Lucinda

Reads: 396  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Post apocalyptic short story, following an unnamed man, living in a cabin by himself. When he attempts to open up to someone, and help someone, it has unforeseen consequences.

Submitted: October 17, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 17, 2013

A A A

A A A


 
Lucinda
Sergeant Baker
 
 
The elderly cabin smelled of a strange must from ages ago. Inside, the single room was filled with smoke due to the flue being clogged. The door opens and a large, burly figure slowly steps in and takes off his red plaid hunting cap. Initially he was stunned by the smoke in the cabin, then he understood what had happened. He walked intently over to one of the few filthy windows in the tiny cabin, and pushed it open in hopes that he could let some of the smoke out. He then moved to the fireplace and fumbled with the flue until he heard the smoke rise through the chimney. He stepped back outside to gather his findings for the day. Four squirrels, two cats, and a few shriveled potatoes from the desolate town. He set the squirrels and the cats onto the dusty table, and put the potatoes in the sink. After he laid out the findings, he sat down and poured himself a glass of murky water from the stream that ran past the dilapidated cabin. This stream had always created a constant, pleasant lapping. The sound was an exceptional sleep aid on restless nights. After he finished the glass of water, he pondered the possibilities for the daily findings. A stew might be nice, or just cooking and salting the meat and rationing it. The latter of the two, he thought would be the most logical, but a stew would be a very revitalizing meal after the past few weeks. He thought about the previous days and how he'd had no food, except the mice that he could trap on occasions. Thinking of those times made him choose to cook and salt the meat for rationing. 
 
He pulled out his knife and started to clean the squirrels, cutting down from just below the throat to the lower belly. He pulled out the entrails and put them in a bucket just next to the table. He repeated the same procedure with the three other squirrels and the cats. He didn’t get much from the cats, but the squirrels put out a surprising amount of meat. He also kept the heart and the liver from each creature, to eat with the potatoes tonight. After disposing of the pelts and the entrails from the animals, he prepared the meat for cooking. He started by removing all of the small bits of fat from the squirrel meat, and putting them with the hearts and livers. After this, he set down his knife and reached for the ancient can of “All Spice”. He rubbed it into the meat and skewered each piece with a sturdy green stick from the nearby woods, and began to cook the meat.
 
While he cooked the meat, he wondered about the animals. He wondered if they knew that everything had fallen apart. This thought made him ache with sorrow for the small animals. Knowing that this being had been going about its life not knowing that the world had come undone, and here he comes and kills the innocent thing for his own good. He wished it were possible to live without food, then he wouldn’t have to deal with the guilt of killing something that was so innocent. The thing he felt worst about was the cats, he was one of the few that could remember when cats were domesticated animals. He hated having to kill a cat for food, especially when they were as unhealthy as these cats were. One thing that helped him get over the guilt was the fact that these cats were living out a terrible existence. Every day having to dig through garbage cans only to find a few morsels of rotten food from a time that never occurred to them. He felt as if he were putting them out of their misery.
 
After he finished with the cooking he rubbed the meat down with salt and put them in the freeze box outside under the cabin. He then cooked the potatoes and the scraps from cleaning the animals and sat down on the bed and ate thoughtfully. Eventually he finished his dinner and slowly moved towards the loft above the room. After a few minutes of digging around, he unveiled the small cherry wood box. It was stained dark, almost black. It had a small bronze latch on the front with a keyhole. He sat the box down on the window sill and peered out into the darkness. When he reached for the key that was draped around his neck at all times, he knocked the box from the windowsill. He bent down and picked up the box, then gently set it on the sill again. He pulled the key from around his neck and scrabbled with the latch for a moment and then the tumblers clicked into place, he removed the key, and the lid swung open. Inside sat a wooden Churchwarden pipe, a small tin case, a box of strike anywhere matches, and four or five pipe cleaners. He laid out the contents in a very particular manner. Pipe first, then the tin, one match, and one pipe cleaner. He reached for the pipe and the tin. The tin creaked open with a metallic screech, inside was a thick layer of stale, long cut tobacco. He grabbed a pinch and pressed it down very thoughtfully into the head of the pipe, then grabbed a match. He lit the match off of the end of the pipe, and stared deeply into his dimly lit reflection in the window. The cherry in the pipe was the only light other than the fireplace. After finishing his pipe he closed the tin, and returned it to the box. Next, he picked up the pipe cleaner and quietly cleaned the pipe. He blew into it to be sure it was properly cleaned. He placed the pipe back in the box and locked it, then put the key around his neck. After putting the box back in its original place, he laid in the bed and slowly dozed off. 
 
