Wrong Cabin or Was It The Right Cabin

Submitted for Contest #23 in response to: Write a short story that takes place in a winter cabin.... view prompt

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Jan 08, 2020

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Wrong Cabin or Was It The Right Cabin


The cabin was cold and looked deserted when Jillian and Ken arrived. “Sharon said there would be a fire going.” Jillian reminded Ken, as he put the key in the lock.

“I know but maybe she didn’t get up here before the storm hit.” Ken looked at the gathering dark clouds. The storm had increased over the last half hour. He let Jillian in then closed and locked the door. “I’ll get a fire started. It won’t be long and we will be warm and cozy.”

“Yeah, that will be nice. I am a little chilly.” Jillian tugged her coat around her. “Snuggling by a warm fire watching the snowfall, sounds inviting.” She started towards the kitchen corner of the cabin. “Sharon said the fridge is stocked. Would you like a snack and a coffee? Since the lights work, the electricity’s connected.” She giggled nervously. “May have been nice with only candlelight and the fi... Ken,” She exclaimed. “it’s empty. The fridge is empty.” She checked the cupboards, found a few cans of dried food and a coffee pot and coffee. “Ken, something isn’t right. Why isn’t the cupboards and fridge stocked? Are...”

“No, we followed her directions. It has to be the right cabin,” Ken came to the kitchen area. “the key fit. I got a nice fire going. Come and warm up.”

“In a minute, I want some coffee.” Jillian made coffee, then went to sit in front of the fire while it perked. They were snuggled watching the fire when someone tried the door. They heard someone exclaim loudly.

“What the hell! This door is supposed to be open, all winter in case people get stranded.”

Ken went and opened the door. “I beg your pardon, sir? I believe you may have the wrong

cabin. This cabin is owned by Sharon Craig. She gave my wife and me permission to spend the weekend here. My name is Kenneth Bishop and my wife is Jillian.”

“I think you have the wrong cabin, Mr. Bishop. This is an open cabin for stranded travelers.” The two men were dressed like hunters and carried rifles.

Jillian looked apprehensively at Ken. Who were these men, and why are they carrying rifles, her look asked.

“We’ve used this cabin for a number of years,” The taller one with the dark hair and brown eyes said. “when we’re up here hunting and get caught in a sudden storm.”

Ken was trying to remember what they looked like, so if they survived he could tell the police what the attackers looked like. “Come in, you both look cold.” He opened the door wider. “I’ve just started a fire and it should be warm in just a few minutes.” He knew he had no choice but to invite them in. They did have rifles, after all.“My wife made coffee. We just arrived ourselves. Would you like a cup while we discuss this.”

“Yes please, we’re cold and wet, that is why we’re here.” The shorter hunter with a salt and pepper hair and beard introduced them. “My name is Ben Griffin and my friend is George Wilson.”

Jillian brought in three cups of black coffee, having left hers on the counter. “Sorry, our friend didn’t stock the shelves or the Fridge.” She knew she was running on but couldn’t stop. “I don’t mind black coffee if that is all there is. I hope you don’t mind either.” She looked at Ken.

“That’s okay dear, we will do with what we have.”

Taking a small jar of cream out of his pack. “We usually carry our own cream because it doesn’t last up here between visits.” George handed the jar to Jillian. “The sugar is in the black tin on the third shelf, above the stove.”

They finished their coffee and deciding the hunters were right. They knew where things were in the cabin. It was Ken and Jillian who was in the wrong cabin. “Oh well,” Ben said, “this will make for an interesting weekend. Usually, it is just the two of us. We bore each other as we’ve been friends for so long.”

“We should try to find our friends cabin,” Jillian cleared away the cups. Looked outside, not wanting to go out in that storm. “though we have no idea where it would be. We followed Sharon directions as well as we could. She told us to turn left at the ten-mile mark, north of William’s Lake. We were to follow it, to the first cabin after the beginning of the dirt road. This was the first cabin after we got on the dirt road, so we thought it was the right one.” She tried hard to keep the tears from shedding. The release of the fear of being murdered was such a relief, it was hard to hold them back.

Ken saw Jillian’s struggle, took her hand and squeezed gently. “Now we know why the key worked, the door was open. Any key would have worked.” He got her laughing which kept her from crying.

George looked at the young couple. “You are here now. The storm is intensifying and there is no other cabin along this lake. There is plenty of room for us and more if they come.”

