Stacie and I took a seat at one of the quaint little tables in the bakery before I noticed the valances along the top of the wide picture window. They had red and white checkers. I turned to speak with Quinn but he was talking in French to another man. I overheard him sending the man home for the rest of the day. How impressive that Quinn took my word so freely – even to risk losing money for his business.
After the man left out the back door, Quinn came back to close the blinds on the large window.
“So, what happens now, Cherie?”
“I’m not sure when he is coming. All I know is that it is light outside in the image in my mind.”
Stacie’s hands came down hard on the circle table between us. “There go my afternoon plans. You haven’t forgotten I have to work at three, right? I hope the doom hits sometime before then.” Stacie added with her sarcastic flair.
Suddenly the loud rev of a truck roared down the street. It screeched to a stop in front of the shop. Quinn motioned to us to follow him into the kitchen. He headed towards the back door, grabbing his keys on the way.
“No!” I said. “The cellar. Do you have one?”
“How did you know about that?” Quinn said just as the gun shots rang out and the glass windows shattered.
Stacie screamed and grabbed onto me. We both ducked low by a countertop in fear of the noise and chaos. Quinn quickly opened a cupboard door on the island in the middle of the kitchen. Quickly, he tossed several large metal bowls out.
In the floor of the cupboard there was a trap door. He swung the heavy wood door open and then nudged at Stacie’s arm.
“Go Stacie, we will be safe down there.” I said amidst the barrage of gunfire.
“From what? Not from him!” Stacie pointed to Quinn.
“You would rather be shot then take your chances with Quinn?” I said. Then in a huff I pressed passed her and started to climb into the cupboard. It was roomier than I thought and it was easy to climb down the wooden stairs.
“Cathie, when you reach the last step, the rope to trigger the light is on your left.” Quinn said. “Reach out your hand and you should feel the string.” It was hard to concentrate on his words with my fear rising from the noise.
I groped in the dark for a split second until my wrist felt the dangling string. I pulled and the room came to life.
“Stacie, please come down. There is lots of room.” I said as I looked around me. There were wooden shelves surrounding the entire perimeter, even under the stairs I had just descended. Nothing seemed out of its place. It reminded me of my pantry. Neat and tidy to a fault.
“I assure you that I won’t kill you down there.” Quinn said half mocking. “It will make a mess and likely draw too many vermin.”
I stifled my giggle and waited for Stacie’s response. It didn’t take long till I saw her navy striped flats coming down the ladder.
The sound of the gunfire was still filling my ears, but after Quinn was halfway down the steps, he pulled the wooden trap door closed above his head. It drowned out a lot of the gunfire and shattering sounds above. However the loud thud of the door shutting brought Stacie to tears. As she cried I held her tight but my eyes were locked on Quinn’s standing a few steps away.
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