When Sally awoke from her deep sleep, everything was so quiet. Even the birds weren’t singing as the hot sun shone down through the trees. She examined her gown. It was filthy, but nearly dry. It was well after noon.
Her hair stood on end as a terrible sense of dread surrounded her. She gripped her knife and strode for the house. She squinted as she left the protection of the trees and ventured out into the empty field where the merciless heat hit her full force.
She needed a gun. A knife would not do with a man like Mr. Thompson.
She reached the perimeter of the property and removed her shoes. A blanket of thick, dark clouds caught her eye. The sky directly above her was an amber hue, but it would soon be sable as the storm moved in. It looked like the wrath of God was about to hit.
She stepped lightly, using the swaying trees that lined the edge of the farm as camouflage.
The door to the shed was open. Mr. Thompson was inside. She licked her lips and crept past it toward the house. She tried the knob and the door opened. She found it interesting that he didn’t bother to lock the door.
She peered behind her to ensure he hadn’t seen her yet.
She stepped inside of the empty house and grabbed one of the rifles from the rack in his study. She loaded it.
Being in the house where her mother and sister once lived made her feel empty. The memories that they all shared in that place were crushed by the reality that Mr. Thompson was a sadistic killer. He murdered Mama without a thought.
She had been too shocked by Amber’s death to do away with the pastor. She fled the horror like a coward rather than face her baby sister’s murderer, but now was the time to make the devil who killed her mother pay.
Holding the rifle with both hands, she walked outside toward the shed. Her limbs trembled with the desire to kill the most pathetic thing that walked the earth. She held her breath and stood at the entrance of his favorite place on the farm. His back was to her as he was bent over the work table.
He was so intent on polishing his rifle that he did not hear her as she padded through the entrance in her bare feet. She inched closer, salivating. For the first time since she found her mother lying dead in the middle of the foggy road, her stomach growled. He didn’t seem to hear it.
Her finger massaged the trigger as the corners of her mouth lifted into a grin. She couldn’t kill him before he saw her. It wouldn’t do.
“Hi, Bruce,” she said.
He spun around, clumsily gripping his polished rifle with both hands. He nearly lost his balance. His normally emotionless eyes radiated terror as he searched hers.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“No one’s ever had the guts to sneak up on you before, have they?”
“What’s going on? Put the gun down, Sally.”
He took a step toward her.
“Stop!” she shouted.
Her command halted him.
“What has possessed you?” he asked.
“The same thing that possessed you, maybe.”
Her voice sounded hollow, even to her. Her finger applied pressure to the trigger.
The monster in him died as his false pride melted away.
“How many people have begged you for mercy?”
“Those slaves weren’t real people.”
She stomped her foot.
“Shut up!” she screamed.
He stared at her.
“I had to kill Michael and your Mama because they were traitors.”
She tilted her head, wondering how someone could be so oblivious to their own wickedness. Even as she held a gun to his head, he couldn’t apologize for a single thing.
“What about Amber? You tossed her aside to that wolf. Guess what? He’s dead. Soon you will all be dead.”
“Is that so?”
She stepped closer to him.
“A part of me wants nothing more than to kill you slowly, forcing you to live through the same fear and suffering as your victims.”
He backed into the table, still gripping his gun. The flicker of life faded from his gaze as his hope vanished. It was the look of a creature about to die.
“How does it feel to be the helpless one now?” she asked.
“I don’t feel anything.”
“Yes, you do.”
He dropped his gun.
She kept an eye on his hands.
“I won’t make you suffer,” she said. “I just want to rid the world of you.”
For a brief moment, he wore the expression of the man who raised her. A man she once called ‘Papa’. Her heart raced and she fought to push away the memories of a time where she had loved him more than life itself.
She choked back a sob and swallowed past the painful lump lodged in her throat.
“This isn’t my fault, Papa.”
His eyes narrowed.
“Do it, Sally.”
“Do it before I kill you.”
His words startled her and she took a few steps backward. The warm breeze blew in, stirring up his graying hair. It had once been a rich brown. Back when he pretended to be a good man.
Thunder roared over the land as they stared at one another.
His left hand quickly went to his belt and he pulled out a pistol.
She pulled the rifle’s trigger. Blood splattered all over her face as his body hit the floor with a loud thud. She took a rag from the rag pile and wiped tears and blood from her face.
He lay dead on the floor with a bullet shot clear through his head.
“No one will suffer by your hand ever again,” she said.
She dropped down to her knees.
“Why did you ask me to do it?”
An uncontrollable, loud cry escaped from the pit of her stomach. She screamed along with the blowing wind. Wheezing, she forced herself to stand. The gale was so strong that it shook the shed.
She peered outside at the dark clouds. Her heart raced at the sight of the dark funnel cloud forming over yonder. She ventured out to the field toward it.