Mickey pushed the door open gingerly, pushing himself up against the adjoining wall as if he were in a spy movie--he was even holding his flashlight in a way that made it clear it was substituting for a gun. When the door was fully ajar and neither of us had made a move yet., he let out an exaggerated groan and motioned for me to enter first. It figured.
More phantom eyes greeted us in the next room. It could have once been a bedroom, I suppose, with the remnants of a dresser and an open door leading to the closet. (There were even more cats hiding out in there.) And, as I quickly discovered when Mickey's flashlight beam danced across what was apparently a bed...
I involuntarily gasped, causing me to double-over in desperate coughs. The cat smell was one thing, but this was entirely different. Like an invasion of the nose, a demonic little stench that threatened to surround me. Mickey stood there icily, muttering various profanities under his breath. Greeting us from the cot was a dead body.
Though I was still recovering from the odor, I felt a hand tightening around my left elbow and was being pulled out of the room before I knew what was happening. I never would have thought it, but the smell of cat urine was almost a relief. Almost.
"She's dead?!" I cried, trying to keep my voice low despite the panic festering there. "Mrs. Timmins is dead?!"
"Shut up!" hissed Mickey, "Do you want the neighbors to find us here with a dead body? And that wasn't Mrs. Timmins. It was definitely a guy."
"So--" I stopped, and remembering Mickey's warning, tried to lower my voice. "--so you're saying..."
"Yeah. The Crazy Cat Lady is crazy after all."