Jake discovers an old cabin deep in the woods.
Jake Bromfield still looked good, in spite of his seventy-five years. He was of average height and slightly overweight but he knew how to dress to disguise this. His hair, grey in the winter of his age, was still thick and he kept it long so that it curled over his ears and collar. And he was carrying a hunting rifle in the crook of his right arm.
He did not expect to have to use the firearm. It was more an excuse for being in the woods at this time of year, another of the habitual disguises that had carried him through a charmed life. His camouflage jacket and pants were a part of that too. All was intended to give the impression of a seasoned hunter who knew his way around these woods and had every right to be there.
The woods were quite open in this part, the deep leaf litter having kept any undergrowth down, and Jake was enjoying his stroll into hitherto unexplored territory. This side of the lake was particularly pleasant, the day being warm for so early in the spring. And there was no sign of the wild life he preferred to avoid. Not that he had any intention of stalking or hunting, but the gun would be useful if he stumbled upon a bear.
The certainty that he was unobserved gave Jake’s stride a careless appearance, as though he were merely free for a while from the cares of daily life and was now able to relax with a pleasant walk in the woods. Which was, of course, exactly what he was doing.
His sudden stop seemed completely out of character therefore. Not only that, but he sidled his way behind a tree and peeked out at something ahead. Through the trees, something darker was visible, something that did not move. The breeze played brighter patches on to this darkness and Jake could now see that there were logs laid upon each other, weather beaten and camouflaged by the trees clustered around.
A log cabin.
Jake had not considered that there might be anyone living on this side of the lake. It might not be occupied at this time of year, but Jake was taking no chances. He began to creep closer, taking advantage of the remaining cover between himself and the cabin.
It was not that he harboured any ulterior motives in this secretive approach. The shock of finding that he was not alone had unsettled him and he now wanted the option of retreat if he decided not to disturb any occupant of the place. Strange things happened out in the wilderness and he wanted to know a little of the character of this unexpected neighbour before announcing his presence.
He was now within a few yards of the cabin and could see that the side facing him held a rough but fairly large window. It was dark and showed nothing of the interior but Jake knew that he would be seen if anyone inside glanced out through that window. He began to creep to the right, intending to approach from a different angle.
The trees were thicker in this area and he was able to approach the cabin more closely without danger of being seen. There was no window on this side but a porch and roof projected beyond the next corner. Jake halted for a while and peered from behind a tree as he took in the scene.
There was an old, beaten up truck parked in the open space before the cabin.
Jake had been about to move closer but he froze now as the implications raced through his mind. He had been hoping that the cabin was unoccupied but the truck proved differently. It also meant that there must be a track that led to a main road somewhere on this side of the lake.
He decided that his best course of action was to leave and not venture into this area again but, before he could move, he felt something cold and hard press into the back of his head. A quiet voice intruded into the silence.
“Well, well, looky here. What kinda varmint be this here, sneakin’ up on my cabin?”
Word count: 711
For Chapter One, July 2021
Prompt: As per illustration.