The elderly man and his dog walk briskly along the sand. As the sun attempts to rise in the east, against a slate-grey sky, Paul Berman, still spry at eighty-four, maneuvers quickly over the dunes as he tosses a ball to his faithful companion Blue. Blue is no longer chasing the ball, but is curiously distracted by an open gate leading to a private residence.
Paul’s attention is also drawn to the unlocked, open gate, an anomaly at this hour of the morning. Blue pushes through the open gate and bounds up the steps leading to the residence and away from his owner. Paul, unwilling to disturb the young lady who owns the property, attempts to quietly follow and tether Blue before waking the resident.
Paul’s attention is also drawn to the sound of drapes flapping noisily in the brisk morning breeze. The front sliding glass doors are wide open. Blue returns to Paul’s side, his bloody footprints leaving a trail from the open doors. Looking closer, Paul can see that one of the doors has been shattered. The old man’s curiosity and experience collide. On the one hand, Paul is aware that his civic duty demands that he attempt to contact the homeowner. On the hand, Paul is aware that he could very well be placing himself and Blue in danger.
Civic mindedness overrules logic and Paul steps into the luxurious, deathly silent front room. The opulent beauty of the room has been forever marred by splattered blood. Even the exquisite view of the pounding surf pales in comparison to the horror that must have occurred in this room. A copious amount of blood covers the walls and drips from an ornate chandelier, suspended from the second story, gently swaying in the breeze. Pools of blood have congealed on an expensive silk-covered couch and under the expansive living room table. The room looks and smells more like a slaughterhouse. For Paul, it was impossible for him to recall the quiet elegance of the room that he had admired on so many previous occasions.
Deeply stunned and repulsed, Paul bends, cinches Blue’s collar and quickly exits the scene of horror and hurries back up the beach to his home to call to 911. Before he reaches his residence, Paul hears the wail of sirens in the background as he whispers a fervent prayer for the gorgeous young woman who owns the home.