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Hungry

I really liked the idea of an older brother coming home from war and explaining to a little brother what he did there.

Did it work? You tell me.

“Jack?”

“Go to sleep, Billy.”

“I just wanted to ask you a question.”

Billy’s voice sailed gracefully down from the top-bunk above me. It quivered with his eight-year old curiosity but had a way of hanging in the air, demanding response.

“Go to sleep, Billy.”

I didn’t want to talk.

“Ever since you got back, I’ve been wondering…”

He wouldn’t let me sleep until I gave in. I think I was like that when I was his age, too. “Wondering what, Billy?”

That was a long time ago, though.

I could hear him take a breath, summoning all of his courage, before asking me this: “Did you ever kill anybody… You know… Out there?”

I rolled to my side, pulling my blanket over my shoulder. Maybe I won’t have to answer him. “Why do want to know a thing like that, Billy?”

“Well, when you came back, no one seemed to want to ask you…”

“So?”

This story appears as part of the collection "The Cruel Kids: Four Short Stories".  You can get it for the Kindle or the Nook.
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