He followed her. She cleared the way, swinging the crowbar side to side, beating the grass back. They found the gravel path again and followed it to the front door.
She reached out and tried the knob. It was locked. She hefted the crowbar and looked at the door with a smile.
“Wait,” he said. She turned and looked at him. “Didn’t you say there was a back window that was open?”
She nodded. “Yeah. That’s how they think my uncle got in.”
“You want to try that first?”
She made a show of thinking about it. Then, “Not really.”
She wedged the business end of the crowbar in the slim space between the door frame and the door and pulled.
There was a creak. Then a crack. Then the door popped open about six inches. A chain on the inside stopped it from swinging open all the way. She lifted a combat-boot-shod foot and kicked at the edge of the door. The chain let go, and the door slammed open.
The afternoon sunlight hadn’t seen the front room of the house in a long time. The front room of the house looked bare except for an old area rug, faded and covered in dust. Another door across the way led to a back room.
She shot him a grin. He grimaced. “Adding B&E to your repertoire. Nice.”
She shrugged. “No one is going to care. This place was abandoned decades ago. No one uses that road out there anymore. No cops are going to drive by.”
He mmm-hmmmd. “If you say so.” He gestured. “Ladies first.”
She grunted. “Ain’t no ladies around here.” She stepped into the house. He followed.
The front room, probably a living room, smelled like dry rot and old wood paneling. It wasn’t as empty as they first thought: there was a display case hung on the wall to the right, empty. To the right, there was a fireplace and to the right of that, a boarded-up door frame.
He glanced around. “Whole lotta nothing.” He walked back into the rear room. She looked at the display case, ran her fingers through the heavy layer of dust. Nothing had been on these shelved for a long time.
He stepped back out. “It’s a kitchen. The back window is boarded over. There’s a staircase, leads up.” He pointed at the boarded-up door frame. “What’s that about?”
“No idea,” she said. She toed the area rug, a large faux-Persian thing, with her boot. “Place has been empty for a long time, seems like.”
“Well, that how you keep excusing your destruction of property. Are you going to attack door with the crowbar?”
She shrugged. “Seems like the next logical move..”
As she took a step to cross the room, they both heard the sound of wood splintering. She looked at him. He looked at his feet.
“What…” he said, and then the floor collapsed under him, sending him plummeting into darkness.