A tiny hall ended in a scratched dark brown door with a flaking plastic knob. Irving pulled at the handle and squeaked. “It sticks!” he exclaimed.
The trailer shook and its wood groaned.
“No time!” Eddie shouldered Mike aside, pointed the shotgun at the doorknob and boom!, blew it to pieces. Then he muscled past Mike and Irving both, pushing himself first through the door.
He hopped down a cinderblock step and into the tent, leading with his weapon. There were a few benches, rough-cut and dirty, and the back end of the white canvas sagged to the ground, but there were no snakes. An iron tube sunk into a poured puddle of concrete served like a flag stand, and stuck into it was a wooden pole. The wood looked so ancient it was almost petrified, and nailed to the top of the pole, coiled around a stubby crosspiece, was the desiccated body of a snake, six feet long and a brilliant red that managed to gleam through layers of sand and dust. Eddie could smell the antiquity.
He blinked and tried not to focus on the infernal feast he saw at the back of the tent, haggard women ladeling soup from a huge cauldron into bowls that they handed to a line of equally haggard men. The soup, Eddie saw, was awash in tiny fingers and toes.
“Clear!” he shouted, and stepped forward.