The Wind Was Howling . . .

18 12 2010

The wind was howling around the house, the windows rattling in their jambs. He woke to that unaccustomed noise. It was still dark out, well before dawn. He pulled the blankets closer around him and wished he could just go back to sleep, it was very cold in the room and drifting off would have been so easy….

He woke hours later, it was still dark and the wind was still moaning around the house but there was also a soft sound of something against the glass. He groaned and got up, shivering in the frigid room. There was nothing but swirling white outside and he realized he wasn’t going anywhere that day. He dressed quickly and went down to the kitchen, fixed himself some food and sat there feeling trapped and very much alone.

He busied himself around the kitchen, washing up the dishes he’d made and started a pot of stew. Since he wasn’t going anywhere till the blizzard let up and he got himself dug out he decided he’d start on the book he’d promised himself he’d write someday. That was one of the reasons he’d bought the old house out away from everything at the end of a small dirt road in the country. He’d found so much else to do, fixing the place up, getting the yard and garden into shape, making furniture he needed, he’d managed to put off actually sitting down and writing. He also put on a pot of coffee and when it was done poured himself a mug and settled at the kitchen table with his pen and paper. He sat for awhile, listening to the wind and snow on the windows, drank the mug of coffee and wrote nothing. He’d had so many ideas, so much he thought he wanted to put down on paper and turn into the sort of stories he’d always dreamed of writing, but there was nothing. Writer’s block, sitting there staring at that blank piece of paper, pen in hand wondering what the blazes to start working on.

There was a cheery fire in his bedroom, he’d gotten that going after deciding the words weren’t coming that day. He had a comfortable chair near the fireplace and had poured himself some bourbon. He sat there looking into the flames and remembering, just mentally drifting. The pen and paper were on a small table next to him and he picked them up and started to write. Page after page filled with words, flowed as the river not far from the house he now lived in. He finally reached a point where he was tired and banked the fire before getting into bed.

The next day dawned bright and frigid. The snow had blown into deep drifts, changing how the yard and garden looked. He suddenly realized he’d never be able to dig himself all the way to the paved road. He checked on what food he had and knew there wasn’t enough to last. He was going to have to find a way to get to town. He had breakfast and started digging his way through the snow to the shed he was using as a garage. He came in several times to warm up and rest, it was hard work in the cold. As he was working his way toward the doors of the shed he looked down the lane, the drifted snow was even deeper there, it was going to take him days maybe a week or more to get himself free. He stood there feeling for the first time in his life true despair. He didn’t think he could do that much digging, the lane was twisting and long, he hadn’t bothered to see how long it was but he did know it was probably too far for him to dig by hand and that was all he had. He turned around and went into the house, dropping heavily on one of the kitchen chairs. He had no way to communicate with anyone, he hadn’t wanted a telephone, now he was regretting that decision. He didn’t have a generator, didn’t have a snow plow, didn’t have much of anything but himself and a shovel. He was in desperate straights and felt paralyzed.

He woke suddenly, it was the cold. He had fallen asleep in the chair and the fire had gone out. He’d spent most of the rest of the day up in his room writing. It was dark and he was hungry. The stew was still on the stove waiting, he warmed some and ate, thinking about what he should do about his situation. He could get to the shed, had enough wood for several weeks if not more, the propane tank was full and he had more food than he first thought. He didn’t eat three large meals  a day, usually only a small breakfast and lunch with the dinner being a bit more substantial. The stew would last several days, he’d made a large pot of it. He divided it into individual portions and put his cooler on the porch right outside the back door, packed it with snow and put a heavy cast iron boot scraper on top to keep the animals out.  He started carrying wood to the back porch so he didn’t have to go to the shed every time he needed some, it was a covered enclosed porch and the snow didn’t get inside. He was feeling better when he got up to his room and built up the fire again. It was getting dark and he settled down to write. Things just flowed along like they had been and he was pleased with the results. It would have been impossible for him to dig himself out, he just hoped he’d be able to wait long enough that the snow would thaw. It was March and he didn’t think the snowfall would stay long.