One Week Later
 
The man stood in the main street of the ghost town that was once known as Lucinda. Looking off into the fog he saw a figure emerge from the veil. He immediately grabbed the .357 magnum that was at his hip. "Only 3 shots." He thought. "Don’t miss."The figure shuttered for a moment and right then the man knew that the figure was just as startled as him. As the figure moved closer, the feeble frame of a woman could be faintly made out. The closer the woman got, the tighter his grip became on the .357 magnum, that was holstered in his belt. Time seemed to pass much slower as the figure inched towards him. He finally let out a word. “Stop.” he said sternly. The figure halted and put down the large pack that she was carrying. She seemed relieved to have finally come across someone.  After all, he would have been relieved as well if he were traveling the wastes like her. She lifted up the pack and tossed it towards him saying, “Take it, all of it. You’ll probably kill me with that gun a yours anyway.” He holstered his gun, and rolled the pack halfway back to her and asked, “Are you traveling alone?” A quick “No.” was spat from her mouth as she reached for her pack with one eye still on him. “Do you have any food?” he asked. She responded quickly “Nuthin’ cept a few cockroaches, and a granola bar.” Surprised that she had something, he hopefully asked “What about water?” “None that’s clean, that’s the good shit. You know that as well as I do.” He disappointedly moved on. “Where are you headed?” She responded more calmly now that his hand was off of the gun, “Well I started out going south, there ain't nothin’ down there but dust and rocks. So I started headin north hoping to find somethin. Didn’t see much ‘till I came across you.” There was a long pause, “Can I ask you something?” She asked. “Sure.” He said reassuringly. “Why didn’t you shoot me?” He waited a long time before saying anything. Then he said “I would guess  because I have compassion.” The woman was puzzled, “Compassion?” she asked. “It means that I felt badly for you and I didn’t want to hurt you because you are so innocent.” He said modestly.  The woman was speechless for a moment, then she stuttered out a few words, “You’re one a the ones that remembers everything, ain’t ya?” The man slowly nodded and reached out for her hand.
 
Later That Day
 
The man held the door of the small cabin open for the woman, and she stepped in silently. She was almost mesmerized by the condition of the cabin, “I ain’t seen somethin’ so nice since I was a child. It’s been a real long time.” The man pulled out the chair at the table for her, “Sit.” he said. “I’ll get you a glass of water.” The woman sat at the table, seeming to be contemplating something. The man put the glass on the table, “Here, this is the last of the clean stuff. Enjoy it.” She nearly broke into tears when she saw it, she didn’t believe it was real until she tasted it. “How can I possibly repay ya sir?” she sputtered. “You owe me nothing but a thank you.” he said, while he walked towards the loft and dug around for the Cherry Wood box. “Well, thank ya sir. Here take this granola bar, it ain’t much, but it’s all I got.” she said while the man sat down across the table from her and opened the box. The room fell silent for some time while the man arranged the contents of the box in the same particular manner. Pipe first, then tin, one match, and one pipe cleaner. He packed the pipe and lit the match the same way, off of the end of the pipe. 
 
The man and the woman sat silently at the table for a fair amount of time when the man heard a faint whisper outside. He walked cautiously towards the window near the door to peer out and see if there was anything. Nothing but the breeze. He moved sluggishly towards the door and peered through the dusty shades, still nothing but the breeze. He glanced back at the woman at the table, almost as if he looked for her approval to open the door. Just as he reached for the door handle he heard a metallic tap on the window, then the faint sound of a hammer being pulled back on a gun. He froze. Then, in an instant he reached for the .357 on his hip and fired two rounds through the door. A muffled thud of the body hitting the porch, and the echo of the two shots was all that could be heard. He looked down at the woman, who was now cradling her head in her hands with great sorrow. She looked up at him with remorse and knew she had to leave. She grabbed her things and walked silently out of the door, he heard nothing but a faint whimper, and she was gone. 
 
He went over to the loft and pulled out the cherry wood box. This time, he pulled the contents out with no order. He blindly packed the pipe, and lit the match off of the table. While he lightly pulled the thick smoke from the pipe, he thought about the person at the door. Where they were from, what they had known, who they had loved. Then he thought about how he had taken all of that away from the person at the door in an instant. When he was finished he sat the pipe down on the table and walked to the fireplace where he had cooked his many meals, and felt guilt for the killing the creatures. He removed the gun from the holster, pulled back the hammer, and in an instant, his guilt was gone. 


© Copyright 2019 Sergeant Baker. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments: