Friday, November 14, 2014

Tiny House Terror: The Story of My First Night Alone




I wrapped my cable knit sweater tighter around me and sipped at my locally pressed fresh apple cider. Calico leaves of every fall color blanketed the forest floor and crunched under my feet.  While autumn descended on the mountain, my tiny house, in shades of brown and green, evoked a perpetual spring. 

My cat, Piglet, lazed in a sunbeam all afternoon. I filled the water filter, cooked dinner and every ten minutes or so, swept up the leaf debris I tracked into the house. I settled in with a book out on the Folk N' Ale, under the flame colored canopy. 

I was content. Piglet was content. No one anywhere ever had felt such serenity. 

Then the sun went down. 

Darkness engulfed the tiny house. The peaceful blue-sky seclusion of our home turned menacing. I held my breath to catch faint sounds coming from the blackness beyond the walls. Was that a footstep? The flutter of leaves signaled a deadly intruder. Moth wings drummed against the window screens. I craned my neck at every hoot and caw echoing through the valley. Danger lurked in every shape and shadow.
I knew there were things I couldn't see. Bogeymen and werewolves. Serial killers wearing masks of human skin hiding in the woods. I had even provided weapons – saws stacked neatly in toolboxes beneath the house. I knew the tropes. Suddenly I was the spooky cabin where horror movies start.
I was going to die before the opening credits.
The tiny house felt coffin sized. I would not give in to sleep. I brewed a cup of tea and curled up on the sofa with my purring and entirely non-threatened cat. 

I needed to choose a book wisely. Stephen King was out of the question. My final choice was Anne of Green Gables. I hadn’t recalled this scene:

"The goblins of her fancy lurked in every shadow about her, reaching out their cold, fleshless hands to grasp the terrified small girl who had called them into being. A white strip of birch bark blowing up from the hollow over the brown floor of the grove made her heart stand still. " 

Thanks, LM Montgomery. 

The night creaked on. A screenplay began in my head. 

Scene: Serial Killer in the Woods 
Serial Killer (SK): What is this? Why it is a tiny cabin in the woods. Looks like someone's inside. I should kill them. 
SK tries the door knob. 
SK: Well crap, it's locked. I guess I'll go find someone else to kill. 

So I locked the front door, switched on the nightlight, and scrambled up the loft ladder to the comfort of my blankets. 

My last thought was "What's that noise…?" 

The next morning I woke up…still quite alive. A quick mental checklist indicated I had all my parts. Good thing I locked the door last night. 

A ghostly gloom surrounded the mountains, but the sun's rays began to peek through the mist. A cool breeze filtered through the windows. Piglet pawed at my face to demand breakfast. I dismantled the mummy wrappings of my blankets and climbed down from the loft.   

In that moment I wanted nothing more than to reclaim my mountain. I was victorious against the monsters I had battled in my mind. I stepped out on the porch and closed the door. 

As soon as I heard the sickening click, I realized what I had done. 

Now, you may not know this about me, and you may not want to know this about me, but my preferred pajamas are no pajamas at all. 

I stood outside with the door locked behind me. 

In that moment the real, universal nightmare began. You know the one. Where you leave your house naked.  

But I learned it's surprisingly easy to break into my tiny house. Just jimmy a window screen and bam, you're back in. 

So why did I bother locking that door again?


Big thanks to Cindy Reed and her Storytelling for Bloggers class. This story was a product of the first ever offering and I think it is a huge success. If you're a blogger you can't go wrong by taking Cindy's class to learn how to engage your audience with stories. 

6 comments:

  1. Great story! Thanks for the shout out!

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  2. HAHAHA! Poor you! But now you told everyone about that window. You are really screwed for the next time my friend...

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  3. First short story? Fantastic. I'm a NC'er and live in a too big house :)

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    1. Hi Margaret - I've written a number of short fiction stories but this is my first creative non-fiction post - thanks to Cindy Reed and her online class. She really demonstrates how the art of story telling works for bloggers.

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  4. I've locked myself out too...in the middle of the night...in my PJs (luckily that night I wore some)...slept in the backseat of the car w/ the dog until my husband came home at 4 a.m. from work. Your story made me smile in remembrance.

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