Slaughter of the Innocents
This is how it goes down. You’re at your parents’ place out of town in Quinto. Your father leaves the apartment. He leaves the front door unlocked but you don’t give a shit because you know what he’s done and what he’ll do next. You’re standing in your knickers holding the dog while your mum is stretched out in her knickers and bra too, you’re getting ready to watch TV cos the heat has fucked around with you all day.
That’s when they come pounding through the door and you know he’s behind this, he was high when he left, he collected all the bottles, dropping them in a carrier bag with your mum screaming Laisse-les! Laisse-les! and they are still sitting on the kitchen floor.
They are six. You smell aggression but you know better than to say a word cos they gave Sandro’s sister an anal check when she answered back in Verona. The creeps told Sandro to take off the scarf wrapping his face and she got dragged away kicking when she said What the fuck? Sandro said the bitch’s fingers went fucking deep.
They turn on lights, dip heads into all the rooms and want your identity cards which your mum has to rummage for in her bag. She’s half-naked pulling out receipts, her boobs jigging and her pocked thighs and slack arse and they just stare over her nudity and greasy piled hair.
Now they look at you. You clutch the dog. They have insignias on their shirts. This is your last week home before you trek back to Milan where you are close to moneyless, where you’ve done some porn stuff with a guy called Luciano whose cock is cartoon-huge.
The dog leaps to the floor and you cover your breasts but for one brown nipple peeping from your arm crook and this is what six pairs of eyes are tonguing and biting hard.
They are saying neighbours called them up cos there were odd lights. Each one of them has a stitched leather holster nursing a gun.
There’s a T-shirt rolled in a ball on the couch so you slide it over your tits and your mum who was a flawless Tunisian girl with a blessed childhood holds a cushion to her belly. You hate your father and your skin feels flayed and you know these are men who could fuck a woman with a bottle or watch on.
They are lingering doing just that before they march onto the landing, down the stairs and you hear boots crunching gravel in the courtyard. It’s all you can do to hold yourself from running to the window and shouting down Pigs!
Hours later your dad returns and your mother is still crying in bursts.
Catherine McNamara grew up in Sydney, ran away to Paris at twenty-one to write, and ended up in Ghana running a bar. Her collection The Cartography of Others is forthcoming with Unbound in 2018. Pelt and Other Stories (2013) was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor Award and semi-finalist in the Hudson Prize. Her stories and flash fiction have been Pushcart-nominated and published widely. Catherine lives in Italy.
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