Category : Stories
Sub Category : Suspense/Mystery
Marnie Sallanger pulled her old beat up truck off the main road and onto the long gravel driveway. This was her favorite part of the drive, where she was forced to slow down to take it all in.
She still remembers the first time she saw this place. She had been searching for the perfect “oasis” to write her next novel. Her first book had done so well and this place was a dream come true, and if anyone deserved it, it was her.
Marnie had a tragic past, losing her family sent her into a deep depression. The visitors stopped coming over, there were no more condolence cards filling the mailbox, and she was left alone to try and pick up the pieces after that horrible night that changed her life forever.
It was her therapist who suggested that she keep a journal. She went out and bought one right away, but it sat on her desk collecting dust for about six months until one day she picked up a pen and began to write.
At first she wrote about mundane things in her life, like how she made it through the day without crying, or she got up and showered, she still wasn't ready to put into words how she was feeling, or about any of the events that led up to the death of her six year old son, Trevor, and the love of her life, David.
Eventually, avoiding the pain of her loss, she filled it with fictional stories that allowed her to escape her own painful reality. One day, she just kept writing and that is when her first novel was born. A murder mystery that pulled the reader into the tangled web of destruction and mayhem, an instant best seller.
She put her truck in park and peered out of her bug splattered windshield at the little gray cabin with the red door and white shutters. She hadn't been here since she finished her last novel, and everything looked the same as it did when she left it. Taking the keys out of the ignition, she opened the door of her old beat up truck, and slid out.
She smiled as she took in the clean mountain air. The fragrant pine trees tingled her senses as she reached into the back of her truck to pull out a single suitcase.
Once inside she sets her keys on the counter and drops her luggage at her feet. The first thing she did was open all of the windows to let in some of that fresh fall air. Pulling the sheets off the furniture, she tossed them all into her laundry room - although it wasn't much of a “room”, more of a laundry closet, but she loved it regardless.
The floorboards creaked with every step she made. Gliding across the room over towards the French doors next to the dining room table, she opened them up. She stood there, taking it all in.
Standing out on her deck that overlooked a small lake, she recalls the first time she saw it. It was springtime, the snow crunched under feet. The lake was frozen over, and the trees were piled with white fluff. It was absolutely breathtaking. In fact, it was this view right here that sold her on this property. It was ove at first sight. She looked at so many places when she was searching, but as soon as her realtor opened these same french doors, that's when she knew she had to have it. She made an offer and it was quickly accepted. Before she knew it, she was the brand new owner of the little cabin in the woods with the red door.
Marnie heads down the steps and wanders out to the little lake. Plopping down on her favorite lounger she takes it all in. The still of the water reflecting the colorful cloud filled sunset, the birds chirping in the distance, the skittish squirrels moving fast up one tree and nearly flying into the other.
Feeling a sudden shiver, she wrapped her arms around herself offering little warmth. After one last look at the sunset, she jumped up and went back up the steps. Grabbing a couple of logs that were neatly stacked on her deck from the last time she came, and carried them inside.
She started the fire in the little furnace, then went into the kitchen and put the kettle on the stove. The sun was now fully set and night had blanketed the outdoors, turning the windows a pitch black revealing her own reflection as she gazed out one of them waiting for the whistle of the kettle.
Cozied up on the couch with her cup of tea and her laptop, she stares at the screen hoping to be inspired. Nothing comes to her, she's not worried, she knows the story will come in it's own time. That was her style. She wasn't a planner, when inspiration struck, she just wrote and let the words fill the page.
She chose this place to come to write because there were little to no distractions. It was too remote for any internet, and the only phone that worked out there was the old landline that hung just above the kitchen counter. Which was only for emergencies, she has yet to even use it.
There were no TVs, just tall shelves that lined the walls filled with books. There was a basket next to her couch filled with magazines to fill some time when she wasn't writing.
The closest neighbor was at least a few miles away. She met the couple who owned the place once while she was in town. They only come up in the winter for the snow, and in the summer with the grandkids. Nice couple, Elaine was a retired school teacher and Paul was retired from the Air Force. Marnie had only run into them a few times when she's been up in the winter. She has their number on the fridge, and they have hers, it's good to know someone when you're all the way out here in the middle of nowhere.
She brought enough food for tonight, but tomorrow she would have to head into town to stock up. Marnie hadn't had dinner yet, and since she wasn't writing anything yet, she decided it was time to eat.
In the kitchen, she pulled out some eggs and cheese and made herself an omelette. Sitting at her dining room table she was staring at her reflection in the French doors while she took a sip of wine.
Marnie jumped with a start, she thought she saw something run passed her doors. She set her cup down and grabbed the flashlight that stayed plugged into the outlet next to the door, and turned off her overhead light so she can get a better look.
