At breakfast the next morning, Madison spooned cereal from her bowl. Not hungry, she tipped the spoon and watched the milk and Cheery-M’s splatter back into the bowl. Daddy ate buttered toast, while Momma sipped on her typical morning fare of coffee. The newscaster on the television droned on and on about local events, the weather, a cat that stole various items from the neighborhood on a nightly basis and…
"In tragic news, seventeen year old local football hero, Jack Moore, has died of complications from a gunshot wound."
Madison whipped her head about and stared at the TV. A larger than life picture of Jack Moore was iconed in the corner of the screen next to the reporter.
"His family reports that yesterday afternoon around four-thirty Jack and an unidentified friend went into the woods to flush out game." It wasn't even hunting season yet and at four-thirty in the afternoon, Jack Moore had just been dropping her off a block down the street from her house. "Officials are unsure how exactly the accident occurred, but the local football star suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen. After undergoing four hours of surgery, he died on the operating table. Jack Moore was on the fast track to a football scholarship to the University of Alabama and even higher aspirations of one day being drafted by the NFL."
The spoon fell from Madison's numb fingers, binged off the edge of her cereal bowl and clattered to the table.
"Madison!" Daddy berated, swishing his paper in half, to stare at her over the top of his bi-focals. "Watch what you're do—" he stopped mid-sentence.
Jack Moore was dead. She couldn't believe it. He'd kissed her a little over twelve hours ago and now—she breathed in a hard, ragged breath—now he was dead. Had apparently died shortly after her conversation with Momma... And Momma said he'd be punished for that kiss.
Madison shot Momma a hard glance. Momma watched her vigilantly, her coffee mug held breast high, steam misting her face. She arched a brow as if to say 'I told ya he'd be made to pay'.
"Such a shame. The Moores aren't of the Christian viewpoint. Just goes to show what happens to sinners that worship fake gods," her father said and dismissed the TV for his newspaper. "He sees to their punishment."
Madison sucked in a shaken breath. "That doesn't mean he deserved to die, Daddy!" She slammed to her feet as Daddy lowered his paper once again. By his tight-lipped expression and wide eyes, she could tell he was irritated and surprised by her outburst. "Just because he wasn't one of your pious church members doesn't mean he deserved to die!" she screamed. "Dear God—"
"Don't take the Lord's name in vain, Madison Grace Wescott!"
"—what type of heartless, insensitive man says things like that?" Daddy glared as she knocked her cereal bowl off the table. Cereal and milk spewed like it'd been spit from the bowl. The eruption was followed by shattering glass. From the corner of her eye, she caught Momma's lopsided smile. "I'll tell you what type of man says things like that, Daddy," she said in a low, controlled tone. "Not a man of God." She wasn't so sure Momma was a woman of God either.
Daddy wheezed in a hard breath. They stared at one another and Madison felt liberated by her outburst.
"Take that back," he said, his voice gruff, promising severe reprimand if she disobeyed.
"Or what? You’ll have me on my knees, praying like always?" Not again, not ever again would she pray to her daddy’s god. Madison stamped her hands on the table, leaned forward, stared him straight in the eye and said, "Screw you and screw your God."
Daddy went red in the face and his mouth moved, made smacking noises, but nothing else came out. If he didn’t get his temper under control, he’d have a stroke or heart attack and she felt not the least little bit of worry.
Madison shoved her chair back and ran from the kitchen.
© Gracen Miller 2011 ~ No part of this site may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Gracen Miller.