Castle Roland

Autumn at the Cabin

by Darryl-Radio Rancher

Short Story

Short Story

Posted: N/A

Autumn at the Cabin

The Radio Rancher
(edited by TSL)


Webadmin note: Darryl has sent an audio file of him reading this story. You can listen by clicking the link or by right-clicking, dowload this file here: Autumn at the Cabin Audio

The old cabin was not in very good shape anymore. The glass in the windows was lose in the frames and the chilly air coming in around the doors and windows was leaking in with a vengeance. The place was not actually small by any means, but it took a huge amount of coal and wood to keep it warm, even on nights when the temperature didn't dip below freezing.

"How long must we keep fighting with them? Every year it's the same thing. I can't understand why they always pick on our house." Trey complained. "Last year they broke all our windows and TP'ed the trees and bushes. The year before that they put the dead skunk on our porch, and the year before that, there was the bag that they set fire to on the doormat in front of the front door. I am glad we had that bucket of sand to throw on it and didn't do what I was going to do, namely stomp on it."

"Yes," said Morgan, "Once you put the fire out, I noticed what was in the bag, and I too am glad no one tried to stomp it out. Of course that trick is as old as the hills."

"Could it be that they know or suspect that we are all lovers and they hate us for that?" Berry asked?

"I don't think that's it," Garth answered. "The Garrisons and Keelers live together in that woebegone house across the river, and no one has ever bothered them. I have seen them parading around their patio doing everything but the carnal act, and I am certain that others have seen it as well, so I don't see why anyone should single us out for our taste in loved ones."

"Well, it can't be that they are upset that we don't give out treats, because we always have plenty of candy, cookies, brownies and fruit for the little monsters, and there is seldom anything left over by the time the evening is through." Trey groused. " I always spend hours in the kitchen, baking cookies and brownies, and I hardly get any of them for myself."

"Oh, can it, Trey. You know damned well that you love to bake, and we have plenty of treats the rest of the time, so don't begrudge them the fun on that one night," Garth snapped.

"Things are going to be different this year; I am going to make sure of that. I am not going to spend the next two weeks cleaning toilet paper out of our trees and washing eggs off the front of our house. I am going to fight back somehow; I don't know just what I'm going to do yet, but I'll do something, I promise. The monsters aren't going to beat us, this year, I won't let them. Hell, I know we are getting old, and we can't do everything we used to be able to do, but as long as we are still able to keep going, I will do whatever is necessary to keep us all safe." He stood at the door, looking out at the forest stretching for miles, and saw the leaves slowly drifting to the ground, signaling the passing of yet another year. He had lost count of the years that the four of them had been there.

Trey's grandfather had left the cabin to all of them, when he had retired to Florida to spend his declining years where the temperature seldom dipped below freezing. His old bones were just not able to abide the cold anymore, he had told them, as he handed Trey a clipboard with a stack of papers.

"I am leaving the cabin to you four, youngsters, knowing that you will take as good care of it as I have, for all these many years. I have all the paperwork taken care of; you will all just have to sign the papers, and it will be jointly in all your names. That way, if anything happens to any of you, the rest will still have a home." Alvin had told them, as they sat comfortably in front of the fireplace in the huge living room. They each in turn signed the proper papers, as the clipboard was passed from one to another, to complete the transfer.

Alvin and his four cousins, Simon, Theodore, David and Ross, had built the cabin themselves many years ago, when they were still in the prime of their lives. As each of his cousins in turn had gone their separate ways, only Alvin was left to care for the place. He had finally decided to give it to his grandson and his friends, since they had been there for him when he needed them the most, in the hope that they would remain there for many more years and keep the greedy land developers from destroying the forest and building tract houses in its place.

It had been many years since they had seen Alvin, and the last they had heard from him, he had found a wonderful young admirer who had sworn to love him forever. They were all very happy that Alvin had found someone to be with him and give him the love he needed after all his time alone.

