I am the female Pablo Picasso. At least, that was according to a news headline on my wall. It was just one of many I had all around my sleeping space. I had everything from medals, trophies, certificates, and other braggerific stuff like that. On this particular day, the Channel Five news was coming over to do an interview, so I was on the floor finishing another painting. One stroke at a time. Up and down, down and up. I was in my zone man, nothing could break my focus – nothing.
At least, that was until I heard glass shatter and my parents shouting from upstairs. I tried my best to stay on task, but the noise kept teasing me. Doors slamming, shoes stomping, constant banging. As I put down my paint brush and stood up, I could feel my legs aching beneath me. A genius like myself shouldn’t have to put up with such distractions.
Oh great, I could feel a headache coming on as well. I took a look around my room and realized something. My recent paintings were totally different than the ones from a few months ago. The past few months had been putting such a damper on the quality of my art. The fights between my parents were getting under my skin. Almost everyday there was an accusation, a pointed finger, or something like that. Come to think of it, times were much simpler before dad got laid off. Since the day he heard that the factory was letting him go, he was never the same. He began to drink, get high, and even leave the house at 2 in the morning without saying a word.
I took my eyes off the paintings and went into the living room to clear my head. Going in there didn’t help at all because waiting for me were dozens of overturned beer cans, disarrayed seat cushions, ashes left and right, and a musky smell in the air. Ugh. I walked across the living room, sidestepping the mess beneath me, just trying to find some peace, somewhere. I found it when I looked at the mantle. Well, not necessarily at the mantle, but more so at the pictures perched on top of it.
As I walked towards it, a bunch of photos caught my eye. Specifically the ones of mom, dad, and I laughing together at Disney, and the ones from our trip to the lake. No matter the setting of the photo, there was a constant theme – happiness. This new dad was a stranger compared to the man I saw in the pictures. He doesn’t shave, his breath smells, like Vodka, and with that new gut, he looked just as pregnant as my mom. I felt cold tears streaming down my face as I remembered what used to be. I missed those times of peace and love so much that I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew what I needed to do.
I walked over to another room down the hall and stood at the door, my body leaning against the frame as I looked inside. That room was pure in every way, from the flawless blue walls to the crib in the corner and the rocking chair on the rug. My baby sister shouldn’t come into the world with negativity waiting for her at the front door.
I entered the room, made my way over to the closet and opened it. Inside were the usual knickknacks for a baby – diapers, stuffed animals, packs of pacifiers, you know, those kinds of things. But none of that stuff mattered at that moment. I was focused on the suitcase laying on the closet floor, buried beneath a mountain of Huggies diapers. I threw the boxes onto the floor, uncovering the hidden suitcase. I reached down to open it, my hands trembling around the zipper. I flipped open the top and pulled out the one thing in its depths – dad’s PA-08 shotgun. He thought it was a clever hiding spot, a tool of death hidden in a room of life. I exited the baby’s room and walked to the stairs, gripping the deadly weapon in my hands.
One step at a time I ascended, the wood creaking beneath my feet. Mom had been the supporting wife she always was. Her love was consistent. A stay-at-home housewife who cooked and cleaned, rain or shine. She deserved better than this. She deserved better than to have a sloppy drunkard as a husband.
I reached the door of my parents’ room and stood frozen for a few minutes, listening to the screams behind it. The sounds from the other side paled in comparison to my heart, raging inside my chest. Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom. Like a drums-only marching band. I reached out to the door knob. My hand trembled as I turned the knob and pushed the door open. I saw a sight I would never forget.
Mom was on the floor, sprawled against the corner like a discarded rag doll. Her screams of terror echoed around the room, black and blue bruises staining the canvas of her face. Dad stood over her, yelling things that no man should ever say to his wife. I noticed broken glass on the floor, from my mom’s vase, but that wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye. To my horror, my father was stomping on my mother. The atmosphere in the room was so intense that neither had noticed me come in. I clenched the shotgun with both hands, the icy steel sending a chill up my spine. This bastard was going to pay.
I ran towards my father and struck him in the back of his head with his shotgun. The metal clanged on contact, and there was a rumbling sound as he hit the floor. He laid there on his back like an overturned turtle, staring back at his own daughter. I looked him in the face, my eyes meeting his. His eyes were watery, like two puddles. It was as if the liquor ran out of room in his body and rented out his eye sockets. I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body and welcomed the rush that came with it.
I gripped the gun tightly in my hands once more, this time with a finger on the trigger. I steadied my hands, the barrel pointed at his head. His face showed no expression – his mouth slightly agape as he stared into the face of death. He would never lay his hands on my mom, never again. Chick-boom! Splat. His blood splattered around the room, it was the loveliest shade of scarlet an artist could ever ask for. It was over. I had done it. Peace at last.
I turned to face my mother, dropping the shotgun at my feet. Her eyes were wide and her mouth opened when she realized what had happened. I began to feel a queasy feeling in my stomach. Did I do the right thing? To my relief, she gave a smile and a nod my way. Mission accomplished.
The silence in the room was refreshing like cold water on a summer afternoon. Mom and I stayed there for a few minutes, not a word spoken between us. I helped her back onto her feet, and we talked about what we would do with the body. We decided to throw it in the closet under the stairs, since nobody used it anyway. We dragged the lifeless body down the stairs and locked it in the closet, just as planned. It was now time to clean up all the beer cans and not to mention the blood upstairs. The news crew would be here soon.
An hour later the door bell rang and we welcomed Suzie McMahon and her cameramen inside for the interview. Mom and I stood there smiling at them, a mother and her artistic daughter. Everything was picture perfect.
“What happened to your face? Are those bruises? Are you okay?” asked Suzie McMahon to my mother.
“Oh, I have a terrible allergic reaction to cats. It’s nothing really.”
Suzie McMahon shot my mother a look of disbelief, but then shrugged her shoulders. Whew, we dodged a bullet right there.
The night went smoothly. We finished the interview and the crew did a segment on my latest art work. It felt great to be acknowledged as they showered me with praise for my latest creations. The interview ended and mom and I let them out of the door with a smile. I couldn’t help but feel sad that they wouldn’t see my latest masterpiece. Locked under the staircase, never to be seen by the human eye. What a shame. It was an absolute work of art.
– © Daevone Molyneux, 2013
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