Four stars (of five)
Crouch and Kitt serve up this interesting short story about the strength that high school love holds, even when two people are separated for years. Ariana Plano was swept off her feet in high school by young and athletic Ray Koski. They had a fairytale romance until rich and poweful Bud came along and stole her away. While she became a trophy wife to a game hunter, she also remains firmly embedded under his thumbnail and faced the consequences for her actions. Over the years, Adriana has been tasked with taking Bud’s spoils out to Ray’s butcher shop, more to rub it in his face than anything else. Dutifully, Ray and Ariana do the dance of non-communication and transact business in a painful manner. One winter afternoon, Ariana arrives to deliver her latest carcass for processing and becomes trapped in the freezer with none other than Ray. They break the proverbial ice and learn a great deal about one another, some of which rekindles that old spark. But it is the lengths to which they both go to express that flickering flame that will leave the reader gasping. Well written and a sure quick read, Crouch and Kitt have a handle on the genre and how to lure the reader in from the start.
While there is no surprise to the story’s ending, it was interesting to see how they authors would bring the story around. The narrative is clear and the dialogue flows well, as does the premise. Crouch and Kitt are able to express their desired message with ease, while also creating the smallest hint of gore well suited alongside a Stephen King thriller. It impressed me enough to want to explore both authors a little more to see what they have written solo.
Kudos, Madam Kitt and Mr. Crouch. I am intrigued, which is a big step for me. Keep writing and impressing your audiences.