Worried

“But, you have kids?”

Scott’s face scrunched up in confusion. “Yeah?”

“Doesn’t it worry you? With all the shootings and . . . everything?”

His jaw tightened. He held out the gun he’d been showing off. “Does it worry you?” Moving with practiced efficiency, he dropped the clip, showing it empty of bullets, opened the chamber, displaying the same. Finally, he pointed to the safety, which was engaged. “Trust me,” he said soberly, “I know what I’m doing. This gun isn’t in danger of killing anyone.”

“But . . . you have kids,” she repeated. “Aren’t you worried about—”

“Of course I am.” Scott spat. He holstered the gun, but kept his hand firmly on the grip. “Connor and Jamie know gun safety. I’ve taken them to the shooting range. They know what they’re doing.”

And they did.

Twelve days later, Connor deliberately unlocked the gun cabinet. He placed the bullets into the magazine one by one, inserted the clip into the gun until it clicked, pulled the slide loading a bullet in the chamber, then carefully released the safety. All was quiet. The gun was heavy and cold in his hand. But it warmed.

“Fuck,” Connor whispered. “Fuck everything.” He pointed the gun at himself.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Flash

The wind was so strong.  It reminded Tom of kite-flying as a boy with a kite as red as Rachel’s lips on their wedding day.  They had met the summer he broke his arm.  He had broken six bones in his life; the worst was his femur.  He broke it falling off the roof while replacing shingles one summer.

A fall of all things …

Fall was his favourite season.  It made him think of apple cider and the smoke of leaf burnings.  He had burned his tongue drinking his coffee too quickly this morning.  That always happened when he was running late for work.  In high school, he prided himself on his speed.  He even went to state for the 110 hurdles one year, but he fell and broke his ankle.

Tom Jr had broken his ankle at seven jumping off a swing.  Rachel had been terrified.  She blamed Tom for not watching closely enough.  His watch—he should have taken it off.

The lights of the building were flying past like the shooting stars he and his first love saw that night in the mountains.

The wind was so strong.  In a moment, he would never feel it again.

* * *

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Story by Gregory M. Fox
from A Breath of Fiction’s archives
originally published November 14, 2010