Sunday, February 23, 2014


Draft episode from "Elrod's Awakening," my novel in progress -- Elrod and Cher, a turning point ...

"Probably way overgrown. Look for a  little log cabin"
"There!" Elrod said.
"Drive right up to it through the brush."
The van lurched as Elrod pulled off the road and rocked back and forth as he neared the cabin, the van leaving a trail of pressed down brush.
"Surprised? I hope it isn't too messed up inside."
"Sure out of the way," Elrod answered. "How am I going to get along here when you leave?"
"I'll get the electric turned on. Let's go inside. I'll use the walker but please bring my wheelchair inside. We'll need to get bedding and groceries and whatever else later."
Inside, dampness and darkness greeted them along with a musty scent. Elrod pulled back dusty curtains to let in light while Cher wheeled over to a woodstove. The one-room cabin had a medium sized futon, four wooden chairs, a table, a bathroom closet that contained a compost toilet, the woodstove, a low broad shelf and cabinets that contained dishes, utensils, a small refrigerator and a propane camp stove..
"No leaks," Cher said. "This is an amazing little place. I'll tell you the story about it later. Look out the back, there's a standpipe. When the electric's on, we'll have cool, clear water, I hope. The well's real deep."
Elrod laughed. "Far, far better than many places I've slept."
Cher looked at her smartphone, two to three bars, and phoned the electric company. A truck could be there in the afternoon. "There's a shed in the back with some useful things in it too, if they're not rusted," she said. "Might be some usable firewood on the ground too. I hope the chimney pipe isn't clogged up with a critter nest."
Elrod gathered up sticks and logs that broke off fallen trees, placed them in and alongside the woodstove, removed a butane lighter from his backpack, and with the trash from their meals on the road, lit the woodstove. No clog in the stove pipe.
"Warmth!" Cher said, laughing. I really like her laugh, Elrod thought.
"Tell you what," she said. "Let's just get groceries after the electricity is turned on."
Cher wheeled over to the bed, removed the clear plastic covering and felt the mattress. It seemed cool and slightly damp, but it could dry with the woodstove heat, she thought.
"I'm beat from the drive," she said. "We'll use your sleeping bag tonight, get bedding tomorrow. We could have gotten it before we arrived, but I wasn't sure about how things here would be. We'll rest and cook up a little dinner." She laughed again.
Elrod's eyebrows raised. "Okay," he said, not sure how to respond.
 I wonder what's going to become of my adopted identity as detective Elrod Mathews, he thought, and how this is going to turn out.

That night, Cher, in her wheelchair, asked Elrod to listen as she unfolded her story. "I'm a misfit," she said, "like you. But in a different way. I'll tell you a little about it. Then, if you want, you tell me a bit about you."
"Not much to tell, really, than you seem to know already."
"We'll see."
Elrod removed a pan of steaming water from the woodstove and poured the water into two cups, each with a teabag of chai. Into each he added a half a teaspoon of stevia and some soy creamer. He handed one cup, on a saucer, with a spoon, to Cher. He sat back on the futon with his cup. Switching arms, Cher moved the wheelchair closer to the woodstove and faced Elrod. They both sipped in silence, the slight scent of wood burning and the sound of the low fire undertones in the cabin. A single lamp lit the room with an amber glow.
"You know about the motorcycle accident," she said.

(C) Copyright 2014 Wes Rehberg

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