The cabin had turned out to be a glorified trailer with an addition on the front and a wide deck to the side with sliding glass doors that led to the open living area. In addition to the two bedrooms, the trailer section had a bathroom and a kitchen but the water had been turned off so the girls had been instructed the previous night to use the outhouse outback unless it was an emergency.
Pete and Dot had spent their weekends on that outside deck listening to the birds and the faint sound of the creek out back. Dot would walk barefoot through the woods careful not to drop any crumbs from her liverwurst, onion and tomato sandwich. She loved the rushing stream and enjoyed dipping her toes into the cold water meditating on their good luck. She and Pete happily married for twenty-five years and counting. Anthony had said that Pete and Dot’s offspring would often visit in the summer
steeping the wood with their shrieks and laughter.
Gina tried to imagine this but couldn’t. Her family the opposite pole, cold and distant. She’d been a happy child though, always smiling at strangers, asking if she could move in with them. Informing them that she was a good cat, they would have no trouble with her. No indeed. She was smart too and very clean.
But the strangers would smile back and go about their day. And she would shrug it off and try again. All the while becoming smarter and more resourceful. One time she got her tail stuck in a fence, the harder she pulled the more stuck she became.
Until she grew tired and fell asleep. She’d remembered after her nap that her tail had come loose and she could wriggle herself free without any trouble at all.
This was the natural way of things. Gina would often wait for the problem to solve itself and it worked most of the time. Simply do nothing and wait. It was her secret.
Except, she couldn’t get that image out of her head. Hard as she tried. She’d work so hard to forget or had she dreamt it? That orange cat had turned and winked at her. It was like she knew her. But how could that be? Gina would’ve remembered her and the other shadows that didn’t look like a cat at all. It looked like something she had never seen before. It was tall and wooden with a frozen face, shells for eyes and two shell drop earrings, and it had leered at her. There was something else too…a machine like nothing she’d seen. That’s what had made the whoosh and banging. She hadn’t told them. How could she? Tony, Dirty J., and Sue would’ve carted her off to the funny farm.