An excerpt from "Peyton Place"

Grace Metalious re-creates a notorious Gilmanton murder.

Published April 15, 1999 5:05PM (EDT)

Selena's hands tightened on the fire tongs which she had not put down after fixing the fire.

"Don't come near me, Pa," she said, and fear and revulsion made her choke on her words.

"Still a little wildcat, ain't ya, honey?" said Lucas softly. "Ain't had a man around since I left who could tame ya. I can see that." He walked closer to her, until he was standing directly in front of her. "Be nice to me, honey," he said in the old whining voice she remembered so well. "Be good to me. It ain't like I was your real pa. There ain't nothin' wrong in you bein' good to me." He put his big hands on her shoulders. "Be nice to me, honey. It's been a long time."

Selena threw back her head and spit square in his face. "You dirty old bastard," she said, her voice furiously low. "Take your crummy hands off me."

Lucas raised one hand and wiped her spittle away. "Little wildcat, ain't ya," he said, smiling his smile. "I'll fix ya. Same's I used to fix you long ago. Comere."

And then Selena realized that she was fighting for her life. In his efforts to subdue her, Lucas' hands had fastened about her throat and she began to feel the lightheadedness which comes with the lack of sufficient air.

"Little bitch," he spat as her knee came up to hit him in the groin. "I'll fix ya!"

His face was congested with blood as he reached for her again, and in the quick second before his hands could touch her she brought the fire tongs around with both her hands and smashed them with all her strength against the side of his head. He fell to the floor at once, almost at her feet, and in fear lest he gather his strength to stand up, Selena brought the tongs down again and again on his head. Blood gushed up in a fountain and bathed her face.

By Grace Metalious

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