“Ricochet” Summary: Short Story by Angela Noel

“Ricochet” is a short story by Angela Noel about a resentful man who reaches his breaking point. Here’s a summary of “Ricochet”.

“Ricochet” Summary

Owen has his two wooden chairs back to back and a little apart with his shotgun resting on them, held in place by rope and wire. It points at his only door. The gun is cocked and there’s a string from the trigger to the door handle. When his brother Huw throws the door open like always, it will go off. He didn’t need gloves because it’s his cottage and his fingerprints should be all over everything.

Owen will leave on a light and go out the window. Huw will be over before chapel on the ruse of talking about restocking the farm. The animals were all destroyed after a breakout of hoof-and-mouth disease. Owen wanted to take care of it quietly but Huw insisted on calling the authorities. They lost everything, including their favorite dog, Beth.

To create an alibi, Owen sneaks out and heads for the village. He imagines he hears Beth still barking up on the hill. He loves the farm, and soon it will be all his. Owen lives in the cottage, while Huw lives in the main house with his wife, Rhiannon, the girl they both loved.

Ricochet Short Story Summary Angela Noel
“Ricochet” Summary by Angela Noel

The marriage was childless, which made Huw self-conscious. Rhiannon turned to Owen for comfort. When Margot was born, Huw changed for the better, and Owen felt he was losing Rhiannon again. His resentment grew and blazed with the slaughtering of his flock.

Owen made an appeal to Rhiannon to leave Huw and start a new life with him, but she wouldn’t after all he’d lost. She appreciated Owen’s help when times were bad, but Huw was better now and adored Margot. If he said anything, she’d deny it, and Huw would believe her. Owen shook her by the shoulder, but quelled his anger and left silently.

As long as Huw was alive, Rhiannon would be his wife and Margot his daughter. There was only one thing to do, but it had to look like Huw did it himself.

Huw wouldn’t suffer or know what happened. Owen would come home after chapel, clear away the rope and wires and place the gun in Huw’s hands.

Walking to the village, Owen sees Mrs. Price and takes the opportunity to establish a witness to his whereabouts. She talks for a while. Then Owen stops in on Ma Hughes and has tea. He gets to chapel just in time. After, people ask where Huw is, and Owen mutters something about depression.

Returning to his cottage, Owen is horrified to find two bodies on the floor—Margot and Beth. He realizes Huw never killed Beth, their favorite dog, but hid her. She must have escaped, and a joyful Margot came over to show him. Owen gets rid of the wire and string, reloads the gun and turns it on himself.

The noise wakes Margot. Beth had run ahead and burst through the door. Margot got covered in the dog’s blood and cried herself to sleep next to her on the floor. She runs off and meets up with Huw, who’s been looking for her for hours.

He picks her up to take her home and decides it’s too late to go see Owen now.

I hope this “Ricochet” summary by Angela Noel was helpful.