No more gas explosions happened for a second or two, then another went off near the house. I strained but did not hear any more gunshots. Almost half the tents had caught fire, including one to our right.
I looked to Caleb, but he was already in motion.
Caleb jumped up and ran to the tent. From his pocket he pulled a large folding knife and cut the canvas in one long strip going down. Smoke came pouring from the slit. He pulled the canvas apart and called to the people inside. I grabbbed the other side and we lead as many people out as we could see.
We both started for next tent, but Caleb stopped me.
“I’ll get the people out here to the street. Go see what’s happening at the house. I’ll call the police, but I bet they already know.”
I nodded and ran to the house.
Confused people grabbed onto me as I passed, asking what was happening. I yelled over my shoulder to get out to the street. The crowd seemed to be surging away from the house, tuxedos and evening gowns scattered in the darkness. I looked up to the big house and saw people leaving from every entrance except one: the kitchen door I had entered just a few hours before.
I ran inside and looked around. The staff must have already fled, trays left sitting on the center island and the counter and even the stools. One large silver platter of shrimp balanced on the side of the sink.
I could hear shouts coming from the large room, a man’s voice pitched high in panic.
My eyes fell on the block of knives near the corner of the sink. I stepped around the island and yelled as a face peered up at me.
“Bern, what are you doing still in here,” I said in a whisper, crouching down to the young girl.
She did not say anything. Just stared ahead. Tears were streaming down her cheeks but her face was stone. I took her shoulder and shook but got no response. I did not know what to do, so I left her sitting on the kitchen floor alone.
I grabbed a knife from the block, a big chefs knife like the one we used to use back in the restaurant. The wooden handle felt good in my hand and I absently spun the knife around like I was taught to do so long ago. The knife had balance and heft and would do anything I wanted it to do.
I looked at the silver tray of shrimp and had an absent thought of Tim Burton’s Batman. Part of me wanted to put the tray under my shirt as a bullet proof vest, but I laughed and dismissed the idea. Out of the corner of my eye I say Bern flinch at the laughter.
I did grab a small paring knife from the block. I had not been as great at throwing knives as I had been with the larger kitchen knives, but it would work as a distraction if I needed to get close. I remembered the gun shots and glanced at the tray again, but decided against it.
Then, this time not shoved by anyone, I walked out of the kitchen and into the fire.