Excerpts of The Little Death by Paris Lord

I mean, I hadn’t ordered a dead body or anything, but there it was, waiting on my porch, blocking my door. A glance left, right. No one waited nearby. No sounds signified a retreat, either.

I spied a quiet, sunlit neighborhood on Catalina Island with small beach houses, big trees and a million dollar view. Seriously. That was how much I’d paid for my place. I worked part time as waitress and trained as a classical ballerina at night when I couldn’t find anything to watch on TV. While I only made pennies a day, I’d appeared on an episode of House Hunters, so my luxurious lodgings made total sense to everyone everywhere and anyone who said otherwise was lying.

Anyway. The dead body. I had just tried to step outside, only to knock my forehead into the glass pane. That’s when I’d spotted him, stuffed inside a black duffel bag. Had I mistakenly ordered a corpse instead of a large pepperoni with green olives? Could people do that now, and did they ever have two for one specials? Wait. Was this one of those times I wasn’t reacting to something “normally?” I heaved a sigh, lamenting the woes of pretending to care about anything, only to stumble back, shocked for the first time in my life. Was I truly seeing what I thought I was seeing?

Yes! I was indeed seeing what I thought I was seeing. My new neighbor had just parked a huge moving van at the curb between our houses. At least, I was assuming he was my new neighbor based on reasons.

He hopped out from the driver’s side, and despite the almost cool temperatures, he was shirtless, sweat glistening on his plethora of tattoos as if he’d been lifting weights during the drive.

Plethora. That was a good word. I’d have to remember to add it to my “I said something smart” calendar. Sweet! My third entry of the year. Anyway. The best part about Muscles? He wore the porniest pair of sweatpants I’d ever seen. The bulge! I would swear time slowed as my heart sped up.

Wait. Time had definitely slowed, because a kajillion thoughts raced through my mind between one of Muscles two hundred dollar an hour steps and the next. Did most of those thoughts revolve around his bronzed perfection?

Yes. But a few hundred thousand revolved around my ex, possibly the worst human ever born from the dawn of time until the end of planet Earth, but I wasn’t 100% on that. I mean, I’d also met my ex’s mother, so it could be a tie.

Whatever. I hated speaking badly about people. But what the heck! I would make an exception today because I was trapped in that time warp with Muscles, who was walking as if the air had turned to molasses. My ex and his mother–

Wait again! Was Muscles headed straight toward me?

As I waited for Muscles to finish closing the distance at a snail’s pace, my thoughts returned to my ex. Dude. He sucked so hard. He’d cheated on me with, get this, another cheater. Like, seriously? Your standards are that low? The fact that I once shared a bed with him…gross. Just gross. I remained disappointed in myself.

Oh! Oh! And that wasn’t even the worst part of the whole ordeal. This lying, cheating scum—the ex, not the lying, cheating scum he’d slept with in our bed—had sunk even lower. He’d stolen my precious Care Bear collection. Well, he’d tried to steal it. I killed him before he’d succeeded and properly disposed of his body. I still fall asleep to the sound of his screams. Such a sweet melody.

Anyway. What kind of guy was this six-foot-four, black-haired Adonis approaching me, and had he seen anyone drop off the dead body currently residing on my porch? I should probably ask. Oh, yeah, and I should probably also call the cops. Normal people did that kind of thing. Right? I mean, this wasn’t one of mine so—Wait!

Muscles had finally stopped walking. He was looking at me and moving his mouth, making hand gestures here and there, which meant he was talking to me about something important.

I backed out of my thoughts and tuned into the here and now, his voice hitting my awareness at last. “—need help?”

Oh, how kind of him to offer. “Yes and no.” I knew from experience I couldn’t lift a dismembered body without aid, but… “Aren’t we supposed to let the cops move it? Or something like that.”

“I…don’t understand.” He unveiled the most uncomfortable smile and yet also the hottest. A real show stopper with straight pearly whites I could make him spit out like candy if ever he—

No! I wasn’t going to kill anyone else ever again probably. I’d promised.

“My bag,” he said, motioning to the duffel that contained the body. “May I grab it?”

Wait. Muscles was the killer?
Why did he just get hotter?

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