Shadow Cast – 4:18
by Dottie Camptown
My husband walked from the garage holding his throat to stem the torrent of unstoppable blood. I met him as he collapsed at the back door. The police later concluded that the jagged leg of a metal ladder sliced open his neck as he unsuccessfully tried to hoist it into the rafters.
To stop my nagging, he had been cleaning the garage. It was impossible to get anything out.
I stroked his hair. Our eyes locked together until his lost focus. I felt lucky in the way that people in trauma bargain with how things can be worse - our teenage daughter wasn’t home.
The doorbell rang. I left him to answer the door. A policeman stood holding a helmet covered in Skinny Puppy stickers, mine from college.
“Where did you get that?” I asked.
“Do you own a motorcycle?”
“It’s in the garage.” But by the look in his eyes it was not.
She had taken it. Our daughter broke rules with the inadequate judgment of someone who has never viewed the panorama of consequence. She hadn’t sped. She wore a helmet. She simply hit the soft earthen lip of a darkening road.
“Is that blood on your shirt?” he asked looking behind me, my husband’s body in plain view through the open back door. We both tried to make a linear narrative of seemingly disparate events.
He drew his gun as a precaution. I sprang toward him to flesh away the bones of his uncertainty. He justifiably fired.