She approached the rundown cabin and lightly rapped on the door. “Hello? Is someone in there?” she politely said in between knocks. “Hello?” The little building remained dark and there was nothing stirring inside. Meow scratched at the door as she was knocking.
“Meow,” he said as he nudged the door with his head.
“Do you think I should try to go in?” she questioned out loud, encouraged by the cat’s behavior. Her hand trembled as she reached for the latch. It was stiff as she turned it but it was unlocked and the door slowly creaked open as she pushed it with her finger tips. “Hello?” she said in a small voice as she stepped inside.
The inside was quaint, however, it was obvious that no one had visited this place in a long while. A thin layer of dust and cobwebs covered the furniture and some sticks had fallen from the roof onto the stone floor. There were some candles on the table and a box of matches. She lit a few candles and then carried one around the room to see what she could find. There were various dishes, and pots on the shelves around the fireplace, near an old pump sink. In one corner a small bed with a little nightstand and a dresser created a sleeping area. There was a bookshelf by the door and a stuffed blue chair with dingy, gold buttons on the back. It was a nice little cabin that looked to be well cared for at one time.
The sun outside was almost gone below the trees and the warm temps left with the light. “I guess this is where we will be for the night,” she said to the little orange cat. His eyes glowed in the candle light as he started to purr. She couldn’t help but wonder why a little cabin was here in the middle of nowhere, and why someone would just leave all of their stuff here.
She found a small stack of wood by the fireplace and started a fire, which lit the walls of the little cabin. She drew the curtains over the couple of little windows. She noticed she had left the door open, and that her little furry friend was gone. She immediately felt anxious, as the only interaction she had was with that cat, and now he was nowhere to be seen. She went out on the porch and noticed that the curtains blocked the bright light of the fireplace. She peered out into the darkness. The chill of the night air blew across her face as her gaze raked the forest edge. As the wind blew a shiver ran down her spine and she lightly shuddered as she wrapped her arms around her waist for warmth.
All at once, the sounds of her surroundings were muted – no rustle of the wind, no crickets. She felt sad and alone. She started to turn towards the door to go back in when she saw two yellow eyes glowing in the dark, moving towards her at a rapid rate. The large shadowy figure was mammoth and flowing as if gliding through the air. She gasped, spun on her heels into the cabin, slamming the door shut behind her.
She sat against the door, holding the latch as she held her breath, trying to not make a sound. What is happening? She thought as she felt her heart beat harder and harder in her chest. She jumped when she heard a light scratching on the door. She sat there for a moment and started to breathe again. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. She swallowed hard, her shoulders shook with fear. The room seemed to be getting darker and she held her breath again.
“Meow?” came the sweet sound from the other side of the door. She let out a slow breath. The room started to come back into focus. She stood and opened the door slowly to see the adorable little orange cat, with a fish that was bigger than his own body. Meow had gone to catch them dinner. She stuck her head out of the door and looked into the darkness. There was no sign of the big creature she had seen running through the dark. The breeze was back to rustling everything outside and the crickets were chirping in the dark.
There they sat in the overstuffed blue chair with the dingy gold buttons. Her feet were kicked up on a small ottoman and the little orange cat sat on her lap purring, while they waited for the fish to cook. The cabin’s dusty smell was airing out and the smell of boiled fish filled the room. She felt comfortable here. Sitting in the cushy chair with the little cat on her lap felt familiar, however, she could not remember anything clearly. She rubbed her temple trying to get rid of the fog in her head as she scratched behind Meow’s ear.
She found some blankets in a trunk at the foot of the bed that were not covered in dust and made up the little bed for the night. With the blankets wrapped around her, she sank into the soft billows of the bed. She cuddled up trying to fight the cool dampness that was coming in through the few unpatched areas of the roof. She couldn’t get her brain to calm down; it was racing over all the unknowns she had experienced throughout the day. The frustrations of not knowing how she got there, of not being able to remember anything leading up to her waking up by the lake. Everything felt so familiar, yet so strange all in the same moment.
Softly sighing, she slowly fell asleep. Her dreams were snapshots of bright lights and people, whose faces she couldn’t make out. There were shadowy figures dancing around a fire, shooting stars flashing past their heads, laughter and giddy shrieks. Then nothing but cold, dark, wetness.
Boom! She awoke to the crashing of thunder. Lightning danced on the dark walls. Rain dripping through the roof, landing in small pots that had been left there from before. Meow was curled at her side, licking her hand to comfort her. She laid her head back down onto the pillow and gently stroked the cat’s head. “I thought this was part of the dream,” she whispered.
The rain hadn’t let up by morning, though it was a little brighter in the cabin. She added more wood to the embers in the fireplace, and snacked on the leftover boiled fish with her furry friend. She placed a small dish of water on the floor for Meow so he wouldn’t have to go outside. Her curiosity about the house got the better of her and she started to dig through everything she could find, as she slowly cleaned away the built up dust.
“What do you think we might find, Meow? Treasures? Clues? I really wish you could talk back to me,” she chimed to the cat.
“Meow,” he responded as he settled on the ottoman washing his face. She wiped down the tables and washed the dishes. She dusted around the fireplace and found a small knife that she put in her bag. It had a carved wooden handle with a little leather sheath covering the blade.
“I don’t think anyone will miss it,” she said with a shrug. She dug through the trunk and found a pair of pants made of a dark canvas which were about her size. There was a small pantry behind the fireplace that held some dried goods: flour, sugar, hay, and spices. There were some more books and clothes in the back as well. She used some of the hay to patch the leaky parts of the roof as best she could.
She sat down in the overstuffed blue chair with Meow and looked through the bookshelf. There was a small wooden box that chimed a song when she opened it. The pain in her head started to throb with the tones. She closed her eyes and hummed the tune. “I know this song,” she said slowly to Meow. Meow, however showed no interest in what was happening and settled in for a nap. Inside the box there was a beautiful pendant that had the clearest red stone she had ever seen. It hung on a glistening silver chain with scrolling details holding the stone in place. It was breathtaking. “Why would someone leave this behind?” She questioned as the music box started the song over. She shut the box with the pendant back inside of it. Someone will be back for that, she thought to herself. They would have to be.
She pulled out one of the books and started to read a story of a girl who fell in love with a prince. About three quarters of the way through the book she found a small piece of paper that was being used as a bookmark. She stared at it in disbelief. The paper said ‘Fig knows the way.’ She jumped up from where she sat; Meow went flying in the air in a big puff of orange fur and a hiss. “Sorry kitty,” she said as she raced for her bag. The scrap she found in the book was the same size, color and texture as the note she had in her bag. The paper had the same old musty smell and the color of the ink matched. Most importantly, the rough edges of both papers fit perfectly together. ‘Make it home. Fig knows the way.’
"Who is Fig?!" she yelled.
Her little orange companion, who had been sitting on the edge of the overstuffed chair, had stopped smoothing out his fur and was watching her pace about the room. His golden eyes were wide and his ears pushed forward. She continued to pace back and forth in the room talking out loud. “How am I supposed to make it home when I don’t know where home is? Who is this Fig? What the hell does this mean?!” she yelled.
“Meow,” the cat again said, and looked at her with wide eyes. She stopped pacing.
“Fig?” she whispered and the cat responded with another meow. “Fig. Your name is Fig?” The cat meowed again and walked over to her and rubbed against her legs. “Well if you’re Fig, did you just bring me home?