Of course, Jack had gone completely cuckoo bananas even with people present.
She sighed again, watching a single snowflake dance in the icy breeze. Its pattern captured her attention. So delicate and fragile, Rhiannon felt like if she touched it, the snowflake would disintegrate in her hand.
She turned, rubbing her hands up and down her arms. She was never one for the cold but she had always wanted to experience a mountain retreat in the snow. Although, as she stood in the log cabin, she couldn't imagine what was so appealing about freezing her ass off miles from any civilisation.
Her laptop sat on the table. That blinking cursor had taunted her in the city and now it was taunting her up here. She had written most of her novel but seemed to be stranded on chapter twenty and the constant staring at the screen was slowly beginning to drive her bat-crap crazy.
She sighed again, eyeing the screen in what seemed to be staring contest. The cursor blinked. Rhiannon smiled. Victory was hers. Now if only she could write something.
She began to pace the large, open living space of the cabin. She stared at the walls, hoping against all hope that something would speak to her (not literally of course) and cause her some motivation. Nothing did.
Shivering, Rhiannon rubbed her arms again. She had intended on making a fire over an hour ago but then a freak blizzard had blown in and she wasn't going to chance it to run out to the wood pile near the shed. Instead, she had wrapped a crocheted blanket around herself and perched herself delicately on the window seat so she could watch the storm.
Now that it was over, Rhiannon decided to brave the cold in hopes of making a fire. She pulled open the door and let out a scream of surprise as the icy winds whipped her face with such ferocity that she was convinced she had an icicle or two handing from her nose.
Rhiannon sucked in a deep breath and ran outside into the snow. Her heavy boots left impressions as she sprinted the best she could to the shed.
Picking up a few small logs of firewood, Rhiannon made her way back to the cabin. She kicked the door closed, slamming it shut, as she got inside, shivering and wishing she had have stayed in Australia. It was Summer there and chances are if she were home, she'd be at the beach being burnt to a crisp by the sun while sitting on her surfboard idly watching the waves. Instead she was freezing her ass off in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere in Utah, USA.
She loaded the fireplace quickly, lighting it before the last log came to rest atop the others. She placed her hands in front of her, warming them. Though the fire had just roared to life, Rhiannon was feeling much warmer.
She grabbed her laptop and took a seat on the oversized stuffed couch that smelt a little of mothballs. She had concluded earlier that the smell was 'woodsy' and that it was something she had to get use to because she'd be living with it for three months.
Her fingers were paused above the keyboard. Her index finger began to twitch. Her mind was blank. Her eyes focused on the fire, the flames hypnotising her.
Rhiannon jumped, her head on a swivel. The back door had blown open and snow was starting to enter the cabin. “Fuck.” Getting up off the couch Rhiannon rushed over to the door, slamming it shut. She took a couple of steps back towards the couch before pausing. She turned and looked back at the door. She remembered kicking it closed when she entered it before with the firewood.
Panic washed over her and she quickly made her way back over to the fireplace. Arming herself with a fire poker, Rhiannon began to search the cabin.
The cabin itself was a luxury cabin with three bedrooms and a grand living space with open plan kitchen and dining. She really didn't need all the space to herself but it was the last cabin available and the lady who owned it made her a nice, tempting offer.
Now she was spooked within an inch of her life.
She crept silently to the hall. She could hear voices speaking in hushed toned. She craned her neck, listening carefully. While she couldn't hear what they were saying, she did notice that they were coming from the bedroom at the far end of the hall. The room she had chosen to sleep in herself.
Raising the fire poker to her chest, Rhiannon sneaked down the hall, pressing herself against the wall. She got to the door. She took a deep breath and raised the poker above her head, her hand waiting on the doorknob.
With a trembling hand, Rhiannon turned the doorknob. The door to the bedroom swung open.
There stood Mrs. Cartier, the lady that offered her the cabin at a reduced rate. Standing with her were two other men both rugged up in snow suits. Rhiannon noted that the bright orange colour was an odd choice for thieves.
