Last Stop part 6
Disappointment was what he felt. Standing at the bottom of the stairs surveying the room before him, David’s heart sank as he found the space empty. Carrie was not here, snacking as he had hoped. David looked around the room which appeared every bit as a commercial kitchen as you might find in a restaurant. Stainless steel was the dominant color, combined with overhead fluorescent lights making the room cold and uninviting, a stark contrast to the rest of the house above.
In one corner was the dumbwaiter that Muriel had spoken of, and cabinets and counters lined the walls. A large double sink was against the back wall with a commercial grade dishwashing system alongside. David wondered how a place like the Last Stop, so remote and seemingly struggling along could afford such a setup. Obviously the barbeque was serving Muriel and William well. Monolithic in the center of the room was a large, a very large, heavy, stainless table with a slab of inch-thick nylon serving as a table top. Holes were drilled into the two long edges and at one end. The table was stained disturbingly with brownish splotches and David assumed this was where the lamb meat was cut up and deboned.
At the far end of the room was a steel door that was padlocked with a solid security clasp, and it was from behind this door that David heard a muffled thump. With thoughts of his wife’s safety swirling through his mind, David shuffled to the door, careful of giving the table that seemed to host death a wide berth. As he approached the door, he spotted something on the floor. A piece of fabric that, unfortunately yet again, was familiar. It appeared to be a fragment, torn and frayed, from the nightgown that Carrie had been wearing when he left her alone in the upstairs bedroom to begin this quest that he now regretted. A stupid, selfish quest that had yielded nothing but a disturbing find in the great room and, even worse, the inauspicious disappearance of his beloved new bride. David cursed himself for causing this by leaving her alone. He suddenly thought he should go back upstairs and start beating on every door in the house until he found someone that could provide him with answers or, better yet, produce his wife.
He studied the clasp and padlock, even pulled on it, knowing it was locked anyway. He glanced around, foolishly hoping for a key to be lying nearby, but of course there was none. Anger began to build up in him along with the concern and yes, even a good dose of fear. He committed himself to find someone, anyone, that he could blame and force them to open this obstacle that he now was convinced held Carrie captive. Whoever he found should hope that she was unharmed. David picked up the piece of fabric and the smell of Carrie’s perfume hit him. This enraged him even more and he began beating the door and calling his wife’s name. Tears flowed from his eyes and he slumped down to the floor, crying. Why had he brought them to this place? Why hadn’t he just listened to her and turned the car around and left as she wanted? Because he was stubborn and foolishly optimistic? Too trustworthy? A sucker.
And then he thought he heard Carrie’s voice from the other side of the door. Her simply asking his name, quietly and muffled. It couldn’t be, could it? He spun around and put his ear to the door.
“Carrie?” David sniffled, “are you okay?” There was no response. “Carrie!”
“David? Help me.” That was all he heard, and it was all he needed. He rose up and called through the door.
“Carrie! I’ll get you out, hold on.” He ran through the room, opening drawers and cabinet doors, seeking anything he could use to beat the lock with. After several minutes of searching and clanging, no longer caring now if anyone heard him, he discovered a metal, meat tenderizer. David ran back to the lock and began hammering at it, but it was well built and held strong.
David became frustrated that the lock held even as his hope was renewed. Now he knew that Carrie was alive and nothing but a stupid door stood between them. Even the new rush of adrenaline did nothing to help smash the lock free of the hasp. He was going to have to find a key somewhere. David put his head to the door.
“I can’t break the lock. I’m going to have to find a key,” he said. He waited for a response from the other side but there was none. This made him wonder if, although she was alive, Carrie might be injured.
“I’ll be right back,” David said with a sense of déjà-vu. The last time he had spoken the words to his wife, she had disappeared. Again he waited for an answer and again there was only silence. He whacked the lock one more time which continued to hold, then turned and ran for the stairs, still clutching the tenderizer as a potential weapon.
David sprinted up from the basement kitchen and headed for the staircase to the second floor, intent upon finding someone and forcing them to open the door. There were other people in the house, and he was committed to find them and make them do what was necessary to get him and Carrie out of this insane place.