The Tyne family visit their cabin for a digital detox getaway. The cabin is a home away from home.
They soon discover the cabin is also home to another.
Tyne Cabin is July’s Flash Fiction that jumps into the world of bizarre. Experience the story in written word, audio, artwork and ambient sounds.
I sat patiently in the car, twiddling my thumbs, wondering when I would be able to get up and stretch my legs. I had already spent over two hours on the highway, watching trees, rocks, and the occasional animal go by. Sure, it is cool at first, but after a while you get tired of seeing the same thing. The fact that I got squirrelly easily didn’t help either. Maybe that’s why my parents insisted on those prescription pills and less time online.
I let out a sigh, my exhale built up condensation on the window. I kept my gaze on the scenery, wondering when we would finally stop.
“We’re almost there, gang!” came dad’s voice from the front seat.
Mom looked back at me with her warm smile and said, “Jacob, you’re going to love the lake, it is beautiful.”
“Yeah,” I replied. I wanted to be enthusiastic, but as far as I knew, we could be driving forever.
That obscure thought was proven wrong when dad decelerated the car, turning off the main highway and onto a range road. The sudden change in the engine’s humming caught my attention and I perked up, looking out the driver’s view.
“We’re here?” I asked.
“That’s right champ,” my dad said. “In about a half an hour we’ll see that lake. You’ll get to see where your old man spent his summers.”
Mom sighed. “Uncle Chuck was a sweet man.”
“Yeah,” Dad said.
Mom gently touched Dad’s arm.
Dad smiled. “He sure showed me how to enjoy life. Back then we didn’t have all those handheld devices.”
“Like the one I couldn’t bring?” I asked.
“Trust me, you’ll thank me when we get there,” Dad said.
“I hear it is called a digital detox,” Mom said.
I sunk back into my seat and tried to zone out for the next half hour, what else could I do? I was still annoyed that my folks didn’t let me bring my cell phone, I wanted to keep tabs with my girl. I suppose a couple of days away didn’t hurt. I’d see Tania in school on Monday.
My thoughts focused more on Tania, thinking about her smell, her laugh, the kind of stuff any teenage boy thought about. Thankfully the brain-wanders took up the remainder of the drive and before I knew it, we came to a stop. I looked up to see a crystal-clear lake and a beach. To the right of us was a white-painted wooden cabin. A firepit was to the side of the cabin where a series of logs were set up for sitting.
“We’re here?” I said, unbuckling my seatbelt.
“We sure are. That’s the Tyne family cabin, probably as old as gramps himself.” Dad said.
“Same cabin?” I asked.
“Yep, amazing isn’t it?” Dad said.
Dad put the car into park and we all hurried out of the vehicle. My parents were already gathering our luggage from the back trunk. I ran to the lake, kicking up dirt and sand while I reached the shores, taking a deep breath of that fresh air. Yeah, I didn’t have my phone, but I sure as hell did enjoy that view. The kind of view Tania would like.
“Jacob!” Mom called out.
I looked back to see my parents were walking towards the cabin, my dad held a set of keys.
“Coming!” I called out, rushing back to them.
“Here,” I said while reaching for one of the suitcases Mom held. She let me take it and all three of us walked up to the front porch.
Dad reached the door, unlocked it, and pushed it open. The hinges creaked as the saturated dark interior was revealed from the sunlight.
We stepped into the entryway, inhaling the stale smell of dust. I coughed several times, looking around to see that the floor, furniture and even the walls, were covered in white flakes.
“When was the last time this place was used?” I asked.
“It’s been a while,” Dad said. “Dust travels from the car exhaust on the highway. It’s pretty common,” Dad dropped his luggage. The weight of the baggage caused a large cloud to engulf the scene.
I coughed and leaned towards the entrance, avoiding the white chunks of dust. “Dad, watch where you drop that! What’s with this dust anyways?” I asked, noticing one large flake gently landed on my forearm. “What is this?” I asked.
“It’s an old cabin,” Dad said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it had some termites eating at the wood. Let’s enjoy it this summer and see if we can fix it up in the next.”
The three of us cleaned every surface of the cabin to make it livable. We removed the excessive amount of dust and wood flakes. The process took us all afternoon and some of the evening. Our night was spent cooking hotdogs over a campfire and enjoying the stars, you know, the typical cabin thing.
All three of us were exhausted and didn’t do much for the remainder of the night. Mom kept complaining about itchy eyes and a sore throat from the dust. Dad seemed pretty beat too.
We concluded it was time to set up our sleeping bags. Mine was on the couch and my folks brought theirs into the bedroom. The two of them hit the sack shortly after. I was left awake, trying to fall asleep. All of the momentum from cleaning kept me up, not to mention the excessive amount of dust that I inhaled kept me coughing. Examining my skin, I noticed the dust and flakes had caused my skin to dry out. Sawdust will do that, but this seemed a bit much. Maybe I was allergic?
