KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
TIL DEATH DO US PART
BY STEPHANIE AYERS
When Ian buys Elizabeth a Tiffany’s engagement ring, he unwittingly sets off a series of deadly events as the ring goes full circle — passing through the hands of a hopeful co-worker, a young delivery boy, a beloved daughter and her father, a drug addicted twin brother, a drug dealer, and a pawn shop — to be reunited with its intended.
Traffic was the only thing that could put a damper on her Christmas spirit. The only way out of the water-locked city was by bridge. During the holidays, the bridge was always packed, and if you could travel more than an inch every five minutes, you were lucky. Today was no exception. An endless line of cars behind her matched the endless ocean of steel ahead. A slight jolt rocked her for a moment as an impatient driver bumped her fender.
She was beginning to regret taking the outside lane along the bridge as she saw big white flakes floating from the sky. Sudden visions of her car careening off the bridge, her body broken and bloodied, came to mind. She laughed at herself and shook it off, even as she felt a slight tremor come from the bridge beneath her. Another tremor sent the car behind into her bumper again. The jolt this time was a little harder, though still not enough to cause any damage. She inched forward as the traffic opened up slightly, wishing she were off the bridge already.
A few more inches and she could see the end of the bridge. The congestion was still heavy but she was relieved to see that it was at least moving. The bridge grumbled and trembled a bit more than usual and she would be more than happy to leave it. It was almost maddening in its noise. It slowly grew louder and she found herself at a dead stop. She imagined the little Rice Krispie elves standing on a rail and singing, “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” as the sound became significantly louder. A loud rumble that shook the entire bridge surprised and worried her.
The smell of hot steel filtered in through her vents as the bridge collapsed beneath her. Her trunk slid into the front windshield of the car behind, tossing her head against the seat. Glass sprayed her, some piercing her skin, as she came face to face with the bumper of the truck in front of her. Intense pain filled her even as she lost feeling from the hips down. Her eyes flicked around in agony. Her legs were pinned as the weight of the vehicles above crushed into hers. The bridge trembled again, shaking sideways as if blown by the wind. A small sound escaped as she realized with fading clarity that the vehicles were shifting and releasing some of the weight. The bumper slid to the left and the frame of her car lent support to the side of the truck as it turned. Her body was jarred once more and she screamed, but it was drowned out by the sound of the groaning steel.
Flashes of memory filled her mind–her fifth birthday party, her first middle school dance, graduation, and her first true love. His face came into focus before her. His clay colored eyes surrounded by naturally soft skin; his easy closed lip smile that peeked from between two deep pits on either side of it and one just beneath it; his white doctor’s jacket contrasting sharply with his healthy complexion. She heard his words again, hurting just as much now as they did then.
“I can’t make you wait for me. It’s not fair to you or to me. What if I don’t come back?” She remembered the weight of his hands on her shoulders. “What if I contract some fatal illness over there? I could never ask you to take care of me, to burden you in that way. No. It’s better this way.” She remembered the warmth of his palm cupping her chin. “We have no idea what the future will bring us. You know I won’t stand in your way.” She remembered the trail of tears on his face as plainly as if he were standing in front of her now.
Her voice bounced against the crushed frame of her car as she pleaded with him. “If you loved me, you wouldn’t do this.”
A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is a full-time world-building ninja and part time freelancer living in Ohio while crafting her own story and resists growing up at all costs. She mothers her children, loves her husband, attends church, and avoids all things housework and zombies. When she isn’t doing any of these things, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers, promotional graphics, logos and more.
Stephanie has been a regular contributor and leader for Bloggy Moms and Just Be Enough, and currently writes content for Blogmutt and IAPWE.
Her debut novella, Til Death Do Us Part, was published by Bannerwing Books in 2013, and her work appears in several anthologies and collections, notably Precipice 2, Flash Fiction: 1x50x100, and Endless Darkness. Her poetry has been featured in Ambrosia: A Poetry Anthology, and her first solo collection of horror stories released in October 2017.
Her favorite quote is: “The blank page is a canvas on which the writer paints a story.”-Stephanie Ayers
Links to Stephanie’s website, blog, books, etc.
Thanks, Stephanie, for sharing your book with us!
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