by Hugh Wesley
There's always room for more.
|It had been a nice, quiet evening at home right up until the doorbell rang an hour after dusk.
Walter rolled his eyes and closed his book, annoyed at the interruption, but also concerned.
They had been in Tripton less than two weeks, and it was starting already. At least they’d had a couple of good months back in Harlan.
And he had been so careful to go out only when it was absolutely necessary!
Walter puffed on his pipe and listened. Even through the closed study door, and the closed front door, he could hear them. Smell them.
There were at least four hearts beating out there on the stoop, racing, waiting.
Waiting for … Mildred!
Walter heard his wife’s eager footsteps bounding across the living room, headed for the door. She was always so friendly, always so happy for company.
He had to stop her.
But before Walter could even stand from his chair, he heard the front door click open, and then voices.
Mildred’s was warm, inviting. The visitors’ were gruff and threatening.
But she was so innocent. She had no idea — about any of it.
Walter rose and crossed the room, then stepped into the hallway. The floor creaked.
Mildred turned and smiled at her husband.
“Honey, do you know these people?” She motioned toward the front steps, smiling. “I think they’re here for dinner.”
Walter frowned, confused by what his wife was saying. The people on their doorstep were clearly agitated, maybe frightened.
“Dinner?” he asked.
“Yes, and they said they brought the steaks.”
Walter’s incisors tingled and his belly rumbled. He smiled, then laughed.
“Why, yes, I do believe I could use a bite to eat,” he said. Then, motioning their guests inside, he added, “or four bites.”