Butch kept his army knife tight in hand, holding it in a reverse grip with the blade facing out. His stance was low with his knees bent, slowly making his way across the second floor hallway. The length of the hallway was visible under the low light, all the doors on both sides within his line of sight.
“Amilia,” Butch cautiously called out, stopping his approach. He stood still, waiting to see if one of the doors would open. “Amilia, it’s me. It’s okay to come out.”
None of the doors opened, not even the shake of a door handle happened. Butch calmed his breathing, listening for any kind of movement. In the silence the raging winds from outside the house blew from underneath one of the doors, making a faint whistling sound.
Easing up just a bit, Butch stood straight up. He took a few more steps down the hall, opening doors just to make sure the house was clear. Behind the bathroom door was nothing but the usual appliances and fixtures, including the same freshly washed towels in the hamper on the floor. Opposite the bathroom was the master bedroom, the room him and Amilia shared. The room was still a mess from the struggle earlier in the day. The bedsheets were hanging off from one corner of the bed, partially damp from the pool of blood it rested in. The door to the walk-in closet was hanging from its top hinge, splintered and broken in the center. Various trinkets and items were thrown all over, the evidence of a wild brawl. Butch took a long look in the room, just to make sure nothing changed.
When he walked up to the next door, which was the guest bedroom, he knocked on the door and called out again, “Amilia, the house is clear. You can come out.”
Once again, no response. Butch reached for the doorknob and turned, but the knob wouldn’t budge, locked into place. Feeling the tension in his hand brought a small smile to his face—he saw the locked door as a good sign. Knocking on the door, Butch gave a small message as he focused on the door, “Mimi is my little bunny rabbit.”
Immediately after, he could hear footsteps shuffling across the carpeting in the room. Bolts and hinges began unlocking, the door slowly opening once the last bolt was undone. With her head popping out from the small opening, Butch saw the warm, brown eyes of his wife meet his.
Amilia’s voice was still trembling with fright as she spoke, “Is the house clear?”
Butch gave a firm nod, “All clear.”
Wasting no time, Amilia threw the door open all the way and ran straight into Butch’s chest, grabbing onto him with the tightest hug she’s ever given.
Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo
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