Don’t say it unless you mean it…
It’s a simple concept, one I’ve said time and again, but something people don’t seem to comprehend. You should choose every syllable carefully, because you never know when somebody will hold you to your word.
Somebody like me.
I’m not a good man. I’m not. I know. I have enough darkness inside of me to rid the world of every stitch of light. But there’s one I could never harm, one light I couldn’t bring myself to snuff out.
She thinks I’m a monster, and maybe I am. I taunt her with my touch, get a thrill out of torturing her soul. But I’m not the only one. The world is full of monsters, and I’m not the most dangerous one out there.
Not even close…
God help me, I love her.
And God help anyone who tries to take her from me.
“Guess it’s true what they say.”
The sound of Karissa’s voice draws my attention. Turning around, I see her standing at the bottom of the steps, eyes trained past me at the front door. Early morning sunshine bathes the area around it in a soft orange glow, making the brand new locks lining the door shine brightly. I spent all night fortifying the house, doing everything in my power to make the place secure.
“And what, exactly, do they say?”
Karissa’s eyes shift from the door to meet mine. Her hair is a mess, her pajamas disheveled. She clearly just woke up from sleeping hard, lost in tranquility, while I spent the past few hours drowning in paranoia. Every time the house creaked, I damn near clawed my way out of my own skin.
“History repeats itself,” she says, “first as a tragedy, second as a farce.”
Karl Marx. I recognize the quote.
Daniel Santino must’ve taught it to her.
I wave toward the front door. “Something about this is funny to you?”
“Not really funny,” she says, slowly stepping closer. “It’s sort of curious, though, that I spent my entire life trapped behind locked doors and here it is, happening to me again. I always knew something was going on when my mother started buying extra locks and nailing down windows. It’s just a bit of déjà vu seeing you doing the same thing.”
Hesitating, I reach into my pocket and fish out a set of keys. I toss them to her without warning, and they hit the wooden floor by her feet with a clang. Bending down, she picks them up, eyeing me curiously.
“You’re not trapped here, Karissa.”
Her fist closes around the keys, her gaze burning through me as she arches an eyebrow, silent for a moment before asking, “Aren’t I?”
“No, you’re not,” I say. “You can leave the house whenever you want.”
“Of course,” I say. “Doesn’t mean I won’t follow you, though.”
J.M. Darhower is the USA Today bestselling author of books about the hottest hit men and the women who find some hope in them. She lives in a tiny town in rural North Carolina, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep passion for politics and speaking out against human trafficking, and when she isn’t writing (or fangirling) she’s usually ranting about those things. Chronic crimper with a vulgar mouth, she admits to having a Twitter addiction. You can usually always find her there.