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.The stress played with his fragile mind.“Daddy.” Ryan’s voice echoed in the foyer, making Edward drop his hands, causing hope to reappear in his eyes, only to be dealt a swift and final blow when he stared at the nothing in front of him.He lingered for a moment longer, wavering between a mental collapse or taking action.He decided on the latter.Fifteen minutes later, Edward was bundled in a Gortex jacket made to withstand the harshest winter elements along Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive.Gloves and boots built for twenty below zero and a Chicago Bears scarf wrapped around his face and neck.Jenni had given him the scarf for Christmas last year, but he didn’t think about her, or Christmas, or anything except finding out what happened.He walked out the door and down the street.Four hours later Edward rapped a brass knocker against the wood door of an impressive brick house.He had waded through five miles of snow, knocked on over a hundred doors and had yet to find a single living soul.There were more Helens, many more.And the hopelessness increased.It seemed this house was going to be no different.No one came to the door of another makeshift tomb for whatever remains might lie within.The door knob turned easy enough under his hand.Desperate for rest, Edward decided if the former occupants were not splayed out in plain sight, he’d stay long enough to warm his frozen body.He gave the massive door a heavy shove, waited until it swung all the way open to reveal the home’s grand marble entrance.“Hello.” His voice echoed through the house.He leaned inside.“Is anyone home?” A quick glance behind him and in both directions assured he was not being followed.He stepped into the foyer, closing and locking the door behind him.“Hello.” He yelled out and took a step forward.Each step was slow, cautious.Despite repeated confirmation of his solitude, he couldn’t help feeling like he was not alone.The living room was much like all the others he’d been in.An overturned bookcase held the couch hostage, a half empty drink had been left on the coffee table, and here in this home a bagel lay on the floor, cream cheese side down.Edward stepped over the bagel and a pile of leather bound books.He took out his cell phone, hit redial and held the phone to his ear as he made his way through the living room to the kitchen.The kitchen was dominated by a large granite island.Five stools sat empty on one side.A sixth stool had been knocked over.Without conscious thought as to why he bothered, Edward righted the sixth stool.At least there were no dead bodies in here.Relief settled in, even if only reserved for this one detail.He shed his gloves and scarf.A full pot of coffee was too tempting to pass up.He poured a cup and warmed it in the microwave.He rummaged through the refrigerator, found the bagels and cream cheese.While he waited on the bagel to toast, he turned on the TV, flipped past programmed shows to the news channels.Static and white noise was all he got.He clicked the off button.Silence closed in, heavy and deafening.He clicked the TV back on, and flipped to a rerun of ‘Two and Half Men’.He stared at the screen, but didn’t see the actors.The bagel popped up, startling him.He grabbed the two halves, quickly dropped them on a paper towel.He spread a generous portion of cream cheese on each half, picked one up, and took a bite.His actions were mechanical and precise in nature.Each chew, each bite, each swallow was given his undivided attention.The simple everyday tasks had become his protector.They kept the more complicated issues at bay.Issues like why no one answered when he called the police or nine-one-one.Or where everyone had disappeared to.And the more obvious and pressing matter of who was ripping people apart and stealing their organs.Of course all of these issues didn’t amount to squat in light of his most important question that he didn’t have an answer for and he refused his mind to give one.So the crucial aspect of his focus on the mundane prevented hysteria from making an appearance.An unwelcomed guest for certain, one that took over the party and stayed long after everyone else went home.With a refill of hot coffee in hand, Edward returned to the living room [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]