I had a surprise for Katy. I know how scared she gets of the dark. Out there, where the cabin stood, the nights were black and silent, and I liked it. It made me feel warm and alone. But I allow myself a little light sometimes, especially for Katy.
There were three of us. Always was. Me, Billy and Katy. Friends since we first learned to walk, we shared everything. Until one day, a few years ago, we just stopped seeing each other. Or rather, I think they started ghosting me. Oh, I don't blame them though, they became a couple, and didn't really notice anyone else after that. That's their fault.
My cabin was old. The wood was cracked and baked from too much sun. A tall tree hugged one side, its branches screeched against the window when the wind was wet and angry. Creee-craw, creee-craw… a soothing sound.
We'd shared the cabin for as long as I could remember, the three of us. At least since I discovered it, and despite the stupid stories that the town loved to tell, we didn't stay away from it. It wasn't far out of town, just at the other end of the lake. You can only walk there now, so that's what we did that night, the night of my candle.
That night, things happened that we'll never forget. And it was all because of Billy. Oh, he'd say it was nothing, but it was a lot. Trust me, I know. Katy knew too. It was his idea to spend the night there, but I know what he really wanted. He was too obvious, well to me anyway. Here's what happened:
We arrived at the cabin in the late afternoon shadows of the trees. Katy pulled her jacket up around her neck as Billy pushed on the old grey-weathered door. It protested loudly as it opened, grinding rust onto the floor under the old hinges. We peered through the dim and dusty room before stepping inside. An old couch, some boxes with wax melted on them, yellowed newspapers from days long forgotten by time. Katy smiled as Billy took her hand and led her in. We all took our places on the floor. We'd brought snacks and booze of course, and settled in to get drunk to whatever music they thought they needed to hear these days. I don't care for music myself, but I'm a tolerant person. I told myself to be calm. I didn't have to tolerate it for long. Relax. Listen to the tree's lullaby and the stories from old wooden walls instead. Think about Katy.
I loved Katy. No, I never told her, that would be stupid. It was like Katy never saw me anymore, these days, it was Billy and Katy. They were always the two and it made me want to vomit. So I always kept quiet. At least I had the cabin and its past to live in. There were past moments of just me and Katy there, and this wasn't the first time we'd spent the night, although nothing ever happened between us, I was too shy, but this time, I had a plan. It was time. I was finally going to show Katy how much I loved her. She'd have to see me then.
The sun stretched its final fingers through the trees, while we got comfortable, and Billy opened the cooler. The lid creaked, and he deliberately took his time opening it, making it creak forever. He must have known I hated it, he looked through me as he did it.
'Beer?' He said, knowing I didn't drink beer.
'Funny,'' I replied. I'd brought my own poison. Red wine. I liked red the best. The redder the better.
'Thanks,' Katy said, taking it from him.
Not long now, I thought. He'll be drunk soon, and so will she. I don't get drunk, so that's okay. I watched them sitting together, they had their backs to the wall, just under the front window.
Creee-craw, creee-craw said the tree outside. It wanted in. I heard it. The wind was picking up. I understood the tree and the wind, they spoke my words. It was perfect...