Staring at Fear


Madam Fannie Porter stares at fear. (From The Last Bordello)


I reminded my fingers to turn the knob slowly, quietly. I crept through the kitchen’s side door and held my breath.

A voice in the parlor. Not one of my girls. I tiptoed into my bedroom and made my way to the far wall. Wiped my sweaty, shaky hands on my dress. Removed the painting.

Only Reba and I knew about the coin-sized peephole Constructed long ago for keeping an eye on questionable customers. Exactly my eye level, as intended.

The voices would be clearer now. I inched the cork from the hole. Fighting for breath, I peered through the hole and into the parlor.




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