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.

"MASTER BEDROOM," BY SHOSHANA, VIA FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS

"MASTER BEDROOM," BY SHOSHANA, VIA FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS

“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. . ..