Staring at Fear


Madam Fannie Porter stares at fear. (From The Last Bordello)


I reminded my fingers to turn the knob slowly, quietly. I crept through the kitchen’s side door and held my breath.

A voice in the parlor. Not one of my girls. I tiptoed into my bedroom and made my way to the far wall. Wiped my sweaty, shaky hands on my dress. Removed the painting.

Only Reba and I knew about the coin-sized peephole Constructed long ago for keeping an eye on questionable customers. Exactly my eye level, as intended.

The voices would be clearer now. I inched the cork from the hole. Fighting for breath, I peered through the hole and into the parlor.




Published by

Carolyn Dennis-Willingham

Carolyn is the author of two published books – No Hill for a Stepper, 2001, and The Last Bordello, 2016. Her third novel, The Moonshine Thicket, is set in 1928 and is currently enduring a professional edit. When not on her laptop, she serves as a lap top for her grandchildren. She is a retired Early Childhood Specialist, a fitness boxer, artist, and a ball thrower for her ever-persistent mini Aussie. In addition to her blogging website,, you may find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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