The World Is Painted Red (Ch.2 Pt. 3)

“RISE AND SHINE, BREAKFAST IS READY,” Mike shouted. “Hope all that snoozing yesterday didn’t cut your sleep short.”

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I should have just walked home in the storm…

“I didn’t know if you were a vegan or something so I made pancakes.”

“I’m not…”

“Come on now, get yourself some food.”

Jack stood up slowly. As he began to eat he realized his hands were shaking rather noticeably.

“You drink often?”

“Uhh. Yeah.”

Mike slid his chair backward and walked into the dining room. “Sorry, all I got is wine.” He set the bottle in front of Jack.

“No. No. No. You don’t need to—”

“Please,” Mike’s voice fell grave but only for a second. “I’ve been there too. It looks like you need it. C’mon, here’s to the weekend.” He poured out two glasses. “At least today you can’t sleep through work. HAHAHAAA!”

Jack couldn’t help but to smile at Mike’s horrific laugh.

“All right…”

They bumped their glasses together in cheers and took heavy swigs.

“Say, I was thinkin’, why don’t we go for a hike or something today? God knows I don’t have anything better to do.”

Jack’s face was lit up with surprise. “Uhh. Have you not looked outside? There’s gonna’ be a foot of snow on the ground.”

“Oh… Yeah I suppose your right. Well, do you ski?!” his neck popped out as he looked at Jack with an open smile.

“Uhhhh. Yeah, I do, actually.”

“Well then, I guess we have ourselves a plan! You have a car, right?” His face lit up with a bright smile. “I’ve got a cabin right on a mountain in Vermont. This weekend is going to be AWESOME!” He looked away from Jack and started to inhale his pancakes.

Oh my God…

The rest of that day was cluttered with the packing of bags, a long walk to Jack’s house in the middle of the blizzard, and never ending small-talk in the car ride to Mike’s cabin. Most of the discussion was in the topic of work and politics. The streets were so snowed over that it looked as though not a single plow had been running. And all the detours in route tacked on another two hours to their five hour ride. But, after much rambling and driving, they had arrived.

“Home sweet home.” Mike shouted to the leafless trees crowding the cloudless sky.

“You grew up here?”

“Yeah, Pops is right inside.”

“Oh?!”

“HAHAAA just bustin’ your balls, he’s on his way up to heaven. Hopefully.”

Jack remained silent.

“Well come on now grab your bags and make yourself at home. Leave your skis on top of the truck, helps the wax stay on.”

Jack made his way down the long driveway that led to a house made of logs. There were no other houses in sight especially not any that looked as traditional as Mike’s. Nothing but deep, dark woods surrounded the property. The trees looked alien-like, tall, slender shadows dancing to the rhythm of the wind. A mound of snow rested against the front-door. Mike got on one knee and started to scrape the snow with his bare hands.

“This dang door is always getting flooded with fluff. God, but I love it, this white fluff.”

He grabbed a handful and sifted it through his fingers back onto the ground and then he paused, staring blankly at the sifted snow. “Brings me back, beautiful.” Mike continued his peculiar gaze, then, proceeded to shovel off the snow. “All right, there we go! We’re gonna’ have to get this fireplace goin’ right away because it-is-cold.”

To be continued…

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