The house, seen through a break in the trees as the road winds down into the lake basin, looks both terribly lonely – out there by itself, no neighbors nearby – yet homey in the warm slanted afternoon sunlight. It wasn’t meant to be lonely, it was meant to be a home, filled with love and passion; art and insight; peace. 
The leaves scatter from the drive, tossed by a wind that has a nip of winter in it. Looking up at the front of the house from the garage, where Sam is barking excitedly, a shutter hangs loose. Was it like that before? Hard to say. Looking at it now, though…just one more thing to add to the list to repair. For the sale. Or to stay.
Inside, Sam immediately puts her nose to the floor, sniffing out something; maybe a mouse. The faint perfume of cigarette briefly touches the nose and vanishes, like a genie. Maybe not a mouse? The bag of groceries and items shifts  – ah yes, window locks.
Groceries into the kitchen, still so green and white. A new bottle down to the cellar and into a convenient basket – it can be properly placed later. A quick check of the downstairs doors, and up the stairs to the second floor, window locks in hand, Sam in the lead.

A growl sounds out of the German Shepherd’s throat – low and menacing. The creek of weight shifting on the wooden floor.  A flapping of a curtain in the purple bedroom. Charge in – no hesitation – not like those horror movies where the girl carefully sneaks a peak around the corner.

Strong hands, smelling of grease and cigarettes, grimy against lips. Pulling backward, an arm across the chest – not intimate, not now. Flailing hands captured, face pressed against the wallpaper in the hallway. The growl turns into a bark and then a charge – white dog leaping.

Ringing ears from the revolver’s shot, and dog body falling. Red on white fur. Backward dragging again as sad puppy eyes watch; helpless. Dying. Hopeless.

 

The second hallway bathroom – the one in the corner past the master suite – is painted in a bright aqua. The claw-foot tub, an original to the building, has a curtain suspended from the ceiling, so that it can be turned into to a shower. A new feature for the room is the tank-less water heater; all the rage in Europe and rarely seen here in the states.  The toilet is antique, with a pull chain and the tank elevated. It works better than most modern low-flow toilets. The floor is wooden, as is the rest of the upstairs, but painted a sandy brown to remind one of the beach. Sea shell shaped soaps and driftwood decorate the shelf near the mirror.

I don’t like this part. I didn’t like it when I had to live through it and I still don’t like it. No rape – thank god. Like he’d risk having me laugh at his size again. I teasingly called him small but mighty once. Just once. The beating that night had been couched in love-play. A little S & M he said the next morning to our friend – what was his name?  No the bruise was from when I’d slipped in the shower just that morning. I was just so clumsy. He never knew I’d heard that conversation, or told his mother the truth in a drunken conversation after he’d run away with that little girl. The one he killed later in the bedroom of my house. My honeymoon escape, he’d called it – the house that is. Not the girl. Then he found her, some sales clerk or something. Young. Very young. He found her and I fled to the city. She must not have had much to live for; no ghost.
Small. I like to scream it at him. He never responds though. Small in size, small in mind. Oh, he just tossed me into the tub. Not much more to watch now. My face once graced the cover of Art in America. Now it looks like a rotten eggplant. Funny how I get to watch it from this vantage, as if I’m looking over his shoulder.
The best part – right after he shoots me, again in the ruin of my face. Why the face? Anyway, the best part is this. Right now. The ricochet of the shot hits the water pipe, which bursts, and then crashes into the hanging light’s cord, which frays, dropping down to bash him in the head and electrocuting him at the same time.
Brilliant! Got to love exposed wire. I wonder if they’ll put that in the house brochure?

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