Wall heads

Stag head on wall


Sitting underneath a large stag’s head was an unnerving experience.

The lights in the bar were organised in such a way that the deer’s large antlers cast long pointed shadows over the table. Black and white photographs hung in every space, each depicting a way of life that had disappeared years ago. There were a few people scattered between different tables, a low murmur of conversation circled around the room.

Heather ordered a beer and a plate of nachos. She put her hand in her pocket feeling for her car keys. A habit of safety. She needed to. Ten animal heads stared out through blank glass eyes. Once living until a bullet cut them down. Dust lay on the tops of the heads where it was hardest to reach with a cloth. A thin sprinkling of skin cells from every person that had passed underneath them.

Heather’s order arrived. She sucked a third of the beer down quenching the thirst that had dried out her mouth. The nachos gleamed with a thick layer of melted orange cheese studded with slivers of green and red chilli pepper. She pulled at a sharp corner of chip twisting the delicate strings of cheese around the end. She was about to pop it in her mouth when a voice stopped her. She turned her head. A silhouette of a man stood a few feet in front of her bright daylight shining in from the open door behind him. She dropped the chip where it missed the plate.

“Heather,” he said. “Come home. You’ve been gone long enough.”

Heather reached inside her bag keeping her eyes fixed on the figure talking to her. Her fingers rounded over the cool metal of the pistol her father had given her. Time slowed as she pulled the gun out from beside her.

Feeling brave? Want to share your story? In the words of one Disney princess, Let it go, in the comments below.