A Writer's Journey

January 28, 2013

In the Cold of January

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: , ,

The first flash fiction of 2013! I hope to make it collection, with a story published at the end of every month this year. Each story will continue on from the last one. I hope you enjoy them!

Winds howled outside the little wooden cabin. Snow blanketed the ground around the structure and some swirled in the wind. Dark smoke billowed from the chimney, blending in with the inky night sky.

Inside the cottage, the roaring fire was the only light. The crackles and pops of the wood as it was consumed by the flames covered the soft snores of the occupant. She lay curled up on the couch under a red blanket. One hand rested underneath her cheek while the other lay on her stomach. A gray cat trod over her still form, its head bumping the hand resting on the woman’s stomach.

The feeling caused her to stir. She opened one blue eye, smiling to see the cat by her. “Hey there, Stormy. Is something wrong?”

In response, the cat only meowed. Stormy jumped down from the couch to curl up on the rug before the fire. For her part, Kate was now awake. She stood from the couch, deciding it was best to spend the rest of the night in her bed. But first, she wanted to check the lock on her door. Though her nearest neighbor was about a mile away and she lived on a deserted road, Kate still worried about intruders.

As she reached for the door, the handle began to jiggle on its own. Kate paused, holding her breath. It’s just the wind, she told herself. Calm down. This was easier said then done, though, and she continued to stare at the handle. It bounced around as if someone was trying to force it open.

The jiggling stopped. But Kate didn’t release the breath she held. She stared at her door, waiting to see what happened next. Minutes passed and all remained calm. Perhaps Kate had overreacted?

She checked the door; it was locked. Kate stepped away. It must have been her imagination, she decided. “Good night, Stormy. I’ll see you in the morning.”

Instead of a meow, she was answered by a howl. Returning to the living room, Kate watched as a gust of wind blew out her fire. The cottage was plunged into darkness. All she heard was her own heavy breathing. “Stormy? Are you still there?”

Her cat didn’t respond. A voice, barely above a whisper, did. “Do not be afraid. I am not hear to hurt you.”

“Who are you?” Kate’s voice shook. “Why are you here?”

“I am here for you, Kate.”

“How do you know my name?”

“I know much about you, Kate.” The voice was chuckling. “But do not worry. You will know me soon.”

“What do you mean? I don’t like riddles.”

“I am afraid you’ll have to get used to them. At least for now.”

Kate felt like screaming. “Please, just leave me alone.”

“I can’t do that. But you should go to bed now, Kate. You need your energy.”

She was alone. Kate didn’t know how she knew; she only felt it. The fire once again roared in her hearth as Stormy slept on.

“Bed,” Kate said aloud. “That’s what I need.”

Several hours later, as the moon began to sink lower in the sky but before the sun peeked over the horizon, Kate slept in her bed. A mound of blankets were piled on top of her to keep out the January chill. During the night, Stormy had wandered into Kate’s bedroom and now lay curled by her mistress. They slept on, oblivious to the wind howling outside. It pushed against her frosted over bedroom window.

Creak. Groan. Crack.

Creak. Groan. Crack.

Kate shot up as her window shattered. Heart racing, she sat paralyzed. What was happening?

“Come out, Kate.” The voice was back.

It can’t be serious! It’s too cold to go outside.

“Do not worry about such trivial matters. Come out, Kate.” She believed the mysterious voice was growing annoyed with her.

The woman still hesitated. What of Stormy? I can’t leave her behind!

“You don’t have to. The cat is to come with you. Now, stop dawdling. We’re waiting.”

Wondering who made up “we,” Kate slipped out of bed. She gathered Stormy in her arms as the cat slept on. Turning to the face the light, Kate took a deep breath.

And she stepped into the light.

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