Through the Door

The Challenge: The door to your house has come unstuck in time. The next time you walk through it, you find yourself in the same place, but a different time entirely. Where are you, and what happens next?…

Author’s note: When I began this writing challenge, it took on a life of its own.  I haven’t had this much fun (writing) in a long while.  That being said, I figured that 2,000+ words were a bit much to post for a challenge, so this is the first draft of Chapter One.

~~*~~

Her Monday routine was not going well at all. The power was out, so the alarm didn’t wake her. She was going to be late – again.

“SHIiiii*!!,” was her first word of the day. And the second when she saw the coffee pot was empty. The third time was in the shower when she-without-coffee realized there would be no hot water coming down the pipes today. Washing her face in cold water helped wake her, but did nothing to help her mood.

After rushing about gathering her briefcase, throwing an apple and a yogurt into her tote bag, she scooped her keys out of the little ceramic bowl her niece made her in art class and opened the front door.

Expecting to see her little white Honda parked at the curb, she stood there on the porch, dumbfounded.

Her fourth word of the day was “Wha …?”  Along with her car, the entire neighborhood had vanished. Pavement, sidewalks, homes, cars and people were gone. She was standing, alone, in the middle of the woods. There were pine, cedar and oak trees towering above her. Some of them she could not see the top of without lying down on the ground to look up. Otherwise she would fall over backwards. Sunbeams penetrated where they could, but there seemed to be more shadow than light.

ForestLight

Without any man-made sound, like traffic or radio,  it was completely silent.

When she looked behind her, where her house used to be, was a log cabin. How was this possible? She walked into the place (the door was open).  The first thing she noticed, because they nearly took all the floor space, was a solid oak table and four chairs. The floorboards looked like some other type of wood. The kitchen area was neat and tidy. She only knew it was a kitchen because of the cupboards and shelves holding bowls, pans, and weird utensils. She recognized a rolling-pin and a biscuit cutter.

The house did not  have any appliances, or water. No electrical outlets. No bathroom. How could people live like this? Maybe it was a get-away-from-it-all deal. Some vacation that would be. She really wanted her iPod now, playing soothing music in her ears. “If I lived here I would have to talk to myself all the time,” she told herself.

Up in a loft, was a wooden framed bed.  She debated awhile, then ended up trying it out. The frame held a fluffy mattress made from clouds – or whatever made it so comfortable. She could fall asleep for a week in this bed. On top of the bed was a lovely patchwork quilt. She had seen it before – somewhere. She even recognized some of the fabrics used to make it.

Someone lived here, and was probably close by, judging from the small fire that was warming a tea kettle in the fireplace.

She didn’t know where to go, but she did not want to be discovered, like Goldilocks, snoozing in a bed that belonged to whoever owned this place. Her briefcase had vanished along with her car. She still had her tote bag, but it no longer had her iPhone, iPod or car keys. The apple was the only occupant now. After walking into the forest for a while, she came across a small clearing where she could see the house, but remain hidden from view. She was pretty sure no one would be able to see her. She decided to stay here because who knew when she would come across another house – if ever. Using the tote as a picnic blanket, she settled down on the ground, eating her apple and watching the house.

Her thoughts raced around in her head. Was I transported here? Did some kind of time-warp happen?  She fought the tears welling up in her eyes. “No crying!” she told herself out loud. She needed to think, and have a plan. She hoped a nice family lived in the house and would be willing to help her out. Of course, the occupant could easily be some horny, smelly, old man. Or worse – men.

What seemed like hours passed and she grew bored with her stake-out. She decided to hike around a bit (thank God she wore sensible shoes today), while it was daylight. Maybe, she would discover other log houses, or, hope against hope, a town. She began hiking uphill so she could improve her field of vision. If  she hadn’t been afraid of heights, she would climb a tree. They were certainly tall enough.

One thing, she thought, I should have paid attention in science class. She had been too busy staring (drooling over) at Billy Hansen to learn anything, and now she was lost in the forest, her watch vanished with her other gadgets, and she needed to figure out what direction she was going, and when she would run out of light.

What seemed like only an hour later,  the blue sky turned a darker blue while a pinkish, then orange glow slipped down over the horizon. The trees were ominous (and creepy) in the dark.

“Perfect.” she mumbled. “I hope there’s a big moon tonight, cuz I left my flashlight in another century.” She giggled hysterically, alternately thinking ‘I’m losing my mind’ and ‘I crack myself up’. Once she calmed herself down, she sat cross-legged and gave in to exhaustion. She was afraid to lie on the ground to sleep (who knew what kind of insects and reptiles lurked), so she dozed on and off, sitting there, praying she would wake up in her own bed, in her own time.

