Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Story #27: "Where This Finger's Been"

It's Day 30 – otherwise known as "do or die day" – in my #astoryaday June Writing Challenge. This is Story #27. One more story is already in the hopper. The other two are yet to be written. We'll see if this all comes together. I didn't know where this particular story was going until it was finished, and I was surprised by the outcome. Like a few other stories I've written this month, the narrator/protagonist here is female, so you should read it with that in mind. Oh yeah, and enjoy!  ~  JH

"Where This Finger's Been"

You don't know where this finger's been. If you did, you'd treat it – and me – with a lot more respect.

When I was ten years old, in front a packed courtroom, this finger pointed accusingly at the man before me who had stolen my innocence a few months earlier. He had lured me into his clutches by posing as an undercover police officer, and I believed him. My rapist was subsequently convicted and sentenced to spend the remainder of his life behind bars.

When I was eighteen years old, this finger – along with its digital companions – grasped the hand of my friend Stacy and pulled her to safety. The two of us had been rock-climbing in the mountains, and Stacy had slipped over the edge at the precipice, shortly after having disengaged her safety harness.

When I was twenty-four years old, this finger caressed the cheek of the man with whom I would soon be spending the rest of my days. He'd just graced the next-to-last finger on this same hand with a gleaming diamond ring. I reinforced my "yes" with a long, passionate kiss.

Two years later, this finger first grasped the tiny palm of my newborn daughter. She'd been born eight weeks prematurely. It would be several weeks yet before I would be able to hold her in my arms for the first time. I would be hard-pressed to ever let her go thereafter.

Early this morning, this finger was clutching the trigger of a gun. The gun was aimed at the head of the man who violated me all those years ago. He had escaped, or been paroled, it didn't matter which. What did was that he was here, that he had found me. In that moment, my daughter was cowering next to the body of my dead husband in the bedroom adjacent to where I stood. 

I hadn't heard the glass break on the French doors in the kitchen. I hadn't heard my husband cry out, though my daughter told me afterwards that she had. I had been upstairs asleep. My husband had come down to grab a drink of water and had surprised the intruder.

This finger was sweating and trembling more than a little as it hovered over the trigger of that instrument of death. I knew, if my daughter and I were going to survive, that I must squeeze it. The gun I held was that my rapist's. How I had wrested it from his grip was and still remains beyond my recollection. But I had it nonetheless, and I was going to have to use it.

The blast was deafening, but it hit its mark. In that horribly triumphant moment, I relaxed this finger for the first time in a very long while.

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