It was the summer of 2005. In a working class neighborhood within the East End of Pittsburgh, a boy sat alone in his room. Nursing a swollen eye that almost rendered him unconscious, he rested on his bed in deep thought. The sounds of rowdy neighbors, distant machinery, and incoming trains were lost on the boy, because his focus remained solely on what was commencing in the following room.
Over the years, the boy had grown used to the terrors of the night caused by his father. But on this night, circumstances were different. A new level of horror stood present. It was a wrong that left his soul burning.
In the early days, his mother was the sole victim of his father’s drunken brutality. Once the boy grew old enough to gain impudence, he too learned his father’s wrath. Throughout this dark period, the mother and her son took the anger and abuse alone, with little of the father’s attention being directed towards the sister. But that was until the boy’s sister turned sixteen, her sudden bloom catching her father’s eye. It was this new development in the father’s treachery that irked him so. In moments like these, the boy would wonder if he had ever known peace…
He stared blankly at the wall. His insides raged. It was far from the first time that he considered killing his father, a thought that consumed him more now than ever. Yet at the same time, fear had an equal hold over the boy. With that he sat frozen. Every inch of him wanted to act, yet his anxiety was not to be denied. He sat unable to budge and for that he hated himself.
Stuck in the worst kind of limbo, the battle in his head raged on while the horrors in the next room did the same. It was a desperate shriek by the sister followed by a cursing yell from the father that finally snapped the boy from his inertia. He immediately stood from his bed and quickly abandoned his room.
After scurrying down the short hallway, the boy reached his parents bedroom to find the door open wide. There he found his mother sitting quietly on her bed, crying softly. Her eyes never turned to meet him as she too sported a black eye. The boy instinctively crossed the room and began to pillage his father’s dresser, rapidly opening and closing each drawer. His mother paid him no mind when he found what he sought, a snub nose .38 revolver.
The patter of soft hurrying footsteps down wooden stairs followed by the forced removal of a window screen went unnoticed by the boy, who loaded his father’s gun with quivering hands. He then stormed his way into the hall.
A fire appeared in the boy’s eye as he reached the partially opened door to his sister’s room. He braced himself for what he might see. The gun in his hand pointed directly ahead.
And what he saw made him cringe.
His eyes landed on his father, who sat naked and bleeding on his sister’s bed. The boy watched as the man removed a switchblade from his chest, a switchblade belonging to the boy. His sister was nowhere to be found.
Sitting on his daughter’s bed, the father threw the knife aside and stared coldly at his son, only to have his gaze returned by a pointed gun. The man smiled and laughed as he rose to his feet.
“What you gonna do with that, boy,” said the father, who now stood to his pinnacle.
Although they were similar in height, at full stature, the man dwarfed his son with ease. He was a truly menacing figure. The boy looked up at his naked predecessor. He found his anger transforming, only to be replaced by fear. The father’s smile grew ever bigger as he watched his son tremble, the gun now wobbling in his hand, the look of dread worn across his face. The boy, now hovering on the verge of tears, continued to unsteadily point the gun at his steadily advancing tormentor. He despised his father more than anything. Despite his fury, the boy was unable to pull the trigger, unable to focus his anger into necessary action. He stood immobile, his torso shaking along with his arms. His father grew ever nearer.
The boy let out a sigh of defeat, one that was soon followed by tears. His arm fell to his side. The gun gently slipped from his hand and softly hit the floor.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” said the terror himself.
His smile was completely removed from his face as he advanced on his son...
Alex K.A. was born and raised in Pittsburgh’s East End. At age 18, while attending Taylor Allderdice High School, Alex began his writing venture by crafting acapella hip-hop lyrics. In the seven years that followed, he released two full-length hip-hop projects, The Belgreen Sessions in 2012 and Bird’s Eye View in 2015. A month after the release of Bird’s Eye View, Alex set hip-hop aside to write his debut novella, Hell With the Lid Off, which he released in June 2016. In early 2017, he released his second novella, The Windmaker’s Daughter. As for the future, he plans to continue writing and releasing short stories of varying types.