A sound outside of the window convinced Gertrude pulling her twelve gauge shotgun from its resting place in her closet had not been a mistake. Her granddaughter's confessed their mother planned to take them back to her flesh pedaling dealer to pay off her debt. Gertrude would never understand how NaTonya, her sweet baby, her only child connected to such a hateful, evil man. The hair on the back of her arms stood as the sound of someone trying to pry open her back door tickled her ears.
The thought of killing someone seemed silly when her dear departed Willie showed her how to fire the monstrous weapon over forty years ago, but it didn't stop her from practicing the way she promised she would every week. Willie made her promise to take care of their baby girl on his deathbed. Fingers intertwined, eyes locked she swore to keep their princess safe. When that curly haired girl was replaced with a strong willed, rebellious teenage Gertrude never went back on her promise.
Over the years NaTonya changed. At the age of fifteen pregnant with twins and mother to five by the age of twenty-five. Gertrude tired of her sporadic behavior and took the children from her daughter only to have them kidnapped by their own mother and lost for three weeks in a world she couldn't imagine in her wildest dreams. A series of what could only be described as miracles brought her babies back, damaged, hurt, confused and angry, but safe with her.
NaTonya promised to stay away after Gertrude threatened her the last time with her .22. Tears streamed down her face as she loaded, cocked the shotgun and braced herself to shoot the fool trying to pry open the door in front of her. Her princess, her sweet girl, now her enemy had led those animals who sold her grand-babies innocence to the highest bidder to her home. The farmland and inheritance her father died securing for his wife and child. Gertrude planned to beat her daughter down like a stranger on the street, once she kicked these thugs off of her land.
Breath touched the back of her neck. Keisha. Her oldest granddaughter stood behind her with a baseball bat.
"Go back to bed, Keisha, Granny is taking care of everything." Gertrude raised the gun to her shoulder.
"I called 911, and the girls are coming. You'll need help, Granny. There are too many of them for you to fight off by yourself." Keisha steadied the baseball bat in her hands. "I wish you'd tell me where you put the .22 this bat can't deflect bullets."
Dana stood behind her twin with the small caliber pistol. "I told you where Granny hides all the guns, you need to learn how to listen."
The back door crashed in, and Gertrude recognized her daughter's voice.
"NaTonya, you get yourself in here and call these hoodlums off. You need to leave before the cops come to get you off my property." Gertrude pushed Dana and Keisha up the steps as she leaned back ready to fire toward the front door or the hallway leading in from the kitchen.
"We don't want any trouble Ma, I came for my girls. They've got a job to do so we can all come home. Big D promised he won't let them get hurt the way they did before, I just need them for one month and we'll all be able to come home." NaTonya bared her meth ravaged smile. In place of the once perfect white teeth were brown, yellow, broken brittle edges and sore infested gums.
"You must be high if you think I'm gonna let you have my girls. Your father is turning over in his grave, look at yourself. I'd never do this to you." Gertrude aimed the barrel at her daughter.