The cold of the night would arrive soon. I knew I only had a few minutes to get unpacked and settled within the cabin before utter darkness rolled in. However my thoughts kept me in the car as they reverted back to the recurring dream that began about a month ago – a time when everything in my life proved not to be what it appeared, resulting in my life to seemingly fall apart. There are two oddities within this recurring dream. The first is that I am witnessing it as if in third person. I know the girl in the dream is me, but I only see the back of her: brown hair pulled back in a long braid, white short sleeved blouse under a blue suspendered skirt. The second is that nothing seems to happen, ever. At least, nothing happens outside of my inner turmoil. I do not move or speak. I never see anything new. This dream is the definition of perplexing.
Hoping to unlock the mysteries surrounding these dreams, I decided to hole myself up in an effort to figure it all out and to find myself within the mess that has become my reality. First, I had to call Stella and inform her of my safe arrival.
“Hey Ivy, I take it you made it there alright. So, how long did you say you are planning on being up there?”
“A couple of weeks…” My mind was far from the conversation, which the lovely Stella noticed. She is a very perceptive friend.
“Are you ok? You never did tell me about those dreams.”
“I’m fine. Nothing a little R & R can’t fix.” Yeah, she will believe that, not.
“Well, I hope you find whatever you are looking for up there. Be safe, ok?”
“Oh, Stella, how you worry…It’s a small quaint village and I’m about a mile out. I should be fine–”
“Exactly! You are in the middle of nowhere and you just said the opening line of a horror movie!”
Ignoring her overdramatic statement, “Plus, I already met the sheriff–”
“How old is he? Is he hot?”
I laughed, “How in the world did you go from worrying about my safety to caring about whether the sheriff is hot?” Sometimes I felt she had a one track mind: boys.
“Obviously I am going to be worried about your safety! Clearly I feel better knowing you already met the sheriff, but you can’t blame a girl for being curious about the eye candy in that small town. He’s a hunk, isn’t he?”
I tried to suppress a smile before answering, but failed miserably. “Yes, he is very attractive and within the right age bracket.”
“Maybe it’s not your safety I should be worried about…” Stella teased, and I pictured her winking at me.
“Ok, well, I am not here for any of that, so I am going to hang up and get everything inside. It’s darkening quickly and I have goose bumps popping up everywhere.”
“Geez! You’re no fun…alright, in all seriousness, please be careful and do me a solid and let me know if anything weird happens. I mean anything. Ok? I love you, Ivy.”
“I love you too, Stella. And thanks.” With a click, I was left to myself.
I could not help hoping that I can only go up from here. To be honest, I do not even know where to start. I am sitting in my car parked in a driveway with a cabin before me. The only thing to do now is to get out of this car and walk into that cabin. Inhaling deeply, I exhaled slowly to pull myself together and mustered the motivation needed to open the car door and stand up. Pulling my suit cases from the trunk, I walked up the steps to set the bags down on the porch.
Something tickled up my spine, causing me to halt my steps. While I’m not sure if it was a sound or a feeling, I noticed an ominous shift in the air. Turning from the door, I took in the panoramic view from the porch. The stone driveway led directly to the porch, the cabin centered within a clearing in the woods facing west. Do you ever get that feeling that you have been somewhere before but you do not actually remember being there? And I do not mean in a déjà vu sort of way, either. Something was familiar about this place, though I am not sure why. I mentally shook off whatever foreboding I was creating within myself – at least, that is how I decided to perceive it. My purpose was not to allow the experiences that led me to this cabin maar my soul searching vacation. I am here to move forward, not remain broken. I unlocked the door, swung it open, picked up my bags, and crossed the threshold.
The cabin was incredible. There was a neglected oldness to it, but the architecture blew me away. This structure was cabin personified. Wood was everywhere: furniture, flooring, walls, ceiling, and even the decorations had some nod to wood. Standing in the foyer I could see straight through the hall into the family room and out the glass French doors to the rear deck. In front to my left was a staircase; opposite the stairs were open closet cubbies.
At that moment my stomach decided to make its self known to me by grumbling at a decibel the animals outside would have heard. I dropped my bags and went back outside to retrieve the cooler that housed all of my food for the next few days. The sky had already blended into the bottom tier of the rainbow, not yet dark enough to count the stars. Only the slightest hint of daylight still remained to the west.
Upon reentering the cabin I passed through the walk through pantry and unloaded my cooler into the fridge, the kitchen being to the right of the entry. I ate a few berries to satisfy my angered stomach and commenced taking a tour of the first level. The kitchen was a great size with the sink facing the front, range perpendicular to the sink, and fridge opposite the range. There was a nice breakfast bar separating the dining room from the kitchen and I was happy to find that the washer and dryer were nestled under a counter next to the fridge.
I passed by the breakfast bar into the dining room, turning on lights as I progressed. There were two more glass French doors straight ahead opening out to the deck and to my right there was a sun room, to the left the family room. Turning into the family room I took in the couch along a wall facing the vast windows bringing the outside in, and under the windows was a pair of chairs. Flanking the fireplace were window seats and book shelves, opposite the dining room. Turning left, I found myself at the other end of the hall leading to the front door. Before reaching the door, I followed another short hall under the stairs leading to a full bath and small bedroom.
After retrieving my bags from the foyer I began unpacking, placing my clothing in the dresser. Deciding I would check the upstairs out tomorrow, I revisited the family room and built a fire. Fatigue was starting to set in and the berries I ate did not appease my stomach for long. After making a fire in the family room, I went back to the kitchen and made myself a deli sandwich. Give me turkey, ham, cheese, tomatoes, and ranch dressing and I am a happy girl. I decided my sandwich deserved a nice glass of wine and settled myself in the family room before the fire.
The fire was mesmerizing. I often think of time before television and see myself perfectly content watching the stories unfold within the flames. Tonight was no exception. I saw everything in the movements of the living heat. I saw the mistakes of my past, the dreams of my future, and the predicament of my present. I became so absorbed in the images of the dancing flames that I hardly realized I had not only finished my sandwich, but my glass of wine was empty. As I stood to get seconds I became slightly light headed. Maybe I drank the wine too quickly? I glanced outside to find my reflection staring back at me. Clearly it was officially night time. I decided to take in my reflection, picking apart what I did not like, seeing what I hoped others could not see in me, when a shadow out of the corner of my eye startled me.
I held my breath, closed my eyes, and counted to ten…I opened them slowly looking to the reflection to reveal any truth to me within the room. There was someone in the front hall!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Think you know who is in the front hall? Share your thoughts by posting a comment...
Share what you think will happen! Share your favorite parts of the story!