In the house of the four seasons

Chapter 1 - lost

He must have taken a wrong turn somewhere: he should have reached the cabin hours ago. There wasn't any reception this far out in the Appalachians, and his GPS was no more useful than any other ugly hood ornament. He'd really hoped to get there before sunset, but it looked like he'd be driving through the night.
The paved road gave way to gravel as he wound his way up the mountain, and the uncomfortable suspicion that he was lost gave way to dull certainty. It seemed quite likely that he'd already missed the driveway to the cabin, and that he wouldn't be able to find it until morning. The ditches along the sides of the road seemed to grow deeper with each passing mile.
It occurred to him, as gravel rattled under his tires, that he should have had the old clunker serviced before heading out into the middle of nowhere.
And then, off the road, a light! It wasn't the cabin he was looking for: as far as he knew, no one had been there since his uncle died, some three years ago, but it was a promise of warmth, and possibly directions. Suddenly hopeful, he steered down an unpaved, uneven path that he sorely hoped led to the light.
Something darted in front of the car as he rolled into the clearing, and he jerked the wheel suddenly to avoid running it over. The old car lurched into a hole, and stopped with a startling snap. Shaking, the young man turned off the car, and got out. There was no going back now: nothing for it but to knock.
The yard was lit by a few old kerosene lanterns, hung from trees. Even though it was fast approaching May, something about the flickering light, the still-leafless trees, and the chill in the air reminded him of Halloween as a small child. The splintered porch, still carpeted with last fall's leaves, only added to that image. Unsure of who would answer, he approached the door, and knocked.
He certainly wasn't expecting the smiling woman who came to the door. She seemed oddly unsurprised to find a stranger in her yard after dark. "You're looking for the old Wilson place? You missed it nearly ten miles back, friend, and I don't think you'll find it easily before dawn. Yes, I saw what happened to your car there: if you like, you can spend the night here. We have a spare room. No, don't you protest: it's no trouble at all. My sisters and I will be glad of the company." She surveyed him with a smile, and seemed to like what she saw. "My name's Spring. What might yours be?"
"Malcom. Malcom Wilson." He was amazed by their hospitality.
"Well, Malcom, make yourself at home." The door creaked as she pushed it farther open, an ancient thing, and he stepped in.
Indoors, he could get a better look at her: she was tall for a woman, almost as tall as his six-foot frame, and generously soft for her height. Her clothes seemed oddly timeless: if he had to guess, he'd say the green, square-necked tunic she wore was from the 1970's, but it could easily have been much older, or, the way fashions were tilting again, it could have been bought yesterday. Her hair was yellow, and formed a braid that fell to her lower back. "You can take the couch for the night. I'll go get the others, and we'll sort your car out in the morning."
Spring walked lightly up a creaking wooden staircase, and returned with another woman, shorter and chubbier than the first, with bobbed orange hair and freckles. "It might be a little late for introductions: Summer and Winter are asleep already. Fall, this is Malcom: he'll be staying the night with us, before going back to the old Wilson place. Do you think you can give his car a look in the morning?"
"Gladly: it'll be nice having close neighbors again." The orange-haired woman laughed. "We're the only ones for a good twenty miles. Spring's right, though: it is getting late. Once you've settled in, I'll be off to bed. Anything important can wait for the morning."
1 chapter, created StoryListingCard.php 10 years
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Built4com4t 10 years
fabulous start :-)