Bringing a gun into the house changes it
Baz got the letter on his fourteenth birthday; he was now old enough to get a gun from the government store, so he finished hoeing the weeds among the vegetables and went to get it. His mother wept a little and his sisters picked the peas and looked sombre.
Nothing much changed at first. He kept the gun locked in a box in his bedroom, only taking it out when he went for the obligatory shooting sessions with the militia.
After a while he stopped locking it away and went out with it and the boys from two streets away. Patrolling, he told his mother. And she wept again.
And then he was rarely there. Too busy, he said, keeping them safe from marauding gangs.
The weeds grew long and the house felt empty. Things fell a little further into disrepair.
They brought his body back and laid it in the front room. His mother wept and his sisters too. They buried him on Friday in the space next to his brother Pete, dead three years ago aged fourteen and a half.
Someone came round from the government store and collected the gun the next day.