The Cabin Story.
"What the hell day was it anyway?". Troy asked aloud. He rubbed his eyes and tried to shake off the pounding headache. But, the headache wasn't going anywhere and neither was he. He had been drinking, and crying, and taking too many sleeping pills for a few days now.
Troy was a handsome, thirty something, media consultant. Normally he lived in the city with his pretty wife and two young children. He was a family man but also loved to party and have a good time.
This was no party and there was no one else with him to answer the question of what day it was. And it probably didn't matter. He was overcome with grief and sadness and regret. Knowing what day it was wasn't going to change that.
The grief stricken media consultant had spent the last few days cooped up in his fathers cabin. Now he found himself staring out the window having lost track of time. Everyday seemed like the one before. Troy had lost himself in a cycle of sleep, and stupor.
His mind wandered back to the series of events that had led up to his current situation. A few weeks ago he was living a happy normal life and now he was stuck in the goddamn woods. And he didn't know how long he was going to be there.
It all started a few days ago when Troy Mumford received a telephone call that his aging father had been admitted to the hospital. The physician who made the call didn't seem to think that Troy's Dad was going to survive the night.
His father lived in a log cabin near Maraland lake. His parents had owned it for years and had used it as a vacation home while Troy was growing up. When his mother passed away a few years ago his Dad decided the cabin, or Mumford-Maraland as he liked to call it, would become his permanent home.
Troy never understood why but he didn't enjoy cabin life as a kid and he sure as hell would not want to live out his last years here. It was bad enough he was here now. He had always hated the isolated cabin with the angry looming trees. It was a place that encouraged his tendency to feel lonely.
At home they were really happy and Troy had a really great childhood. Cabin life was boring to him, he liked movies, playing sports, and being social. His Dad used to say to him "Troy, one day something exciting will happen here, you'll see".
Troy didn't enjoy the solitude of cabin life. He preferred people, chatter, laughter. Except when he was driving, he liked to do that solo. He would sing along to the songs on the radio while driving pretty fast. His desire to be in control of both the radio station and the speed of the vehicle outweighed the desire to have company.
The best part of visiting Mumford-Maraland was the drive there. Troy always stopped at Drifters Diner and loaded up on banana bread. The remote diner had the best take out baked goods around. Plus, it was a great place to fill up your gas tank and take a break from driving.
At the same time as his Dad fell ill the world was just beginning to feel the effects of a flu pandemic. The government was implementing rules and restrictions. Troy couldn't help but feel worried for his family's financial situation. Him and his wife Carrie did ok with their finances but like most people they lived payday to payday.
Troy's family had managed to come to terms with the new government restrictions regarding the children's school being shut down. His wife was homeschooling the kids. Troy had planned on working from home but he hadn't figured out how he was going to share the computer with two kids who had online classes.
Troy also hadn't been able to wrap his head around some of the other oddities that were becoming a part of everyday life. Carrie was sewing masks and he had never sanitized his hands so much. He used to tell his kids to share their toys now he was begging them not to.
There seemed to be an extraordinary amount of toilet paper in the garage. Troy opted not to question his wife about that. He had been buying more than his share of whiskey and she hadn't said a word. This new way of life was hard on everyone.
Dr. Carse advised Troy to make the 8 hour drive to the hospital even though visitation was unlikely. Troy agreed and left for the hospital right away. His Dad being elderly had to limit the visitors so as not to risk being exposed to the virus. For that reason Troy was not able to see the deteriorating Mr. Mumford when he arrived.
Thankfully, Troy had an unopened bottle of whiskey and a brand new prescription of sleeping pills with him. Otherwise, he would have dreaded staying at Mumford-Maraland more than he already did.
Two days into his stay at the cabin the phone rang and Troy learned that his Dad had passed. That was three or four days ago. The waves of heartbreak and regret were almost unbearable. But, Troy knew he had to pull himself together and begin to deal with the situation.
Truthfully, it was Carrie that left him a voicemail saying as much and deep down he knew she was right. He chose not to call her back right away. Instead, he was going to deal with first things first. This viscous head pounding had to stop. There was a second voicemail left by the coroner but he couldn't bring himself to listen to it.
Troy started with drinking a large glass of water and then he made himself some toast and honey. After that he opened windows to get some fresh air circulating around the place. Next was a shower and a quick decluttering of the kitchen and living room. Once, all the garbage and empty booze bottles were collected up Troy left a quick voicemail on his wife's phone and then he went to bed without a sleeping pill.
When he woke up twelve hours later Troy felt better physically. He fixed himself some coffee and eggs and then sat down at the kitchen table to start a To do list.
Things to do
- Make cremation arrangements/Obituary etc
- Look into filling out Government paperwork
- Check status of bills
- Call realtor
- Get some groceries
- Start packing the cabin
- Listen to voicemails
Calling the Realtor and getting the groceries took most of the morning. Then Troy did something he hadn't done in years. He walked down to the lake and sat down on the edge of the dock.
