Rachelle never could understand why she had to die, but when her turn came she was a good girl and didn’t raise a fuss, just like Momma asked.

Momma and Poppa claimed her body and held the service the next morning in their parlor. Momma dressed the boys in matching blazers and ties for the occasion.  The minister kept his sermon appropriately brief, and afterwards coffee and h’ordeuvres were served.

“She was so brave,” the women from the bridge club repeated to Momma. “You must be very proud.” Momma smiled her tight-lipped smile and nodded. Poppa excused himself early and went upstairs.

That night, after the lights were out and everyone went to sleep, the boys lay in their bunkbeds. Moonlight entered the window and cast long shadows past the beds and against the far wall. They both lay silently for several minutes, until the boy in the bottom bunk spoke. “You awake?”

The boy in the top bunk grunted in the affirmative.

“Do you think she was brave?”


“Rachelle. Do you think she was brave?”

The boy on top leaned over the side until he could see his brother. “I think she was stupid. To let them just kill her like that.”

The bottom brother thought for a minute before replying. “What would you do?”

“Me? I’d have a knife or gun and kill them first, before they can get me.”

“But… but… you can’t do that.”  The boy in the bottom bunk, the younger, leaned up on his elbows. “If they pick you, you have to go. It’s the law.”

“Damn the law!” The top brother snapped hoarsely, and both brothers became still, worried they might have woken their parents. No sound came from down the hall, and the boys relaxed and lay back down.

The younger boy fell to sleep first. The older stared out the window, wiping his pajama sleeves across his eyes several times before drifting off. In his dreams he had a gun, and used it to kill everyone – Momma, Poppa, funeral guests, police – before running away to a place too far away for men and law to follow.


Author Notes

15 Comments for “Brave”

Mary Cooney-Glazer


Powerful and scary; every piece of dialogue moved the story along.
It does sound like the beginning of something longer. The older brother could be a formidable force. Loved the spare writing style.


Thank you, Mary!

Mary Cooney-Glazer


Hi Dave, Realize this is not the correct place to post, but it seems to be the only way to get some assistance.
I can’t get into site to find out about upgraded membership. Currently unable to get into status updates or post comment. Links not working. Would like to return…any thoughts?

FYI…have published my novel , “This Time Forever” on Amazon. Pleased with the decent reception.

Tim Hillebrant


Okay- now I want to know more about this story. What law? Is this a dystopian world where a child is selected to die by lottery or something? Or was Rochelle responsible for a horrendous crime? Enquiring minds want to know!!!



Tim, I’m looking at this as a dystopian-type story, where Rachelle’s chosen for a random reason (a la Shirley Jackson) for sacrifice. Or something like that. Dystopias are awesome!


I held my breath until the end, after a second or two I began to breathe and read it again. Well done very well done.


Way to use your Introductory sentence from the last challenge! Very dark and very real. Things like this do happen. I feel for those boys, her siblings. This story reminded me of “The Hunger Games”. The boys’ conversation, and the girl’s willingness to die because of The Law brought back to me some scenes in that trilogy. Enjoyed the write, Dave!

I caught a typo/missing word:
-The older stared out the window, wiping his pajama sleeves across his eyes several (times) before drifting off.

Write On!

Dave Allen


Becky, thanks for the catch. I hate to let a good first line go to waste! This is my first stab at doing dystopia; I hope it worked…

M.L. Bull


Wow! A very startling piece here. Terrible that Rachelle was killed, and by her own parents. This kind of thing happens for real though, and vice versa. Children killing their parents. What’s wrong with people today? Seriously. Nice job with this story though, Dave.

Dave Allen


Thanks, Michaela! This was a little darker than even I usually like to write, but once you open up that Pandora’s box, you never know what’ll come out.

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