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The Cabin

A short, horror story

By Danielle Joy HackettPublished 6 months ago 15 min read

“The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. Its glow was bright in contrast to the neverending darkness around the cabin. The taper was the only symbol of life left behind which flickered for a few hours on a hot July evening before it was blown out for good. Or at least until he would return to re-light it once again.” I finished reading the first few sentences of the short story, and although it was just the beginning, as I spoke the words out loud chills ran through my spine.

“Maybe let's save the horror story for a time that we aren't driving at midnight to a cabin.” Dylan chuckled with a grin. It was dark in the truck, but I could hear it in his voice.

“At least you've been there a few times before. This is my first time, remember?” I spat out the words as a thought entered my mind.

“Have you ever taken anyone else up here?” Just thinking about it made me green with envy.

Oh to be those girls. I'd told him I was okay knowing he's been in past relationships, but I just realized he's probably taken each one here before. The belief bothered me the more times it circled though my head. I tried again to defeat my feelings and sighed.

“Nobody but you Daisy.” His voice went quiet, but his words reassured me.

“Anyways, fine I wont read the rest of that story. Scaredy cat.” I teased to lighten the mood, although it was I who was hiding the fear. I was actually relieved he had said something to stop me from reading before I spared myself from sleeping tonight.

We drove a little while longer into the endless array of dark woods. Crickets chirping covered the daunting silence, and it felt like the start of some scary movie.

We drove down a long pathway leading up to the cabin, and I could feel the vehicle softly shaking as the tires rubbed against the gravel. There were no lights, but I could see an outline of the cabin in front of me illuminated by the moon rays. As we approached it closer, I could start to see little details of the creepy rustic cabin appear before my eyes. The more clearly I saw it, the more afraid I became.

My thoughts were interrupted suddenly when the music playing on the radio shut off, and the car lights flashed on revealing the home as if it were in broad daylight. Dylan had parked the truck and turned off the engine. I turned to him.

He must have spotted the large grin and my face because his smile matched my own, and he replied, “You excited?”. I was. That upon the many other emotions I was feeling right now.

He pushed open his door and stepped outside of the vehicle. Then he proceeded to walk around the car to my passenger door. With one click, he opened it for me and reached out his hand for mine. I accepted the kind gesture and he lifted me out of his truck and into the driveway of our little home for the night.

The forests around us were eerie and I could hear echoes of animals in distress off in the distance. I looked to the ground and saw footprints scattered throughout the dirt. Someone else was here, recently at least. Panic erupted from inside my bones. What if they were still here? I tried to shake off the cowardly thoughts but I could no longer hide my fright.

Everything surrounding the cabin was bathed in the shadows of night. There wasn’t any source of light to brighten my spirits and encourage my bravery. No, everything about this picture was howling danger.

As we approached the log door hand in hand, I noticed some scratches across its surface. Two large windows rested on either side of the cabin’s door. Both were covered fully in dust and cobwebs, leaving the inside of the cabin a complete mystery, except for a small wax candle that sat inside one.

The rest of the windows were either cracked or covered up by large pieces of oak plywood, locking them up from the outside world and preventing the cabin from unwanted guests like us.

When we entered the cabin a musty, death-like stench hit me. I must have subconsciously wrinkled my nose, because Dylan snickered and replied, “Don’t worry, you'll get used to it.”

My eyes scanned what was left of the furniture inside. All of which were covered in dust or old sheets. I continued to look around. The hallway was dark like the rest of the house, but staring into it sent an assembly of shivers throughout my body. There were three doors. Two on either side of the walls, and one more placed in the middle at the very end. I did not know what lay behind them, but I knew that soon I would find out.

“One of those leads to the basement. I wanna show you something down there before we leave.” I heard a match snap behind me and turned to see Dylan holding a small lit matchstick. I watched as he carried it toward the taper beside the door at the back of the cabin, and my eyes followed his arm as it reached down to light it. It was not super effective. The glow only clothed about a third of the room, but at least we wouldn’t be tripping over things.

I read the last text messages my concerned father had sent to me before I lost service, and then put my bag on the side table next to the couch. I sat down and as Dylan walked past me, I took hold of his shirt and pulled him over me. His grin was wide with the desire I had just provoked in him. It wasn’t long before we were laying across the cushions making out. Just as things started to pick up, I felt something stabbing at my back from inside the couch.

