A Limited Engagement
An excerpt from the short story by Josh Lanyon
I heard the key in the lock, switched on the porch light, and opened the door.
The rain poured off the roof of the cabin in a shining fall of silver needles, bouncing and splashing off the redwood deck. Ross stood there, blue eyes blacker than the night, the amber porch light giving his skin a jaundiced cast.
“You're here,” he said in disbelief. The disbelief gave way instantly to the rage he'd been banking down for -- well, probably since the newspapers came out that morning. Even in the unwholesome porch light I could see his face flush dark and his eyes change.
I stepped back -- partly to let him in, because really what choice did I have? Even if I'd wanted to keep him out, it was his cabin. Partly because…it was Ross and I had no walls and no doors and no defenses against him.
He followed me inside, shaking his wet, black hair out of his eyes. He wasn't wearing gloves, and his hands were red from the cold. His Joseph Abboud overcoat dripped in a silent puddle around his expensively shod feet. “I am going to kill you,” he said carefully and quietly, and he launched himself at me.
I jumped back, my foot slipped on the little oriental throw rug, and I went down, crashing into the walnut side table, knocking it -- and the globe lamp atop it -- over. The lamp smashed on the wooden floor, shards of painted flowers scattering down the hallway.
Ross's cold hands locked around my throat. Big hands, powerful hands -- hands that could stroke and soothe and tease and tantalize -- tightened, choking me. I clawed at his wrists, squirming, wriggling, trying to break his hold.
'Til death do you part...
“R-R-ogh--” I tried to choke out his name as he squeezed.
The blood beat in my ears with the thunder of the rain on the roof. The lights swirled and dimmed, the black edges swept forward and washed me out with the drum of the rain on the roof.
Copyright 2000-18, Josh Lanyon.
All rights reserved.