The Cabin - Short Story


There was a knock at the cabin door. Usually not a moment of panic, but it wasn’t my cabin. I didn’t know whose cabin it was. It was unlocked, so I let myself in. There was no back door. No place to run. How bad could it be? I answered the door. A big cop was at the door. Smiling.

“You got enough food for a week or so?” He asked.

I looked around the room but found no answer to his question. He then explained that a bad storm was coming and the road was likely to be flooded. I told him that I didn’t have any food. He went to his car and got a box of food out of his trunk. He came in and put the box on the table.

For some reason I will never understand, I said, “This isn’t my cabin.”

The big cop laughed. He knew I didn’t belong there. He explained that the owners always leave it open for wanderers. He looked around and said, “In twenty years, nobody’s done any damage.” Then he told me I should stay put till the storms were done. The owners wouldn’t want to see him hurt. Then he left.

I looked through the box and made myself a peanut butter sandwich. It was yummy, and I was hungry. I put the rest of the food away and laid down on the couch to read a book, but fell asleep before finishing the second page. It was the first time I’d relaxed in weeks.

You don’t relax much when you assume everyone is looking for you. What I committed was not technically a crime. At least, that’s my opinion. Though the homeless guy I bought a beer for agreed with me. It’s feasible that some powerful people were seeking revenge on me. It’s also possible that I’m not important enough to care about.

I wanted to disappear for a while. I slept in dad’s old boy scout tent for the first few days, but it was so heavy and so leaky it wasn’t worth the trouble. Then I saw this cabin. I sat up on the hill for two days, but nobody came. I came down and was shocked to find the door unlocked.

It kept the rain and wind off me and kept me safe from creatures, but I jumped at every noise. Then the cop came and didn’t care. He didn’t even ask my name. Too much paperwork probably. I’ll leave when the storm has passed and the roads are clear.

Maybe I’ll chance a bus ride and visit my parents. If nobody’s contacted them, I might be in the clear. I’ve got the money. I just don’t want to be obvious about it.

I expected there to be clouds today. The big living room window has a wonderful view of the valley to the east. Today is the day the rain was supposed to start, but the valley sky was clear and blue. Having never lived in the mountains before, I assumed that the sky would look the same in every direction.

So I decided to go for a walk. I walked out the door and turned west up the dirt road. The clouds spilling over the top of the hills reminded me of the flying monkeys from The Wizard Of Oz, only creepier. I went back inside and battened down the hatches. I checked that each window was closed and locked and begged them to protect me from the approaching evil.

Then the door opened, and a large gun with a person attached to its end came in.

“I’m unarmed!” I plead.

“Where’s your phone?” A woman yelled.

I told her that there was no phone, but if she stopped pointing the gun at me, she could have a peanut butter sandwich. She didn’t laugh. Instead, she told me to sit on the couch. I did, and she searched the cabin for some hidden phone or something. Why would someone hide a phone?

When she was satisfied that we were communication-free, she made herself a peanut butter sandwich. She sat at the table and watched me like I was plotting my attack and wanted to be ready. The gun was lying on the table, but it was still pointed at me.

I got bored, so I picked up the book I started last night. I laid down and read. Apparently it wasn’t all that I was so tired, because once again, after about two pages, I was asleep. I will brag the rest of my life how I fell asleep with a gun pointed at me.

I woke up in the dark. There was a noise I couldn’t identify, then there was a flash of lightning and a boom of thunder, like the clouds were resting on the roof, which wasn’t far from the truth. The noise was the rain pounding on the roof. I got up and checked the door, the windows, and the ceiling. No leaks.

Then I remembered that there was a woman pointing a gun at me. I found her asleep in the comfy chair, which turns out to be a recliner. I didn’t see the gun. Probably under her.

I watched the storm for a while and went back to sleep on the couch.

I woke to dim light. I assumed it was very early, but it was almost noon. The sky looked like it was considering killing us all and was just waiting for the right moment. At that sight, I understood why people made sacrifices to appease the rain gods.

Then I remembered I wasn’t alone. Only I was. The recliner was empty. Everywhere was empty. I quickly looked for where she might have hidden the gun. Either she was really good at hiding guns or she had it with her. Then I heard the shots.

I ran and opened the door. I saw nothing. I had no idea where the shots came from. The silence slowly faded as the critters got over their shock and went back about their business. I circled the cabin, trying to see something. I didn’t.

What I did notice was the clouds turning ugly again. I went inside and locked the door, knowing that wouldn’t stop anyone who wanted to get in. I got a knife from the kitchen, turned off the lights, and sat waiting for my fate.

Somehow, again, I fell asleep. I woke up in the dark. The rain had stopped, but I could hear a river rushing down the road. I turned on a light and started reading again. The book was indeed terrible, but this time I finished it. The knock on the door never came.

I was surprised by the sunrise. The rain was over. It was time for me to get going. The cop would know about me by now. If not, he’d have questions about those shots that someone must have heard. I hate not knowing what happened, but not as much as I’d hate being in jail.