“It will be easy money!” said Tom with delight, his ears flopping up and down as he bounced on my bed. A little stuffing leaked from his head and drifted in the still air like a snowflake down to the box spring, and was subsequently launched back into the air as the plush rabbit propels himself upwards

I’m not a big boy, no big thoughts, no big plans, but this was looking good. And it was simple, easy for me to remember. I stare out the window as Tommy talks, enjoying its pleasant view of the other side of the oddly shaped, listing farmhouse.

“We’ll have enough to buy milk, food, NEW CLOTHES! We could buy stitches!”

Tom pats at his ripped head as he says this, and I feel a twinge of guilt. My only friend, Tommy the Rabbit, bounces on the bed. His full title, ‘Lobotomy’ as my mother would say, is the only help I have here; in my home. I regretfully scalped him in a fit of rage after being locked outside for three days over summer as punishment for his misdeeds – cracking the basement concrete in our attempt to tunnel our way out of the farm and into town. I had no hand in this, but took the fall anyway.

The sun is almost all the way down by the time I’ve slipped out of the shackle around my wrist, and started jigging the door to my room open with the pieces of wire bravely procured by my stuffed little friend from the wall, and in minutes we’re free. Creeping quietly through the long halls, with their rough, unfinished wood floors. Tom is moving significantly quieter than I as a splinter pricks my bare foot painfully and I squeak in discomfort, the floor squeaking back as I hop on one foot. Tom furiously shushes me as we regain our pace and keep moving through the dark farmhouse. There are no lights, Mother says we don’t need to see at night cause we’re supposed to be asleep, and she doesn’t need lights; she can see in the dark. We’ve made our way to our destination: the cellar door. Together Tom and I heave the door open, trying not to let the rusty hinges screech too loud, and then scurry past the door frame, and down the stairs beyond. This is where our first real hurdle arrives, a basement has no windows, and the house has no lights. At the foot of the stairs, in the slightest gloom from above, I reach into Tommy’s split head and dog through the stuffing to retrieve my book of matches, swiped from next to the wood stove a few weeks ago. Striking one, I’m greeted with a familiar sight in the light it casts across the basement. Boxes everywhere.

Upon the mountain of wooden and cardboard containers, I stand sawing at a leather strap holding together a little pine box. We’ve cracked open or unearthed four other boxes already, each so far holding what we want: cash. I’ve almost made it through the strap with my chipped piece of steel, and at last the leather is frayed enough to part. I hurl the box down and it clatters open loudly, Tommy quickly scrounges up all the belongings scattered in its fall. Buttons, trinkets, a tarnished watch, and at last a few coins and a crumpled five dollar bill. I woop in triumph as I get right back to rooting through the hill of hoarded belongings, stowed away by the generations of my family who lived their whole lives within this house. I wrestle with a particularly disintegrated cardboard box full of papers, brushing away paper dust and mouse droppings as I plunge deeper into the crust of the basement, and as I swipe and scoop at the mess in the hole I’ve made, a little black box with a metal emblem glints against my eye in the candle light. I excavate further until finally I heave the box into my lap, and revel at my discovery. Buried deep in the hoard, I have discovered what mama long claimed was destroyed. The little black leather box, no larger than a bible, bears proudly the silver badge of Colt.

The revolver, oiled and immaculately clean sits in my hands, coiled like a snake ready to strike; iconically, for it bears the name Python. My father, who I remember in no great detail, wore this exact pistol upon his hip every day. I remember him shooting cans and birds in the yard each morning, but I never remember him missing. Daddy was some sort of gunslinger, but I’ll never know, mama leaves me outside every time I ask about him. And every time she caught me pretending to play cowboy, or with guns at all, she’d have a fit and make me wear dresses for a month.

I’m still in awe as Tommy’s voice finally breaks through my mind. “You gotta put it back,”. He says flatly. “Back in the box, so she won’t know”.
“No.” The word comes from me without thought or hesitation. “I don’t think I will, Tom”.
“Then it’s over.” The rabbit says, not meeting my eye, his little body shrouded in the basement gloom cast by the candle burning atop the mountain, the dust floating in the air around me billowing as I let the Python rest by my hip. To Tom, it must look like god as alit upon Mount Sinai.

