Volume 44 ~ 2022

Landon Boettcher




The road up to the cabin was long and winding. Trees upon trees zipped past the old, red, clean fifty-six vehicle driven by author Grant Hilden. His passengers included his wife, Elenor–whose beauty matches that of Marilyn Monroe. That’s what Grant tells her, anyway–his son, Jason, who is roughly ten and as fit as a track star, and his dog, Baxter, a large beagle with brown fur and a long wagging tail. Elenor was busy applying make-up for no other reason than her own self pity and vanitious thoughts while Jason remains asleep on Baxter, who has his eyes focusing at each tree going by.

Grant just focused on the path toward the cabin. His thoughts ranged from the random four a.m. thoughts–despite it only being five p.m.–and what exactly the plan was whenever they reach their destination.

This wasn’t Grant’s idea of a vacation. It was actually his in-laws that suggested the weekend at the cabin. The reasons were unknown to him other than the blatant fact that he is married to their daughter. He hasn’t spoken to them since the wedding. Why are they reaching out now? He thought.

The sun sinks into the abyss of the horizon as their car finally reaches their destination. It was just any ordinary cabin apart from the over abundance of windows surrounding it. Grant parks the car in the driveway–or, at least, what counts as a driveway–and looks over at Elenor, who finally puts her make-up away. She looks back.

“We’re here,” Grant tells her, pointing over to the cabin and smiling as if he knew it wasn’t necessary to say anything.

“I know. Where are my parents?” Elenor replies. She had a point. They were the only ones at the place. It was odd not seeing another car or any sign of other human life surrounding the area.

“Are we at the right place?” Grant asked, now worried he followed his GPS wrong.

“I know we are,” Elenor said. “I recognize those windows anywhere.”


Grant pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed his in-laws’ number. It is a wonder he still has it. The phone rings, waiting for some signal. The ringing stops. “Hello?” That’s when the voicemail box starts speaking: 


Hello, you have reached the Foreshire residence. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience of our absence and we’ll reach back to you soon.


“Your parents are just as snobby on the phone as they are in real life,” Grant joked, lightly chuckling under his breath. Enough that it was noticeable, but not as much as to insult her family.

She playfully hits him in the arm anyway, giggling along with him. Grant turns to face Jason and Baxter in the back seat. He smiles and reaches for Jason’s leg, shaking it softly to wake him up. Jason groans and peaks his tiny blue eyes into the sunset sky and closed them again so he can fully stretch himself without looking like a maniac.

“We’re here already?” Jason asked, his voice still as froggy and tired as it was before his nap. His parents laugh.

They get out of the car. Grant with a stretch from the long drive up to the cabin. Elenor with purpose and snob–just like her parents. And Jason, still waking up. Baxter quickly escaped the vehicle to sniff out the best area for his needs. Grant unpacked the car and handed out bags. He then locked up and led the family toward the cabin, which was unlocked.

Grant looks back at Elenor. She shrugs. Grant cautiously enters and looks around. He turns on a light. No one seemed to be present. He turns to his wife and shrugs back. Elenor walks holding Jason’s hand. They set their bags near the bedrooms then relaxed over by the fireplace. Elenor comes to sit on Grant’s lap while Jason starts exploring the cabin. Elenor gives Grant a kiss and smiles at him. She leans over to his ear and whispers, “I hope my parents never come.”

Grant smiled and nodded, “I’d like that.”

While the parents continued to kiss one another, Jason nears the back room, where laundry and breakfast supplies end up. He looked around the room, having a good sense of what exactly is around him. What to touch, and what not to touch. He came across a door next to the laundry machine. It stood tall and partially open. As if someone was once there. Curiosity overcame Jason as he reaches for the door and opens it. Inside was a blanket of pitch-black emptiness. Nothing but true darkness and the whispers of some old forgotten language.

Jason stood there for a moment before an ashy white clawed hand reaches for him. Jason screams and runs to his parents. “Mommy! Daddy!” He cries. “There’s a monster in the closet!”

“It’s not even dinnertime!” Grant exclaimed as he got up, leaving Elenor to sit on the chair by herself. Jason grabs his father’s hand and pulls him toward the laundry room where he saw this monster.

Elenor takes out her phone and scrolls through whatever app was “popular” within the past week. She looks through her family’s profile, smiling and scoffing at photos from her and Grant’s wedding reception. Then her ringtone–a call from her father–frightens her. She drops the phone, curses under her breath, and picks it back up to answer the call.

“Hello?” She said.


The laundry room was empty. The closet door was wide open and nothing seemed to inhabit its contents. Jason, confused, searches for an explanation, an excuse to convince his father that there was something reaching for him coming from that closet. But before they could have the conversation, Baxter begins barking at something outside.

“Baxter, shut up!” Grant yells, but the dog continues to bark. “Baxter!” He groans and walks out the back door next to the laundry machine. Jason begins to follow him, but Grant just tells him to “Stay there. Go to your mother.” And he does so.

