As I stared out over the snow-covered landscape from the warmth of the family cabin, holding a cup of steaming hot coffee, I let my mind wander once again to a thought that had been plaguing me for nearly a week and a half: How was I going to kill my uncle this time?
Not my uncle perse, but a manifestation of him that, once again had appeared in my latest novel, a novel of which I had no name for quite yet. Throughout my writing career I have had several manifestations of my uncle, each one taking on a different name, but each being inspired by him in some fashion. This latest manifestation was a crotchety old fellow who, at this point in the story, had gone rather delirious, and I needed to kill him off for plot-device purposes. I had killed him in several, clever ways in previous incarnations, but this time, it had to be truly something unique.
(Not that my uncle was necessarily old, or crotchety, however in this story this character, in particular, just happened to be.)
I thought I heard a train in the distance, and momentarily reflected about how I hadn't killed my uncle by a train yet. Although it wouldn't quite make sense; What would Thad T. Oakcrescent be doing near a train? At this point in the novel he was a recluse. I briefly thought that Thad should simply die of a heart attack, without anyone finding him until later on, and his body being mauled by scavengers who made their way into his home. That, of course, wouldn't quite work in the context of my latest work, I momentarily remembered. Besides, I had already done something similar (with wolves). I wanted something special.
Huffing slightly, I made my way back over to my writing desk, hoping that a burst of inspiration would hit me. I had come to the cabin often when I needed to write, since there were far less distractions out here, and the scenery was quite beautiful. My neighbour, Bombur, was about a mile or so off, and usually only came for a visit when he had misplaced his ladle and needed to borrow mine. Within the last year, I had to replace at least three – I usually don't expect to get my ladles back. I'm not entirely sure what someone does with so many ladles; I also didn't really want to know.
Briefly I considered Thad somehow being murdered by a ladle. I let that idea leave my head, as I couldn't quite piece together how that would even be possible.
I flicked on my laptop, and waited for it to power on. After going through it's usual start-up processes, it appeared my shoddy internet connection had decided to work. I did the first thing that any writer considers doing the first time they open their laptop – I immediately got distracted and opened up Google Chrome to go on Amazon to do some shopping.
No, that one wasn't right. That hutch would be too big to put in the doorway. Well, that one could work, although I didn't much like the colour.
After roughly three hours of useless web browsing, it appeared that Thad Oakcrescent's inevitable death may have to wait for another day. (Although, I had thought of browsing for one more hour and then go back to plotting his death.)
It was time to top up on more coffee, so I walked out into the kitchen of the massive log cabin. I had considered redecorating several times, as the random animal heads hadn't appealed to me for a long time.... I contemplated taking a break to redecorate and remove the beady eyed dead creatures who stared at me ominously as I walked by; Just one more thing to distract me from doing my work.
I did, however, like the random weapons that decorated the walls. Perhaps I could have a similar weapon fall from a wall and stab Thad Oakcrescent to death.
As I picked up the pot of coffee, which I discovered was completely empty, I sighed. I hadn't realized I finished all of it. (Presumably, this could have been why I felt rather twitchy and unsettled.) Perhaps, I thought momentarily, I should switch to tea for the rest of the day. I sighed again as I filled a kettle with water to boil.
Admittedly, the quiet of the cabin was starting to make me feel stir crazy. My only company was Count Puffula, a large maine coon cat who, most of the time, found himself sleeping on top of my laptop (yet another distraction), or meowing at me, nattering for me to feed him. Not that he didn't provide company, he just slept around 14 hours a day, and wasn't the type to hold a decent conversation. He did, however, provide me inspiration for my last book, as I was able to kill off it's version of my uncle, Theodore St Shield III, rather easily from the burst of inspiration Puffula provided. (The cat in the story had rabies. I am to assume you can put two and two together. If you, however, would like to know all the gory details, you can find The Cat's Out Of The Bag at your local Barnes and Noble, and wherever else books are sold.)
(It is also under my pseudonym, F. O Day, which wasn't much of one, since the first two letters were my actual initials - Fili Oakenshield - while day was the first thing that came to my head when I woke up one morning 10 years ago. For an author, I'm really not that creative in certain aspects of my life.)
