Chapter Twenty-Five: The Cabin

24 Nov
BTW when you are done reading this chapter. If you think thinking is fun; if you think philosophy should be for everyone try reading  TheMapThinker.com

BTW when you are done reading this chapter. If you think thinking is fun; if you think philosophy should be for everyone try reading TheMapThinker.com

L C couldn’t wait to see Nathaniel. She was literally bursting with things to tell him. Everything from tentative arraignments with caters for the wedding to the trip to Europe suddenly sprung on her by the Langlins.

She did not have to do much that morning. She had done most of it the night before. Pretty much just get in the car and head up the hill. She expected to be at the cabin by daylight. When she turned off the main road to go up the hill she could just see the outlines of the tree tops against an almost blue sky.

The road started out a potholed blacktop that eventually became gravel that slowly disappeared into well rutted hard dirt. Her headlights showed a strip of tan dirt in front of her bordered by a strip of green that darkened into the deepest black. It was then she saw the figure just as she rounded the corner. She slammed on the brakes, although she had been traveling under fifteen miles per hour.

She would have sworn she had not taken her eyes off the road, but by the time she stopped the figure was gone. She had the impression of a young, gangly male.

Quickly rolling down the window she listened. Something was plowing through the bushes. Clumsy noises, but she wasn’t sure how a scared animal would sound.

L C rolled up the window and went on.

As she turned the next corner she looked back. She would have sworn she saw the same figure in the road watching after her. Then the figure was gone.

L C suddenly had pictures run through her mind of movies she had seen where a lone couple were stranded in a remote place, a country cabin, an island, a mansion, somewhere in the middle of nowhere – Just as she and Nathaniel would be soon – While some pack of punks or killers were hounding them.

And there was no cell phone service up here. And no land line at all.

Should she go back? Anything could happen. Or have happened. Nathaniel could be dead up there in the cabin by now. All bloody and icky. L C shuddered.

She had decided she had watched too many late night movies. Ones where the heroine did something stupid, others where they tried to tell the police something was wrong but the police wouldn’t believe them because they had no proof, and the list went on.

Truth was even if she had clearly seen a gangly teenager on the road there was no reason for the foreboding she felt. None at all.

She had to concentrate not to speed up the old dirt road. She did not want to get stuck and have to walk three miles in.

When she finally reached the cabin the sun was poking its nose out its nighttime blanket and there was color once again in the world. The lights shining from the windows reminded her of a Kinkade painting. She thought of Kinkade as a modern Currier and Ives without the snow. She wondered how either of them managed to get so much detail into a picture.

As soon as she stopped the tiny car the Langlin’s allowed her for her own use and to transport “Little Zena” around in, Nathaniel was at the picturesque door of the cabin and he was opening it.

He looked like what he was, a man who headed his own department: Dark eyes, dark hair, square of face and jaw, neither plump nor muscular, but competent. Business suits looked as natural on him as two piece bathing suits looked on L C The only thing that contrasted with the image of a suave executive was a small scar just behind his left jaw, barely under his left ear that looked like a burn mark.

He explained the scar in a self depreciating manner, “When I was eighteen I thought military life was a lot more adventurous than college plus the promise they would pay for my education when I got out. That is the upside. The downside is that most of military life is boring unless you are getting shot at. Unfortunately it gives a lot of people a free ticket to shoot at you. We were on a mission. We got shot at.” He pointed to the scar, “That is what a close call looks like,” and then he smiled.

He stood at the door smiling now. She was relieved to see him, and literally fell into his arms.

He laughed, “Whoa, babe, I have hot coffee here.”

“I’m just so glad to see you.” Now she felt silly discussing a young man she wasn’t even sure she saw when everything seemed so normal and safe.

By the time they had finished breakfast she had forgotten about it. They discussed the Langlin’s emergency trip and he seemed more interested in understanding why they needed to make it than in whether she should go or not. She could not get a straight answer out of him whether she should go or not or how he felt about her going and she was becoming frustrated.

When they were ready to go swimming she suddenly had a picture of a bunch of young hoodlums hiding in the bushes watching them. No telling what they might be planning. She told  Nathaniel about the young man but he seemed unconcerned.

“Not much chance they would get up this far. If they drove up we can hear them. Nobody walks that far now days.”

Hearing it put that way made L C laugh at herself and her fears.

Still she did not take out her skimpiest two piece bathing suit. She wore the one with the over skirt and semi jacket top. Intended as a quick cover up so a gal could go straight from a dip to the night club without really changing, or vice versa. Quick–on–the–draw modesty if needed.

The river here walked softly around a little elbow that served them as a pond, pouring in from more shallow, faster waters, and disappearing into shallower, faster waters providing a nice background of tinkly white noise that helped comfort and relax.

A frog on the bank announced himself.

