A Sound on the Porch

He curled up in an armchair, his head on the armrest and his knees to his chin, and dozed off.  Cat stoked the fire, sat down across from him, and watched him sleep.  She wondered if he had even closed his eyes in days.  He certainly hadn’t bathed or changed his clothes in that long.  It was probably too dangerous to get out of his car to do so, and it wasn’t terribly safe to sleep in his car where a zombie might catch him.

            She thought of them as ‘zombies’ because that was the only thing Ravi had given her to go on, even if he used the term in a somewhat mocking fashion.  That was certainly the most fitting monster to which to compare them, even if their vocabulary wasn’t limited to “Unnnhh” and “Braaaaaains.”

            After a while, she took a candle upstairs to go to bed, but she found, unsurprisingly, that she couldn’t sleep.  There might be a zombie in every shadowy corner and lurking behind every object of furniture.  Ravi and the pistol on his hip began to look like very appealing roommates.  She took the blanket from her bed and crept back downstairs to spend the night on the couch.

            It was still raining outside, and occasionally a flash of lightning would briefly illuminate the room, followed by the rumble of thunder.  She drifted off to the patter of rain on the roof and the calming sound of Ravi’s breathing.

            She awoke abruptly to the sudden creak of new weight upon the porch.  She looked over to the dark shape that was Ravi in the armchair and could see that, in the sparse predawn light, his eyes were open and alert.  He silently uncoiled himself and stood slowly, drawing the pistol from its holster.

            “Please tell me you locked the front door,” he whispered to Cat.

            There was no need to answer, as the next noise was the cautious turning of a knob, followed by the long squeak of rusty hinges.  Ravi mouthed something that looked very much like a four-letter word and crouched down behind the bookcase, weapon poking around the corner in the direction of the entryway.

The End

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