Last Day In the Cabin

Antlers from a mounted reindeer head cast long shadows on the log cabin wall. The whole room was a flickering orange from the fire in the fireplace. The girl curled up on the bearskin rug was my wife and I puffed away at a pipe, wearing a flannel robe. Our little baby slept silently in a crib beside the bed. I stared into the fire, watching the burning coals seem to breathe as the flames did the mambo over the logs.

My mind was still on the snowy cliff and my near-death battle with the yeti, which had almost cut our ski-trip very short. The abominable snowman had pawed the side of my face and neck and I still wore the diagonal scars now, a week later. I had fought for my life, finally impaling the beast with my ski pole in our battle on the edge of the precipice. He went tumbling down, landing deep in a crevasse but I don’t think he was dead. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was coming for me now.

“What’s on your mind, Pietro?” my wife asked, tracing the rim of her wine glass with one of her delicate fingers. “I got in a fight out there,” I confessed.

She sat up, smiling as though it was a joke. “What are you talking about? There’s nobody for miles.”

“You’ve heard of the—the Yeti? The abominable snowman?” I asked. She frowned. “I was raised my Sherpas. Of course I have,” she answered.

I stared at her. “I thought you said you grew up in Maryland,” I said, taking a long drag on my pipe and regarding her with a curious smile. “I did,” she answered, staring into the burning coals. “But I spent the best fourteen months of my life stranded in the Himalayas.” She started crying. “I can’t talk about it…” I was instantly holding her in my arms, my pipe clenched in my teeth.

“It’s okay,” I said, stroking her lustrous hair as she sobbed quietly. “Did…” she started. “Did the Yeti have a pale blue stripe down its forehead and, like, a Mohawk?” I froze, mid-stroke. She knew from my reaction that he had. She cried even harder. “He’ll never let you live. He’ll hunt you down and hang your frozen corpse in his cave, gnawing chunks off it for months.” She cried more.

“I’m not worried,” I said. “I skewered him on my pole. I’m sure he’s badly injured. He must have lost a lot of blood.” My wife pulled away and wiped her tears. She scooped some chestnuts out of the fire with a little shovel, dropping them on the bricks to cool. I couldn’t get her to look at me. “Hey, it was him or me, baby,” I said, laying my hand on her bare shoulder.

Just then there was a loud scraping at the door. I took the rifle from the wooden rack on the wall, checking that it was loaded. The door burst open and I almost shot the uniformed ranger who stood there. “Get–…” he started to say before falling forward onto the rug, his back badly gored and spurting blood. I stepped over him out into the blue snowy twilight, rifle raised. A huge furry paw smacked me in the back of the head and I went down headfirst into the snow.

When I got up I saw the monster in there with my wife. I had to look away when I saw them embrace. I looked back and they were kissing on the lips. Without thinking twice I raised the gun and shot at them both. Then I reloaded. The baby stared up at me with a strange expression, not crying. I lifted him up, out of the crib and ran for the door but a powerful blow knocked me of my feet and I landed hard, blood leaking from a huge gash in my back.

The yeti loomed over me, my wife at his side. He pulled a few bullets out of his thick hide and dropped them on the floor with a toothy grin. My wife looked unhurt except for a long burn on her leg where she’d been grazed. The monster reached down and lifted the baby out of my hands as I lay there bleeding. He handed the infant to her. She cooed to the baby and the Yeti cooed too, patting the baby’s head with his furry paw. They stepped over me and I watched the three of them leave out into the cold blue gloaming. Then I turned to the fire, my only friend left, wondering which one of us would die first.

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