Man in the Blue Moon

Free Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris

Book: Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Morris
Tags: Fiction - Historical
very well say that Harlan was in bed, hallucinating that he was riding a cloud.
    “There’s an issue with payment.” With those words, Clive Gillespie introduced Ella to the world of banking and finance. He opened the doors to a knowledge that she had otherwise just as soon not known.
    “This isn’t even my signature,” she had said whenever Clive pulled out the document verifying the loan and specifying the payment that would be required each month, the same payment that she learned was overdue.
    “The law is black-and-white. Just like this piece of paper, Ella,” Clive said. “Now, I’m not here to get into marital squabbles.”
    Ella had repeated the words back to Harlan that night when he went to take another hit of opium. The dinner dishes had been cleaned, and she was in the kitchen drying them when he staggered in through the back door.
    “I can manage without an interfering wife,” Harlan said while knocking his pipe against the stove.
    “Well, evidently you can’t,” Ella shouted. “You lost some of my land once already. Now I find out that you’ve gone and forged my signature for a loan. A loan on property that belongs to me?”
    “What are you going to do, Miss Debutante? Huh? Are you going to put that finishing school education to use and get yourself employed?” Harlan threw the pipe into the eye of the stove and circled Ella.
    “I have a job. I have to run that store you cast aside the same way you do everything else you touch.”
    Then Ella saw the click in his eyes, the glazed narrowing that indicated he was at his breaking point. The point at which her husband transfigured out of the graciousness used to manipulate others. As Harlan moved past the kitchen sink, he snatched a butcher knife that she had used earlier to slice a chicken. Strips of milky-white fat and blue veins clung to the blade. Before Ella could see what was happening, Harlan was standing behind her, breathing on her in a musky scent. His breath was hot against her skin, and the blade cold as he held it up to her throat. “I’ll run this straight across those pouty lips. We’ll see how good you can sass then.”
    Ella felt a trickle of urine run down her leg. From the corner of her eye, she saw Keaton and Macon in the hallway. Without lifting her hand away from her dress, she managed to motion with her index finger, shooing them away. When Harlan laughed, she elbowed his groin and ran into the hallway, screaming, “Get out of the house, Keaton. Get Macon out of here. Run.”
    Keaton jerked Macon’s arm and ran out of the door without closing it.
    Ella darted into the dining room with Harlan running, stumbling behind her. “I’m going to cut your lips off,” he yelled, holding the knife high over his shoulder. Spit flung from his mouth, and strands of his hair hung over his eyes.
    Ella dashed around the dining room table and through sheer agility managed to keep away from his grasp. When she stopped at the head of the table, Harlan stood facing her with the front door at his back. He held the knife higher. The dark eyes that she had grown accustomed to seeing in a state of opium-induced glassiness were now piercing with an intensity that terrified her.
    Through the front door, Samuel eased into the house. Before she could scream for him to leave, she saw Samuel shaking his head, instructing her to be quiet. Ella obeyed. She never even flinched as he lifted a two-by-four, and she certainly never uttered a sound as the tip of the board brushed against the chandelier, causing it to chime.
    Harlan halfway turned, following the noise from the chandelier. Before he could turn completely around, the two-by-four landed against the side of his head. He fell backward against the china cabinet, causing the dishes to rattle and a decorative china bird that Ella’s aunt had given her to fall and crash to the floor. Pieces of china scattered around Harlan’s body, which lay in a ball on the floor. His eyes fluttered and skin

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