Story-a-Day with Julie Duffy-1

Jack saw the cabin’s red metal roof among the white pines. How long had it been there? He had explored these woods for years but had never seen the cabin before. He was curious why there wasn’t any road access to reach it. “Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back.” How many times had his Gram said that to him? Gram was the queen of clichés but he loved her anyway.

Jack decided there had to be an access road somewhere in these woods. He glanced at his compass and noted the direction of the cabin. He recorded the coordination on his cell phone before setting off. The pine smell reminded Jack of his grandparent’s tree farm. He helped his Grandpa prune the trees, thin out the weak ones and fertilize them. It was their livelihood.

He heard the water roaring in the distance. He usually avoided the gorge because he wasn’t comfortable with water ever since he slipped off one the rocks and fell into the rushing water. Grandpa pulled him out but not before he had been pulled under a few times. He avoided the river ever since.

He paused to check his coordinates and the time. Jack knew the woods were different at night and that a lot of people became nervous with all the animal sounds. That didn’t faze Jack. He chuckled remembering when Alice jumped into his arms when the coyote bayed a couple weeks ago. She smelled of lilac and her hair was silky against his chin. Jack wouldn’t mind having that happen again.

The water snapping against the rocks prodded Jack into the moment. He wandered along the riverbank looking for a shallow area to cross. There was no way, he was going into the water again. He stumbled upon the bridge. That wasn’t there the last time he was here with Grandpa. Who built the bridge?

He stepped on the bridge but then looked down. He couldn’t stop shaking. He felt nauseous. He quickly leapt and slunk to the ground. This is ridiculous, he thought. He’s a grown man acting like a coward. The bridge looked secure, no broken planks or missing rails. Jack shrugged. He stood up and stiffened his back as he looked across the bridge.

One step at time, Jack vowed. He wouldn’t look down just straight ahead. Grandma always said his curiosity would get him in trouble but it also helped him grow. Slow breaths, Jack said over and over as he slowly inched forward over the gorge on the bridge. He could see the cabin clearer now in the opening.

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