by Louise Dragon
The cabin squatted against the hillside like a camouflaged toad.
Terry was ever so glad to see a sign of civilization blooming in this Godforsaken forest.
“Look,” she shouted to her three hiking companions. “There’s a little cabin over there.”
Gordon shielded his eyes against the afternoon sun and quickly scanned the horizon. “Wow, babe, how’d you spot that? It looks like a relic from another generation.”
“Who cares how she saw it,” Ollie snorted. “All I know is . . . I’m friggin exhausted and if that cabin spells R-E-S-T, then I’m all for it.”
“Lightweight!” her main squeeze Wes retorted as he mopped at his red sweaty face with a jaunty blue bandana.
“I’m with you, Ollie,” Terry said sprinting toward the little hut.
“Wait, maybe someone lives here,” Gordon said quickening his pace to try and head off Terry’s arrival at the little door.
“Naw,” Terry said creaking open the heavy wooden door on its rusty hinges. She paused a moment to spit on the top hinge. “You said yourself it looks like something from another generation.”
“You unlock this door with the key of imagination,” Gordon said solemnly in his best Rod Serling voice. “Do-do, do-do, do-do, do-do,” he went on imitating the sounds of the old sixties Twilight Zone music.
“Can it!” Terry said. “You’re giving Ollie the creeps.”
Petite, blond, Olivette’s eyes had widened considerably at the strains of that old sixties television show, but now they narrowed in Gordon’s direction.
“You cut it out. I need to rest and I need to rest right now. My calves are killing me!” She brushed past Terry and Gordon into the cabin but stopped short just inside the door.
“What the . . .” Ollie’s words trailed off as the door swung inward revealing a clean modern interior that looked a million miles away from the exterior squalidness of this little structure.
“Oh shit, someone does live here!” Terry said.
“How do you know?” Ollie whined. “I just need to sit down for a few minutes. We won’t disturb anything.” She plopped into an armchair and glared at her three companions standing uneasily just inside the open door.
Plink, plink, plink came an unusual sound from the next room – everyone froze.
“Hello,” shouted Terry, “anyone home?”
More plinking sounds . . .
Terry cautiously crept around the corner to the next room. The plinking sound turned out to be a small refrigerator making moon shaped ice cubes, which plinked into a small tray in the freezer.
“Just the ice machine making ice.”
“Ice machine?” Gordon frowned. “Where is the power coming from way out here?”
“Like I said, who cares?” Ollie answered. “Terry will you bring me a giant glass of ice water, Hon?”
“Already done, Hon!” Terry emerged from the tiny kitchen with four large glasses filled to the brim with ice and water.
After passing out the glasses, Terry took a large swig from the remaining glass.
It was the only sound Terry could make. The strange shaped ice cubes fastened around her tongue and she felt coldness traveling down her throat. She shuddered as frosty tentacles of ice branched out into all of the appendages and organs of her body. As the numbing arctic fingers pried into her brain, Terry began to relax. The coldness became a welcoming coolness on this ridiculously arid planet. Internal icy armor to protect delicate new brain cells from the scorching temperatures outside of this haven.
Terry opened cool ice-blue eyes and gazed into three sets of identical peepers from around the room. She cleared her frosty vocal cords and spoke in a cool throaty alien voice.
“What a beautiful little hideaway,” she snarled. “So cool and inviting -- I’ll bet all of our friends would like to visit.”
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