Home: A Passage from The Inherited War

. . . I heard Dad open the door and leave his bedroom. The wheelchair made a lot of noise, and he often bumped into the doorframe or the wall when he was leaving the room. I heard him go up the hallway. I don’t know how much time passed, but when I left my room I was startled to see Dad sitting at the opposite end of the hall. There was an expression on his face so strange that I didn’t recognize him. There was no doubt it was Dad, but something about his face – his eyes – made him a different person; a very sick person. He looked like he’d been possessed by a demon. He had a rifle in his hands. I realized that I’d caught him on his way back to his bedroom. He was going to take the rifle in there. I was frozen with fear, my heart pounding.

“Hey, Dad,” I said.

He didn’t respond. He only stared blankly ahead with that weird look in his eyes. He seemed to be looking through me, beyond me.



“What are you doing?” I asked.

“There’s something I’ve got to do,” he said.

“What?” I asked.

He shook his head.

“Something I just have to do. Now move and let me by,” he said.

I stood rooted to the spot in the hallway. I didn’t know what to do. My mind was blank. We looked at each other for a long time.

“Son, you need to get out of my way and let me by,” he repeated.

“What are you gonna do with that?” I asked, pointing at the rifle.

He shook his head again.

“There is just something I need to do. I’ve waited too long, and I’m telling you to get out of my way,” he said.

The entire situation felt surreal, like I was outside of my body watching what was happening. I knew what he was going to do with that rifle. He’d certainly talked about it plenty of times before, but I’d become numb to it. This is it, I thought. This is the day he’s finally going to blow his brains out. . ..