Sunday, March 3, 2019

'Bone Gap' by Laura Ruby

An excerpt. 

He gestured to a painting hanging over the fireplace. It took her a moment to understand that it was a portrait of her. She was standing in the middle of a verdant field, one blossom threaded through her fingers, another threated in her long, coiling hair. A ring of girls danced around her. In the picture, an invisible wind pulled at her white gown, outlining her body so vividly that she didn’t seem to be wearing any clothes at all. Roza edged away from the fireplace, from the horrible painting over it, like an animal sidesteps a snake.

He didn’t notice, or if he did, he didn’t care. He peered down at her from his great height, those icy eyes on fire. She fought for breath, as if that stare was incinerating all the oxygen in the room, as if she would be consumed along with it.

He said, “You’re very beautiful.”

Roza had heard this many times before, but it had never scared her so much.

“I want to marry you.”

Her lips worked. When she finally spoke, she didn’t say, “No one is so beautiful.” She didn’t say, “You’re a kidnapper and a criminal and a madman.” She didn’t say, “I’m in love with someone else.” She didn’t say, “Please don’t hurt me.”

What fell from her numb lips was what she’d said to a foolish boy she’d left in Poland. “I am only nineteen.” 

Laura Ruby. Bone Gap. 2015Read by Dan Bittner. Balzer + Bray, New York. [Audiobook]
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope. Robins of Modern Times. 1857. Private collection.

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