Authors: Shaye Marlow
Two Cabins, One Lake
Copyright © 2015 by Shaye Marlow
All Rights Reserved
This story is a work of fiction. All of the characters, places,
and events in this book are the products of the author’s imagination and/or are
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real people, places, or events is
came.’ No, I’d used that one about a thousand times already. ‘Exploded’ and
‘climaxed’ were out. ‘Orgasmed’ was too clinical. ‘Peaked’? No, too
soft-core vague. I needed something fresh, something new, something crazy-hot.
I was drawing a blank. There probably wasn’t just one word
for what I needed. Okay, so what about a simile or metaphor? ‘Rapid
decompression’? Too technical. ‘A million fiery shards of pleasure lanced at
her innards’… The phrase failed the wince-test, so, no; too painful.
‘The earth shook.’
For a wistful moment, I thought I might actually be having
an orgasm, because damned if the earth wasn’t shaking. Wait, that was my
I finally surfaced enough from my word processor to remember
that earthquakes were the most common cause of shaking in Alaska. So I did
what any good Alaskan would do: I sat, and waited to see if it was going to
My pots and pans were rattling on the rack over my kitchen
sink when I realized this ‘earthquake’ was accompanied by a thrumming, pounding
roar. Or was that in my ears?
Hell, maybe I
having an orgasm.
I’d been enjoying that scene, but…
But then the noise and vibrations reached their peak and a
helicopter came into view, having flown directly over my cabin. I leaned
forward, watching out my picture window as the helicopter crossed the lake. It
set down on my neighbor’s front lawn, a couple hundred feet down the shore from
Three people stepped out onto the grass, and then the
helicopter lifted back into the sky. The wind of its passage rippled the
glassy water, and as it roared by overhead, my pots rattled again. The people
disappeared into the cabin.
When they came back out, I indulged my burning curiosity, and
engaged my binoculars. I’d purchased this set for birdwatching, but as I
looked through them, I confirmed they worked just as well on potential new
neighbors. The three men looked innocuous enough—no hunchbacks or
scissor-hands, at least—and I wondered if one of them was the new owner.
Or was my new neighbor the helicopter pilot? It hadn’t
looked like any flight-service aircraft that I was familiar with. Besides, who
would pay to charter a helicopter at over a thousand dollars an hour, when a
float plane was infinitely cheaper and could carry more?
No sooner had I finished that thought, than a plane on
floats dropped below the treetops on final approach. The DeHavilland Beaver
sporting familiar flight-service colors, I saw as it skimmed across the water,
kicking up waves until it settled into a slow glide. It drifted up to the
neighbor’s dock, and the pilot unloaded five passengers. And then, a bunch of
stuff. Boxes, a cooler, a barbecue.
Four of the guys began carrying things up to the cabin as a
fifth helped the pilot get the Beaver turned around. The pilot gunned it, and with
an ear-splitting roar, the float plane charged across the lake. It lifted up
out of the water, and then the aluminum contraption was thrumming away over the
I frowned. That was eight people now. What was this, one
of those families that had as many children as possible because each one meant
another permanent fund dividend? The permanent fund dividend was an annual oil
royalty payment that each resident in Alaska received, usually one to two
thousand dollars. There were reports of homesteading families with over a
dozen children for this reason, some of them very much resembling the Craster’s
Keep situation from Game of Thrones.
But, I confirmed with my binoculars, none of these were
children. They looked to be all in their twenties and thirties, clean,
well-dressed types. I watched them crack open the cooler and start passing
around beers. After their initial flurry of movement, they just milled and
drank, and I lost interest in spying on them. I had misgivings about the mass
consumption of alcohol on my little lake, but watching them do it wouldn’t
The fact was, I needed to write. I had a deadline for the juicy
little story I was working on, and that deadline was tomorrow. I’d gotten
started on it first thing this morning, and was hoping to get it done—or at
least very close to done—by evening, so I could go to the neighborhood Fourth
of July party.
Not that this was much of a traditional ‘neighborhood’.
