A Storm and a Fear


Photo by Federico Bottos on Unsplash

A blizzard engulfed a small cabin, drumming against it with a violence that could do unspeakable things...

A. M. Gilbert, Journalist

Buffets of wind pummeled against the wooden paneling of the aged and timeworn timber cabin. Nothing could be observed through the whirlwind of snow rapidly rushing to and fro in the silky blackness of the dead of night. The torrent of the blizzard engulfed the diminutive structure, drumming against it with a violence unto its own.

Inside the cabin and distant from the howling gale that raged on, in the intersection between floor and ceiling sat a woman. She was situated upon a stout stool hollowed out from a tree stump, long intricate grains and patterns covered the innermost part of the stool like an elongated serpent coiling in and out, that no individual could replicate except mother earth herself.

Long dark onyx hair obscured the woman’s features from view, but her hands that were clasped into fists in her lap were tinted orange from the red incandescent fire, in the small iron topped stove to her left. The flames flared in momentary rushes, blue light dancing on the points of the conflagration of red and orange fire. The blaze not only illuminated the dark-haired woman but also the neighboring objects in the area, casting a bloody light on everything it touched.

In the far left-hand corner rested a bed, a bulky woolen blanket rested over the flimsy mattress underneath, lint balls pinpointed the pliable grey textile in seemingly purposeful and complex patterns, alternating one way then the other. Beside the bed was a small cot, a white blanket swathed the small objects whole. Only just visible through the folds of the blanket was the small soft face of an infant, long dark eyelashes fluttered against its pink rosy cheeks and its fuzzy dark hair draped over one eye as it cooed in sleep.

A small circular table with two twin wooden chairs opposite one another sat in the other corner, a brass pitcher and two glossy red mugs half depleted of their contents were displayed upon the knotted and well-worn tables surface. A faint but noticeable smell of chocolate still lingered in the air around the table and the drinks had unmistakably been sitting there awhile due to the lack of steam and heat rising from the dark brown liquid. Bordering the table was a kitchen sink and a cupboard, which through a crack one could see plates and cups stacked precisely on top of one another.

A momentary swell in the thunderous howling made the woman flinch, her long silky hair parted from her face as she glanced up to were the gale had struck. The woman’s features were exceedingly elegant, yet a strain played upon her face, making her delicate skin wrinkle in long worry lines that bespoke great apprehension of some matter or affair. The woman averted her face and twisted back around to peer once more at the flickering hypnotizing flames dancing in the oven.

She remained that way for some time with the wind drumming outside, beating a monotonous pattern repeatedly and seemingly endless, the fire crackling in the hearth and the wood inside popping as gas once preserved exploded and released into the atmosphere. The woman exhaled, and in that one simple action conveyed a sense of deep weariness, then she stood erect and pressed her small hands into her back stretching long and hard.

Crossing over the room and approaching an assemblage of large and cumbersome items beneath a black tarpaulin, the woman reached under and hauled out several large and evidently heavy logs. With some difficulty she hoisted the wood over to the fire and with a heave released them upon the burning inferno, sparks shot out in all conceivable directions, glowing crimson-hot they steamed and sizzled when they came into contact with any inanimate objects. A glowing hot spark also fell onto the woman’s hand and she exclaimed at the momentary flare of pain it induced. Gritting her teeth she rushed over to the kitchen sink and turned the tap on letting the cool liquid cascade over her thin and delicate fingers.

A long cry pierced the air as the swathed infant in its crib startled awake from the loud noises the woman had made while supplying the fire with material fuel. Loud hiccups shook the baby’s frame as it continued to fret. The woman ran over to the infant and gathered it up in her arms while gently swaying, rocking the infant back and forth. The woman with the utmost affection and conveying a deep sense of love smoothed the baby’s dark shock of hair away from its face. After some time the babe’s fussing grew ever quieter then stopped all together creating a tranquil quiet that encompassed the mother and child in its embrace.

All of a sudden a bang echoed through the small cabin as the sturdy, solid oak door to the room, was launched open with forceful momentum. The woman, startled and clutched her child to her bosom as a large personage entered the house. The opening of the door let some of the gale invade the house and shower over the hard wooden floor, tiny white snowflakes cascading in a line from the door to the opposite wall of the small cramped winter cabin.

The man was covered head to toe in luminescent, glistening snow, the firelight casting an odd distorted look to the newly fallen substance on his patched and stitched leather clothes. An abrupt exclamation ripped out of the woman grasping the babe as she recognized who it was, as quickly as humanly possible she set the infant down upon the bed and rushed towards the figure. They met halfway and the woman flung her slender white arms around his thick snow-covered neck and hugged him fiercely as the door behind him swung shut propelled by the force of the wind outside the cabin.

Trembling the woman lifted her glossy black-haired head to face the man, tears streamed down her face and the long jagged worry lines that had permeated her features were gone and, instead, a sense a deep and profound joy extended from her beautiful face radiating outwards. The man’s chiseled face showed an equal amount of love and happiness and they cradled each other in their arms.

After some time they parted but only just enough for them to speak, “I thought you were never coming back, I thought the storm had…” The woman choked off, not able to complete her sentence and instead buried her face once more in the man’s chest. The man in response stroked her hair lovingly and murmured, “A storm could not keep me apart from you, nothing could, not this nor any gale no matter how ferociously it blows.”

He tilted her head up to gaze into his deep dark blue eyes, “You hear me?” The woman nodded and produced a faint smile at his words. Then they stayed together in another embrace murmuring softly to one another for some while and only parting when the infant upon the bed started to cry, warming its feet and hands so that the bundle of blankets it was swathed in wriggled and squirmed, like many different worms. The woman moved away from her husband and gathered the child into her arms and sitting upon the small bed rocked the babe as she had done before only moments ago. Her husband sat beside her and brushed the black hair from the baby’s eyes then kissed it tenderly upon its forehead.

Once the child slept the woman tucked it back into its tiny crib and then joined her husband upon the bed, “Come now, lets sleep. I am tired and weary and so are you, let us rest our eyes and be engulfed in blessed sleep.”

With that statement the man and the woman laid upon the bed, the hinges creaking and groaning but neither of them paying any mind as they slipped into a deep and peaceful slumber, knowing in their hearts that they were together and that was all that mattered.