A month to myself.
I was looking forward to finishing my novel without interruptions. I had the use of a quaint cabin from a dear friend who promised a quiet retreat and no one within miles to bother me.
I had never been here before, arriving I was amazed at the beautiful azure lake not a ripple to be seen. The cabin nestled between pine and fir trees giving shade to the porch for a cooling effect. The mountains in the distance still had snow at the very top. The lake was a stones throw away with a rickety small wharf that looked like it had seen better days. A canoe lay tied to a pole jutting out of the water. The birds twittering from above in the green birches, sounding like they were happy to see me.
Taking my food into the cabin and plugging in the frig I had enough food and drink for the month so I would not have to go into the nearest town forty miles away.
I quickly set up my computer, happy for the satellite dish that John had installed. He was a writer too, often spending months here while writing. He was gone for three months in Europe and if I needed more time, I had the option of staying.
I poured myself a glass of wine and wandered out to the porch, gazing at the serene lake, feeling like I was in paradise, a soft breeze whispered through the trees. I was going to enjoy every minute I spent here. I moved a day bed and table out to the porch and the next thing I knew I had slept for over an hour. Maybe I would spend the night’s right here.
But I was not going to finish my book if I procrastinated the first day. Making a sandwich, I moved my computer to the outside table and brought out a chair, started by rereading my last paragraph. After writing three pages, it was time for a swim before the lake got too cold. I dived off the wharf, the chilling water surprised my body but it felt invigorating as I swam out almost a mile.
Heading back I felt a presence, like being watched, my instinct was always very intuitive, but I shook it off and swam to shore.
Sitting on my porch was an unkempt man eating the remainder of my sandwich and drinking the last of my wine. He looked slovenly with a dirty beard and shorts with worn down running shoes. He slowly got up as I started up the stairs, I told him he was trespassing and to be on his way and not to come back again.
All he did was grunt saying for me to watch my tongue, as he sauntered off.
Guess I would not be sleeping outside tonight, my paradise was slightly shaken. Probably just a hobo passing through was my thought.
I made a quick dinner with a glass of wine and made up my bed before having a shower. No bird sounds now, suggesting they had retired early just as I intended to do. I headed to bed and then thought I had better lock the door for safety. Checked my suitcase for my pistol, and it was not where I had put it.
Thinking maybe I had moved it to the side drawer but it was not there either, I knew I had brought it with me. Went to the cupboard where John had mentioned he kept a rifle to scare off any wildlife in the area. It was loaded so I put it beside my bed. The fresh air worked its wonders and I was asleep in minutes.
I awoke with the sun shinning through the bedroom window, birds chirping to each other, no breeze coming in as I had secured the windows last night. Opening the front door, I went to the kitchen to make some coffee and toast that I would enjoy on the porch.
I searched my car for my pistol but it was not there. Had the hobo come in before I returned from my swim and stolen it? Dam. Now I would have to report it gone to the police. I would phone the local detachment on my cell so they could alert the surrounding areas.
The day flew past quickly as I did another five pages before I decided I would go out on the lake in the canoe. This time I locked the door and windows, not leaving anything out on the porch. Maybe I was over-reacting but wanted to be sure hobo man had left the area.
The canoe was easy to navigate and before I knew, I had been out on the lake for a couple of hours. Glad I had lathered myself with sunscreen as the sun beat down on my back and shoulders as I skimmed through the water until I could feel my arms getting sore, navigating the canoe back I dived in to cool off.
I would cook something tasty for my evening meal and open a new bottle of wine. I lit the barbecue and marinated some veal with baby potatoes and carrots wrapped in foil. I had just finished dinner when I heard a car arriving down the path towards the cabin. That certainly did not take them long must be a slow day for the police.
He looked like he should still be in high school. He was polite as he pulled out his little book and wanted the details of my gun how it had gone missing and did I have a permit for it. Showing him from my wallet that I did, he wrote it all down. Then I told him about the hobo that had been here when I had come back from my swim. He did not think he was local and probably passing through. He would put out a bulletin to watch for him. He said he would be in touch if they found my gun.
Two weeks flew quickly by and my skin was turning to a coffee bean brown from being out on the lake daily, the water remained cold but refreshing. I felt great and in better shape than I had in years and even having wine daily my shorts felt looser.
My pages were developing and I felt so proud of what I had accomplished since coming here. I just might stay on right through September.
As I was getting ready for bed after enjoying my day, writing and swimming, my arms felt tired so thought I would turn in and read before going to sleep. It had been very humid and dark clouds were developing in the south.
The wind had started to get very strong I could hear the table on the porch rattling, so I pulled it inside, closing the windows and door, a distant lightning strike and the lights dimmed for a minute then all went dark. I clicked the lamp, no power and I was not sure if there were candles or not. I went towards the bedroom banging my leg on a chair.
The wind was growing stronger whipping tree branches against the windows, then a crash from the porch. A branch must have come down. Pellets of rain started first, then more lightning, thunder followed fast and furious. I had never heard thunder that loud, and the lightening lit up the sky as I watched out the window. I could see the lake churning fiercely as the storm swept across the water.
That is when I saw a dark shape out on the wharf. Only a glimpse as I waited for the lightening to reveal it again. Thunder crackled. Had I imagined the figure out there?
Watching from the darkness, I waited. Nothing moved.
Then I saw a shadow heading towards the cabin. I quickly ran for the rifle, never having shot one before, holding it I crept towards the kitchen.
Through the noise of the thunder, I could hear footsteps on the stairs then the handle of the door turned squeaking, someone was trying to get in. The door splintered as shots came in a succession of three, then the fourth one sprung open the door and there stood hobo man furiously looking for me, he was soaking wet and moved slowly towards the bedroom.
I had hidden beside the cabinet in the kitchen. Hearing his guttural voice muttering, then he started to talk quietly at first then it got louder banging into the chair, screaming obscenities. This man was crazy and dangerous.
Should I run for the door and try to reach my car and take a chance of him shooting me in the back. It was dark so I might have a chance. Then he appeared before me his eyes burning into me as he rounded the corner of the kitchen. In the rippling flash of lightning, I saw my own gun pointing directly at me.
I had no choice. I aimed and pulled the trigger. The power of the rifle sent me falling to the floor. He missed me by an inch as he toppled face down beside me. His eyes glazed over as he opened his mouth but did not get to say a word. My gun lay beside him.
The young police officer would be making another trip here.
My next novel started hatching in my mind.