Jacob threw open the door. It was not a hallucination, he had heard a shot. His mother was screaming. Jacob rushed into the kitchen. Several bottles of beer lay broken on the floor within beer puddles, but the kitchen was empty of people. Jacob heard shouts coming from his father’s study.
Dad? Did my father just shoot himself?
Jacob rushed down the short hall to his father’s study and business office. He fumbled in his pocket for his phone. He had to get an ambulance here now. He pressed 911 as he ran to the doorway of the study.
The phone started ringing.
Jacob pushed passed his Uncle Larry and stood next to Aunt Maria, she stunk of alcohol, heavy liquor, not like the beer on the floor. There, next to his aunt, Jacob was frozen with a vision that would never leave his young mind.
His father was sprawled on the floor, his revolver in his left hand. Jacob’s father had shot himself in the chin and had shattered his lower jaw. His nose was mangled and barely recognizable as was his right cheek bone up to his ear. There was so much blood.
“911, what is you emergency?”
A pool of blood was quickly forming underneath his father’s head as his father’s eyes gazed at the ceiling. Jacob noticed that his right eye bulged from its socket, pushed out from the blast. His mother was there, the ends of her hair brushing through the blood on the floor and across her husband’s shattered face.
“Hello, 911, what is your emergency? Are you okay, I hear loud shouting and crying?”
Jacob breathed to calm himself from the trauma and then finally heard the emergency operator.
He turned away from the scene and ran his hand through his hair. “Yes, yes! I’m here. It’s terrible!”
“Sir, what is your emergency? I need you to calm down and talk to me.”
Calm down? The woman on the other end of the phone sounded calm and distant. She had no idea what just happened. Jacob wanted to cuss at her, curse her family for being so distant. But what else was she do to? Jacob needed her help, he needed her to be distant and ready to send aid.
But his father was no doubt dead.
Jacob took a deep breath. Tears began to flow as he spoke. “My father just shot himself in the head.”
“Goodness. All right I will send emergency vehicles to your address immediately. What’s your address?”
Jacob heard his mother shout. “He’s breathing!”
Jacob nearly dropped the phone as he turned around o face his mother. She was blocking his view of her father’s head, but Jacob saw his father’s right arm twitch, his fingers moved.
No chance he lived.
“Sir, your address?”
Jacob breathed again and talked into his phone. “1173 Liberty Drive, Riverford, Vermont. Could you hurry with the ambulance? I think my father is still alive.”
“I’m alerting the paramedics know. I need to get some information on your father. I’ll stay with you and talk you through it.”
Jacob rushed to his father’s side and dropped to his knees. He felt the blood on the floor around his knees. His mother was near him, still in hysterics.
“I’m at his side,” Jacob said over the phone, while looking at his mother.
She seemed to calm down a little, looking into her son’s eyes.
“All right, how is the breathing?”
Jacob could barely hear his father, so he reached down near the shattered jaw. He could hear a faint but rhythmic inhale and exhale. It was faint, but there.
“It’s faint, but he’s definitely still breathing.”
“Is there somewhere where you can get clean cloth or, preferably, gauze bandages.”
Jacob cupped the phone with his hands. He stared at his mother. “Mom, I need you to get the gauze bandages from the medicine cabinet. The ones we kept after my rock climbing injury. It will help dad.”
She only stared at her son, lost, like Jacob, in the surrealism of the moment.
“Mom, please, the gauze bandages.”
His mother nodded and slowly got to her feet, she stepped closer to the family members at the door and moved quickly out of the room. She had a purpose.
Jacob put the phone back to his ear. “My mother is getting some gauze.”
“Good, good. Is your father conscious?”
Jacob gazed at his father’s shattered face. His father eyes turned to stare back at him! Jacob felt stomach-churning revulsion and tear-jerking relief at the same time. His father’s right eye appeared to wobble in its socket.
“He’s looking at me, but he can’t talk. His jaw is shattered.”
“All right, keep him still and gently place the gauze on the wound when you have it.”
Jacob felt his father’s right arm push against his knees. His father groaned and mumbled from his throat.
“And don’t let him move. Keep him completely still.”
“Dad,” Jacob said, “stay still don’t move help his coming.”
His father continued to groan and lightly smack Jacob’s leg with his right arm. Jacob grabbed his arm and pressed down on it. “I said, stay still.”
His mother returned with the entire pack of bandages. Jacob pulled them out individually and gently placed on the side of his father’s face that was shattered. Jacob covered his father’s loose eye first for his own sake. That eye would haunt Jacob for the rest of his days.
Jacob’s father closed his left eye and groaned again. Jacob noticed his father’s right arm was able to make a first and he hit the floor weakly with all of his remaining strength.
“Father, I said remain still, help is on the way.”
It felt like hours had passed in the minutes it took the paramedics to arrive. They quickly took over and listened intently to everything Jacob had done. They carefully stabilized his father and moved him to a stretcher and headed to the ambulance. The police had also been called, but were willing to meet the family at the hospital.
Jacob had offered to drive.
The family moved out of the room, leaving Jacob to himself, standing in a puddle of his father’s blood.
The cursed moved fast.
Curiously, Jacob looked down at the floor where is father fell after the shot. Near where his father’s right hand had been was a piece of folded, college-rule paper. Jacob knelt near the paper and lifted it from the pool of blood. He looked it over and realized it was folded four times, identical to the paper he found in his grandfather’s jacket.
Did dad have one too?
Jacob, with shaking hands, unfolded the piece of paper. There was no message to his father or Jacob about a family curse. Jacob only stared at the two dark, penciled circles and crescent-shaped line, forming a smiley face.
What the hell?
© 2016 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.