Faithless…Chapter Four…new writing, unedited…incomplete…

The house that belonged to the Titus family sat in the middle of a small community. People had abandoned the community years ago. With the drapes closed, I had no chance of peeking in. A rickety fence blocked off the backyard. Instinct gnawed at my guts. On the left side of the house, a partially collapsed gate led into the backyard.
Prior to becoming an officer of the law, I spent years as a soldier. That uneasy feeling sent cold shivers up my spine, as if the Grim Reaper ran his hand up and down my spinal cord, chilled every part of my body.
“Don’t pull in the driveway. Stay here in the car, Lilly, and keep your eyes open.”
She nodded wordlessly, and I got out. Every sense I had tingled from the pulsing throb of adrenaline. Some scientists had said that nothing could compare to the thrill of combat, which was one reason that many soldiers took their lives when they returned from the war. I didn’t know anything about that, but the overwhelming sense of danger was thrilling in its own right.
The door had opened, pushed by a light breeze that rattled the leaves. I stayed to the left side as I made my way to it. Red blood pooled near the door. My heart thudded furiously in my chest and sweat drenched my forehead. I cut my eyes to the car. Lilly was vigilant.
I checked the top of the door jam and the base of the door for wiring. Gingerly, I pushed the door inward, but it only moved a few inches before it stopped.
My breath was shaky, as I tried to breathe in through my nostrils. The door had opened enough for me to peek through a narrow crack. An old man lied on the floor; two rounds stacked one on top of the other in his chest. Tied to a black, faux leather office chair was a shotgun, it sat next to the wall. Fishing line, nigh invisible in the dark room, ran from the trigger to the doorknob. Had I burst through the door, the blast would have ripped me in two.
I motioned for Lilly to join me. She got out of the car and ran up the driveway until she reached me.
“What is it?”
“There’s a dead old man inside. Someone rigged the door with a shotgun. I need to go around and see if there’s another way in. Call for backup but tell them to be careful how they approach.”
“Okay, but why?”
“I don’t know what we’re dealing with here, Lilly. Until we know, safety is our watchword.”
I backtracked my steps and made my way to the gate that led into the backyard. A rusty metal latch secured the gate. In the distance I heard sirens. Someone covered the faucet in the front yard with a blue bucket. I took it and leaned it against the fence and stood on top of it.
“Jeez,” I muttered to myself. Two more bodies were in the backyard. My eyes searched the ground for devices. Not seeing any, I crossed the rickety fence and landed next to an unkept rose bush. Thorns cut into my forearms. Squared blocks of concrete formed a path to the back porch. Halfway to the porch though, stuck between two blocks was an anti-tank mine. I knelt on the concrete block, making sure to stay small on it and not let my feet touch anything on the ground.
My eyes drifted across the backyard, and my heart began to beat thunderously in my chest. I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. Then, I reached for my phone and dialed Lilly.
“Stay out of the backyard.”
“Okay, why?”
“It’s a minefield.”
“Where are you?”
“In the backyard.”
“Are you okay? Back up is on their way here now. Can you get out?”
“I’m fine. Look around and touch nothing. If anything appears disturbed, consider it rigged to blow. Call for our explosive ordnance guys and tell them we have anti-tank mines in the back yard.”
“Okay. Do you think Jackson did this?”
“No. I think his dad was afraid he’d return.”

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