A little something for Halloween.
Errick pulled from the river, wet and exhausted. His left eye socket was sunken, and he could feel water rolling around in the small orifice. He’d lost the glass replacement about two clicks downstream, and was currently imagining a fish filling its slender belly to the max with the less than attractive orb. It had five chips at least, everyone could tell it was fake anyways, good riddance.
The dirt turned to mud as he climbed the embankment, trying desperately to not get any on his clothes, thinking of Emma every second. Nevermind that he was soaked, maybe he’d dry by the time he arrived. Errick bent over the stream, washing his hands in the chill water. He didn’t bother looking at his phone, it was dead and he knew it. Instead he shielded his eyes and gazed up into the canopy tracking the sun, maybe an hour or two left til sunset, at most.
Damn that deer, dammit. Did it have to be on the night I meet Emma’s parents?
The deer in question had ran out, top speed, Errick had also been going a fair speed, then right into the river, which had fed gluttonously on the spring rain. Leaving him to escape the wreckage. The river had taken no prisoners, he hadn’t been able to get out til he was quite a ways down.
Once he had his bearings, he pried open his left eyelid, draining the river water. Well I’m quite a prince charming. He was determined to salvage the night though, pressing on through the woods. These spring wildflowers are pretty. See, if that deer hadn’t blindsided me I wouldn’t be able to pick these for Emma, she’ll love them.
She had an awfully nice cabin, and when he crested a soft hill he could see it past the tree line, all weathered wood, sturdy and wholesome. The sun was dipping and beaming him in the eye. That was how Emma made him feel, even now, stunned, wonderfully stunned. She was waiting in a blue print dress, something light and tear-able. His fingers still remembered that delicate silk thing he’d torn off of her their first go at it. Ironically he couldn’t remember the color, just that she hadn’t complained, or even demanded he buy her a new one. She’s swell like that, what a lady.
Emma came down the steps to greet him with a peck on the cheek that said her Pa was watching from the window. “you’re soaked, where’s your car?”
Errick shook his head with a smile. “Just ran into a little trouble, but I’m alright.” He thrust the flowers into her hands “I picked these for you.”
She rewarded him with that bright smile that he lived for. “Come in before you catch cold.” The entrance way to the cabin was clean, top to bottom, only a woman could keep a place like this spotless. Emma stopped, pulling him towards the small hall that led back to the bedrooms. “I seen something scary,” she confided softly, and unexpectedly.
He loved the way she slipped into wayward expressions, especially when she was upset, it made him wish ardently to kiss her plump lips here and now, but the serious look in her eye got his attention.
“Scared you?” That made him uneasy, he’d once seen Emma stand three feet from a bear, not flinching in the least, she’d shot the thing dead, bullet square in the forehead, he couldn’t have taken a better shot, hell the guys he had served with couldn’t have. If she was scared… I mean you had to have some kind of balls to live alone in a secluded cabin. Just the thought of wolves howling at night gave him chills.
She looked hesitant to say, he half suspected she didn’t want him to think less of her, not that it was possible. “Last night, before they got here.” She jerked a thumb towards the kitchen. “I ‘as sleeping with the blinds open, moon’s beautiful.”
Errick briefly imagined her sprawled out on the thick mattress, bare and comfortable, but pulled his attention back to the present. “Yeah, I know, I like that too.”
“Well someone, something was lookin’ in on me.” Emma was wringing her hands, making his heart sink, she was more than a little uneasy, wound up tight. “‘t was like a shadow, a man, an’ I thought, shoot, some fucking creep and all, I mean how far from the city do you have to go to get some peace.”
“It wasn’t though?” He grabbed her delicate hands to stop her from wringing them, stroking the fingers.
“Nah, it like, opened its eyes, an’ they were all red and glowy. So I pulled the shotgun out from under the bed an’ got it in my sight, an’ it growled, like uh rabid wolf, nah, more like uh a cougar huntin’.” She flushed. “Blew a hole in the window. Didn’t get it even.”
Errick swallowed hard, the image washing over him vividly. What was he supposed to say to that? He didn’t have time to answer.
“Dinner,” a sweet voice called from the kitchen, sounding like a much older and frailer Emma.