Respite – Part 2

Posted: August 8, 2016 in Book I Terror in Texas

Matt walked to the door and tapped on the glass. He waited and listened.  When they heard nothing inside, he reached into his pocket and drew out his LED light.  He flicked it on and passed the beam around the aged living room. The distant wall was covered in a rose floral print paper.  A worn recliner could be seen near a floor lamp with a table and candle.

A doorway to the left led into what Matt imagined was the kitchen since he could see the corner of a chrome leg with a Formica-top. Fanning the beam back to the right he saw a darkened hallway.  Matt tapped against the glass again. Again, they listened.

“Did you hear that?”

“No.  I don’t think I heard anything.” Matt answered as he cocked his head.

“I think I heard something,” Doc answered. “We don’t have to do this.”

“We’ve had this discussion.”

Matt reached out and turned the door knob. The knob moved, and the door swung open a few inches. The stench of death wafted out forcing both men to step back.

“There’s a dead body in there, and it’s had a while to ripen,”  Doc announced.

Matt pulled his t-shirt up over his nose and mouth.  “Hear that? Flies.”

“They’re dead. You do not need to go in there.”

“I have to make sure.  Stay here. No need for you to see this.” Matt answered as he stepped into the dark.

The house reeked of death and decay. Amid the shadows, Matt could see the remnants of lives that no longer existed.  The furnishings resonated with the simplicity of those lives; simple, comfortable, not much for frills.  Above a stone fireplace was an aged picture of a young Marine in uniform with a ribbon with a military medal hanging from the corner. More pictures of a Viet Nam era soldiers were displayed above the stone fireplace. The room appeared as if the residents had just stepped out for an afternoon. Matt heard footsteps and turned to see Doc following him.

“Told you, you didn’t need to come in here.”

“Not the first time I smelled death. Let’s get this over with.” Doc answered.

Matt moved from the living room to the kitchen.  The room was as neat and tidy as the previous room had been. The only thing that seemed out of place was a yellow tablet and pen on the table. Matt fanned the beam from side to side and back to the hall.

“Nothing here. Let’s move on.”

He led Doc deeper into the dark recesses of the house. He glanced through a door to the left and saw a claw foot tub, a toilet and old time pedestal sink.  A hand towel and wash cloth were folded carefully over the towel rack. A second doorway exposed a sparsely furnished bedroom, with a double bed and a dresser and massive wardrobe.  The last door at the end of the hall was closed, and as they drew closer, the stench of death grew even stronger.

Matt stepped to the door and paper crinkled under his foot.  Matt shined the light on the hand written note lying on the floor. He leaned over and picked it up.  A small piece of tape stuck up from the top.  The author had taped it to the door and at some point, the humidity had loosened the glue, and it had fallen from the door.

Matt looked closer. The note was dated five days after the attack.

Son, Your mother, passed peacefully this morning. Did what had to be done to give her peace. My time is short, and I know what will happen. I still have the .45, so I’m choosing when and how I go rather than wait for this infection to take me. I won’t cause more pain and suffering. I pray you, Jenny and the kids are safe and spared this plague. Your mother and I are at peace. Be brave and secure in our love, your father. 

Matt turned to Doc. “Okay, we can go.”

“You’re not going to look? Make sure.” Doc asked.

“Don’t need to. He was a Marine.” Matt returned the paper to the door with a trembling had and replaced the strip of cellophane tape with a piece of duct tape.

“You think the family will come?”  Doc asked.

“No. I think if they survived, they would be here by now.  Let’s look around and see if we can find some real food.  I’ve real tired of gas-station snacks.”

Matt leads Doc back to the kitchen where both men spent a few minutes opening cabinets.

“What about this door?”  Doc placed his hand on a pantry door knob.  Matt retrieved another flashlight from his pocket and tossed the LED light to him.

Doc opened the door and gasped. “Bingo!”

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