Ned’s couch was as comfortable as he said but I still woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I looked out the kitchen window to check on the horses but it was pitch black. I took the flashlight and made my way up the stairs as quietly as they would allow. When I finished my business I looked in the mirror and saw that I was pretty dirty. I filled the bucket that Ned appeared to be using as a basin and flushed the waste away. I filled it again, took a washcloth and soap and cleaned up. I didn’t think I’d have any problem falling back to sleep. I heard some shuffling from the room next-door and what sounded like a chair scraping the floor. I figured Jean needed to make a late night visit too. There was a light knock at the door. “I’ll be right out.” I replied. Then a bump as if someone leaned against the wall.
I was finished in a minute. I opened the door and no one was there. Ned’s door was closed. Jean’s door was ajar. I started down the stairs and heard Jean’s door slam open. I turned to find Jean rushing at me. Her mouth was open wide. There was a huge gash ripped from her neck. She was coming on me fast. There was no way I’d make it to the couch for my guns. I braced my right leg on a lower step to get ready for the impact. She was on me in a split second. I jammed my right hand in to her throat and tried to throw her off with my left. Her momentum was too great. I started falling backward and she was coming right along with me. I dropped my right leg back further and then my left leg. I slid down two or three stairs and lost my balance. I was going backward. “Oh, shit!” Her momentum pushed us into the air. Time slowed down. I glimpsed Ned dragging his foot as he exited Jean’s room. There was blood all over his face and chest. I would hit the bottom any time now. This was going to hurt. I felt my right heal touch something solid. It twisted under our weight. SNAP!