Most of my night was spent sitting on the front porch, watching the lake. We didn’t even have booze. My folks were too traditional to even consider letting me have some. I guess I would spend the time staring at the lake.
“Only two days,” I mumbled while standing up, deciding it was time to try and get some sleep.
A ruffling noise came from the shrubbery near the beach. I spun around to see some bushes bobbed up and down from the aftermath of the sound. I paused, scanning the scene.
A high-pitched snickering sound came from the darkness.
“Yeah, good time for some sleep.” I said, realizing no one else was around to hear. The last thing I wanted was for some coyote to bite me. Did they even attack people? I wasn’t an animal expert.
I hurried back into the cabin, locked the door and slipped into the sleeping bag, ready for a good night’s sleep.
Scratching and scraping sounds were on repeat. I was dreaming of being in the car, was the vehicle scraping against something?
A snickering– or maybe screeching – noise errupted and I shifted my sleeping position. It was one of those half-awake and half-sleeping states where you weren’t sure what was reality and what was a dream.
I felt a gentle object land on my nose, followed by another, like leaves falling. The subtle touches answered the question – it was not a dream.
A few grunts and another snicker forced me to open my eyes. Directly overtop of me was a naked, crusty-skinned man scratching his neck vigorously over my face.
I let out a scream and scurried backwards. My head bumped into the armrest instantly.
The man looked down as his one leg slid off the backrest of the couch. His eyes were too dark to see under his puffy eyelids, his nose extended out, ending in a twist. His elongated ears bobbed up and down as he continued to scratch his neck.
He let out a cackle and snagged my forearms. “Wakey, wakey, it’s Flaky!” he said with a toothy grin.
“Mom! Dad!” I shouted, kicking the man in the chest.
He squealed, “ouch!” The man let go of me to scratch his chest. “Yeh took me flakes ya little prick!”
He scurried backward on the couch and leaped onto the hardwood floor, bringing his wrinkly behind into view.
“Dad!” I called out while kicked the sleeping bag away.
The man scurried around the couch and towards the kitchen. He continued to scratch and groan until he disappeared around the corner.
I got to my feet, panting heavily. “Mom! Dad!” I shouted, looking towards their bedroom door. It was half-shut, beside the open doorway to the kitchen.
My faced itched, forcing me to scratch the skin thoroughly in an attempt to get rid of the flakes.
“Mom?” I asked while stepping towards their bedroom, scratching my forearm. I looked over to the kitchen to see if I could spot the man, no. A draft picked up from the kitchen – the window had to be open.
I hurried towards the bedroom, pushing the door open.
“Mom, Dad?” I asked while wiping my face, it felt as if a swarm of mosquitos had stung my face. The itch was reaching unbearable levels.
The room was too dark for me to see anything. I rushed over to the curtains and pulled them open, allowing the moonlight to highlight the scene. The sleeping bags on the bed were empty, only a large pile of flakes remained where my parents should have been.
“Mom!” I hurried to the bed and swatted it a couple of times to check if they were under the sheets. My hand hit the sleeping bag and the mattress below, causing the flakes to fly into the air. I coughed, accidentally inhaling some of the particles. Smart move.
I spun around the room, looking at every corner to see if I could spot my parents. They were nowhere to be found.
“Dad!” I called out while rushing out of the bed room, vigorously scratching my face. The skin peeled back in thick layers with each dig of my nails. Blood seeped out with each scratch.
It’s so itchy, I thought, feeling my body temperature drastically increase.
“What’d you do with them!” I shouted, running into the kitchen.
I stepped onto the green-and-white tile and felt my left leg collapse. My elbow hit the tile floor first, followed by my head with a heavy thud. I groaned, feeling my body flare up in heat. I attempted to get up, but it was of no use, now, both of my legs were not responding.
Looking down, my eyes widened in fear. My pant legs were thinning out, flakes and dust began to blow out from where my leg should have been.
“Help!” I called out. My arms felt frail, my entire body began to itch uncontrollably as the heat from within lit up like a fire. I should have been attempting to crawl for help, or anywhere. Instead, I impulsively scratched my face.
“Itchy and bitchy, aren’t we? He! He! He!” came a high-pitched voice from the ceiling.
I stopped scratching and looked up to see the naked man had mounted himself on the far corner of the kitchen ceiling. His claws dug into the walls. The man’s puffy eyes stared at me as he used his one hand to scratch his crotch. Particles of his skin gently dropped below onto the kitchen tile.
The man leaped off from his mounted position, landing with a thud in front of me. The motion caused my leg-flakes to fly into the air as he raised his arms up, embracing the particles.
He took a deep inhale and exhaled slowly. The man caught one of the flying flakes and smiled. “Welcome to the family!”