One of my first stories.

Ryan shrank further back into his closet, as the shouts grew louder. He knew what would come next, and he gripped his toy T Rex with anxiety. Sweat made his forehead slick and he kept wiping it off with the sleeve of his shirt. The temperature seemed to be climbing and climbing, never content enough to stop. In his little hole of stuffed animals and dirty pants he listened, and cried. Tears collected slowly at first, then the downpour began. His little body trembled with fear and confusion. Air was in short supply in the cramped hiding spot, and his gasps grew louder and louder.

A large fist began to beat on his door. It shook in its frame, and his window across the room raddled. The weight of the blows was felt in his chest, and he flinched every time his father’s fist struck the door. He heard his name yelled with such venom it stung his ears. He could hear the booze in every shout.

Then his door burst open and the yelling stopped. For a moment, in the stillness, there was silence. This scared Ryan more than the shouting. Anticipation burned its way through his head, scarring his memories. He held his knees tight to his chest, trying his best to keep quiet. The tears wouldn’t stop though; as much as he willed them to they ran freely down his cheeks. Outside, a dog began to bark furiously at nothing, warning the neighborhood of a trouble that wasn’t there. Footsteps made there way into the room, and Ryan imagined what his father must look like, how far gone he was this time.

Running feet came down the hallway and stopped at his bedroom door. His mother, she was yelling at his dad to stop, her voice filled with panic. It hadn’t ever come this far before, until Ryan heard the sound of a hand striking bare skin. His mother’s body fell to the floor, where she still pleaded with her husband to stop. It did as much good as yelling at a wall would have done.

Ryan’s attention was turned away when he felt a shaking behind him, and heard tapping. He reached behind him and pulled out the Batman lunchbox he had lost last year. The sound was coming from inside, and was getting faster. His heartbeat matched the intensity of the tapping as it grew, and he opened it carefully, afraid of what might be inside. The tapping stopped immediately as the lid was opened, and the barrel of a revolver reflected in the light from underneath the door. Awestruck, he reached in and pulled it out, feeling the weight of it, the weight of the finality that it promised.

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