A gun is a way of making choices, Pamela, her father’s voice echoed in her head, the memory redolent of sunlit afternoons. But it ain’t the only way. Remember that.

Her young hands were practiced as they ran over the contours of the gun. The moon was fat and round tonight, and she aimed to use that to her advantage.

Choose your target. A coyote had been poultry-snatching for days.

Choose your stand. Pammy crouched along the fence in the far field, a distance away from the coyote’s trail.

Most of all, choose to use your gun before you ever draw it, Pammy. She had sneaked it from her father’s chair while he was at the shaving bowl, then hollered her destination as she banged out the door.

She was yawning when a dash of grey motion caught her eye; the coyote ran up to the break in the fence. She aimed, her choices made, and squeezed down on the trigger. A bang, and then another close behind. The second echoed oddly and too long in her ears. Not her own – from an unfamiliar gun.

And from home.

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