This Month's Free Read:

 From Coming to Climax: 

“Your father went to college?”

“Don’t look so surprised. Of course he was the only one in his family who did, but he graduated.”

“Why’d he come back here?” He held up his hand. “No, wait, that’s another story. Back to what went down that you don’t understand…” He gazed at her imploringly.

“Well, Aunt Margaret was dating my father and brought my mom down here for a visit one summer. All I know is my aunt broke up with Daddy and Mama stayed.”

He nodded. “A love triangle. Dicey. Did you ask your aunt and your dad what happened?”

“No one’s talking.” Carolina wrapped the rest of her sandwich and put in the bag. “Sorry I haven’t let you get a word in edgewise about your life. I didn’t mean to be like that. How about your parents?”

Andy shrugged. “I don’t remember much about my father, I was real small, except he usually left with a rifle, a high-powered scope, and a grim expression, and he came back with a smile and a lot of money. Mom didn’t talk about what he did, but considering we lived in New York, I assume he was a member of the mob. Then one day, he died somewhere away from home, and Mom had him buried.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “He had a lot of life insurance. Mom didn’t mind taking it, but she changed our last name.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, she wouldn’t talk about him at all, but I suspect she didn’t want the mob connection.”

“Wow! Are you ever afraid someone’s gonna pop up out of nowhere and try to kill you?”

“Who wants to kill a history professor?” He jumped to his feet. “Ready?”

“Yep.” Carolina rose, and they folded the blanket together. “I guess you’re right. Someone’d be more likely to want to kill me.”

As she said the words, the sound of a whoosh went by her ear, and she felt a sting on her ear lobe. Andy spun around and fell to the ground, clutching his shoulder.

Carolina stared in disbelief as blood seeped out over his shirt. “Oh my God!”

****

You missed him, you asshole! What’s a matter? Have a thing for the boy?

Eclipse ground his teeth. “It’s your fault. You moved my arm.”

That’s right. Blame everything on me. You have your whole life!

“Why shouldn’t I? You’re the one who shot me.”

Like hell, you say. That was your lily-livered way of giving up. If it hadn’t been for me, you wouldn’t have survived.

“If it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t have had to have plastic surgery.” From his hiding place in the woods, Eclipse watched as the two young people ran across the street and back to the store parking lot. “And if you don’t shut up right now and let me pack up, we’ll be up shit creek.”

You won’t get caught. You’re too smart for that.

“At least you’re right about that.”

I taught you everything you know.

Eclipse held his hands to his ears. “No, you didn’t! Go away! I can’t stand hearing you anymore.”

I’ll always be here, the voice answered. I won’t lose my freedom because of you again.