Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guest Writer: Len Kuntz

Thunder Comes Around

We hide under the rusted hood of someone’s abandoned car that we’ve propped up over the lip of an outcropping rock, our makeshift tree fort on ground resembling a squatter’s shanty more than anything.
Rain beats on the metal, little thumps atop our heads. Our breath is cold and vapory.
I know my sister’s staring at me but I keep my eyes on the ground. She asks if I’m mad.
It was her idea to do it. She said he had it coming.
“Damn it, I don’t know,” I say when she asks again.
Hunters were used to coming down off the bluff and marching into the ravine where tall maples clustered and made it easy for deer to forage and keep hidden. Easy pickings. We’d hear their gun blasts on the weekends, hoots and jeers.
Our father was a hunter of sorts himself. In fact, it was his gun I used.
I knew the area the way a blind man knows his bedroom. I found the perfect spot with a boulder for both my perch and hiding spot.
My sister said to make sure I took him down, even if it meant several shots. I’d seen her frightened plenty of times, and many times angry, but never both emotions stirred up simultaneously.
“You sure?” I asked.
Her head nodded swift, like a guillotine.
When I shot him in the back, my father’s shoulders flew up like chicken wings. I hit him in the neck next. Before he could drop, I put three more bullets through his torso.
Afterward, I thought I heard the shots echo, but it was thunder that had come around, and then with it angry, unforgiving rain the size of coins.
He’s still out there in a heap, probably stiff as lumber by now. We brought two shovels, though, and a tow rope.
When I look over, my sister lifts her worried, wet eyes, but it’s the jaw marks I notice, the float of purple bruises tinted mustard. Her lower lip is split and one side is so swollen that it reaches up and curls around her nostril.
It used to be Mother that got his beatings, but she was smarter than us and left a long time ago.
When my sister blinks her eyes at me, I flap my hand, giving her a playful, invisible slap. “Nah,” I tell my sis. “It’s all good.”

© Len Kuntz 2011

Len Kuntz lives on a lake in rural Washington State with his wife and son. His writing appears widely in print and online at such places as Blue Print Review, Orion Headless, Heavy Bear and also at lenkuntz.blogspot.com

3 comments:

  1. Vividly told, believable and thoroughly enjoyable. Not intended as a criticism, but once again I contemplate the matter of fact ease with which American writers have the availability of guns as an every day solution, which enables so many tales to have a non-British solution.

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  2. I'm a bit late to the party, but I have to say that this is an excellent story! So much in so few words. You really painted a picture in my mind.

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  3. Very striking. I could visualize myself out there in the rain with those two. The end, when the brother pretends to give a fake slap is actually chilling.....

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