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The Portrait and the Portal

It would be an Unforgettable holiday!

By Novel AllenPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 6 min read

We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin. Wait! Didn't the ad say A-frame, this looks more like T-frame, flat roofed frame, or whatever framed term is correct. We could barely see anything anyway, except the white blanket of snow covering everything. At this moment however, any old kind of frame will do. Our only wish was that it had a great deal of warmth, was cozy, inviting and perfectly safe inside.

"Are you sure that this is 240 Jericho road, cabin 13B, it's already eerie enough that this is coincidentally Friday the 13th of December, and we get cabin number 13, which is not the lovely A-frame that we were promised. Anyone else got goosebumps by the very nature of that thought"? I was having a scary movie moment, and the brochure in my hands with the picture-perfect scene, was not what I was looking at.

Dall*E 2

"Don't start with all the crazy scary anecdotes Tiana, stop trying to scare your younger brother". Miranda was a little concerned, but thankfully, the children didn't seem to notice that.

We had been driving for four hours. Even with the heat on maximum, the cold was seeping into every crevice and corner of the sturdily built SUV. The quasi-warm mildly yellow sunlight was fast making it's exit as the evening eagerly chased the moon into darkening nightfall. It was still early evening, but winter's darkness arrives early at this time of the year.

"I wanted to book the inviting beachfront cabin with ice fishing, snow- capped mountains, and beautiful scenery, but no, your mother said, we need to tighten our spending budget. Ha ha, for once I am right and it's not my fault if we don't have fun here". Tiana and Chris laughed at the funny teasing voice that their dad was speaking in, he always did know how to make a bad situation seem much more bearable. Her mother punched him playfully on the shoulder, smiling at his silliness.

"Let's not get all negative before we at least give it a try. It really isn't that important which letter of the alphabet the house comes in, just get us some warmth, please Kelvin"! My mother was not easily fazed, she was going to make the best of this situation.

"I second that". Chris said laughing.

The plans for this holiday had been months in the making. Everyone had scrimped and saved, we all had our version of the trip and the individual ways in which we would enjoy it. Mother and I were going to hit the skiing slopes next day. My father would be chasing the elusive ice fishing, Chris at 14 years old, two years younger than I, would probably divide his time between video games, eating, photography, his passion, and staring at beautiful women.

Our journey had been fun and uneventful. We sang, played car games, count the red cars, winner gets the best room in the cabin. The snow covered trees, mountainous snow-capped terrain along the long winding trail to the cabin had been picture perfect. Chris managed to get some great shots

The parking spot was barely visible as we pulled up to the cabin. Luckily we were clad in sturdy boots and coats. Everyone got out and managed to drag our luggage inside, the snow was coming down in heavy waves, it was kind of difficult to see and navigate while slipping and sliding. We finally made it inside and everyone voted for a bite to eat, a hot shower and sleep.

I looked around the cabin. It was cozily decorated, there were two large sofas with warm duvets folded over the backs, a small table with four chairs, a cabinet with plates and assorted accessories, a large television, and a coffee table with a few magazines in the center. What was the focal point though, was the modern fireplace with a roaring fire that was fit to warm the heart. After settling in and making ourselves ready for bed, we were all out like a light in no time.

Polina Kuzovkova_Unsplash

The last thing I remembered before falling asleep were the lovely faces in the painting which was mounted upon the wall above the vase of blue floral arrangement.

Promptly at midnight, I heard a clock chime. Strange, I thought, as I had not seen any clocks when we arrived. Somewhere between sleep and awake, I saw my door slowly becoming open. There was no actual person there, just faces floating towards my bed. I tried sitting up, but I could not move. They were the faces from the picture on the wall.

"Hello, who is there"? As I asked the question, I thought I heard the same question being asked by every member of my family at the same time. The words were not audible, I heard them in my head. I was unable to either move or speak. The faces hovered over the bed for a while, and I became lost again in sleep.

I found myself on the slopes with my mother, we skied, laughed happily, ate lunch and had a wonderful fun filled week. Father found to his great joy that there was indeed ice fishing not far from the cabin, and Chris found the place to be a haven for photography, at night he got lost in his video games. We had great fun and forgot all about the disappointment of the shape of our cabin.

That was a week ago.

Deja vu


It was Friday the 13 of December as we drove up to cabin number 13B. AGAIN.

This time however, the lovely A-frame cabins were everything that we thought they would be. The magnificent blue-white backsplash of the stately snow-capped mountain overlooked the cabins, the trees stood worshipping at the feet of the hills, forming a most gorgeous and picturesque view. A stunning vision which would be an artist's pure unadulterated delight.

Takahiro Taguchi_Unsplash

Somewhere along that snowy, winding road towards the cabin, we must have passed through a portal to another reality. One in which we had already spent a lovely holiday. All of our memories of the entire week were the same.

Who were the faces in the portrait? What had happened that night? Chris had snapped a picture of the faces. This was proof that they had actually been in the cabin the first time.

Somehow fate had blessed us with a double holiday. Had we dreamed the first one. We stopped by the office before entering the cabin, just to be sure we were not hallucinating. It would have been weird had we all not been the recepient of the same dream, nightmare or alternate reality. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, we were given the all clear to go to our cabin.

Upon the wall of the office was hung a copy of the portrait on the wall of the first cabin. We quietly enquired after its origin. It had been painted by the original owner of the lodge many years ago. He had mysteriously disappeared and was never heard from again. One of the faces in the picture bore quite a likeness to the artist, we were told.

"Did you happen to have a copy of this picture hanging in one of the cabins". Kelvin asked.

"Not that I know of, as far as I know, this is the only copy".

We thanked the front desk worker and proceeded to the cabin. We stepped inside, all of us lost in thoughts of Deja vu and impossible nightmares or dreams or whatever it was that happened.

Suddenly a picture appeared upon the wall above a vase of blue floral decoration. The faces in the picture were a perfect replica of Kelvin, Miranda, Tiana and Christopher Lumley. In one corner of the picture were little travel bags and an SUV barely visible to the casual eye.

The cabin was empty, their bags were gone, so was the family SUV which has been parked outside.

No one knows to this day what exactly had happened to the Lumley family. Why had they hung their picture upon the cabin wall?

Deja vu!


FantasyMysteryShort Story

About the Creator

Novel Allen

Uk based. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. They diverge into diverse places and meet wonderous beings, in words I have met many. I value each writer equally, as I traverse through this wondrous writing/reading family.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (2)

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  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    Very good!

  • Donna Fox2 months ago

    This was a great take on the challenge, I like all the twists you threw in. Well written and thought out. Nice work!

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