Happy, Friday, y'all. I intend to be fully thankful that my book is done!
From "Things That Go Bang in the Night" Copyright © 2014 by Lauren Gilley
Cheryl tapped on the window, from inside the kitchen, and when Layla glanced up, she saw her aunt gesturing for her to go back around front and sit down in a series of pantomimed actions that would have been hilarious at another time. Layla just nodded and headed that way, doing as told, when the toe of her sandal caught on something in the ankle-high grass. It was a little rectangle of hammered tin. She knelt and turned it over, brushed away the dirt with her fingers.
It was a garden sign, forgotten and rusting. Etched into the tin were the words Bless Our Happy Home.
That’s what this house had been for some other family: a happy home.
She’d stood in the sun, tracing the letters with a fingertip, remembering Sly on that first day with his hands on his hips in front of the white brick hearth. Yes, he’d bought this place for her, and yes, it was a wreck, but the best things seemed to be born in the middle of messes. She’d decided then to make this their happy home, no matter how grueling the process.
Now she stood in front of the second-hand refrigerator, trying to decide if she could stomach the leftover broccoli tomato salad she should eat, or whether her craving for cheese dip was too strong to ignore.
She glanced at the microwave clock. Sly would be a while, yet. The swank cocktail party he was working security for wouldn’t be over for hours. It was a client of Cheryl’s; those fifty-something former debutantes partied harder than any frat boys ever could.
“Cheese dip it is,” she said to herself, and grabbed the clear plastic container.
The container fell out of her hand, the top burst off, and white cheese showered her feet and the ugly linoleum. Her heart lurched up her throat, lodging against her voice box; her pulse went from a standstill to a gallop; she was lightheaded, dizzy, out of breath in her sudden fright.
“What?” she asked herself, trying to get her heartbeat under control.
It had been a loud, sudden sound, a sharp punch of something striking another something. Not a gunshot, she realized with a modicum of relief. She knew what gunshots sounded like, now.