47.2 - Spring 2018

Page 36

We walked through the sand and brush, past where we’d burned the fireworks. A boy ran by with a slender, writhing snake in his hand. “It’ll bite you, Nickel,” Jill called after him. “Satan lives inside us all!” he screamed. The gun swung heavy in Jill’s small hand. We went to the range at the edge of the property, a sunken outdoor enclosure full of broken bottles surrounded by dirt and gravel berms. Jill showed me how to fill the clip. I loaded eight bullets for her but my thumb got tired and I couldn’t do the last two. I held a bullet in my hand and thought about how something so shiny and smooth could kill someone. With each gunshot, dust rose and bloomed. The ground shook and the air quivered. I put my fingers deep in my ears. I loaded the clip again and again. Jill shot into the berms. “There’s enemies all around,” she said. “I’m killing them.” She turned and shot, turned and shot. She lay down on the ground and shot. “I’m under a car,” she said. The sky turned pink as the sun began to set. She asked me if I wanted to try. She sat down and placed the gun next to me on the bench. The pistol looked heavy and cold. “Only aim it at your target.” I touched the hole at the end where the bullets came out. “That’s okay,” I said. “You’re scared,” she said, laughing. She asked me if I wanted to make brownies and I said yes. She told me when you kill someone you have to get rid of the evidence so the police can’t find you. We hunted for shell casings, the shiniest, newest ones, and filled our T-shirts full of spent bullets.

28

PHOEBE


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