He turned to knock on the door but stopped himself. What right did he have to bring trouble to these nice people? Assuming they were nice, anyway. Maybe he'd be in worse shape if he got their attention. The zombies might be the lesser of two evils. And what if they were in league with the zombies? Not that he believed that, but all kinds of horrible scenarios ran though his mind. Before he made a decision, the door opened and a big hand grabbed his upper arm, dragging him inside.
"Should have run, boy. They weren't after you."
Ben turned and looked at the man. He was huge, standing at least six and a half feet tall and built like a truck, as Ben's dad liked to say. He had short dark hair and a thick mustache, but the thing that stood out most, which both scared and comforted him, was the man's piercing dark blue eyes. It was as if they saw right through Ben's skull and directly into his soul.
Ben gave a start and looked away. A woman also stood there, probably the guy's wife. The two appeared to be in their mid-30s, about the same age his parents. She was much shorter than the hulking man, around five and a half feet tall. She was pretty, and it helped that her eyes were plain green, not so noticeable as her husband's. Her hair was a stylish short blonde, dropping down just below her jaw line. He knew it was stylish because it looked similar to how his mom often appeared after a trip to the salon, and she always kept up on the latest trends.
"No need to scare him, Lee," the woman said. "I'm sure he's already freaked out of his mind."
The man, Lee, let go of Ben, who backed away. Would his shoulders have bruises from the grip? He looked at the adults. "What's going on?"
"Nothing to concern yourself with, sweetie," the woman said. "Why don't you head into the kitchen for a minute? There are some granola bars on the counter if you're hungry. I'll drive you to school in a few moments so you're not late. I assume you go to Valley Citrus?"
He nodded and followed her point out of the entry hall and to the left. He didn't know these people, so why should he trust them? But for some reason, he did. The floor plan wasn't much different from his own house and others in the neighborhood. The entryway opened into a living room, and a door to the left led to the kitchen. Were all the houses in the area just copies of each other?
He could tell these people hadn't been here very long. The living room had a half-finished feel to it. The furniture and television and other big stuff were set up, but the walls were bare, and there were a few boxes in the corner with family photos and other decorations peeking out. Everything had a new smell that he figured was from carpet cleaners. He remembered the scent from when Grandma Phillips passed a couple of years back. His parents, along with his aunts and uncles, cleaned her house top to bottom in order to sell it.
The kitchen held more clutter. Dishes, cooking utensils, and other things lay in a few of the open boxes. If he poked through the cupboards, pantry, and refrigerator, he knew he wouldn't find much. No breakfast odor lingered. The granola bars were indeed on the counter, but even if he hadn't already eaten, he wouldn't have the appetite for one now.