Chapter 7 - Entry 3
May 3rd – May 5th
We stuck close to Home over the next few days; partially due to heavy rains and strong winds mercilessly beating anyone who ventured outside, but mostly because we had a lot of work to do inside. The only good thing about torrential downpours is they stress test roofing pretty well. No leaks at the Home made me a happy camper.
For a solid day, Molly and I did nothing but gut the newly christened attic, bedrooms and common room. Rotting wood was piled in one corner of the workshop while metal bed frames went into another. Useless plumbing and electrical lines got tossed outside. The sandblaster, high pressure washer and shop vacs were put to good use, leaving the square, three story part of our Home a clean, hollowed out shell.
The next day was likewise spent working inside. I got the chimney of the common room’s huge hearth cleaned out and all that rotting wood merrily burned inside the big fireplace, lending a cheery glow and comfortable warmth to the otherwise bare stone interior.
Molly and Frank managed to pull the twin cast iron stoves from their perch at the common room’s far end and my tattooed companion spent most of the day grinding rust and built-up grease from their black surfaces. For my part, I replaced the old pipes we’d torn out the day before with new ones taken from the plumbing supply depot. Both the kitchen and gym-style bathroom upstairs were done by the day’s end, needing only a water supply to test my workmanship for leaks.
Dinner that night was cooked in the hearth. Several cans of chili were left to bubble merrily in a cast iron cauldron Molly had found, and cleaned, inside one of the stoves. The room smelled delicious and the fire light gave the stone interior a comfortable, yet medieval vibe.
“I think we should snag some furniture tomorrow and get this room set up. Its pretty comfortable with just the fireplace going.” Molly offered, stretching both legs out so her bare feet reached towards the fire. Toes wiggled in its warmth.
I nodded absently from where I sat cross-legged beside her, staring into the flickering flames while Frank stood like a statue in the workshop behind us. “Yeah. We can do that.” Grinning, I turned my head to regard her profile and waited until her gaze moved to meet mine. “Guess we’re gonna pick out curtains together.”
Her barking laughter echoed in the room’s hollow interior as she made her reply. “That’s what lesbians do on a second date. Know what they drive to their third one?”
“A moving van!”
Frank shuffled into the room and stood at its archway entrance as Molly and I had a good, long laugh. We’d bullshitted while working but that was the first time she and I seemed to connect on anything more than a superficial level. At least that’s how I felt and judging by the way she kept staring into my eyes, I thought it was a safe bet the feeling was mutual.
It was almost romantic when we kissed; the firelight dancing before us, sending shadows fluttering hither and yon on the stone walls nearby. Wind and rain raged against those same stone walls but there we were, safe and comfortable in their solid embrace. Post-laughter smiles remained on our lips as the heartbeats passed in silence. Eyes locked, we both moved closer until pale flesh met ruby red.
We lost ourselves in those moments, enjoying the contact without rushing into teenaged tongue-eating. A hand lifted to bury its fingers into my white hair. Eyes closed as we fell into the kiss more deeply.
It was then that Frank chose to shuffle forward and stand about a foot away from our backs. We both knew he was there. That subtly disturbing sense one gets when their personal bubble is broached without approval. Foreheads pressed together, we both started laughing softly as the kiss ended.
Grinning, Molly looked over her shoulder and whined in an exaggerated voice, “Daaaad! Can’t I ever have some privacy!”
There was a pause then and I heard Molly take in a sharp breath. “Dad? What the fuck?”
I looked up towards Frank as Molly rose and immediately saw what had disturbed her. An arrow was sticking out of her father’s shoulder.
We grabbed guns and ran outside in the pouring rain, scanning the area while Frank trotted behind. There was no sign of the attack as we circled the Home. No strange scents tickled my nose during the search.
Since Frank had been standing inside the workshop and no gust of wind marked the opening of its door, we had to assume someone shot an arrow through the bars of a window. The heavy rain made tracking impossible and reduced our visibility to something less than nil.
“Go back inside with Frank. I’m going to check the bus and our generator.” I’d had to shout above the roaring winds but Molly managed to understand well enough, leading her father away by a sleeve while I headed towards the two outer buildings.
There were no signs of another’s presence inside the generator shack, which had once been a small horse stable. Nor did I find anything amiss in the boiler’s small, roofless shed. The bus was a different story.
Someone had done a number on its interior. Cabinet doors were open and much of our food was gone. Wires had been pulled from under the dashboard, cut, and left to dangle like multicolored spaghetti. Worse still, water poured from the closet storage tank where a trio of holes had been poked into its metal hide. The only good news was our cache of guns and ammunition hadn’t been discovered beneath the bed’s mattress.
Needless to say, Molly and I were extremely unhappy campers.
After digging the arrow out of Frank, the next few hours were spent moving everything of value inside from the bus. We took turns standing watch, though neither of us believed our vandals would return that night.
The storm front broke during my shift just before dawn. Molly slept in the common room on the RV’s mattress while I ghosted about. Strangely, the room grew a bit lighter as I stood there watching her sleeping form. A few steps brought me to the nearest window where I looked out and saw something that had been absent for what seemed like a very, very long time.