“But,” Ken came over to where George and Ben were unpacking food from their pack. “We don’t have anything to share. We expected to find a warm cabin with a stocked fridge.”

George put his foodstuff on the kitchen counter. “That’s why we bring more than we need. There is always someone who comes up here unprepared for sudden storms.” He put beer, meat, and vegetables in the fridge. “No problem.”

Ben emptied his pack. “Remember that couple of hikers last year?” He said to George.

“Yeah, they were really out of their realm.” He looked at Ken and Jillian. “These two guys,” he hesitated for effect, “were dressed in tee shirts and sweaters, slacks, boots yeah, but not hiking or snow boots, just a shoe boot.” He smiled. “When we found them, they said, ‘It’s only mid-October, sunny and warm. We were sure we would be back at our car late afternoon and home by nightfall.’ But they got lost before mid-afternoon. Had no idea where their car was or which way to go. It was that night the snow started.” He went to the fridge. “You want to finish, Ben?”

Ben sat on a stool.“It was the second evening when we found them huddled under a tree.” He took the beer George offered. “They were wet, cold and just about finished by the time we got them back here and awoke enough to drink some warmed brandy. That kept them warm until we got a fire going.”

At this point, the door opened and the end of the story forgotten. “Hello, the cabin. Is there room for three more?”

“Yes, come on in. Coffee is ready and cold beer.” George reached to take their coats. “Come in, warm up by the fire.”

A man, a boy, and a woman came in, followed by a medium-sized husky. They handed their coats to George. “Names Franklin.” The father said. “I’m Ron, this is my wife, Amy, and our son, Brad, Jesse the dog. We came for a day hike and got stranded by the storm. I was told about the cabin if we needed it. Good thing I prepared for anything just in case. We have food and drinks as well.”

The others introduced themselves while Ron, Amy and Brad went to the fire.

“Oh, this fire is nice.” Amy rubbed her hand together. “I would love a cup of black coffee if there is any, please. I think you mentioned coffee.”

“Please,” Brad asked. “May I have one, too, Dad?”

“Yes, it will help warm you up. I have rum in mine please?” He took the bottle of rum out of his backpack. It’s actually for medicinal purpose but this okay. Would anyone else like one?”

Jillian got the coffee while Amy emptied her pack. “I’ve got eggs, cheese, and milk.” Then Ron’s. “There is meat, vegetables, coffee, and energy bars.”

They all sat by the fire and told of why and how they got to the cabin.

Their cells could get a connection but wouldn’t hold it long enough to make a call. George’s was the only one that held a connection. He called the emergency line and gave the names of the people at the cabin. He finished with, “give us until Monday to get back to William’s Lake or home. We just may have a winter party.”

In the background the dispatcher heard. “Yeah, we will be here until Monday morning. Talk to our people then.” George asked. “Did you hear that?”

The dispatcher laughed, “I did, sir. Enjoy yourselves. May I come and join you.” She laughed and disconnected.

About six in the evening, Jillian and Amy made dinner. There was a moose meat, steak, potatoes and other vegetables. Desert was a piece of energy bar.

“Looks like we’re staying the weekend.” Ben smiled at the gathering. “It is a good thing three of us are hunters. We will find a deer for dinner tomorrow and Sunday night then divide what is left between us all.”

“Oh great.” Brad said, “I love deer meet especially the way Mom makes it.” He thought for a minute. Mom,” Brad looked at his parents. “does that mean I’m not going to school Monday.”

Amy smiled and nodded.

“Yippee! Can I take Jesse out to play?”

His father nodded. “Stay near the cabin. It may be beautiful out there but if you go into the woods you may get lost.”

Brad agreed and they went out.

They had to be called in when it was time for bed. Jesse was wet and shook snow and water over almost the whole cabin. Went to the fire and lay down.

Brad went to bed in one of the rooms while the adults sat until late talking.

The next morning, Saturday, the three hunters, a boy were getting dressed to go. George asked. “Ken, would you like to come. It might get difficult but it would be interesting.

Ken had wanted to go but wasn’t going to ask. “Yes,” He put his parka on and his boots. “please. I’ve never been hunting. I will stay behind you so I don’t get shot by mistake.”

Ben handed him a red scarf and hat. “Wear these and we will know you aren’t an animal.”

The men were gone all morning. Amy and Jillian got to know each other. About noon they were back with a buck.

