I should get the fire stoked again but I don’t know what else to use. I’ve salvaged everything I could from the recycling bin already. It was preached long ago to recycle, reduce and reuse… or something quasi-pleasant like that. Unfortunately for me plastic is used for pretty much everything nowadays; the labels of milk jugs were too waxy and sleek to spark; all our snacks came in shiny bags with an overabundance of colors; aluminum does nothing except taunt with metallic laughter and I knew better than try to burn it but desperate times call for ridiculous actions.
That’s what I tried to tell him on the second night. Did he listen? Nope, not one bit and I reacted.
The wooden furnishing is of course, gone. Our bed, doors, kitchen shelves and his bookcases served to the hungry fire; the latter brought me much joy. It was easier than I thought to dismantle and how it crunched when the axe head smashed through. And how Robert praised their designs. He was always so proud of his furnishing. They’re all real mahogany and oak he’d beam. It was more of an annoyed bleat, really. I am still surprised I had the strength left to do it myself.
His meat that he saved must have something special in it. Either that, or the book speaks true.
I’ve made my rounds again. The basement is now cleansed of cardboard and those old magazines he saved. The photos, too. Our wedding day and whatever fictional whims led to it; mediocre honeymoon and everything that sped after are all a memory of survival. I’m due to rip out the vanity next. I bet I can just toss it down the stairwell and right into the living room. It’s a straight shot to the hearth and if I’m lucky the impact will take care of further labor.
What good are curtains when you can’t see outside? They sure did prove useful yesterday… or was it the day before then? I’d reference the calendar but I can’t make out dates from riddled ash. Wait, I should note something important here: I can view to the outside. I witness empty spaces betwixt merciless snowfall and the hobbled greens calling for an end. Why oh why did I let him talk me into settling in the sticks? Sure, the woods are pretty and all. Quiet mornings and even quieter evenings. Kids had a safe environment to grow up in and the school was only fifteen minutes away. Sounded good on paper than it did in execution. At least now, anyways. But no, he had to insist on living on a dead end secondary road deep within the fir trees.
Pine needles are good for lighting a fire. That’s all their good for now. I know–oh trust me I know–that you can’t eat them. Near starvation led to that conclusion. I think I am deep into week two of with no real food. Finding snow to boil for water is a simple task. I’ve tried to steep Robert’s meat–my only food left–but it just doesn’t come out right.
Is the snow still billowing in from the broken window upstairs? Is the roof rattled with creaks and cracks, splinters and woe? Are the drifts banked above the thresholds to this prison? I should ask Robert if these verses constitute the beautiful prose he was so well known for. He hasn’t answered since the second night, so why would that change now? He’s the one who decided to leave on his own terms. I think at the end of the day I will not miss the circumstances nor the shattered experiences. I’ve never thought of it like this: sentimental value is wasted in the face of death and I would’ve been glad to utilize that argument if I knew what to expect.
The weatherman didn’t know what would hit us. Only a half-a-foot! Sure, okay. I hope Tucker Jones dies horribly, but, that is probably a wasted notion as all the pretty ones live fulfilling existences and I bet he will be triple digits when the reaper comes for him. I should stop being spiteful. My energy will be needed elsewhere. But I can’t stop, so, why not give in for a bit? I deserve something for enduring another’s dreams devour my own. Am I jealous the kids were smarter than I to move to warmer clients? No. I am just dedicated… or a glutton for punishment. Make your husband happy mother said. Happy wife, happy life dad chided. Now it’s my turn to be happy, or at least, survive as long as I can to see that fool’s errand glint with mocking eyes once more.
Are there any books left? Probably. I’ve only set foot in Robert’s study when I need to since that night oh so long, long ago. Let’s go check—I doubt he will mind.
It seems the Bible and Robert’s hardcover collection of King and Gaiman are all that remains. Well, all except for the one that has kept me alive so far. He always had a strange interest in reading and I guess I should thank him for that. Thank you, Robert.
See, I can be grateful in such horrid moments.
