Shots Ring Out

By Matthew Senn

My daddy was a paranoid man. Had every right to be too, ‘course. He’d always figgered someone would come lookin’ for ‘im one day. Never went into much more detail than that.

One mornin’, he hears some shots ring out. He was a corn farmer then, our patch a land went from one forest to another. Big lot. Sounded like they come from just off into the woods. You know the sound when you’re far enough away: sounds like firecrackers.

So, he grabs his scattershot and heads outside. It’s late November. There’s this fog hangin’ above the brown fields. More shots go off. I heard ’em too by then. Got up, followed my old man outside. Still those pops going off.

He walks through the gray clouds on the field, and I can’t tell you why… but I just stopped. I stood there in the cold, and the muck. Just stood there. Some more of those shots rang out. Then I hear the scattershot.

Then…

Nothing.

Birds fly, scatter overhead in a quiet breeze, and I hear nothing. The whole damned world went quiet.

Eventually, I saw him back carryin’ my baby brother. Come to find out he’d snuck out to go target practicin’ with the neighbor boy. Folks shot their mouths off ‘round town, said if he hadn’t been drunk, he’d a known to look for his own gun and son before he even walked outside.The world still stood silent after that for a good long while, though. Can’t say how it sounded to my daddy.


(Bio: Matthew Senn is a writer of westerns and flash fiction. He received a writing degree from Grand Valley State University, and looks forward to developing his skills in the genre in the years to come. His work has been featured in Dime Show Review, Open: Journal of Arts and Fishladder by GVSU.)

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