I’m feeling before I can comprehend; Horror, and then rage fills my being as his shape vanishes, melting into the dark, and I hear his little padded feet scurrying across the floor and up the stairs. I’ve jumped from the mountain top and landed hard on the floor, bare feet pedaling against the concrete as I make it to the bottom of the stairs. Tom has just made it to the landing as I line the Pythons sights up, just like Daddy showed me when I was little, just like I every time I played cowboys in the woods, when everytime Tom would tell mama, and I’d be left in the cold or the heat in a damn dress. I pull the trigger, the Colts’ hammer ascending like a guillotine with the long pull, and before I can figure out the intricacies of where my fathers trigger breaks, the hammer drops. The pressure against my ears of the powerful pistol round going off stuns me, and my head rings. I missed, I discover, as the tolling throbbing of my ringing ears abides slightly, and I hear him screaming for mama.

I will play the victim in this game no longer.

That’s what I told myself, naively, before mama descended the stairs, scooped up Tommy, discerned that I was kneeling on the top step of the basement stairs, waiting and without making a sound, kicked the door shut. The heavy wood connected with the Colt in my hand, pushing it back into my face, hard. I topple over backwards, shocked, and plummet down the stairwell. How could she have known I was there? A pointless question, rather one would ask how couldn’t she have. How does one fight a spider in its own web without it knowing? Simple; One doesn’t.

I’m trying to breathe, unsuccessfully at the bottom of the stairs. I landed hard on my back, hit my head on the way down, and my chest hurts worse than anything I’ve ever felt. She’s descending the stairs now, slowly, without a word. I’m crawling, and then stumbling away from the bottom of the steps as she reaches the bottom, and plants her feet squarely, before unexpectedly hurling Tom at me. I don’t understand what’s happening as I swat him to the floor, diverting focus for only a moment; too long. Tom has sharted sinking his little rabbit teeth into my foot, calf, knee; all of my right leg he can reach. I’m screaming as I grip him by the head, peel the little monster off of me, and launch him over the hill of boxes.

I hurt. I hurt differently than ever before. Every punishment mamas dealt me has been painful, certainly, but this is different. What must be the new sensation of broken bones, and blood loss from cuts and bites, concussion, so much at once, I feel disconnected from myself. Swaying like laundry on a line, I raise the pistol, trying to keep it steady in my jelly hands. Mama’s laughing, tears are slipping off my cheeks onto my collar bone.

“How can you kill someone if you won’t even make your bed!”
Something clicks within me now, at these words, this final taunt, the only words from mama I’ll ever remember; instantly I die, and I am reborn. I’ve had enough.

I’m not a big boy, no big thoughts. I’m going to die here, like a girl, or like a dog. The sins of the mother are reflected through the lens of the son; tenfold.

I will not fold here, in the filth, I will stand.

I am wrath.

The colt pistol with which my father escaped frees me as well as it comes to life in my grip. Turning it upon Tom first, I pull the trigger. The heavy six is held still by my iron fingers as I obliterate the filthy little creature, betrayer of trust, as the .44 I deliver to his stuffed cranium turns him inside out. He has no time to scream like he did when I scalped him, this time he doesn’t sing like I want him to. The barrel of the Python rotates again, this time towards mama. She’s already stomping towards me as I drop the hammer and I let fly two rounds into her carapace. Blood. Innards, Ichor, the spider whose web I’ve been caught in all the long years I’ve lived paints the wall in living color.

At last I’ve done everything I was made to do. The towering oak of my mother; cut down by my own hand, guided my fathers ax. The creature featured in the cell of my mind reduced to cotton blown across the room, drifting in the air. She’s screaming beneath my feet as I stand on her belly, towering over her as she has to me so many times. She doesn’t scream in fear or pain, rather she screams expletives, threats, the punishments I will endure, how dead I will be, et cetera. I’m not really listening as I loose the fifth round from the Pythons chamber into the bug, squashing with finality my tormentor. I’m making my way to the stairs when a gargled hiss fills my ears from behind, I turn to the pulp that was mama, as she speaks in her spider tongue.

“Raymond…” She mumbles. The grip on my pistol loosens, as I speak in turn.

“Be not.” As soon as the two words leave my mouth, a particularly long strand of Tommy The Rabbits stuffing connects with the candle on top of the mountain. Fire engulfs the room, fueled by cotton, dust, wood, paper, cardboard, all burning bright. Mama, however, burns black. The hateful smoke, the dark fire seeping from her corpse drifting in my direction. The flames glint in her eight black eyes with such beauty.