Target Practice

Any girl would be driven insane if she was the youngest child and the only girl in a family of six children. Which meant she had five older obnoxious and overprotective brothers.

Then again, Riza Hawkeye wasn't just any other girl.

Her family lived in the outskirts of a mountain forest, located a few miles south of Central. It was far enough from the hustle and bustle of the city, that man and wild beast cohabited the same areas. And whenever it was hunting season, the Hawkeyes and their neighbors went trigger-happy.

Riza hated hunting season. She hated to see the squirrels she fed during the spring being gunned down by her older brothers. She hated breathing the air, polluted by the scent of gunpowder and smoke. Riza hated the loud gunshots interrupting her concentration as she tried to listen to her teachers in school. She hated the scent of decaying flesh of a forgotten kill (such a waste, she thought in disgust) and the coppery smell of dried blood on her father after he returned from a hunting party.

Still, it didn't stop her male relatives from teaching her how to use a gun at an early age. They assumed when she came of age, Riza would join in the seasonal killing spree. They were dead wrong.

The first living creature she shot at was another human being. She was fixing herself a midnight snack, and heard her mother's terrified scream from the master bedroom. Riza grabbed her father's pistol ("for shooting 'em thieving rascals," he said, referring to the raccoons) from under the couch and crept up the stairs.

She shot the man at a non-vital area, but it was enough to make the burglar drop his shotgun and gave her father enough time to call the town constable.

The very next day, her brothers pooled their money and bought her an airgun. It was cheap, lightweight, and only capable of maiming a frog, but she liked it. She could practice her aim with it, and it wouldn't hurt anybody.

Except for the time she beat up one of her older brothers with the butt end of the gun.