April 28, 2015: A South Dakota Farm

It was the horse that put him over the edge.
Bad blood, they said.
The farm was dust. Nothing green in sight.
He was going to sell that horse.

The baby won’t stop crying.
That wail made him think his brain was bleeding.
Constant and so loud!
He looked at the baby and couldn’t even manage a comforting smile.

The four other children weren’t any better.
Dirty and hungry.
No one had strength to do anything to help him.
The baby reached for him every time he came near, it broke his heart.

The well ran out of water two days ago.
Luckily they had filled the bathtub when they could, it gave them a limited supply.
He could hear the coyotes surrounding the house. Hungry and cold.
He didn’t have any friends left.

He began to hear voices, learned ways to the end the pain.
He took all the money they had left and bought seven shells.
He couldn’t feel sad, it was the only way that had been left to them.

The shotgun wasn’t even heavy in his hand.
It felt right, it felt like an extension of his will, of God.
The shots sounded like waves crashing on a beach.

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