Gothic Beauty magazine!

Gothic Beauty Magazine

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Cabin Chapter 3

The trill of birdsong woke her, jerking her upright from her sleeping position on the couch, cracking her neck, making her ache. Grimacing, she rubbed her neck, stumbling up to her feet and looked blearily around, as if lost in a strange place. Remembering where she was, she sat heavily down on the couch again, sighing as she leaned back to rest her neck. She dozed then, sleepy still, as the sun broke through the canopy of trees and scattered its gentle light across her body, spilling down over the couch and onto the floor. The sudden, shrill whistle of the kettle brought her to her feet; span her around even as her neck sang with pain in protest. She ran across the living room, coming to a stop at the kitchen door, looking around in a panic. 
The kettle sang, boiling, and a plunger pot sat beside the stove, coffee powder ready. She yawned widely, moving to take the kettle off. “I’m so tired, I put it on without thinking”she thought, pouring the hot water in. she had done things like this before; once, her ex-boyfriend had told her all about how she had gotten up, stumbled out to the kitchen, made coffee, and had two cups before she realized she was even awake.She sat down at the table, her eyelids unusually heavy. She wasn’t used to being so tired, especially first thing in the morning. She reached over to the counter, looking for the sugar; but it was there, on the table, by her elbow. She looked at it suspiciously, as if it might bite, but shook the thought out of her head and scooped a generous amount into her cup before she took a long sip, the caffeine registering immediately with her addled, exhausted mind. The sugar helped too, racing through her system. A sudden, loud knock on the front door shattered the morning peace. The whole Cabin seemed to jump, as if it had been enjoying her quiet company, and was now disturbed. She jumped up, running for the front door. Before she could get there, the knock came again, louder and more insistent this time. She wrenched the door open, stopping in surprise at who stood on the other side of the door. “Mom!” she cried, throwing her arms around her Mother’s neck. 
“Hi, my girl!” her Mom responded, wrapping her arms around her daughter tightly. Before Kirsten could even step back, her Mother exploded. “I couldn’t wait to go and get that cheque; I had to know what he was up to!” Kirsten grinned, stepping back for her Mom to step into the cabin. As she crossed the threshold, the basement door swung open, and then sharply shut, as if throwing its own, silent tantrum. The two women didn’t notice, engrossed in each other’s company. “You should have SEEN her!” her mother was saying, obviously outraged. She stumbled through into the kitchen, refusing to let her daughter take the bag she half carried, half dragged behind her, plunking it noisily down by the table before she collapsed into a chair herself. “Her skirt should be outlawed!” her Mother complained, leaning forward, her elbows resting on the table as Kirsten hopped over the case, running over to grab her Mother a cup from the cupboard.
 She rinsed it quickly under hot water, passing it over to her. Offering her daughter a smile, she took it and poured the coffee in, scooped two huge spoons of sugar in and took a long drink. “Mom, you’re going to be diabetic if you keep that up!” Kirsten said loudly, shocked. “I just got checked, I’m fine. Anyways she gave me your last cheque”, she said quickly, steering the conversation away from her health. Kirsten noticed, but allowed it; she didn’t want to argue. Her Mother handed her a folded piece of paper, her face twisted up in distaste. “I think he wants you to keep quiet about how he fired you, look how much it is!” she said excitedly, bouncing up and down a little. “You opened it?” Kirsten asked, laughing as she unfolded the obviously opened cheque. It was double her usual pay. “Well I just wanted to make sure he was giving you the right amount”, her Mother said haughtily, draining her cup. Before she could reach for more sugar, Kirsten intervened. 
“Well, I guess I can afford to take my Mom out to breakfast, then!” she said, pushing the sugar bowl away. “Oh, really?” her Mom brightened even more than usual. Kirsten was reminded of a spotlight. A sudden, loud banging on the door startled them, both women screaming and jumping up. A loud laugh sounded from outside the door, and Kirsten ran to open it. With her back to the kitchen, looking after her daughter, Kirsten’s Mother didn’t see the shadow that streaked from behind the corner near the freezer, rushing right past her and down the stairs into the basement. Kirsten opened the door to find an old, bent man there- tool kit in hand, his usual smile hitched even higher than usual at the sight of the young woman. “Welcome home!” he said happily, swinging his arm up and around her neck. “Hi, Mr. Halloran!” she said, kicking the door open wider to let him inside. “Hello, Natasha!” he held his hand out to her Mother, rushing past her, now and into the house. “Hey, Burt!” her Mother said easily, grinning widely. A sudden, loud hiss came from the basement. “What was that?” Kirsten asked uneasily, leaning far to the right to see past the old man and down the stairs into the basement. 
“Probably your water heater,” Burt said soothingly, hobbling towards the basement stairs. “Your Dad called me and asked me to come and check on everything, said he didn’t know how long you planned on staying”, Kirsten nodded, rushing over to the top of the stairs. As the old man descended into the darkness, her fingers groped for the light switch. She clicked it on, and the basement was suddenly illuminated with bright light. 200 watt light bulbs hung in three places among the floor rafters. As the lights came on, an even louder hiss sounded“, he was right, I think there’s something wrong with it!” Burt said loudly, calling back over his shoulder as he scooted awkwardly along, compensating for his bad leg. “Well, I was just about to take Mom out for breakfast, do you mind?” she called down the stairs. Burt was a trusted friend, and safe to leave in the house. “Go ahead! Betty has new specials you might like!” he called back, plunking his tool box down on the floor beside the water heater, walking around it, examining things. 
“Okay, we’ll see you in a bit!” Kirsten called down again, and the next time he looked up, the young woman was gone. Burt shook his head, feeling his own age at the sight of the girl he had known since she was born, so grown up now. He tilted his head, listening for the sound of the car’s engine pulling away. Another hiss sounded, and he brought his attention back to the water heater. He put his hand against it- it wasn’t warm- and, bending stiffly down, he began to undo the bolts on a panel. The hiss came again, but this time, something seemed off. Burt stood up straight, looking around the empty basement. There was nothing else down here- the hiss must be coming from the water heater. But when it came again, he knew he was wrong. It came from far off in the corner, in the dark beneath the stairs. He squinted, his old eyes unaccustomed to the dim after the bright light in the rest of the basement. Suddenly, something moved there.
 “Hey, there, boy!” Burt said, holding his hand out as he recognised the shape of a dog beneath the stairs. The dog fixed its eyes on him, licking its nose. It was large and black- its ears pointed, its snout long. “Come here, doggie!” Burt said jovially, thinking this must be Kirsten’s dog. But as the dog came toward him, he realized it couldn’t possibly be. As the dog came into the light, its eyes gleamed red. Its lips pulled back, revealing several rows of long, pointed shards of teeth. It snarled, and Burt screamed, scrambling backwards, towards the stairs. 
The dog lept up, hissing loudly as its teeth came down on the old man’s throat. Burt’s screams cut off, blood bubbling out of his body, coating the dog’s face as it held him down, almost purring over its prize. As the blood slid along the basement floor, the dog dragged its prize away, into the shadow beneath the stairs. After a few moments, the basement was as silent as it had been before. The old man and the dog were gone, the shadows swallowing them as quickly as the dog had come. Suddenly, the old man’s tool box moved on its own- sliding slowly, quietly, over behind the water heater. His red, red blood sank into the cement floor- almost as if the house itself were drinking it, satiating itself after a long wait. The light clicked off, and the door at the top of the stairs swung shut. The house sat, patiently waiting for Kirsten and her Mother to return home.