The sun streaming into his room woke him. It was a bright but beautiful day, the sort he’d have gone out for a walk if there wasn’t all the snow still piled and drifted around the house. He went down and had his breakfast. Stepped out on the back stairs and realized it was melting. Then he noticed the yard light looked like it was on, he flipped the switch and it went off. He had power again, evidently the problem wasn’t close to him. He resolved to get a phone as soon as possible once he could get out and to town. He had some chores to do and got at them. Made himself a pot of coffee and went up to his room to work. He wrote from the time he finished the chores till dinner. He went down, ate and washed up then went back up to write. He was having no problems with the work, it was going just as he has always hoped it would. There would be a manuscript to send off by the end of the month if things kept on the way they were. Maybe the snowstorm was a good thing after all.

The days had settled into a comfortable routine, breakfast when he woke, chores then writing in his room by the fire, dinner, washing up and back to the writing till he was tired and went to bed. The pages kept accumulating as the hours passed and he was coming to the end of the story. He hoped he’d be able to keep on like he’d been with another story, he felt he had many to tell.  The snow was gone, but he hadn’t gone to town, didn’t want to disturb the flow till he had finished what he was working on.

The delivery man for the propane company came to fill the tank but discovered it was still half full. He thought that odd, the man who owned the place had his car there by the house. There was no answer when he knocked but he didn’t think anything of it, probably the man was out for a walk that lovely late April day. It was a bit isolated for a house but the setting was beautiful. The ground under the old tall trees covered with wildflowers and the leaves unfurling. He left a note to call when he wanted the propane tank filled and left. The silence descended again once the truck rumbled off down the lane.

It was May by the time the mail man realized there was no one to pick up the mail. There wasn’t often mail for the old house down the long lane but what he’d put there back in April was still there and he called the sheriff to have someone go check that everything was all right.

The sheriff went out the next day to see the man he’d tried to talk into having a phone all those months ago when the fellow had bought the house. He knocked at the front door, then at the back door, no answer. He hollered a couple times, checked the shed and noticed the car had a flat tire. He went to the front door and tried the knob, it was locked. He went around back again and tried that door to have it open for him. He kept calling as he went inside, searched the lower floor then climbed the stairs. He found the man sitting in his chair with papers scattered on the floor around him, empty bourbon bottles behind the chair near the fire and the man, dead, in the chair. There didn’t look to be anything criminal there. The sheriff went to his car and radioed for the county coroner to come then went back to gather the evidence for the hearing. He took photographs of the room, the body, and then began picking up the papers. He noted the numbers on the pages and was somewhat  surprised by what he found on them, page after page of just scrawled lines, there were only the page numbers that were legible. Until he found the first page, that had some words but only a couple lines of them. It looked like the beginning of a story but there wasn’t enough to make much sense of.

“The wind was howling around the house, the windows rattling in their jambs. It was still dark out, well before dawn. It was very cold in the room and still dark and the wind was still moaning around the house but there was also a soft sound of something against the glass. There was nothing but swirling white outside ….”

 

It looked like he had started a story during that heavy late snowstorm, but the words just became scribbles after that point and he carefully put the pages in order and into a large envelope. Then he looked more carefully at the body. It had been there quite awhile. There was blood on the back of the chair and when he looked more closely he saw the gun next the to leg where it had fallen. It was a small caliber but sufficient to do the deed. Suicide. He was very sure that was what had happened and that the coroner’s hearing would have that finding. He looked through the desk down in the parlor, found an address book and took that along out to his squad car. The coroner came and took a look and called the mortician the county used for such cases, few though they were. The two men waited till the mortician came and helped him get the body into a body bag and into the hearse. Then the three cars drove off down the long twisting lane to the road and away. the setting was beautiful. The ground under the old tall trees covered with wildflowers and the leaves unfurled. The silence descended again….

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22 responses

9 06 2013
Buffie

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31 01 2013
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1 01 2013
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27 08 2012
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17 07 2012
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13 07 2012
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3 07 2012
M R

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2 07 2012
Heck

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3 07 2012
Aquila

The photos don’t load because there are none on the blog. Please check the links on the sidebar if you’d like to see some of my photos.

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28 06 2012
Smiles

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28 06 2012
Aquila

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25 06 2012
Hiram Wolverton

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15 06 2012
Pensiero23

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22 03 2012
Anonymous

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2 03 2012
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2 03 2012
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8 02 2012
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7 03 2011
Cerridwyn Tiponi

Have always loved reading your stories…no matter how morbid they could be…

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8 03 2011
Aquila

Thanks, Cerridwyn. It’s that twist that makes the tale.

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1 03 2011
kourtnie

yeah nice

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8 01 2011
joseph

cool

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