The Devil in Her BedBy: Kathryn Thomas
Before Melissa Carter felt her neck snap and the darkness overcome her, she had a brief moment where everything was totally clear. If someone had been able to pause time at that moment, she could have explained everything that needed to be done to end world suffering and bring peace to mankind.
As the thug’s arm wrapped around her neck and his paw of a hand gripped the side of her head, she realized how big of a mistake it was to raise Jenny the way she had. She had wanted Jenny to be more like her than her father, living a good, honest life—free from worries of persecution and incarceration. A good, happy life with a good, steady husband in a good, monotonous job.
She felt the pressure increasing on her neck, as the gorilla's arms cinched down, and she understood what a grave error she had made. If Jenny had been raised as a true child of John’s—riding, shooting, and getting into all kinds of trouble—Jenny would be better prepared to handle situations like this. She would be strong enough to fight her way out and brave enough to confront her attackers.
Now, as she stood in the rain with her groceries littered around her feet because the damn garage door wouldn’t go up, Melissa realized just how weak she was. She wasn’t fighting. She wasn’t even trying. She wondered how on earth a strong, brave man like John had ever fallen in love with a pathetic woman like her, a prissy princess without a lot to offer.
She felt a tear escape, the droplet mingling with the rain, as she thought of the family she would be leaving behind. Her throat begin to burn, as she wondered if these men would also go after her only child. They certainly seemed to know who she was, calling her name to get her attention, which meant they probably knew about Jenny.
The dark vests they wore had thrown her, tricking her into believing they were members of the club in need of help. Part of her was almost sure she recognized one of them, but that must have been a mistake. There was no way one of those guys would betray John, not after he had worked so hard to gain their loyalty.
As she heard the casual order to “kill the bitch,” she thought of how she and John had met. She had been on her hands and knees on the side of the road, her ass up in the air as she looked under the car, trying to make sense of the instructions printed on the jack. She had never changed a flat before and was trying to figure out what to do when he had stopped to help her. A cliché if there ever was one.
She’d been going through a rebellious phase at the time, and he was just what she was looking for. He had been tall and handsome, dressed all in leather with a rakish grin on his face. Quite different to the aged, concerned, stressed man she was married to now, his youth and vitality sapped by time and worry. She loved him, but she had wished he would give up the club and hand it down to his heir apparent, Asher. He was a nice young man—although scruffy and intimidating. The stress of interclub politics was a severe strain on John’s weakening heart, and every day he left her side she feared he wouldn’t come home. She wondered if hearing the news of her demise would finish him off for good.
No, of course it wouldn’t. He still had Jenny. He would stay around as long as he could to take care of her and to ensure she was taken care of after he was gone. In the blink of an eye, as her attacker twisted her head violently to the side, she almost smiled, a wistful smile of someone leaving a party too early. She would miss John and Jenny. She would just have to wait for them both to catch up.
Jenny looked at her phone in annoyance as she was preparing to leave for class. The display read John Carter, and she wondered what had happened. It was only ten o’clock, and it wasn’t like her father to be up so early. He was typically at the club until late at night, planning all sorts of nefarious activities she didn’t want to know anything about. She loved her father, but the further she stayed away from his business, the better off they would all be.