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Today a little girl did something that thrilled her. She bought something with her own money for the first time. Money she herself earned, not her parents not her brother. She had been doing small things for her parents to earn nickels and dimes. Now she finally used them. She was so happy.

Two scoops a bright pastel placed softly on a paper colored cone, beads of wet forming around the edges. Summer bound in sugar and cream.

As she was eating it a man rushing by bumped into her. The ice-cream toppled and rolled slowly through the dirt into a sewer drain. The man kept on walking, oblivious, as small droplets welled up in her eyes. She hung her head low and walked slowly home, defeated.

That night Janie was murdered with a 9mm pistol along with the rest of her family, save her seventeen-year-old brother.

Janie’s brother had been seeing a girl for the past three years. They were beautiful, inseparable, every ideal of perfection in the history of our species. Only one flaw: He beat her. He would get drunk at parties and, once he brought her home, turn her from white to deep blue – mostly because she wasn’t perfect. She was submissive, battered, and broken. A butterfly handled too roughly.

After the tragedy, perhaps because of it, John raped Ashley. The next day instead of books she put her father’s handgun into her bag. For lunch she went to their favorite café to meet him and blew his brains halfway across the restaurant.

Deep crimson flew out across the white walls in a perfect pattern of streaks and dots painting an abstract mural in front of Ashley. An intangible rose slowly dripping away – a field of new blooms crushed underfoot.

What the police, the papers, and the news missed was this. John loved his girlfriend, and his sister – they all loved each other. Before the first murder they were every happy middle class family. Now they’re crushed and dripping nectar. The smallest pain expands forever like ripples. Who’s to blame? You fucking are.

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