TITLE: BATTLE AXE
GENRE: OFFBEAT SUSPENSE
Black Forest, Germany: a longtime (but not always) lesbian has been harboring a secret from her only heterosexual lover for forty years. Her partner has always regarded it as a wedge between them.
"Mitzi," Johanna slurred. "Can I see the book?"
Silently, Mitzi pulled a green, cracked leather album from a shelf and laid it on Johanna's lap. Johanna spread her hands across the cover.
"Promise me," she began, then faltered.
"Anything," said Mitzi, leaning closer.
"Promise me you won't find him."
"It was a long time ago, Johanna. What's past is past," she lied. If it weren't for him, thought Mitzi, I would still have you.
"Promise me, then."
A trace of a smile remained on Johanna's face as her hands slipped off the book.
Brock elbowed the door open, balancing three cups of tea on a cutting board.
Mitzi sighed, a single tear trapped in one of her crow's feet. "As usual, Brock, your timing leaves something to be desired."
His face screwed inward and he dropped the tea. "No!"
If she weren't already dead, Brock would likely have crushed Johanna as he lay across her sobbing and stroking her cheek. His weight yanked her IV tube loose and it twirled impotently, dripping morphine onto the pine floor.
Mitzi grabbed the corner of the book and tugged it from between Brock and Johanna. She ran her finger up and down its spine and walked slowly toward the door. She hoped Brock interpreted it as respect for his privacy. In truth, she couldn't stomach any more of his bawling.
I've shared her whole life with him, thought Mitzi.
At least I had her death to myself.