by Christian Smith
God knows how long we drove before we found the house. Felt like days on the road without stop. We’d managed to steal gas in Jefferson City but now we were running on fumes. These days when you run out of gas, that’s your new home.
Deanna found the house by divine or diabolical grace on a country road by Clinton Lake. Back from the road, shrouded by trees. Whoever had crashed here before had left in a hurry, but had taken most everything worth taking. There were a few rusty cans of food which I wasn’t desperate enough to eat yet, and a few gallons of water in the toilet tank. The kitchen sink was piled with dirty dishes and rubble. Also this: the unmistakable debris of romance. A bottle beside the sink contained a dreggy quarter inch of red wine. A single red rose, amazingly still fresh, floated in the scummy rotten water.
From the windows came the omnipresent scorching glare, the murderous intrusion of our traitorous sun.
Deanna had meanwhile conducted a more practical search. With her junkie radar she had found the previous tenant’s works stashed behind a radiator in an upstairs bedroom. She was blue when I found her, the needle still hanging from her arm. She’d shot up blindly rather than risking having to share with me.
I placed the rose in her hair and set out on my own.