Hold on Frank

 

Door askew

One rusted hinge.

Wedge of sunlight

Peeking through.

Beretta in hand.

“I heard a shot.”

“Is he in there?”

“Stay back, please.”

Standing to side.

Breathing heavy.

I said,

“Frank?”

No answer.

Sweat trickles.

Heart pounds.

“Frank, you okay?”

Silence.

Flies buzz.

Darting in and out.

Deep breath.

Quick peek.

Maglight low.

Head high.

Minimum target.

Blood spatter.

Lots of it.

Frank on floor, sitting.

Shotgun in lap, upright.

“Frank, you okay?”

Useless words.

“Is Daddy all right?”

“Go back in the house.

I’ll be there in a minute.”

Hand over mouth, sobbing. “Okay.”

Squeeze through door.

Holster weapon.

Not needed.

Face, gone.

Friends since high school.

Twenty years, or more.

“Why, Frank?

Great kids.

Great wife.

Nice house.

Good job.

Wonderful life.”

Silence.

Radio crackles.

“Send M.E. and rescue.”

“No particular order.”

Doesn’t matter.

Suddenly…

Chest moves.

A wet breath, from somewhere.

Finger twitches, slightly.

“Frank?”

Another jerky, unbelievable breath.

“Hold on, Frank.”

“Help’s on the way.”

Frantically grab radio.

“Tell rescue to hurry!”

“Victim is alive.”

“Repeat. Victim is alive.”

Sit on floor.

Holding Frank’s hand.

Sirens getting closer.

“Hey, Frank. Remember when we…”