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American Fiction Drama

It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling and it was almost dark. Kurt was still at the window, staring at the freezing air. Imprisoned in the four walls of the wooden structure. He was frozen on the window. He did not want to move, he was waiting to see if his father would come back tonight. For five days he had sat there. For five days he had watched the cold. For five days he watched the skies, turning from grays to whites, darks to hues of purple and red. For five days the sky remained as gloomy as the day his father left. 

Watching the terrible weather get worse everyday. He could not help but wonder where his father was and maybe today was the day. The day when his gaze through the window could be relieved. The time he had spent would no longer feel ill at ease. The sorrows and sobbing at night will stop and a smile would be rekindled. But again he could only wonder.  

The cabin was growing smaller by the day. The walls were closing in and whatever was in was shrinking with it. The food got less and less. The water shorter and shorter. The only thing that grew more was the wood he was burning. And this was by no means a good thing. He had picked the last pile that morning. And by his estimates, which was not always correct it would last for another day or so. And after that was something he needed to figure out.

The cold wind rattled on the house, and the snow had turned into a storm. The trees swayed and flurries flew in the air, like a white dust of talcum powder. The window had a line of white fluff about an inch deep. He breathed on the glass creating a cloud of fog and wrote the word “Dad”. Another howl of the wind shook the trees beyond, a lump of snow thudded on the ground. He could not hear the sound but he imagined that’s what it sounded like. 

As dusk encroached, his heart became heavier. It was getting more hard on what he needed to do now. A feeling of uneasiness overcame him. He crouched at the sofa and covered his face with the a blanket. He did not want to cry but his eyes popped and the water just trickled down. He could feel a lump in his throat when he swallowed. The tips of his fingers felt numb. He curled even more under the sheets. 

The fire burned slowly in the furnace, allowed a thin line of smoke to escape over the top. A crack busted and a spark faded out together sounding like a welcomed melody between the outside waves. Another flying spark flew in the air before disappearing shortly with the smoke. His stomach rumbled anxiously that the echo was bounced across the room. He was down to the last can of beans, and he needed to make it last. 

A crippling thought descended, and he thought of his options. He could leave the cabin and head over to Bear town, which was ten miles away. This was the closest town to the cabin. A straight line through the snowy forest were bears and foxes and other predators lurked. He remembered walking the path once with his father. It was not as cold and the roads were not full of snow. It took them half a day to get to the town. He dreaded the journey but he had to make a decision before dawn. 

Once the day had died, the cabin walls lighted. A glowing yellow like the sun lighted the room. It concentrated on the fire place and faded in the shadows of the cabin. The soft rugged room transformed to a soft warm oven of perfect warmth. 

However, Kurt was still cold. Unlike the cabin, the mountain of his problems outweighed his shoulders. He slumped over the heaviness of his thoughts. He wanted to be free of this burden but the tug of war in his heart was getting stronger. With the anxiety of his father’s shoes, he felt the size too big to wear. He was scared and incredibly hesitant but time was moving and soon he would have no other choice but to move himself.

Driven by the rumbling sounds coming from his abdomen, he stood up to go to the kitchen. His knee wiggled, and he limped on his first and second step. He had gone completely stiff on his left leg. The soles below him screamed in agony at pricking needles stabbing with violence. On his third step he stabled his stance and held onto the chair that faced the mini kitchen on the small round table. 

He walked up to the kitchen, and warmed the can of beans stretching his leg every now and then. He poured half of the beans saving the rest for the morning. He added a slice of leftover bread that had grown stale from being left outside. He felt the chewy taste of the stiffened dough. 

The food was tasteless in his mouth. The knot on his throat did not help with swallowing. He knew he needed to eat, at least for the journey ahead. 

While at the table, he suddenly felt the emptiness of the room. The table became questionably larger than usual. The air around was colder and dry. He looked around the cabin picking up gazes of the past life that had once existed in the same space. He heard laughter and giggles trailing in the air than faded and disappeared in the smoke of yesterday. The clock, the books and the large picture frame stood there like a golden symbol of his mother touches when she was still alive. 

She was wearing a brown jacket with gray pants and boots. He remember the day that the picture was taken. It felt like a long time ago. It had been barely one summer since she departed but now he even struggled to remember her smile except in pictures. 

It was in the summer when the picture was taken. His father had just bought a new camera and he wanted to take pictures of everything. He made them pose in front of the cabin when he took it. He looked like the men in movies in the black and white films they watched. A picture another painful memory in the present he did not want to see. It was one of the nicest days he could remember, and this made him a little teary. He was missing his father, and now he was missing his mother even more.

**

A good while after dinner, he packed his backpack just the way his father had taught him. A knife, rope and shovel needed to be on the easy reach. He prepared some clothes, flashlight a camper, sleeping bag and a torch. He put all the contents together and zipped the bag closed. He places his boots and the backpack by the door and thought of the journey ahead.

When he was finished he sat down the couch looking outside the window again. The storm had gradually slowed and the snow had ceased to fall. It was a deep dark outside and the tree line was beyond his vision at this time of the night.  

He stared aimlessly into the wild night. The day hazed and he drifted into slumber. His body sank into the couch as his eyes finally close and gave in to the failing tense in his body. Before he could finish thinking, he was carried away to world of dreams.

*

Sometime that midnight, a rattling sound woke him up. He checked the clock on the wall and the shorter arm was on two. He turned back to thee sound shuffling the door, like an animal rubbing against the wooden panels. It continued for a while with intermittent banging on the door. 

A cold dread swallowed him and he cowered in the blanket. He put his hands together and silenced himself from any sudden noises that may escape him. It was probably a bear, or may be a wolf, he was not sure at all. 

After a while the sound stopped and something seemed to have crashed onto the door and settled outside. He pulled himself together and approached careful to see if whatever was making the sounds was still outside or by the door. 

He put his ear by the wooden door and listened. A coarse but barely audible groan came from the door. Something was clearly still outside he did not know what. He stood still and listen again to the groaning sounds. This time he heard something. Something barely eligible. 

“Kur…..kurt” the voice said. 

March 18, 2023 03:58

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