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Redemption Isn’t Free

This has turned into a series of fiction. If you tend to skip days, and you’ve skipped the past couple, you might want to backtrack before reading this post. This story begins with the fictional post, Expecting the Unexpected. Click here to begin at the beginning. And, thank you. Of all the hundreds of thousands of existing options for entertaining blog reading, I am honored you stopped here and chose me.

My feet sink into the humid dewey grass. Clods of dirt make walking tough, and this blasted rifle isn’t helping. Dad always makes me carry this one, and it’s too big for me. Plus, there’s no way everybody in the neighborhood doesn’t know we’re here, with him practically crashing through the front of the building in glaring announcement. He’s stooped and creeping along ahead of me, weaving this way and that in what he thinks are evasive tactics but are really just him being drunk.

I stop and hold my breath. We’re in that crazy part of the morn. The night critters boom like the bass section of an orchestra, reverberating in the chest, until they just stop. In the minutes before the birds start singing, there’s nothing. No sound. It’s like the world up and died.

I don’t want to go in there during the deadest part of night. I might never be able to leave.

With a shudder, I pick up my pace and get right behind my Dad. He’s trying to see through the little square window in the front door, the one that’s too high for me. He takes a step backward and falls on top of me, dragging three loaded guns and our bodies onto the hard concrete. I feel the barrel of a gun in my side, pinned there under his passed-out heft. His breath oozes from his face like cooped-up air in a distillery. I’m afraid to move. Every time I try to inch my way out from under him, the cool steel digs into my ribs. Panic isn’t going to help me rescue my sister, but I feel my heart thrashing in my throat with the realization that the slightest mistake could pull a happy trigger. I close my eyes and breathe deep, try to control my scattering thoughts and make them pleas.

A sucking sound punctures my reverie. Light streams from the open front door and silhouettes a man. HIM.

You need to take that drunk and go on home now he snarls. Your sister is fine. I take pristine care of her.

He’s wearing a get-up that, from this angle on the ground, looks like a woman’s house dress. Backlighting illumines ruffles around the collar. His stubby feet are smooth and at my eye level, just beyond my reach. He stands there, twirling the sash of his girly-looking garb and leering down at me. Bitter bile fills the back of my throat.

She begged me not to fail her.

He backs into the house and starts to slam the door when an explosion rocks through me. I’m hit! I’m hit!  I hear myself screaming down the tunnel of reverberation, only to realize HE’S running down the street with his stupid dress fluttering behind him. Is HE shot?

Summoning all my strength, I heave my father’s bulk off of me. It’s his pistol that fired and took a piece out of the corner of the front door. He’s still snoring in his own liquored-up world.

I run through the apartment, shouting her name. Bathroom! I hear her scream over the cascading sound of running water. She meets me at the top of the stairs and grabs my hand. You have to help me pack up the truck with as much stuff as we can take before he gets back. She starts loading up her arms with trinkets, her eyes spinning and feral.

It’s moments like these that transform little boys into men. My voice sounds different when I say one word: Now. I turn on my heel and walk out, dragging my father by his collar to the truck. I am slamming him into the bed when she comes up beside me and takes my blistered hand.

I’ll drive she says.


33 Comments Post a comment
  1. Just a little family horseplay, folks, nothing to see here. Why do I keep seeing visions of Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando and Kim Hunter flashing through my head??

    December 17, 2011
    • Lou, WHERE do you find these things? I mean, I know you find them on You Tube, but what sick, twisted search terms do you use to locate them?

      December 17, 2011
      • I don’t use search terms, I just think a loud thought and my cyber elves pick it for me.

        December 17, 2011
      • Why does that make sense to me?????

        December 17, 2011
  2. I am taking off a week for Christmas and I think that I am going to have to start over from the beginning so I can understand how the characters in the story all piece together. I love each story Andra, just not “getting it”.

    December 17, 2011
    • James, there’s nothing wrong with not getting it. Lots of people tell me they don’t get my writing. And then, lots of other people do get it. I guess that’s why we have so many genres and voices and kinds of writing.

