Yellow Fever

Red Sky deepens in the vast horizon of Monday. He could not stop thinking about her. She left in the middle of the night, desperate to escape a life on the run. They had gone through a lot together; connecting on abusive past lives and deeper questions about what it all meant. Drugs intertwined and sometimes they would just laugh all night long. But there was a darker side where things were not always what they seemed.

It was first realized at House Elmore one night,  a place they rented up in the hills overlooking the valley. It was an old weathered craftsman with large decks surrounded by tall firs and pine. The kitchen had a large wood hearth in the center with a chopping block and overhanging utensils. There was one particular window, odd-shaped like a giant leaf, that faced off to the west with a horseshoe view of the vast world beyond. This is where they sat with the sunsets and into the late night, dreaming and plotting their future.

In time, bills piled up and desperation set in.  The schemes got a little crazier. Jack once worked at a bank running mortgage paper and soon it seemed logical to rob a bank, like Robin Hood. They had it all planned complete with disguises, words rehearsed, timing, even a get away car and how they would ditch it for another and head south. They were getting close to working out the final details. They wanted to be sure not to get caught. Maybe they would simply retreat to their home going about their life as natural as anyone?

One evening and two bottles of wine later, there came an unexpected knock on the front door.

“Did you hear that?” Diana whispered.

“I did.” Jack replied with a hushed voice.

“Someone’s at the door.” She fidgeted and started to stand then sat back down. “Were you expecting someone? Who would come way out here?”

“Wait. Shhhh” he raised his finger to his lips and glanced toward the hall that led into the living room.

Another knock came. The brass knocker rapped the front door. The sound reverberated with a wave of slow bands, like ripples of doubt moving down a hall of shadows…menacing.

Diana could only stare, frozen with stoned paranoia. “Jack? What do we do?”

Jack shuffled around the kitchen island and pulled a pistol from the drawer.  “It could be nothing. Still just sit tight and stay quiet for a minute.” He thought maybe they would leave. A small mood light barely illuminated in the darkness of the front room. But they might see the kitchen light reflecting somehow. Carefully, he moved in a crouch to turn off the light, leaving only a few scented candles to burn. Maybe someone needed help, were broke down or something?

He remembered the look, a little girl scared and alone in the dark. There was a faint glow of candlelight in her eyes.

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