The Forest

Chapter 1- The House

He was just an ordinary man. A simple man who decided to take a walkabout on his property in the early morning of October. He was born and raised in the area but the land was unknown to him. The land came to him as an inheritance from an Uncle who had died a number of months previously.

The inheritance came as a complete surprise. There were others who might have been a better choice for ownership. But, the executor of his uncle’s will, a lawyer, who had contacted him about his inheritance was very clear.

The property was massive but was largely undeveloped. There was a log cabin with a dirt road leading to it from the closest road but most of the property had been left to its own. The uncle who had lived on the property with his parents from childhood had only gone away to college. After his retirement from a lifetime career, he remained in the cabin keeping mostly to himself. His wife had died years before but they had no living children. The cabin had a source of water, electricity and even modern plumbing but beyond the cabin there were none of those amenities.

The man thought of selling the property but the lawyer explained that the land must remain in the family and as the appointed guardian of the property there was to be no development. After coming, the man just didn’t know whether to rent it out or just live in the house. It wasn’t like he had a great living situation. He was retired and lived in a small apartment up north but it really didn’t matter to him whether to return home and just let the property stay as it was.

After seeing the closest town, there were plenty of stores to get provisions but there was always online ordering. He’d have to get a hook up some how with the internet. Maybe satellite TV would be an option but there was a phone line connection. He’d have to look into it. His cell phone to his surprise worked cause there was a tower near by on higher ground.

The man had a family but his wife had left him a decade ago. His children were grown and he even had a few grandchildren. They could visit as the cabin had a bunch of bedrooms.

Walking into the woods, the man stumbled on the path that led into the meadow ahead. A view of the area could be seen from the top floor of the cabin. There were trees that surrounded the meadow and the grasses were high. There was a brook that ran through the meadow but the waters were shallow and doubted that there would be any fish.

As he walked, an odd feeling came to him. There were no birds about. It was uncomfortably quiet. Eerie in fact. The air was still without a breeze. The whole area was deadly still. The sun was strong and there were no clouds in the sky. At a shallow point, the man crossed the stream. His boots didn’t even get wet. The path continued on but then split into three directions. Ahead the meadow met a wooded area but to his right and left the paths meandered through high grass.

Deciding to return to the cabin, the man retraced his steps. There was a shed on the property that had an ATV that might be best to use in exploring the property and his uncle might have a map somewhere. But, he had yet to go through his uncle’s things. His uncle had died in the hospital after suffering a sudden heart attack. He had been in relatively good health according to the lawyer for a man in his late 80’s. Not even his friends could explain his final end.

Back at the cabin, the man went to the refrigerator for a beer. The inside was stocked with two 12 packs, a loaf of bread and an assortment of foods that might need to be thrown out. He had decided to spend at least one night in the cabin and had picked up enough for sandwiches. His favorite food group baloney and mayo. The freezer was also stocked with enough meat and fish for a month.

There was no TV or computer but plenty of books and magazines. There was an old jukebox filled with a bunch of old records. There were also a number of radios and an old stereo with a collection of albums taking up an entire shelf in the living room. The downstairs was basically one big room with a kitchen area. One door led to a half bath and another to an office. His uncle had been a lawyer and the office was filled with files. Near the front door was a large stairwell leading upstairs where there were two small bedrooms with a shared bathroom and a master with a full bath and a large closet. The master overlooked the back of the property and the meadow was as he left it.

The stillness was then interrupted by the sound of a motor. Looking out the front window, the man saw that a pick up truck had pulled up to the house and parked behind his own SUV. Out came the driver who was unfamiliar to the man but not seemingly to the cabin. Following the driver, was a Labrador that followed the driver to the front door.

The man went to the door imagining the driver was an old friend of his uncle. He had a full beard and massive gray hair on top. As the man, opened the door, the dog sped passed him into the house.

“Sorry about that, ” the driver spoke.

“No, problem. He might know the place better than me,” the man responded. “I’m Jed, by the way.”

“Mike,” the older man stated. “I was a friend of your uncle.”

“I figured that,” Jed went on. “Come in. Would you join me in a beer?”

“Sure thing. Larry always had a few in the frig.”

Jed went to the frig and grabbed another beer to give to the older man. He handed it over.

“Thanks,” Mike said. After a few sips he went on. “I heard from Larry’s lawyer that you were here. What’s your assessment of the place?”

“Quiet.”

“Compared to the City I suppose it is,” he sat down on the couch. “I hope you don’t mind but I was curious how you were getting on.”

“Its different from my place and the property is expansive.”

“Good word for it. A guy I know could give you a plane ride to see all of it. Lives in town.”

“I might do that,” the man said sipping his beer. “I thought I’d take the ATV out for a ride,”

“Property’s pretty big. There’s a few paths but most of it is wild.” Mike then finished off his beer and set it down on the table next to the coach. “I could take you round if you like. I know most of it.”

“That sounds good but I’m headed back to Thomasville in the morning”

“Another time then.”

“I might come back in a week or so but I’ve got somethings to attend to back home.”

“I see. Well I could look in and make sure things are as they are while you’re home.”

“That’s mighty helpful. I don’t right know just yet what to do with the place.”

“That’s a big decision. Its a nice place and like you said quiet.”

“A bit too quiet.”

“How’s that?”

“I took a walk just a while ago and it was really quiet. Dead still. No birds, no wind and not even a cloud in the sky.”

“That’s weird. Mike said the same thing like a week ago before he had his heart attack.”

“Now, that’s interesting,” Jed stated with a lot of thought.

“Well, I would never have thought Dan would die from a heart attack. It was a surprise for all of us. He was in good health and was still working,” Mike said. “I live in town above the Drug Store. You can call me at any time. Numbers listed. I just wanted to see how you were getting along. Dan and I go back a long ways.” Mike then got up and waved for his dog to follow him as he made his way to the door.

“Thanks for stopping,” Jed said.

And, then Mike was gone back the way he had come and Jed was alone again. It was time for a sandwich and a few more beers.

Chapter 2- Home

The next day, the man decided to return home. He cleared out cabin’s refrigerator of things that might expire or had and put everything in the back of his SUV. Making sure every window had been closed and the house locked, the man drove away to the road. It was another blue sky day. He would have a long ride ahead so he would stop first in town to get some food for the road and see about getting rid of the garbage.

In town, there was a diner and a small market. He’d stop in the market first and then get some breakfast. It was the plan. There were a few people about but as it was very early, few were about.

In about thirty minutes, the man head to the highway. He was actually looking forward to getting back home where he would need to make a decision about his unexpected inheritance. It would take hours to get to Thomasville. A little music would make the journey less tedious and he had already put in the first of the CD’s he had lined up.

Chapter 3

It was early evening, when the man parked his car and went into his apartment. He had a nice size place with a terrace that overlooked a lake. He had lived in the place for a few years now after his divorce. He’ll check his e-mails and make a few calls before settling down in front of the TV for his favorite shows.

————————–to be continued——————-