It was the kind of morning that made a man dread escaping the warmth of a bed. The merciless mother nature wielded the coldest wind, that bit to the bone. Hubble's toe ventured out of the blankets, which were spotted blue and green.
The old man groaned as he felt the bitter sweet chill on his toe. Slowly, but surely, the rest of his foot followed. With heavy sighs, a leg, then another, a body, a pair of arms and a head emerged from the sea of green and blue dots.
A bag of wrinkles in all, with the odd gray hair and a set of blue eyes. The bedroom, which could be summed up by the bed, a wardrobe and a window with a view, felt empty. Looked alone. But there sat Matthew Hubble.
Widower. Pensioner. Loner.
Of course, he would not describe himself this way.
Fighter. Survivor. Slightly older than before...
A single picture sat atop the windows ledge. His wife, she looked to be middle-aged when the photograph had been taken. More importantly was the smiling husband by her side. A grin so wide a whore would be jealous.
Matthew got to his feet, and step by step got to the wardrobe. Pulled up his jeans, flicked across the belt, tucked in his shirt and gave his shoes a quick polish. His eyes wandered to the picture.
"How I miss you.." The words whispered from his mouth as he stepped towards it. He ran his thumb along the picture, so delicately that it looked like he fear he might smash the glass. "How long has it been my dear Debbie?"
The question was as rhetorical as they get. He knew how long it had been. Fourteen years and seven months. Fifty six winters. Fifty six summers. Two hundred and twenty four wasted seasons.
The old man sighed to himself. Reached under his bed, wrapped his fingers around the shotgun, and left the room with heavy steps.
Matthew Hubble sat on his porch with an American cigar hanging off the end of his lip. On the table to his right lay two objects. The first, an ashtray. The second, a half empty bottle of whiskey. His trusty 12 gauge shotgun balanced across his left knee, resting just past the vanishing point of his jean covered joint.
His blue chequered shirt had been buttoned up the full way, his black shoes, which were a little worn at this stage, were polished and on each of his feet. On the porch, there was a small coffee table, and a lean, which was basically just a wooden stick nailed to the support posts. But on this lean there was another picture, this one of a time when the future was brighter, and he was younger, as he is in his seventy second year now.
The man in the picture was smiling, and the women beside him was doing the same. He wore a full Navy uniform and the women wore a bright sunset red dress. It would have been taken when he was in his late twenties, before any of this happened.
The fingers on his left hand tapped silently against his upper thigh, as if trying to impatiently decide upon something. He rose up from his seat in the shade. The gun slid off his knee and into his empty hand. The tip of the cigar fell onto the ground.
Ashes returning to ashes.
He stepped inside what used to be his family home, and wandered into the sitting room, the first room on the left. He proceeded to open the window. A breath of fresh air wafted in and gave a new life to the room. Matthew bent down and found the box he was looking for. It was lurking under a chair in the far corner of the room.
He retrieved it and brought it back to the window sill. After wiping the dust off with his old hand, small intricate carvings appeared wandering the lid, he opened it. An antique music player rested inside. Carefully he lifted the little musical treasure from its resting place and placed it down beside the open window.
It was ready for a dance. The music that filled the air was old, dance music. Sophisticated, but delicate. As if the most unexpected noise could disrupt and ruin the entire concerto.
Matthew sat back down in his seat. Cigar still teetering on the edge, shotgun still in hand, whiskey still at the ready. The music glided through the air. It was crafted so magnificently.
Then the grunting and wailing erupted. It was a high pitched beastly cry. Then the man burst through the neighbours garden across the road. He was ghastly. His clothes were half torn. His mouth was open in an inhuman, wild creature like manner.
He ran for the old man and the source of the music. Mr Hubble remained unmoved in his seat. The creature paced across the road as if it had no mind to do anything else. It nearly faltered in stepping onto the path, on Matthews side of the road, but it continued regardless.
Matthew rose. The creature went to sprint onto the ten foot by twenty foot lawn, that lay on the far side of the porch. It was met on the border between path and garden, by a bullet.
Matthew had fired the gun and the bullet lodged in the creatures skull, leaving only a small hole where the bullet had passed. The old man strode over to its dead corpse and lodged another in the head. This time, half of the beasts head turned to instant mashed potato and red sauce - A pretty sight.
Matthew returned to his house, he did not cut across the grass but walked around by the path, by doing this he could catch a glimpse of the red and black muscle car that rested in the garage.
He picked up the music box, turned it off, took the picture from the lean, and went inside.
Then the static voice echoed through the house. "Ca....h..r...me...?"
The old man nearly dislodged a hip with his speed. He darted inside. The two-way radio rested on the kitchen counter. He desperately twisted the knobs to tune the rickety gizmo.
The voice came through again.
"Matthew, are you there?..."
Hubbles eyes widened.
"John speaking. Can you hear me?..."