All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
This Is The Way You Kill Your Brother
This is the way you run out to the woods to try your rifle for the first time: feet pounding against the ground, the rifle slapping on your shoulder. “Go home!” you shout to your little brother, Jimmy, who comes pelting after you, all eager-eyed and dirty haired. But he is a pest, and does not listen, following you into the hot summer forest, the air warm as blood and thick with the smell of sap and hot grass. He wants to watch you shoot, and in a way you are proud. The gun in your hands makes you feel old, and powerful. You envision yourself bringing down deer, wild boars, even dragons, if there are any. You are glad to have a witness, even if it’s your annoying little brother.
This is the way you hold your new rifle: timidly, at first, hands tight and trembling, like your father taught you when he gave it to you. Your muscles are tensed with promises, promises that make you a man or at least you think so. Be careful, be careful. I will. Of course, I will
This is the way you shoot, and reload, and shoot again: badly. You have never shot a rifle before. You thought it would be easy, but it isn’t. You are desperate to make your first kill. The heat and the gun in your hand have boiled all of your desires down to one thing. But the hours drag on, and the squirrels are too quick, the birds even quicker, and Jimmy will not shut up, so they run away even faster still.
This is the way your hands grow sweaty, and the novelty of the rifle wears off. You hold it less and less carefully, as you grow used to the feel of the hot steel in your hand. Jimmy begins to lose interest, wandering about, picking flowers, throwing rocks at the trees.
This is the way you see the squirrel you know you will kill. It is lithe and black, easy to make out against the green branches. You follow it carefully with the muzzle of your gun, perfectly absorbed in making the perfect shot. The world shrinks down and down until there is only you and the gun and the squirrel. The forest is silent, but for the meaty pulse of your heart in your ears.
This is the way time freezes and squirrel is perfectly in your sights. The squirrel, somehow unconsciously sensing that it is in danger is still, pressed against the tree, its breath beating a slow rhythm against its ribs. Your finger trembles against the trigger, slowly pulling, praying that your bullet will make its mark.
“When are you going to make your first kill?” Jimmy’s voice breaks the silence; the stillness of the moment breaks like a mirror, shattering into splinters that can never be put back together.
This is the way you wheel around in surprise, your finger still stuck to the trigger. This is the way your gun goes off, so sharp and loud and sudden that you jump in shock. This is the way the squirrel tears away, disappearing into the forest. It takes you a moment to realize that Jimmy is lying on the ground, suddenly so very still.
For a brief moment, there is no blood. You cannot see where he was shot. All you can see is your brother lying pale and oddly twisted on the ground. “St-stop faking, Jimmy.” This is the way you stutter, and stutter again, falling to the ground. The world is very silent, the air is hot and heavy with the smell of gun powder. This is the way you pull his limp hand from his face. The blood starts then, pouring out of the tiny hole right above his left eye. This is the way you wait for Jimmy to sit up, and laugh, wiping the blood away. It was all just a joke. A joke. This is what you hope he will say.
This is the way you watch your brother die, silently and quickly, his life disappearing faster than a squirrel running from a gunshot. This is the way the gun that once gave you power leaves you powerless.
This is how you make your first and last kill. This is how you kill your brother.