“Hold on.” I pushed him off me and sat up in search of the sharp object. As I moved my hand between the buffers, it once again pricked me except this time, in the finger. I took hold of it and exhaled as I held it up to my face. The light of the candle hit my eye as it reflected from the gold jewelry piece in my hand. My stomach became anxious for the first time this evening and certainly not the last. The earring shook in my now trembling hands.

“How would an earring get inside the cushions?” I whispered. An unreadable look flashed across his face.

“The same way it could from your own ear right now. I'm sure plenty of couples just like us have been here. An abandoned cabin has got to be kinky to some people.” He tried to reassure me in hopes to continue our little affair, but the mood was too far ruined already, so we searched for other things to occupy the night.

I got up, legs still shaking and walked to the back hallway of the cabin toward the doors. I assumed one was a washroom, and the other, a bedroom. Although the third was still a mystery and my mind went wild with ideas of what may lie behind it. What secrets did this cabin hold? And were we going to discover them at some point tonight?

When I looked closer, relief flooded over me although I still felt a little on edge. “You were right Dylan,” I called him over as I stared at one of the door figures in front of me. Its surface was covered from top to bottom with carvings of hearts and initials. Some had little arrows, and others, dates of their visits here. But what each had in common, was that the initials had been scratched out and were now unreadable.

“I guess those relationships didn’t work out too well. Maybe it's this cabin.” Dylan spoke from behind me.

“What does that mean for us?” It was a joke, but something inside me twitched. I tried to reassure myself. “Maybe it's cursed. What if we just don’t carve ours.”

“Oh no. We are definitely adding ours.” He smiled and pulled out a knife from his back pocket. I watched as he carefully engraved both mine and his, and finished with a heart and an arrow through both “D”s. It would become a reminder of our love for anyone else who stumbled across this place.

I stood up and went to see if I could open a front window to get some air. The landscape outside was serene and I took a deep breath filling my lungs with the atmosphere around me. For the first time tonight, my soul felt at peace and the world fell quiet around me.

That was until Dylan's next words rang through my ears and shocked me back to reality.

“Uhh. D-Daisy. I think it's time to go. I'm not sure we're alone here, and if we are, we may not be for long.”

The tone of his voice was cold and shallow. Full of fear. I watched him tremble in the dark.

“Dylan. Stop.” I was petrified at this point and angry that he was taking back his promise not to scare me tonight.

As I stepped towards him from across the room, the floorboards creaked loudly, as if the cabin's floor itself was screaming at us to leave before it became too late.

A gust of wind rushed through the windows cavity and blew our only source of light out, dressing us in the musky darkness and leaving nothing but fear rattling through our heads. It reached the depths of my soul.

The wind was angry and whistled loudly, its roar had me shaking. The night was alive, and warning us. I threw up.

“W-why do you say that? Dylan this isn't funny.” I could barely hear the words myself as they stumbled from my lips. Tears spilled from my eyes and the rest of my body was fully aware of the sounds growing louder from outside the cabin.

“I think I saw a figure out the window.” The words came out quietly and I could tell from the sound that he was quivering. I looked directly into his wide eyes, we looked the same. Petrified. I think we were both too shocked to take a step in any direction.

Suddenly a loud crash was heard from outside. It sounded as though someone had smashed the window of his truck. Shivers were sent throughout my entire body and I tried not to scream.

Dylan locked eyes with me again and placed his finger to his lips, gesturing to me not to make a sound. “I will go check out what happened” He whispered under his breath, but I could tell he was starting to freak out as well.

Fear was a new emotion inside him. One I had never seen before until this trip. I was so used to being the paranoid one and imagining him as my prince in shining armor. He had always played that role.

“Please be careful,” I begged and tried to stop my tears. It was probably an animal or something, but my mind was already taking me to dark places. I mean how could it not? We are in the middle of who knows where, and no one knows we are gone besides my father and a few friends. None of which knew where we were even going.

I watched as Dylan disappeared into the darkness outside. If I hadn’t known it was his, I would have screamed seeing a shadow move across the lawn. I wanted to shut the door behind him to protect myself from the stranger, but I was too scared to move and kept my feet planted on the ground by the door.

At this point, the only thing moving was my legs shaking, until something in the corner of my eye grabbed my attention.

I turned my head to get a better look at what I saw and froze in my place. Two large eyes were peering straight at me through the back window of the cabin. A dark figure, someone I couldn’t quite make out was wearing a black hoodie outside. Dylan had been wearing his sweatshirt all day. It couldn’t be him.

