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The sun slowly arced its way underneath the tree line, tinting the forest a fine orange. Ed hobbled his way along a narrow path, muttering quietly to himself about how ugly this time of day was. Everything look painted and fake, nothing like nature was supposed to look like. The trees were supposed to be gnarled and rough, twisting their knobby roots among the barren soil in search of water and nutrients. The bark was supposed to be old and withered, crumbling under the elements but still holding up strong and proud. Ed felt that the forest was supposed to be a lot like him.
He squinted and cursed the setting sun, frustrated that this was the only way he had to go. His knees cracked and buckled in supporting his feeble frame as he wove his way through the wild. He grimaced as the pain in his back roared up and fought him. Sharp branches reached out and tried to catch him like so many Nazis had done in the past. But when the little wooden cabin came into view, smoke billowing silently from the roof, he stood still and smiled.
He walked up to the front porch where an old friend sat rocking in his favorite chair. “Hey Ed. Come for a visit?”
“Thought you could use some company.” Ed chuckled and stepped onto the porch, peering curiously inside the front door and sniffing. “Got anything on the pot?”
“Sure do. Freshly made, too,” said the old man, pointing to a bowl on the table next to him. “It’s still a bit hot, though, so I’m waiting for mine to cool off. Go in and help yourself if you like. I think it’s going to be better than the last pot we had.”
“Thanks Don,” said a happy Ed, and he stepped into the dark cabin. It took some adjusting to get used to the place; the first thing Ed always noticed was the smell, which wasn’t pungent but strange. It’s like walking into a slaughter house for the first time; the smell of death is brand new and it takes awhile to learn that it smells disgusting. Don’s house smelled different, but Ed still wasn’t sure if it was pleasant or disgusting. The next thing that struck Ed was the assortment of weapons that hung from the walls. Most were guns salvaged from Don’s war days, but there were a few newer models, hung along side swords and knives and crossbows and, what was perhaps most modern and unsettling, a large chainsaw, which Ed knew was only used on rare occasions considering Don’s limited supply of gas.
There was only one window in the cabin facing south so that the entire room was heated naturally in the winter. It was under this that the bed sat, which was always tidily kept under its thick, fur blankets, giving the impression that Don never slept in it at all. In the middle of the room stood a large, round, wooden table, its surface rough with deep cuts and stained in blood. And across from the bed was the fireplace, currently occupied by a large, hanging pot. Ed sniffed greedily.
He grabbed himself a bowl from the table and scooped up some of the stew. It was a deep red. Carrots and potatoes stuck out of the thick liquid, inviting Ed to take a bite. “That’s good.” He walked back out onto the porch and took a seat next to Don, who was already eating. “So where’d you find this one?”
Don swallowed and pointed northward. “Up near Hawthorne pass. Found him last night.”
Ed nodded. “You sure get a lot of them up there.”
Ed paused to chew over some of his stew. “Was he alone?”
“Seems he was.” Don took a long, large bite, creaking back in his wooden chair and looking contentedly out into the forest. Ed did the same, savoring the flavor.
“Potatoes are good.”
“Yes they are.”
“Grow ‘em any different this year?” asked Ed.
“Nope. Same as always. Just had a lucky a season.” Ed had been amazed Don had been able to grow anything up here, but apparently he had been a really talented farmer in his youth. Don was very capable living on his own, even at this age. He had rebuilt the cabin only a few years before.
“Was he young?”
“Yup. Can you taste it?”
“Sure can. There a lot softer when they’re young.”
“Sure are. The trick is to find them when they’re fresh, but I’ve had a few good ones that were at least a week old.” Don was nearly finished with his bowl.
“In the winter?”
“Yeah, in the winter. When we get them blizzards lots of them get caught and can stay fresh for awhile afterwards. That’s the best time to get them, I think.”
“It must be harder in the summer,” said Ed, sucking on a large chunk of potato.
“It is. You have to find them quick then, especially on the really hot days.” Don slurped his bowl clean and went back inside for a refill. Ed looked at his own diminishing bowl and thought about how lucky he was to be eating some real food. Don walked back out. “We’ve still got about half a pot left so help yourself to as much as you can.” Ed smiled.
“I don’t think I will. I’ve got to head back before it gets too dark.”
The two sat in silence for a moment, watching the trees burn a darker shade of orange.
“So what happened to him?” asked Ed.
“Yup. Fell off some rocks. Don’t know if he lived the fall, but I’d guess he didn’t. Meat’s still soft.”
Ed reflected for a moment. “What was his name?”
“Eric,” said Don. “That’s what his wallet said.”
“Eric…” Ed thought about this name as he drank off the rest of his stew. He then put the empty bowl aside, politely thanked Don, and walked off into the fiery glow of the forest, thankful to have something so warm in his belly.
| Dear, dear Eggman, I hear nothing from you for a long time so I decide to visit your 'cabin' and what do I find, two old mountain boys eating people. What the hell's been goin' on here? This story is very weird and you are a very strange man. Let me get this right, this cannibal is neat and generous to his friends, who in turn walk miles to his cabin to enjoy a repast of 'teenager stew'. Holy smokes! I'm at a loss for words which isn't easy to do. Okay, I'll say it was well written and entertaining until I started to get the drift, then it was kind of a 'I can't believe what I'm reading' finish to the end. Oh well it was good to stop by again, I guess, see ya! Diamond Dan||| Posted on 2005-08-30 00:00:00 | by dmm | [ Reply to This ] || I kinda had the feeling that was coming (partially my sick imagination)...you did a good job foreshadowing that. Good story here, lots of good detail. |
Couple of minor things: 'Ed had the impression that the forest was supposed to be a lot like himself.' I would've just said 'Ed felt'.
'Sharp branches reached out and tried to catch him like so many Nazis have done in the past. ' I think this sentence is a bit awkward; how about something like 'Sharp branches reached out trying to catch him like so many Nazis tried to do in the past without success.'
Other than those 2 minor things, terrific write, foreboding and atmospheric.
|| Posted on 2005-08-24 00:00:00 | by joeyalphabet | [ Reply to This ] || Yuk: yuk; yuk! :)|
What a lovely meaty stew, aye?
It could have been Eric the bunny?
Made me smile and go "Yuk" halfway through.
|| Posted on 2005-08-25 00:00:00 | by Jess | [ Reply to This ] |