Cabin in the Woods
“When was the last time we took a trip to Mt. Rainier?” Dad asks.
I’m sure it’s a distraction from what’s really going on. Aunt Fran has her arm folded across her chest, looking out the window, ignoring his question.
He looks in the rear-view mirror at me and says, “Well aren’t you all just a cheerful bunch. Come on guys, this is supposed to be a memorable family event.”
“Yeah, some memory,” I spat. “Just admit it, Dad. We’re running again, and you know it.”
“Is that what you think?”
I see the coolness in his eyes. He’s trying to convince me otherwise. “When are we going to stop fleeing from the demons that you think, are chasing us? Am I not allowed to have a normal teenage life?” I didn’t wait for his answer. “Oh, wait that’s right, I’m almost eighteen. Just a few more days, and I’m out of here.”
Dad swerves the car to the side of the road and pulls over. He turns around to face me, saying, as he points his finger, “Now you listen to me young lady. You’re not too old for me, to put you over my knee. You know exactly why we are leaving Blaine. They are close on our tail, and the mountains are the only place where we can hide.”
I roll my eyes at him and fold my arms. All my life I remember us running. Trying to get away from the “bad men,” Dad would always say are after us. For years now, it’s a consistent battle of hide and seek. We would get settled into a new place and live there for a year, sometimes two, and bam! Uprooted again, away from the ‘demons’ Dad so passionately believes are after us. I haven’t seen so much as a ghost, let alone a demon. I straighten my back and glance out the window. “Whatever,” I say,
After a moments pause, Dad pulls out onto the road again.
A few hours later we reach a crossroads and he turns off the main path to a dirt lane. A sign hangs on the gate post saying The Smiths’.
“Dad, we’re trespassing.”
I can see him grinning in the rear-view mirror. “Did I not tell you? I have a fake ID. It’s my alias John Smith.” My aunt looks over to my dad and gives a smirk.
It isn’t long after driving down this dirt muddy road that we come to a log cabin hidden within the trees, but this isn’t any log cabin I’ve ever seen. It looks like something out of a magazine. It has a three-car garage with river rock decorating the outer façade. Dad hits the remote on his visor saying, “Home sweet home.”
“Dang, Dad, where have you been hiding this place?”
“It’s been in the family for years.”
He pulls in, closes the garage door, and turns off the ignition. “Let’s get unpacked.”
We grab our luggage from the trunk, and I follow Dad and Aunt Fran through the laundry room to the inside. It’s warm and inviting, looking more like a house than a log cabin.
We reach the living room to see a fire is already lit and someone seated in a chair reading. “I see you made it,” she says.
“Hang on a second.” I know that voice. I drop my bags and step to face the intruder in Dads home. “Rory, is that you?”
She puts down her book. “Surprise,” she says, coming to give me a hug.
“Rory, what are you doing here?”
She ignores my question, and takes my hand, saying, “Come on let me show you to our room.”
“Wait, wait, wait.” I turn around to see Dad’s pleased face.
“You had it all planned out, didn’t you?”
“I did mention, I can see the future.”
“Ha ha.” I look at Rory and point. “You my dear friend have some explaining to do.”
Dad moves to the fireplace and messes with the wood, putting another log on the fire.
“Is this our only source of heat?” I ask. Concerned that we have no electricity.
“The furnace will take some time to warm up. It hasn’t been on for years. In fact, I don’t even know if it still works.”
“Great.” I walk to the switch to confirm his theory and flick on the lights, “Yes, electricity.” Then check my phone. “Great, no service.”
“What did you expect out here in the middle of nowhere?” Fran says, lugging in more baggage from the car. “Welcome to your five-star hotel suite, princess.”
I roll my eyes annoyed at them both and stomp up the stairs with Rory, taking one of my suitcases with me.
“Don’t mind, them,” Rory says. “Come on, this way.”
I can’t help but think something very odd is going on. We reach a large room at the end of the hall with bunk beds.
“Can I take the top?” Rory calls out sprinting to the ladder.
“I swear Rory, you act like a seven-year-old kid, who’s never seen bunk beds before.” I laugh.
“Ha, ha. And no, I have never slept on a top bunk before. I’ve always wanted to, though.”
“Not even sleeping over at a friend’s house?”
“No, never. This is a first for me, Wynter.”
“Huh,” I say, stunned. “In that case have at it, my friend.”
I throw my luggage on the bottom bunk, and ask, “So, Rory, tell me, why are you here? I saw Dad compel you at my house.”
“Yeah, about that,” she starts, appearing hesitant to answer. “He didn’t know who might be listening and it was a cover to get you safely here, away from the demons that are after you.
I throw up my hands. “What demons, Rory? I swear, between you and my Dad—”
“They are real, Wynter. They really do exist.”
“And what, I’m just supposed to believe that?” My mind’s in chaos, trying to think of the right words to articulate.
“Think about it, Wynter. You have been running your whole life, did you ever stop to wonder why?”
“The move from Florida to Washington…” I say, beginning to put two and two together slowly.
“Are you saying those were demons and not men in suits chasing us?” I pause a minute. “Wait, how to you know about that?” My thoughts ramble in my head as I gently grab the charm on my neck, intertwining it with my fingertips.
“Your eighteenth birthday is near. They will stop at nothing to find you.”
I hear someone pound the steps. Moments later Dad bursts into the room. “They found us.”
“What? How?” Rory says. I watch her go to the closet and grab a bow and arrow. I see her body language turn from my best friend into what some might see as a bodyguard.
“Are you kidding me right now?” I ask, stunned.
Rory’s eyes bulge and I see the tension in her frame, build. “No, not kidding. Jeff, get her downstairs to the basement.”
“Rory, who are you?”
She smirks. “Your guardian, my sweet friend. I’m known to many others as a Shadow Hunter, also as, an assassin…Now scoot.”
This is a side of Rory I never saw coming.
When we get to the bottom of the stairs, Aunt Fran has a shotgun loaded, and ready. She hands it to Dad. Aunt Fran begins chanting a spell from a book she holds in her right hand. I notice labradorite hanging in every windowsill.
“How long before they are here?” Rory finally yells, as she pulls from one of the duffel bags on the floor a handgun and begins loading it.
“What? Not a bow and arrow?” I ask.
She gives a wry glance. “It’s my backup.”
I watch Dad load his front pocket with extra boxed ammunition.
“Seriously? What in the hell is going on with everyone?” I yell out in frustration.
“They are here,” My aunt calls.
©2018 Emmy R. Bennett