The cold gun felt even heavier under the weight of all of Rose’s regrets. She had given George everything, even her youth. And there he was, covering himself with a pillow, frantically pleading for forgiveness in the middle of their extravagant bedroom, stalling so the woman under the sheets could find a piece of clothing.
“Put the gun down, darling. Let’s discuss this.”
“Discuss what?” replied Rose.
“Now listen to me, Rose, put it down! We are going to talk about this like adults!”
But there was nothing left for her to hear. Nothing left for her to give. To Rose, his plea was as meaningless to her as his vow. She gripped the small pistol with a white knuckled fierceness.
“What’s there to talk about?”
“I will not have this in my house! Put it down, Rose,” shouted George, as a young blonde woman’s head emerged, wide eyed with fear from beneath the sheets just in time to see the bullet enter George’s chest.
The woman stared at George’s body, frozen with fear. Rose wanted to be mad at her, she wanted to hate her, but she couldn’t. She recognized a piece of herself in the young woman’s beauty. She lowered her arm that was holding the pistol at George and turned to the young woman.
“I used to be just like you, you know?” she asked, as she lifted the pistol toward the young woman and slid her finger back over the trigger.
From behind closed eyes, tears stained black from mascara streaked down the young woman’s cheeks.
“Wait! Please, God, wait! I didn’t know! I’m sorry!”
She repeated the same sentences over and over, like a mantra or a magic spell.
“Well, now that you know”, said Rose, before repeatedly squeezing the trigger, firing shot after shot until she heard the clicking of the pistol’s hammer, indicating it was finally as empty as she felt. “Never forget. Not even for a second. Now get the fuck out of my house.”
It took the young woman a moment of self-examination to realize that she had not been shot. She looked over her bare shoulder to see four small holes in the wall where the bullets barely missed her head. She clutched the white sheet to her breast as she scrambled off the bed and ran staggering down the hall and out the door.
Rose stared at the expensive blood stained wallpaper of her bedroom and felt a sense of relief. The truth had been elusive, existing only in whispers, but no longer. There it was, captured in crimson and splattered around the room, laid bare for the world to see. And for Rose, that was enough.
Jonathan Ratchford is a senior at Indiana University East in Richmond, IN, where he majors in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He is currently a member of the Indiana University East chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. He is expected to graduate with a B.A. in December 2016.