We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin. “Are we there yet?” piped the restless 6-year-old, in what seemed like the chorus of the trip.
“Does it look like we are there?” Retorted the tense driver.
“Ollie, sweetheart? Why don’t we look out the window and try to see all the beautiful nature? Daddy has been looking forward to this trip for the whole year. And we are all excited to get there.”
“Okay, Mommy!” Oliver agreed.
“Justin, he is just excited to get to spend some time with you, you know. He misses you. We all miss you. You do travel a lot and you are almost never home.”
“Yeah, I get that, but that’s not fair, it’s my job. You can’t just say that. I have to provide for you all. I also get that he misses me, but does he really have to do that? It’s hard enough to drive to this middle-of-nowhere cabin with snow and ice on these roads. I really don’t need him to be so extra right now.” Justin whispered.
Laura saw the head of the little boy sink in her passenger mirror, making it obvious that those young ears, did in fact work, with great efficiency.
“This might be a harder weekend than I thought. Maybe it’s good that you travel so much.” Laura mumbled. “Hey! did you see that!” Laura spontaneously spun to face her sweet baby. “That was really cool!”
“Wait what? I didn’t see it.” The burst of energy was exactly what Oliver needed to turn the cooling coals back into a flame.
“Well, maybe you’ll see it again. Just keep watching. I’ll look too, so maybe that will help.” Laura faced the chilled window. The frigid air had begun to root fingers of ice along the glass, framing the scenery beyond with a magical feel to it. The stark contrast of experienced bark zipped past as the blanket of white flooded the scene. Limbs, heavy under the stress of survival, bend, bowing to Winter. “There! Right… there. Look.” The tapping of warmth on the window began to leave a ripple of fog on the glass.
“Oh, wow. I see it…” Past the blurring trees stood a colossal white-furred stag with antlers like wintered-trees and graceful elegance. The snow seemed to halt in the presence of this magnificent beast as if time itself froze. It watched as the family continued by. “Erin! Look, look.” Tapping the arm of the girl next to him.
“Ugh… What?” The earbud came out with emotions that could change like the wind. “Oh, wow… a deer. I hate to say this, but I’ve seen one, so thanks for that.”
“Now Erin. You don’t need to talk to your brother like that. He was just excited to show you something so magnificent.” It was too late. The earbud perched blasting songs into the head of her daughter. “Ollie, I think that it was amazing. I have never seen a stag so… so wise? Can a stag even be wise?”
“Sure it can Mommy!” The boy turned back to the wonderland. In the clearing, a flurry had kicked up around the stag. “Where’d it go?” The clearing where the giant stag stood was now empty as the snow settled to the blanket, not even a hoof print in its’ tracks.
“I don’t know Honey. Maybe it went back home.” She reasoned as her warm hand reached across and rested on Justin’s thigh in an attempt to appease him. Her gaze locked on the shape of her true love, but nobody warned her how hard true love was.
“I see it!” Oliver exclaimed.
“Oh good, maybe it was just behind a tree.” Still lost in her thoughts.
“No, not the stag, that disappeared. The cabin. There!”
Flashing through the trees to meet the eyes of the family, glimpses of the cabin they were going to stay in began to become longer and longer as the car clawed around the final curve. There, placed delicately in the trees, a cabin of dark wood, trimmed in red. Isolated in the mountain, solely supported by the nature that lives around.
Crunching to a halt, the car engine quieted. Doors slammed, echoing into the trees. “Oh! I love it!” Laura spun in wonder.
“Okay kids, grab your bags from the trunk so we can get settled.” Justin’s voice was heavy. The drive had been draining and the cabin was not what he had expected. When his company gave him a weekend away he was hoping for something grand, hot-tubbed, and resortish; not quaint and worn.
The family gathered their bags and began to trudge through the snow to the front door. “I can’t wait to play. Can we just go right now? Do we even have to put our bags inside?” Oliver bubbled.
“Kids. Do you hear that?” Laura’s hand reached over and gently took out the earbud.
“Keep that out and join the family. How does that sound? Or I’ll have to take that away.” Justin didn’t feel like being tested anymore today. He had to reserve some energy for playing in the snow even though he hated the snow.
“Yeah, whatever.” They all continued towards the cabin.
“Do you hear that?” Laura repeated.
“No Mom. I don’t.” Erin snarked back.
“Yeah Mommy, I don’t hear anything either.”
