I took my time answering the door, because I was sure it was just Auntie Joy, “checking in” for the fifth time that week. If she hadn’t been letting me live rent free in the house she’d planned to give me as a wedding present, and we didn’t go to the same church, I would have seriously told Auntie Joy—not really my aunt—what I thought of her little visits. And then I’d have to move, because she wouldn’t like me anymore.
So, I painted on a smile and said through gritted teeth, as I swung open the front door, “Not to worry, Auntie Joy, I’m still alive.” With the door fully open, I found I was speaking to a tall, wiry, dark-haired man on my porch, instead of the plump, silver haired know-it-all I had expected.
The man shifted his weight from one foot to the other, his thumbs hooked into the waist of his worn denim jeans. He said his name was Micah and he was there to make me pay for Wes’ sins. Then he smiled with big, white teeth and said that he was just joking, but I thought someone with eyes that cold didn’t make joking around a habit.
Through the screen door, I noticed that the autumn wind had picked up. The leaves were making a melodic rattling sound as they swirled low to the ground.
I should have slammed the door in his face, but instead I stepped out onto the porch. I did things like that sometimes—often, acted against my better judgment.
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