JADE ON THE RUN
Jade had been on the run for several days. After the invasion started in San Francisco, she had fled to the moutains, hoping to hid until the violence had settled. Stumbly through the woods she was exhausted, having only slept in short bursts and never anywhere comfortable. On the fourth day of her escape, she came upon a small wooden cabin in the woods. She observed the cabin for many hours, but there seemed to be on life in or around the cabin. Swallowing her fear, she finally approached the cabin.
As Jade slowly creaked the wooden door open, she felt like she had stepped through a portal in time, back to another century, another day, another era. The one-room log cabin was small, barely big enough to hold the diminutive bed in one corner and a straight back chair in the other, next to the rock fireplace.
The cabin smelled musty from lack of air circulation - there were no windows, only an occasional hole in the wall, supposedly to aim a rifle through. Jade had studied about the early history of American since beginning her mission on Earth. The sunlight from the doorway cast just enough light to see the bed and what few meager possessions were on or around it.
The first thing Jade noted was the worn and faded nine-patch quilt covering the bed, neatly tucked in around the sparse mattress and pillow. At first glance, she assumed the occupant of the cabin must be a woman because the bed was made, but on closer inspection, she noticed the worn hunting boots hanging on a peg from the wall. There was also a pale leather coat draped over a bottom post of the bed; like looked like it was made from a tanned deer hide.
"It could be a woman," she thought, "but my intuition says it's a man."
Hanging from several other pegs around the bed were several different herbs gathered in small bundles along with several small willow branches. She smiled to herself, "He's pretty smart." Jade knew from her own learnings, willow branches will help bring down a fever and calm minor aches and pains. She also noticed camphor leaves to ease inflammed joints, yarrow for cuts and scrapes, and plantain for burns.
"He has some first aid knowledge, I'll give him that."
Two handwoven baskets sat on a raised wooden trunk at the foot of the bed. One basket was full of wool that had already been spun into yarn. She walked over and fingered the course fiber. "Fairly clean, he must know how to clean and card wool." The second basket held a pair of crude knitting needles, carved from ash wood by the looks. The needles had been smoothed down with no rough edges or gouges to snag the wool. There were also a pair of socks, although one was slightly larger than the other.
Jade sat down on the edge of the bed and ran her fingers over the quilt. She marveled at the fine even stitches and knew this kind of work took a steady hand. As she adjusted herself on the bed, she realized the mattress was probably stuffed with prairies grass because she could hear the crinkling even through the ticking and the quilt. She turned to read the small plaque hanging on the wall.
"But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?" Job 28:12A religious man, understandable in this godforsaken place.
She stood up and walked to the dresser on the far wall. A small basket help a few knick-knacks; a wooden thimble, a couple of hickory nuts, two smooth river rocks and a dull coin, too dull to make out what kind. A shaving razor, strap and a broken metal comb rested in a used metal can. A pair of mittens and a knitted scarf lay atop a mirror fashioned from a scrape of wood and a flattened piece of metal. She picked up the mirror and looked at her warped reflection, finding this one bit of vanity a rare oddity in this meager cabin.
There was a old, faded photo hanging above the dresser. The black and white image showed a vital, handsome young man with his arms around a very pregnant woman. They were both smiling - they looked happy. Tucked into the edge of the wooden frame was a dried daisy, brown with age and missing a few petals.
"Wonder who this is?" she thought. "Could this be the man who lives in this cabin? Maybe that's his wife ... maybe there are two people living here ..." Jade looked around the cabin, but she could only sense the presence of one person living here. "Maybe the woman died," she looked at the picture again, focusing on the woman's pregnant belly. "Maybe she died in childbirth?"
Suddenly, she saw a shadow looming in the doorway of the cabin and as she turned to see what it was, the door to the cabin slammed shut ...
...to be continued ...