The Cabin

Fan fiction, poetry, and lore. No adult content, please.

The Cabin

Postby neildarkstar » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:08 pm

The Cabin
by Neildarkstar

Note: This is a (mostly) true story with some facts altered to preserve some sense of confidentiality, which I am writing partly in response to a thread over on "the officials" that asks the question "What do you want in a dungeon?"
*******
It was late afternoon of a clear spring day when the cabin first came into sight. The air was a bit chill, as the altitude here was probably about 8500 feet and the thin air did little to preserve heat. I was in the High Sierras of Northern California, and although the temperature was about 80 degrees down in the valley, it was only perhaps 60 up here.

I'd been asked early that morning to hike in and check on the status of the cabin's owner, who apparently hadn't been seen or heard from for quite some time. It had been a long hike, taking most of the day, and I really hoped all was well, because, aside from being bad for the cabin's owner, I didn't want to try to hike back out in the dark. There was no way I could get back to my truck before sundown.

As I walked up to the cabin's porch, I noticed that there was an accumulation of pine cones, pine needles and debris on the porch, even in front of the door, so my heart sank a bit as stepped onto it and knocked at the weathered door.

I waited a few moments after knocking, and spent the time looking more closely at the debris scattered about on the porch. There was an uncovered water barrel by the corner of the house, but there was a large hole in the side near the bottom, where it appeared that the wood had rotted away. The odd thing was a ladle hanging from the top of the barrel as though someone often took a drink from the barrel. I knocked again and called out a loud "Hello". I identified myself as a Search and Rescue volunteer, and stepped back from the door while waiting for a reply.

A noisy squirrel chattered his objection to my disturbance of his afternoon siesta, and a slight breeze started up making a long sigh from nearby sugar pines but those were the only responses, so I tried again.

Since there was still no answer, I stepped up and tried the doorknob. It was unlocked, so I turned the knob and pushed open the door a few inches. It squeaked with rusty complaint, sounding as though it hadn't opened in years, but the door grudgingly opened.

"Hello! Search and Rescue, is anybody here?" I called out again, and hesitantly stepped into the dim light of the cabin.

As my eyes became adjusted to the light I could see that I was in a small, cozy living room that was nicely furnished for such a remote cabin. The furniture had to have been flown in by chopper, I couldn't imagine carrying that couch over miles of steep mountain trails. In front of the couch was a low coffee table, on which sat a bottle of wine, an empty glass, and an open magazine. I stepped closer, and I could see that it was all covered in a thick layer of dust, and there were no tracks or marks in the dust anywhere. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice...

"Hello! Search and Rescue! Anybody here?" I called out again, and the sound of my own voice came back strangely muffled, as if the dust and furniture were long deprived of the sound of a voice, and just absorbed it like a sponge. I checked the fireplace that was in front of the coffee table, and it had apparently not been lit in months, at the least.

On the mantle was a fine antique clock of the "Ship's Clock" style. It too was covered in dust, and had stopped at 7:31 of some long gone day.

I slowly walked to a doorway that I could see led into a kitchen area, and I could see there was a table with a single chair in the center of the room. "Hello?" I called again, then added "Search and Rescue, anybody here?" I was a bit abashed to notice a slight quaver had come into my voice uninvited.

Entering the kitchen, I could see there was a frying pan in the center of the table resting on a hot pad, and a plate in front of the chair that had a knife, fork, and something unrecognizable laying on it.

It looked as though the food had rotted half-eaten on the plate, been covered in mold, and then the mold itself had dried and turned to dust. I suddenly knew that whatever had happened here had happened long ago, and I would find olny ghosts here.

There were "clean" dishes in a rack by the sink, though they were covered in dust, and a check of the water tap showed there was no water currently available in the house.

I continued on through the house, coming to a small bedroom just behind the kitchen. I stood in the door, and considered what must have been the last night of the cabin owner's life.

He had fixed himself a small dinner, eaten his fill, and gone into the living room for a glass of after dinner wine and the company of a magazine. Eventually tiring, he probably went outside to the privy, then came in and headed for bed.

The bed was small, a single size, and the charred remains of something lay in a tangled heap atop it. The light in the room was now very dim, but I could see there was a kerosene lamp laying on the floor, with the glass chimney shattered beside it.

It took little imagination to see the lamp falling on the bed, setting covers ablaze as the occupant lay sleeping, then falling to the floor with the sound of shattering glass as the person in the flaming bed flailed about...

I took the small belt light from my pocket and shined it on the bed fearing what I would see, but there were only burned blankets, telling a mute tale of pain and tragedy.

I knew the person could not likely have survived, because living alone in the mountains with no immediate contact meant any accident was possibly fatal. If you can't walk out, and have no radio or other means of contact, you're dead, simple as that.

I turned off my my flashlight, and considered that I had probably been set up by my friends at Search and Rescue. There was no doubt they knew what I would find in the cabin, and sent me here as a prank. Well, vengeance would be sweet....

I went back into the living room and laid a fire in the fireplace after checking that the chimney was clear. I spent the night on the couch dozing fitfully and sneezing as a result of the dust that flew up each time I moved, then ate some trail mix as I hiked out early the next morning.

The air was crisp and cold, the sky blue, and the view looking down the mountain was spectacular. Green forest shrouded in light blue haze was visible for what seemed endless miles, with the occasional emergence of a rocky outcropping or neighboring mountain providing perspective that teased the imagination with the grandeur of nature.

For a moment I felt a sense of kinship with the inhabitant of that cabin, and I thought that if one had to die... perhaps living up here would make it worthwhile...
*************
As to what I would want in a dungeon, well... suspense, atmosphere, a sense of the normal gone awry, and the opportunity to let my imagination run wild. That's about all, I suppose... and then if your dungeon can outdo my imagination, that would be best of all!
:)
Neil
"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." - Movie "Flypaper"
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neildarkstar
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Re: The Cabin

Postby DARoot » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:43 am

Another good story, Neildarkstar
[And I agree about the dungeons ...]

DARoot
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Re: The Cabin

Postby neildarkstar » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:12 pm

Thanks.

I posted the story because, although it was a RL thing, it was a perfect short adventure in many ways, even without a protagonist or combat. It could have made a Hitchcock thriller fairly easily.
"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." - Movie "Flypaper"
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Re: The Cabin

Postby DARoot » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:08 pm

Oh, I LOVE it!
A balding, overweight Neildarkstar in a suit, comes on to say,
"Here is a tale that may intrigue you...
If your dungeon can outdo my imagination, that would be best of all!..."

DARoot
DARoot
 

Re: The Cabin

Postby neildarkstar » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:16 pm

...Eh, don't forget the trademark theme music...
:)
"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." - Movie "Flypaper"
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neildarkstar
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Re: The Cabin

Postby DARoot » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:28 pm

Hell, No!
As a former bassoon player in HS, I memorized that tune ...

DARoot
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Re: The Cabin

Postby DARoot » Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:31 pm

In honor of Neildarkstar's many interesting stories --

[And, weren't the '50s an interesting time for male/female relationships?]

DARoot
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Re: The Cabin

Postby neildarkstar » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:35 pm

Well, mthat was certainly a story with some meat to it..

Did you ever wonder if "Ozzie and Harriet" were perhaps under some sort f psychological fugue, because they had no video games to mod?
"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." - Movie "Flypaper"
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