The Color of Dead Things
Matthew’s death was hard on all of us. I remember Dad, always so terse and serious, ceased talking at all. He’d just stare at us during dinner. None of us said much, either. What was there to say? We might’ve talked about the weather. That summer was brutal. Although I’ve never left home, I’m inclined to think the African sun is hotter than others. But I do not know for sure. I only know that Matthew is dead, was murdered. With one of its vital links missing, the family fell apart. Dad eventually left us. I can still clearly see him walking until he disappeared on the wavering horizon. I couldn’t bear to look my mother in the eye. I lay down to sleep that night and hoped I’d never have to get up. The grass was the same color as the sky the next morning, taupe, dull and muted, the color of dead things. I was depressed. My brother was dead. He’d been shot. I saw the man who shot him. I was up in the branches of a tree, passing a languid Sunday afternoon. I saw the whole thing. Two men approached in wide-brimmed hats, guns slung over their shoulders. One of the men shot Matthew twice in the neck, just below his mane. His companion patted him on the shoulder. Nice work, Hemingway, he said.
Aleyna Rentz is currently enrolled in Georgia Southern University’s Honors Program, in which she is pursuing an English/writing double major. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in publications including Hobart, The Collapsar, Black Fox Literary, and Deep South Magazine, and she is also one of the founding editors of Moonglasses Magazine.
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