The lake was small but tranquil. Troy found himself unexpectedly enjoying the man made lake and its beauty. As he gazed out over the water he was flooded with memories of Dad.
Morris Mumford, unlike his son, loved being at the cabin. He loved to putter around and was constantly collecting "things" he "found" in the lake or in the nearby woods. Troy almost laughed aloud when he recalled Dad and his metal detector or magnet fishing set up.
That was Dad's hobby and he loved it. Troy was never interested in helping Dad look for old coins and other things but sometimes he would go along with him just to be polite. They would head out into the woods for the day and Dad would zig zag this way and that way muttering away about how one day he would find something really good.
As Troy stood up and headed back to the cabin he reminded himself to add "deal with Dad's collection" to the growing to do list. He knew Dad kept his collection in the back part of the cabin. But, he hadn't been back there since coming back this time.
After listening to the voicemail from the coroner Troy felt a little bit uneasy. She said she wanted a return call right away because at this point his fathers cause of death was undetermined. Well, that was weird because Troy had assumed Dad had died of an ailment related to age.
After speaking to the coroner she explained that she was unable to come up with a definitive cause of death at this point. This didn't necessarily mean foul play but it had to be considered. "Foul play??" He asked incredulously. What did she mean by that?
The coroner calmly explained that she was not able to determine a clear reason as to why Mr. Mumford had passed away. However, she was sure there was a reasonable explanation she needed to do some further testing and would get back to him as soon as possible.
Troy felt some relief after getting a better explanation. He was sure this was all a formality. There was no one who would want to hurt his Dad, especially out here in the middle of the forest.
That night Troy dipped into his bottle of pills. The conversation with the coroner had been just a little bit too much. He slept well and woke up the next day ready to knock off a few more things off of the list.
Since funeral arrangements couldn't be made yet Troy decided to take on packing up a few things. He decided that warranted a trip into town to go to the liquor store to get some boxes for packing and possibly he would grab himself a bottle or two of Jack.
When he returned to the cabin Troy was bringing the boxes inside when he noticed one of the kitchen cabinets had been left slightly ajar. He was sure it had been closed when he left. That was the second or third time Troy had felt his mind playing tricks on him.
It made sense because Troy's stress level was rising by the day. He felt absentmindedness and could not seem to concentrate on anything. He knew these were common symptoms of grieving but he hated the feeling of being out of control.
The first two jack and cokes went down wonderfully fast. The next two he nursed throughout the next few hours. Troy grabbed a few boxes and began to pack up some stuff. He boxed up some books and family photo albums, stopping to cry every few minutes. He would get distracted by memories and after a while he took a dinner break.
When dinner was cleaned up Troy thought he would check out that back room. That was where Dad had been keeping his metal detector and the different things he had found over the years. He knew there were a few knives, lots of fishing gear and stuff like that back there.
The back room as he called it was actually a small room that could only be accessed through the bedroom. When Dad built the extension he put a walk in closet for Mom. At the back of the closet Dad built a little den-like room. It was meant as a playroom for Troy when he was younger. At some point Dad put a door on the room mostly to keep the heat in the bedroom. Since it was concealed it became a good place to keep things off value as well.
Fifteen minutes after opening the door Troy began drinking straight out of the bottle. In the center of the room was a table and a chair. Spread out on the table were some old newspaper articles, some pieces of green fabric, a wooden box and a gun. Troy sat down at the table and with shaking hands he picked up the newspaper article.
Fifty years or so ago an unidentified man reportedly robbed a local jewelry store. Unfortunately, for the store owner, the manager of The Perfect Watch had not made a bank deposit as scheduled. The gunman had made off with over a hundred thousand dollars in cash as well as some valuable jewels and watches.
Strangely, the same afternoon it was reported that a young pilot who was about to take his cessna plane out for an afternoon flight was held at gunpoint. The pilot was instructed to fly the single engine, two-seat aircraft over the lush forested area on the northside of Lake Maraland. Then the suspect parachuted over the dense forest and was never heard from again.
By the looks of things his Dad had been looking for and found clues that could potentially solve the decades old mystery. According to the hijacked pilots statement he witnessed the jumper use a green parachute. It looked like the fabric pieces on the table were shredded green silk commonly used for parachute making back then. The gun looked to be a .38 colt special, the same type of gun described by the pilot in his statement to the press. And when he opened the box and inside and saw a Bulova wrist watch, a gold chain and a few old banknotes Troy almost fell out of the chair.
Troy carefully stood up and left the back room. He phoned the local police station and asked them if they would come out and speak to him the next day. He needed to speak to them about The Perfect Watch heist that had taken place years ago. A local detective assured Troy he would come out first thing in the morning and speak with him.
Around 10am the next morning Detective Bergman pulled into the gravel driveway of Mumford-Maraland and parked behind a black suv. He knocked on the door of the cabin multiple times and decided to leave after there was no answer. Had he walked inside the cabin the Detective would have found a deceased Troy Mumford in an empty room off the bedroom closet.
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.