I intentionally didn’t finish this story. Most of the stories I share on my blog are snippets of conversations and situations you might witness at the grocery, a bus stop, or in a waiting room, offered for you to complete in your head, the way you naturally fill in the blanks when you overhear part of a conversation or see people interact. But since some of you asked for more, I’ll take you a little deeper into the woods.
Read the first part here: Broad Daylight
Read part 2 hear: Board Daylight: The Cabin
The first thing you notice is the crackle of flames, gnawing at dry limbs and logs. Then, eyes open, the play of light and shadow on the ceiling.
You must have dozed off.
Panic like a giant hand squeezing your throat. Who built that fire?
Your effort to sit up is met with resistant, and your head slams against the wooden floor with a thud that vibrates through your whole body.
You wiggle hands, then feet, pinned by an elephant poised to crush you, the heavy gray blanket a prison draped across your prone form.
You turn your head, left then right, left again. To the right, the door; right is east. You entered from the east.
Dancing firelight catches the apple on the table, half eaten now.
You squirm your knees and shoulders as the panic races through your limbs. The elephant is unmoved.
Head on a Swivel
Twisting your neck and head, left: the table; right: the door; east, west, up: the fireplace; back: the chair and… the spinning wheel? The unwound thread (wool? flax?) of the spindle betrays the path it took after falling to the floor.
Something shiny catches your eye. A needle?
You drop your head again. Thud, then bang it again and again, harder each time, an anxious knock on a stranger’s door. Thud, thud.
Someone? Anyone? You don’t care if it’s him who responds.
What is happening to me?
You rest, ears thudding in echo now, head aching with life.
The reverb settles into the floor until it’s just your breath—still shallow and desperate—, flames, and soft air pressing the cabin walls. Chilled air from the north? Or one last breath of summer from the south?
You’re still now, no more squirming, you allow the weight of the elephant to calm as you listen to the fire, to your heartbeat, to your breath.
“Who goes there?”
The windows, still shuttered, show no evidence of daylight. How long before it returns? How long before someone, anyone, returns?
Your breath falls into a rhythm familiar to the night. You rest your head to one side and watch the light of the fire catch the needle in the southeast corner. It is the southeast, the door: east; the apple on the table: west; the chair and the spinning wheel: south.
A deeper breathe against the pressure, you feel the warmth as you exhale. Nothing more to do but wait for someone—anyone—to find you.
I just wanted to be free.
But you’re pinned.
©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023.