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For Brothers and Lovers

Pa shot his brother.

Two days before he shot his brother he shot a deer. The red blood mixed with the peeling rust and pine needles in the bed of his truck making an orange paste that seeped through the cracks and dripped onto moist ground as he slowly drove the crevassed dirt road home. He hung the deer in the garage and Tommie placed the smooth shiny organs in jars and as the grandchildren came outside he chased them around the yard with the organs until they cried and Ma came outside and scolded Tommie with a sharp tongue and soft eyes.

The night before Pa shot Tommie it rained. Ma franticly ran around the house, which was decorated with bleached animal skulls, egg shell white walls and blue pastel curtains, opening each window and Pa ten paces behind would close each window she opened and they circled around like this for hours until Tommie came home cold and damp and looking for a hot shower. As he opened the bathroom door he ran straight into Ma who was opening the small square window in the bathroom, Pa nine paces behind. She pressed her head against the wet flannel of his button up shirt, Pa eight paces behind. Tommie groaned and pressed his arms against his sides and stared up at the cracks in the ceiling, Pa seven paces behind.

The day after he shot his brother Pa emptied two shell casings onto the floor and slung his rifle against the warped wooden gun rack that hung on the living room wall. It cracked finally under the pressure and fell to the floor. Sighing, he drove it to the sea and dug a hole in the sand and gently placed the rifle and rack inside. He looked up at the clouds moving in the sky and made his peace with the loss and smiled softly and said a slow sad melancholy goodbye.

Flash Fiction by Mollie Backowski
Picture: Rust by Derek Bridges under CC BY 2.0

Published in Summer 2017


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