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BIT 25: UPPER MANAGEMENT
Redemption shook his head, holding his sword in a trembling hand. “We can’t defeat Charred Face. There’s no way. He slaughtered the zombies in the blink of an eye! I mean come on, man, he’s level sixty! He killed Pan and now he’s going to kill us all.”
“Shut up, dammit,” I said. “He did NOT kill Pan, and he is NOT going to kill us.”
“What, you seriously believe your friend escaped? You saw the flash of light!”
“It was Lady Zombie!”
“Whatever you’re smoking, I want some!”
“He ISN’T dead!"
“Guys,” Grim stomped his foot. “Shut your damn mouths and listen.”
We both turned, and I for one was about to yell at him, but there was something to notice. It was quiet. No thuds came from the hallway door.
“Do you think he gave up the chase?” Redemption asked.
I closed my eyes and tried to listen over the sound of my own pounding heart. After several beats, I heard nothing. Sighing, I lowered Supernova.
“I think he’s gone.”
“You sure?” Red asked.
I sidelong glanced at the Status Mage. “Why don’t you peek your head out and take a look?”
“Nah, I’m good.”
I sheathed my sword and leaned over, my hands on my knees. “Thank goodness that’s over.”
Grim sighed. “But we lost Pan.”
“Dammit, Pan didn’t die!” I said.
Redemption shrugged. “You need to accept it. Your girlfriends are both dead and Pan died too. This was a suicide mission from the very start.”
A vein pulsed in my forehead and I wanted to tear him a new one, but instead I bit my tongue and turned around, looking at the room.
From the looks of it, we were in someone’s personal quarters. There were book shelves filled with books, a twin-sized bed, a dark wood armoire, and a desk in the back center with a chair facing away from us. On the floor was a rug made of some kind of animal fur. Maybe a bear, or a deer, or hell, it was white and shaggy, so maybe it was a yeti.
“This place is quaint,” Redemption said. “We can spend the rest of our lives here.”
Grim put a hand under his chin and nodded. “Yeah, and when our food and thirst meters run dry, we can die just like that chick did.”
“What chick?” Red and I said in unison.
The Undead Master pointed behind the desk to the backwards facing chair.
“Oh, come on, don’t tell me--“ Red muttered.
Red walked around the side of the desk and the blood drained from his face. “Oh, damn, that’s messed.”
I walked around the other side and shared his disgust. Sitting in the comfy leather chair was the body of a woman. An old, dry husk of a woman. She wore an ugly X-mas sweater, and tan pants. Attached to the top was a name tag with the name Pamela. Her hair was falling out, and her skin dried and mummified.
“A body.” I closed my eyes. “Why wouldn’t there be a body here?”
Grim walked around me and stepped up to her. He leaned forward, coming within inches of touching her nose to nose.
“Dude, what are you doing?” Red asked.
“Trying to see how she died.”
“What are you CSI: Dark Days now?”
“No, but she doesn’t look as if she were killed by Charred Face. There are no visible wounds.”
“Then what did she die of?”
Grim stood straight again. “Heck if I know. Natural causes?”
I retrieve a standing picture frame from the desk. Inside it was the picture of a young blonde woman and a child standing beside her. They were outside the front of Crystal Resort’s main building, facing the double row of cabins. The boy was smiling, but the woman wasn’t she frowned, looking sad. No, with the downward angle of her eyebrows, she looked angry. Presumably her son, had his arm around her—But her arms were straight at her side and her hands were almost clenched into fists.
“Is this Pamela?” I murmured and held out the picture beside the husk. She wore the same exact sweater and pants. Yes, this was the child’s guardian.
I set the picture frame down and picked up another. There was one of German shepherd standing next to Pan and the same child stood in the background, his head to his chest. He was almost hidden behind one fo the cabins.
A story was beginning to form in my mind. Pamela was at least the boy’s caretaker, and she was reluctant. She didn’t seem to like him for some reason. Then there was the boy. He appeared jealous of the dog. So yeah, Pamela loved the dog, not the boy. And the boy loved Pamela, not the dog.
I set the second frame down and walked behind the desk. There were two big drawers on each side. I pulled open the top right drawer. Inside were boxes of pens, a notepad, a stapler. I tried the drawer below it. Inside this one was a round coffee can container, and a red dog collar. I reached in and moved the collar to the side, a name tag was attached to it—Jason was on the tag. She had named her dog Jason. I fought the creepiness of seeing my own name and turned the can to the side. Written in red sharpie was once again the name Jason. I’d found the dog’s ashes.
“Poor fido,” someone said right behind me. “I bet the boy killed him.”
I shut my eyes and sighed. That disembodied voice again. I wasn’t going to answer it. My companions would think me nuts. I went to shut the drawer, but my hand hit the urn can and something clanked inside. Brows furrowed, I carefully popped the plastic lid. Sitting inside was a big silver key with a tag attached.