It’s your fault…
I awoke with a shudder, gasping as if I had been drowning. Cold dampness, like morning dew, covered my goose flesh skin. I buried my face in my hands to better gather myself. There was a slight ache on the side of my neck.
It’s your fault …
I shot up once again with my head on a swivel. From left to right, the room was clear of anyone else, but I was sure that I had heard someone calling out to me. It was the same familiar tone I had heard that pulled me from the blackened void. The same voice I heard beckoning me back to reality. I was drenched with sweat, and the world felt unbalanced.
Forcing myself to my feet, I made my way to the kitchen for a glass of water and then upstairs to the master bathroom. The cabin was dark with only the dying embers of the fireplace lighting my surroundings. The day had gone, and the night had come. How I question myself, how had I slept the day away? I turned the shower on and ran it until billows of steam were visible, I swallowed two of Kass aspirins she kelp behind the bathroom mirror and climbed in.
My head was swimming with thoughts, I had no recollection of being tired or fatigued. What I could piece back together was that there was breakfast, chess… and the sting of something attacking my neck. I rubbed the sore area in contemplation of all that had happened. The hot water felt soothing and refreshing to ache on my neck, and the bruise on my arm. The injury I seemed to have gotten from my attack, no I did it to myself. No ghost or Freddy Krueger just rough sleeping, that’s all.
By the time I stepped out the shower the aspirin had started to kick into effect. The pain almost felt nonexistence now. The night was dead silent, the low crackle of the fireplace downstairs could be heard. Getting dressed, I realized I had not heard or seen from Kassidy since I woke, nor did I hear anything from Sullivan.
“Babe!” I called out, “Kass you here?”
I checked my pockets for my cellphone, nothing. I then walked down back into the living room rechecking the coffee table, nothing, and then the couch still zilch. Dropping to my knees, I search the floors thinking in my sleep it might have fallen.
“Babe have you seen my cellphone?” continued silence.
“Kass?!” I sat up listening for any kind of movement. “Sullivan?!” Stillness.
Was I alone? If so, where could they have gone? Making my way back to my feet I walked over to the light switch on the wall near the front door. I flipped it once, and the cabin lights filled the room.
Checking the front door, I noticed it was unlocked, opening it I become aware of just how silent the night really was; There was a clearing in the clouds, with the moon shining high up into the night like a nocturnal sun. My eyes caught a set of tracks leading from the cabin to the dark shadows of the protected forest. Could the tow truck had come as they said they would for Sullivan aid and had Kassidy gone to accompany him and if so, why without me? With closer inspection, I could tell that these were not human footprints but those of an animal, a raccoon maybe.
I sighed walking back, it was very much unlike for her to just leave with a stranger without my knowing. Stepping back into the cabin I looked around for my cellphone some more. Maybe she had left a text or phone call. Going back to the couch again I sifted around the cushion, and sure enough, there was no sign of my device.
There was a distance rumble, and the lights went out. “Shit!” I exclaimed. If it wasn’t already bad enough that I couldn’t find my phone I was now fumbling in the dark. I held my hands out in front of me feeling my way around until I was back near the light switch next to the front door. I flipped the switch once, no reaction, I then flicked it a few more times hoping something other than black would occur, only to be disappointed. I then shuffled my way through the dark until I was in the kitchen. Searching the drawers for a flashlight, I thought I could go out to the garage and check to make sure that the circuit breaker just hasn’t been tripped again. Rummaging around in the drawers I felt nothing except the familiar shapes of spoons, forks and other miscellaneous kitchen items, but no flashlight.
Standing there in the dark I thought of when I previously laid hands on it since we been here at the cabin. Ah, that’s right, I remember now. The last I used it was around the first night we arrived, and the lights had gone out then because of the breaker trip.
I went for the kitchen door that led to the garage, feeling around I knew that the breaker panel was just next to the door. I felt a top of the box, and sure enough, it was there, the flashlight was right where I had left it. I smiled triumphantly while flipping the switch on its handle, the light while blinding at first, was a slight beacon of joy from blackness. Checking the breaker, it was indeed flipped left when it should have been right. Switching it back into its proper position the cabin again lit up like a Christmas tree. I closed it, turned off the flashlight, and headed back into the kitchen closing the door behind me.
I need to find my phone, I muttered to myself. The morning had turned to night, and the storm had long settled. My wife has been gone with a complete stranger for no telling how long, I wasn’t even sure of the time she had left with him, and I had no way of calling her to make sure she was okay. I went upstairs to see if maybe, somehow it was upstairs. There was another rumble, this one more mechanical sounding. Before I could make it halfway up the lights again went out, I then heard the kitchen door to the garage creek open.
“Hello?” I inquired. “Baby is that you? You made it back?” nothing but silence. I turned on the flashlight, illuminating dark sections of the cabin. Carefully I went back downstairs and into the kitchen. The cone of the flashlight shined on the kitchen garage door slightly ajar. I was somewhat, no I was a hundred percent positive that I had closed the door behind me when I came back in. Carefully I made my over to the door, I could see faint clouds of my own breath as I neared the door. I quickly examined door then stepped into the garage, that’s when I noticed that the carport entrance was opened. It was dark outside, only the contrast of the snow giving any sort of depth to the world. Bewildered and slightly frighten I swung open the breaker panel and flipped the power switch back on. For the third time the cabin lit up, with the power back on I maneuvered the garage door switch down. There was a rumble, the same mechanical thunder I heard just before the power had gone out.
The moon peered from beyond the clouds lighting the lush white floor. As the garage door closed, I had taken notice of something in the snow, patterns that had disrupted the neatness of the bleached earth. Footprints, there were human footprints in the snow. Just a single set leading from the garage to somewhere outside. Had they been there before? I wondered. Curiously I stopped the door from closing midway, the tracks seemed to have led all the way to the back where the lake was.
I followed them tangled in thoughts of just who these belonged too. The clouds blinded the light of the moon like they do the sun on a perfect spring or summer afternoon. The world was just black and white, removing the flashlight from my pocket. I shinned it on the patterned tracks. Each step beneath my feet disturbing the quiet, there was a rustle somewhere out in the blackened void. The wind started to whisper as if the night was trying to warn me of something dark and foreboding. Ignoring it I continued, then before I could make another stepped, I stopped. Someone was standing between me and the lake. They were wearing white and had long black hair that seemed to drift in the wind.
“Kass?” I called out inquisitively. For a split second, I could have sworn I heard the person say something, but I was even more sure that it was the wind. There was something wrong with this picture, every instinctual nerve in my body had that flight or fight sense going, and it was leaning heavily on the flight aspect. “Kassidy, you okay? Babe, can you hear me?” Still, there was no answer. Against my better judgment I forced myself to step closer, and close, and closer until I was just close enough to honestly see what I did not want to see. My eyes widen, I could feel my very insides plummet to a depth of fear and despair I’ve never had to endure since the nights of those incidents.
As the clouds again moved giving light back to the night, it was all to clear of what I was seeing before me now. This was a snowman, a snowman with the severed head of someone I cared for. The wind whispered,
It’s your fault…
©Kwamè “Amir” H.
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