"We can't stay here," Lacey said, letting her backpack clunk to the ground in a cloud of dust.
I winced at the sound, pushing past her with the long metal pipe, my weapon of choice these last few weeks, raised in both of my hands, ready to twack about the head anyone coming out of a doorway toward me - but the house was empty, I knew it before we had even gotten close.
No one would stay in such a dilapidated, ruined place, not when there were so many nicer ruined places to choose from.
"Sure we can stay here," I said.
I set down my pack on the warped, sagging kitchen counter, not jumping when a nest of leaves and fibers rustled next to it and a family of mice made their escape.
"The mice who live here," I said. "They just told me, it's a fantastic place to spend a night."
"No," Lacey said, shaking her head.
I was already pulling my can open and tonight's canned dinner out of my pack, but Lacey wasn't moving from the spot by the door. She stood rooted in place, looking all around her like the place could be haunted.
"This place is empty, it's fine. We can bunk down on the floor and at least we'll have some cover from the rain," I said, but still she stood, unmoving.
"There's someone here," she whispered.
"There's no one else here."
"The mice told me," she said, nodding toward the staircase a bit to her left, a flood of mice families running toward her down the stairs.
Above us, we heard the creaking of floorboards that should have collapsed ages ago.
"Well, I always believe the mice," I said, and Lacey rolled her eyes at me as I shoved our dinner back into my pack and a moment later we were out the door, racing through the tall grass surrounding the house as we heard the telltale clicks of a shotgun being racked.
"Don't come back here, now!" a voice boomed behind us as we ran into the night, the rain beginning to pour down, the hope of a comfortable night's sleep leaving us once again.