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The Chest

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For three hours they had been walking down this deserted road, yellow, dead grass lying on either side of them with nothing in sight besides the gray gravel stretching out for what seemed like eternity in front of them.

"We should’ve stopped at that small town, Evan," Sarah said towards his back as they walked in a straight line, their legs growing heavier with the tiredness of the long walk.

"Yeah, well, what do you want me to do about it? That asshole back at the town said the farm was a short walk from there," Evan snapped at Sarah looking back at her as the beads of sweat rolled down his forehead. It had been very hot that day and the heat hadn’t let up, even with the sun setting in the distance.

"Shut up, you two, we can’t be that far, just keep walking." Michael was just as tired as the both of them, but he usually served as the middleman in Sarah and Evan’s arguments.

"It’s going to be night soon, let’s just settle here for the night and hopefully someone will pass by." Evan dropped his backpack to the ground and sat on it, putting his arms on his knees and breathing somewhat heavily.

‘Who the hell is going to come through here? Only two cars drove past in all the time we’ve been walking down this damn road.’ Sarah did as Evan, taking off the backpack but she preferred to lie down on the ground, using it as a pillow.

"It’s our best shot, honestly unless you got a better idea." Michael reached for the nearly empty bottle of water in his backpack before taking it off his back and sitting next to Evan.

With the decision to spend the night on the lonely road, the three of them had to huddle together for heat, as the night had grown very cold. Once the morning came, they chewed on some beef jerky for breakfast as they continued walking. Half an hour down the road, a pick-up truck was approaching them from the right side of the road, in the direction they were heading. A small man, with round glasses and a salt and pepper moustache stuck his head out the window as he stopped the vehicle.

"You three need a lift? This road is quite a walk," he said in a friendly manner.

"We noticed. Thank you, yes, if you don’t mind. We’re trying to reach the farm," Sarah was the first to answer the man’s inquiry.

"You mean my farm? Yeah, it’s another couple of miles from here, I went to visit a friend of mine in town yesterday morning to drop off some of the cargo in that old chest back there," the man said as he pointed to the back of the pick-up truck, where a large beaten up leather chest with a combination lock was lying in the back.

"That’s nice. I’m Evan, this is Michael and that’s Sarah," Evan replied somewhat impatiently.

"Ted. Ted Nieg. It’s a pleasure to meet you all." Ted stuck out his hand and gave each one a strong handshake. For his appearance, he had quite the grip.

"Climb on, you two can go in the back while the missus rides with me if you don’t mind," Evan said pointing to the two men.

"So where were you three headed? My farm couldn’t be your destination," Ted said, making small talk.

"No, we were headed for the city. We’re going around the country on foot, looking for people to meet and have fun," Evan answered.

‘How’s that been going?’

"It’s been going pretty well, Ted. We visited the capital and stayed with this older couple. They were very nice to us. Even gave us some good meals even though they didn’t have much. Then we visited a few towns before coming here. I’d say we’ve walked at least at least three hundred miles."

"Those two certainly got better grub than most people we’ve met," Michael said jokingly.

"What about you Ted?" Sarah asked turning to the farmer. "You live by yourself?"

"Yeah, my wife left a long time ago. We had a nasty fight. Been a couple years so I don’t miss her no more," Ted replied in a relaxed manner.

"What do you got in this chest back here? Smells like raw meat." Evan got closer and took a sniff.

"Yeah, I sell some meat once in a while since crops ain’t been that good so I have to get rid of cattle some time. Don’t worry; I can fix you folks something up." Ted kept his eyes on the long road.

"Thanks; all we’ve had is beef jerky since we left that town back there." Sarah replied with a smile

Along they went until they reached the farm where Ted picked up the large chest by himself and carried it inside the house, followed by the trio.

"You three make yourselves comfortable while I take this down to the basement," Ted told them and in five minutes he had come back, wiping his hands on each other as if to say he had taken care of business. Evan, Michael and Sarah were just calmly sitting in the living room couch, looking around.

"Sit tight while I get you something to eat," Ted said, going to the kitchen, which was visible from the living room.

"You got a pretty big place. It must get lonely here without your wife," Sarah said to Ted’s back.

"My animals keep me company, miss. You’re all welcome to stay the night; I got a couple spare rooms."

"Thanks, we’ll do that." Michael had stood up from the couch and walked up behind Ted and uttering these words, he sliced the man’s throat with a serrated knife he kept in his backpack.

"Christ, Michael! What is the matter with you?! You could’ve waited until he got us some food!" Sarah got up along with Evan and walked up next to Michael while Ted twitched on the ground, blood coming out from the deep wound. In three minutes, he had died.

"Oh, fuck off, Sarah, it’s not like we can’t cook." Michael cleaned the knife on a rag that had been put over the clean dishes next to the sink.

"But now, it’s going to take us hours, you prick! We have to cut him up and throw away the bad meat! You remember how it was with that couple!"

"Quiet you two; Michael, why don’t you put that knife to better use while Sarah and I look around the house?" Evan asked with a grin.

So Michael got to work on Ted while the other two looked around the house, and after an indescribable meal, Michael asked:

"Did you look in the chest? He might have something in there."

"Oh yeah, how the hell did we miss that? Let’s go have a look and maybe we’ll squat here for a few days," Evan said to the both of them, getting up and wiping his mouth from the blood. He preferred his meat close to rare.

The basement door was locked, but a strong kick from the two men was enough to break it off of one hinge and leave it hanging. They made their way down to see what Ted was keeping in the leather chest and, after breaking it open with an axe they had found down there, they looked inside.

It was full of body parts.

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