Grant searches the cabin’s perimeter for Baxter, following where the barks are coming from. Grant turns the corner to the front of the cabin just as the barking stops. Where did he go? He wondered.

“Baxter?” Grant said, then whistled. “Come here, boy.” Grant continues to whistle, hoping Baxter is somewhere around the boundaries of the cabin. He then stops and scratches his head.

Bushes that cover the front of the cabin rustle next to him.


A bird flies out, startling Grant. He then laughs until he notices where the bird came from.


Jason runs to his mother, still sitting on the chair. “Mom! Mom!” he yells. Elenor appears to be asleep. Jason yells louder, but she doesn’t wake up. Jason then jumps up on her and attempts to force her eyes open only to see that her eyes no longer accompany her sockets. Jason screams.


Grant notices Jason’s screams and rushes inside. The boy runs toward his father and embraces him. “What’s going on?” Grant asked, then he gets his answer. His wife, his pride and joy, has been taken away from him. What is going on?

Grant picks Jason up, grabs whatever bags he can and unlocks his car. This is when his in-laws finally arrive. They get out of their modern vehicle and question Grant’s sudden actions. “Where are you going, boy?”

“What is this place?” Grant asked. “Where did you lead us?”

“Whatever do you mean?” the father-in-law said. “We just wanted to spend time with the family in the old cabin where Elenor met Jerome.”

“Who is Jerome?”


Grant turns to come face-to-face with an ashy white figure. The monster’s stance tall and thin, his eyes dark and empty pits, his ears pointy, and his hands long, narrow, and sharp. Like kitchen knives or razors inside of a paper shredder. Grant’s shock turns into frozen, crippling fear as Jerome’s smile grows wider and wider, showing more and more of his even sharper teeth. The monster pulls his arm back and slashes Grant’s head, the man’s head to falling from his body to the dirt below. The body fell along with Jason tucked in the arms. The ten-year-old’s fear overcoming his senses as he falls with the body and becomes frozen in whatever position he ended up. Jerome turns to the in-laws and smiles. 

“Thank you for the food, Henry.” He drags Grant’s body toward the cabin where the soulless body of Elenor awaits him. She smiles at Jerome’s presence and kisses the monster.

Henry Foreshire stares at Jerome with confidence. Jerome knows why Henry stood where he is. Jerome kept his smile as if to taunt the heartbroken father. Elenor was truly his. Henry never wanted to believe it, and he hoped that pleasing the beast long enough would free his daughter, but Elenor still remains Jerome’s wife.

Henry looks over at his traumatized grandson. Thoughts of the past victims come flashing back in his memory. He then looks at his wife, who is motioning him to get back in the car. Henry picks up Jason and puts him in the backseat of the vehicle and drives off.


In the Foreshire car, Henry drives the long and winding road out of the woods. In the rearview mirror, he can see his grandson, softly crying. Beyond the path, his daughter becomes her old self again, heading to the car and driving a different path. He glances over to his wife and sighs. “Who do you think is next to visit Jerome?”

His wife stares in the mirror, focusing on her make-up on the outside, but on the inside, just wants her daughter back. A single tear, so perfect and visible, strolls down her cheek.


I see birds with squirrels,

Fish with plants,

Frogs with snakes,

And I see me. Alone.

Where is everyone I know?


I see father and son fishing,

Mother and daughter dancing,

And siblings playing.

My friends have abandoned me

Without any warning.


I head home and ask around.

I go to the homes I know I’ve been.

Everyone is clueless,

Everyone is afraid of me.

Why is that?


“Oh, father!” I cry.

“Oh, mother!

Where are my friends?

Where is Jason and Marloe?

Where is Louis and Carlos?

Where is Mya and Velma?

Oh, where is Brittany and Scarlett?”


And to that, my parents reply:

“You are cured, my son,

Go live a normal life.”



The following are just outlines of the screenplay I am still currently writing.

  • Quinn moves to a new school and is immediately shunned for her looks.

  • Derek is dared to ask Quinn on a date and takes on the dare.

  • Derek and Quinn go on a date and Derek learns about and falls in love with Quinn.

  • Derek is spotted going on another date with Quinn and is threatened by his friends for it.

  • Derek breaks up with Quinn and Quinn asks why. The truth is revealed.

  • Quinn is devastated and rushes home. She believes no one loves her and kills herself.

  • Derek rushes to Quinn’s house to tell her how he feels and finds her dead body.

  • The school holds a meeting due to Quinn’s suicide, which angers Derek.

  • Derek calls out the school, bullies, and everyone that contributed toward Quinn’s demise for doing nothing about helping Quinn and the entire ordeal was their fault.

  • Derek becomes an outcast toward his friends, but a hero to the “weird” group for standing up for people like them.