The girl was young with a dancer's body and a dress that clung expensively and just right. She was the hostess and knew everyone around her. He stood over near the draperies drawn across the windows against the dusk, watching her drink heavily, hearing the dissonant tautness of her voice - and he thought how incredible it was that she had given up all the things she could have become in order to marry Gus Lench, in order to have this Westchester home. And in this long room softly lighted, here in the mechanical babble of the cocktail party, she had become the assistant executioner.
- From Secret Stain, a short story by John D. MacDonald