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A Time To Kill

April 7, 2011

This is the fifth story in my series based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, A Time For Everything. Click here or the A Time For Everything tab at the top of the page for a complete list of stories.

Photo by Ken McDaniel/@Bulletwisdom
Photo Editing by Misty Carey
Her hands trembled as she rounded the corner; her future weighed heavy in her palm. He sneered as she walked in the room. Then his eyes grew wide. His body stilled. A smile quirked her lips as she stared down the barrel into his face, frozen in fear.

The same fear he’d controlled her with for so many years. Memories flashed through her mind—cowering in a corner trying to absorb the blows; crying in the tangled sheets of her bed, broken and bleeding; covering the bruises, covering for him.

The same anger he’d wielded, destroying everything it touched, now burned inside her. It was her turn to rise and his turn to fall.

“Please don’t do this, sweetheart.” His voice shook. Tears glistened in his eyes.

“Fuck you.”

Her arm jerked with the recoil. The blast hung in the air. The world seemed to stop and she was afraid she’d missed. Then a scarlet bud began to blossom on his chest. He clutched the wound and the world rushed back to life. Her head swam as reality set in.

Relief followed on its heels.

No more fear. No more pain. It was finally done.

Whatever happened next didn’t matter.

She was finally free.

Please read the sister-story, A Time To Heal.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2011 12:12 PM

    “her future weighed heavy in her palm” is a great line, one of the best uses of a gun in prose.

    Second sentence, first paragraph, I think you want a comma or something before “then his eyes grew wide.” Could be wrong.

  2. April 7, 2011 12:44 PM

    I can relate all to well to that. Verbal, not physical, but the feeling of freedom is devine.

    I’m so glad she didn’t miss.

    Well done as always!!! You can paint a picture so accurately in so few words that it still amazes me week after week.

  3. April 7, 2011 1:18 PM

    Strong and evocative Danielle.

  4. April 7, 2011 2:37 PM

    Some great imagery here:

    “her future weighed heavily in her palm”
    “a scarlet bud began to blossom on his chest”

    I lived it. I felt it.

    Nice work.

  5. April 7, 2011 2:47 PM

    Very interesting and vivid. Cinematographic language. Accurate. Direct.
    “The same fear he’d controlled her with for so many years.” I think that fear is like pressure. It is never applied on, only (allowed to be) felt. Dead long time ago then, just took years for the bullet to impact. Too bad that years ago it would have been just a simple walk away… “her future weighed heavily in her palm” now, instead of her feet.

    Will be looking out for the continuation of this series. Flashfiction is a genre I am getting acquainted with.

    Very good work!

  6. April 7, 2011 2:47 PM

    A very costly freedom, indeed. How hopelessly desperate had she been.

  7. April 7, 2011 3:07 PM

    Nothing to say that hasn’t already been covered, so You’re Awesome, that is all.

  8. adampb permalink
    April 7, 2011 5:45 PM

    Lovely economy of language.
    This was my favourite line: “covering the bruises, covering for him.” Speaks of the literal and metaphorical with precision.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  9. April 7, 2011 8:08 PM

    A bit of dark reality there. It’s probably happening somewhere tonight — whether a burning bed, a gun, a bottle of pills. A woman is free, and only then learns the cost.

  10. April 7, 2011 10:43 PM

    Wow, Danielle! A powerful addition to this series. So much emotion in this piece. And I agree with everyone else, the imagery and word choice is fantastic.

  11. April 7, 2011 11:07 PM

    I agree with everyone too. Nice job.

  12. April 8, 2011 4:58 AM

    “her future weighed heavy in her palm.” is a brilliant line. Another excellent piece from you. YOu are so good at these.

  13. Deanna Schrayer permalink
    April 8, 2011 6:11 AM

    Once again Dani, you’ve proven that powerful emotion really can be conveyed in but a few words. One must only be truly gifted, as you obviously are. Well done!

  14. April 8, 2011 6:15 AM

    I love how you manage to pack so much into so few words. Very intense story.

  15. April 8, 2011 9:50 AM

    Wow – very powerful! Well done! For a few moments there I thought she might not do it – you captured an amazing amout of emotion in such a short piece!

  16. April 8, 2011 11:42 AM

    A great story which I really enjoyed.
    I liked the ending – no matter what came next it couldn’t be anywhere as bad as what she’s put up with.
    The phrase -“covering the bruises, covering for him’ speaks volumes for the reality that some women have to live with.
    Well done.

  17. April 8, 2011 1:19 PM

    “He clutched the wound and the world rushed back to life.” I love this line. It works on more than one level: the way that sound would return to normal for her after the shot and the way her life can now begin again. Also in what you don’t say: his life is over.
    Great story.

  18. April 8, 2011 6:10 PM

    There are two blogs my week would simply not be complete without, yours is one of them. Your writing always makes my night. 🙂

  19. April 9, 2011 3:26 AM

    “Please don’t do this, sweetheart.”…From him!

    I wonder how many times she had futilely spoken these words on the many times the boot was on the other foot, before it came to this.

    Sadly, a reality some women live with.

    Very good writing.

  20. April 9, 2011 1:39 PM

    Yeah, I bet that speaks to the reality of so many women. You tell the tale very well, Danielle. Nice job!

  21. April 9, 2011 6:46 PM

    WOW!! I’ve dreamed of it. Hoped for it. But never did it. I remember a deafening silence as “the blast hung in the air.” Hope no one knows who I am. Tee Hee!! You’re awesome!

  22. April 10, 2011 2:25 PM

    very great danni i felt liberated as if it was i chained in the hell love it

  23. Michelle Muto permalink
    April 11, 2011 2:31 PM

    Great photo, Ken! And that’s one woman who has had enough.

  24. Joshua Londero permalink
    April 13, 2011 4:53 AM

    It really seems as though you got into the mind of the character.
    I shouldn’t say this, but if more women acted like her, men might start thinking before they act.

  25. HunnyDanez permalink
    April 15, 2011 9:04 AM

    Riveting!!!! Makes me want to know the history!

  26. Ian permalink
    April 19, 2011 9:19 AM

    You captured her urgency to be free of him, to finally breath. And, you leave it up to us to decide if it is wrong, sad, bad that he has to stop breathing for her to be free. Nice work.

  27. laradunning permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:46 PM

    Very powerful piece.

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