Carmen and Doug woke the next morning, their heads a little fuzzy from the influx of sugar. They smiled at one another as they lay in bed, watching the dust flit about the room in the rays of sunshine that cascaded through the open blinds.
“We should probably get to clearing the rest of the rooms on this floor and see what might be left in the kitchen.”
Carmen agreed with Doug and the two got ready to leave their new room for a few hours.
The pair searched the rest of the rooms on the floor, taking their haul back to the room they now called ‘Home Base’. It was an unnecessary title as part of them knew they couldn’t stay in the hotel for too much longer. It was just too big and a definite draw for anyone looking for supplies.
They walked down the stairs to the lower level, circling past the front desk to grab the keys to the floors above them. Collecting the rest of them they noticed that two keys for rooms on the fourth floor were absent.
Pausing, they wondered if it was significant, but dismissed it. They knew they were lucky to have found so many of the keys still in place. Perhaps the hotel had just emptied from a conference or something when the event occurred. Surely new guests wouldn’t check in if the world was coming to an end right?
Walking to the back of the hotel, they found the kitchens. The place was oddly spotless, like someone had cleaned the room before leaving for the night and never returned the next day. It gave radiated an oddness; Carmen and Doug weren’t used to seeing things so clean, especially not in buildings or houses. While it was bizarre, the two continued on, choosing to dismiss their instincts in search of food.
“I found the pantry!” Carmen exclaimed, examining the large door set into the wall. “The only thing is it’s locked. Look around and see if you can find the key.”
The pair scoured the kitchens looking for a set of keys, but found nothing. Coming back to the door, Doug looked at the lock, “I wonder if I can find something to pry it off with?”
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you…” The unfamiliar voice came from behind them. The two turned quickly like children caught with their hands in the cookie jar. “None of that belongs to you.”
Carmen was the first to find her voice. “I’m sorry Sister. We didn’t realize there was anyone else here.”
“Of course you didn’t. But that still doesn’t mean you can steal from what God has provided for us.” The middle-aged woman dressed in a full habit fingered the rosary around her neck as she spoke. There was a hardness in her face that spoke volumes to Carmen and Doug.
“Us? Do you mean there are more of you?”
“Yes. There are plenty more of us.”
“Where?” Doug asked.
“We use the hotel as an overflow for the church across the street. We have many patrons that come and go as they please. Some bring back supplies, others bring back survivors. We’ve grown into quite a community.”
Carmen looked at Doug, her eyes asking him if it were too good to be true. Extending her hand, she advanced toward the women, “My name is Carmen and this is my husband Doug.”
Her answer was coolly detached, “I’m Sister Mary Francis.”
“May we join your community? Even if just for a short while?”
“I don’t make the decisions, but you’re welcome to come back with me to the church and see what the others think.” She smiled as she said the words, but the smile didn’t make it all the way to her eyes.
Carmen and Doug didn’t care though. While they were wary of other people, never knowing their true intent, they still wanted a place to belong.
All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow