Cabin Fever - Intro and Chapter 1

This is the first story I have written, and may well be the only. I don’t have a great deal of confidence in it; I think the idea is pretty half baked. But it was very persuasive, and I felt like continuing. I’ve managed to type out from an introduction and up to the sixth chapter; which was finished today. I have posted the story, to date, on Fox Tales Times and Deviant Art. I cleaned up the intro, and if it catches anyone’s interest, I’ll consider posting the rest here. ^^

Cabin Fever

Janadriel Retzinsky managed to open that door. She wasn’t quite sure how, but the woman of twenty seven forced her way into the overlarge log cabin in the middle of the mountain. It had been snowing for hours; the four little girls inside had been all alone ever since their parents and older siblings had left. A full four feet of snow had already fallen. And somehow, after twenty minutes of digging and shoving and struggles, the heavily clothed woman managed to muscle her way into the door. Only a little bit of snow spilt in, as the woman collapsed onto the floor. She’d look up quickly; making sure everything was alright in here. Then, heavily panting and out of breath, she forced herself up and shut the door. It was warm in the house, but there was no telling how long the power would last; or even if it would go out at all. She would have to check the generator. Once the door was closed, the woman leaned against it, breathing heavily as she began to remove bits of her heavy clothing.

“A…Are you…girls alright…?” She would call out into the cabin in a loud, panting voice, but received no answer. Janadriel sighed…of course nobody was here. It was only eight in the morning. They were probably still asleep; she had come down there with hot cocoa and chat for the families, and made some for the children around eleven. She’d finally removed the hood of her coat; revealing the long, deep black hair of her head, and the scarf from around her neck, revealing lips still painted black from the party last night.

Maybe they could get out if they hurried. She was a little scared, herself…she didn’t know how long she was going to be there, and she wasn’t sure what kind of supplies they had. As she looked out the window…her gut sank, and she scowled to herself. It would already take a superhuman effort to re-open the door she had just managed to pry open…and she still had to gather up the children. And so she located their room…and seeing them all safe and snug in the bed, she was relieved…

There was the Jenkins daughter, Susie…clad in bluish white footed pyjamas. A bashful looking child, despite a punkish streak of purple in her short black hair. Her older sister had the same streak; it was doubtless from the older girl’s personality that she gave it to Susie as a sign of affection. It was their parents who had rented the cabin for the group; she wasn’t totally sure what they did, she just knew they had a high position in a breakfast cereal company. And there was her adoptive sister Ginger. She was a very pudgy girl of colour, with darling curled hair, who hugged her adoptive sister lovingly; protectively even, and wore yellow pyjamas with little white duckies. There was Yuzu, the daughter of the Yamada family. Yuzu was the eldest child of a first generation Japanese immigrant family; a bit on the pudgy side herself, her hair also deep black and just past shoulder length, and sucking her thumb furthermore. Her pyjamas were obscured totally by the blankets. And finally, the smallest of the four, Lotte DuMarrier, whose grandfather knew the mountain well, in spite of his assumed senility. It was he who had guided the lost group through the blizzard, and to safety. Lotte herself sported long blue hair…snored loudly, drooled on her pillow, had kicked her covers up, only seemed to wear a thin shirt and underwear. An obvious tomboy; though a particularly girly one, and despite her tiny stature, the oldest of the bunch. She didn’t seem as bothered by the cold.

She wanted to stand there and admire the adorable picture of the four children so snuggled together forever. That was just her nature. But she had a duty to do; they had to get their bearings, and she wasn’t going to waste a moment, knowing that every second counted. She stopped hugging her elbows, to gently nudge Lotte and Susie…a little pat and rub to Ginger’s tummy; a gentle swat to Yuzu’s bottom. Rousing all four girls in a series of yawns, whines and groans. Revealing Yuzu’s white pyjamas with vertical black stripes. Her voice was serious, but warm, as she did not want to alarm them. “Come on, darlings, we have to get up…hurry.”

