Today

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He’s holding a rifle in his hands, this strange man. I thought I knew him, but I don’t, not anymore. He’s mad because I didn’t take the eggs from the chicken coop like he asked me to. But I didn’t want to and now he’s gone crazy. This happens to him a lot, with his anger on fire; he can never control it. I’m running behind the barn as he comes looking for me. I’m breathing hard but at the same time I’m not breathing at all.
“Come out, boy!” he snarls in his gruff voice. “Come out where I can see you. Don’t be a chicken.” He growls at the air around him, hoping I’m somewhere in it. I want to cry, scream for someone to help me.
This isn’t the same man I knew yesterday. Yesterday, when I came home from school and he pulled me into a huge bear hug. Yesterday, when we would play in mud puddles after the fresh rain had fallen. Yesterday, when he’d carry me on his shoulders up high and carry me around the house like a cowboy on his horse.
But yesterday’s gone because today he is a different man. Today he punches me in the face if I’m late leaving for school. Today he swears at me and says he wishes he’d never had a son like me. Today, he’s holding a rifle ready to kill me. I’m so young, but today I’m old. I can hear his footsteps coming closer and closer. I sneak around to the other side of the barn and run inside. The chickens are in here, clucking away as they see me. Don’t they know what’s going on? Chickens need to learn how to be quiet sometimes. Suddenly I hear the gigantic barn door slam, and I realize I forgot to close it. I turn around.
“Gotcha,” he says grinning. Yesterday, I was eating pancakes for breakfast; today, the last thing I see is his glaring face as I hear the shot fire and everything goes black.





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