I was the last to leave the house. When I arrived to the place where I had first contacted the wooden table, I waited until Kyle and Peter had gotten to the porch and I looked back at the inside of the house. Its walls were calling me. I knew walls couldn’t speak, and if they could, then the other two guys would’ve heard it as well. The house had elicited both curiosity and apprehension: at first I wanted to leave as fast as possible, but then came back again curiosity’s turn. With that thought in mind, I walked towards Kyle and said “alright, let’s go.”
“I hope we’ll be home before night comes” Peter said. He blamed me for taking too long inside the house, I could tell.
“We will. Probably. What’s the difference anyway? You don’t have a shift tomorrow” I said.
“Yeah, I know, but can’t a guy want to be home early?” Peter said, trying to be funny.
“Well no actually, not when he’s got an important job to do” I replied.
“Okay, okay, you both are right, now let’s talk about what we’re going to say to Madame X” Kyle interrupted, knowing full well where our conversation was heading. We walked the empty streets in silence. It would take us about 25 minutes to walk to Madame X, since the only way to get there was by walking, and it’d be safer to keep silent for the majority of those minutes. Peter would still be a bit annoyed at me and I would not respond to his comments happily. And then there’s Kyle: after all, he was the one to say we should leave. We could’ve stayed at the house. We’d still have time to do everything else we had to do.
I took notice of every house we passed by on the way to Madame X’s headquarters: maybe some of them would be as intact as that one, I’ll call it “shadow house”. It was a matter worth investigating. We arrived at the HQ and the security guards nodded and let us in — they were our friends, Joshua and Noah. I thought of stopping and talking to them about what we had just seen. They were experienced guys who had done many security checks, and if anyone else could’ve seen a house in such a preserved state, it would be them. I wondered if they’d agree with my theory. I said nothing, though, and just walked straight to Madame X. She was the other person who might know more about this. I wondered why my mind was stuck: why did that experience mean so much to me? I couldn’t I let it go? Maybe it was because it had been a long, tiresome, boring day in which nothing had really happened. Maybe because it was the weirdest thing I had seen in years. I’d seen it all in terms of destruction: what I hadn’t seen, since the dawn, was a tidied and beautifully structured home with flower arrangements and such.
“Hello, good evening, Madame. We’d like to share our report of the day” Kyle said, following protocol.
Madame X was sitting at the table in the corner of the ruins that constituted the living room of the headquarter. She was having her afternoon snack, but still she invited us to sit with her. “Yes, come closer and go on.”
“Well, it was a pretty ordinary day, all in all. We saw no one on the streets 1st, 5th and 11th, which were the ones we were set to secure today. But then when we got to 11th Street we saw a huge house that seemed barely touched, and we decided to come in” I said, proceeding then to describe what we had — and hadn’t — seen. I wouldn’t let either Kyle or Peter be in control of the narrative we were going to present.
“Right” said Madame X, after a moment of silent. The single word she said was also followed by silence. She looked concerned, and locked her eyes on the wall behind us — which made me turn to see whether there was something there that could’ve caught her attention: there wasn’t. It was that look that meant she had something to say.