Burned by Fire
I trudged up the stairs to my apartment and wiped wet tendrils from my face. Water sloshed in my boots, a reminder of today’s most recent adventure. I’d had the pleasure of bodyguard duty for a water nymph, which was no easy task given that, in her eyes, I was a glorified babysitter, and we happened to be staying in a cabin that was mere feet from the Spokane River. It was the middle of January, and I’d taken the polar bear plunge more than once today. I was chilled to the bone, wet, hungry, and I sorely needed a good cup of coffee, or three.
Only one more flight of stairs to go. I could already taste the coffee on my tongue and feel the hot spray of a warm shower against my skin.
As my apartment door came into view, the hairs on the back of my neck rose and my body went on high alert. Something was off, and dammit, wasn’t that just my luck. I stood in the hall, a chilling breeze whipping my wet hair around my face from the open balcony doors and stinging my cheeks. Shit, it was cold.
I narrowed my gaze. Why were the balcony doors open in the middle of winter? It was like a blizzard out there. I stepped closer toward the balcony, intending to shut the doors, when a splash of red to my left caught my attention instead. There was blood on the doorknob leading into my apartment. This couldn’t be good.
I took a deep breath and debated just turning around. I was too tired to deal with anything else today. Was it too much to ask for some dry clothes and a hot cup of coffee? For chrissakes, I’d take a cold cup of coffee at this point. Then again, it was my apartment, and with my luck, there would be a dead body inside and I’d be framed for the murder. Why couldn’t stuff like this happen at a decent time of day when I was fully rested?
I pressed my ear against the door. Well, really it was more like I slumped against the door, but the result was the same. I listened for any signs of movement. The wooden door was cool against my cheek. Silence greeted me. Hmm, maybe there really is a dead body, I mused with a sick sense of morbid curiosity.
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