“Mrrreeeowwww!” Count Puffula hopped up on the counter, and forced his head in my hands for some attention. He must have been hiding in here somewhere, as I didn't recall seeing him anywhere when I first ventured into the kitchen.
I grinned slightly, and responded, “What have I told you about jumping on the counter, Puff? What do you want for dinner today? I have...” I wandered towards the fridge, and my face drooped, “I have nothing apparently.”
A few scraps of lettuce here, and rotten tomato there, and a putrid smell from somewhere else greeted me.
“Mreow?” he asked. (I assume it was a question, based on the intonation of this meow in particular.)
It appeared that we were both going to starve unless I could find something to make.
“How about dust? Do you like dust, Puff?”
He passed gas as a response, as a fowl smell hit my nose. Although, it could have been the lingering smell from the what-cha-ma-call-it that was in the fridge.
I grunted, and proceeded to search the oak cupboards for something – anything – to make. Nothing. I chose to continue my search to the freezer, since there must have been something in there that hadn't spoilt.
A fast rapping on the front door broke me out of my food searching trance.
BANG! BANG! BANG! It went, over and over again. I thought I had heard some muffled talking.
Bombur. It had to have been Bombur. Quickly, I hid any ladles I had lying around.
BANG! BANG! BANG! Came the noise from the door again.
It was very uncharacteristic of Bombur to continue to bang at the door. Normally, he would have left by now figuring I wasn't home. (Which in most cases, I probably was, as I barely left home, and I simply took to ignoring visitors and was probably hiding somewhere upstairs.) Curiously, but slowly, I made my way to the door.
“HEY!” came a voice from outside, “OPEN UP! C'MON!”
I was certain this time that this was not Bombur. (He didn't talk much, and usually grunted his responses or chuckled. I equated this to him usually having some article of food in his mouth at all times.)
I cautiously looked through the small peephole, and noticed a stranger. I could make him out - he looked a bit of a mess, wearing what looked to be some sort of gear one would wear while on a snow mobile – perhaps skiing gear. I figured it was snow mobile gear based on the helmet he was wearing. It was sleek and black, marked with blue at the sides.
There were two things – maybe three, but mostly two – that could happen in this situation. This was either a stranded stranger who needed help, or this was a serial killer and I was about to be his victim. I think I wrote about something like this once, I remembered just then.
The third? This was a hallucination brought on by my hunger.
“...Hold...Hold on!” I yelled out to the stranger, starting to unlatch the locks on the door. I really hoped I wasn't making a mistake. Slowly I began to open the door, but was startled when the stranger bursted in, huffing and puffing.
What had I done?! This was definitely the serial killer option of the scenarios.
“PLEASE. PLEASE YOU NEED -” he began hurriedly, huffing and puffing.
I wasn't entirely worried though. I had weapons in this house, hidden in a variety of places. A lot of weapons. (Mostly for decoration, however, but I would be willing to pull them down and use them if I had to. I also could use an animal head if I really needed to. There was a moose right above the door. I got into a very nasty fight once with a moose, and it wasn't pretty. )
“EXCUSE ME!”, I announced, frustratedly, “I'm trying to write!” - which wasn't entirely untrue - “And you are -”
I noticed his suit had rips, almost like he had been attacked. I also noticed the lack of weapons he had on him that would be visible, unless he was hiding them somewhere in his suit. One could assume that a serial killer would either be smart and hide their weapons on their person, or be stupid and have them visible in plain sight.
He continued to breathe heavily. Soon, he lifted his hands up and pulled off the helmet. As he did so, he shook out long, dark, raven-coloured hair, and faced me, with two shining dark eyes staring at my blue ones.
At this moment I suddenly reminded myself, for some reason, that it had been a very long time since I'd had sex.
He huffed once again, “I'm sorry but you have to lock the doors and -”
“I'm trying to write!” was my only response.
He had a boyishly handsome face with an afternoon shadow decorating it. The fellow was quite tall, and underneath the suit I imagined he had been quite well built, given how the suit clung to literally every curve on this stranger's body. (Where on earth would he hide his weapons?)
