HOMECOMING EXCERPT

 

“Please. Just take what you want and leave,” Kellen says.

I thumb the chin of my Grim Reaper mask as if considering the request; my eyes never leave his. “No. I think not, Mr. Evans.”

A chill spreads over his wife’s porcelain face, her eyes snapping wide at the mention of his name.

Yes, Laura. I know your husband. And I know you too.

Her makeup is barely thick enough to smooth the sudden worry lines. She’s still a thing of beauty, this asp of a woman, though the years have taken some of the shine off. Wrinkles sprout from the corner of her eyes like fledgling bushes. A spray of sunspots drift from her hands and up her arms. The full cheeks I remember so well have been pared back to sharp angles, chiseled away by time. That, or Kellen’s lies. Either way, she played a hand in this, and I will show her no pity.

No one comes away clean tonight.

No one.

Not even the boy bound next to her, watching me through brown pools of fear. This child I’d yearned to be.

This blood-born son.

“Who are you?” Kellen asks, eyes red-rimmed and swimming with panic. “Gabe, is that you? This isn’t fun—”

I lean close and cut him off, level my gaze. “Think, Mr. Evans. Think. Answer for yourself. Who am I?”

He shrinks back, nearly tipping his chair. “I—I don’t know.”

“Oh, but you do.” I settle back in the chair and cross my legs, keep the gun trained on his chest. “Let’s play a game to jog your memory. It’s simple, really. I ask a question and you answer. You tell the truth. It hurts. You lie. It hurts worse. Much worse. Got it?”

Lost for words he nods, his face taking on a sickly pallor.

“Good.” I tip my head toward his wife. “How long?”

His forehead creases. “How long what?”

“Don’t play dumb with me, Kellen. How long have you been cheating on her?”

His mouth droops, lips quick to form their lie, but before he can speak, Laura cuts him off, her voice ringing with indignation, her eyes hot on mine. “Who the hell do you think you are? I’ll have you know my brother’s a cop. When he finds out ab—”

I swing the gun her way. “Not another word.”

Read the rest in Ink Stains.