** Author’s note: I didn’t have time to finish this up, so here’s a teaser. **
I took a step into the mess Andy and crew had made. At least I know how do deal with this mess. My stuff could all be cleaned up, washed off or replaced. This was a problem I could wrap my head around, a problem I could fix. What happened at the hospital had no explanation and there was no fix.
Linda touched me on the arm. “I’m sorry, Corbin.”
“Sorry for what, Andy getting elected?” I turned back to her.
Her face was grave. “No, for this.” She pointed in the apartment. “I told him you had guns.”
I don’t know why, but I chuckled. “It’s OK. Just give me a second to see what the damage is, then you can tell all.”
Her eyes watered a little, and she threw her arms around my neck. “I’m sorry.”
I was a little bit shocked at this. Not because she had never hugged me, though. We’d been friends for a while, so we hugged on a regular basis. I was shocked because I had never seen look so shaken. Not when she told me about her ex-husband, not when she fought with her sixteen-year-old daughter. Never.
I held her and mumbled, “It’s OK.” It was all I could think to say.
She seemed to melt into my shoulder, and she wrapped her arms a little tighter.
It felt good to share a moment with her while the rest of the world was going crazy. I had always thought she was a beautiful woman, but until that moment, I had never thought of her in a romantic way.
When she pulled away much of the color had returned to her face.
All at once the thought and the moment were gone. I remembered the mess behind me.
“Could you wait back at your place while I, um…” I pointed over my shoulder with my thumb.
“Yeah.” I thought I saw her blush a little.
The whole apartment was a wreck. It didn’t really look as if someone had been searching the rest of the place as much as just emptying everything onto the floor.
Clothes and sheets littered my bedroom floor. The lid to the toilet tank had been thrown in the tub. Dishes had smashed on the kitchen floor. Everything was a mess.
I didn’t have to look in the gun safe to know it had been cleaned out. I had watched most of its contents being carried out the door. With what happened at the hospital, I didn’t know how much of a help those guns would even be.
The living room was less of a mess. Perhaps they didn’t have time to ransack it before I got home. Good thing, too. On the bookshelf was a decorative wooden box.
I opened it up and smiled.
In it lay my revolver, and a little container that had about 30 rounds.
The heat in my apartment was beginning to get oppressive. My apartment was already uncomfortable when I could run the air conditioner all day long. With the power off, it was downright unbearable. And the hottest part of the day was yet to come.
I realized I was getting thirsty. I hoped there was still something cool in the refrigerator. Luckily enough, it appeared to have not been cleaned out by the morons who messed up the rest of my place. The apple juice was still a little cold and so I finished it off. As I set down the jug I noticed the faucet in my sink.
If the water is off, too, then we’re already dead. I was afraid to turn the handle.
Oasis was aptly named, because it did have a natural spring. In fact, the town had been built with the spring as the center. Still, most of the water for the city was pumped in from the mountains almost a hundred miles away, and if the pumps were down, there wouldn’t be enough water for everyone, and we’d die of dehydration. Unless, of course, we caught the virus first.
I turned the faucet handle. Water came out. I breathed a sigh of relief. I splashed water on my face and it felt good. As I turned to leave, I saw a chain with two keys hanging on the wall. I smiled again.
There were five storage units on the roof of the Millers Crossing apartment building that could be rented by the tenants. Only tenants who rented one got a key to get on the roof. One of the keys hanging up was to the roof, and one was the storage unit that held my camping and outdoor gear.
I decided it would be safest to leave the keys and gun with Linda. She would be less likely to be watched, and the crew downstairs might decide to finish picking through my apartment. I tucked the box with the revolver under my arm and grabbed the keys.