SEVEN FORBID presents: PARAMOUR by Virginia Wallace (A Preview)

The girl sat up in bed, stretching her arms wide as she yawned herself awake.

This, she thought as she lay back down with a smile, was a good way to spend her nineteenth birthday. Holed up in her lover’s tiny lakeside cabin nestled deep in the woods of the Adirondack Mountains.

It was a welcome respite from the last few days’ turmoil.

Her affair with the old man had begun as soon as they’d met, at his daughter’s graduation ceremony … the ceremony at which his future mistress was also graduating. While she’d been appalled by the old man’s advances, she was also drawn to him.

Or at least, to his money.

But the old man had been unwilling to leave his wife, and insisted on maintaining his relationship with the young lady as it had begun: an affair. He made her send him a video of herself taking her birth control pills every single morning.

But the girl was an ambitious thing, and became deeply embittered by having no power over the old man, no angle from which she could manipulate him. And so she finally pulled the trigger, and told his wife about the affair.

She’d hoped for a monetary settlement, some ‘hush money’ to keep her from talking to the press. That, she assumed, would have been the end of it. She would have preferred to go on as a newly minted trophy wife, an undeserving heiress. But alas, such was not to be.

Somehow the old man had seemed strangely ambivalent about the tattling to his wife. He’d brushed off the explanations, the self-righteous declarations of ‘wanting to be honest,’ and invited his young lady love here for the weekend. He’d made sure that his ‘love’ had her birth-control tablets and he his erectile dysfunction pills, and thus they were off.

The girl sat up, adjusting the top on her gauzy nightgown as she finally began to perk up. It suddenly struck her that something in the room smelled very enticing.

She smiled as she saw the spread laid out for her on the nightstand. Fresh pancakes with cinnamon, whipped cream, and sliced bananas—her favorite breakfast. There were crisp bacon slices laid out to balance the sweet pancakes with their salty, savory goodness, and a tall glass of ice-cold milk.

The young woman ate her breakfast with gusto, thoroughly enjoying the meal. The day would come, she knew, when she’d have to count calories, when she couldn’t just eat whatever she wanted. But for now, she was still a teenager. The whipped cream and bacon would have no effect whatsoever on her long, lean legs and taut stomach.

As she finished up, she could hear the old man puttering around the kitchen. Dishes clinked here and there, and the faucet ran every once in a while. Smiling, the girl gathered up her dishes and climbed out of bed, padding down the hallway toward the tiny kitchen.

“Hello, love!” she chirped.


There was no one there.

She set her dishes in the sink, looking curiously around. Where had the old man gone?

He’d just been here, that much was certain. Hadn’t she just heard him loading the dishwasher?

The girl opened the dishwasher; it was empty, and dry as a bone. The cabinets were still full of dishes, and the sink wasn’t even wet.

Had she drifted off from the carbohydrate-heavy pancakes, and begun dreaming again? Perhaps the old man had left her breakfast and gone into town for a while.

The young woman looked out the kitchen window. No, the old man hadn’t left; his luxury sedan was still parked in the gravel driveway.

She began to feel nervous, restless.

Then she laughed at herself, as the hallway toilet flushed. Smiling, she headed back down the short hallway.

“Hello?” she whispered, tapping on the bathroom door. “Love?”

She waited a moment, and then opened the bathroom door.

There was no one there.

Surely, she should have seen him exiting the bathroom door, yes? The girl frowned, feeling a strange sense of nervousness again.

Then she heard a dresser drawer shutting in the bedroom.

Internally laughing at herself, she headed for the bedroom. “Hello? Love?”


But the girl took a fearful step backwards, nonetheless.

The bedroom trash can lay overturned on the floor. Scattered upon the bed were dozens of empty pill packages, which the girl recognized as once containing the old man’s erectile dysfunction medicine.

And scattered all throughout the torn packages were birth-control pills, intact, uneaten, as they always had been during her affair with the old man. She’d been popping aspirin in the videos she’d sent to him, calming his fears while ever hoping that he’d get her pregnant, that he’d give her some means of wreaking a campaign of extortion upon his estate.

The girl jumped as she heard the riding lawnmower starting up in the garage.

She ran into the garage, suddenly frightened. The old man knew about her attempts at getting pregnant. This she knew now. Was he angry with her? Had he brought her up here to threaten her—or even worse?

She threw open the door to the attached garage, and jumped over the steps.



The lawnmower sat idle, covered with spider webs. The garage didn’t even smell of exhaust, as it should have if the lawnmower had been started within its plywood walls.

Terrified, the girl yanked open the garage door and ran outside in her nightgown.

“WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!” she screamed at the trees. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

The trees, resplendent in their autumn glory, hung as still as hanged bodies. There should have been a breeze causing their leaves to rattle. The morning shadows should have been dancing on the forest floor while the birds sang merrily.

Nothing …



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