Afraid to open the door, she pointed the flashlight through the glass hoping to get a better look, but she couldn't see anything but the swaying of the trees. Whatever it was, it was gone now. Probably a coyote or something.
Marnie got up and washed her dishes, and went to go draw herself a bath.
She was a petite woman, and at thirty-nine years old, she still turned heads everywhere she went. Her hair was a dark auburn color with beautiful spiral curls that framed her delicate pale face. Wearing nothing but a silk robe, she fought with her curls forcing them up into a bun.
She reached down to test the temperature of the water. Then slipping out of the mint green silk robe she was wearing, she carefully stepped into the old claw-foot tub. The candle light danced around reflecting off of the bathroom walls, lighting up her hazel-green eyes.
Marnie let out a soft moan once fully emerged, allowing the aches of the day to dissipate into the steam from the hot water. Leaning back, she closes her eyes and gets lost in her imagination. The water cradling her like warm hug, her supple breasts peeking out through the bubbles, she had no idea just how beautiful she was.
The fall winds picked up, and the soothing sounds of the tall trees that surround her cabin, lulling her into a trance-like state. Suddenly, inspiration struck, she jolted up from the comfort of the tub. Pulling the metal chain on the stopper the water began to circle down the drain. It was like a vortex, sucking the aches of the day down with it.
Wrapped in a towel, she tiptoed with wet feet down the hall into the kitchen. She was quick to open a bottle of wine and pour herself a glass and plop down on the couch with her laptop. She didn't want to lose her train of thought so she dove right in.
Her fingertips dance along the keys as if composing the most beautiful melody. Words fill the blank page and the world around her disappears. This is her process, this is exactly how her last bestseller, Her Last Breath, was born.
Marnie wrote, and wrote. Time just slipped away and she was so caught up in the words swirling around her head. She hadn't even noticed the cool breeze that seemed to sneak in until she felt the goosebumps growing, breaking her concentration. She peered up from the screen of her laptop to see one of the french doors dancing in the wind.
She could have sworn she locked that door, but now, she wasn't sure. She has been known for forgetting to lock things around here. Marnie typically felt so safe in her little cabin, far away from the city. Her biggest fear out here would be a wild animal sneaking in. The very thought of that sent a little shiver up her spine. In the city, she feared different kinds of animals, the ones that came in human form.
After closing and locking the doors, Marnie headed back to her room to throw on something a little warmer. Since she hadn't unpacked yet, she plopped her suitcase on her bed, and dug out her gray sweatpants and her husband's favorite old Dodger shirt.
Slipping out of her robe, she glanced at her reflection in the window before pulling her shirt over her head, hiding her beautiful curves. Since she was already up, she figured she would brush her teeth to get ready for bed before she went back to writing.
With fresh breath and a clean face, she went to fetch her laptop, and make sure all of the doors and windows were locked up. Setting the last lock on the front door, she turned to the sofa where she left her laptop to swoop it up. Pausing for a bit, she stared at the open laptop. Marnie was almost positive she closed it before she hopped up to check the door, but now, she wasn't sure. She blamed the wine on her confusion, and headed back down the hall to her bedroom.
Leaning back up against her headboard, propped up with a pillow with her laptop, she wrote, allowing the voices in her head to fill each page. Everything around her was dark, the only light offered was the glow from her laptop.
The room was black, she couldn't make out exactly what she was seeing, the strong older invaded her sinuses, causing her to gag. Her heart was racing now, sliding her hand along the wall desperately searching for the light switch in the house she had lived in for ten years, and she still couldn't remember exactly where to find it.
She found it. Pausing for a moment to brace herself, afraid of what she might see. She flipped it on, it was still dark. Of course it was, she couldn't open her eyes, she didn't want to see the cause of the horrific smell. Her breathing was heavy, she gagged a few times and tried to swallow back the fear inside her that was slowly erupting from her gut. Like a volcano about to burst, she couldn't hold it back anymore, eyes still closed tight, she hurled everywhere.
Marnie jolted herself awake, gasping for air, her eyes open and wild, she's back on her bed in her cabin, she must have dozed off. She closed her laptop and set it on the nightstand next to her bed, then reached over to turn off the lamp on her nightstand, and slid under her comforter. Curled up in a little ball, cuddling her blanket as if it were her husband, letting out a long sigh, she closes her eyes.
A moment later, her eyes fly open, my lamp is on, I don't remember turning on the lamp when I woke up. Marnie clearly remembered writing on her laptop in the dark. She sat up in bed, looked around her dark room, the only light coming in now is from the moon. It's cool blue glow casting the shadows of the dancing trees onto her wall. Her house is quiet, other than the sound of the wind. She must have gotten so lost in her writing that she probably forgot to and turned it on before she fell asleep. That had to be it. She was just scaring herself. Marnie laid back down in her warm bed and drifted off to sleep.