Inexplicably nervous, Charity pulled the large box from the back seat of her car and carried it up the unkempt path to the bungalow. In spite of herself, her nose curled in distaste. Shabby chic was one thing, just plain shabby was another.
The wooden structure was in sad need of a coat of paint. There were hints of blue along some of the boards, but the color had long since faded with time. Many of the boards were loose and rotted. The window nearest the front door was missing a pane, sporting a piece of cardboard and excessive duct tape in its stead. A Christmas wreath hung beside the door, even though it was months before the holiday. Judging from the ragged appearance of the artificial pine and the thick cobwebs woven among the faded and broken bulbs, Charity guessed the wreath was not an effort of early celebration, but a sad reminder of happier days long past. The electrical cord dangled like a dejected suitor, its power source long since gnawed off by animal or rodent.
The house reminded her of Aunt Nell’s sad little cottage. Sorrow lurked inside, seeping out onto the sagging porch where she stood. The image of the bullet hole swam before her eyes, stirred by a cool breeze at her back.
Charity jerked in surprise. From the other side of the peephole — which bore an odd resemblance to a bullet’s void, she discovered — an eye stared at her.
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