Tails. Amy looked at the coin in her hand. She flipped and caught it again but held it her fist without looking at it. She hoisted the rifle on her right shoulder and looked up at the Rapunzel tower.
Her dad had built it for her when she was 8. Amy touched the frame around the door as her mind drifted back. He had built it in one weekend. The only true gift he had ever given her. A gift of time, wood, and sweat. Not really a replacement for all the absences and half-hearted apologies. But she had enjoyed playing here.
Amy stepped inside the door. She saw the pictures faded on the walls, surprised that the crayon had not washed away or melted off. She smiled at the childish efforts to make sense of her world. She stroked images of her mom and Deigo, the faithful dachshund. Flowers and sunny meadows; castles and princesses. And the stalwart knight, the knight that never came.
As Amy began climbing the stairs, she flipped the coin over and over in her left hand. The coin had been her dad’s, too. His lucky coin, the one he used with his “clients.” She had found it among some papers in the desk at home. She remembered the first time he had taken her on a “client visit.” He even asked her to call the coin, to make sure the mark—the client—trusted what was happening.
Amy fumbled the coin and her face heated at the memory. She caught the coin and dropped it in a pocket. She arrived at the top room and looked around. She couldn’t make out much in the darkened space but a few shapeless lumps scattered on the floor. Remnants of her childhood dreams.
She moved toward the balcony door. It opened stiffly. Amy carefully put pressure on the balcony floor. It held. She held onto the hook inside the door as she placed all her weight on the balcony. At least Dad could build a sturdy building.
Amy walked outside and took in the view one more time. She took out the coin and looked at it again. Both sides. Tails on each side.
No child should be a part of stealing someone’s life savings. No child.
Amy readied the rifle, tossed the coin, and shot. She lost sight of the coin but heard a faint clink as it hit the balcony again. She found it after a quick search and held it up toward the sunlight. A perfect hole through the middle. She flung the coin as far as she could from the balcony.