"That's it! That's the answer." Trey was just plain livid, "It must be that damn Real Estate developer that tried to buy our cabin and our land a few years ago. I'll bet he has hired thugs to try to discourage us and make us give up the place and sell out!" he exclaimed, pounding his fist on the wall. "I'm not going to stand for it!" he shouted and stomped into the kitchen to get something to drink.

He washed his cup, put it back in the cupboard and had walked back to the living room when there was a knock on the door. He opened the door to find his young cousin, Trisha standing there with her hand on the shoulder of her eleven year old son, Eddie.

"Hi Trish! Hi Eddie!" He smiled broadly. It had been far too long since he had seen his cousin and her little imp. "Eddie, come here and give me a hug. You have certainly grown up since I saw you last. I think the last time you were here, you just barely came up to my waist; now you are almost as big as I am. Don't just stand there on the porch, come on in and make yourselves comfortable." The two visitors came in and greeted the other three in turn, and got hugs from everyone.

Trisha cleared her throat, "Trey, I need a big favour from you; I wouldn't ask if it weren't really important, but I need to go to Cleveland for about a month. My second cousin, Claude Cooper, is very ill. He stayed out in the sun too long and has severe sunburn, probably second degree, all over his back. He won't go to the hospital; ever since that time they almost gave him that transfusion with the wrong blood type, so he asked me if I would come and stay with him, and nurse him, while he recovers." She looked at Trey with her puppy dog eyes that she knew he could never resist, "I'd like to have Eddie stay here with you guys. I know he would be so bored there hanging around watching me take care of Claude. Hell, Claude is a cantankerous claustrophobic kleptomaniac curmudgeon who is constantly complaining about keeping completely clean. Last time I spent any time with him he made me completely clean and categorize his collection of copper clappers he kept in his closet. He had been going out with his cleaning woman, Clara Clifford but that relationship catastrophically crashed big time."

Claude was not a very nice person, and he had been known to get involved with the seedier side of the community. He was once arrested and convicted of stealing some school supplies, from the supplier he had been working for. Unfortunately, the employer paid a price as well, because when he caught up with Claude, shortly after the incident, he had broken Claude's nose and had to pay all of Claude's hospital expenses1.

"Please, Uncle Trey, I promise I'll be good, and I'll help you with the trick or treat. I don't want to go be with Claude. He doesn't like me very much, and I would be so bored there."

It didn't surprise Trey in the least that Eddie was less than thrilled at the prospect of having to spend very much time with the curmudgeonly, Claude Cooper.

Trey reached out and pulled the youngster into a tight hug. He glanced over at his companions to judge their feelings on having Eddie stay there.

They all three came over and patted Eddie on the back and told him he would be more than welcome in their home anytime he wanted to be there.

"Trish, Eddie can stay here as long as he wants to. Do you have his things with you? If you do, we'll go get them and get Eddie settled right in."

"Oh thank you so much, Trey, and all of you guys for that matter, I know Eddie loves you and you love him, so I was pretty sure it would be okay. I had him pack his stuff so that if you said yes, I could just leave him here and head to Cleveland. Thank you all so much."

The whole gang made short work of getting Eddie's things brought into the cabin and into the bedroom he would be sharing with Trey.

Trish hugged and kissed Eddie good-bye and then gave all the others a quick hug before climbing in her Explorer and driving away.

Eddie was rather small for his age, but he was very athletic. He could climb a tree faster than you could blink an eye. He loved the outdoors and spent a lot of time playing happily in the forest. The older guys watched him enjoying himself, as he managed to make friends with many of the animals that inhabited the beautiful wooded area that almost completely surrounded their rustic cabin. Any worries they might have originally had about his safety were quickly overcome when they saw him petting the wolf pup, while the momma wolf put her head on Eddie's lap and closed her eyes in complete contentment. Eddie would be just fine.

After all the preparations had been made to satisfy every hungry costumed monster for miles around, they all sat back and tried to decide just what would happen and how they would deal with the vandals and their dastardly deeds.

