Within the Wild I Sleep

Cassiar was once a beautiful, small mining community. But now it is a ghost town. This was Osbourn's home, and he witnessed it burn to the ground Christmas day so many years ago. But he did not flee to a new town like the rest who remained to see that day. Instead he daringly turns to the wild with open arms, taking on the dream he has had since a child to live in the bush like his rugged father claimed to had once done. Somewhere near the shore of Captain lake he has built his own life, a life he finds worth living. On the horizon of his home in the woods is a distant mountain. A place that Osbourn has become completely infatuated with, but doesn't dare dream of visiting the mysterious place. But as the anniversary of his home towns fall approaches, his quiet life as a woodsman changes drastically. ~ A short story for the Christmas Calendar competition. In the category of Supernatural.


5. Humility through Despair

 A massive gasp wracked Os's body as he quickly sat himself from his bed. He took in the scene of his bedroom, his bedroom in Cassiar. This couldn't be... Immediately, he turned his head to where he remembered a mirror to be fixed upon the wall. He was faced with a reflection of his shocked, scared form. But he looked completely different from the figure of himself that he had sunk into within his supposed dream. But it couldn't be a dream, it seemed too long, too real. Yet the face he looked at within the mirror was young, much younger. With the shaggy beard absent and the sagged eyelids gone, he stood in flesh as an eighteen-year-old man. Young, whole, his deep brown eyes still radiating with signs of hope.

 But he knew the distant future he saw in his eyes would change drastically soon. As he stood quickly from his bed, throwing on any piece of clothing that he could find, he felt his dream slowly oozing from his memory. He so desperately tried to grasp onto the images in his mind as he rushed to make himself presentable enough to enter the hallway. There were important memories there, but he didn't know what exactly they were. But he knew that they were bad. Something terrible was to happen. He knew that this was Christmas morning of the year 2000.

 "Osbourn?!" He heard his mothers frantic cry echo from down the hallway outside.

 "Mum?" he called back.

 Quickly pulling his shirt the rest of the way on, he stumbled to his door and hurriedly pulled the it open. He met his mother immediately, nearly crashing into her in the hall as she ran his direction. Os grabbed her arms to try and contain her hysterical form. Her blond hair fell in messy locks, her face pale and sickly along with her set of eyes identical to Os's looking terrified as she gazed up at him.

 "What is it, mum?" he called down at her. She only sobbed, trying to lift her hands to cover her contorting face, but Os stopped her by giving her a firm shake. "What has happened?! Tell me!"

 The whites of her eyes reddened as she painfully looked into his. "There- there has been an accident."

 A flush of desperation and realization flushed through him as he moved his mother aside to run down the hallway. He knew what she meant. The horrible event of this day had already come. He heard her pursue him through the house as he sprinted out the doorway and into the street. The cold winters air bit him through his light clothes, but he paid no mind to it as he join the rest of the people flooding the streets.

 They all had their eyes directed near the sky. Os quickly looked to see a stack of thick smoke swirling up high. He dodged past the people who just stood and stared in devastation and joined the few her were running in the direction of the mine.

 "Osbourn, stop!" He heard his mother hauler from behind, but he found it impossible to obey. Around many corners he sprinted, letting several buildings pass by his view in a blur. The buildings became more and more dispersed as he flew out of the city bounds, following a smaller road that led him within clear sight of the source of the smoke. The black plumes spewed out from the opening of the mine.

 By the time Os and the few other civilians who had rushed to help arrived, there were only a few miners who had emerged. Os felt a surge of hope at the sight. There were so few miners working that night, his father being one of them. Perhaps there was a chance that one of the escapees was him. God, let one of them be him.

 It was hard to identify the miners. All were covered in soot, some carrying massive burns on parts of their body. Os rushed to help them, but help a crippling anguish take hold of his body when he realized that none of them were his father. As the civilians tugged the injured minors away from the burning mine, Os found himself unable, for he had collapsed with a sob of despair.

 He sat there for many minutes, curled up in a ball of his own sadness, when he felt the loving, embracing arms of his mother wrap around him. She too was crying, her tears drenching the back of his shoulder as she rested her cheek upon it.

 Soon snow began to fall. Lightly, slowly, the flakes swirling down in large, fluffy pieces. Shivers took over their sobbing bodies as the northern weather took hold of them, neither of them wearing more than casual around-the-house clothing. Os sat up slightly and took his mother into his arms, holding her into his chest to keep her warm. While he sat up straight like this, he lifted his head high, holding his tear stained cheeks against the cold air. His eyes focused past the deadly smoke, out at a much more calm scene. He looked at the distant treetops, the snow-capped mountains and the darkening northern sky as the snow began to fall harder. He gazed out at a distant wild, that he held so near within himself...



 ~Kayle Majic


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