The opening of Rabbit Moon, a novel-in-progress by Marian Szczepanski (fiction, ’97), appears in Embark:
The French door in the den was wide open, the equivalent of a welcome mat for mosquitoes, which were more prolific than ever this spring. Audrey called the housekeeper’s name as she zigzagged between the sectional and baby grand piano. She nearly tripped over Larry’s Suzuki book, spread-eagled on the carpet behind the ottoman. Transferring it to the piano bench, she tried and failed to recall if he’d practiced his recital piece before they left for school. The morning had been a more frantic scramble than usual: Sarah’s math binder gone AWOL, Larry’s PE uniform still damp in the dryer. Just thinking about it made her forehead sweat—or was it the temperature? Despite the humming AC, the room felt nearly as muggy as the outside. How long had the door been left open? Audrey surveyed the backyard—no Carmen—and shut the door firmly. Then she heard an odd sound behind her. A high-pitched whine, like that of a dog wanting to go outside.
They didn’t have a dog.
Turning, she saw them in the kitchen. One tall, the other much shorter. Ski masks revealed only their eyes. The short one wore baggy denim overalls spattered with green paint. The tall one, in jeans and a plain black sweatshirt, aimed a pistol directly at her. [. . . continue reading here.]