Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Avarice: Chapter Five

“Let’s find all the furniture we can and stack it in front of the doors and windows.
We’ve got a couple of guns, let’s get them cleaned and ready to go. We’ll get everybody away from the windows, get all of our food supplies ready… that’s about all we can do.”

“Marie”, he said, turning his head. “I want you to go over to the western wing and grab spare boards, chairs, and anything else you can find. Anything long enough we’ll use to board windows, anything smaller we can use for the fire.

“Glad, you to go the basement. I want to you find any axes, shovels and anything else we could use as weapons.”

He turned to Abby and Vera. “You two keep watch. Vera you look west and south, Abby north and east. You see any light or anybody coming you call us and come downstairs.”

As he spoke, his voice grew firmer. Giving orders had imbued some strength in him. He stopped shifting his weight between his feet.

“We have high ground, and a clear view of the tree line. If we’re lucky, they’ll be worried that we’re more heavily armed than we are.” He breathed deep and appeared to consider saying something reassuring, but just grunted.

Abby and Vera started toward the stairs. Mariette didn’t move. Abby stopped. Her mother and father met eyes.

“Actually - Abby, you go to the west wing. Mariette watch north and east”.

Abby didn’t like going to the west wing. She avoided it at all costs. Occasionally they’d get a bird or squirrel trapped over there. They’d ask her to go over there and shoo it out so it wouldn’t get into the good half of the house.

Mariette left the kitchen before Abby had a chance to protest.

The main door to the western wing was on the first floor. There was another door on the second floor, but it had been locked as long as Abby could remember, and the key was lost.

She went through the door. For a moment she stood in the threshold, holding the door open. Pale light streamed through the stained and dusty windows. There were cobwebs everywhere.  It was a warm day, but staring into the abandoned space made Abby feel cold.

The door slammed behind her and she jumped. She could no longer hear the voices of her family. She strained to hear their footsteps tapping elsewhere in the house, reminding her that she wasn’t alone.

The floorboards creaked as Abby stepped forward into the hall. There wasn’t much of value in here: all of the books, furniture, and toys had long since been moved to the eastern wing. The only items that remained were a couple broken chairs and a stool. Abby grabbed them and dragged them back through the doorway.

She walked further into the western wing and climbed up the stairs. She didn’t go up here very often at all. There were two more bedrooms and an old study. She went in the study first. There were some shelves mounted on the wall, and a single bookshelf standing on the floor. There were a few books on the shelf, probably from her brothers’ school work. She pulled the shelves off the wall, figuring that the broads would be good for covering windows. She kicked the standing shelf apart. It was dusty, but you could tell it was made of oak. It took a few kicks but she got the boards separated. She took them into the hallway.

The first bedroom was almost entirely empty. There was an old broken lamp sitting in a corner and a dirty rug on the floor. Not worth grabbing, even for the fire.

She walked into the second bedroom. She thought she’d been everywhere in the west wing, but she must have never bothered to go into this room. The bed was still made, there were lamps on either side of it. In front of the bed was a rocking chair, in front of them both was a large red and green checkered rug. There was a bookshelf by the wall, still full of books. A small rocking horse sat near the bed.

Abby closed the door and took the wood from the study back downstairs.

Chapter Six -->
Copyright 2016 Tyler Smith

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