An Act Of Mercy

By Hauwa Hala Nuraddeen

She’d always known that it would come to this.

Since she was six and innocent, before she saw her father gather her mother in his arms, pepper kisses down her neck, encouraging her to press the razor on her skin so it would send blood flowing; ever since his eyes gleamed when her mother’s blood flowed down her arms.

The first time she made a bullet puncture flesh and spill blood, it was her mother she shot.

“It’s an act of mercy.” Her father gathered her into his arms, “She thanks you, I’m sure of it.”

She giggled and blew him kisses, her eyes, bright, staring into his fearful yellow eyes. “Please.” He pleaded and she laughed, “Spare me.”

In that moment, she remembered her mother’s eyes and how her father had sucked out all her happiness, how he coaxed her mother to tear her skin to please him, how her brother screamed when her father stubbed his cigarettes using his skin, she withered each time he coaxed her to split her skin open or spread her thighs for strangers.

“It’s an act of mercy.” His eyes widened, “You’ll thank me. I’m sure of it.”

Smiling, she pulled the trigger.

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