Eddie was the first one to come up with an idea. "We could play tricks on them, for a change. When I used to go trick or treating, there was this one old guy that would dress up in costume and try to scare the kids before he gave them treats. I think we should do that."

"That's a great idea, Eddie, why should the kids have all the fun?" Tray chuckled.

As the sun began to set, and the moon came up, all five of them prepared themselves to look the part of one or another kind of monster.

Eddie decided to make himself look like his namesake Eddie Munster; he fixed his hair just like the character and made sure he had fangs looking exactly right.

When Trey came out of his room, He had a long snout and pointy ears and looked for all the world like he had the head of a wolf. You could see the fur on his arms and it was peeking out from under his shirt as well. He really looked like the classic Wolf Man.

Eddie ran up to Trey and hugged the huge beastie and kissed him on the tip of his snout. "You look great, Uncle Trey; I hope the others are as convincing as you are."

"Well, I guess we will just have to wait and see what they look like when they are ready." Trey grinned.

Garth was next to show off his new look. His face was pale as milk and slightly wrinkled, and he too sported fangs, which he pretended to hide. He wore an Edwardian Cape and what certainly looked like a tux, complete with cummerbund. "Look into my rink" He stated, trying for all the world to sound like the movie version of Count Dracula.

"Oh Uncle Garth, You look great!" Eddie shouted.

Just then a door opened to reveal a huge fur covered creature. The only thing he wore was what looked like some kind of breech cloth covering his vitals. His face was rugged and masculine and his eyes were incredibly deep and dark. You could easily loose yourself in them. He looked just like the Big Foot that everyone has been looking for so long, but never seemed to be able to catch. Berry was magnificent.

Eddie ran to him and gave him as much a hug as he could manage, not being able to reach completely around him. "You look great Uncle Berry, I love you."

"I love you too, Eddie." Berry managed to mumble through his huge mouth full of teeth. It was quite a display.

Morgan was the last to arrive in the living room. His transformation must have taken longer than the rest, or possibly, he had not made up his mind as to what to become. The door opened and there stood a huge green Dragon. He had a long snout and fierce razor sharp teeth and a huge scaly tail. He was amazing.

"Uncle Morgan, I can't believe how cool you look."

"Hey, Kid, you look pretty good yourself. Is everything ready for the little monsters?" Morgan managed to snarl.

Meanwhile, hidden several yards into the forest, there were two men, one of whom was the owner of a prominent Real Estate development company. The other man was a scoundrel that he had hired to torch the cabin and do away with the inhabitants once and for all. As they slowly crept up to the rear of the cabin, they split up and started pouring petrol in various places around the old building. They had planned to wait for the right moment to set it alight once all the Trick or Treaters had left.

It was amazing to see just how many small children found their way to the secluded cabin, many of which were dressed in some amazingly realistic costumes. There were Dwarfs, Pixies, Pirates, gnomes and many other strange creatures. Even some of the parents seemed to get into the spirit of the day and came to the door with the little ones. There was a troll, and a huge ape, as well as some kind of winged creature that was difficult to recognize.

The procession continued for what seemed to be hours to the two men crouched in the trees with their fuse ready to light and dispose of the cabin once and for all.

As the crowd started to thin out, all five of the occupants of the cabin began to have the feeling that something was not right.

Eddie was the first to speak of it. "I smell something funny," he said. "It kinda smells like Gasoline."

"You're right, Eddie; that is what it smells like. Stay here, son, and keep giving out treats, and we will go see what is going on out back." Trey told the boy.

The four adults left the cabin through the patio door, and crept quietly around the cabin till they saw the trailing fuse leading back into the forest. They saw the puddles of Gasoline or whatever the accelerant was, and saw that the fuse was strung along so that it would set off each puddle as it burned its way around the cabin. Trey snipped the fuse and moved it several feet away from the fuel, they looked toward the woods and could see pretty much where the men were hiding, and crept around through the wooded area, till they were standing just behind the two creeps.