“Ranger Jana…? What’s goin’ on?” Lotte would ask with a mutter and yawn, instinctively reaching down and tugging her pyjama pants back up; she was the first to awaken fully it seemed. And had furthermore kicked her pants down to her ankles during sleep. Lotte, despite being the smallest of the group…was the oldest, at ten, and definitely the ‘brains of the outfit’, and the one with the most nerve…she’d gathered as much last night when they played games together. Jana had dubbed her the ‘alpha female’ the night before, when the child bested her at a game of Poker.

Jana smirked adoringly; those black painted lips curling upwards, but answered the question in a very serious tone. While she gently began to lift the other three into a sitting position; ears catching the sounds of an odd rustling sound, but giving it no mind. The kids were awake now, of course, and they were all aware that something had happened. “A sudden snowstorm, kids…everybody was going out for a walk this morning, remember? The storm got intense, and…oh, don’t worry, they’re all fine!” She had to specify as much…all four were worried instantly; Susie looked particularly so, and Ginger seemed to be steeling herself for something awful. She sat down on the bed in front of them, legs curled up.

“They couldn’t get back to the cabin…they had to go down to the station, and they’re safe and sound as we are.” She chose her words very carefully. “Mr. DuMarrier was exhausted just getting everyone down here, so…so I hurried on up here as quick as I could. I know these woods just as well as he does! …but, there’s bad news. Now, we’re all going to be okay, but I think we’re trapped until the snow dies.”

Cabin Fever - Intro and Chapter 1

Hmm….pretty good start. I like that it ends on a cliffhanger. Janadriel sounds like a Lord of the Rings character and I’m curious how old these girls are. Nevertheless, you’ve established interest with this intro.

Cabin Fever - Intro and Chapter 1

Not bad.

Some things you might want to amend:

  1. Maintain the tenses throughout the story. The story is written in the past tense, but I noticed you used ‘would’ phrases such as ‘would call’ ‘would ask’, which is actually future tense, like:

‘Team A would enter the room first and secure the exits while my team began the more dangerous task of clearing out the first floor’.

Try terms like ‘called’, ‘asked’ instead.

  1. ‘…’ does not really belong outside of speech or thought when you’re writing from the 3rd person POV. And even so, don’t overuse it. Also, ‘…’ denotes hesitation, a voice trailing off, indicative of something left unsaid. For stuttering like in “A…Are you…girls alright…?”, try using hyphens instead, like “A-Are you g-g-girls alright?”

  2. While it’s GOOD that you have punctuation, you could work on placing them better.

  3. Some of the phrases have unclear meanings, like

‘it was doubtless from the older girl’s personality that she gave it to Susie as a sign of affection’

which i think means that the elder sister had helped Susie dye her hair in the same way. The phrasing leaves it a bit odd though.

  1. Choice of words could be better. ‘Jana smirked adoringly’ is a good example… ‘smirk’ and ‘adoringly’ do not go well with each other.

I also think that you could have dragged out the conversations and such a little, and you could use some more paragraphing, but that’s my personal opinion.

A nice story, though! Please post the rest up too!

Cabin Fever - Intro and Chapter 1

Well, if its any help at all, they are all between eight and a half and ten (I did specify that Lotte was ten, and the oldest). I should have further emphasized their ages.

I’m going to clean up the first real chapter a bit, before posting it. Thank you for the comments ^^ I’ll do my best to do better.

Also, despite the weird name, Janadriel is not quite from Middle Earth :slight_smile:

Cabin Fever - Intro and Chapter 1

Here is the first chapter, first posted elsewhere nearly a month ago. But I cleaned it up as best I could. It was really, really horrible last time. Ugh.

CHAPTER 1 - A Little Trouble Swells

The children stayed surprisingly calm, though not without a bit of ushering into it. Susie started to cry, and Yuzu seemed to be all kinds of anxious, looking between her friends as if trying to figure out what to think. Ginger and Lotte kept calm, and looked to her like good little girl scouts; though nobody here had ever sold cookies. Ranger Jana took the lead quickly enough; she had been a scout, and ushered the children on the way. Of course, she made sure everybody had socks on their feet before they made their way through the house. The heat was still running smoothly, though, so they wouldn’t need them that badly.

