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Gothic Beauty Magazine

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Cabin Chapter 1

The car rose up beyond the trees, travelling along the mountain track, and Kirsten leaned far over in her seat, forgetting to watch the road as she peered nervously up at the sheer rock face beside her, watching for falling boulders. The warning signs were everywhere; but this, thankfully, was the last pass before she got to her family’s cabin. She held her position, glancing forward much less than she should, until she had leveled out with the mountain beside her, and the road carried true between two farms.
As she passed a small, square house, white with blue shutters, a small lean-to garage seemingly hanging off the side of the house, she caught side of the faded pink reflective ribbon her father had hung years before to mark the beginning of their driveway. She turned off into the driveway, giving a small wave to the neighbour, who was marching enthusiastically down the road, obviously on a new fitness kick. The woman smiled widely back in return, nodding and waving as enthusiastically as she marched. She disappeared along with the rest of the world as the car was completely surrounded by low hanging branches.
She hopped back in pulling the car up in front of the garage. She leant far over, popping her glove box open, and fished out the old remote. It wouldn’t work the first time; anxiously, she had to smack the remote off the steering wheel twice before the groggy, infrequently used door sprang to life, complaining loudly as it screeched up into the roof of the garage. She pulled in, turning around in her seat to watch as the groaning metal slid happily back into its previous position. Hoping it would open in the morning, she hopped out, reaching quickly out to snap on the light, unnerved in the dark.

One seemed to be a dairy farm. Tan cows ran all over, even up in the yard right by what appeared to be the house. The other, had an orchard; she could see, flashing by as she drove, workers walking between the rows. The barren trees seemed to pull their branches in for warmth against the late October cold that frosted its way over each blade of grass each morning, turning the world into a glittering, perfect replica of the daytime world. It was dusk; the sun set behind the last tiny lump of a hill that was the nubby top of this mountain; yet, from a distance, the mountain looked as if it ended at a point.

Her phone rang, loud and insistent, but she ignored it; she was driving, and she knew who it would be. She could picture her mom, chewing on the middle of the phone cord anxiously as she waited for her daughter to pick up the phone. The road forked here, and she turned right, taking the less beaten path, away from the town that started at the end of the other road, down the other side of the mountain a little way. She had to look carefully for the cabin’s driveway; it was well hidden, no gate or anything.

They bounced and scraped along the car, and Kirsten found herself wishing she had asked her father to check out the driveway last weekend. He usually came up every fall to fix up the driveway, but he hadn’t yet, this year- and it was significantly overgrown. No one knew why the trees grew so quickly here- they simply did, overtaking the whole property if left unconfronted. Finally, she broke through the trees, coming to a short stop in front of her brother’s old bike, left on its side in the middle of the driveway. Cursing she hopped out, grabbed the bike by the handle bars and flung it into the yard for dealing with later. The light was fading, and she wanted to get inside before dark.

She bent into the back seat, slinging her bag of clothing over her shoulder and grabbing the bags of food she had brought with her- fruit and vegetables, milk and bread- all things not kept up here at the cabin, which was regularly stocked full of dry, canned and frozen goods. All of the dry goods had to be kept in plastic bins, to deter mice. She swung the door to the inside open, shuffling in sideways before dropping everything heavily down on the kitchen floor. One glance around told her the cabin needed dusting. Sighing, she snapped on the kitchen lights, pulling her bag of clothes out of the middle of the mess of items she had dropped on the floor. She stepped over it all, heading to the back of the spacious cabin, towards her room.

It had once been the room she lived in, before they had abandoned mountain life to move to the shining, noisy city for her father’s job. She snapped on each light as she went, even flinging the door to the den open, turning on the fan that sat in the corner of the room. The cabin was dusty from disuse, laden with memories. As she passed, she yanked down a missed Christmas wreath that still hung in its place on her brother’s door. She rounded the final corner, coming into her old room. Her four poster bed stood in the corner, her forgotten pink curtains draped, dustily soft down to the floor, hiding what was beneath the headboard. She dropped her bag on her dresser, crossing quickly to the bed, jerking the mattress up. She flipped it over, coughing as the dust flew up. She turned on her desk fan, reaching up to jerk the sticky window open. As the dust cleared out, she went quickly to her closet, pulling her plastic bin of bed sheets out. Quickly, she made her bed, and, grabbing her duster out of the corner of the room, started dusting things. Her room, although the biggest, was quickly done- she didn’t keep a lot of things here.

A sudden, high pitched beep caught her attention. She froze, listening carefully. She was alone here- the closest neighbour was back on the highway, and it took 15 minutes of driving to get to the cabin from there. The beep came again, and she spun around, facing her bedroom door- and the rest of the house. She took a few silent steps open, standing beside her dresser. As silently as she could, she eased it open- pulling out a long, sharp knife she kept there. It wasn’t for everyday use- it was silver, and double sided. She didn’t even know if it was sharp.

She took a cautious step into the hooked hallway, coming to rest against the wall beside the turn that led into the hallway where her parent’s room and her brother’s room’s doors were. Slowly, she tilted her head just enough to be able to see down the hallway. Behind her, a shadow moved across her room, disappearing into the small bit of wall above her closet door. Oblivious, Kirsten turned the corner, moving quickly down the hallway past the two closed bedroom doors into the living room, the knife raised high. As she turned, the blinking red panel of the alarm system caught her attention.

“Oh!” she said out loud, relief flooding her body- she had forgotten to hit the master code. She ran forward as the alarm let out another ear splitting beep, hitting the numbers just before the alarm went off. Sighing with relief, she turned to head back to her room- stopping short at the basement door. It hung open, the immediate stairs disappearing into blackness only a few feet down. The unnatural cold that emanated from the basement sent shivers up her spine, and she slammed the door shut as quickly as she could. Suddenly, the phone rang, and she screamed, slipping and falling hard to the floor, her arm coming down on the marble countertop as she fell.

Pain shot through her arm, and she screamed again, landing on one knee to prevent herself from falling further. She groaned, getting up on her feet. She hurried over to the phone, jerking it off the wall. “Hi, Mom, I’m okay…” she was cut off by a hurried voice on the other side. “Kirsten, this is John” It was her boss, a CEO of a big company in the city. She had worked for him for the last few years, as his secretary. “I’m calling to tell you you’ve been let go...” “What?” she said incredulously, her jaw dropping open. She had not taken a sick day the whole time she had worked for him, had worked tirelessly to make sure he had everything done the way he wanted, when he wanted- had put up with his nasty moods, his angry retorts every time she buzzed through to his office.

Just this morning, he had, in his smooth and oily voice, told her to have a nice time on vacation. Now, things were totally different. “I’m sorry, Kirsten,” he was saying, his voice falling on nearly deaf ears. “But I cannot afford to keep you on when you just take off whenever you feel like it.” He mouth dropped open, and for a moment she was speechless. “What? I’ve never taken a day off in the whole-"

“I think you will find that you have if you look at your records.” He interrupted her, his oily voice taking on a smug tone. “My records will show that I am always on time-“he interrupted again, ending the conversation. “Your records will show that you have simply refused to show up for work 6 times in the last month. You can pick up your final cheque when you get back from your little getaway. You’ve been replaced.” And with that, he hung up the phone. “What the hell?” Kirsten shouted out to the empty room, staring at the silent receiver which hung, old and heavy in her hand. She slammed the phone down, the bell jangling out sharply from the force.