Peeling faded floral wallpaper assaulted their eyes as Jack and Ivan pushed through the door with the “208” stamped brass placard. Ivan crinkled his nose against the sour smell of glue and piss hanging in the air.
Two twin beds facing a television left over from the 1970’s sitting atop a cheap dresser took up most of the space in the main room. Each bed came fully stocked with a small wooden table, reading lamp, and stiff floral bedding. Around the room, in sterile aluminum frames, hung paintings donated by the local art students.
Jack tossed his bag on the bed closest to the door while Ivan opened closet and cabinet doors.
“Looking for something?” Jack watched Ivan inspect the inside of each dresser drawer.
Jack pointed to the third drawer Ivan held open.
“Oh, nah. Just checking out the…JACK POT!”
Ivan crouched at the bottom drawer of the dresser and pulled out a crumpled ten dollar bill. He held it over his head for Jack to see.
“Nice. Remind me not to question your rummaging habits in the future.”
“You’ll question them anyway.”
Jack looked at the bed suspiciously before dragging over a wooden chair and choosing to sit in it instead. “I can’t even sit on this thing, how am I supposed to sleep in it? Are you still messing with that drawer?”
“I think it jammed. I can’t get it back in.”
“That’s what she said.”
“Dammit!” Ivan laughed. He wrestled with the drawer a few more moments before pulling it completely out of the dresser. “What the hell? Uh, Jack?”
Jack looked over to see Ivan reach far back into the space where the drawer had been. When he withdrew his hand he was holding a paper bag filled with cash. He tossed the bag onto Jack’s bed and reached back into the space.
“Holy shit!” Jack poured out the money and began counting. “Dude, for eighty bucks, this is a helluva room!”
“Yeah…whoever left this though might come back for it.” Ivan held up a hand gun intentionally pointing the barrel away from he and Jack. “Sig P-229. .357 caliber.”
“The fuck? Wait. How do you even know that?”
“Do you know how many video games I play?”
“And a box of ammo. I don’t think this was accidently left behind.”
“Should we call someone?”
“How much is in the bag?”
“Shhhh! I’m counting.”
Ivan looked over the gun. It was a compact semi-automatic weapon with a hefty weight. Strange symbols had been etched into either side of the weapon’s slide. He pressed the magazine catch releasing the fully loaded ten round magazine. Similar symbols had been etched into the magazine.
“Seventy-two hundred dollars.” Jack swallowed hard. The thick stack of cash trembled in his hands.
Ivan reloaded the magazine into the gun. “Seventy…”
“Seven thousand, two hundred dollars.” Jack let the words roll off his tongue with disbelief. He swallowed again and bit his bottom lip. A heavy weight settled in his chest. Something wasn’t quite right about their situation.
Ivan double-checked the safety and set the gun down next to him. They both stared in silence for several moments before Ivan spoke.
“This is either our lucky day, or something really fucked up is about to happen.”
“What do you mean? I mean, I’m getting the same feeling, but what do you mean?”
“Every game I’ve played where you find guns and ammo lying around -especially next to money, usually means there are zombies or monsters nearby. Hell, remember Parasite Eve?”
“I want to tell you to shut up, but I’ve got this nagging feeling that you’re not wrong.”
“Yeah, this isn’t our luck. Eighty-dollars for a shitty room. That’s our luck. Finding a ton of money, not our luck. Finding a gun that was probably used to kill someone, totally us.”
“You think someone used that gun on someone?”
“No. The clip is fully loaded. And all the bullets are in…” Ivan went silent. He picked up a round from the ammo box. Along the brass casing he found another etched in symbol.
“Look at this.” Ivan picked a few more rounds from the box and handed them over to Jack.
Jack turned the rounds in his hands. Each had a unique symbol etched into the brass. “What the hell?”
“Yeah, now look at this.” Ivan pressed the magazine catch releasing the magazine and set it and the gun beside Jack.
“These look like Kabbalah symbols.”
“Any idea what they mean?”
“Other than this is more like our luck, not at all.”
Ivan took the rounds back from Jack and replaced them in the ammo box, inserted the magazine into the gun, and put it and the ammo box carefully into his canvas satchel. He sat on the bed across from Jack and stared at the stack of cash now sitting in the center of the bed. “What now?”
“Hope we’re wrong. Make it through the night. Get the fuck out of this town as soon as we can. And enjoy our fully funded trip.”
“Yeah. Something just feels wrong.”
“I know. I can’t shake the wrongness of this whole thing.”
“Are you wanting to turn the stuff in?”
“Fuck no! I’m okay with the whole keeping what we found. I mean something just feels out of place. Like we opened a box meant to stay closed.”
“Exactly! That’s how I’ve been…”
A pounding at the door caused both of them to jump. Jack stashed the money in his backpack. They both sat silently watching the door. Another violent series of pounding banged against the door. Ivan reached into his satchel and rested his hand against the gun.