The sun rose over the tops of the trees, bathing in the cold morning light stood the cabin, on the shores of a Lake. The Cedars that marched their way around the edge, swayed in the gentle breeze, offering a welcome distraction from the nightmare that had crept silently out of bed with her.
She blew into the rough stone mug she was clasping in her hands, and taking time for a sigh, she then sipped the bitter brew, that darkened roast David had recommended. Divine, she thought.
Blessed be the morning, she whispered to herself, lowering into one of the Muskoka chairs that rested on the old dock Randall had once built out into the Lake.
It had been 10 years now since his death. A whole decade had somehow disappeared, and she realized today marked that anniversary. An anniversary of sorts, as they had never known exactly when he had died, only how. That day still haunted her, as did many of the days she had spent in their rough and shattering youth.
That other morning, that morning the phone call had come, and changed everything.
The autopsy had said he could have been lying there for weeks. Alone, after succumbing to the vices that would eventually take his life, as his remains oozed into the floorboards, his relationship with her since she left for University had been strained, and over time she had left him to whatever madness stalked his being.
Not much of a childhood, really. More a nightmare then the dreams that had attached themselves to her this morning. The ghosts of her slumber, those daemons she herself carried, still lay close at hand this morning. Resting her feet upon the rocky ledge that encompassed the firepit she had constructed this last spring, she lay her head back on the wooden slats of the chair, and looked up into the dawning winter sky.
Tis a campfire night I believe Thomas, what do you think? Whatever Thomas thought he kept to himself, and continued lavishly licking his white mitten paws. And upon completing his cleansing, arose, tail stuck into the air, with a little jaunty curl at the top, off he strode into the woods that encircled their little oasis. A hunting we shall go, he thought, actually.
David, had agreed this morning to take her shift at the pub, so the solitude of her grief was allowed to wash over her, and tumble from her eyes.
This little cabin in the woods had been left to Randall in their Fathers will. This wooded glen that encircled the Lake, had been his refuge as well. She’d been told recently that this humble homestead once sheltered the first of the pioneers to this new world. From back when their ancestors had trans-versed across that other, much larger water, and thus fashioning the new beginning they had envisioned.
With them though had also trooped some of their daemons, their boogeymen, their woodland faeries, attaching themselves to the fabric of their clothes, they arrived on these shores, or so the Villagers had said.
And, with the death of Randall, so began her new beginning, and with her came new daemons…for good or not. She didn’t know yet.
And the wind rustled the reeds on the otherside of the murky water before her.
She had at first come here in fits and starts. Staying the day, staying the night, staying a week, than a month.
Last week she finally gave in, gave up her apartment inside the borders of the village, and after force feeding the giant oak table through the doorway. After she had gently rested the grand thing upon the newly rough-honed pine floors. After she had smudged the space with sage, after spending months and months after his death washing away the stains he left on those floors, the walls.
She fashioned Jack’s lace curtains to the windows, threw her futon in the corner, and looked around the unfamiliar place that greeted her.
Finally, she had conquered his ghost. Finally she had laid it all to rest, quietly in his grave at the edge of the woods by his Lake, as he had wished. It had been the only thing he had ever asked of her, and so she had finally complied.
Moving here, well, that was something all together different.
Of course, she owed him nothing. He said that to her a month before he lost his battle, but by then the damage had been done.
Watching Thomas, hidden in the long grasses at the edge of the woods, stalking whatever meal lay unawares before him, she sighed.
But beyond, she saw Randall, his white, naked body, dancing feverishly. Swinging wildly round the trees, spiraling away in mad abandon. Her pied piper, her demented brother. Her very own mad-hatter. Infused with the delusions of childhood, this had been her first memory of him.
Oh, he was a golden headed god, a Pan to her innocence. A tangled mess of dichotomies. He was as gentle, as he was dangerous. As light as air, as dark as hades. As loving, as he was cruel. And with a gentle tug, off came the mask to reveal the predatory nature of his madness. As his hazel eyes lured her in.
That boy, becoming a man, who had taken her with him on his woodland jaunts. Than, late at night, under her Holly Hobby covers, he laid himself down, beside her.
Shuttering in the warm morning air, Jodee takes another sip of the steaming java between her hands. Wrestling with the shiver down her spine, and the solitude of her secret catches her breath. She closes her eyes, and watches as the memory slowly dissolves, leaving not even a scent behind. Swallowed whole.
Even so, even with all that. Even after she had abandoned him, walked away, escaped him, finally. Even after the therapists bills, and destroyed relationships. After years, that call had come at her out of the dark, and hit as hard as if it were a bullet she had shot herself. It whispered to her, but she brushed that away as well.
I will NOT let you take it all away from me. I refuse. I will grieve you, and I will always remember that there was love, once upon a long time ago there WAS LOVE, she yelled at the top of her lungs. Than listened as her words fell from her tear drenched lips into the new morning light.
As the sun quietly crept across the Lake towards her, she knew.
Rising to her feet, and pivoting back towards the open door of the cabin, she can see the outline of his golden head within the door. Staring blankly out at her, with those deadened eyes. And raising the gun to his temple, she sees the red as it splatters on the screen door, and out into the darkness that lay before him.
She sees his body crumple, and then disappear.
As those last moments of the demon sibling she loved flashed before her, she knew.
Dim within her memories, lay the enslavement of truth. Until now, as the vision of Randalls last moments had come to her, unbidden. As the demon of her slumber danced its deathly stare back at her, she remembered what else had been dragged forth with her this morning, upon waking.
As the sun slowly made its way, tickling the ripples across the reeds at the far edge of the Lake, slowly out of the corner of her eye, dancing with the light across the spot where he lay, she caught the last glimpses of a blob on the distant shore as it flew through the air, and disappeared again. Then, as the reeds slowly came into focus, and became a cloaked man, the forest, the Lake, all disappeared.
Startled she closes her eyes, afraid of what she sees before her. On opening one eye, and finding that figment was not her imagination, she takes a long, strangled, breath.
The figure nods its ancient head towards her, in acknowledgement. It is then she hears my voice, as the silken tone glides across the water. Hears it in a crystal clarity, as if I stood before her, instead of some 1000 feet away.
I am who you seek.
It has begun.
more Tales Of The Village