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L.T. Bentley
author and storyteller

Excerpt from Gemini Shattered (sequel to Fatal Compulsions)

Gemini was no stranger here. There wasn’t an inch of this structure that had not been thoroughly inspected and committed to memory. Each footfall was placed with precision. Each step was assured as Gemini crept softly into the room, navigating the darkness as eyes adjusted to the change in light. The source of the breathing lay just beyond the double bed that nearly took up all the available space in the room. Here, as in the recently vacated room, there was no adornment on the walls, no indication that this space was used for anything other than utilitarian purposes.

A small space between the door where Gemini entered and the bed held a dresser whose top was overflowing with items Gemini had felt were necessary to have on hand to ensure the well being of the room’s occupant. On the opposite side of the bed, crammed between the bed and the wall was a small cot railed on all four sides to protect the cargo inside. It was from this space that the soft breathing emanated.

Gemini stepped closer, waiting for the darkness to dissolve into recognizable shapes, and stood over the crib and the two small bundles it held. The two infants slumbered on blissfully unaware of the watchful gaze. Gemini bent over the sleeping forms, eyes now able to pick out details, taking in the small hands, the identical innocent faces, the bodies turned towards each other as each baby boy sought his twin even in sleep.

“Do they know?” Gemini wondered. “Do they suspect? Do they have any idea that the future holds great danger and even death for one of them?”

Gemini smiled down on the sleeping infants. For tonight, that could wait. For now, they slept on undisturbed and for that small blessing, Gemini was grateful. Tomorrow would be soon enough to worry about what was coming. Gemini stood looking at the babies for a few more moments before silently creeping away, trying to avoid the worse of the creaky floorboards. A stop at the dresser, before leaving the room, ensured that the tools needed for tomorrow were readily at hand.

Gemini swung the bedroom door partially closed and walked back to the recently vacated couch. The moonlight struck the tiny gift wrapped box and the pair of wire cutters placed carefully on the scarred coffee table next to the half filled glass. Sitting back on the couch and stretching out lengthwise, Gemini allowed sleep to quickly overtake the whole house. Soon three bodies breathing deeply were the only sounds to respond to the creaking of the old bones of the house as it settled during the night.

Excerpt from In Search of Greener Grass

"Why do you spend exactly four minutes brushing your teeth?" Carl asks.

"I don't. Do I?"

I have never bothered to time myself. I just count mindlessly in my head how many strokes each side of my mouth gets and when I reach the correct number, I move on until all my teeth have been scrubbed.

"Yes, you do. And you never vary. In fact your whole bedtime preparation is always the same."

"What do you mean?" Now I'm curious. What is he talking about? I'm just getting ready for bed, the same as I do every night. The same as I have done for the past fourteen years of our marriage.

"You come to our room, get a shower, brush your teeth, clean your face, plump all the pillows after you've turned down the bed, and then you open the bedroom door approximately ten inches. Every night, the same pattern, the same order. You never alter it."

"Does that bother you?"

"No. Just find it curious. Why do you do that?"

I think for a moment before answering. Really, I hadn't noticed it until he pointed it out. Why do I do it? I could give the stock psychological reason; it's just a habit I've fallen into over a lifetime. That would suffice him, I know. But the real reason is, more elusive.

"I guess I just find it comforting. Something that never changes unless I allow it to."

He looks at me quizzically. I know he'll never get it, but change scares me. The boys change every hour. Before my eyes they are growing up and soon, they will be out of the house. Life isn't holding still. My husband is not the young man I married. He is changing and will continue to do so. Even I'm changing; getting older, thinking differently. The one thing that I can keep from changing, that I can control, is my nightly ritual. But he'd never understand and so we let the topic drop. We've been doing that a lot lately. It's part of the change that we've been undergoing.

We don't talk as much as we used to. Our interests are growing apart. His conversations center around what is going on at work. Ever since he was made a Director over product performance with his company, his time has been eaten up with meetings, traveling to other divisions across the country and overseas, and hobnobbing with other big wigs. When he's at work, he's all about work. When he's home, work tends to follow him. I've begun to resent the cell phone he carries. It goes off at the most inopportune times; during family meals, in the middle of family activities, even during sex. He refuses to turn it off since it “may be something important”. Even the boys have made mention that the phone would be of better use as a target for their guns.

I had to laugh the first time one of them suggested taking their father's phone and setting it up on the target range. I could just visualize my sons and I taking aim and seeing who could obliterate the obnoxious device. My husband smiled, but I don't think he thought it was as funny as the rest of us. That was a while ago though. It has been months since we have done anything together as a family, much less gone to the shooting range with the boys. I know they are missing our family outings. I am too.

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