Gather 'Round

Gather ‘Round


The power had gone out for the entire town. Not more than five hundred people lived in it, and they had all learned to cope with this sort of occurrences. The 4 young men had travelled here for a retreat that would last for a couple of days, a much-needed separation from the big city. They had gone by alright at first, with Frank’s so-called “cabin in the woods” being a fully equipped house, outfitted with luxuries like a T.V. and a jacuzzi, generator and all. They had drank and read and relaxed for two days when the cold front swept everything under an icy blanket and left the entire town without a single working light bulb. Looks like the generator wasn’t working and needed maintenance, and the outage was really the only recent time anybody had tried using it.


“We’re screwed, trip’s screwed”, said Rick. “I can’t even get my damn phone charged”, replied Ivan. “Oh man wasn’t the heater inside electric?” asked Rick. They began searching through their belongings for some solution they brought from town, but really nothing they brought would be of any use. Twilight was beginning to settle in, and if things weren’t cold before, they sure were now. David began his panic attack, “Oh God, we don’t even have flashlights, do we? How are we gonna go back in there?” The house now looked more like the setting for a bad slasher film than a relaxation hotspot. The panic attack peaked then slowly died out when Frank came out of the cabin-themed villa dragging an axe and two machetes in this squeaky wheelbarrow he got from out back. “Ladies! We’re gonna need some firewood! Let’s try and hurry it up as much as possible so we can get a nice fire going before dusk sets in”, he called out to the three fellows standing out in the cold. In a hurry, they each took a tool from the wheelbarrow and followed Frank to the nearest fallen (or about to be fallen) tree.


A small man-sized portion of an old tree trunk lay on its side, not too far from the house. Frank nodded at the three men by his side and then nodded at the trunk, so they would stop staring at it and cut it up already. He put on a confused face and took out a medium bottle of whiskey from his largest coat pocket and took a heavy swig as the three men awkwardly pounded on the piece so as to make sure it was dead. He put the bottle in Rick’s left while he took the axe from his right, and left a sizeable cut on the log. It gave in with his second swing, and this went on for a couple of minutes while the wheelbarrow slowly filled up and the bottle slowly emptied.


Once they were back, the house was as dark as it was ever going to get, and they chose to set the fire up outside, as the first stars were beginning to show. “Did they ever shine like this during the previous nights?” asked David, visibly more enamored with the absence of light than he was before. “What? The stars?” asked Frank, “They’re actually not even showing right now, give it a few more hours, you’ll see what I mean, pal”. A couple of flicks from his lighter and Ivan got the wood going, and heat returned to their hands and feet and faces. Especially their faces, as their slightly drunken expressions were now revealed, and they laughed and joked about it for a couple of minutes. Rick and David would occasionally venture into the pitch-black interior of the house, scavenging for another bottle, only to bring it back and have it go around the fire as they told of their stories and dreams and embarrassments.


Laughing was heard near the fire frequently, as Frank put in more wood every now and then. The stars became more numerous and brighter as the night grew older. Frank gestured to David to look at them for a minute, and David told him about how the many lights in the sky looked like the streetlights and cars and houses he would observe from afar at night in the city. He didn’t notice at the time, but he forgot which city he meant.


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