Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Cabin of Cauldron Lake, Chapter One, Part One

The crisp air of the high Colorado Mountains was dry and smooth, the sky a marvelous shade of midnight blue with a few errant strands of white, wispy clouds dotting it here and there. A lone figure, a young man barely out of his teens, sat atop a grassy hill with a loosely rolled cigarette hanging from his lips, gazing skyward at nothing in particular as he took in long, slow drags of smoke, before billowing it out through his crooked nose. With messy black hair pulled into a loose ponytail and a lean frame, he was hardly what one would call a lady killer.
But then again, that’s how he preferred it.

“Kevin!” A voice, high and feminine, called out over the hills catching his attention. Sitting up with a grunt, he looked over his shoulder back towards his friends.
And the cabin.
When Jason had first invited him to come along for a trip to the wilderness, Kevin had been hesitant to join. After hearing that John and Jake were going as well, Kevin had finally caved and agreed to it, thinking that this was perhaps a time where he could catch up with his old friends and, maybe, get a chance to draw some scenery.
No such luck.
Jason, the stocky fellow with sun tanned skin, had come along with his girlfriend, Ashley. The short and busty blonde had immediately put Kevin on edge with her endless yammering and seemingly random series of personal questions. Kevin, unlike his friends, was a rather reclusive and shy individual that did not appreciate being asked by a near stranger “So are you gay, or what?”
Jake hadn’t been much better, coming with at least a month’s supply of weed, along with two beer kegs full of what he called the manliest drink around. If Kevin knew Jake, and he sadly did, then he was certain that the kegs would be full of the cheapest beer conceivable. The sandy haired man was, just as he had been in his youth, a slave to his passions apparently, and had done little else since high school save get drunk and/or high.
Kevin smiled a bit as he watched Jake wheel in one of the bright aluminum kegs into the ramshackle cabin that Jason had borrowed from their fifth high school buddy, Boon. While Kevin was surprised the jolly bearded friend of his hadn’t been able to make it, he was at least appreciative of the fact that his old friend was letting them use the cabin. It was high up in the mountains, in the midst of a beautiful forest and adjacent to a deep lake that Kevin could not wait to go fishing on.
They even had a boat!
… well more like a pontoon, but still a boat.
Leaves crunched beneath feet causing Kevin to turn even further, smiling as he caught sight of John ambling his way towards Kevin’s position. A philosophy professor at a nearby college (nearby meaning two hours’ drive), John had probably been the most successful of them all since his graduation. Kevin was a starving artist, living from commission to commission while Jason was a night manager for a small office. Jake was, well, Jake and Boon… well, nobody was really certain what Boon did for a living. All he seemed to do was travel, the main reason he hadn’t been able to come to this little gathering.
“Yo,” John said, squatting down to be eye level with Kevin, one hand resting on his knee the other pushing his glasses up his nose.
“Hey, we all settled in?” Kevin asked, leaning back with a smile as he caught the long black hair of John’s fiancée, Jeanine. With a tall, slim figure and long black curls, Jeanine almost looked like a model, at least in the traditional sense. While not beautiful, she was definitely cute in a way that made Kevin smile; her laugh was contagious and light, unlike the cackles of Jason’s girlfriend that seemed only to grate on Kevin’s last nerve.
It’d been a long drive up here, all of them cramped into one van, and Kevin was understandably a tad bit more dour than usual.
“Yeah, we got everything unloaded and into the main room, you should come check it out.” John said, pulling the package of cigarettes from Kevin’s pocket and sliding one out. “The whole place is amazing.”
“How so?” Kevin asked, pulling his lighter from his pocket and sparking up the pilfered cigarette for his friend.
“Well, you know how Boon travels everywhere doing… whatever it is he does?” John asked, holding in his first puff of the cigarette with a contented look on his face.
“Jake says he deals drugs,” Kevin said with a smile.
“And Jake is in idiot,” John says, releasing the cloud of smoke in one long sigh. “But I digress; the whole place is decorated with the weirdest stuff man, you gotta check it out.”
“I have all weekend to check it out, why hurry?” Kevin raised his eyebrow in question at John as he began to bounce up and down in his squatted position, obviously excited.
“Because if you don’t hurry you won’t be able to get the room your choosing, and one of them just so happens to have a drawing board in it.” John sing-songed, bouncing to his feet before extending a hand down to Kevin.
Smiling, Kevin grabbed it and pulled himself up. “You know me so well. But why would Boon have a drawing board here, he doesn’t draw? Does he?”
John merely laughed, shrugging his shoulders as the two of them made their way towards the cabin.
Two stories high and constructed from timber from the surrounding wood, the cabin was both beautiful and hideous at the same time; obviously once a well-kept summer home, the structure had fallen into disrepair for quite some time. The windows were dusty and opaque, and the doors were weathered and worn. The wood that covered the exterior was just as worn and moldy as one would expect from a lakeside cabin, and a small shed in the back looked like more of a pile of broken timber than anything else. A small side cellar made from concrete seemed to be the only addition to the old building, and it was in remarkably pristine condition when you compared it to the rest of the structure.
As they approached, Jeanine turned from Ashley, adjusting one of the straps to her tank top before settling her hands on her hips, a baleful glare etched on her face and aimed at John. “Just what are you doing smoking?”
John at least had the decency to look sheepish, rubbing the back of his head as he smiled at his fiancée. “C’mon babe, this is a vacation remember? Shouldn’t I be allowed to bend the rules for once and indulge a little?”
Jeanine smiled for a moment before snatching the cigarette from John’s lips, breaking the glowing stick in half before dropping it to the dirt below. “Not for a cancer stick. It took you months to quit those things last time, and I expect you to stay away from them, you hear me?”
“Yes ma’am…” John agreed sullenly, earning a sniggering laugh from Kevin, who merely made whipping noises as he cracked an imaginary on overhead. “Shut up!”
Kevin laughed walking past the two, looking over his shoulder. “Sure thing babe, I’ll get right on that!”

Jeanine laughed lightly, dragging John into the chuckles as she directed him to gather their combined luggage, ordering him to take it to “their” room. Kevin picked up the pace and moved through the door into the dimly lit cabin, determined to find the room with the drawing board. 

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