Flash Fiction: Jamie Moore

**Originally submitted in May, 2012**
Another awesome entry of flash fiction…
Tee’s Death
By Jamie Moore
My grandfather always used to say August was a month of sorrowful heat; the time when people should do nothing but seek the refuge of dark corners in their home and repent. But Pop wanted us to get the most out of summer before school crept up and stole us away until Thanksgiving.
We were on day two of an extensive hiking trip up and down the trails of the Sonoma Mountains, hunting small game and camping beneath the bright patterns of stars. Just the night earlier, Tee had spotted a shooting star, and pointing it out to all of us, wished aloud to see a mountain lion with his own eyes.
“So foolish,” whispered Momma feverishly, “I’m sure a mountain lion wouldn’t mind seeing you either. It would see you fit for a nice snack.”
By midday, we reached a flat area in a grove of trees that Pop decided was as good as any place to stop for lunch.  Tee and I threw our knapsacks in a pile, circling the trunks of trees in a haphazard game of tag. Three or so squirrels skittered about, snatching fallen acorns.

 “Hey Pop, can I shoot at a squirrel?”  Tee asked. Pop was busy reading one of his camping manuals and didn’t hear him. Tee ran back over to our pile of stuff, and hustled through Pop’s bag until he pulled out our father’s small hunting gun from its special black case. I watched him react to the weight of it, sliding his fingers along the gun’s exterior. Holding it at the trigger just like Pop did, Tee closed one eye, and pointed it around, mouthing bang boom. He smiled over to me, tucked the barrel of the gun into the pocket of his denim jeans, and began to run in my direction, his fingers still interlaced in the loophole near the trigger.
  Tee tripped on a rock. Surprised tension froze his body.  The noise was deep and sharp; the last outside sound I heard before the doom doom pounding of my heart closed off my ears. I watched Tee’s jaw go slack from the shock, watched his muscles and bones fold up on each other as he crumpled onto the straw-colored grass. Momma and Pop must have yelled, and by the time I blinked, both were kneeling beside him. Momma pointed Pop over to the path, and he ran off for help, only one arm in his white sweater; the rest flapping behind him like a flag.
As I inched closer, she lifted Tee’s head to her lap, pulling his leg out enough that I could see the waves of molasses-thick blood leaking from his left thigh. Again, my heart: doom doom doom, deafened me. His chest heaved in and out in shaky breaths.  I watched Momma whisper into his ear, blowing the wet trails of his tears dry against his cheeks until Pop returned.
At the hospital they told us he’d lost so much blood they couldn’t work fast enough to save him. Pop had to grasp Momma by the waist to keep her up when her legs went loose. He held her there, lightly kissed the back of her neck and hid his face in her hair while he cried. I sat on the floor of the waiting room, my body pulsing with hollowness like an organ had been ripped straight from my middle. 
*******
Jamie Moore is pursuing her MFA in fiction at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her short story “Crayon Colors” appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of Moonshot Magazine. She’s worked as the Readings Coordinator for the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival and for Tiny Lights: A Journal of Personal Narrative. Jamie blogs about mixed raced literature at http://mixedreader.com.
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