“I don't mean to interrupt but I've been attacked!” It was apparent he didn't quite care about my writing, and was more concerned about whatever it was he was concerned about.
I screwed my face and took more notice of his suit, which was actually ripped quite a lot more than I previously noticed. “Are you okay?”
“There is...something out there.”
I looked out a window that was beside the door, “Hmm.”
“It is...” he hesitated “I don't know, but it's huge, and it attacked me.”
Bombur? Why would Bombur attack this fellow?
I noticed footprints outside that was most likely belonged to this stranger, that travelled their way up to my doorstep from a slight distance. “I assure you, my neighbour didn't mean any harm.”
“Do you have a phone?” he looked agitated now, ignoring my insistence that Bombur wasn't violent in the least. “I need to call someone. I need a phone! My snow mobile is completely trashed!”
Come to think of it, I hadn't had a working phone here for a while.
“Um,” I began, “I don't have a working phone.”
“You don't have a phone?” he furrowed his brows and looked annoyed.
“No.” I had an ancient dial tone phone hanging against the kitchen wall, that had been unplugged for years and years. It would just be another distraction, so it was best to keep it unplugged, and out of service.
“Come on, mate, I need to use your phone.”
“It doesn't work, I'm serious. And, who are you? Why are you here?” I approached and held up a hand to him, attempting to not let him in further.
I heard a bang somewhere outside, and the stranger nearly jumped.
“Shit!” he cursed, “I think it followed me! Please, you need to let me use your phone!”
“Listen,” I began, “My phone doesn't work, and what exactly followed you?”
This time he became even more erratic and agitated, “I don't know! It was huge! Like, 8 feet maybe? Really hairy, and it had really big teeth -” he made a variety of gestures that I assumed were him trying to paint a picture of what he had seen. “It screamed at me and knocked me off my snow mobile and -”
Another bang on the side of the house somewhere. These distractions were starting to really irritate me; I had a novel I needed to write!
“A bear?” I asked him, irritated.
“This wasn't a bear. I know what bears look like.” responded the stranger.
“Oh? Have you seen one? Because if you haven't seen one you might mistake a bear for something else -”
He interrupted me, “I know what I saw and it wasn't a bear!” His face then turned to a pained expression, “Arrggh!” he held the right side of his chest, where one of the rips had been.
“What's wrong with you?” I suppose that might have come off a bit rude, but I was still being cautious and didn't want to show too much concern yet.
“GET ME A FUCKING PHONE!” he screamed, holding his chest, “Oh fuck, I think I'm bleeding.”
Mr. Potty Mouth pushed me aside and started to wrestle out of his suit, peeling off layers of clothing. Oh. My previous assumptions about his physique were quite correct.
...And he was, in fact, bleeding.
“Oh. Um. Are you...okay?” Probably not the best question to ask, since I knew the answer.
“No! No I'm not! Fucking thing, trashed my snow mobile, and now I'm all fucked up, I just -”
“Stay here, okay?” I answered, “I'll try and get something you can put on that.” I took note of a large gash he had that pierced a well sculpted chest.
I really didn't have much. I might of had a Band-aid, but I could possibly find something slightly more fitting. He painfully followed me in. I didn't stop him this time, since it was apparent to me now that he wasn't a serial killer, or at the very least, if he was, he was in no position to murder me at this given moment.
“Please don't put blood on the carpet,” I suggested. Not the best thing to ask a person in such a position, but the carpet had been in my family for years. Uncle would be most upset if I got blood on it.
As I made my way to the bathroom, I had thought that perhaps this was a good way for Thad Oakcresent to die: Bleeding out to death. I would keep that in mind.
“Nice place.” he said, rather painfully but as nicely as one could in his situation. He followed me to the bathroom at the end of the hall.
“Thank you.” I opened empty drawers and cupboards, seeing nothing. I did find a towel, which could work. So I pulled the towel out, “Will this work?”
