Monday, October 25, 2010

Guest Post: The Three Boys and the Cabin

I would like to thank Greyz at the Clandestine Sanctuary for asking me to share a story from my youth that was particularly memorable for me.

I have lost the original title of the story, but I am retelling it from memory as "The Three Boys and the Cabin".  I hope you enjoy.

The Three Boys and the Cabin
by: Brian Kittrell

The summer had ended, but Jake and his friends still felt the urge to go once more to the cabin by the lake before winter had set in completely.  The air was cool, but they decided there was still enough time to go fishing one last time.  It was Friday afternoon, just after school had let out, and the three boys went to Jake's house to finish packing and head to the lake.

Jake was eighteen, only a few months older than the other two boys, Paul and Jimmy, both of whom were still seventeen.  Paul was brash and confident and the class clown - the kind of guy that everyone wanted to be friends with, and Jimmy was the athletic type - a slender, muscular boy who was always the sports star and was a part of every major team at the school.

Jake was somewhere in the middle.  The easiest way to describe Jake was that he was the brains of the operation and the voice of reason: he helped keep Jimmy's grades from sinking, and he tried his best to keep Paul out of trouble.  They were all three very different, but they managed to form and maintain a very strong friendship over the last four years of high school.

"Hand me that fishing pole," Jimmy said, putting the last of the camping supplies into the trunk of the car.

"Are you guys sure you want to still go out to the lake?  My mom said there's an unexpected cold front coming in," Jake said.

"Oh, don't be so scared, Jakey," Paul said.  Jake looked at him with a contemptuous glare; Jake's mother called him 'Jakey' one time while Paul was around, and Paul wouldn't hesitate to use it to crack a joke.

"I'm not scared," Jake replied firmly.  "I just don't think we'll catch anything if there's a layer of ice over the water."

"Don't worry about it," Paul said, pulling a bottle of whiskey out of his backpack and displaying it.  "Even if we don't catch anything, we'll have a good time."

"Put that away for now.  I don't want my mom seeing it," Jake said.

"Ok, Jakey," Paul said in a baby-talk voice.  Jake just rolled his eyes.

A few moments later, they were ready to head off.  The boys loaded up in the car and started down the road.  After an uneventful three hour drive, they arrived at their favorite fishing spot - the cabin by the lake.  It was built in the style of a log cabin, and it was constructed very close to the lake that lay behind it.  They unpacked the car and brought all of their possessions into the cabin.

"It's getting cold already," Jimmy said, pulling a coat out of the trunk.  "It might snow after all."

"Snow?" Jake asked.

"Yeah, they were talking about a chance of snow on the news, but I didn't think it was going to happen.  It was just 80 degrees two days ago," Jimmy said.

"Looks like we won't be doing much fishing today.  Let's get inside," Paul said.

Jimmy locked the car and put the keys in his pocket.  Once inside, Paul produced the bottle of whiskey from his backpack again and opened it.  They passed the bottle around in a circle, telling stories about the good times and the summers they had spent on the lake.  The conversation turned towards disappointment as they began talking about their plans for the future.  Each of the boys planned on going to college in different places away from home; these last few trips to the lake might be the last time they ever saw each other.  The mood was finally broken by Jimmy pointing out the window.

"It's snowing," he said, rising to his feet.  "We better build a fire.  I'll go get some firewood."

Jake rolled over to his side and turned on the radio as Jimmy walked out the door.  "Might as well listen to some tunes while we wait."

Suddenly, the radio made an announcement that chilled Jake's blood.  "Please be aware that there has been an escape from the state sanitarium in Barlow.  It is unknown at this time where the escapee is heading.  All that is known is that he is to be considered extremely dangerous."

"Why don't we just load up the car and go?" Jake asked.

"Oh, you're such a worrier, Jake," Paul said.  "Barlow is over twenty miles from here, and that guy would have to go across two highways and three other towns to get all the way down here."

Jake nodded.  "Alright.  If you think it's safe."

"I know it's safe.  Here, drink some more whiskey and relax," Jimmy said.

After an hour had passed, Jake grew uneasy.  Jimmy still had not returned to the cabin.  Just as Jake was about to voice his concerns, the door burst open, and Jimmy walked in with a few logs.  Finally, Jake could start the fire.

"There's a maniac loose out there somewhere," Jake said.

Paul let out a sigh.  "It's in Barlow.  Nothing to worry about."

Jimmy nodded as he sat down on his sleeping bag.  After a few hours, they had relaxed and continued telling stories and drinking.

"You didn't get enough wood," Paul said, pointing to the fire.  "It's starting to die out."

"I thought we'd be asleep by now," Jimmy said.  "I'll get some more wood."

"I'll go this time," Paul said, standing up.  "We'll take turns."

"You shouldn't go by yourself," Jake said.  "I'll go with you."

"You stay here.  I don't want you out there getting all scared while I'm trying to work," Paul said.

"It's alright, he'll be fine," Jimmy said.