      If you do read the entire series again (last installment tomorrow), please let me know how it reads the second time.

      December 17, 2011
      • Andra, I write about my real life and people don’t get it. I just have that way with words.

        This, however, I do understand.

        December 17, 2011
      • I totally get your writing, Roxanne. 🙂 I loved the post about the museum guard. It was very human.

        December 17, 2011
  3. Well done brother! Surely she can get it all in the lawsuit. And what adreniline will do! I love that at the beginning he isn’t strong enough to shift his Dad, but by the end, he’s able to drag him by the collar.

    December 17, 2011
    • Definitely a coming of age piece for the boy. I’m glad he learned at 12 what she had failed to see by 20 – money and stuff can’t buy self-worth and happiness.

      December 17, 2011
  4. Yay…. So far, so good!

    December 17, 2011
    • Last installment tomorrow, Karen. Then, maybe I will start the book while my other one is being edited. 🙂

      December 17, 2011
      • Debbie #

        This story makes my heart race!

        Did you get an editor for your other book? Hope…hope…hope!

        December 17, 2011
      • I hired a pre-editor to help me re-work it. I am excited about her ideas, and I know she will help me make the book better. I will do another round of submitting after we’re done.

        December 17, 2011
  5. Excellent! I have visions of the husband running down the street in a pink silk housecoat with the puffy fur like edging all around. People will assume it is hers, but little will they know it was his all along.

    Loving it.

    December 17, 2011
    • Absolutely 100% his all along. Glad you’re getting that character so well, Carnell. 🙂

      December 17, 2011
      • Of course he would…tee hee

        December 17, 2011
      • He’s going to get you, Lou.

        December 17, 2011
  6. She wants to be rescued from her life and worries about cramming as much stuff as she can in the back of a truck before he gets back? Really?

    December 17, 2011
    • She wants to take the trappings of that life back with her, because the trappings are what she values.

      December 17, 2011
      • Yeah, I know she values trappings – just wondering how/if one would concern oneself with it in that moment. I guess SHE can and does….

        December 17, 2011
      • I guess the first example I can conjure of a woman who valued the wrong things at the wrong time is Lot’s wife.

        December 17, 2011
    • In panic the brain can fixate on less important things and they can seem urgent. At least she realised the boy was right and they had to leave it and just go. I found it believable that she would react this way.

      December 18, 2011
      • You know, some of the silliest things I’ve done in my life were heat-of-the-moment decisions that made no sense when the pressure was off. I totally relate to her here, also, because I have done similar things.

        December 18, 2011
  7. Heart. In. Mouth. Can’t. Breathe….
    Fabulous writing. Tense-ish, though.

    December 17, 2011
    • Maybe I will finish getting this out of my system tomorrow. Glad it is working. 🙂

      December 17, 2011
  8. Domestic disputes of the Drunken Kind are the most dangerous . . .

    December 18, 2011
    • Thankfully, I’ve never witnessed one, Nancy.

      December 18, 2011
    • Having spent some time in law enforcement I have witnessed the aftermath of such disputes. You are correct, they can be dangerous to all involved.

      December 18, 2011
  9. Loving this!! The little brother is a super character. Growing up fast and more than a little disgusted with all the older folks and their rumpus. The husband is loathsome in his disregard for anyone else, yet found his perfect counterpart in his grasping selfish wife. Her dad is just…well…hilarious in his drunken extremity, even though he’d be no fun to deal with. What a confluence of neuroses!

    December 18, 2011
    • Amazing what we can find without looking too far. 😉

      December 18, 2011
  10. earlybird #

    It’s definitely working. I appreciated the tiny detail of the ruffles around the collar.

    December 19, 2011
    • My Mom had a housecoat from the 1960’s that had ruffles around the collar. I guess that’s where I got that detail. My Dad NEVER wore it, though. 🙂

      December 19, 2011

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