Cabin Bear Heat Box Set(7)

By: Bella Love-Wins

“After,” he said aloud to himself. He noticed his deep, booming voice seemed so quiet amidst the whirling noise of the wind and rustling of trees. Mother Nature at work.

There wasn’t much time left to hunker down, so Andrew picked up the pace. He quickly put away the groceries, placed the batteries and a couple of extra flashlights in one of the kitchen cabinet drawers, and went to his bedroom to plug in the satellite phones he would use when his father needed him urgently.

Regular landlines, cell phone service, as well as Internet and cable, were not nearly as reliable during a storm. It only took one downed tree to cut the power line, and that would take out the phone lines too. He took a battery-operated lantern with him as he headed back outside.

Before loading up on firewood, he went around the other side of the house, which was closer to the garage. He needed to check the fuel level of the large propane tank that powered the two emergency generators for the house. They sat side by side under a reinforced, sheltered enclosure. The tank was full, because he used city power for day-to-day electricity use. The backup system had been installed in case the power went out, and was a smart purchase because it would kick in at least twice during the winter. With the coming storm, anything was possible.

Finally, he walked over to the shed. It housed the firewood, a few Ski-Doos, Sea-Doos, and two riding lawnmowers. It was just as large as the garage, but the doors weren’t automatic. The firewood was neatly stacked and tied up on top of a few skids, to keep them dry and off the floor. A local service delivered cords in the middle of the fall, and could deliver more during the winter whenever he ran out.

He placed a smaller shovel at the garage entrance, and piled as many bundles as would fit on the Ski-Doo trailer. Once he felt there was enough for a few nights, he connected the trailer and rode the Ski-Doo up to the house. Again, unloading in one trip was far better. That manual garage door could be a hassle to open and close.

All that remained to do was to return to the shed, lock it up, and then use the shovel to clear a path back to the house.

Finally, I can get out of this snow and relax in peace.

Chapter Three

ABBY regretted her earlier decision before they were halfway to Ruth’s grandparents’ cottage. It felt like the moment they agreed to keep going, the sky voiced its objection by opening up and emptying out all the snow at the disposal of the heavens. It had been snowing barely an hour and there was no visibility.

It was the snowfall that kept giving back. What fell got caught up in the blowing wind, and swirled around or blew across any remaining signs of asphalt roadway. Abby gripped the steering wheel and squinted to see what was left of any semblance of roadway, signage, or landmarks. There was nothing. Rob tried to help as much as he could, but reiterated more than once that he felt useless riding shotgun, as he could also barely see outside.

In the seat behind Rob, Ruth was less nonchalant about finding the way to the cottage. She opened and reopened the map application on her smartphone, and would either swear out loud when the map didn’t load, or belt out some unreliable declaration that a tree looked familiar, or a bend in the road seemed like they might be close. The truth was, Abby knew deep down that they were lost. The only upside was they were in her SUV, which could maneuver on the snow-covered roads as long as she kept her speed under twenty miles per hour. By the time they had gotten down the narrow mountain roads, she needed to top off her speed at ten miles per hour.

“Want me to try driving now?” John asked from the back.

Abby briefly entertained the idea. “Thanks for offering, John. Normally I’d be more than happy to accept. With the roads this bad, and as you’ve never driven my car before, it’s probably best if I go the rest of the way.”

“You’re probably right,” he conceded. Trina nestled in his arms, looking a little more fearful as the storm worsened.

“Okay, guys!” Ruth shouted excitedly. “That covered statue we just passed should be the neighbors four doors down from my grandparents’ place. That means you need to slow down even more, Abby. The driveway is coming up.”

“That’s great, Ruth,” Abby answered. “Just let me know when. I’m practically going at zero miles per hour.”

“It’s just past that large tree,” Ruth said ecstatically. “Turn now.”

Abby slowed almost to a full stop, but couldn’t see the road ahead to navigate. “I don’t know if that’s a driveway, Ruth.”

“I’m positive it is. Just go slowly into the turn.”

As soon as Abby turned the car, all six of them were jolted forward in their seats, and the SUV came to a sudden stop.

“What was that?” Rob asked, using the automatic button to turn down his passenger side window. It made no difference in visibility, and snow was piling into his lap. He closed it up quickly to avoid getting completely covered in the white stuff.

“We may have hit something,” Abby said, drained. “I’ll try reversing.”

She shifted to reverse and slowly hit the gas pedal. They all felt the vehicle skidding sideways. Abby could not find enough traction to back out of whatever she had bumped into.

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