To Teach A Lesson

To Teach A Lesson

A Story by Alex Gonzalez

- in the style of Cormac McCarthy


The boy read a lot and that is all he did after his parents died and he moved to his grandparents house where he sat and slept and was quiet. He read a lot of westerns and gun slingers and tales of vengeance and he ate a lot of raw steak that his grandfather prepared and he watched a lot of walls brittle and white and dusty as if they were never meant to stand longer than they already had in that old house from the seventies. The boy understood that he was destined to be evil, as dark as the clouds were, setting along the pointed tops of the moldy picket fence, and he knew all too well that he would never see his parents again �" for if they were in heaven he’d go to hell, and if they were just in the ground, he’d be buried face down.

            The boy got out of his bed quietly in the bleak morning glow through the blinds. His dorm room was about twelve by twelve and his roommate slept heavily in the bed across the wainscoted room. The linoleum floor was cold on the boy’s bare feet and he got dressed softly and decidedly. He had already picked out his outfit the day before: a pair of thirty-two by thirty-four blue levis, a yellow tank top, white low top size ten and a half converse, no socks, and a leather cowboy hat with a mesh cloth lining he took from his grandfather when he moved out. Today was the day he decided and there was no going back, not that there was anyplace to go back to, just more of the same. If he backed out he knew he’d still be headed here like on a conveyor belt or an assembly line of destruction and chaos.

            He bent down under his bed and grabbed the rifle he bought at the end of last semester. It was a wooden stock steel barreled Winchester rifle with a diamond back sash and it was old and the stock worn out white and the trigger was loose and flopped up and down. The boy had bought it from a farmhand down the road in the southwest and he promised it was only for hunting. He put it on the gray mattress in the dark room and took out a nylon duffle bag he had earlier for when he did sports in school. He put the rifle in the duffle bag with some boxes of ammo he had stashed under his bed. He zipped it up and slung the bag over his shoulder.

            The roommate woke up groggy and bleary in the gray room and covered his eyes from the bright lines from the blinds. What are you doing up so early?

            Going out.

            To where?

            The gym, the boy lied. 

            The boy left the room and did not lock it. He walked down the carpeted hall of the dorm and heard the roommate lock it behind him, going back to sleep unaware of the horrors soon to unfold. The boy walked out of the brick dorm building and the air was hot against his bare arms. The boy walked softly along the pretty campus and the sun was trying its best keep the land hot and prevent hell from freezing over but it was already set in course. 

© 2014 Alex Gonzalez

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Added on April 18, 2014
Last Updated on April 18, 2014
Tags: blood, graphic, Cormac McCarthy, western, flash fiction


Alex Gonzalez
Alex Gonzalez

Tampa, FL

I teach and do improv comedy. more..