Jokingly Brad teased his mother, as they came in the cabin. “Mom, Jillian, we brought dinner, it’s outside, you clean and cook it.” Ken agreed as did the men.

Jillian looked at him stunned. “What do you mean? I’ve never seen a dead animal. I have no idea how to clean it.”

Amy laughed, “Jill, we will not be cleaning that animal. That is the hunters' job. We will cook it but they will have already, well maybe, cleaned it, if not, they will before we cook it.”

“Oh thank you, I’m going to see this dinner we’re cooking.” Jillian put her coat on and went out with George and Ben. There in the snow was the carcass of a skinned deer.

They started cutting a hind quarter into steaks. Ron was spreading the pieces in the snow.

“Why are you getting the snow all bloody?” She asked then realized it was the meat that was bloody. “What I mean is why are you lying the meat on the snow?”

“The meat has to cool before it can be cooked and right now lying it in the snow is the best way. It will be ready to cook in a few hours.” Ron told her.

Later, after a deer steak dinner and the rest of the vegetables, The travelers finished off the rest of the rum telling tall tales.

“I’ve got a story that will top yours, George.” Ron looked at Brad. “Right, son?”

Brad smiled and nodded. “We sure do, Dad.”

Ron started his story. “Brad was fourteen, the first time I took him hunting. We were up in the high Rockies, north of Banff. We had made camp, went to the hot springs for a swim before turning in for the night. When we got back, our campsite was destroyed. There were no bear tracks so it wasn’t a bear. We had no idea what had ripped everything to shreds. We packed up what was left and started down the hill to the lodge.”

Brad started to laugh. Amy sat with an oh yeah, look on her face as if she remembered this story.

“Well, we didn’t get more than a mile before we were overtaken by skunk odor. It was so strong we were forced to stop and get out of the car just to breathe.”

Brad and Amy were both laughing now.

“Well, not only had our visitors destroyed our camp. They climbed into the engine compartment. They had decided to take a nap and when I started the car it got hot and upset them and they let go.”

Everyone laughed including Ron. “We had to wear face-masks home. We also had to stop every few miles to breathe. It took me months to get that truck clean.”

“Well,” Ben was still laughing, “that tops any of our stories. I’m off to bed. See you all in the morning.”

Everyone followed suit and went to bed laughing.

The next day, they finished cutting the now-frozen meat. “Thanks, guys,” Ken was enjoying himself being part of something new. “I really wasn’t expecting to go home with almost enough meat for the rest of the winter.

“Well,” Ron slapped his shoulder. “you deserve it as much as we do. You spotted the buck in the first place.”

“All I said was,” Ken laughed. “is that what we are looking for when I saw the antlers.”

“We will leave the antlers above the door as a reminder of this weekend. We will all be back in the summer and again in the fall.” George was standing on a ladder hammering nails in the board above the door.

Ken handed him the antlers to hang. “Oh yeah, we will be back.” He stood back. “This has been a wonderful weekend.”

The sun made it a beautiful day to spend outside playing like children. After dinner, they sat on the porch watching the moon rise. Then the starts came out almost touching the snow-covered hills.

“I feel I should duck when I move so I don’t bump into them.” Brad waved his arms in the stars. “Oh, it is so beautiful. I will remember all my life.”

They all agreed with him. He was the first to go to bed but the others weren’t far behind.

Monday morning, all packed ready to start home.

“We’ll get breakfast at the cafe in William’s Lake,” Ken said as he packed a bag of meat into the trunk. “In the summer we will bring a picnic basket filled with food.”

Ben said, “We can’t join you but will see you on July first weekend right here. We’re going north.”

Jillian hugged them. “We came here for a belated honeymoon. But thanks to providence we had the best honeymoon with new friends. We will be sure to keep in touch.”

George hugging her. “July, I will bring my wife, son and daughter. That should be interesting. My daughter and wife don’t like ruffing it, knowing there will be two more women and a young man I’m sure they will come.” He looked at his new friends. “I’m glad you don’t find your friend's cabin. This has been a marvelous weekend. We all found something special.”

Ron, Amy and Brad promising to meet Jillian and Ken at the cafe in William’s Lake for breakfast.

The happy travelers left the cabin door unlocked for the next inhabitants.

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1 comment

Sam Kirk
16:48 Jan 18, 2020

A nice and warm adventure tale. Well done.

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