They had broken into the deserted house earlier that week – the very last one in the empty street, where all the front lawns and white picket fences had been worn down by the absence of care and the passage of time. Jon could barely stand, having come down with the sickness a few days before. His brother had carried him to the bedroom, the two of them stumbling as they tried to feel their way through the corridors.
Now Jon lay in bed, burning with the fever. His brother sat by his side on an old rocking chair, watching over him as his mind wandered. Leaning forward, he changed the wet towel on his forehead. Their breaths left alternating traces of white in the air.
The bedroom must have belonged to a girl, judging by the pink bed-sheets and the art nouveau on the walls. All around them were photos of the family that had once lived there. They decorated the shelves, the coffee table in the living room, the fireplace. In one, the mom and dad sat together smiling; in another, the dad and his two daughters stood side-by-side near a waterfall. The frames had years of dust on them. The two brothers were all alone.
Jon woke up and looked at his sibling with bloodshot eyes. “I’m thirsty,” he said. His brother reached for the glass of water on the nightstand as the sick man’s eyes slowly turned away from him.
In his mind, Jon saw their old labrador lying near the foot of the bed. It raised its head and looked at him.