Paul walked out of the door and out into the woods.  Jake watched him until he disappeared in the darkness and sighed as he sat back down.

"It'll be alright," Jimmy said, trying to calm Jake.  "He'll be back in no time."

Time continued to pass until it had been two hours since Paul left to get firewood.  Even Jimmy was becoming apprehensive.

"What's taking him so long?" Jimmy asked, standing up.  He walked out onto the front porch of the cabin with Jake not far behind.

Suddenly, they heard a shrill scream throughout the nearby woods.  Jake's heart stopped.  Jimmy walked out into the snow-covered grass in front of the cabin and looked all around.

"Paul!" Jimmy shouted.  A few moments later, they could hear laughter from the trees.  It was Paul's giggling that gave him away.

"Jokes, huh?  You got jokes?  You just wait 'till you get back.  I'm going to beat you down for that!" Jimmy shouted.

Paul continued laughing for a few moments before it was quiet again.  Jake shook his head as he stood in the doorway looking out, and Jimmy balled up his fists.  "I'm going to beat you for that!" Jimmy shouted again.  "You hear me?"

The woods were still.  There was no other noise until they heard another scream.  This time, though, it was blood-curdling.  It made the hairs on the back of their necks stand on end.  Jimmy shouted into the woods again.  "Paul!"  There was no reply.  Jimmy walked back into the cabin.

"That sounded real that time," Jake said.  "We should go look for him."

"Nah, he's just playing around.  He wants to get a rise out of us.  If we go out there, he'll just laugh at us for believing him.  He always does crap like that," Jimmy said.

They sat for another two hours before saying much of anything to each other.  "Why hasn't he come back?  It's below freezing out there," Jimmy said.

"We should go check on him," Jake said.

"Alright," Jimmy said.  "You stay here and watch the cabin.  I'll go find him.  If you hear any screaming this time, it will be from me pounding his face in."

Jimmy walked out the door with little more than an upward glance.  Jake sat by the window, his back in the corner.  As the hour passed by, his eyes became heavy, and he drifted between being asleep and being awake.    The fire had died out completely, and it was dark inside.  He blinked his eyes and started to regain his focus when he caught a glimpse of a silhouette standing in the treeline looking at the cabin.

He squinted to make out the person in the distance, but it wasn't easy; the person was standing in the shadows of a tree blanketed with snow.  It wasn't until the figure stepped out into the moonlight that Jake's fears were realized.

The man was dressed in a white shirt and white pants which revealed blood splatters across his clothes.  He held a small tool by the handle - either a hammer or a hatchet.  His eyes were cold and gray, and they stared blankly towards the cabin until they found Jimmy walking around in the tree line.

Jake wanted to warn him, but he couldn't let out a sound.  If he yelled out, the killer would surely find him and murder him.  Thankfully, Jimmy noticed the man in time, but he was already being chased.  Jimmy ran into the darkness of the forest, the insane murderer in tow.

Jake ran to the door and locked it.  He went to the corner of the cabin, in the dark, and sat down.  He stayed still and quiet, out of sight and mind.  He was absolutely terrified.

About thirty minutes later, Jake could hear heavy, dragging footsteps outside the cabin on the porch.  'This is it for me.  He's killed my friends, now he's coming for me' Jake thought to himself.  After an excruciating number of minutes, there was a thud on the porch immediately outside the front door.

Then, the clawing started.  The sound of fingernails scraping against the cabin's wooden door was like spikes being driven through his soul.  After that came the moaning - a hollow, gurgling moan that could only be the product of someone truly mad.  Jake covered his ears to drown out the noise, but it was hardly effective; he heard every scrape, every slap on the door, and every moan that the monstrous killer created.  The sounds continued and got louder for over an hour.

Eventually, Jake passed out from the fear.  He didn't wake up until the next morning to the sound of a loudspeaker outside the cabin and the flashing of blue lights on the walls inside.

"Is there anyone in there?" the loudspeaker echoed.  Jake climbed to his feet and walked over to the window.  Several police cars were sitting outside, their spotlights trained on the cabin.

"Come on out the front door, son," the loudspeaker said.  Jake did as he was instructed.  He unlocked the door and walked out onto the porch.

"Walk out here to me, son," the officer said.  "Come to me.  That's it, keep walking this way."

Jake stepped into the snowy grass, and he suddenly remembered everything that had occurred.  He wondered why the officer was telling him to keep walking, to keep coming towards him.  He paused and stopped.

"It's okay, son.  Just keep coming," the voice said.  Jake was paralyzed with fear again.  'Is that maniac behind me or something?' he thought to himself.  He spun around and looked, only to see his friend Jimmy lying on the porch.  Jimmy's head had been bashed in by several strikes by a blunt object.  His fingernails were worn away and his fingertips were bloody, probably from all of the scratching and clawing at the door for his friend to save him.  He obviously couldn't say anything intelligible due to the cracks in his skull.  Jake collapsed as the officers rushed over to grab him.

Happy Halloween!

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