Have you ever wondered what is the sound of silence? Is it stillness? Is it the calm before the storm? Or is it that calm after the storm?
Jessica sat on her bed, her eyes fixated on the window. She could hear her father downstairs, cursing, screaming at her brother. He was in once of his drunken rages again. The moment he had come home, she had retreated to her bedroom, locking the door and hoping against all hope that he would leave her alone.
She curled a strand of her dark chocolate coloured hair around her finger as she listened to the conversation float up the stairs.
“If you leave this house then you're not welcome back!” he father shouted.
“Fine with me!” screamed back her brother.
There was plenty of crashing, banging and thumping before she heard the front door open and slam. Standing and walking softly to her window, Jessica saw her brother in the driveway, keys in hand. He glanced up at her, a strained smile crossing his face. “I'll be back for you,” he mouthed.
Feeling her eyes brimming with tears, Jessica placed her hand on the window pane, feeling the smoothness and coolness of the glass beneath her palm. She watched as he turned and walked away, not bothering to take the car.
A thumping noise snapped her out of her thoughts. Her father was coming upstairs. She braced herself for whatever he was going to do. She could see his shadow under the door. Then his shadow moved.
Jessica breathed a sigh of relief. She didn't have any desire to get into a scuffle with her father. She was never any good at confrontation and often huddled in a corner until it had passed.
Her door knob jiggled. Jessica gasped, retreating back until she stood at the entrance to her closet. “Jessie, open the door,” came her father's voice from the other side. Jessie was the nickname he had given her when she was younger. He had always wanted another son and was disappointed that he had a daughter. So Jessica was forced to grow up playing football and was treated just like another 'son.'
“Jessie, open the door for Daddy.”
Jessica was a bit taken aback when she heard how strong her voice was. For too long she was silent. For too long she let him control her life. For too long she feared him. But not any more.
Apparently 'Daddy Dearest' didn't appreciate his little girl telling him “no” because he began to kick the door.
Looking around for a place to hide, Jessica suddenly felt afraid. Her father was a large man and she was meek, small and there wasn't an ounce of fat on her.
She pulled open her window, debating on climbing out and shimming down the drainpipe. Her father's foot sailed through the wooden door, splintering it. No time for debating, she thought as she launched herself out the window. She slipped on the tiled roof, panicking that her father would catch her.
She reached the drainpipe and quickly assessed how she was going to get down when she saw her brother. He stared up at her, an odd expression on his face. He moved to the porch before pulling open the door.
She turned to see her father poke his head out the window. She screamed as she watched his burly frame squeeze through the opening of the window. She was trapped on a roof with her pissed father. Pissed in more ways than one. She coward as he stumbled across the tiled roof. His bare feet gripped the tiles, but his body swayed more than a flag in the breeze.
Jessica looked around. She needed something to protect her. Anything. She reached up for the TV cable, wondering if it was possible to use a limp piece of wire to protect herself.
Jessica jumped. Her father was only a few feet from her, his eyes menacing and cold. He turned to see what the noise was. Standing behind him was her brother, gun in hand.
“Leave her alone!” he shouted, waving the gun about. He had fired it once as a warning and to gain his father's attention. Now that he had that, he was more than willing to fire the weapon again.
“Dean, my boy, you don't have the guts!”
Dean smirked. “Why don't we find out then.”
Jessica watched in horror as her father lumbered towards Dean, arms outstretched, fire in his eyes.
Dean pulled the trigger again, but nothing happened. The gun had jammed. Panicking, Dean fumbled with the barrel but it was too late as his father leaped towards him, his hands wrapping around his only son's neck.
Dean dropped the gun. The revolver slid towards the gutter, making a metallic sound as it hit the gutter, lodging there.
Jessica's eyes brimmed with tears as she watched the two men struggled. Her father was overpowering Dean, his hands still wrapped around his throat. Even in the blackness of the night, Jessica could see the whites in Dean's eyes as he struggled to breathe.
She had to do something, but what?
Her eyes landed on the gun. Glancing up at her father, Jessica began edging closer to the gutter, her hand outstretched. She wiggled her fingers, reaching for the handle of the gun all the while her trained on the brutal struggled between the two men.
“Come on,” she said softly through gritted teeth as her hand wrapped around the gun. She pulled it free and scrambled to her feet.
Her father turned, a fierce gaze in his eyes. He released Dean from his grasp, who began to cough and gasp for air.
“Give Daddy the gun, Jessie,” he said, taking a step towards her.
Jessica shook her head. “No. I've been afraid for far too long. This ends now.” Her voice was wobbly, as were her legs, but still she held that gun pointed directly at his chest.
Her father advanced.
Jessica closed her eyes and squeezed the trigger.
She opened her eyes to see her father standing before her, a glazed look crossing his eyes. His hand reached to his chest where there was a hole that spurted a crimson river.
“Jessie....” he said, his eyes rolling back.
Jessica fired the weapon again. Her father took a step back. Jessica advanced.
“My.” BANG! “Name.” BANG! “Is.” BANG! “Jessica.” BANG!
Her father, riddled with bullets, fell backwards. His body landed on the grass below with a thump.
She looked down from the roof at her father's body. Still holding the gun, Jessica took aim at her father's head and squeezed the trigger again.
Got him right between the eyes.
Then there was nothing. No sound. Just silence.
Dean placed a hand on his sister's shoulder. She turned to look at him. A deep bruise could be seen around his neck and he was still slightly pale from lack of oxygen, but otherwise he was fine.
Wrapping his arms around his sister and pulling her into his body, the silence was suddenly broken by the sound of her tears....