To the cabin for the last time.
In The Woods
Aaron reached his family’s cabin near the top of Ontario’s Precambrian Shield. It was a long walk up from the road, but it was important that he do it one last time.
“The buyer has offered me an amazing price that I can’t pass it up! I live out in Alberta these days and never get up this way now that Mom and Dad are gone. Besides, the siblings are scattered to the winds and have zero interest in keeping the place.”
Pulling the key out of the pocket of his tattered jeans, he opened the door with some difficulty.
“I’ll have to lube that before I go.”
Aaron stood looking around. Nothing had changed. It had always been rickety and slightly shabby.
“It never mattered. We always had so much fun,” he sighed.
He stepped out onto the deck to watch the sunset as it blazed among the trees. Once it was over, the wind picked up. He shivered.
Stepping back inside, Aaron went to the wood box. He pulled out logs and kindling to start a fire in the cavernous fireplace. Once he got it going, he unpacked the things he’d brought for the weekend.
Stripping down to his long johns, he dug out the old down sleeping bag. Wrapping it around himself, he poured scalding soup from the thermos in his pack into the cap and sat looking out at the night through the grimy picture windows.
“I get the feeling I forgot something before I lit the fire.”
Before he could finish the thought, he was asleep.
The crackling sound failed to wake him. The smoke around him was thickly toxic. Aaron woke up just long enough to let out a terrified scream that echoed eerily, as the cabin burnt to the ground.