Be still, he yells at me from behind the wheel as he savagely cuts the engine. In the back seat, I tremble while the state trooper peers through the window and asks terrible, irrelevant questions of my new father-in-law. Where were you and with whom and what time? My husband’s mother is silent, but her eyes are kind as she turns to me, her finger across her lips like a crucifix. I mean to tell their son about it when I get home, but I don’t. I stay still. And I wonder just how far poisoned fruit can possibly fall.

Carolyn R. Russell’s latest novel is “In the Fullness of Time,” a dystopian thriller published by Vine Leaves Press in 2020. Her poetry, essays, and short stories have been featured in numerous publications, including The Boston Globe, 3rd Wednesday, Litro Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, Club Plum Literary Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, Orca: A Literary Journal, Bridge Eight, and Lowestoft Chronicle. Carolyn’s new collection of short stories, “Death and Other Survival Strategies,” will be published by Vine Leaves Press in October of 2023. Carolyn lives on and writes from Boston’s North Shore. For more information and links to her work, please visit