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White by Matt Huston

A trail of snowy boot tracks followed along the flagstone floor to where Daniel stood on a faded indian rug. It was dim inside, the only light coming from the fireplace. The turquoise rug lay beside a leather upholstered chair, the leather now cracked and dry. Both were styles his mother enjoyed and purchased some decades ago.

This may very well end up being his coffin. He could do worse, he supposed.

He was inside his family’s old rustic-style log cabin, built in the middle of nowhere in the fifties. Hardy cedar plank walls his only protection from the elements outside. Even a half-century later, the house was still miles from any civilization.

Thick clouds had rushed into the region with ferocity bringing the temperatures rapidly falling into the sub-zero category. Out of the glass windows, those same swirling clouds battered against the siding and brought large flakes that inch by inch were building a cocoon around the exterior of the old cabin.

Still wearing his full snowsuit, Daniel huddled before the hearth fanning the flames as the fire crackled and came alive. A smattering of snowflakes still on his shoulders began to melt as the aura of the warmth poured over him. The tips of his fingers stung as the nerve endings unfroze from the heat.

He breathed a sigh of relief, though, as the welcome aroma of wood smoke wafted into his nostrils. The smell brought back memories, that of his recently deceased father. Daniel was an only child, and with both of his parents having passed, he was alone and the last of his family.

It had been years since he traveled to the cabin, but he needed a place to find solitude to grieve over his loss.

A layer of dust had settled on the fireplace mantel where he had placed the empty can of kerosene used to start the fire. Next to it, several yellow polaroids of the family. Above the mantle, a deer head bust reminded him of his old man who had taken him on excursions into the great outdoors when he was younger — teaching him survival skills, the kind of skills that with the snowstorm may just save his life now.

He had not had a chance to look at what supplies were in the kitchenette, but as he looked, he hoped there might be some hot chocolate mix in the cupboards. Expired or not, he did not care.

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