Word Prompts: Sear, seer, sere
Choose one word and write what your imagination dictates. For an added challenge, include all three words in your entry.
not beta'd. All recognizable characters belong to SM.
A small thump. Small, but definitely...
Startled, I sat up, rummaging between the couch cushions for the remote. Muting the TV, I stilled and listened, waiting for either another thump or my heart to calm down.
Except for the dual hums of the fridge and the heater, though, there was nothing. Easing back against the couch, I turned the TV off instead of back up and tossed the remote aside. I wasn't that into it, anyway. One week into my voluntary solitude and I was already going a little stir crazy.
My uncle's log cabin in the woods had sounded like an idyllic dream. Romantic, even, despite my lack of a love life. And it had been those things at first. He'd needed someone to housesit while he traveled overseas and I...I'd come seeking quiet, a place to repair my wounded heart. A place to regain some emotional footing, maybe uproot the seeds of ennui sprouting in my soul. Okay, that was a bit melodramatic, but honestly, it was how I felt. Lackluster, sad. Bored - epically. And I mean really - I was too young to be that bored (well, thirty... old to the twenty-somethings and young to everyone else) and that kind of bored to boot.
I was no seer with a gift for the future, and I certainly didn't see things clearly as they were happening, so it was only now, with a healthy dose of hindsight bias, that I could really understand why I was where I was. Lack of purpose: drifting from one job to another, ignoring my mother's suggestions I return to school at least. A sad, little self esteem: finding worth in relationships when I barely even knew myself. When I didn't know if I even liked myself. Maybe I even pitied myself. Maybe that's why it had been with Jacob - pity. Maybe
Uncle Phil's ancient football blanket fell silently to the floor as I stood. The doors were all locked. I'd made sure of that earlier after venturing out for firewood; all day reports of heavy snowfall had forced me earlier from my lazy cocoon and into the stark frigidity of outside. Along with the fully stocked pantry, I was ready for anything.
...anything but this. What the hell?
I crept quietly around, listening, hoping, wishing, praying that it was just...a deer. Or something. A bat? What would be out there at this time of year?
At this time of night?
The cabin was resplendent with windows, flooding its interior with light during the day. They were like lovely, living pictures, vistas of stunning landscapes. Lovely even in the dead of winter, even with towering trees sere and leafless, the world leached of color. By night though, those same windows gave me the creeps, invading my sense of privacy, and I had every curtain drawn by twilight. I peered at them now, wondering if there was a gap anywhere, if anything...anyone...anywhere could see me.
"Oh God, Oh God," I breathed, genuinely afraid. Someone was knocking at the door. I hadn't heard a car, and anyway the snow had been drifting down long enough to make driving difficult. Clutching my phone, and then the poker from the fire place for good measure, I tiptoed to the front door and listened.
Another thump, softer this time. I jumped back, shaky, feeling a flame of adrenaline sear through me, wondering if I should call someone or just call out. I was about to do the latter when I heard a feeble voice.
Grasping the poker in my right hand, I unlocked and yanked the door open with my left. My heart, which had been frantic 'til then, nearly stopped with the slap of icy air that greeted me. It was so cold it burned, and I gasped.
But there, lying on the front porch, in gray sweatpants and a black sweatshirt, both dampened by snow and maybe sweat - I didn't know - was the crumple of a man.
"Hey!" I cried, horrified. I tossed the poker aside and knelt beside him, trying to replace my fear of strangers with concern for this one. "Hey, are you okay?" He wasn't, obviously, and I shook and pulled at him, trying to get him up so he could at least come inside. His clothes were nowhere near appropriate for the weather, and I knew that he was probably already suffering from hypothermia.
He moaned, shuddering. Snow covered his eyebrows as well as his beard, which was just a little longer than scruff. Unthinking, I brushed my fingers over it, watching the snow melt with contact. He shuddered again, and then so did I, my eyes tearing up with the wind.
Another burst of adrenaline: I jumped up, hooked my hands beneath his armpits, and pulled him inside, apologizing beneath my breath when his head hit the doorjamb.
I slammed the door behind us, panting, hands tingling from the cold. His hands and face, I could see now, had taken on a blueish tinge. Unsure of how to proceed, and not wanting to waste time, I dropped to my knees again.
"Hey, can you hear me?"
"Yeah," he whispered after a moment, breathing shallowly.
"Can you...move? At all? I think you should take a hot bath or something."
His eyes opened for a split second, brilliant green if not a little glazed over, before closing. "Okay," he said, just a hint of voice.
And then he passed out.
thanks for reading!
no posting schedule yet. just, sigh, another plot bunny.
i'm working on some things, though, original as well as other…life things…though, so please be patient if i can't update daily…much love.