An owl swooped across the sky and screeched, startling her awake. She was still in the forest. But in the direction she was facing, she was pretty sure it was east because the sun sank behind her, there was a faint light on the horizon. She watched as the three-quarter moon rose in the sky. She was impressed with how bright it’s light was. With no artificial light, it only competed with the billion stars carpeting the heavens.

After her eyes adjusted to the available light, she tried to find the little trail she followed up here. Instead she discovered another route that took her up a bit farther and from there she could see how the little log house stood in a fair-sized clearing. In back of it there was a small barn, and an outhouse. She could see in the window because there was light inside. Excited to know (sort of) where she was, she tried to catch a glimpse of who lived there. They must be sitting by the fire, she imagined. It was a chilly spring night. She pulled her sweater together and stretched the sleeves over her hands. At least there were no bugs chewing on her.

She saw movement that looked like a man crossing in front of the window. He stepped out on the porch, followed by a dog who immediately ran to a tree and lifted its leg. The man took what looked like a small bag out of his shirt pocket and began doing something – she couldn’t make out what it was, so she stood up and made her way through some bushes for a better look.

That was when she heard the click sound.

She froze mid-step, her heart pounded up her throat, and fear overtook her. Her instincts screamed “Run!”. Before she could move she heard another sound. It was the sound of metal cutting through her shinbone. Her scream was so shrill that only the man’s dog could hear it.

~~*~~

photo credit: D.Reichardt via photopin cc

Local Lingo: Fire Categories

I am (slowly) learning the local ways around my new home and the firefighting terms used lately.  I thought I would share this article with you so we all can understand the Ramsey Fire updates as they are posted at  The Pine Tree  … I will be looking for them throughout the day, for the obvious reason. I will not be posting each update on this blog, however, if you are interested in Arnold, or it’s surrounding communities in the Sierra Nevada foothills, John Hamilton will keep y’all up to date. Just click  HERE and bookmark it.

A Bit of Fire Lingo for You (Posted by: John_Hamilton on 08/16/2012 09:08 AM)
Ganns Meadow, CA…With the Ramsey Fire there has been quite a bit of interest in the how the USFS categorizes fires. This was sent to us and contains some great information. A single tree would be a Type 5 incident – a truck goes out and monitors or puts it out. Type three teams will have some air support, maybe a hot shot crew or two (Type 1 ‘Elite’ firefighters) , some engines and maybe one or two Type 2 hand crews (less skilled than Hot Shot crews, but still skilled). The Forest has evaluated the local weather, fire behavior and resources at risk in the local area and determined a Type II Incident Management Team is in order. When the Forest “threw the switch” for a Type II team, trailers for offices, a portable mess hall, supplies for a supply cache, porta potties, hand washing units and other necessary items for a “Project Fire” were mobilized. A special group of “Overhead” management staff have also been called, people who’ve spent their careers working to fill jobs on Incident Management teams.

The team will be communicating with the ‘North Operations Center’ (North Ops) in Redding as they evaluate the fire further and begin requesting fire fighters from across the country. They will divide the fire into Divisions or Branches and members of the Team will be assigned to manage each Division of the fire.

The big fire is being broken down into management units and each unit will be staffed with necessary resources to meet the management objectives of the Forest. Since this is human caused, it will be full suppression – the fire will be surrounded with fire line, crews will try keeping the fire inside the line, and when it cools off, the fire will be mopped up 200 – 250 feet inside the line by those Type 2 and Type 3 crews, it will be contained a portion at a time, and finally controlled.

If the fire turns into a Type I incident, that is a big one. The Type I team manages one or more Type 2 teams and all the complexity around a very large fire, the politicians showing up, vastly expanded media coverage, etc. If the fire goes Type I, pay very close attention to the news, wind directions, weather and your property.

Type 2 & Type I teams have Public Information Officers running an information “Trap Line,” a 24 -48 hour update of fire info to local media, posting maps and press releases in local businesses, arranging public meetings, making the world safe for dignitaries, managing TV and news reporters, etc. Find out where the trap line businesses are, and you will get the most up to date info possible, short of a Twitter feed, Inciweb is your next best source.

Ramsey Fire Map: Aug16th Morning Update
Ramsey Fire Map: Aug16th Morning Update

Ramsey Fire Morning Update…1,150 Acres, 30% Contained, One Way Traffic Control on Hwy 4 Through Fire Area

Posted by: John_Hamilton on 08/16/2012 08:54 AM
Ganns Meadow, CA…Today fire crews will continue with fire suppression efforts. Fire crews will be working on preparing an area along the southwestern edge of the fire near the Stanislaus River for planned burnout operation tonight and tomorrow morning depending on fire conditions. The burnout operation is being planned to help secure containment line along an area that is unsafe for fire crews to work in, due to steep terrain and standing dead trees. Steep terrain and limited access along the Stanislaus River is a major concern and are making direct line construction along the fire unsafe for crews.