The Bootlegger's Daughter

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How to Make Me Cry

I met David back in the hallway and we went outside. I don’t know where we were headed; we just started walking and hoped we ended up somewhere, I guess. After a while of walking in silence David finally talked.

“What about Mother did you want to talk about?”

“Yeah, I have nothing to say about her. I just wanted to get you out of the house so you couldn’t avoid my questions.”

“I hate you, Lucy!”

“No you do not. Just please tell me. It’s not like I am going to tell Father or anything.”

“You’re not?”

“No, I promise I won’t. You’re my brother. As much as we may disagree or fight sometimes I love you and I don’t want to see you in trouble, especially from my hand. We don’t have a mother so I need to look after you, make sure you’re safe.”

We were silent for a while. The sun had already set and the last bits of daylight were leaving. Wind whistled very loudly in my ears. As we continued walking down the street we passed a dark and empty alleyway. David ran inside it as he grabbed my arm and pulled me into the alley with him.

“What was that for?!” I yelled at him.

“Shut up. Do you want to know why I was in Father’s room?” I nodded my head and David continued. “John and I have been talking. We don’t like what Father is doing with the McKays. We think that there are better ways to get our revenge than raiding a house. So we are going to do our own. We have already got Reaney. John was supposed to talk to Fuller but then he got sick right before he could. I was going to talk to the twins tonight if they showed up at supper.”

“Okay, but that doesn’t explain why you were in his room.”

“I was… I was looking for some of Father’s guns. He doesn’t let me keep any and I knew that we would need them. You can’t start a revolution with just a small knife. But I never found them in his room, so I started looking through papers to see if I could find some evidence of them. Which is when I found that photograph that I showed you. John was going to hide the guns in his room, but again, I never found them.”

I don’t think that I showed it on my face, but I was completely shocked at what David had said. I was shocked by him in general. I didn’t believe that he would go behind Father’s back like that. So I thought the only logical thing at the time, this was all John’s idea and he was lying to me.

“This is not going to work, David. Father knows how many guns he has and he keeps them locked in a safe.”

“He’s told you where he keeps them?” David asked, not even caring about what I had just said about the plan not working.

“No, just that they’re in a safe. I do not know where, and I do not care to find out.” I said rudely. “But listen to me. I don’t know what you and John planned, but it will not work. Father has a plan and we must stick to it, even if we don’t agree with it. Everything will work out fine. Just don’t do anything that might mess stuff up, which includes taking guns from Father.”

“Do you think that this plan of Father’s is a good idea? Do you think breaking into someone’s house and killing or injuring people is moral?” He was trying to guilt me, something that he used to do a lot when he wanted me to do things.

“Oh since when do you care about morals? It’s what Father wants to do and I will do it. Even if people get hurt.” I said. My voice trailed off at the end to where it was almost a whisper. I had tried my best to keep her out of my mind that day, but my fears of what might happen to Ruthie were amplified once David and I started talking. It felt like I was run over by a car when I whispered my last sentence.

“Be honest with me, Lucy. Do you know something that I don’t know about this job?” I looked down at my feet which was all the answer David needed. “Tell me what you know.”

“There’s a girl in their family. She’s a bit older than me but very, very naïve. And there’s a boy who is still young, not even old enough to go to school yet. I just want them to be alright. It’s as if someone raided our home I would hope that they would at least spare Matthew. But I don’t know anything. Just that I feel obligated to keep them safe because neither of them have done anything to help the McKays or hurt us.” Sometimes things hurt to say. It was very painful to admit that I wanted to make sure that two people who were members of the family that killed my grandfather were kept safe and away from harm.

“Join us. I promise we won’t hurt them. You see, all we want is Sean McKay dead. Not the girl, not the little boy, not anyone else in the house. Just Sean McKay.”

“I can’t betray Father.” I don’t know why, but I started to cry as I said that. I guess a bunch of things were just bubbling up to the surface.

“It isn’t betraying him. We are getting out revenge in a more equal fashion.”

“I’m sorry. But I… I cannot.” I said. My tears were picking up in speed. David sighed and shook his head. He took a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it. After a few seconds he reached in my coat pocket and took out my knife. He held it close to my neck and whispered in my ear.

“I know you will keep your promise like a good sister. Because even though I love you and want to see you and the people you care for safe, if you tell anyone about what I have said I swear I’ll cut your tongue out.” David said. He took the knife away and put it in his own pocket. “If you don’t mind I will be keeping this, as a bit of insurance.” He then walked away leaving me alone in the dark alleyway.

I sunk down to my feet and started to weep into my hands. Even now recalling this event leaves me all confused. Up until that point I had completely misjudged his character. I would have never thought that my little brother who I can remember taking care of any playing with as a baby would threaten me, would go against our father, could even think of killing someone. He cried throughout Grandfather’s funeral and yet there he was talking about stealing guns and murdering a man.

I, oddly enough, wasn’t even mad at him for threatening to take out my tongue. I was more mad at myself for judging him so wrong. Little brothers can’t stay little brothers forever. I never realized that he has grown up. As short lived as it was, while I sat there crying I knew that the idea was David’s and not John’s.

I tried to calm myself down a bit. I looked out to the street and I saw a girl about my age walk down the road. I had and still don’t have any idea of who that girl was, but I wished I was her. I wanted more than anything to be some random person who didn’t have to go through the things that I must in my life. I didn’t care if the girl was rich or poor. Absolutely none of it mattered to me. I just didn’t want to be me.

Little did I know how much worse my life would get in just a few more months. Revenge is the downfall of humanity. I swear that on the grave of my mother.

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