In a small clearing in the forest sits a small cabin. Plain and ordinary, it was built out of the surrounding trees. The original occupants long gone, it sits vacant, tucked into it's own serene world. The inner walls have darkened with age, the original forest green paint peeling and flaking to the floor. On the rafters of the pitched roof, now darkened with moisture, grows a coating of velvety green moss. The silver webs, which wrap around every surface glisten with moisture from the early morning dew, float gently in a calm rhythm. Tiny droplets of moisture trickle down the surface of the river rock fireplace, from the roof, making the dark grey stones glisten and appear to move. Above, tiny flecks of rotten wood and dust float downward, dancing in the currents of air.
She loves it here. The tranquility of this magical place makes her feel safe. She can watch the tiny dust modes, glowing a warm brown as they catch the sunlight shining through the open doorway, spiral down to the floor endlessly. She watches the busy spider weave it's silver web and the pair of sparrows building their nest in the rafters.
Time seemed to stand still here. The only things that had been disturbed in some time was the wooden door that now lays flat on the floor. It's rusted hinges, bent and twisted, hang from their places in the doorframe and the knob sits separately on the floor where it has fallen, wood splinters still attached. There are scuffmarks in the blanket of dust by the door that continue back to the rear of the cabin.
She knows something happened here recently but can't think of what it was. She looks toward the back of the cabin, where the trail in the dust ends, but sees nothing. Trying to remember what happened there makes her feel uneasy and her lungs ache.
She looks out at the small clearing that surrounds the small cabin and she's happy that the door is gone. She can look out at the long grasses, that seem to wave to her in the soft breeze. There is a small window next to the doorway but it's been covered with layers of moisture and dust for so long she can't see through it.
She loves watching the beams of sun light drift slowly across the clearing and watching the bees buzz from one wildflower to the next. Occasionally she catches the scent of those wildflowers on the breeze. She inhales the fragrance deeply and it soothes her lungs, though she can't remember why her lungs ache.
Her attention is drawn back to the sparrows as one flies out of the cabin door and out into the trees. The remaining bird snuggles into her nest, already incubating her eggs, and ruffles her feathers as she gets comfortable. A small feather floats up out of the nest and begins to float gracefully down to the floor.
She's glad she has the company of the small bird and watches as the little bird's eyes gradually close. Her mate will return soon with food.
She looks back out at the clearing as she catches the pleasant scent of wildflowers and pine.
As the breeze shifts, it brings with it a different scent, this one not pleasant at all. It is a sickening, pungent smells like that of rotting meat. The smell brings with it memories that she can't seem to grasp. She looks toward the back of the cabin again but still sees nothing.
As she glances towards the door again the bird's mate flies in and up to the rafters. The answering number of chirps surprises her. When did the eggs hatch? She smiles to herself as she watches the mother feed her overzealous young.
She doesn't want to remember, she's happy where she is.
A spider drops down near her as it builds a new web. The afternoon sun, which streams through the door, glints off the tiny threads.
The breeze shifts again and brings the scent of wildflowers back into the cabin.
As she gazes out into the meadow, she hears a set of voices coming closer.
"Wow. How long do you think this has been here?" It is a woman's voice.
"Pretty long, by the looks of it," answers a man. "Let's take a closer look."
She shrinks back from them as they appear in the doorway, she doesn't want them here, its not peaceful now and the awful scent has returned. They don't see her.
"Oh God! What is that smell?" The woman covers her mouth with one hand as she grabs the man's arm, preventing him from going further into the cabin.
The man freezes, his face pale, as he gazes toward the back of the cabin.
"We need to find a phone," he says and quickly spins the woman around and pulls her back out to the clearing. The woman glances back quickly, towards the back of the cabin, and shrieks.
Their gone as quickly as they appeared, the woman's shriek seeming to echo in the small room, but she's glad. They were so loud she's surprised that they didn't frighten the birds.
She glances up towards their nest but its empty.
The ghostly memories still evade her. Its as if she's surrounded by deep water and she can't reach the memories at the surface. Her lungs begin to ache at the thought; she doesn't like it, and shies away from it. The ache feels too familiar.
She contents herself with watching a lone leaf drift across the floor.
She hears voices again. Why can't they just leave her alone?
She can't see where the voices come from but she hears them clearly, as if they were in the room. Strange mechanical and clicking sounds fill the room. She hears footsteps to but doesn't see anyone.
She shrinks back into a corner as a shadow appears in the doorway, blocking the sunlight, and two men enter. They carry a large black bag through the cabin and kneel down in front of the back wall. They're putting something in the bag but she can't see what it is. "Looks to be about six weeks, Tony."
Six weeks? She's confused. There was nothing there, she thinks.
They stand and together they carry the bag, which now looks heavy and full, out the door. Who are these people? She is frustrated now, she just wants them gone. Why won't they leave me alone?
The one named Tony answers him. He sounds sad. "It's a real shame, all those girls, they had their whole lives in front of them. They deserved better than to be dragged out to the woods like this."
They are outside now but she can still hear them.
"The M.O. appears to be the same. Judging from the tracks in the dust it looks like she put up a quite a fight," another man says. "There isn't any blood so she was probably strangled like the others but we'll have to wait until we autopsy to know for sure"
"I'm glad that bastard's dead," the first man replies. "I just wish we had been able to get the gun away from him before he put a bullet in his head. At least we'd have more to tell the families."
She stops listening; she doesn't want to hear anymore. Someone was strangled? Who? What are they talking about?
As their voices fade into the distance, and silence returns to the small cabin, and she relaxes.
The sparrows are gone but there is a orange and black butterfly fluttering around a clump of bright yellow wildflowers just outside the door. She smiles as she watches it.
The cabin feels peaceful again, now that the smell is gone, and the noise replaced with silence. She feels the tranquility return and the ache in her lungs fade.
She really loves it here, in this little meadow, in the middle of the forest. This is her cabin now, she thinks.
The sparrows will return to nest again, the tracks in the dust will disappear, and new wildflowers will blossom. In the small cabin in the meadow, deep in the forest, she will find peace.
Yes, she thinks, this is my place now.