Cabin Bear Heat Box Set(10)By: Bella Love-Wins
“What’s the matter?” Rob asked.
He came from behind to Abby’s side. She was doubled over, holding on to her lower leg. Rob pointed the flashlight down at it. The rest of them stopped as well, when they noticed the flashlight wasn’t pointed forward.
“I think I just twisted my ankle,” she groaned. She was the only one without winter or hiking boots, so she had to settle for the sneakers she had been wearing.
“I don’t see much,” Rob called out to her.
“We can’t stop here, guys,” John shouted. “It’s too forested on both sides of the road. Rob, I’ll take your backpack. You can help her walk.”
Ruth walked around to her other side and helped. This was bound to slow them down even more.
Could it get any worse?
Abby dug deep to hold on to the last remaining strand of faith she had left.
ANDREW looked out from the kitchen window. The snow was coming down harder.
I should really stock up on extra firewood tonight.
The house had a new furnace, and there was also a convenient switch inside the house to turn on the backup generators. Still, he did not want to take any chances in case the power went out. He would not want to get up in the middle of the night to troubleshoot if the generators didn’t turn on for some reason.
He pulled his winter jacket off the hook in the entryway closet, and put on his winter boots to go out to the shed. By then, the blowing snow had piled up over three feet in front of the doors.
Too late for that plan.
It would take hours to shovel that snow to get at the firewood. He turned to go back inside, hoping what he had brought in earlier in the day would suffice.
As Andrew walked back to the house, he thought he heard a loud howl. He stopped and listened. The sound filled the night air again. No, that was either a scream or a whistle, and it did not come from too far away. None of his neighbors used their homes year round, not for at least two miles in either direction. It had to be people stuck out in the snow.
He waited quietly and heard the sounds again.
Definitely a whistle.
He went back inside and grabbed the battery powered lantern to go find them before coyotes or mountain lions on the hunt found them first.
He noticed his loaded rifle box standing in the closet, and weighed whether to take it.
Not that I need it.
He took it anyway. At this time of year, with the snow falling like this, and not knowing who was out there, he could not be too careful.
He walked up the long driveway and in the direction he had heard the sound. The snow was coming down harder than before, blowing in every direction and making visibility virtually impossible. He didn't hear the sound anymore, but he could smell them. It was definitely six of them. He hoped he was not walking into some kind of trap.
He got to the tree line at the edge of his property, and stopped to listen again. The wind was not helping. It blew the sounds and smells around. It whirred and whistled through the trees, picking all the fallen snow up off the ground and blowing it about as though what was still falling wasn’t enough.
I bet this is why bears hibernate.
As Andrew walked up the slight slope of roadway, he began to question whether he had heard anything at all.
Could my mind have been playing tricks on me?
The sound was so familiar. It transported him back to that night. It was the first time in a long time that he had remembered the horn of the other vehicle blaring through that silent night, right after the crash. Other memories from that night would surface more frequently.
Great. God, I hope the sound of a car horn doesn’t become another fucking installment of my nightmares and waking thoughts.
The horn had not stopped blaring that night, because the lifeless body of the other driver had slumped forward onto the steering wheel.
The loud crackle of a broken twig in the far distance plucked him from his thoughts. He raised his lantern to see if he could make out animal figures. He did not want a mountain lion sneaking up on him. Not that they could—he smelled and sensed the only other apex predator in the Tahoe mountains from miles away. The light of the lantern hit some subtle shadows in the distance. It was people—one hundred percent humans. Andrew sighed reluctantly and approached them cautiously.
So much for peace and quiet.
"We’re so lucky we found you, sir," said a young lady at the front of the group.
Andrew thought something slightly different. He agreed it was pure luck they had found him. He had considered not leaving the warmth of his cabin for a split second earlier on. If he had not, they probably would never have survived the night. He was not glad to see them, though.
“What are you people doing out here in this weather?” Andrew asked them.
“Our car’s damaged back there,” the young woman answered, pointing back where they came from. “We hit the Broad Oaks Country Club gate by accident, and it’s banged up pretty badly. We figured if we came this way, we’d find some shelter. I’m Barb. Our friend here is hurt.”
“Why did you think anyone would be down here? I’m the only one who lives here year round, at this corner of the lake,” he asked.
“Our friend Ruth here has family in the area somewhere. We didn’t have much choice after the car hit the post.”