“Not really.” He answered back. “I mean, it could soak up some blood but -”
I scoured draws and cabinets for something, anything that could be applied to this strangers wounds. One drawer had those small band-aids you get in the package of 50 that you never use and discard or hoard. Another drawer had a small spider minding it's own business. A lonely drawer on the left had a condom still in its wrapper (just in case you were wondering) from about 10 years ago, which I had honestly assumed would have disintegrated by now.
Wow. Had it really been 10 years since I had sex? Was that condom even one I bought? What if it was my uncles? I immediately let the thoughts of the ancient condom leave my head.
I heard frustrated moans and groans from the stranger, “Antiseptic? Anything?”
No. I hadn't any of that either. “I have this sponge.” I pulled out an old yellow sponge from the drawer just above the one with the condom.
The Potty Mouth Stranger stared, almost in disbelief at me, “I'll just use this towel, thanks.”
....Which was good, since I wasn't too sure what the sponge was used for in the first place, and how sanitary it had been.
“Here, let me.” I grabbed the towel from him, and ran it under the tap with luke-warm water. I stood there, then, rather dumbfounded, debating whether to dab it on his chest wound.
He leaned back on the counter, possibly from exhaustion. I cautiously decided to dab the wet cloth over his wound.
“It's pretty bad,” I noted.
“You really don't have a phone?” he asked once more.
“No. I really don't. Not a working one.”
He commented then, almost ignoring what I was saying, “I think it got my thigh. It really hurts.”
There was a tear in the fabric of his pants. Whatever had tried to maul this young man must have been quite ferocious. I kept a comment about removing his pants to check to myself.
“Wow.” I said, dabbing on his well sculpted chest over and over again. It had been all I could say, quite frankly. A combination of rather large gashes and an extremely well built physique were startling me. It had also been a rather long time, it felt, since I had any sort of physical interaction with someone so attractive. I noticed he was looking at me, his face contorted strangely as he was clearly puzzled at my response.
“I mean...wow. What a big bear.” I huffed out.
“It wasn't a fucking bear,” exhausted, he groaned.
Dab, dab, dab. Over and over again. I even began to peel away more of his clothing to explore...Making sure there were no other gashes I needed to tend to, of course. “Pack of wolves?”
“No. Not wolves. I told you. It was big and it was certainly not a pack of wolves.” he shifted slightly, “Look. I need to get somewhere, a hospital or something.”
That was a good idea, seeing as the gash was not going away from my constant dabbing. “My neighbour. He does have a phone.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Why didn't you say so?!” frustrated, he flinched, “What the hell are we doin' here then?!”
“My neighbour lives about a mile away. You are in no condition to -” I responded before he cut me off.
“A MILE?!?!” he shook his head, annoyed, “Okay, well, can you take me there?” He mumbled a comment about being in the middle-of-fucking-nowhere-you-bunch-of-goddamned-hicks.
Therein lied a problem. I didn't own a vehicle, and the only way to get there was by foot. The Stranger wasn't in any condition to walk, and I had a novel I needed to write.
“No.” I answered, softly.
“No???!?! What the -”
I quickly interjected, “I don't have a vehicle. The only way there is by foot. And you, clearly, are in no condition to walk.”
It probably seemed to this stranger that I was trying to keep him here, in this cabin. However, he would have been mistaken. Of course, it was nice to have some company, albeit the strange circumstances. He clearly found my standard of living strange.
“I'll manage,” he grunted. “Just – ARRRR!” he let out a cry as the pain in his leg finally settled.
I had a sleigh. I could use that and sleigh him up to Bombur's. I could possibly carry him, although if there had been a beast out there it would be rather difficult to run and escape. My only source of riding had been my horse, who had gotten a case of some flu and fell ill. (I wasn't aware horses could come down with the flu, but alas.) And she certainly wasn't in much of a mood to carry him to Bombur's. It appeared the only thing I could do was carry him, at least partly so.
“Come on,” I grabbed a hold of him, flinging his arm across my neck and stabilizing him, “I'll help you.”
He flinched again, “Can I at least get some proper clothes? If you have any?”
His upper torso had been quite naked at this point.
Gently setting him on a chair just outside the bathroom, I replied back, “Oh...of course.”