Finally, the headlights swept across the farmhouse. It sagged slightly, leaning to the west. Its siding and shutters and windows were blackened with age and waste, and the broken chimney formed a jagged silhouette in the moonlight. To the side of the house a collection of misshapen tombstones marked the graves of the family who had once owned the farm. Beside the cemetery stood the collapsed fence of what had once been a pen of some sort, which now served as a parking lot. The cars parked in this makeshift lot were as diverse as the clientele in the sagging house–Cadillacs, BMWs, Mercedes, rusted old Chevy trucks, dented minivans, even one Ford Festiva. Nick parked his truck between a Mercedes and an old bumperless Buick and got out.
The stench of the garbage struck him more fiercely as soon as he was out of the car. But the smell filled him with excitement: he was here. His long, muscular legs carried him swiftly across the frozen mud to the front porch, whose steps creaked beneath his feet. The porch had a deep dip in its middle, and Nick's weight caused the porch to dip and flex even more. As always, he sensed this weak sag creep throughout the house.
He knocked on the door and watched the eye slit. Immediately, it snapped open, and Olivia's small, arrogant eyes appeared. "You don't give up, do you," she said in her savage little voice. Olivia snapped the slit of wood closed and opened the door. Nick stepped into the cramped vestibule with her. Olivia crossed her arms firmly over her chest and studied him. "You know she sees other people, don't you?" Olivia hissed. Nick hated when Olivia made him stand with her like this. The smallness of the vestibule made him feel too intimate with her. She was only about thirteen, but she had the nasty impudence of a teenage girl who's been given more power than she deserves. She wore a red dress that fit tight over her young body, had her long blonde hair combed straight, and wore an ample dressing of make up, making her look inappropriately old. "Maybe you ought to try breaking in somebody younger," she said. "Yes, maybe," Nick mumbled. The image of her naked and moaning flashed across his mind. He looked up at the same crack in the ceiling he always did, eyeing the way it crawled through the plaster and hoping she would back down and let him in the house. Then her high heels tapped loudly on the tile floor, she opened the door to the house, and Nick followed her inside.