She waited. The sweat dripped from her brow, blinding her. She wiped her forehead, smearing the dried blood.
Should I run?
That’s a silly question Aashna, Her inner voice echoed back.
Hiding from the terror beyond the broken barn doors she trembled in silence. Her brain tried to register the horrific events that had unfolded only hours before.
* * *
“Aashna, you grab me milk?” Her father’s broken English rang down the hallway. She sat alone in the dim kitchen, staring at the blank pages of her notebook
“Yes, Papa” she stood, sighing dramatically before grabbing the cold jug from the shelf.
Closing the door she let her mind wander to her mother’s face and home, India. They had moved to escape the reminders of her mother’s death, the accident scene had never left Aashna’s mind. Her dreams were riddled with the bloody heap of tan skin and hair that was laid across the dirt path, a heap that was once her mother. They still didn’t know who killed her, or why.
“Aashna, it’s almost over!” His shrill voice bombarded her ear drums as she entered the room.
“I’m here” she muttered, handing her father his treasure.
“Why must you be so down? Come let us watch this Rachel cook together” his eyes never left the television set.
She turned on her heels, heading back toward the kitchen stopping only to look at the ghost in the mirror. Her eyes were flanked with deep circles, evidence of the restless nights she endured. Her fingers felt like sand against her cheeks, splintered from afternoons spent exploring the condemned barn behind their home.
“I’ll be doing my homework, Papa” her words fell on deaf ears.
The door flew open, echoing gun shots tore through the thin walls as he entered, a cruel smile twisted his face. Aashna froze in terror; her father leapt from his seat, throwing her hard against the wooden floor. She stared at the figure hovering in the door, leather-bound and pistol bearing he leered for a moment, his eyes searching the room. Finally they rested on her father. He aimed.
* * *
Shivering, Aashna wiped the particles of her father’s face from her once silky black hair. Her tan skin was now ginger, cradling her face in her sticky arms she sobbed.
Why is this happening? Did he kill my mother?
There was no answer. The low snarl came again, this time closer. She held her position, shrinking deeper in to the splintering wall. The moonlight laid shadows over bales of hay and faded leather reins that hung from the dusty walls. The barn was one of her favorite places to hide from reality, but this time it became an actual place for her to hide. She ran to this structure behind the run down Victorian building every day, as if planning her escape.
A stick cracked cutting the silence like an axe.
“Found you” were the last words she heard before the gunshot.