“Exactly. That’s exactly it. The only noise is us, the wind, the trees, and the wildlife. No cars, and no real background noise. It’s like you can finally just breathe.” She took another deep breath, letting out a cloud of crystalized breath.
The lock box sat beside the door. Justin punched in the code and out rattled a key. The door creaked as the family piled into the living room and kitchen. “It’s smaller than I expected.” Erin dragged.
“Why don’t you guys go up into the loft and claim your beds. Put your bags down and then go play in the snow.” Laura suggested.
“Fine, but I get the room.” Claimed Erin as she put her bags down.
Erin was trying to warm up, with feet wrapped in fuzzy socks. She had slipped inside after being dragged out into the snow to be ‘part of the family’. Erin began to put on her favorite sweater when she looked at the inside of her bicep. Her youthful skin had been carved up time and time again by the sharp, cold blade of longing. The only time she was happy was when she was asleep. So, finally getting to rest in the loft of the cabin was exciting to her. The rest of the family was still out playing. Laura and Oliver were laughing, they were always much closer to each other, but it was quiet enough to not be disturbed.
“Wait, what the heck is this?” Erin muttered to herself as she looked beyond her sickening reflection in the window. “It’s like some kind of bridge?” She flipped the rickety worn sash lock on the window and slid it open. A striking breeze seeped into the warm layers of her clothes stinging the scars on her body. She stuffed her fuzzy socked feet into her perfectly molded slippers and stepped out the window. Her foot landed on a raw slab of wood strung together disappearing into the fading white as the coming dusk drew near. She continued out onto the mysterious bridge.
She reached the first tree, a platform had been placed around the tree that she hadn’t noticed before. The path of floating snow-covered platforms did not stop there. As she continued to walk down the path, she found herself high above the covered ground. Animals danced and played unknowingly observed. At the end of what seemed like a long trek, an outpost of what might have been part of the national forest services clung to the edge of the mountain. The outpost had a small room and an open deck that overlooked the snow-covered mountainside and out into the vast wilderness, painted white, splattered with dark rich green, and glittering frozen waterfalls. Erin found a lawn chair and blankets in the room. Wrapping up with everything the room had to offer, she set up a spot on the deck. The twilight of the night crept over the land fading to black.
Brief panic washed over Erin as she found herself in the deepest black she had known. Then, as if the universe knew her feelings, the sky flickered to life as the black sky was punctured, letting a galaxy of stars rain down. “Wow” she had seen stars before, only through the light-polluted skyline of the city, but this was like nothing she had ever seen. Colors of the Milky Way smeared the sky, shooting stars twinkled like the lights in the city. She laid back and watched as the stars burned and danced for their audience. The warmth of the blankets and hypnotizing heavens weighed her eyes closed.
Erin's eyes fluttered open as the stars began to fade and the blending of warmth bled into the sky. “Shoot, I’ve gotta get back.” Rushing to put everything away, Erin raced through the floating bridges. She stopped dead in her tracks. In the middle of the bridge stood the grand stag that the family had seen yesterday. Air seemed to stand still with a sense of awe. The towering beast’s fur glittered as the morning light caught the frozen crystals that were blended into the ageless creature. The stag was looking directly at her, piercing her heart with its’ icy blue eyes. The eyes were deep like Erin was looking into the depths of the universe. For a moment she wavered and began to stumble. She looked down to stable herself. When she looked back up a flurry was settling where the stag had stood. There was no trace that her encounter had happened. She traversed back to the cabin puzzled at what she had seen. She slid the window open and climbed in.
The moment the window closed the door to her room slammed open. “Hurry up! We’ve been calling you for like ever.” Oliver stood in the doorway dressed in his winter gear.
“Sure I’ll be right there! Give me just another minute.” Erin responded. She was confused, maybe spending the night outside gave her brain damage. She never enjoyed spending time with the family. ‘Or maybe that stag did something to me’ Erin thought. She quickly changed into her snow gear and raced out to join the family.
“Wow look who decided to join us. We are going to have so much fun today.” Laura playfully joked.
“Please don’t make me regret this.” Erin poked back even though her heart was glowing with joy. ‘I wonder what else will happen on this trip?’ Erin thought as she packed a snowball and threw it at her family.
About the Creator
I am just a normal person with a crazy passion for the unknown world. Traveling, learning, and adventure are all intertwined into the relationships I create. I recently found a passion for writing and thought I could share some of my work.