She had the container of ashes in her hands. The little urn felt warm as she held it. It was what he wanted, to be cremated. She put the container in her bag. Just then she heard the sound of a truck pulling up in the front yard, her brother’s truck.

He was drunk.

The door of the truck opened.

“Hey, sister,” he said. “Where’s daddy. I want to see what you did with him.”

She grabbed her gun and tucked it in her pants as she walked to the front door.

“Hey asshole,” she said from the door. “He’s in my bag. You want to say goodbye, come in here like a human and do it. Otherwise, fuck off.”

He stood there and looked at her. He was filled with rage. She was too. Who was going to quit first?

“Look you little queer fucker,” he said. “I just want to see my daddy.”

“Am I really going to have to kill you tonight, you piece of shit,” she said. “I will.”

“Ok, what have you got you stupid little bitch,” he said, and he reached into his truck and pulled out a rifle.

“I got this,” she said and pulled out her gun and fired a shot right into the bed of his truck. “Don’t get us on the evening news, you asshole.”

“You fucker,” he said. He went to the damage and looked at it. “Ok, you stupid cunt, ok.”

He walked up toward her. She held her gun at him.

“Put it down,” he said. “Show me.”

He walked in and stood in the living room, emptied of everything but one chair, the one her dad always sat in. She pulled the container from her bag and handed it to him. He held it and looked at her.

“I hate you,” he said. “You are the reason he is dead, and mom left. If you hadn’t started asking questions, she’d have been here to take care of us.”

“That’s bullshit,” she said. “That lady was more of a mom to me than she could ever have been to you. You knew it was a lie, I didn’t. I lost her twice, you fuck.”

“Everything had to be about you,” he said staring through her. “Always about you and what you wanted.”

“Maybe,” she said, “But is that the reason you’re so goddam cruel and stupid. Is that my fault too?”

He threw the container at her and it smashed against the wall, scattering ashes everywhere.

“That takes care of the question of where we’ll scatter the ashes,” she said.

“You’re the reason mama got hooked,” he said.

“You killed her. You were there when she swallowed all those pills. I’ve seen her in my dreams telling me about that day, that you left her alone. I know.”

At that he moved toward her, like he was going to kill her. She pulled out her gun and pointed it at him.

“Do you want to die?” she asked him. “Because I will kill you.”

It was raining now, hard, and she held the gun on him for what seemed like forever.

“I know you will,” he said. “Just leave, just go.”

“That’s my plan,” she said. “You just have to let me. Just let me. And I’ll be putting as many miles between me and this town as I can find.”

Her brother looked defeated and walked out, the screen door squeaked and slapped shut. He got in his truck and drove off.

She watched him leave and locked the front door. The sky had darkened but was now turning a greenish color as the clouds thickened. She worried for just a moment about a tornado. Then she started hoping for one.

Everything she owned was in the bag. That morning she’d emptied her dad’s bank accounts, cleared everything out like her told her to if anything was to happen to him. It wasn’t much, but she had it all in cash. She was ready to drive away forever. She walked around the empty house one more time, and drew her finger across the ashes on the floor. She looked at the dark coating on her finger, and closed her eyes.

She crawled into the chair in the empty living room, curled up and cried.