"I suggest you drop that, before you hurt someone, or someone hurts you," Trey intoned, in his very authoritarian voice, which was enough to startle the two jerks and the assistant dropped the fuse before he could light it.

The Real estate guy pulled a gun from his coat and turned to fire it at whoever had interrupted his little game. Before he could even take aim, his arm was caught in a grip that would have been more difficult to remove than if it were in a vice. He dropped the weapon and his arm was pulled around behind him where he couldn't move for the searing pain that was plowing through his neck from the puncture wounds. His assistant, who had tried to run from the scene as soon as he had dropped the fuse, was having a bit of a shock as the face of the Yeti glowered down on him. He found himself lying flat on his back with a huge foot on his chest, effectively holding him in place.

"We have a lot of witnesses who saw you doing your dirty work, so I think it will be quite interesting to see how you plan to wiggle your way out of it this time." Trey said, as he stopped drinking the blood of the tycoon. The man was pretty groggy by that time, and didn't even try to put up a fight.

As trey finished speaking, there was a loud cheer from the crowd of people that had gathered around to watch the undoing of the rotten scoundrels.

"Why is it that we always get tagged with being evil, just because we are different, and men like these are considered to be just doing their jobs?" Garth snarled.

One of the onlookers said, "It's probably because of all the damned legends and stories; remember how badly the wolves have been smeared. Hell they were the ones that gave the humans their dogs, yet they are slaughtered from fear and for no good reason other than a few Faery Tales. Three Little Pigs indeed, Phoohey!"

"Can somebody please call the cops and get these two 'People' out of here, before I decide to drink them both dry?" Trey asked, and looked around.

One of the elves pulled out a cell phone and punched in the emergency number.

"Emergency Hotline, how may I assist you?" a crisp voice intoned, from all around them.

"I put it on Speakerphone," the elf said, and Trey explained what had happened.

"So you want them to be punished, I assume, and you want them to suffer for what they have done and what they tried to do tonight, is that correct?" the voice asked politely.

"Yes, I think that about sums it up," Trey answered.

Well, since I have scanned all who were there, including the two 'men' you have subdued, I can see that your request is a valid one, and so it is my judgment, that they will spend a very long time working off their debts. The world at large won't remember them ever existing, and their holdings are now entirely in your hands. That goes for all five of you, who were staying in that cabin. By the way, I hope you like the improvements I just made to the cabin. It is now completely insulated and has all new triple pane windows, and solid steel doors. There are plenty of treats for everyone in the cabin, and The Proper Authorities will arrive in a moment to take custody of the criminals."

No sooner than the voice stopped, that three burly uniformed guards appeared, and handcuffed the two crooks. They informed them that they had the right to remain silent, and then told them that anything they said, or thought, could and would be used against them. With that all five disappeared in a puff of blue smoke.

"Thank you for taking care of them for us," Trey said.

"My pleasure, I hate it when humans get away with that kind of thing. I also disappirated all the fuel that they poured on your lawn." The disembodied voice replied.

"Great, thanks again, I was going to take care of that in the morning. Okay folks, let's all go inside where we can change, and when we are all ready, I will make hot chocolate and fresh chocolate chip cookies for everyone."Trey explained, and they all went in the cabin, finding it was much larger than before, and it was spotlessly clean.

Eddie was sitting on the couch hugging a cute little elf, and wasn't paying much attention to what was going on, until his uncle tapped him on the shoulder, "Eddie, I think you and Andreu might want to go into the bedroom and relax for a while, and maybe change before we all have our treats."

Author's notes:

I hope I managed to bring a chuckle or two and maybe a surprise as well.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

1The reference to Claude Cooper and his stealing the copper clappers refers to a skit performed on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and his guest, Jack Web, in his role as Sgt. Joe Friday from Dragnet, which can be found free, on line, by searching for Carson Copper Clappers.