He presses himself into the earth, staring at Grandmother’s watch. The second hand approaches twelve.
Tick. The minivan rolls over the patch of road that he dug up in the dark of this morning, an old filled pothole.
CRACK. The sound is a sharp snap, pummeling his ears.
He glances up, over the crest of the hill, and sees the minivan rolling onward. It’s losing speed. Is that blood sprayed across the inside of the windows? The pothole is blown open, a dirty smoking crater.
He peers through the scope, searching for a clue. He needs some sign that his work is done. The minivan stops moving before it reaches the flipped jeep. There is silence.