Msr. Cartier looked up at her and smiled sweetly. Rhiannon, highly confused, lowered the poker and smiled back as the two men bent down to pick something up.
Rhiannon edged closer, trying to get a better look.
She gasped, her hand covering her mouth, her other hand releasing the fire poker. It fell to the floor with a loud thud.
The two men were trying to pick up...her.
Her skin was pale, paler than normal, her blonde hair covering her face. A single streak of blood turned part of her hair pink. She looked down at herself. She was still wearing her jeans and the white sweater her father had given her before she left.
Rhiannon felt nauseated. She lent against the cabin wall as the two men took her body out of the bedroom. Mrs. Cartier came up to her, a smile still etched on her face.
“What happened?” Rhiannon asked, her blue-green eyes filled with tears.
“You died, my dear,” Mrs. Cartier said, small winkles appearing around her grey eyes.
“How?” Rhiannon couldn't remember. Her lips began to tremble as Mrs. Cartier told her how the blizzard was so fierce that the wind was able to pick up objects and use them as projectiles. A rock had come through her bedroom window, hitting her in the temple, killing her instantly.
Rhiannon began to cry. Tears fell down her cheeks but she couldn't feel the wetness of them. She began to shake uncontrollably.
Mrs. Cartier turned and began to walk out of the room but Rhiannon called out after her.
“Wait! Oh please, wait!” Mrs. Cartier turned back around, suddenly looking much older than she did moments ago. “How is it that you can see me?” Rhiannon asked.
Mrs. Cartier smiled. “Because I'm dead too,” she said, her voice raspy from the cold air. “We all are.”
Rhiannon shook her head. “I don't understand,” she said truthfully. “How can you be dead? I spoke to you when I was alive.”
Mrs. Cartier smiled. “You spoke to my daughter, Linda Cartier. I am her mother, Desiree Cartier. And Vince, Linda's husband was the one that checked you in.”
“I can't believe this.” Rhiannon was beside herself. How could a single rock end her life? It wasn't fair. Mrs. Cartier reached over and touched Rhiannon's arm. “You had better believe it, my dear, because it happened.” Her hand crumbled, skin and bone fell to the wooden floor, the dust particles flying through the air. “And now that you're here, I can move on.”
“What do you mean?”
“When someone new arrives, the person that invited them has to leave. Those are the rules.”
“Rules?” The more Mrs. Cartier told her, the more confused Rhiannon became. “But Linda was the one who invited me, not you?”
Mrs. Cartier smiled knowingly. “Possession is something you will learn in due time, my dear,” she said, through chapped lips.
Mrs. Cartier nodded as her body began to disintegrate at a rapid pace. First her feet, then her legs, then her torso and arms. Finally her head fell to the ground before turning into a pile of bone dust.
Rhiannon dropped to the floor, her head in her hands. She was dead. A ghost no less. She lifted her head and screamed...
* * * * *
Her eyes opened. Rhiannon glanced around. She was sitting at the table, her laptop in front of her, its blinking cursor taunting her. Outside the wind picked up, howling through the trees. Rhiannon shivered. She stood up, stretching.
She started down the hall, rubbing her arms. She placed her hand on the doorknob when she froze. Deja vu. She released the door handle, backing away slowly.
Rhiannon had gone into that bedroom to get a blanket and that's when the rock came hurtling towards the window, breaking the glass and hitting her in the temple, killing her. Or was that all a dream?
Rushing to the bathroom, Rhiannon flipped on the light and stood staring at her reflection. Her blonde hair framed her face, her blue-green eyes were full of life and most importantly, there was no cut on her forehead.
“I'm not dead,” she said softly, feeling her body. The warmth of her sweater penetrated her skin. The feel of the denim on her hands reassured her that she was alive and well.
“It was just a dream,” she told herself, stepping out of the bathroom. “Just a very bad dream.”
Rhiannon jumped. She slowly made her way to the bedroom. She opened the door just a enough to poke her head through. Sitting in the middle of the floor was a rock no bigger than her fist. The wind howled through the broken glass as a single snowflake came to rest on the bed.