The train whistle blows and the noisy train slowly grinds to a stop. I awake and rub my eyes and glance out the window . The town of Oasis is just as I had pictured . Empty , desolate , and depressing . The only things missing are tumbleweeds and sand.
My phone is in my pocket. I pull it out and look . No bars . No surprise there . There were two other passengers . An older man with glasses held together with tape, an old overcoat draped over faded jeans and a young girl with a pink pixie cut, possibly around ten years old . What could she possibly be doing in this god forsaken place? I reached up and gathered my leather tote suitcase case and proceeded to step off the train . There is an old rust colored Buick Century parked with a youngish guy leaning on the front smoking with long hair and a tattered Ramones tee shirt. We lock eyes and he says,
“ You Carrie Shepard?”
“Yes” I responded, “are you taking me to the cabin ?”
“For sure! Jump in , any more suitcases?”
“Nope” , I replied as I lifted my leather tote. “Just this .”
As we start pulling away , I see the old man from the train plop down on one of the benches as if this feat exhausted him , and watch the young girl climb into a black Silverado after tossing her bags in the back seat .
The Buick driver , introduced himself as Nickey and said
“I will be bringing you up to the cabin in Stokes.”
The weather had a bit of a chill and I pulled my thin jacket around me .
“ Sure thing , '' I replied, peeking down at my phone again,” Looking forward to some solitude” .
He laughed. A nice deep laugh , which caused me to lift my head.
“ Well that is something I can promise you!” He said as he glanced at me in the rearview mirror. “Mrs. Higgins had me fill the refrigerator , with some basic staples , a cord of chopped wood to throw in the fireplace, a very sturdy and dependable electric heater and of course plenty of warm flannels “.
We are driving through town , which consists of one general store and a gas station with an ancient Texaco sign. We made a right turn after main street and began to drive towards the woods. We continue through the forest in a zigzagging format , I'm guessing to stay on the path. We passed a few deer as we traveled deeper and deeper into the forest . I started to feel a bit anxious and pushed this feeling to the back of my mind as I wanted this to be a positive experience for me , to decompress and finish my novel. My novel. I never thought I would hear myself say or think these words, but yes it was true. I had sent the rough draft to my agent , and he absolutely loved it . Eric had told me that he had huge hopes for this. He is my biggest supporter. After my husband , of course.
I have been working on the book for about nine months and finally “The truest things” is almost complete. I still feel like this is a dream and I am walking through it in a daze.
I leaned back into the seat and closed my eyes . I Glanced at my phone again,still in my hand. No Bars.
I gazed out the window half listening as Nicky was explaining about the woods , the town driving , his Buick …
“Yeh, this baby was my Mom's. It's old , a 2001 but she still runs and the black pseudo convertible top makes her look sporty , Don’t you think ? Anyhow , Mrs.Higgins said you are staying through Saturday , are you Nervous at all ?”
I opened my eyes and glanced up , as the part about being nervous grabbed my attention .
“Nervous ? Why?”
“Well,” he continued “you will be all alone for one week , seven days , and well , as you know , no service .”
“No , I responded “, with my thumb resting on the front of my phone, “No I'm fine. Not even thinking about it.” Liar.
We start to pull up a long dirt driveway - type road and I see some more deer grazing like sheep. We are so far from everywhere, I start to feel that anxious way again , but say to myself , tamp this down and push these thoughts back.
Nicky was glancing at me in the mirror , with a curious look on his face .
“Hey , are you okay ?” he asked, “ you look a little green around the gills.”
I sure felt green around the gills,
“Nope , I'm fine”. I felt the security of my phone again in my hand. We had been driving for over forty minutes .
Finally , up ahead I saw the outline of a small timber framed log Cabin. There was a stone path leading to a hand carved oak front door , a picture window trimmed in small pieces of wood and a pile of wood outside in some sort of makeshift container. I felt for my phone again .
For the first time I started having serious misgivings about this idea. What am I doing here? I have not even seen the inside of this place and I'm already ready to run for the hills . No phone , no internet , how am I going to write ? My God, what was I thinking? What if something happens ? I feel that anxiety creeping up again , and I'm trying to keep it down.
Nicky pulls up to the side of the house and stops the car. He turns around with that warm smile again .
“ ok madam we are here !” Welcome to Stickley Cabin !”
I grasp onto the door jam and feel I'm going to faint. My phone is still clutched in my hand. I feel nauseous , I'm going to throw up. I can't speak. I place my head between my knees , everything is spinning.
I speak slowly and gasp, “I... I can’t ! I can't stay here . I can't stay here all alone for a week..!” No Phone No internet no people ..
Nicky has a strange look on his face . Curious . Wait, is that anger ?
I say , “I'm so sorry , but I just can't. I am so sorry !” I put my head between my knees again .
Nicky says abruptly , “You have paid for a whole week ! I have driven you up here. I smiled my nice smile at you! I made very polite small talk, and you even rode in my mothers car!”
I lean as far back as I can against the back seat . He continues with his rant , shouting “You city people are all the same!!”
At this point he is completely turned around from the front seat facing me . I can see a fine line of spittle on the side of his mouth .
I say very gently , “I am so very sorry Nickey. I just did not realize how being up here all alone for a week would affect me . I'm afraid that I may not have thought it through.” I look at him and pray that my eyes and demeanor look genuine .
“ You’re Sorry? Hah! You didn't think it through?That is the problem with you all ! How dare you think you can make fake arrangements and take advantage of us , Why? Why? Because we are country bumpkins? What ? The people of Oasis are just hicks living in a small town?” At this point he is waving his arms frantically . I can’t back up against the seat any further. I'm really really nervous . I no longer feel faint or nauseous. Thank God. I'm just frightened and scared out of my wits to be left alone with this guy , with no one around for miles.
He jumps out of the car and stomps over to the chopped wood pile. He begins kicking the pieces and then he begins hurling the wood and throwing it around . He is grunting , he looks like a crazy man ! Oh man, what am I going to do ?
He storms back over to the car and yanks open the back door .
”Get out “! He screams , “Get out now ! “ He reaches in and grabs my arm and drags me out of the car .
“ You are staying here for the whole week ! I don't care ! in fact you will stay here until I decide to come back and get you !”
“ Ok.” I say , “Ok.” I'm standing outside the car.
He goes to the trunk and retrieves my leather tote .
He hurls the tote at my feet , and says , “I am a man of my word” .
“I will be back in one week to pick you up. The key is under the flower pot.”
“Good Luck!” He shouts with scorn . He then proceeds to jump in the car ,slam the door and pull out very quickly . I am left standing there as I watch the dirt and stones fly up in his wake.
I walk calmly over to the front door and bend down to retrieve the front door key from the pot. I am smiling with satisfaction. This is one of the last chapters in my book .
I proceed to open the door , and look forward to spending the time alone to finish my novel .