Stiff Mother & Jealousy
Petar Ramadanovic


There was no question what I was to do with him. I had a weapon, he did not. I had no reason to take a chance. So I did what I had to. I emptied my gun in his direction. He fell after the first shot. After the second, his body jumped slightly in the air. Etc.

He was my first murder close at hand and after I squeezed the trigger, I opened my eyes to watch him fall.

He did not say or try to do anything. He just died there, in the middle of nowhere, his body soon limp and lifeless.

He fell to the ground.

I saw his knees give up.

I was looking at him, I squeezed the trigger, and blinked. When I opened my eyes, he was no longer standing.

“Dead?” I asked, as if he could answer.

I am shooting at him. My finger pulls the trigger, performing an action unlike any other.

The hand feels a jolt, ears hear a deafening bang, my shoulders shrug, gunpowder smell fills the air, my eyes quickly close, and then, as quickly, open. He could disappear at that moment. I hope and pray he would.

He never does. No matter how many times I relive it. He stands where he was for one moment longer. He falls, an empty bag of bones.

When you are hit, it does not hurt. You are the last to know.

He does not say anything, and nothing else happens as he falls. His blood creates a sticky puddle. I can feel it under my foot.

Sky is silent. Birds are silent. Everything is silent.

I shoot him.

I ask him in my thoughts, “Dead?”

He falls without making any sound, accompanied only by the echo of the bang reverberating through the ravine behind him.

His knees buckle as if death came up to the heart from below to pull him toward itself.

I shout at him.

I tell him I want him not to be here.

I tell him I don’t want to be here.

I know I cannot take any chances. I reach for my gun. I point the gun at him. He does not seem surprised. He expects it, and even wants it. I squeeze the trigger to make sure that I do not change my mind. I cannot hesitate, so I pull. I close my eyes. He falls.

I open my eyes. He is dead already. If he is not, he looks rather dead. I squeeze again and again, I am not sure why.

“Dead?” I say, as if it were a question directed to him.

He does not move.

No matter how many times I go over it, it always ends the same way. His knees buckle, his head hits the ground, his body jumps. I fire the gun again and again.

Save me, I tell him, as if he has this power now that he is dead. Save me. Help me not do it again.

I must have become paranoid at some point. It must have been the darkness and the cold. I was disoriented.

I cannot shake off this feeling that love and death—“ljubiti” and “ubiti”—are too close in this place.

He was like a brother to me.

Perhaps, we should love and care for each other a bit less?

What would we do, if we had another chance at life?

Would we bring everything to spoil again?

Sky is silent. Birds are silent. Everything is silent.

It is terribly dark in here.

I don’t talk to myself anymore. I don’t know if I remember her voice, or could recall her face.

I pray that we all are gone soon.

That we all drown.

Petar Ramadanovic has been writing most of his life (he is fifty one now), first as a journalist in the former Yugoslavia (country he is from), then as a scholar of literary theory (Full Professor at the University of New Hampshire). In the last five years, he returned to his first love and has been writing short stories, one of which was published in The Kenyon Review. His first collection is titled Fugue, as in blackout, flight, and dissociative state. 

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