Jana knew that the first thing to do was to check to make sure they could not get out, and this was quickly confirmed. The windows were already frozen shut, the panes too small for anyone to fit through even if they broke the glass. And it would be a miracle if they could break through the wood of the sills, as the hard wood far too sturdy to be broken. Jana was no super man, and there were no tools that could help them in the task. All three doors were covered on the outside with snow. It didn’t look safe enough to try and dig through. The balcony door was their only vantage point to the outside world for now, but it was a nightmare to open and close. The four girls stood quietly to the side as Jana finally managed to shove that door closed. Several seconds passed, as she looked out the windows helplessly at the raging storm.

“…alright, girls. I’m sorry, but it does look like we’re gonna be stuck here”, she would say authoritatively, concern heavy in her voice. Their next step would have to be to make contact with the parents and the other rangers. Her radio wasn’t working at all in the storm, though, and neither was he cellular phone. She decided their first task would be to make sure they had provisions as she tried to establish contact with said phone, and all the while Jana listened to staticky signals and nothing. That wasn’t any good…but there had to be another way to do it. Contacting their parents was absolutely essential. They were kids, after all.

“Squirts, my radio isn’t working.” Janadriel would announce, with a sigh. “I don’t think a cell phone will ever work, either. Not till the storm clears. We have to get in contact with the station so everybody knows you girls are just fine; and we may not have a lot of time to do it. This cabin has Internet, and I think it might work.”

Yuzu didn’t hesitate to blurt out an answer, as she picked at her nose. “Yeah! Susie has a Inner-net, and you can find all sorts of stuff on there! I talked to my gramma and baby sister back home!”. Susie would nod slowly to confirm this, looking between her friends and adoptive sister for a bit of support, then slowly walking up to Jana. There was that rustling sound again, which Jana noticed this time for sure, but she said nothing. Nobody else was bothered, and there were more important things to think about. Still…it was a curious noise.

“Umm, i-its in my mom and dad’s room. Its this way, o-on this floor.” Susie would say, politely but skittishly. She was obviously and notably frightened, but she wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible, or at least get in contact with her parents. She turned to lead the lot of them, and Janadriel took her hand wordlessly, and so the tiny trek began. And the rustling. It sounded ever closer. Jana looked down at Susie as they walked; and at a hurried pace, but would say nothing of it now.

“We’re going to try to get in contact with your parents, okay? I want the three of you to look around. I’m going to trust your judgement on this; you’re all big girls and I know you’ll do right. I need you to make sure we have enough emergency provisions; just in case. We’re going to have to sort through all our food and water, and make sure we have enough. You three go find some writing paper and something to write with; and a flashlight in case the power goes out, and meet me at the ice box.” Janadriel said quickly. She’d give little Susie’s hand a reasusring squeeze; letting her know she wanted her to stay with her. Lotte and Yuzu quickly ran off; Ginger stalled just enough time to give her older ‘sister’ a kiss on the cheek, and some words of encouragement, before leaving. “We’ll be okay, Susie, I promise!”

The words did encourage Susie to smile, though. She kissed Ginger back just as she turned to leave, and was then ushered by Janadriel into her parent’s room…where the laptop rested next to a lightly, but threateningly flickering lamp. This alarmed Jana enough to tense her grip on the child’s hand, as she led her over and booted the laptop up.

Susie helped Janadriel as best she could, letting her use her own email account and AIM address; since she didn’t know how to use her father’s or mother’s. And fortunately, Jana was well versed in the ways of computers, so she was quick to work. Susie squirmed a bit, and more of that rustling was heard. “Ms. Janadriel…I have to go…”.

