I started my writing hiatus in the most ironic way possible: with a writer’s weekend at a cabin in Big Bear City. I joined five other lovely lady writers (four of whom I did not know) in a self-imposed retreat for 24 hours.
I was able to hammer out a rough draft of a short story, inspired by the wilderness and an eerie story my friend shared about a hiker in New York. I wish we could have stayed longer; the mile-high mountain air mixed with the smell of fresh coffee every couple of hours was intoxicating.
We ended the day of writing with a family dinner and conversations about our writing projects. Can I say again how magical it was?
But it was also the perfect setup for a horror movie, a fact that we consistently mentioned throughout the day. And it did not disappoint.
Sometime after midnight, while we were drinking festive beer by the fireplace and watching old episodes of Who's Afraid of the dark, we heard a THUMP. Our eyes darted toward the front door behind us. Some of us swore we saw it move.
We pretended that it was nothing more than the heat from the fire and the chill of the outdoors causing something to settle in the woodwork, but everyone was a little more vigilant after hearing it.
The next day, as we were wandering the yard looking for giant pine cones, we noticed something else ominous: a pile of bricks that had been neatly stacked the night before was now strewn about the lawn.
As we contemplated how this could have happened on the fenced-in property without us hearing, a man crossed the street to chat with us.
"You ladies renting this place?"
We told him yes, and that we were heading back home in an hour or so. He explained that he just came over to check on the property since, get this, the front windows had been shot out two separate times in the past month.
He clarified by adding that it was just some teenage vandals with airsoft guns. Oh, good. Just airsoft guns...
As the afternoon drew to a close, we started to say our goodbyes. One of my new friends took her sweet dog to the side yard to do his business, and then called us over.
"Was this here when we arrived yesterday?"
The name "Elie" was outlined in small rocks near the garage. It was as if we had just failed to notice the creepiness that surrounded us that weekend.
Whether it we were haunted, stalked, or just wrapped up in a series of coincidences, it still ended up being a safe, beautiful and restful weekend.
What do you think—were we just being paranoid or was there more at work in that cabin than just six writers?