Archive for September 9th, 2011

9th September
written by amber

Guess What I Found in my Mailbox

I am at last the owner of a cabin on a lake. I bought it on line, but I’m no fool – I had the local banker check it out for me. It was such a great price, I was sure there had to be something wrong with it, but the banker says it’s sound, if a little dated in decor. Well, I can fix that if I’m so inclined, but I’m not a fanatic about decorating the way my wife is.

Penny has no interest in coming up here – she’s off for a spa weekend with her friends. Me – fishing, hanging out, working on that novel I’ve been threatening to write for years. The cabin is going to be my private place. It won’t hurt my feelings if Penny never visits.

What with all the hassle of packing, it’s late afternoon before I pull into the town. I must say, the area isn’t quite what I expected. The town has no tourist traps – no quaint coffee shop, no antique store, no posters for fishing guides and barn dances. But that’s all for the good. The place is the more authentic for that. I buy supplies at a country store right out of the 50’s – potatoes in barrels, garishly iced doughnuts in a fly-specked glass display case, pot belly stove in the corner and a pot of coffee on a hot plate that smells like engine grease.

A stranger must be quite a rarity – they know who I am. “You’re the fellow who bought the Hunter place,” the clerk says. He sorts through a cardboard box of business cards. “You’ll need to be calling some of these local guys sooner or later.” He gives me a card for the septic truck (“We Mind Your Business”), the furnace repair, the firewood supplier, the pest control.

“Are you trying to tell me something about the place?” I ask.

“No, no. The Hunter place is good, but you’ll be wanting to keep it up.”

“Pest control?” I persist.

“It’s in the woods.  All kinds of critters out there.”

I’m not sure I like the sound of that, but he won’t elaborate.

I think about pests as I drive out of town. Bees or wasps would be bad, so would termites. What about rats? Beavers. They might cut down my trees but they aren’t unpleasant otherwise. Bats in the attic? Some people like that but I don’t think I would. Mice. I probably could control those myself. Surely the banker would have told me if there was any kind of serious problem.

The road to the lake is narrow and dark, my driveway even more so. I think I’ll need the firewood supplier to come soon and turn some of those leaning trees into firewood. The yard is a little too creepy with all these trees so close together.

As I start up the driveway, I notice that the mailbox beside the road has its flag up. Doesn’t that mean I have mail?

I back up and get out of my car. As I approach the mailbox, I could swear I hear scratching sounds. I reach out to pull open the door, and the entire unit shakes. Something big is in there.

I pick up a branch from one of the decrepit trees and knock the door open. Eyes blazing in the glare from my headlights, something black and white leaps out at me. Raccoon, skunk, bobcat, domestic cat – I don’t stick around to find out.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was inspired by a Facebook post by my friend, Bob Stallworthy.