Jana had tried to send an instant message to the station, but they weren’t online just yet. So she was typing away at a simple, very direct email. She looked down at Susie. “Try to hold it in until I get this email through, honey.” Susie nodded slowly to the request, and a few more seconds passed before Janadriel’s voice brushed her ears again. She was absolutely sure of this; and no matter how unimportant it might seem, the curious woman could not hold her query in. “Susie, sweetie…I think I hear…are you wearing a diaper, sweetie? Do you wet the bed?” She asked that as softly and trustingly as she possibly could.

Susie was a little stunned by this, and it took her a few seconds to answer, but she nodded lightly to her, and turned her face to the floor. “Yes, ma’am…I do, every night. I did…last night, too…”

Jana continued; she knew better than to assume that Susie was incontinent, and her hunch proved correct. “That’s alright, sweetie. Your friends probably know. And they don’t mind at all, do they? Good girl…its nothing to be ashamed of. We’ll take care of that as soon as we can”. She said as such with the sweetest voice she could muster. Above all things, she didn’t want Susie to feel ashamed around her. Susie just shook her head at the question. Of course, they way they were all snug in bed, there could be no doubt that her friends were fine with it; they most certainly knew. Jana gently ruffled her hair, and then went back to typing, trying to keep this…this coincidence in the back of her mind.

Susie’s bladder seemed to catch its second wind, and once the email was sent, she quickly expressed her desire to be reunited with her friends. “Ms. Jana, can we please go look for Ginger and the others now? I’m scared…”

Jana had not forgotten about her previous urge to go to the bathroom, but she put it out of her mind for now as well, and the two of them headed quickly out. “Of course, sweetie.” Down to the first of several cellars, at whose entrance the other three children waited, with an empty notebook; a present Yuzu had just received, as well as a black ink pen. Yuzu insisted they use her present. Ginger had the good sense to snag her own flashlight, and despite being shaped like a cartoon frog; something you’d expect of an eight year old, it was a very good light.

“Cute.” Janadriel remarked with a gentle smirk to Ginger, who folded her arms behind herself, smiled, and swayed coyly. She had a way of making teases bounce off of her. By this time, Susie had already moved back to her. With that, Jana took the flashlight in hand, flicked it on by poking the frog in its belly, and descended into the cellar. The flashlight was only on briefly; it was dark down there, but a flip of a switch revealed all. There wasn’t much there, in the cellar: the large ice box; really more of an ice chamber, and a trap door leading further down. They had no need of it, so Jana hurried to the ice box to investigate. Moments later, she emerged, with a shivery sigh of relief.

“We have enough food to last us a good long while. I hope we don’t have to come down here at all, but we’re okay on this side.” There was food in the fridge, of course, but only about two or three days worth; the families had planned to go out and get more groceries. The icebox contained plenty of meats and vegetables; water as well, all well preserved for just such an emergency. And there was also food in storage; mostly canned food and powdered milk. Jana put her hands at her hips. “Okay…listen, you four. I want you to keep close, okay? I’m going back up to Susie’s parents’ room, to keep an eye on the email, in case they respond, and I’m gonna make sure all the emergency generators are charged, in case of…well, of an emergency, but I hope we don’t need them.” She looked to the little blue haired girl, who was a little fidgetty herself. “I saw plenty of batteries for flashlights in your mom’s room last night, Lotte. You guys…”. She handed the flashlight to its rightful owner; knowing that in case the lights did go out, they would feel more secure with the light. She thought so, anyway. “Keep the flashlight, in case the power goes out while I’m away; and you can stay with me if you want. You guys come to me, okay?”

It was at that time that Susie remembered something…something very important, as she suddenly resumed her squirms. She looked up to Janadriel, a panicked expression on her face. “M-Ms. Jana? How do we…wha…the outhouses are outside…!” Jana’s confident face froze. There was an underground water pump that came up in the kitchen, for water. But this cabin did not have indoor plumbing.

“…its funny. I…never seem to remember that.”

Cabin Fever - Intro and Chapter 1

Same things as previously.

Once again, ‘Would (something)’ refers to something in the future, not the past. More specifically, it normally refers to something that the main character is imagining or extrapolating from past experience, or relating.