The Forget the World Cabin

Submitted into Contest #158 in response to: Write a story about a character who is trying to become a better person.... view prompt

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Drama Fiction Contemporary

This story contains sensitive content

Trigger: Death, addiction, suicidal ideation, cursing/language

The Forget the world cabin. That’s what their grandfather had called it. A small cabin high in the mountains nestled on a ridge that overlooked a deep crevasse. Jude and Harry in their teens had renamed it the Fuck the World cabin in honor of their grandfather. The man had lived off the grid, out of spite. Outfitting the small cabin with solar panels, a generator, and a water collection system, he taught them how to live apart from the modern world.  

Somehow she thought that this was the best place to go, the best place to be while she suffered. When Harry was alive and things got bad in the city they would escape to the cabin. But she hadn’t been back since Harry… died. Her mind skirted around the word, saying Harry died didn’t fit. Died seems so small, and the hole Harry left so large it threatened to swallow her whole. She wondered if she would die at The Fuck the World cabin just like her brother and their grandfather before him. 

Jude was struggling with more than loneliness and self-pity this trip. She had decided to go cold turkey. In a moment of clarity? Stupidity? After waking from her latest overdose she decided to go to the cabin and kick the habit once and for all. She thought it was the only way it would work, she had to get away from the city. Away from her crew, and the temptation to use. She hoped she was stronger than the drug, stronger than the pain, stronger than her brother. 

After her morning in the bathroom, alternately sitting and kneeling, she lay on the sofa wishing for death. Jonesing was the worst flu you knew how to cure. Day one wasn’t even the hardest, because she still had heroin in her system, just not enough. Her head filled with excuses to go back to the city, for one more hit, the last one, the one to say goodbye. “Stop it. Ugh just stop.” she croaked pulling the blanket off the back of the couch and covering herself.  

Breathing deeply she waited for nausea to pass and turned her thoughts to her brother. He was only 2 years older and he tried to look out for her the best he could. Teaching her how to stay out of trouble and avoid the cops. Showing her how he survived in the modern world after their grandfather died. Did he bring one more hit? Or did he lay here wishing too? Did he wish she had been with him? Heavy with guilt she cried herself to sleep. The chaotic images of an addict invade her sleep. Rancid bathrooms, long cold nights waiting in the streets hoping the cops wouldn’t notice and running when they do.

Waking abruptly from the barrage of images, Jude sat up in the dimly lit cabin. Her hands fisted around the imaginary heroin she just hustled. Opening her aching fingers she saw the small half moons on her palms, but no baggie. “Fuck I hate that,” she whispered, flexing her cramped fingers. Even in her sleep, she was haunted by the drug; her escape had become a prison.  

The large window overlooking the abyss was covered completely with snow. The white rectangle glowed like a large screen TV illuminating the room with dim light. Seeing her breath she realized that the old generator must have kicked out while she slept. Sweat coating her skin she shivered in the soft snow glow. Jude rocked as her body ached in that old familiar way. Tears she refused to shed ached, swallowing hard she stared at the ceiling. “Seriously, is my karma this fucking bad? Or is it my fucking luck? What is it?” she asked.

Falling to her side shivering, she wished she were back in her shitty apartment nodding off on the sofa. What was the good in being clean anyway? What was so great about going to a 9-5 job and being miserable? The world sucked, that's why we have drugs. She soothed.  

“What the actual fuck are you doing?” An angry voice asked, “Are you just going to lie here and freeze to death? Are you fucking kidding me?”  

Opening her eyes she could see her bitchy brother standing before her, hands on his narrow hips. The snow light illuminated the tall thin figure he so often bragged about, he popped his hip as he used to when he was ready for a real rant. “Seriously, honey. You look like shit, what the fuck? Why are you just lying there? Get the fuck up, I mean like now, cause it’s seriously fuckin’ cold in here. Come on! Don’t you remember the old wood stove in the kitchen?” as he stamps his heeled boot. She was used to hearing Harry, but seeing him was a new development she was not ready to unpack yet.  

“Oh Harriet you are a genius!” Jude exclaims getting to her feet and heading to the kitchen, since the generator was installed before their grandfather died. She forgot the old wood stove in the back corner of the kitchen.  

Blanket dragging on the floor she trudged to the kitchen. Falling to her knees she pulled the root cellar door open. Squinting into the cavernous opening, she wondered if it was worth it to get the stove going. If she survived the night, could she survive another? Could she exist in the never-ending loneliness forever? She could just lie back down on the sofa and go back to sleep. Just sleep and not wake up. Did she want to live like this? Can she survive being clean? Is that really why she came here?    

“Yes, and fucking yes. Goddamnit Judy, you know how to do this! We've been doing it our whole lives, pick your ass up and move!” Harry screamed, and jumped up and down in frustration. His voice was always pushing her not to give up. Did he give up?

“Is that what you did Harry? Got your ass up?” She asked darkly, not facing the animated figure in the room. “Fuck you, Harry.” she spat and started down the stone steps. 

The darkness enveloped her completely, the inky blackness making small sparks appear in the edges of her vision, her ears strained hearing the ring of silence. Her eyes strained, seeing shadows move in the corners. “What? If you’re there, show me where the wood is.” she cackled, tears threatening. “Where is the wood?” falling to her knees, she sat on her heels and couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.  

She cried loud ugly sobs in the darkness, all the self-pity, doubt, anger and loneliness pouring out of her. She wailed and howled in the cold dark root cellar, screaming in anger she asked, “Why? Why Me? Why Harry?” Pounding the dirt floor she screamed as loud as her lungs would allow, “FUCK YOU!! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU UNIVERSE! FUCK YOU HARRY! OH AND FUCK ME FOR LETTING YOU GO!” Rolling to her side, she lay on the dirt floor, mud caking beneath her cheek. She pondered again if it was worth getting up.  

“Well, Fuck you very much.” Harry sneered in the darkness. “Jude. Judes. Judy, come on, come on get the fuck up! Get your makeup stealing, hustling, ass out of the mud and fucking move!” he screamed from above. “Judes! Judes! Judes! Judes! Judes Judes! Judes! Judes! Judes! Judes!” he repeated as he did when he wanted something.    

“Fuck you Harriet” she laughed darkly, knowing he wouldn’t stop until she listened. Sighing, “I’m sorry Harry. I should have come with you. I should have been there for you. I’m sorry I wasn’t ready yet, I’m sorry.” she sobbed into the mud.

‘But I am now.” she said softly.

Groaning, she pushed herself to a sitting position, feeling a lighter in her pocket. “Fuck yes.” she whispered. Taking a deep breath, she flicked the lighter to life. Slowly she stood hoping not to hit her head. She wasn’t going to die here, she decided.  

“YES!” she cries out triumphantly when she finds the wood. Piling her arms with as much as she could carry she makes her way back to the dimly lit rectangle in the ceiling. 

She can feel the swelling of her eyes as she squints in the dim snow-lit kitchen. Everything still hurts but somehow she feels slightly better. A small weight has been lifted and she feels a bit lighter. Wishing she had brought some beer with her, she hopes that she can still light the stove.  

August 12, 2022 16:08

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1 comment

Sean Rogers
06:35 Jul 12, 2023

Can't wait for the next story!


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