The storm was still a wailin’ when I heard Lukus bang on the kitchen door downstairs. I reckoned he was feelin’ a mite panicked, or he would have remembered that broken window. I slid across my song selection on my phone and started playin’ “Staying Alive.” I hoped that would put him in a proper panic.
It wasn’t but a few moments before I heard him bangin’ on the front door tryin’ to get it open. This here storm must have plumb swollen up every doorway in the place. I wondered how much beatin’ and a bangin’ I was going to have to do to get out of my fortress of solitude.
The sound of boots got my butt cheeks tightenin’ up until I realized it was the sound of Lukus determined feet ascendin’ the staircase. I couldn’t tell if he was that angry, or if it was merely a sign of false bravado. One thing was for sure, I was not about to confront my best friend until he had a chance to cool down.
I shut down my gadgets, stood up, and stretched. About that time, old Lukus started beatin’ at my door and callin’ me out. I held my breath. I had no idea how he found me that fast, but I knew if I responded, I’d be in a heap of trouble for sure.
The storm had settled down, and the trailin’ rain ebbed as the storm front continued on its way. I could hear Lukus’ feet creakin’ on the old floorboards. I debated with myself about capitulatin’. After all, if I stopped now, we could both be in our warm beds in an hour or so if I could talk him into helpin’ me with my equipment.
An icy breeze blew across my body, and the thought of my warm bed was becomin’ more appealin’. The smell of a dead animal blew past the front of me, and I was just about to give in to givin’ up when I heard Lukus take a few steps. I reckoned he changed his mind concernin’ whatever plan he had because I listened to his voice prayin’ to the Almighty right outside my door.
My poor buddy must have been real spooked as I ain’t heard him raise his voice towards the heavens like that since the time we were kids and got caught tryin’ to tie two cats’ tails together. Lawd of mercy, he sounded desperate, and my heart started feelin’ heavy for pushin’ my friend so far to the edge. I had no idea he’d scare that easy.
I was just about to take a step towards the door when I heard Lukus step away. I debated with myself about what I should do. After a little talk with the Almighty, I had to admit I had more than paid my friend back for the terror of our fishing trip. After all, alligators are one thing, spooks and specters are somethin’ else.
I quietly slid the bolt back on the door, held my breath, and prayed that the old door would open for me. To my surprise, it opened without so much as a squeak and squeal from the old hinges. I could hear my buddy in the bedroom across from me. I kept my flashlight off and snuck over.
Walkin’ inside, I was blinded for a moment by his flashlight. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I could see Lukus cowerin’ in the corner of the room. I walked over, squeezed his shoulders, and said, “You have to be the dumbest friend I got.”
“Lucius, you old hillbilly.”
I laughed, and Lukus spit on the floor. After a few disagreeable moments, we both stopped talkin’. The distinct sound of footsteps comin’ towards the door, and a shadow glidin’ into the room caught our attention. Lukus turned his flashlight towards the bed, and I snapped mine on and pointed in the same direction. To our surprise, there was a new distinct impression in the mattress.
“Lucius, are you seeing this?” whispered Lukus.
I slowly nodded my head, “I am. Perhaps I was wrong about this place.”
I moved closer to Lukus, and we huddled together like a couple of brothers on a cold January night.