She'd fought. In her frenzy and her fear, she'd thrown herself at the two big windows. Each time, she'd been grabbed, and dragged back, dripping bloodied crystals onto the frayed living room rug. I tried to step around them, but they were everywhere, crunching under my feet like bits of old bones.

There was blood in the bedroom, too, frozen little droplets on the faded floral wallpaper, the oak table, the bare plank floor. And on the knurled wheel that turned the rubber platen of the ancient, black Underwood typewriter.

I stopped, took a breath like always when I saw one of those old Underwoods. A long time ago, I'd known a girl who owned a typewriter like that, a blonde girl with a boy's name. I was with her when she bought it, helped carry it home, watched as she turned it upside down to scratch her initials on it to make it her own.

Outside, in the dimming light, the wind rustled, restless, waiting. I eased the typewriter over and bent to look for marks made long ago. My eyes stung. Wet, from the cold of the cottage, I told myself. Wet, from the horror of the butchery that had happened there.

It had nothing to do with the past.

Miller's Underwood