It took us a little longer to get started on our little journey than we expected. The wait for the truck took forever. When the truck arrived, it was huge. I was expecting a normal pick-up truck. The truck the Tony, Pete and Jonas brought back to Bear Country was military issue. I didn’t even know there was a truck like that in Bear country.
We loaded up our gear and supplies. It amazes me what people think they need to bring on a vacation.
The journey wasn’t too bad once we actually got started. A few hands of rock, paper, scissors and the driver was chosen. There was no traffic. Not surprising because most kids don’t drive. There were a few people walking along the way, a cow in the road, and several stray dogs. Tony hit a big pot hole in the road and those of us in the back went flying. He said he didn’t see the hole until it was too late. Jonas took over driving after that.
We arrived at the lodge just as it was starting to get dark. We all decided that it would probably be a good idea if we all stayed in the big house until the morning. Tomorrow we would check out the cabins near the lake. Everyone started to unload the truck. Emily took Aleece and Scat into the lodge to scope out the rooms. We were expecting the inside to be a mess. Some of the windows were broken out and the front door was off its hinges. The lodge was probably home to an assortment of animals and little critters. We heard Emily scream. We dropped everything and went to help expecting to find an angry racoon, a snake or a large angry spider.
The past came rushing back as soon as we entered the room at the top of the stairs. Emily was standing there frozen, crying.
We don’t know when she died. She probably came here to the lodge to escape the disease. She was lying on the bed and next to the bed was the portable crib. The baby, a little girl was sitting leaning against the bars. She was wearing My Little Pony pajamas. No one said anything but we all knew because we had seen this sort of thing before that the baby died sometime after her mom. There was no one here to save her. Her last days were misery. You can only imagine how she must have cried for her mom empty bottle in hand. Her mom must have thought they would be safe here, away from people, away from the disease.
It felt as if we stood there forever. I was resisting the urge to cry and then suddenly I needed to know what their names were. I started going thru the drawers looking for identification. Tony made me stop. He pushed me and the others out of the room. He closed the door and tied a piece of fabric around the handle. It’s what we used to do to let others know that death was behind a door. There were so many dead that we couldn’t bury them all. A few of us tried but the task was too big. It was easier to tie a piece of cloth around the door handle.
We all walked back down stairs to the lobby. Our little two-week vacations has started with sadness. I think we all thought of going back home but what would be the point. We can’t change what happened in the past. Jonas was the first person to speak. It was funny in a morbid kind of way. When he said “I guess we wont be staying in that room tonight.”