SERENITY GROVE | VANCOUVER
“Babe, we should join the others.” Steve rests his hand on my shoulder. His sweet aftershave drifts under my nose, tempting me to turn around, but the metal filing cabinet drawer keeps me focused. “What is with you and filing cabinets?” His hand falls from my shoulder as he heads to the open doorway and then steps out into the corridor.
“I might hit the jackpot again,” I say, carefully pulling out another file to check.
Steve leans back into the room, resting his hand on the door frame. His eyebrow raises and a small sultry grin spreads across his face. “Don’t you always?”
“This file is just a list of useless serial numbers,” I say, ignoring his rather good impression of the James Dean pose from the poster in my bedroom.
I turn around, resting against the cold cabinet as I leaf through the rest of the pages. It’s only now that I see the scratch marks on the floor tiles — all the furniture in this room has been pushed against the wall. I kneel to examine the scratches more closely; when I touch them, residue comes off the floor onto my finger. The scratches are fresh. I follow the jagged lines to the middle of the room.
“What do you think they had in here?” I ask, spinning around with my arms out.
Steve shrugs his shoulders. “No idea, Babe.” His eyes narrow and he focuses on the file in my hand.
“Okay, just a few more files to check.” I return to the cabinet and open the last drawer. Just one file inside — a file with a name that instantly catches my attention.
“Cha-Ching,” I say, holding up the file. “Triple Jackpot!”
Steve’s smiles his warm, take-my-mind-off anything smile. “Nice.” But the smile disappears from his face in an instant. He leans back out into the corridor. “Shit! Someone is coming — fast.”
He closes the door and grabs a fire extinguisher from the wall. “Get behind me, Babe,” he says, flicking the light switch.
We wait in darkness as footsteps approach — heavy footsteps… heavy running footsteps. “They must be on to us,” I whisper as Steve raises the fire extinguisher, ready to strike anyone coming through the door.
My eyes stay fixed on the door handle as the footsteps stop right outside. The handle starts to turn. Steve’s muscles tense as I press against him.
The door opens — Steve lifts the fire extinguisher higher.
Blond hair pokes through the darkness — familiar bleached-blond hair. Teddy
“Steve, Marilyn. Are you in here?”
“Jesus Christ! I nearly knocked you into next week,” Steve says, lowering the fire extinguisher. “I thought you were going to Logan and Stephanie’s room.”
Teddy glances back into the corridor then quickly closes the door. “I was… but I got cornered,” he pauses, taking in several short breaths.
Steve flicks on the light but Teddy’s hand shoots to the switch and the room returns to darkness.
“Don’t,” he says, panic racing though his panting voice. “Guard dogs! Big ones — like freakin’ wolves. I think they’ve got my… scent.” His voice trails off as something scratches down the other side of the door.