There were no roads to speak of, the main thoroughfare being the Kuskana River,
and my next closest ‘neighbor’ was a mile downstream.
A flash of orange next door caught my eye. Flames leapt
three feet up out of the grill, and a couple guys were laughing and patting
each other on the back.
‘Her nerve endings flared like they’d been
drenched in lighter fluid.’ ‘Douched’ with lighter fluid? No, bad. I fiddled
with it a bit, and continued on with my scene. My sexy, ladies-first hero had
his head buried between my main char’s milky thighs, and he kept her fire
burning for several decadent sentences.
I was just getting back into the flow of things when my pots
announced the helicopter’s return. Three more people jumped out onto the grass,
and the helicopter took off and thundered overhead. Again.
I was starting to get a little annoyed. One would think, if
you owned an aircraft that loud, you’d have the common courtesy not to fly
directly over a building. In fact, I was pretty sure there were regulations to
The body count next door was up to eleven, and I picked my
binoculars back up to see if I could figure out what was going on over there.
As I gazed though my high-powered lenses at the people, and the beer, and the barbecue,
I finally put it together. It was a party. Housewarming slash Fourth of July
Having solved the riddle didn’t make the activity next door
any less distracting. For the first time ever, I considered turning my writing
desk away from the window. It was sunny and already getting hot, even a little
bit before noon. Seeing bare male chests begin to emerge from beneath their
shirts finally decided me. There was no way I could write with
It was as I was turning my desk that the Beaver touched down
again. Another five people emptied out onto the dock, along with another load
of boxes and a big flat-screen TV. Same drill; to the cabin with the stuff, to
the beer with the people.
I stared blankly at my screen for a few minutes, and decided
I’d break for lunch. The plan was to eat, and hopefully my new neighbor would
complete his friend-ferrying, and then I could write.
One of the things I loved most about living in the Alaskan bush
was the quiet. I slept with my window open at night, listening to the sunset
birdsong, the breeze rustling the leaves, the gentle lapping of the lake twenty
feet below my window. There were no highway sounds, no neighbor dogs barking,
no train crossings or lawn mowers or kids shrieking with glee.
There was just me, and the wilderness.
And now, apparently, there was my neighbor and his couple
dozen friends, whom he continued to ferry, all afternoon. The helicopter flew
whomp whomp whomp
—and out, and in—
whomp whomp whomp
about a dozen times over the course of the day. With each new trip, he brought
a handful more people.
So, as the summer sun meandered its way across the sky, the
noise level got higher and higher. The sounds carried with crystalline clarity
across the water—the
boom boom boom
of a quality speaker emitting heavy
bass, the drunken laughter and shrieks as people splashed in the lake.
I stuttered through another couple hundred words—trash, all
of it. In frustration, I went and sat on my deck, wondering if I should just
go to my own Fourth of July party instead of being tormented by my neighbor’s.
But how could I enjoy myself, with three thousand words
hanging over my head? Three thousand words, and only the rest of tonight and
two to three hours tomorrow to do it in. And that wasn’t counting editing. No,
I couldn’t go.
As the evening wore into a deeper, louder evening, and I
still couldn’t concentrate, I contemplated the merits of shooting my neighbor.
On the one hand, there’d be no more loud, drunken parties.
On the other, I’d have to dispose of the body—dumping it in the
river would probably be my best bet. That would likely be easy enough, but I
was pretty sure my new neighbor was the helicopter pilot, so shooting him would
mean I’d be stuck with his friends thrashing through my woods for the next day
or so, looking for food or phone. And
was unacceptable, because I
was absolutely sure the first thing they’d blunder through with their ignorant
city feet was my blueberry patch.
I also thought, briefly, about going over to join them. It
would be the neighborly thing to do—uncork the Baileys that’d been sitting in
my pantry, and go introduce myself. I knew if I was drinking with them, I
wouldn’t mind their debauchery quite so much.
