The Victim

Chapter One: The house

Too far gone

“This is the end,” my only thought as I try to find a way out. I have to leave and take them with me. I have to tell the police. Oh god what have I done? Why didn’t I escape yesterday when mother was drunk? After we get dressed, we have breakfast like a normal family. Except for me, trying to hide the involuntary spasms from the tension and fear I have. The boys are not playing anymore. We are all silent and gloomy. The only sound is the tv on the background, but nobody looks at it anymore. Mother smiles without reason, even sings. She frightens us all.

My sister refuses to eat anything. I understand her, she must feel awful. I want to comfort her, tell her it will all be over as soon as we leave the house for school. “I thought we could spend this day together, as a family,” says mother cheerfully. Nobody says a word. I close my eyes, angry that my plans have unraveled so easily. “… and in breaking news, an entire family was killed last night. Four people, including two children, have died as a result of bullet wounds. The police are still investigating the cause…” I look at the tv and recognize the house from her surveillance pictures. I feel my throat shutting close.

Mother turns off the tv with the remote. “Maybe we could take a trip to the zoo, what do you say boys?” she asks. Again she’s met with silence. “Fine. It’s your loss…” Breakfast lasts a few more minutes before we hear a siren. A car stops in front of the house, and we hear steps, then a loud knocking on the door. “Police, open up!” commands a voice.

We are saved! All we need is to stay calm. “It looks like some… guests have arrived,” says mother, smiling. What? Ok, this is probably just her delusion. I make signals to the kids so they hide under the table. Mother walks up to the door, looks through the peephole and without word, opens fire with her handgun. She shoots an entire clip through the door. The kids are crying, I have a ringing noise echoing in my head.

She opens the door. I watch from the table. One of the cops, the one who had talked to me back at the station and where the heir had been run over, lies dead. The other is crawling away. She walks up to him and takes his gun. He raises his arms, as though trying to stop the bullet, and begs. “Please, no.” She loads a bullet in the chamber. “I have family, please—” She interrupts him with a bullet.

I hear screams outside. Mother comes back inside. “Well boys, it seems like the zoo is closed today,” she announces. “We’ll have to take a raincheck.” She closes the door and begins piling up furniture against it. She stops for a moment and orders us to help her. Then she gives a handgun to everyone. Lucky me I get one with blood from the cops. We also get a couple of boxes of ammo, even though we have no clue how to use it. It doesn’t bother her at all how dangerous it is to give a gun to a kid who has never been taught how to use it. “Shoot anyone who comes inside the house,” the only instructions we get.

She runs upstairs, and takes my sister with her, leaving the twins and me to hold the lower floor. What does she expect us to do, open fire? More sirens. A deafening sound comes from the second floor. She must be firing a heavy gun, an assault rifle of some sort. I look through the boards in our window. She sprays two of the neighbor’s houses with bullets. A few minutes later comes a second police car, riddled with bullets. The agents try to get out of it, but she shoots them down as well.

More sirens. She throws a grenade to the first police car. The grenade rolls down and blows up a car parked in the street. I can’t breathe. We’re all gonna die. I hyperventilate, covering my ears with my hands. Mother comes downstairs. The boys are petrified. She puts her hand over one of the twins’ right hand, which they are using to hold the gun, aims it outside and fires. “Come on. It’s really not that hard, it’s just like your video games.” She rushes back upstairs.

More sirens, but they park out of her range. It’s time for the special ops teams. News helicopters buzz around us like flies around fresh turds. More gunfire. I can’t look. It’s too much. I hear my sister cry. Then I’m standing in the living room. In a flash, I see one of the twins’ blood all over the other. “Help! Mom!” screams the other before he too takes a bullet.

I hear mother rushing down the stairs. Something heavy hits me from behind and I fall to the ground. I wake up with a horrible headache in her bedroom. Outside there are voices speaking and helicopters. For a second I don’t understand anything, but then I remember the nightmare we’re in. I hear a splashing sound in the bathroom and come inside. Mother is kneeling down by the bath, washing something. She’s singing a cheerful tone: “Take me home, country roads, …” I come closer dreading what I think, what I know she’s doing. It’s them. She’s washing her kids as though they were clothes. The little girl and the boys. “Hey, how did you get so dirty!” she stops to say to the girl, whose clothes are stained with blood. “Oh, nevermind, I know you kids love to play outside.”

I place my gun against her head. “Click”, it sounds. I try to fire again. Nothing. “No fun for you, I’m afraid,” she says without looking at me. I hit her with the back of the gun, grab my sister and run downstairs. “Are you ok? Can you hear me?” I whisper, looking for her pulse. She says nothing, her face is pale blue. I hear noise upstairs. Mother is awake. “Come here, b-word!” she shouts.

I start removing the furniture from the front door as I hear mother stumbling down the stairs. “Wait… wait up, darling,” she says. Trembling, I remove the barricade as fast as I can. “I’m almost there, honey.” I manage to open the door before mother gets to me. “I’m coming out, don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” I scream, carrying my sister on my arms. I feel like the whole world is watching me. Mother starts shooting from upstairs again, but I don’t care anymore. I see the bodies sprawled on the lawn. Father is there, too, with a gunshot to the head. I manage to carry her with me, covered by the police suppression fire. But by the time I get behind cover it’s too late. Tears run across my face as I hold her lifeless body, caressing her little face with my hand. My little sister is dead…