Sam and TC poked their heads into the Crane Cabin. Everything was dark except for the glowing embers in the fireplace. “Looks like they built a fire to try to keep warm,” Sam said. His eyes were adjusting to the darkness now.
TC stepped into the room. Eve’s clothes lay near the fireplace. Sam could hear the grinding of TC’s teeth.
“Shh!” Sam ordered. “I know you probably think the worst, but we have to be careful here, TC. We can’t get Julian all riled up. We have to take it slow and easy.” He surveyed the room in the semi-darkness. “Except for Eve’s clothes and these towels and sheets, it doesn’t appear that anything violent happened here. No other doors are broken. So he must have gone back outside. He couldn’t fit into any of the other rooms.” Sam walked back to the front door. “Maybe we should check out back.”
TC stared at Eve’s clothes. He didn’t seem to hear Sam. When Sam nudged him, he finally snapped out of it. “Yeah, yeah, let’s do that. We don’t want him to get away, not before he pays.” He clutched his shotgun and led the way out.
Sam shook his head.
Eve shifted and nestled her head against Julian’s chest. His muscles were starting to contract. Soon he would be back to normal. She hoped.
Julian stirred in his sleep. His body was still too warm. She wished she had the means to do a thorough check-up on him. Her cheeks warmed. He had let her do just that a while ago. There was not a professional thought in her head at the time. She smiled and kissed his chest. She couldn’t get the memories out of her head. What a passionate lover he was, so gentle and tender with her.
Julian made her feel like she was the only woman in the world he had ever loved and cherished. Maybe it was true. He was always so ardent with her. Even though he’d had many lovers, she knew in her heart, she was his only love. And he was hers.
Eve exhaled sharply at her thoughts. Was he? Was he her only love? What about TC? Her husband! Julian’s chest rose and fell steadily. His muscular physique was slowly returning to normal as he slept. Yes, it’s true… Julian is the only man I have ever truly loved.
Outside the cabin, TC and Sam couldn’t find any tracks. Everything was a thick blanket of white. “I don’t think he left,” Sam said.
“That bastard! He must have squeezed into another room so we wouldn’t notice he was still here.” TC headed for what was left of the door. His boots crunched in the snow.
“TC, let me go in first.” Sam hurried after him.
TC ignored him and entered the cabin. He flipped a switch. The lights came on. He stared at Eve’s scattered clothes. The veins in his neck bulged.
“Take it easy, TC. We don’t want to startle Julian, if he is still here.” Sam headed for the rear of the cabin. The kitchen was empty. The coffeemaker was on. He turned it off.
A roar from the bedrooms startled Sam. His boots pounded on the hardwood as he raced for the bedrooms. “You bastard. I am going to kill you!”
Sam stopped short. “TC, put the gun down.” Eve and Julian were sitting up in bed, clutching the blanket. Shock and fear in their eyes.
“TC, I…” Eve started.
“Shut up, you slut!” TC roared.
“Don’t talk to Eve that way.” Julian’s eyes blazed.
TC cocked the shotgun. His eyes were almost demonic with rage. He pulled the trigger and blew a hole in the ceiling. The noise was deafening. Eve screamed. Julian dove to the floor, pulling Eve with him. Wood and insulation scattered everywhere.
Sam whipped out his pistol.
“Get back, Sam. I am warning you.” TC pointed the gun at Eve. “Get up!”
“TC, please put the gun down before you hurt someone!” Eve pleaded, moving toward the edge of the bed.
“TC, put the gun down.” Sam aimed his pistol at TC. “I mean it. I know you are hurting, but this isn’t the way to deal with it.”
“Yes, it is,” TC snapped. “This is the only way to deal with trash like the Cranes.”
Eve sat frozen. Julian inched towards her.
“TC, don’t make me shoot you,” Sam pleaded.
TC pointed the shotgun at Sam and fired. Eve screamed in horror as Sam flew back against the door. His gun went sailing through the air and landed next to Eve. “Oh my God, you killed your best friend,” Eve cried.
Julian reacted. Their lives depended on it. Before TC reloaded the shotgun, Julian dove at his feet and knocked him down. He was still strong enough to knock him clean off his feet.
Eve sobbed as she leaned over Sam. “Stop it; stop this madness, TC. Julian, please, you aren’t well enough.”
“You bitch!” TC roared as he and Julian rolled sideways, wrestling for the gun. “All you care about is him.”
“You shot Sam!” Eve wailed.
TC raised his leg and kicked Julian in the groin. Julian screamed and let go of him. TC cocked his shotgun and stood up. “Well take a look at your lover, for the last time.” He pointed the gun at Julian. “Die, you pig.”
A shot rang out. Eve gasped in horror.