Right here was a pool sized area of peace and calm that was deep and slow, reflecting the green of the trees and the blue of the sky while still allowing them to see the fish scurry away when they approached too close.

Once she had looked up and seen a deer looking back at her.

There were no deer today, but there were plenty of chirping birds, the rustling of leaves, and the smell of fresh growing things. Soon she had forgotten every worry in the world.

Laughing and racing up to the cabin they both looked at the door at the same time. It was open. They both stopped laughing. They both stopped moving. They looked at the door, then they looked at each other. Nathaniel motioned for her to wait, but she chose to follow close behind him instead. He became intent on what he was doing and ignored her. She knew he was watching ahead of them so she tried to watch everywhere else, just in case, so on one could sneak up behind them.

To herself she cursed the fact there was no cell service up here.

He pushed the door open slowly. He looked through the crack by the hinges to see if anyone was waiting behind the door. They weren’t.

L C wondered if it would not be a better idea to just get in the car and go, but felt it was a bad idea to distract him. After all he was the one who had been in combat, not her. Still … Leaving a situation that could turn in any direction imaginable seemed like the best idea to her.

Pictures of possibilities ran through her mind. Whoever was here could have tampered with the car. Leaving them stranded inside and even more vulnerable to whoever was outside of it.

They could get in the car and drive to the police station, or at least a phone. Leaving whoever was here alone and safe to rifle the place, take what they wanted and be gone for up to three or four hours. Plenty of time to do anything they wished.

Get the police up here only to go inside and discover the door had been opened by a raccoon who was inside calmly munching potato chips.

It gave L C a feeling of confidence when Nathaniel strode over to the fireplace and grabbed the fireplace poker with a sure hand, no diffidence. He held it, not like a baseball bat, but with his hands spread shoulder width apart, like a man who had held similar instruments before and was able to use it.

There was no one in the house. Nothing was missing. Things had been moved around as though someone had been looking for something, but what?

They searched themselves. Pictures were moved, furniture was moved. But none of the drawers had been opened, places where  a normal thief would look first. A chest of drawers had been moved away from the wall, otherwise it was undisturbed. As L C started to shove it back into place she looked down and saw the edge of an oblong wooden box underneath. It had been stuck underneath where it would not be seen without knowing where it was at.

She pulled the box out and looked at it. It looked similar to an old-time cigar box. Inside was a revolver. It was almost as long as her forearm. She took it out. It wasn’t loaded. The bullets were in a box of their own below the barrel. She turned it over. On the barrel was stamped “Smith and Wesson” and underneath “44 magnum.”

She looked to the door they had entered: To the fire-place: To the chest of drawers. The fireplace was on the far side of the room. The chest, and the gun, was almost within reach of the door. He could have had the pistol out, loaded, and ready in almost the same amount of time it took to get the poker. The revolver would have provided a lot more security; so why hadn’t he gotten it instead of heading to the poker?

L C held it up for Nathaniel to look at.

“This yours?”

“No. Not mine. Never saw it before.”

She laid the revolver, the box, and the bullets out on the top of the chest for him to look at.

“I let a friend of mine use this cabin every once in a while.”

“Why would he need a gun like that in a quiet nook like this?”

“He probably carries that when he hunts bear. He just forgot to take it back with him.”

“What do I do with it?”

“Put it back.” He showed no further interest.

“What about whoever ransacked the cabin?”

“What about them? Probably just that kid you saw.”

“What if they come back?”

Nathaniel shook his head, “He won’t. We scared him off. That is why the door was open. We were noisy. He heard us laughing and high tailed it. I think there is another cabin a few miles from here. Maybe he will hit that if he finds it.”

“Should we call the police and tell them?”

“Tell them what? There is a kid wandering around who didn’t steal anything? Who may or may not find another cabin to ransack? They won’t want to come all the way out here for that. They will ask us to go in to make a report. The last thing I want is to spend half a day sitting in a police station over nothing.”

She agreed, but the fun of the day was somehow gone.

Later, as they were eating breakfast she mentioned the odd incident she had at Stanhouser’s Market. He listened intently, chewing on his food. He said nothing until she had nothing more to say on the subject.

When she was finished he pushed his plate back. After a minute’s consideration he said, “This weekend has gotten off to a horrible start. I suggest we try again next weekend. Or maybe I will meet you and we can go somewhere else. There is a little town I haven’t been to in a while. Maybe we could go there.”

“How about we could go there now?” L C felt her eyes click and felt a stab of emotion go through herself. She had planned on this entire day and night alone with Nathaniel and did not want to let go of it.

“No. I think I need to go clear some things up. And I think you should go with the Langlins tomorrow. It will do you good.”

“In that case I will go now,” she said, feeling abandoned for the second time in the same week. And she did, leaving the dirty dishes on the table and in the sink for him to clean up.

(c) 2013 All Rights Reserved

 

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