Nothing like a family gathering to make the blood boil.

Nothing cools it down like cold-blooded violence. 

Snowglobe by Dana C. Kabel

Adam watches the mascara run down his Aunt Linda’s fat cheeks and thinks that she looks like John Wayne Gacy in clown makeup when the white porcelain toilet tank cover smashes down on his head. His other aunt screams at the top of her lungs.

Time slows to a crawl, like the hanging pause at the top of a roller-coaster ride, when the cart briefly hovers at the rail’s peak before it plunges down through the helix that makes him feel like his balls are going to shoot up and fly out of his mouth.

Shards of white porcelain hang in the air like glitter snowflakes in a snow-globe. A sharp fragment comes so close to blinding Adam that the wake feels like a cold thread pulled across his eyeball.

The old maids, Aunt Linda and Aunt Vanessa, are huddled together in the corner of the dining room. Their painted mouths show fear and revulsion. He has never seen such emotion on their surgically tightened faces.

One of the masked home invaders swings a metal bat and smashes the crystal topped serving table they are hiding behind. Vanessa screams again and pounds a fist against the wall she is backed against, as if it will open a magic hole for her to escape through.

The chunks of broken toilet tank cover are bouncing off the floor as Adam’s knees buckle. His mother is wailing in the kitchen. Two of the robbers are back there with her and he’s trying not to think about what they are doing to make her scream like that.

They marched into the house so quickly after they had kicked the front door in, that only one person had tried to stop them or get in their way.

Adam’s grandfather was a salty old war vet who prided himself in the exercise regimen he adhered to daily. The core activity of his fitness agenda was a thirty minute bare-knuckled heavy bag routine that he had pummeled away at since the long ago days of his Golden Gloves boxing career. His knuckles were thickly callused and his deformed fists resembled a couple of misshapen rocks.

He was a bawdy and proud old fuck who insisted on being addressed as “The Colonel.” And, of course, he referred to himself in a third person narrative.

Despite his lack of affection for the family patriarch, Adam cringed when The Colonel had tried to charge the first two robbers at the beginning of their assault. He was quickly disposed of with the butt of a shotgun to the throat.

When The Colonel dropped to the floor, clutching a crushed windpipe, the man who struck him turned his weapon around and blew a large hole through the center of the eighty-three year old man.
“Hey!” Adam had screamed. “You didn’t have to do that!”
The killer laughed and kicked the side of The Colonel’s skull.
Adam’s youngest relatives were playing in the basement that had recently been finished into a game room. The sounds of a heated air hockey battle immediately drew attention to the open basement door.
A fat thug with a shaved head and Homer Simpson mask went down there. Adam gagged when he heard a shot followed by children’s screams. The kids were marched upstairs then with a shotgun pointed at their backs.
Adam is near the end of his fall when the cellar door bangs open and the crying children spill into the room. He doesn’t have the mental clarity to count their heads and make sure they’re all there.
The floor that his knees land on is solid oak. The jolt knocks some fillings loose in his mouth.  
Multiple gunshots erupt in the room and then stop.
Adam face slams against the oak floor and his cheekbone shatters. He sees Homer lying on the ground, bleeding. The eyes behind the mask are staring at him.

A man in laced boots stands by Homer. The boots look like the kind of new Red Wings that Adam’s mom buys his dad every year for Christmas.
“What the fuck?” Is the panicked shout that comes from the back bedroom.
The ownership of the new boots is confirmed when Adam’s father kneels and rips the mask off the man that he just shot.
“You shoulda stayed in school, Tommy. This party didn’t turn out the way you planned, huh?”
“Gotta get the fuck outta here!” Someone shouts. Two of the home invaders run for the door.
Adam’s father raises his gun and fires. One man jerks and keeps running with blood gushing out of his side. The other one isn’t so lucky. He drops just outside the door.
The children are screaming. Adam hears his mom crying along with her sisters. His eyes aren’t focusing right. His head is pounding and there’s blood running down his forehead and dripping on the floor. The tank lid must have broken his skull open. He’s really tired, but the burning pain keeps him awake.
Tommy, the fat thug on the floor that used to play with Adam after school, is crying and pleading for help. He looks at Adam with tears in his eyes and begs him to call his father off.
Adam’s father pulls the trigger of his twelve gauge and erases Tommy’s face. Then he drops the gun and walks over to his son.
“Oh God, daddy,” Adam whispers as the man who smashed him over the head with the tank cover kneels down and rolls him onto his back, then peels the mask from his face.
“You piece of shit, fucking junkie. After all the times I tried to help you…”
“That’s how you repay me? You bring your fucking loser friends here to rob your family at Christmas?”
Adam’s mother approaches. She’s crying and holding her hands over her mouth. The edge of his vision is dissolving into a gray nothing.
“Oh, my boy,” his mother cries.

“This isn’t mine,” his father says.

Dana C. Kabel’s stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir, Black Heart Magazine, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Muzzleflash, Mysterical-E, Out of the Gutter, Shotgun Honey, Thrillers, Killers ‘N Chillers and Yellow Mama, and in the Otto Penzler collection, KWIK KRIMES. He can be found at