Now here’s a question: Is it okay to burn the Bible? I think most of the early King and Gaiman are first edition and signed, so I’ll save those for last. They should sell for a pretty penny if I make it out alive and I’ll need some fast cash to restart my life. I think Robert would appreciate that. He said he loved me, after all. Till death do us part, right, Robert? I keep asking knowing it will fall upon deaf ears. I’m the optimist, after all. Another question: Would God—if there is one—smite me for torching the Bible? Or would the correct form be smote? I think in my circumstance it might be the latter.
No—no, no, no I will not let those thoughts consume me.
I remember mother freaked out once when I used the back page to twist a joint. It was one of the maps of whats-his-face’s journeys and God didn’t strike me down with vengeful wrath then. So what’s the risk now, right?
I am not afraid anymore.
Well, the vanity did slide down the stairs just as I thought and boy does thin grade paper catch quick!
I miss having substantial sides to go along with Robert’s meat. The canned food is long gone; so are the dry goods. We lost power on the second day and oh what a day that was. I remember dipping into Robert’s study and finding his stash of booze. He said to have quit, but I knew better. He was pissed to learn that I invaded his space, but, I think he was mad when he caught me drinking his rum. Robert tried his usual approach of punching first and talking second whilst bruises and breaks healed. He sure did silence fast when I brought the axe—
Better not write it here. I should leave those memories tucked away if I do make it out.
‘Officer, oh officer,’ I’ll say with great theatrics. ‘He went out into the storm and never came back. He mentioned he wanted to shovel the mouth of the driveway, but that was a week since now! Please—please find him for me he is my love and my moon and everything that I live for.’
How does that sound, Robert? Convincing enough?
If I am reading this paragraph correctly, I should cut just below the pelvis and only the width of the boning knife. Then stop just above the… well, I know where to stop. Did you, Robert? Did you know when to stop when I apologized for drinking your rum? Or when you tried to hit me for betraying your privacy? You struck first, and I, well, I just defended myself as you wouldn’t stop. Luckily for me you kept that axe there for a reason; sharpened, and ready. But I’ll never know the true meaning as to why. Maybe it was for this very moment. Did you foresee this? I know I didn’t. Thankfully your rage broke the rear window, making the study a perfect freezer for your meat.
And that’s when you left—you went right out that front door to cool off, never to return.
I can believe that and you know what, so should my hopeful rescue if ever they show.
And that’s all that matters.
Well look at that; this book is dead-on. Your meat is browning and crisping perfectly.
Are you proud of me, Robert? I know I am.
© Copyright John Potts Jr 2016 – 2017. All rights reserved.
Short afterthought today.
I wanted to take a spin on the concept of Cabin Fever with this tale. I myself usually have it around this time of year. Living in Maine can bring dismal stretches of Winter that drag on and on like a never ending blizzard. Well, we’ve had something close to that here in the month of February. Five storms in a nine day span has brought well over three feet of snow.
I thought it was never going to end.
For my first decade of life I lived in Northern Maine in a quaint city called Presque Isle. Would I call it a city? Yeah, I think it qualifies as one. Anyways, I had experienced substantial snow up there; then again, when you’re pit-sized to nothing important, a dusting seems like a blizzard. But this–well, let me tell you–this relentless pounding of Nor’Easter then blizzard and finally, more blizzards. This was enough to make a new goal of mine to become a young snow bird.
That is a road, I swear! It is closed off anyways during the winter but you can tell how much snow we have had.
And that’s me, standing among the trees on the snow wall my plow guy made.
I wanted to take the idea of my situation and transform it to the never ending blizzard for a couple trapped in the woods. My in-laws live in a similar location and I wanted to take their setting with characters that embodied a unique history of abuse and abuser. Finally our main character had enough, and she saw her chance during a heated moment. She’s a survivor, and Robert, ended up the meal.
Ghoul dealt with his parking ban this week, and next week I imagine will be a couples skating competition. Patreon preparation is going strong. I have every story on this site now edited and revised, and next is Ghoul’s home. Here are some things to expect with Patreon when I launch it:
- A new Short Story Monthly.
- Ghoul’s Storyline.
- Possibly Audio Reads
- And more!
I am taking my time with this for the reason of proper execution. I am shooting for sometime in March to launch it officially, like second week. My son has been on vacation and that means family time comes first. I guess where I am going is that I wanted to launch this on the first, but I would’ve felt awful to stay up in my office all day while he is on his first vacation.
John Potts Jr