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I Should Have Known

A creative writing piece

I should have known, I should have expected it, with the way the fog curled across the winding, dirt road, illuminated only in my headlights and the trees, crooked and spindling, curving their rough trunks and skinny branches up until they brushed the black sky – black like his eyes, I should have known when I ran from him, I should have known when I saw all those dark, glass bottles lined up across the kitchen table, filling the refrigerator, broken on the matted, stained carpet of the living room floor, and I should have known by his pale, sweat glistening face and his wild, bloodshot eyes, by the way he stumbled and screamed, sending the thin walls of the trailer shuddering at his rage, and I should have known that the car wouldn’t get very far, I should have known because it never had before, it sputtered and shook if you drove it faster than 45 miles per hour, because the fuel injector, among other parts, had gone bad, but we’d never had the time or money to replace it, and it was amazing that it even started when I shoved the key into the ignition, shouting at it, on the verge of hysteria at the thought of death, but it wanted me to survive, and yet it just couldn’t quite make it the 20 miles to the nearest police station, losing its momentum, unknowingly, in the worst possible place, on that winding back road, miles from civilization, haunted by the fog and the far off sound of an owl sitting high in a tree, whooing a warning to me as I stumbled from the old, broken down Buick, me who didn’t know, blinded by the thought that maybe I’d gotten away until I heard the crunch of truck tires and found myself in the glare of his headlights and I heard the creak of his door and the soft, grinding sound of his booted feet on the ground, and then I knew, when I heard the sound of metal on cold metal, the soft click of the bolt, pushing the bullet, meant for me, into place, I knew, though I couldn’t see him or his rifle, I knew, and maybe, maybe I knew all along, maybe that was why I had agreed to take it when my mother pressed a handgun into my purse, and maybe, because I knew, I had reached under the tattered passenger’s seat of the Buick and wrapped my fingers around the weapon before I climbed from the car, and maybe it was he who should have known.

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