But the idea was repugnant to me. I was an introvert, and I
was already half-way to spitting mad. I knew if I went over there, the first
thing out of my mouth wouldn’t be a Pleasantville “Hey neighbor, welcome to the
neighborhood!”, but rather a “Shut the fuck up, you inconsiderate asshole
Okay, and maybe I was PMSing just a wee bit.
I’d owned this land since I was seventeen. I built the
cabin with my own two hands and the help of my brothers when I was twenty-one,
and I’d been living here full-time ever since.
The cabin across the lake had been there before I ever built
mine, but it had been owned by an elderly couple who only ever came out on the
weekends, and then rarely. For the last four years, it’d basically been just
me on my quiet, peaceful lake.
Whomp whomp whomp.
I watched as the shiny red fucking thing—I don’t know a damn
thing about helicopters, other than that they are expensive, and some of them
moonlight as ambulances—landed for the umpteenth time that day.
This time, the pilot cut the engine. The doors swung open
before the blades had even slowed, and another group of people belched out onto
the once-carefully-manicured grass. I watched closely, trying to get a lock on
my miserable neighbor—surely karma had made him a tiny, bald, pock-marked,
pot-bellied lump of a man—but he must have exited the other side and quickly
blended into the crowd.
Watching so many people having so much fun while my writing
suffered was only making me angry, so I slammed my way back inside. I breathed
deep of the lingering plywood smell in my cabin’s interior, and willed myself
to calm down. Now that the helicopter was done, I’d take a few minutes, eat
dinner, and then see if I could finish up my story.
I had lights, compliments of a generator and a small battery
bank, so I turned them on. Compliments of a well, I had running water, so I
ran some into a double boiler steamer and started dinner. I wasn’t some Julia
Child out in the woods, whipping up delicate French confections, but I had had
a recent shipment of fresh vegetables, so I steamed some broccoli, and as it
was steaming, I decided it would be even better with cheese melted over it. Because
everything is better with cheese.
is better with cheese.
It was as I was watching said cheddar melt that I began to
boom boom boom
of those speakers from inside my cabin. My
nails dug into my hand-planed birch countertops as I restrained myself. I
didn’t know what I’d do if I gave myself free rein, but I knew my retaliations
tended toward poetic justice. So it’d be loud, and probably disturbing.
I alternated bites of broccoli with some long, slow
breaths. I finished my meal, washed the dishes—which was not a natural
inclination of mine, but I’d learned the hard way to keep things clean and put
away so as not to attract bears—and I went back to my desk.
I stared at that cursor for over half an hour. The noise
was still a problem, but even more than that, now, was my mood. A good word
for me right at that moment would have been ‘incensed’. And an expression?
‘Fit to be tied’ seemed accurate. Not nearly in the right frame of mind for
generating pillow talk.
The blaring gaiety next door seemed to be reaching its peak,
and I finally abandoned my laptop to see what shenanigans could possibly
require such a decibel level.
I didn’t see the answer to my question.
see was two drunken assholes carrying my
light-weight Kevlar canoe toward the water. The last time I’d let someone
borrow my canoe, it had come back decorated with bullet holes, after I dredged
it from the lake. And those guys hadn’t even been drunk. Of course, ‘those
guys’ had been my brothers, and they were in a category all their own.
no.” I ran back through the house, shoved
my bare feet into a pair of boots, and clomped down the front steps. I flew
across my little yard and down the three steps to the rocky beach. The light
was dying outside as I ran up to the two men. They were just starting to shove
the canoe into the water before climbing in.
“Stop!” I bellowed.
They jumped a bit and looked up with big, sloppy-drunk
smiles on their faces. “What’s up, pretty girl?” one of them slurred.
canoe, and I do
permission to use it,” I said, stopping a few feet away with my hands on my
hips. I was going to give intimidation a try before I got into an all-out
tug-of-war with them. Two men against one woman, with my precious canoe as the
rope—yeah, I didn’t like them odds.
One of them—he had floppy blonde hair, and looked and
sounded suspiciously like a surfer—glanced at the tree line, and then back at
me. “It was on Gary’s property,” he said.