“So what do we do with him?” Elise asks. It’s just our family now, what’s left of it anyway.
The five of us are sitting at the kitchen table in what used to be our Aunt Ebony’s house. By the five of us, I mean my siblings. Bridgett is the oldest, then it’s Elise, me, Arrow, and Firefly. Her real name is Aria, but that nickname has been stuck since she was a week or so old.
“We either,” Bridgett pauses and gulps, “kill him . . .or lock him up in a jail cell. We have to vote on it.”
“I don’t think we should kill him. I mean, he was evil, but it’s just so wrong.” Firefly says with a shaking voice. She’s only twelve, too young to be facing all of this mess. We’re all so young. Bridgett is only eighteen, and she didn’t even get to finish high school because of our uncle.
In short, my uncle, Harrison Franklin, killed both of my parents for revenge because he was treated as the black sheep of the family that nobody like when he was younger. I was eight when this happened, and before he killed my parents I was being a sassy little eight year old, and so he punished me and my siblings. This punishment was a magical curse that put us in fake lives where we all separated from each other and treated horribly. My uncle would every so often would make deals with us to win our family back. The curse broke after seven years, right when I was in the middle of a deal with my uncle. So, my siblings and I reunited and robbed Harrison of his magic. His wife, Ebony, was killed in an accident when we set fire to the stables of her estate. We’ve had him locked up in a cell in the cave he claimed his home. He tortured my brother in that cell.
Harrison deserves what coming to him.
“I vote kill him. He doesn’t deserve mercy.” Arrow says angrily.
“I agree. He put us through to much torture to be saved now.” I tell everyone, firmly.
“Ramona . . .” Firefly whispers, grabbing my hand under the table. She is the peace keeper of this family, since she doesn’t like violence. She’s trying to persuade me to rethink my vote, since I’m a tad less, but not much, stubborn than Arrow. But I won’t back down.
“I don’t think we should kill him, but he doesn’t deserve a second chance.” Bridgett says. It’s something hard for her, because she believes wholeheartedly in second chances.
“That’s two for kill, and two for not kill. Elise, it’s up to you.” Firefly counts. I see her move her lips in a silent prayer.
Elise takes a shaky breath, “Kill him. He deserves it.”
“Flip a coin?” Arrow suggests. We had said we’d flip one if the time to kill Harrison came, but I didn’t think it would actually.
The coins flies into the air, and Arrow catches it. He flips it over into his arm. “Tails.”
I’m not what you would call happy that I won. This is about a person’s life, not who gets the ball first in a ballgame. “It started with me, and it will end with me.” I must make it up to my family. The last seven years have been all my fault.
I have a gun with me on the trek to the cave where Harrison is being kept. It’s not my preferred weapon, which is a sword or knife, but it’ll do. We decided to make this quick and painless, since we barely won the vote to kill him.
Arrow and Emberly make the hike with me. We find Miles at the cave entrance, guarding it. Boston is guarding the office door. The office is in the basement of the cave, if you can call it that, where the cell holding my uncle is. No one stays inside with him because no one what’s to see his face.
I go inside alone.
Harrison looks like a bored cat. He’s lying on a mat in the corner of the cell. He yawns when I come in. Without anything to make him appear powerful, he looks young. I typically forget he is only eight years older than Bridgett, making him twenty six.
“Come to pay me a visit? I always knew you secretly loved me, young niece.” He said, propping himself up on his elbows. He sees the gun in my hand. “Oh, come to put me out of my misery?”
“You deserve to be much more miserable than we’re making you.” I say through gritted teeth.
“I suppose your right. Am I to stand with my back against the wall?”
His question catches me off guard. I hadn’t thought about this. “Yes.”
“Would’ve thought you’d have daydreamed about taking my life, little niece.”
“Don’t worry. I have.” I’m not lying, but I don’t think I prepared myself for this.
He stands and leans against the wall. His face is doubtful; he doesn’t think I will actually do this. “Can you hurry this show up, please.” I narrow my eyes at him, out of annoyance. “Oh, your not going to actually kill me, are you, young niece? I didn’t think you had it in you.” He chuckles to himself.
This is where he made his mistake. Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe he had a death wish, and he got it. You see, I don’t back down from a challenge. I love to prove people wrong. So when my uncle said that he doubted me, it only added to my anger.
My uncle had taken everything from me. He kept my family away for seven years, and he killed both of my parents. Pulling the trigger out of that anger was too easy.
I regret it immediately after. I have just taken a human life away from someone who, while I sincerely doubt the possibility, could turn it all around and live happily.
I watched as my uncle fell to the ground, blood all over his chest. I had hit him in the heart, a fatal shot. I fell to the ground, crying. I’ve always felt good after getting revenge, but this kind feels awful. It’s like a bottomless pit in my stomach, and my brain keeps replaying the moment to make sure I know I shouldn’t do that.
Undo it. Undo it. Undo it. Undo it.
But I can’t.
Boston comes in to take Harrison away, and Arrow is at my side, lifting me to my feet.
“At least it’s over.” He whispers, trying to reassure me. He puts one of my arms around his shoulder, and holds me up. I shake my head, it didn’t help. It didn’t take away this horrible feeling that I don’t think will ever go away. This stings worse than the hot iron H brand my uncle had put on my wrist.
I’ve been branded for life, and murderer isn’t a title I like having.