The cabin stood in a hollow and stand. Not deep enough to dodge the wind and that stand never could claim to be good growth. Just a scraggly collection of cedars on a dried up, windblown bog. No one would have thought to build out here unless they wanted to be alone. I came upon the place some ten miles north of Bull Moose Wilderness Observational HQ. To say that I was surprised to find a cabin suited not too much to standing out in these sticks would be selling short my reaction.
I met Mort just as the day brightened to whatever dim light was possible this time of winter. Puts it about eleven. He was just getting up.
As best as I can recall, this is what was said:
“Damned and blasted weather comin’ on ev’r damn day. Shiiit. Desolate bastard weather is fecking clockwork. Here,” Mort tapped the pine board his feet laid crossed upon.
“One round-ass wheel of touch myself and turn myself right off.
“Fields coated ov’r white puke, cold as a three-day dead hen off her eggs, and blowy enough to lift one’s lip just to take a step. Straining alone against the rotted bellows of frigid hell: off grid, offline, and with no more dry wood.
“Just me and the Wendigos reside. As they eat me; I eat myself. Kin and kind, kind and kin: is all.
"Even my evening songs of past times, snippets of another life, another me and another whatever, have started to hum themselves… awkward.
“At least I’m away from that shit now, double quick. Yet my mind turns back.”
Mort turned to me with jaundiced eye and put a finger against his nose, “I tried that meditation bull. Got right up on him and rode away into breathing. And whole lots of nothing after that.
“Turns out I can’t nev’r stand the breathing sound I make. Been wheezing out like that since I took a cloud of asbestos. Then there’s the whole sitting still thing. My back’s all twitchy from lifting up my old boss’ damn entire ent’rprise for year upon year, only to see that bastard go belly up over a house too damned big for his wallet. Muscles just have me jumpy in place, like a racoon chasing a deer’s anus through fifty pounds of landfill.”
Mort laughed, as I remember.
Me, for my part? I was thinking of getting back to the HQ.
Mort leaned in towards me with a most unpleasant smell.
“I’ve got no attention left to give to tell the God’s honest,” he said. “I’ve been up here for two-three winters and the voices follow ev’r step. My memories have eaten a hole into my stomach, and there’s no turning to some cosmic-guru-within possible. I’ve leaked out someplace all that was good. This here is what’s left.”
I couldn’t take my eyes from his, even though I heard the hammer click.
Mort looked tired, sad even, as I fell.
#flashfiction 500 words for #WeeklyWritingContest@danielandangel 'Embarrassment' topic