Here’s the third insallments of my weekly flash fiction project.
One of these days, old gun
By Laura McHale Holland
Katy slows her pace, despite the biting cold. Miranda and Carly are only half a block ahead. The last thing she wants is to be only a few steps behind the queen bees of seventh grade so they can turn, sneer and her and say something snide like they always do, that is if they even notice her at all.
Miranda and Carly stop at the corner, their silky light brown hair flowing down their backs. Katy wonders why they’ve come to a halt, especially since the thermometer has dropped 10 degrees in the last half hour. They’re supposed to turn right and walk to the old part of town where the trees are tall and and the homes spacious. Then Katy can turn to the left and disappear into her neighborhood of tract homes slapped together a few decades ago, two floor plans alternating block after block.
Katy thinks of crossing the street, but dismisses that idea. Since they’re all on the left side of the road, she has no reason to cross to the right since her home is toward the left. So she plods along, hoping Miranda and Carly will have turned right before she reaches the corner. No such luck. They swivel around when Katy is just a couple of feet behind them.
“Gee, Katy, where ya goin’ in such a hurry?” Carly taunts.
“Home,” Katy says, head down.
Miranda shoves Katy backward. “You don’t have a home, freak,” she says. “You’ve got a hovel.”
Carly rushes behind to rip Kathy’s backpack off. Miranda keeps shoving Katy, throwing her off balance. “Whee, lookee,” Carly says as she unzips the backpack and throws Katy’s papers and books up into the air. They land in the yard nearby. The books sink into the snow and the papers scatter in the wind. Then Carly throws the empty backpack down and joins Miranda in shoving Katy down onto the sidewalk.
Miranda and Carly run off, laughing. “Don’t ever follow us again, stalker,” Carly calls back to Katy, who is pulling herself up. “Yeah, stay out of our way,” Miranda says. And they run off.
Katy brushes off her coat, picks up her belongings and trudges home. She unlocks the door, sets her wet books and papers out on the table to dry and walks into her mother’s bedroom. At the dresser, she opens the second drawer, moves aside some underwear and picks up a handgun. It’s not loaded. She hasn’t been able to figure out where her mom hides the bullets.
She caresses the gun barrel, rubs it against her cheek. “One of these day, old gun. One of these days we’ll get even,” she whispers. Then she puts the gun back, tucks the underwear back over it, goes into the kitchen and pours herself a glass of chocolate milk.