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The Ohio Sky

Gunpowder and Lead

By The Invisible WriterPublished 2 months ago Updated about a month ago 5 min read
The Ohio Sky
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

"Little girls are made of gunpowder and lead"

~Miranda Lambert


Kate knew he was coming home. Knew from the time his truck tore out of the driveway until his headlights lit up the front window again that he was coming home. Her eyes moved to the clock. Six hours since he'd stormed out of the front door. Six hours to drink all he could. Six hours to let his anger grow. Fear raced through every part of her trembling body with the knowledge that his coming back wasn't just a thought anymore. He was here.

Outside, the rain picked up against the metal of the trailer roof. The hum of the diesel engine in his truck went silent. The air inside the trailer felt heavy in her chest. She could already hear his voice, his accusations, his siren song of nobody appreciates him.

She could already hear his backup song about how he doesn't like to get mad, how he doesn't want to be angry, how he just wants to come home and relax. But he couldn't because she wasn't good to him the way she should be. Because her little girl, who wasn't even his, didn't respect him.

In the last moments, before he stormed through the thin front door, she asked herself rhetorically if she drove him crazy. If all she did was make his life difficult. Why had he taken her keys before he left? Why didn’t he want her to leave?

Waiting for what she knew was coming, she swore to herself he was the last one. She'd stay alone the rest of her life before she risked finding another asshole. The sound of his truck door slamming sent another shiver of fear up her spine. Clinching her fists, she told herself all she had to do was survive until he passed out.

When the front door flew open, a cold rush fell into the air inside their small living room. Kate watched his boots cross the threshold, and she swore she could feel hell coming with them.

His voice boomed off the wood paneling of the trailer as his shouting began. Why had she ever started dating this man? Why had every decision she’d made after Brian died been wrong? Why had that tractor slipped its brake and rolled over him? Why had she gone from one nightmare to another after her fairytale ended?

Her whole world fell off its axis when she realized he was moving to the bedrooms. She stood pushing the fear aside, knowing she couldn't let him go where he was headed. Rain belted harder on the tin roof. A hollow wind raced through the night outside. His bloodshot eyes turned on her, and she knew tonight was going to be worse than the other nights.

"Get out of the way, Kate." Fear closed around a spike in her throat, but she stayed.

"She don't respect me. I ain't taking another minute of it. You heard her at the table tonight telling me what she said. You think I'm gonna stand for that?"

"You're drunk, Tom." She put her hand against his heaving chest to stop him. "Please. I'll talk to her. I'll tell her about how good you are. I'll let her know all you've done for us. She won't disrespect you anymore, I promise. Just let me talk to her." She wouldn't talk. She would pack her and Maddie up. Her car had a full tank of gas, and that was enough to get them back to Geneva.

"I put a roof over her head. I Pay the bills. COME ON, KATE. Does she think I like swinging a hammer all day? That I go to work for fun." He pushed her hand from his chest. "And how bout you? When was the last time you put out, gave me a blow job, or any goddamn thing." With his last words, her cheek exploded with red-hot fire.

Usually, she was ready, but his slap surprised her this time. She fell awkwardly. On the way down, her temple struck the sharp corner of the maple coffee table. Blood was already pouring warmly down her cheek when she landed on the carpet. Black dots started to crowd her vision. Images flashed in and out of focus. Glimpses of what was happening. The door down the hall opening. A pair of little feet moving.

A part of her she couldn't grab onto anymore was screaming in warning. She didn't know why, but she knew something was wrong with that door opening and those little feet moving.

An explosion of sound and light blinded her failing vision, leaving a ringing sound in her ears. Through the haze of her eyes, she saw smoke rising from a barrel sticking out in front of little hands wrapped around a wooden stock. Then she heard a faraway, familiar voice call out.

"Mama." The tiny voice faded. Everything faded. With the very last threads of herself she held on to, she realized who the tiny voice was. She wanted desperately to say I love you to the raven hair and pretty face she knew was standing there, but she couldn't make the sound come. She tried to reach out for her little girl, but her arm never moved. Then, the blackness surrounding her closed in.

Somewhere in the night, sirens filled the air. Little eyes stood looking into her own eyes that could no longer see. Tom lay five feet away, his chest blown apart in a bloody mess. Standing at the edge of the living room, Maddie held tight to the shotgun until the Sheriff's deputies came in and took it from her. That's when her sweet girl's eyes finally filled with tears.

Kate’s spirit may have been leaving her body for another place, but she still felt the touch of Maddie’s tiny hands when her little girl broke free and ran to her.


About the Creator

The Invisible Writer

"Poetry is what happens when nothing else can"

Charles Bukowski

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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Comments (10)

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  • Mariann Carrollabout a month ago

    That was an unexpected twisted ending, Wow !!!!!

  • L.C. Schäferabout a month ago

    FUCK ME! Why you gotta destroy me like this 😮

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    Blimey. That hit me hard. What a tale and so well-wrought. I loved this line too: She watched his boots cross the threshold and she swore she could feel hell coming with them.

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    Oh Christ almighty. That ending.

  • Whoa! That was cinematic. You really instilled the fear and dread in me that the character was feeling as he was pulling back up to the place and entering the home. So descriptive! Excellent story!

  • I'm a tad confused. Who's Kate at the end? Because the guy is Tom, She is Janey and her daughter is Maddie. Tom got what he deserved. I hope Maddie would be set free as what she did was self defense. Loved your story!

  • Sonia Heidi Unruh2 months ago

    Chillingly beautiful and oh so tragic. Brought to mind the movie True Grit ...

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    Oh gosh. This was so awful and tragic but so well written. Damn.

  • Somewhere out there, this very scene gets played out every day in a thousand different ways. Powerfully told, Invisi.

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    Wow! He got what he deserved, but poor baby girl.

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