“How do you feel today?” Ike asked staring out the bay window as the early morning sun streamed through the branches of the surrounding jungle.
Ginger turned over on the huge bed with a swirled canvas of disheveled sheets, blankets, pillows, and more pillows.
“Well,” she grinned, “if this my last day on earth, I’ll go with a smile on my face. What time is it?”
“Early.” Ike was obviously not wearing a watch.
“I’m starving. Lets get dressed and find some food.”
Ike turned and started picking up his clothes. “Maybe we can find you something to wear.”
“I’m not taking clothes off any of those bodies outside.” Ginger moved from one yoga stretch to another, catching Ike’s eye.
“Let’s check out some of these rooms. These poor souls must have brought suitcases.”
Ginger walked over to the phone and listened for a tone. “I don’t think we can get room service.”
Ike standing fully clothed checed his essentials. Slapping his pocket he said,” Wallet, keys, handkerchief, knife, ID and credit card”. Ready to go.
He reached down and tossed Ginger the flannel shirt taken from the Enigma Club.
“We’ll find you something a little more pleasing to your figure.” He said with a smile.
As Ginger wrapped the much too large garment around her when an object fell out of the shirt pocket and hit the floor rolling under the bed.
“What was that?”
Ike finished tying his shoe and reached under the bed, bringing back a fisted hand. He opened his hand and with the other gently picked up the golf ball sized object.
“What is it?” Ginger said buttoning the large shirt. From across the room is sparkled in the sunlight between Ike’s fingers.
Ike gazed at the glistening object as he twirled between his fingers then reaching into his pocket, he pull out his knife and with the free hand unscrewed the end. He walked closer to the window and placed the end of his knife to his eye. Through the magnify loupe he examined the object closely.
“It’s a diamond.”
Ginger walked up and stared in awe.
“I see that, but it is a diamond.”
“A red diamond?”
“And it is finely crafted. It doesn’t appear to be made for a setting, but it is well chiseled. Around 10 carats I imagine.” Ike said dropping the loupe from his eye into his hand.
“Well let’s go find some food and get some…” Ike said as he turned and started placing the stone into his pocket.
Ginger interrupted him with an outstretched arm and open hand.
“But of course my queen.” came the perturbed reply and Ike pulled the glowing stone out of his pocket and placed it into her palm.
After a quick peek into several rooms, they slowly walked down the wooden staircase to the open lobby. Ike went over to the desk and started looking through papers. Ginger surveyed the surroundings and spied a gift shop. She quickly shuffled through the open door and stood in wonder.
Ike turned the pages of the entrees signatures but did not recognize any of the names. He searched through the office with no significant findings. He reached a pile of newspapers scattered on the floor next to the long sofa.
“PANDEMIC IS AT HAND”
“WORLD LEADERS GATHER TO PRAY FOR A SOLUTION”
“PANIC IN THE STREETS”
“HOSPITALS CLOSED. NO MORE MEDICINE.”
All the newspapers are 3 weeks old.
Inside the office he took some paper and a couple of pens. He checked the safe but it was broken and empty. The infirmary was ransacked with broken bottles covering the floor. At the concierge desk, he found a cell phone and surprisingly a pistol. He placed both into his pocket.
“Good ole Joe.” He smiled as he looked at the photo on the wall. This former bandleader and then good friend could get anything done and often did for Ike and Ginger’s brief but passionate stays at the end.
“Well, what do you think?” came a cry from across the lobby.
Ike looked up to see Ginger standing in the gift shop doorway. Dark glasses on her head, bright orchid pushing back her rust colored locks, a light, flowing pastel spring dress blowing in the breeze from the open windows, silver bracelets adorning each arm, and pink tennis shoes.
“You are a vision.” Ike smiled. “Grab a handbag and a knapsack too. We may have to carry some food.”
“Oh yes, food. Where is food? I’m starving.” Ginger said gathering the items.
Moving through an empty dining room with plates still on the tables. Chairs lay on the floor as if there was a race to leave the room.
“Have you noticed anything strange?” Ike asked as they moved toward the dual swing doors of the kitchen.
“Anything strange? This whole thing is strange?” Ginger replied.
“Insects.” Ike quietly said. “Insects. This place should be teaming with flies and ants and every creature known to man. “
Ginger looked through the window at the bloated bodies resting in the street.
“You’re right. This place is full of food for the wild creatures, but there is no sign they have been here. Are they dead too?”
Ike pushed the door to the chrome kitchen open and quickly glanced from side to side. There are polished doors and polished cabinets and polished trays and polished tables, all undisturbed and ready for food preparation and no sign of recent activity.
The pair separated to the freezer and the storage areas.
Ike opened the freezer and the meat locker only to find warm compartment of rotten meat and melted vegetables.
Ginger found green covered breads and pasta. She stuffed a couple of cans into the knapsack and set aside a few more.
“Here,” Ginger said tossing the heavy sack to Ike, “ and see if you can open these. I don’t want to look at the expiration date.”
After a meal of canned beans, pineapple and some fresh coconut Ginger found outside, the two sat the window staring out to the future.
Ike muttered and downed another glass of wine. “Don’t forget to pack up some bottled water.”
“So now what?” Ginger replied a blank look on her face.
“Puppywoods is probably dust now and besides we have no transportation.”
“Then what do we do?
Where do we go?
I don’t want to hang around these bodies and the service here sucks.”
“Let’s head back to the beach and follow the coast.” Ike stood with a determined look on his face and strapped the knapsack around his shoulders.
“I’ve got another idea.” Ginger smiled and looked up. “The roof, let’s go to the roof.”
The couple climbed the stairs and found the escape stairway to the roof.
The sunshine poured into the dark narrow stairs as they burst into the morning. They walked out to the flat roof and stood in the silence.
“The sky should be full of singing birds.” Ike pondered wiping a tear from his squinting eyes.
“Over here” Ginger cried.
I turned to view a whirly bird. “We can fly out of here. Get it started.” Ginger impatiently fidgeted with the seats.
Ike put down the knapsack and walk to the cockpit. “Looks in good shape. Let’s see what we can do.”
He sat in the seat and started turning switches and watching meters. The blades shook and a puff of smoke came from the exhaust pipe. Then the blades began to slowly turn.
“Grab my bag and climb in. We’re going for a ride.”
Ginger smiled from ear to ear and grabbed the knapsack, ducked her head and climbed in beside the man who was about to deliver them from this nightmare.
The clear bubble shell tilted as the rotor blades spun faster and faster and smoke twirled around it like a fog. A bump and the carriage started to rise.
“Here we go.”
Tilting forward, the helicopter blew off the roof and over the green jungle.
And the two were off to another adventure. Not sure of the past events they ventured into an unknown future.