Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the woods cover

"Cabin In The Woods"  

Sukidi Byrnes is happier writing her books than living a real life. Real life has given her nothing but pain and fear. With a stalker ex-boyfriend terrorizing her and serious money problems, she hopes something will change with her trip south to a romance convention.

Joe Proctor, retired military policeman and survival instructor for the Army hides from the world in his cabin in the woods. As far as he's concerned, leave him and the wild animals he rescues alone, and the world is just fine. 

When a freak ice storm and traffic accident forces Suki off the main roads, she crashes into Joe's world. Joe, the disillusioned hermit meets Suki, the scrappy cynical romantic. Annoyance quickly turns to respect as they are forced to share the meager accommodations of "A Cabin In The Woods."

Life improves for them both as they learn what it means to share their lives and help each other. Everything goes well, until the stalker finds them...


And now a preview of "Cabin In The Woods"

Sukidi Byrnes wiped the blood from her face with a shaking hand. She was lost, alone and hurt. The seatbelt dug into her lap and the steering wheel pressed against her chest. The pain wasn’t quite right, everything felt... unreal. Slowly she pushed herself back into the soft upholstery. Suki’s chest was tight with pain from impact with the steering wheel. She felt blood drip down her forehead and over her cheek. The pain behind her eyes was so sharp, it almost made her nauseous.

What should she do now? A high-pitched squeal filled the air from under her car’s hood. The wail of the injured car resounded in her ears, adding to the pounding ache she was already fighting. She wanted to turn off the car, but if she did, would it start again? The car’s heater was her only source of heat in the middle of nowhere in an ice storm. Did she dare risk turning it off? What could the noise be? She should open the hood and see what the noise was first, then she could decide.

She blinked her eyes to clear her vision, amazed at the wall of ice and snow outside the windshield. The front end of her car was buried in the drainage ditch, but her door was clear. She looked out both side windows and saw only empty country road and open fields of ice and snow that ended a few yards from the road into dark forbidding forests. 

Suki shuddered from pain and cold as she stepped out of the car to look at the damage. She should have put on her heavy coat before getting out of the car. The icy wind whipped by stealing her breath. She gasped for air and wondered why everyone said the south never got cold. It might not be as cold as her home in upstate New York, but it was cold enough.

There was no way she could get the car out without help. It was nose down in a steep shoulder separating the road from a long, icy field. Suki had to decide if she could use the heater. It was too cold to open the hood with her bare hands. She needed to put on her coat and gloves.

Suki turned to reach in and grab her coat from the back seat when the ice made a horrible crunching noise. The thin layer of ice over the deep, soft snow collapsed beneath her left foot. The sudden drop threw her off balance and her foot twisted as it slammed down the hole to the frozen ground below. Pain burned through her ankle as it bent wrong and made a sickening pop. 

Arms flailing, Suki went down face first, her body slammed onto the solid feeling ice. The impact pushed what breath she had gotten back out, making it hard for her to do anything. Somehow, even with no breath, she managed to yell out a scream of pain as she slid, splayed out flat on her belly, down the steep hill leading to the large roadside field. 


***

State Park Ranger Joe Proctor’s boot spikes dug in as he walked across the slick ice. Even though he was off duty, Joe was out checking the forests near his home for damage. Power and phone lines were down all over the state from the unusual blizzard that hit North Carolina. According to the citizens band radio, there was a massive pile up on interstate 95, and most of the roads were impassable. It would likely be several days before anyone got to this area to fix either the power or the phone, but that was normal this far off the beaten path. Besides, Joe was prepared for an extended outage, so it really didn’t matter. 

Joe’s main concern was the wildlife. There was four inches of snow covered by an inch of ice on the ground. Snowy and icy ground would probably not harm the local wildlife. The ice in the trees was another matter. Trees fall, branches collapse under the weight of the ice, and bushes flatten out. Joe was out looking around, trying to make sure no animals got trapped or injured by falling wood or ice. He knew there was very little anyone could do in the face of nature’s power, but he loved these woods and the animals in it, so he had to try


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© Steve Stone 2012