“I woke up. There was a man in my bed.”

The officer says, “You were scared.”

“He was on top of me.”

“So you reached for the gun.”


“Which was ready and loaded beside your bed.”

“My husband taught me how to use it. He made me promise to keep it on my nightstand to protect myself while he was gone.”

The war was over six months before he came home. They warned her he might have nightmares. No one asked about her own anxieties. In the middle of the night, she shot him dead.




Max Harris was born in England, received his PhD from the University of Virginia, and now lives in Wisconsin. His short stories have been published in A capella Zoo, Amoskeag, and/or, The Madison Review, The Midnight Diner, and other journals later in the alphabet. He has won the Wisconsin Academy Review/Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops Short Story Contest and the rather more scholarly Otto Gründler Book Prize.