By Maya Lionne
On Tanya’s nineteenth birthday, on a chill autumn Thursday, Tanya, Nicolas, Bridget, and Alexa came back from the night’s work selling the house’s homemade erotic calendars and magazines to find the renovated Hotel d’Souza where they lived abnormally quiet.
Alexa agreed to search the bottom floor, the light from her cell phone illuminating dark rooms in the basement. Bridget set about searching the offices and rooms on the ground and second floors, her dancer’s body gliding past rails and desks like a wraith in the early morning dark. Nicolas racked the slide on his handgun, replacing it in his brown leather jacket before accompanying Tanya in a search of the third and fourth floors.
No one could be found, and the house showed no signs of disaster – all the rooms were in order, nothing was knocked down, and there was no sign of a fight. When she finally got to the fourth-floor room she shared with her girlfriend Galina, Tanya all but kicked the door down, shouting Galina’s name in a panic.