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Gothic Beauty Magazine

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Chapter 2- The Cabin



Shaking, she turned towards the kitchen, her mind a reeling whirlpool of combined fury and outrage. She turned back towards the phone for a second, her arm raised, her finger pointing at it as if it, personally, had done something wrong. The basement door silently clicked open partway behind her back. Shaking her head, she turned away from the phone, stomping towards the kitchen, determined to relax as she had intended for this night. It was impossible, however- as she unpacked her bags, putting the items in the empty fridge, grabbing a bowl out of one of the plastic bins in the cupboards to fill with fruit, she found herself slamming things down. It was only when she realized that she was crying that she gave up, heading out to the living room to flop down on the couch, miserable. As she landed, a cloud of dust flew up, making her sneeze repeatedly, on top of everything, so that when the phone began to ring again, loud and insistent, she didn’t even realize what the noise was at first. After a few rings, she jerked up, running over before the answering service took a message. “Hello?” she asked, her voice louder, sharper than she intended. “Why are you yelling at me?” her Mother’s hurt voice came over the phone. “Oh, no, Mom I’m not, I’m sorry!” she stammered, guilt rising in her throat. She explained herself, spilling the whole story to her Mother so quickly she wasn’t even sure she was keeping up. “And now I’m out of a job!” she said finally, after the hand on the clock had moved ten minutes. Her Mother exploded with maternal outrage. “How dare he! You were the best assistant he’s had- he said so himself last Christmas!” “I know what he said, I guess things changed,” She said, miserable. She reached out, hooking one of the tall kitchen chairs that stood along the tall counter where the family ate. She pulled it over, climbing up to sit and finish the conversation. With her back turned to the hallway, she didn’t see the flash of light that streaked from the partially open basement door, all the way down the hallway, and around the corner that led into her room. “Well, at least you don’t have to deal with his moods anymore, right?” her Mother was saying. “Well, yea.” Kirsten sniffed, feeling a bit better. Maybe now, she could find a job that didn’t require a 4 AM wakeup. Still, the idea of having to walk back into the office to pick up her last check made her shiver. Almost as if she could hear her thoughts, her Mother’s voice once again cut in. “And don’t you worry about going back there,” she said sternly, her voice almost icing over the earpiece of the phone. “I’m going to pick it up.” “What?” Kirsten asked, the suggestion knocking her train of thought out of her head. “I’m going to pick up that cheque and get a gander at whoever he’s replaced you with.” Her Mother said, and Kirsten could practically hear the sword being drawn. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” she asked nervously, winding the cord up around her fingers so hard it almost broke. “Of course it is!” her Mother’s voice rose to a tremulous pitch, suddenly changing back to its old reassurance. “And don’t forget, you still have the education money your Dad and I put away for you. That’s still there, it’s yours.” Kirsten nodded, realization flooding through her heart. She could go to college now, be properly trained. “Thank you, Mom, I-” her Mother cut her off again, rushing through her next sentence. “Oh, sweetie, I have to go, your brother just came home and he’s bleeding so I’ll call you in the morning okay? I love you have a good night!” the words came so quickly that Kirsten couldn’t get a word in edgewise. As she snapped her mouth open to answer, she heard the phone drop down on the other end, and a second later, the silence of the open line. “Okay, then!” she said to the empty room, smiling widely. Her hair brained Mom always made her feel better. Considering her options for college, she jumped up again, heading back for the kitchen. She grabbed a can of pasta sauce out of the cupboard, twisting open the top in one fluid motion, grabbing a pot out of the plastic bin as she passed. She turned a burner on, putting the pot on to heat, pouring the sauce into the pot. She turned towards the back of the house, heading for the freezer that had all of the meat in it. Looking back, she could see the pot beginning to simmer. She went around the corner, jerking the freezer open. Fishing around, she found a pack of sausages in the bottom. She stood up, closing the freezer solidly, sliding the lock over. She went around the corner, stopping short by the doorway into the