The light fell softly on the hiker’s face through the waxed paper window. The warm glow of morning made last night’s unsettling events feel like a bad dream. As the hiker began to stir the young boy removed a cast iron skillet from the fireplace. In spite of the cabin’s modest setting the boy had manged prepare a small feast for breakfast. The aroma of bacon hung in the air and the table held two plates with with biscuits and gravy, eggs and of course the bacon. A fresh percolator of coffee sat between the plates. The hiker didn’t realize how hungry he was until he saw it. “Come and git it.” The boy said as he smiled warmly. The hiker started to move but the pain in his calf reminded him that he was injured. “How?” He said in with desperation. The boy gestured to a set of handmade crutches on the floor next to bed. “I know it hurts but you’ll stiffen up if ya don’t move a little. I made them last night before the Devil cat showed up.” The boy called for Rex to get off the bed and give the hiker room to get up. The hiker looked at his calf and found that the boy’s first aid skills looked as good as his cooking smelled. With some effort he manged to figure out how to get to feet. He’d been on crutches before and he instinctively kept his weight off of his injured leg as he hobbled to the breakfast table and sat down with a bit of a plop. Ge reached out for the plate but the boy’s hand caught him by the wrist in an ice cold grip. “We gotta say grace first.” The boy spoke. He then offered a short but sincere prayer to bless the morning meal and ended it with “Amen and dig in.” The hiker was a little amused but obligated the boy by repeating the amen. It seemed as if no matter how much he ate that the hiker couldn’t couldn’t make a dent in the supply of food on the table but eventually the hiker felt he’d had his fill. He thanked the boy for his hospitality as he finished the last sip of coffee. “I want to remember this meal. Do you mind if I take your picture?” The boy looked a little confused and stated “You ain’t got no camera.” “Ah but I do” the hiker replied as he produced the cellphone from his pocket. “I ain’t never seen one that little” the blurted out as he scooted back in his chair and gave a practiced smile. The hiker had him pose with his skillet and utensils in front of the fireplace for a few shots and the turned the phone off again. “Hey watch this!” The boy shouted as he grabbed a biscuit from the table and went outside. The hiker hobbled along on his crutches out to the porch and watched as the boy gave a strange whistle.
The boy repeated the whistle several times in regular intervals and within a few minutes he was surrounded by songbirds from all over forest accepting crumbs of biscuit from his open hand. The look on the boy’s face was pure joy as the little birds came one buly one fir their treats. Realizing that noone would believe what he’d just witnessed without photos the hiker used his phone again. But suddenly one of robins gave an alarm call and they all returned to the top of trees. The boy’s countenance dropped like a hammer as the sounds of a crying baby echoed from across the nearby river. They both turned to face the the woods on the other side as the black figure of a huge cat stepped out of bushes and stood near the water’s edge. It’s unearthly yellowish green eyes seemed cut right to the hiker’s very soul. The cat gave a wild scream and the boy dropped to his knees and began to pray. He no sooner uttered the name of the Lord when the cat screamed again and disappeared back into the shadows. The boy looked up the hiker who was frozen with fear. “He ain’t gonna cross the river.. not today anyways.” He said softly as he stood up and helped his newfound friend back into the cabin.
“We gotta get ready for tonight though.” he continued.
That’s it for tonight friends. Thanks again for spending time with me and be blessed throughout your days.
Proceed to part 4
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