Cabin 43?

Cabin 42 was on the end of a long row of cabins. There was a family renting it, so I didn't get too close. I studied it.

It was made of logs, 11 large logs high, as you would expect a cabin to be, and had a little porch that looked over the lake. Little windows with four panes gave me a glimpse of the rustic furnishings, made from logs as well. The family moved around inside, but all I could see were the tops of the adults' heads. Two adults.

I had a mom and a dad. Mom smelled like Ivory soap. Dad smelled like Old Spice. They were graying. Mom served pancakes to Dad on Sunday while he read the paper at the table. I read the comics.

The memory faded. I got up and followed the winding road up the hill toward cabin 44.

Halfway up, 40 steps, there was a trail carved out of the trees by tire tracks. It looked like a scar upon the otherwise untouched forest. Curious, I walked a little ways up the trail.

I could see around a bend that there was a large clearing. I could see the farthest edge of the lake glistening beyond. There wasn't a cabin here, but the dirt was smoothed out over a large enough space that there could have been. I walked around the clearing. 160 paces.

The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I expected at any moment to be caught by a ranger or police cruiser. Why would they tear down a cabin? Maybe I was mistaken, maybe this was a new plot for a new cabin.

I spied something bright yellow stuck to a low branch. Despite the churning of my stomach I approached it. It twisted in the breeze. I squinted at it. Finally I recognized what it was, a piece of caution tape, the kind they use to secure an area for investigation. I grabbed it. I gasped.

The cabin was roped off in yellow caution tape. My hands shook around the mug of coffee that I didn't drink. I never drank coffee. I was wrapped in a quilt of white, red, and blue squares. Squares of comfort. Lights flashed in the early morning, red and blue, on and off, signaling the catastrophe site to all. A stretcher was wheeled out with a long black bag upon it. I closed my eyes.

What happened here? I stuffed the piece of tape into my pocket. I opened my eyes on the scarred earth. I walked to the spot where the cabin's outer wall would have sat. I looked at my feet. Someone's last living moments happened here. This was hallowed ground. Silently I walked to where the porch would have been overlooking the lake.

Suddenly I was standing on that porch, looking over the lake just like this, only, arms were wrapped around me. I felt loved, I smiled. The big, strong arms were heavy and warm. I tried to touch them.

I only hugged my own skinny arms instead. The vision faded. I still didn't know what had happened here. I heard an engine behind me. I spun around.

A white truck drove into the clearing stirring up the dust. The hallowed dust. I stared, open mouthed.

"Hey, this site is closed."

"Oh, uh sorry. I just thought the lake was real pretty from here."

"Yeah, well you need to leave now."

"You gonna put a cabin here? It's a great spot!' I lied, smiling, hiding my guilt.

I walked around the truck and out. But I didn't know which way to go.The site was the ending destination I had in mind.

I went back down the hill to the lake. That seemed the most logical, since I just told the ranger I was fascinated with it. He didn't follow me.

The End

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