kitchen. There, on the stove, pulled far away from the burner, was the pot she had left on when she left the room. The burner burnt bright red, wasting its heat into the room. She ran over, reaching out to click it off. Impulsively, she grabbed a knife off the counter, looking around the silent house. How did the pot move? Her heart pounded as the possibilities ran through her mind. Her skin crawled, almost as if someone breathed on the back of her neck. Nervous, she looked over her shoulder, only to find empty space before her eyes. She turned towards the door quickly, intending to run out of it- and stopped short at the sight of the fully armed alarm system. No one could be in the house- the alarm would have gone off. She stopped in confusion, putting the knife down on the table. Deciding she must have taken the pot off before she left the room, she let it roll off her shoulders, turning back to the pot. She put it back on, dropping the sausages into the sauce and turning the burner back on. She watched it until it started to bubble, stirring it now and then. She turned the burner down, heading towards the living room. She grabbed the remote, clicking the TV on. Sound filled the room, erasing the rest of her worries. The basement door swung suddenly wide, banging against the wall. Kirsten jumped, screaming as she turned, holding the remote up as if to defend herself. The news woman droned on as Kirsten began to laugh. She went over to the door, wiggling it back and forth. Deciding it must be loose, she pulled it shut, laughing at herself. She turned back to the TV, glancing over at the pot, it bubbled merrily, filling the kitchen with steam. She sat down heavily on the couch, sending up another cloud of dust. The report was about a school shooting, and Kirsten found herself paying rapt attention, her hand pressed to her chest in compassion. Behind her back, the pot simmered down further and further. Suddenly, the spoon she had left in the pot moved- it seemed to pick itself up, stirring the contents around. The burner dial turned itself down, all of this unseen by Kirsten, who still sat, listening to every word the people on the Television were saying. All movement in the kitchen stopped, as if waiting for a reaction. When none came, the far cupboard suddenly opened, a large plastic bin sliding slowly and silently out onto the counter, which was level with the shelf. It pulled itself far out, along the counter, stopping beside the stove. After another moment of silence, the cupboard door click softly shut. As the music signaling the commercial break sounded, Kirsten jumped up, remembering her dinner. “Oh, shit! Shit!” she said, expecting it to be burnt. She ran into the kitchen, running all the way to the stove before she noticed anything was different. She stood there silently, staring at the container, the changed temperature, the unburnt food for a long, tense moment. The atmosphere seemed heavy, now- the cabin seemed almost to breathe. Suddenly Kirsten smiled to herself, laughing once again. She decided that she must have been so wrapped up with the report, that she did it all automatically. The atmosphere seemed to lift, and Kirsten turned quickly to grab a boiling pot. She filled it with water out of the sink, putting it on another burner. She pulled a pack of pasta out of the container on the counter, sliding it all the way down and back into it’s cupboard. A few minutes later, she had her dinner, done, the pots now soaking in the sink. She went back into the living room, breaking her own personal rule of always eating at the table, just this once. She ate while watching the news, until it ended, and then she flipped through the channels until she found a movie she had been wanting to see- she had never had the time before. She only got to watch half of it, however- the house was warm, and the food was filling, and soon she fell asleep, what was left of her dinner going cold on the coffee table. In her sleep, she swung her legs up, lying down with her head on the armrest of the couch. As she slept, the house once again took action. As the TV turned to commercial, the volume turned itself down, until the channel was just loud enough to hear. A dusty blanket that was on the back of the couch pulled itself down, draping itself over her sleeping body. The living room light clicked off, shrouding the sleeping woman in darkness. Kirsten, completely oblivious to all of this, slept on, dreaming of a storm. After a few moments of silence, the basement door once again swung open, slowly and softly shutting itself, as if to avoid making any noise. In her parent’s old bedroom, the old clock chimed ten times to mark the hour. The sleeping woman pulled the blanket closer, dreaming on and on into the night.