The stranger and I locked eyes and for the first time tonight, I understood true fear. I dared not make a sound, but I knew the mysterious person was looking straight at me. Maybe this was that person's house? Maybe they would be scared of us? We were technically the intruders here. That would explain the carvings on the door, and the earring I found in the cushions. This belonged to whoever was outside right at this moment. Right? Regardless, they were home much sooner than we had hoped. We shouldn’t have decided to wait until morning to leave.

My thoughts were disrupted when the figure outside started running closer to the cabin door. Panic erupted inside of me when I saw a large bat in their hand, and heard yelling come from the violator's mouth.

I screamed for Dylan, but he was already right behind me and grabbed my arm. I guess he’d seen the stranger too.

“Daisy, go wait for me in the bedroom.” He pushed me towards the hallway and rushed to lock the front door.

I didn’t look back. I couldn’t see what was happening nor did I want to know what was about to take place in this cursed cabin.

I ran so fast towards the nearest door I could see and swung it open, it was the entrance to a basement. It wasn’t the bedroom, but I knew that anything would be safer than the first floor.

When I heard the front door crash open, my thoughts raced everywhere once more. I felt numb and could no longer focus on anything that was happening around me. I just needed to get out of there. And as fast as I could.

I kept running down each step further into the darkness of the basement, although now, the darkness wasn’t my biggest fear. Now, I was sobbing uncontrollably.

I heard a fight break out from upstairs, and was praying that Dylan could get away from the prowler in time.

As I reached the bottom steps, the sudden smell of blood reached my nose. It was a bitter sort of aroma that enriched me. It almost smelled like copper. Someone was hurt. Or possibly multiple people were. That's how strong the scent was. Was Dylan?

The thought distracted me from the last step to the ground causing me to trip and tumble down onto the damp floor. I didn’t care if the room was flooded, only that I made it down safely.

I scrambled to my feet and searched around the room for a source of light. I couldn’t see, so I used my hands to feel around for some sort of knob or switch.

I heard footsteps above me, and could tell they were approaching the basement. The horror was killing me faster than whoever was about to come and do it physically.

Then the footsteps stopped. The only sound now was my heaving breathing and disordered whimpering.

Until a cry. Then a slash. And lastly, a thud.

I paused for a second and debated accepting my fate. Someone was already injured, and now I was trapped in the basement with either a killer, or my boyfriend. Perhaps he'd come running down the stairs and together we’d run past the invader and back into his truck. We'd go home, and forget all about this hell.

Finally, I felt something, definitely not a lightswitch, but at least I knew the room wasn’t empty.

“Daisy, where are you?” I heard Dylan call for me from upstairs. A sigh of relief escaped my mouth, and I felt a little more at peace knowing that he was safe. Knowing that we were both safe.

I continued to feel the object next to me. It was cold but tender. It had a soft texture to it and felt highly familiar. Then the realization hit me. I traced my fingers up its long figure, when I felt it. Fingers. It was a hand. Somebody's hand. Which meant somebody was down here with me.

In horror, I gasped loudly and pushed myself away from the body. The relief escaped me again, and once more my eyes were flooded with tears.

Suddenly the light went on. Light, something that was always used to reflect feelings of warmth or used as a guide to salvation, now sinfully revealed all of which was inside the basement walls.

The flash of brightness caused my eyes to be blinded for a few seconds, but I could still make out the bodies. All around the room, surrounded by pools of crimson blood.

Shrieking was all I could make out, it must have been my own voice but I couldn't even tell anymore.

I used my free hand to cover my eyes from the brightness and turned my head upwards toward the basement door. It was still blurry, but I could make out Dylan’s figure at the top of the stairs, staring down at me with a devilish look. I could read the desire for blood from his soul, by his face alone. His eyes were wide, but with a hunger that he had fed once already just a few minutes ago. The grin from ear to ear was ghostly and filled with death. He carried my father’s body over his left shoulder, and a blood-drenched pocket knife in the other hand. “There you are Daisy. I told you to wait in the bedroom.” He sang the words softly like a lullaby. Dylan, my savior. He would rescue me from all this horror. Death seemed so much more peaceful now and I couldn't wait for it to consume me.

Short Story

About the Creator

Danielle Joy Hackett

I’m an aspiring writer with a passion for creating art from the free world around me or the worlds that exist solely inside my head. I strive to connect closely with my audience as we together experience and express the human condition.

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