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“Sit still or I’ll choke ya na’!” a scruffy voice whispers into the ear of a child, no more the age of ten. His dirty work hands grasping at her neck, gripped tightly like the reigns of a noble steed. His fingernails blackened from dust around the curvature of his cuticles, is all that could be seen from the dim light of a kerosene lamp, foggy and filled with cobwebs from its old age. The girl starred blankly at the ground for an eternity, wrapped in her bubble, curled around her world, omniscient to her surroundings. The stables reeked of manure and methane, cows lined the long wooden barriers mooing lowly as if each was to play its own bagpipe out of sync to the barn which creaked and sang its ghastly song. Tools line the walls, a metal shovel head gleams from the moon light, next to it an axe sways fro and to, clanking against the shovel every few minutes. The scruffy voice bellows and calls again, “Tha’s a good girl, don’t struggle, don’t fight it, don’t yell out, don’t even cry, just relax and it will be over fast.”
As the radiant sun climbs over the old house, the call of a rooster warns of the coming day. Sun beams danced upon a made bed, untouched, unoccupied, warming itself in the sunlight shining in from the window. Dust pranced about the room slowly, lightly showering two little girls in two separate beds; one with red curls the other long flowing blonde hair. The fragrance of eggs in the morning wafted into the bedroom, waking both girls with smiles painted on their faces.
Father was cooking a big breakfast; he seemed to do that whenever he was in a good mood, which was rare these days since momma went missing. Life here seems tough at times but my two sisters usually help me get through it. As I get up to start my day, I take a look to Maggie’s bed… still desolate and perfect. Father said she went to town to get some supplies, but she still hasn’t come back for two days now, yet she has still not come up over the horizon. The day was long, many a chore, many responsibilities, yet Maggie still hasn’t shown herself.
Night ascended upon our small house fast, wind howled outside; my sister asleep next to me in her bed. Father could be heard outside, drinking his moonshine and babbling to himself in a drunken conversation. The porch light went out, and the front door could be heard creaking open slowly and then slamming shut. Footsteps crept up to our bedroom door, squeaking the floorboards from every step that was taken. The door slowly opened, with it light from the hall. I close my eyes. I fake my sleep.
“I fell asleep!” I screamed to myself as I awoke the next morning. I turn to Maggie’s bed still unoccupied, then to Rachel’s bed, unmade and a mess. Once again the smell of eggs wafted into the room, creating a trail for me to follow into the kitchen. I jump out of bed and head down the hall to what came to an empty kitchen. No father, No Maggie and now no Rachel. I walk back to my bedroom, Father sat on my bed starring at a picture of our family. Sun beams danced across Maggie’s bed, from the door way it seemed as though the suns glow luminated Rachel’s bed, still unmade. Father looked up from the picture and gave me a long cold gaze with bulgy tearing eyes. “You look like your mother you know.” The whiskey on his breathe floated to my nostrils.
“Really?” I questioned.
“Really! You ‘ave her golden hair and her smile so wide and purrty like flowers in the spring.” His answer was twisted and slurred in a freakish style.
“Papa, you been drinkin’?” I ask hesitantly.
“Jus’ a lil’,” he started, “Only jus’ a few sips.” A bottle of Moonshine sat on my dresser, about a quarter full of brownish liquid, the lighter side of a muddy puddle. Father spoke with slurred speech again, “Come here Sweetie.” He pats the bed next to him while he tries to keep his eyes open.
“Dad your drunk…” I begin.
“Don’t tell me what I is aren’t drunk!” he yells cutting me off. His roar of a voice frightens me; I quickly turn and run down the hall to the back door. Father follows, inebriated and stumbling, calling out into the world my mothers name, “Susan! Susan! Don’t run Hun, I just wanna talk.”
I stumble into the barn; cows line the fences, lowing lowly, each sounding its own bagpipe. The shovel that once hung in front of the door was missing, but the axe hangs proudly and alone in solitary. Fathers footsteps could be heard dragging along the rocks and gravel, babbling to himself as he stumbles into the barn door, falls to his knees and begins to scream again, “Come on Susan, I just wanna talk!” Father’s only answer was from ol’ Penelope who I was hiding behind. Father slowly walked up the barn, checking every stall not occupied by a cow, but low and behold he passes Penelope, and I dart for the door. Father quickly turns and grabs me by the neck and grips tightly. “I dun’ told ya’ not to run.” Papa says softly, “But no, you’s got’s to run like ya momma had dun’ tried to do.” The words fell from his mouth and unto my adolescent ears. “You remind me of your momma, such pretty hair…” he begins to mumble again as he pets my unruly hair. “I miss your momma every day, but I get’s to see her when I’s look into your eyes.”
“Papa, what do you mean?” I questioned.
“Let me show you what I mean.” Papa’s reply was close and his heavy breathing pressed against my neck, heavy and drunk, his hands wandering off, violating, intruding, uncomfortable.
“Papa, stop it!” I cry his grip unrelenting, “Papa, STOP!” I scream, but he still persists. “DAD, LET GO OF ME!” I yell. I begin to shift wildly, kicking and punching wildly, but he wouldn’t stop. I had to get free, I had to get help. Moments went by but yet he still continued. I kept kicking, kicking with power, kicking with all my might. Finally my kicking makes contact and Papa lets go off my neck and begins to hold his valuables like a woman holds her new born child close. Jumping up and adjusting my shirt, my legs begin to run toward the door without haste. Father, still curled in a ball, yells out to me, and I stop and look back to listen, “Fu’ that, I’m gonna do to you what I done to your sisters and ya’ momma!” Father slowly picked himself up, taking his time, and I stare and watch him as little by little I walk backwards towards the open barn door. Papa darted for the door; I turn to run, BAM! I hit the door and fall to the ground lifeless.
Night time was upon us, I was out cold for a long while. I was still lying on the ground when I awoke; Papa sat next to me, rifle in hand, a devilish smile painted across his face. “I wanted you to see them before you become one of them,” Papa says with a small chuckle. 3 bodies lay across a far back cow cell, I turn to Papa for the last time, a head full of hate, full of anger. The cows play their sad bagpipe songs while a single crow perched upon ol’ Penelope back stands proudly in the dim lit room by a kerosene lamp. Bodies were to be found.
The smell of eggs wafted throughout the house. In the kitchen an empty plate sits, a bottle of moonshine, empty, sits upon its side. No one’s there.