Rudi fixed her glance at the rifle’s single barrel, then at its trigger


by Azadeh Azad

It was just another Sunday afternoon. Hot, quiet and weary. Father was sitting in a comfortable chair on the balcony in the sun, cleaning one of his many rifles. It was his only pleasure in life, taking out of his collection of empty antique rifles, one that pleased him the most, then spending many hours on the balcony caressing and shining it. Below the balcony and beside the vast green lawn, was standing the driver, dressed in his usual blue-dark uniform, shining father’s Mercedes.

Rudi began looking at both men, as she relaxed in her tall tree house, snuggling her dolly in her arms. Her father and his chauffeur resembled each other a lot in their appearance and manners. So soft-spoken and so low-key they were. Both had a chubby face with a kindly smile, both were always nonchalant, as if everything was all right all the time.

Rudi fixed her glance at the rifle’s single barrel, then at its trigger. Father was touching the trigger once in a while, slightly, but never actually putting his finger around it. She then looked at her father’s forehead. That large and tanned forehead, with few wrinkles, covered with drops of sweat. She tried to visualise what it would look like once struck by the bullet inside the rifle. She couldn’t. She had never seen a pierced forehead, not even in films.

By the time the sunrays disappeared from the ground and remained only on the treetops, the driver had gone back to his room. But father was still fondling his rifle. "He never gets tired of fondling his empty useless rifles," thought the ten-year-old Rudi. "He never cares where I am, what I do, what passes through my mind."

Rudi decided to step down the ladder that was firmly set between the ground and the tree house. She stood up and turned her back towards the mansion, then bent a little and lifted her right leg to place it on the first step. All her body trembled with the sound of a sudden gun discharge. Her eyes followed the falling of her father’s head on the left side of his chest. A brace of birds that were hiding amongst the shady branches rushed up towards the setting sun. And Rudi fell. Her body banged against the tall ladder before hitting the ground.

Two hours later, the ambulance that was flashing its yellow light in the semi-dark left the front of the mansion, carrying two dead bodies. Sergeant-detective Morad left Rudi’s room in astonishment. In his hand, there was a small box of bullets he had picked up from her bed spread. Looking at his colleague, he pointed at one empty space in the box and they both stared out the window at the tall tree house.


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So much to think about in this story. Well-written.