First Love – Part 15

 

First Love coverThe group finally reaches its destination in small town New Mexico. Reverend Jose Fajardo meets them and takes them to the adjacent building which houses the Sunday school rooms and fellowship hall.

“This was a hotel built back in the late 1800s, built in the style of Henry Flagler. Unfortunately, the builder ran out of money to finish it. But there are a few nice things here, like the staircase.” He led them upstairs. “To the right is the girls’ room. To the left, down the hall, is where the boys will sleep. There’s a couple restrooms up here, another set downstairs. Unfortunately, the shower is in the basement. One problem with this place, the hot water heater needs replacing. We’re hoping to work out a deal with a local business, but so far he’s being stubborn. Presbyterians aren’t as popular as Catholics in these parts. If I went by Father Fajardo instead of Reverend, I’d have it already.” He shrugged.

They put their things in the rooms and followed him around the rest of the sprawling building. He showed them to the kitchen. It was big, dimly lit and looked more like a converted laundry room than a kitchen. It had wonderful appliances, very modern for the surroundings.

“Our youth group raised a lot of money doing raffles and car washes to pay for these things. The appliance store sold them at cost. You’ll be meeting some of the members while you’re here.”

“We look forward to it,” Craig said. “Meanwhile, let’s get the kids settled and we’ll get some dinner going.”

“No worries on dinner,” Jose said. “The church ladies are cooking tonight. They’ll bring it by in about half an hour and set it all up for you. After that, you’re on your own.” He grinned, rubbing his hands together.

“Is there a TV in this place?” Brad asked.

“In the game room,” Jose replied. “I’m afraid it doesn’t get much. The mountains and hills keep us from getting very good reception. We’ve got a stereo and tape player with a pretty good album collection. That’s if you can decide on what music you want to listen to.” He chuckled. “There’s a large selection of games and we’ve got a ping pong table.”

“Pool?” Clayton asked hopefully.

“What, the Devil’s Game?” Jose asked. He sounded so serious, they thought he meant it until he started laughing. “Yes, we’ve got a nice pool table. Also donated. Anything else you need?”

“We’re fine for now,” Craig replied.

“Great. I’m going to go check on the progress of dinner and I’ll come get you when it’s set up in the fellowship hall.” He tipped his hat and walked quickly to the back of the building.

“Well,” Craig said, grinning. “Let’s get washed up.”

“I want a shower,” Claire declared. “Where is it?”

“I don’t know,” Craig replied. “Why don’t you go look. He said it was downstairs.”

“Ugh!” She shuddered. “There’s a downstairs? Is that where they keep the rats and dead bodies?”

“Yes,” Clayton said, leaning close, his voice dropping nearly an octave as he spoke. “There are dead bodies of tall, blonde girls. Their dead eyes staring at nothing as the rats eat their once beautiful faces.” He pretended to take a bite of something, chewing noisily.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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