by Avis Hickman-Gibb
Josie stood inside her sanctuary, her breath coming in great, raw gasps. She listened – Uncle Danny was stumbling along after her – and cursing something terrible.
“Wait’ll I get my hands on you, you little bitch! You’ll find out what you’re made for!” he growled, slashing through the undergrowth, drunk and nasty. The blood from his bitten hand would be dripping onto the leaves around.
Josie stuffed her bare arm over her mouth, trying to block out the sounds of her whimpering. She’d been all alone in the house with Uncle Danny, and him drinking and watching those nasty films on TV. Momma was at work, as usual. But it wouldn’t have mattered – Momma never believed her anyway:
“Uncle Danny loves us both, you just remember that. He’d not hurt a hair on your head, child!” Momma had replied last time to Josie’s complaints about Uncle Danny – about his awful temper and his over familiar hands. “He just likes a cuddle from his best girl – that’s all.”
Josie leaned back against the inside of the hollow oak tree, tears squeezing out from beneath her lids, and wished her Daddy was here. He’d never say she told lies; he’d defend her. He was a hero – everyone said that. But he was out in Iraq, and very far from home. Josie knew when he did return, she’d live with him, and they’d move far away from Momma; and Uncle Danny.
Now, looking down at her hands, Josie remembered her Daddy teaching her how to use this gun.
“… hold the butt steady with both hands… that’s right… then aim… point it low… lower than you want… it kicks up right at the end… then squeeze the trigger and keep looking! Don’t you go closing them baby blues!”
Taking a steadying breath, she aimed at the entrance and waited for Uncle Danny to appear and snarl, “Peek-a-boo!”
Avis Hickman-Gibb is a new writer, living in rural Suffolk with her husband, one son and two cats. She gained a BSc. in Environmental Chemistry more years ago than she cares to admit. She’s had stories published in Every Day Fiction, Twisted Tongue, and Shine! and has up coming stories in Bewildering Stories and The Boston Literary Magazines.