Sheriff Rogers peered at Lily from under the brim of his cap. “You’re sure you don’t want to press charges?”
Lily glanced over at Chuck, sitting on the ground, hands cuffed behind his back. She kept her left hand in the pocket of her baggy sweatpants while her right caressed the mottled pale-black of her arm. She spotted the neighbors, alternating red and blue flashes creating a strobe effect. “I’m sure, Tom,” she muttered, eyes turning to the scuffed edges of her worn-out sneakers.
“All right, Lil’.” He cut his glare over to the deputy standing behind Chuck and nodded his head. The deputy’s face took on a resigned look as he bent down and undid the cuffs. Chuck rubbed his wrists and scrambled up. The Sheriff looked at Lily, frustration and sadness warring in his gaze. “You don’t have to put up with this, Lily,” he murmured. “We can get you out of here, you know.”
Lily drew in on herself, shoulders hunching and head shaking vigorously. Lanks of dirty blonde hair hid her face as they swayed. Chuck sauntered over, snaking his bare arm around Lily’s shoulders. “See, Sheriff? Told y’all it was just a misunderstanding.”
Tom narrowed his eyes, lips transforming into a slash across his face. Chuck grinned, cheap booze smell oozing between his teeth. He squeezed Lily tight and she whimpered. “Sometimes our neighbors are a mite jumpy at our little spats…well, you know how that goes, dont’cha?”
Tom’s fist clenched, but he fought his impulse and jerked his head at his deputies. They climbed into the squad cars and drove off. Chuck looked over to his left and sneered. “I know you called, Mrs. Jenkins, you nosy old bat. Mind your business,” he yelled. He clenched Lily’s shoulder and jerked her back in the house. “Get me a beer, you dumb bitch, before I lose my buzz.”
She stumbled as he pushed her toward the kitchen, caught herself, and scurried away. Chuck grunted at his cowering wife and wondered what he could do to make his nosy cow of a neighbor stay out of his affairs. Mrs. Jenkins was pretty old, maybe an accident with some stairs…
Lily shuffled forward, open beer held in her right hand out in front of her. Chuck snatched it out of her hand. “Useless! Why’d I ever marry you?”
He guzzled the contents of the can. “You’re worthless without me,” he shouted. “And don’t think that fool sheriff can help you either. I see the way you look at him.” He grabbed Lily’s hair and yanked her head back. “You want him, don’t you, whore? What makes you think any man would want a stupid skank like yo-”
His breath choked off and he started to gag. His beer fell to the floor as he clawed at his throat, eyes bugging. Froth formed at the corners of his mouth, and he collapsed to his knees. His accusing gaze swept over Lily before it glazed over and he dropped face-first to the floor.
Lily pulled her left hand out of her sweats, a small, black asp curled around her fingers. She kissed the serpent she had milked for its venom, then spit on Kevin’s cooling corpse.
Hope you enjoy.
Happy Reading and Writing!