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Winter Escape

Not All Getaways Go As Planned

By Kayla ManeenPublished 2 years ago 6 min read
Winter Escape
Photo by YUNXI SHI on Unsplash

We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin.

The perfect place to plan a murder.

Jacques carefully steered the Escalade over the densely packed snow, proving that my decision to hire a native Colorado driver was the right one to make.

John leaned forward in his seat, craning his head to get a better view of the cabin. He didn’t say anything as we pulled up upon it, but the slight pinch to his expression spoke for itself.

“Thank you, Jacques,” I said, as the man moved to unpack our bags. He flashed me a smile and ducked around my husband, who was unfurling himself from the Escalade, the frown still on his face.

“It’s a little smaller than advertised, isn’t it?” he asked.

“It looks the same in the pictures I showed you,” I said. Quaint, petite, the size of a large studio apartment with an old-fashioned wood-burning stove and a loft bed. Thick swaths of snow nestled the small building in their midst, the boughs of the surrounding Evergreens heavy with the glistening whiteness.

It looked like the title photo of a Pinterest board.

“Hmm,” was all my husband said.

We clomped through the snow after Jacques, following the trail that had already been cleared for us. Inside, the cabin was exactly as listed. A fresh fire burned happily in the stove, providing the place with extra warmth and light.

Jacques deposited our bags, gave us a quick run-down, and then left, the crunch of the Escalade’s tires swallowed by the stillness.

John peered up at the cloudy sky. “I hope it doesn’t snow,” he said.

I repressed a sigh.

John fixed me in his sharp blue gaze. “Shall we get on with it?”

“It’s why we’re here,” I replied.

We pulled two low leather chairs closer to the fireplace, bundling up with more layers than were probably needed. Perhaps it was our Southern Californian roots taking over, kicking into overdrive at the first sight of snow.

Perhaps it was some repressed part of our consciousnesses, struck with guilt for what we were about to do.

John rubbed his hands together, looking into the flames. “You said a crowbar is too messy.”

Not a question—a statement of fact. Because he recalled that discussion perfectly.

I decided to placate him.

“It would seem like a crime of passion. It needs to seem like a crime of coincidence.”

“Wrong place, wrong time,” he said, nodding to himself.


He looked thoughtfully into space, still rubbing his hands together.

“I wish I could bash his brains in,” he said, his tone conversational.

Commenting on the weather would have drawn more emotion.

I sighed. “I know, honey. But some things you have to do the right way.”

He met my stare, the flames reflected in his eyes, giving them a glassy look. I held his gaze.

“Did what’s-her-face already contact someone?” he asked, shifting his gaze back to the fire.

“She’s waiting for us to decide on a method. And her payment,” I said.

He continued to contemplate.

“I want something that will hurt,” he finally said.

“You thought stabbing was too cliché,” I said, and waited.

“Not necessarily,” he said slowly. “Plus, it’s kind of poetic justice, isn’t it? He stabs me in the back; I return the favor.” His face lightened at the thought.

“So I’ll tell Hillary stabbing,” I said. I settled back into my seat.

“Yes,” he said decisively. He nodded once, closing the deal. “And make sure she has them draw it out.”

“I’m sure they’ll make it happen.”

Triumph blazed on his face. “That’ll teach that bastard not to sign my deals without me.”

I’m not sure it would teach ‘that bastard’ anything, other than what it felt like to have a knife slice through his chest.

“This is why you should be grateful you don’t deal with upper management,” John went on, transferring the kill fee into Hillary’s bank account so she could move forward with the hit process. “They’re always up your ass.”

Almost as if on cue, my watch chimed with an incoming message. It seemed to break John’s reverie.

“Can you make me a hot cocoa?” I asked him. “I’ll message Hillary and let her know what you’ve decided.”

“In code words, right?” he asked, suddenly stricken with a dash of common sense.

I shot him a withering look and didn’t deign to respond. I pulled out my phone and started typing, and after a moment of silence, John strode over to the little kitchenette.

The sound of tires crunching on snow came from outside.

“Is someone here?” John asked, on high alert.

“We probably left a bag in the SUV,” I said. “I bet it’s Jacques bringing it back.”

“Jacques,” my husband said sarcastically. “What a name.” He turned back to making my hot cocoa.

One car door slammed, then another. I stood and smoothed the front of my pants.

“I’ll get the door,” I said.

John made a noncommittal noise.

I reached the door at the sound of the knock. Without pausing to look through the peephole, I unlatched the lock and pulled the door open wide.

“FBI, stay where you are!”

Chaos ensued.

I happened to catch the outraged look on John’s face as he turned from the sink, chocolate-brown water arching from the mug in his hand and sploshing across the floor.

His trademark defiance didn’t lessen, even as they placed us both in handcuffs and marched him out of the cabin.

“Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable!” he shouted.

Once he was out of the house, the FBI agents unhandcuffed me.

“Thanks for your participation, Mrs. Cline,” the nearest agent told me. I caught sight of Jacques, our “driver,” across the room as the agents helped me remove my wire. He nodded at me.

“Your husband’s a real piece of work,” one of the men said.

“You’re telling me,” I replied.

A few minutes later, the agents started trickling out of the cabin, on their way back to their wives and their families and their other pressing assignments.

My watch pinged again and I glanced at it.

“Would you mind coming down to the police station to give a statement?”

I looked up to find Jacques standing before me.

“It would be my pleasure,” I said. “I just have to do one thing first.”

I strode across the room and picked up the heavy clay mug, miraculously unbroken from its fall. I could feel the agent’s eyes on me as I methodically wiped up the floor, washed the mug, and heated myself another serving of hot cocoa.

“Do you want one?” I asked. He shook his head.

He didn’t say anything as I plopped an oversized marshmallow into my drink and took a sip of the decadent liquid.

“Revenge is sweet, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Revenge?” I said. “My husband is a bad person, Mr. …” I eyed him. “FBI.”

The man just watched me knowingly. “Right,” he said. “Well, let’s get a move-on, Mrs. Cline.”

In the back of the SUV, I checked my special messaging app. I’d received a few new texts.


All ok?

I took a moment to fill him in.

A beat passed.

I can’t believe that bastard was actually going to kill me, he said. He must’ve known about us.

He doesn’t, I replied. He just wanted to off you because you’re a shitty boss.

Damn, he said. Joke’s on him.

I smiled at my phone before tucking it away.

I felt Jacques’ eyes on me in the rearview mirror, but I studiously avoided them. Instead, I looked out the window at the pleasant views.

What my husband did was a crime. What I did was not.

I took another sip of my hot cocoa and settled back into my seat as we drove down the snowy, windy road, away from the cozy A-frame cabin.

Short Story

About the Creator

Kayla Maneen

Truthseeker. Storyteller. Heroine of my own adventure. I’m a study of contrasts—an ouroboros eating her own darkness to spit out the light. Pain and hope exist within us, reflected in our stories. Read a few that I’ve created for you.

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    Kayla ManeenWritten by Kayla Maneen

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