The woods were dark and dank. We’d lost our way, somehow we’d slipped off the main path and now found ourselves stumbling through the woods with no idea of direction. We had to admit it to it, we’d not just lost our way, we were lost. No maps, no compass, no GPS, we were lost. The only thing that would get us out of this predicament was luck. All we could do was keep on walking and hope for the best.
I’d gotten into a bit of a sulk after pointlessly arguing about whose fault it was and I’d dropped behind. Startled to find myself alone I stopped and listened. I heard rustling ahead and hurriedly pressed on. To my relief I quickly caught up with Jean only to find her on the threshold of a tiny cabin. It was like something out of a fairy tale. A small wood cabin, perhaps a quarter of the size one would normally expect. It was quite bizarre. Watching Jean, crouched besides the front door, made me think of Alice in Wonderland and the cake labelled, “Eat Me.” It just seemed so unreal that I couldn’t cope with the disparity in size.
Who would build such a cabin? And what was it for? At least its presence was comforting, we couldn’t be that far from civilisation. The cabin was locked, so we left it behind us as we searched for a way out of the woods. As we continued walking we talked about the cabin and made up elaborate stories explaining its existence. Was it home to some sort of fairy tale creature, a family of elves or similar creatures? Was there someone being kept captive in there? Or perhaps it guarded the entrance to a mine containing something precious, such as gold or diamonds. It could be the hiding place of some fugitive from justice, hiding away in the woods. We continued to speculate for an hour or so before we came across signs of civilisation. Our first sign was the smell of woodsmoke on the air, then, to our relief, we stumbled onto a well worn path. Following the path in the direction the smoke was coming from led us to the outskirts of a small village. Civilization at last!
We repaired to the village inn for refreshments and fortification. Over our meal and a few drinks we asked the innkeeper about the tiny cabin we’d seen in the woods. His explanation was disappointingly mundane. Apparently many of the villagers owned small cabins which they’d use during hunting season. They offered emergency shelter from the weather and a convenient hearth to cook a warming meal.
We left the village with full bellies, secure in the knowledge that we were back on track. It had been an adventure, one that would give us something to reminisce about in evenings to come. I still like to think though of the tiny cabin as having some less prosaic explanation, one involving fairy tales in some way.
Written in response to the Creative Writing Ink October 11th writing prompt competition