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A Shot in the Dark
The evening encompassed everything I was feeling. The full moon, which had given me
the chills ever since I could remember, was shining so brilliantly in the skies above. The stars
painted a tapestry like no other, and the sound of the wind in the trees was laced with a morose,
yet mysteriously soothing train whistle in the distance. Everything around that night reminded
me just how subdued, yet strikingly passionate I am about life. There were so many things I
wanted to say...but I just didn't know how.
In my quaint but comforting room I took in everything the night had to offer through my
little window; the one door to perception I had at my disposal. For the past few weeks, I'd been
trying to write (for what seemed like the millionth time) the great American novel, or at least a
decent poem! I tried my hardest to listen to my heart and understand why my writer's block
was lasting so long. Somehow, the endeavors you set out to do in the beginning seem so easy-
until you actually start doing them.
Suddenly, I glanced over at my bookshelf. To this day, I'm not sure what made me want
to stare at it for that extra second, but something about it caught my eye. At a passing glance,
nothing about it looked too out of the ordinary; but if one looked close enough, something was
definitely awry. To my great surprise, a manila folder I had never seen before stuck ever so
slightly out of my two favorite books; The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Cat's Cradle. I knew
that part of my bookshelf so well; how could I possibly not have noticed this before? With my
ever questioning mind, I decided to further investigate.
Inside read a letter composed by my late father, Nate Remington. He used to work for the
family shotgun business, bookkeeping and such for the company. I always knew he wanted to
experience the thrill of firing a gun at least once in his life- something his ever stubborn father
never gave him the chance to do while he grew up. As far as I knew, throughout his whole life,
even after he escaped the over- protectiveness of his father, he had still never even so much as laid
a hand on a gun. My father was a very gentle, soft-spoken, and reserved man- learning to be an
expert marksman, however tempting it may have been, just didn't seem to be a part of his
persona. However, judging from this letter to my grandfather, I guess I never knew how bad he
had wanted it.
6 September 1979
For my whole life, I've been working for the family shotgun
business. Always have I been the obedient bookkeeper, the one you
count on to be subservient to any and every demand
that you dish out. However, this letter and confessions I reveal to
you mark the end of an era.
A few nights ago, I went out and learned to handle a firearm,
all on my own. I'd been studying up on it during my spare time, and
decided I'd have a go at it in Barley Woods, up on Mountain Brush
Road. Feeling secure in what I thought to be a scarcely populated
area, I fired a few starting shots. Sadly, a few moments later and
to my absolute horror, I heard a cry in pain. I am ashamed to say
that I did not make any effort to help the man in my fright;
whoever he was, he is surely dead now. Father, I am so remorseful
and I have no idea what to do....help me if you can.
I stared in bewilderment and amazement after reading his words. Chills went up and
down my spine...did my father really shoot an innocent man? Even if it was an
accident, if he had never owned up to it during his lifetime, serious repercussions
could ensue in the lives of everyone in our family. How would my mother and I be
able to show our faces in public again? The sheer humiliation would be enough for
me; not to mention the horror I'd feel as the reality of the skeleton (literally) in my
father's closet begins to sink in. I took a deep breath and reset myself at my laptop;
following a historical fiction idea I wasn't sure would go anywhere yet. But I knew I
had to try...for the sake of the innocent life lost, though accidental, by the hand of my
own father. I sat there for quite a while wondering if I should confront my mother with the
incriminating evidence I found of her late husband and my late father's misdeeds. On
the one hand, I knew that the truth had an incredible power of being able to set one
free. If my mother had never known about this before, this could finally be the end of
a nearly thirty-year old ordeal with the police- there would be no more secrets.
However, I also knew that my mother and I have a very fragile memory of my father,
and actually quite a peaceful one of the last time we saw him alive. By giving away
the details of this earth-shattering reality, I could completely mar that rock solid and
comforting vision in her mind.
Finally, I decided what I should do.
There are times in life where we all accumulate secrets that we know we will take to
our grave, for better or for worse.
This could be a shot in the dark...but I could feel everything start to vaguely
come together, and I knew that I finally had my story.