A Magical Cabin freewrite: When the magical cabin finds someone in need worthy of love, its magic searches the multiverse to bring the perfect mate to them.
Khamael sat in his truck, staring at the cabin, surprised he'd found it. To his knowledge, the cabin only appeared to those truly in need of its services. He'd been unsure of whether or not he'd qualify, since he'd been actively dating since several years after Nephenee's death.
But lately, he'd felt empty. Like something was missing. As if there was a big, gaping hole where Nephenee should have been.
He'd known about the cabin for a long time, but he hadn't truly believed in its existence. When Ronen suggested he look for it, he'd decided to give it a shot. If nothing else, he could get away from it all and find time to rest.
Now, here he was sitting directly in front of it. He almost couldn't believe his eyes as he watched the magical mist floating around it--a multi-colored cloud consisting of all the colors of magic, light and airy and transparent.
He picked up his mobile communications device and called Ronen.
"Yeah, I found it. Or, if you're right, it found me."
"Good. Have a nice time. Enjoy yourself. And good luck."
Khamael smiled. "I'll do my best, Ro," he said.
He hung up, then reached back behind the seat for his bag. He hauled it out of the truck and went inside.
It looked like any other cabin. Made from durable logs, it sported a wood burning stove in the middle of one wall. The bed sat on the far end of the single room, an end table on either side. The back door stood beside these, and a small dresser stood on the other side of that, with a tiny bathroom standing adjacent to it.
A small kitchenette filled up one corner to his right, and to his left sat a small table with two chairs. Along the remaining wall stood a sofa and a small desk.
A large rug filled the center of the cabin. It was thick and soft, the only sign of age being the fading of its colors.
He set his bag down on the bed, then plopped down beside it. He lay back and stared at the ceiling. The beams were exposed, and there were a few bunches of dried flowers hanging from them. He wondered who had hung them there. And when. Or was it an effect of the magic?
He thought about what his ideal woman would be like. He didn't care as much about looks as what was on the inside. She had to be caring, kind, compassionate, intelligent, accepting of his flaws. He was a celestial, but even celestials had flaws. He had some real doozies.
And what should she be lacking in? Pride was at the top of the list. He didn't want a woman who was proud and arrogant. He wanted a woman who was humble. She couldn't have entitlement issues. She couldn't be selfish. His ideal woman didn't have to be perfect. After all, no one was perfect except the Gods. She would need to be open-minded, approachable, creative in some way.
He wondered what form this woman would take, were the cabin to find her. Would she be human in appearance? Or something akin to human, at least. Or would her form be completely alien to this world? He was a little afraid to find out.
He felt a tingle along his left side and the bottoms of his feet. He sat up at once, knowing that some sort of magic had just been activated somewhere. A portal caused by the cabin, perhaps?
He got up and strode to the front door, glanced out the window. He didn't see anything, so he went out onto the porch and listened. He heard screeches coming from the forest line, which sat across a great field, the far end of which steeply rose into the mountains.
His first thought was that the cabin had opened a portal, and demons sensed it and flocked to it.
He ran down the steps and across the field with all the speed his legs could muster. He climbed the hill with little effort, then raced into the woods, straight toward the magic.
When he arrived at the portal, he found a large hole in the air that led to another world that looked very much like his own. For a few seconds, he stared at it. Then the portal shimmered, and a young woman walked through. She appeared to be looking for something on the ground and didn't realize that anything had happened.,
Then a demon screeched loudly from somewhere behind her. She looked up, her eyes wide in horror, and spotted the demon a few yards away. She turned and ran straight for Khamael.
As the demon ran after her, it grew in size, both in height and bulk, and soon, it stood nearly four times larger than she was.
Khamael lifted his hands and summoned a divine light fireball and threw it at the demon. He missed by a few inches.
The woman continued running, and the demon still followed, gaining on her at an alarming rate.
Khamael summoned another divine light fireball, then he called for the woman to get down. She obeyed, and he threw it. It hit the demon square in the chest, but it didn't stop the beast right away. It continued stumbling for several yards before finally toppling on top of the woman.
Khamael approached and checked the demon. It was dead. He lifted it off the woman and threw it aside.
Then he knelt down beside the woman. He checked for a pulse. She was still alive. He picked her up and carried her back to the cabin, hoping she wouldn't die before he could summon a healer to restore her back to health.
He laid her on the bed, then he closed his eyes, tilted his head back, and spoke a summons for a healer he knew well.
"Mariel," he called. "Mariel, I need your help."
Moments later, a female celestial in white appeared before him.
"Yes, Khamael, what can I help you with?" she asked, her emerald eyes taking him in. "You look well."
"I'm not the one who needs your help," he answered, then led her to the bed. "A demon fell on her. I think he crushed her. She's alive, but barely."
Mariel put a hand on the young woman's forehead. She frowned. "I can't feel her presence. What is she?"
"I don't know. This cabin pulled her here from somewhere else."
Mariel looked around, then her eyes widened in recognition. "This is--"
Khamael needed her to stay focused. "Yes. Can you help her?"
"I can try, but there are no guarantees. She is not of this world, so restoration magic may have no effect on her."
"I understand. Can you at least try?" Khamael asked, his amber eyes flashing with desperate need.
Mariel nodded and held both of her hands above the woman's head. Slowly, she ran them down, never touching the woman, though Khamael could see her restoration magic flowing from her hands into the woman. He knew that if anyone could heal this stranger, it was Mariel.
Moments later, the young woman opened her eyes. They were the color of quava, and Khamael thought he had never seen eyes so beautiful or mysterious.
He smiled down at her. "You're going to be okay," he said quietly.
She looked around, then back up at him. "What is this place? Who are you?"
"We'll get into that soon. First, Mariel needs to finish healing you."
Khamael nodded. "I'll explain everything when she's done."
The woman turned her focus to Mariel. "I feel...warm inside. Is that normal?"
Mariel smiled, her emerald eyes sparkling. "Yes, it is."
A few moments later, Mariel dropped her hands to her sides. "I've done all I can do."
"Will she recover?" Khamael asked.
"I believe so. Make sure she gets plenty of rest, though."
"I will. Thanks, Mariel. I appreciate it."
She laid her hand on his arm and smiled up at him. "You are quite welcome."
She stepped back from him. Their eyes met for the briefest of moments, then she vanished in a flash of bright white light.
"How'd she do that?" The young woman asked, suddenly sitting up, her eyes wide as saucers.
"She's a celestial healer. They can all do that."
She began to get up, and instantly, Khamael knelt beside her, lending his arm for support.
Her eyes grew even wider. "That can't be!"
"Maybe not where you come from, but here, it's commonplace."
"Which brings me back to my earlier questions. What is this place? Who are you?"
"This world is called Illdirin, and I'm Khamael. I'm also a celestial, but I'm no healer. I'm a warrior."
The woman's legs gave out, and Khamael caught her in his arms. He lifted her and carried her back to the bed, where he gently laid her down. He laid a hand on her forehead.
"You don't have a fever. How are you feeling?"
"A bit out of sorts, I'll admit. Confused. How did I get here?"
"You came through a portal."
"How is that possible?"
Khamael motioned to the cabin around them. "This cabin is magic. I came here to find the perfect woman, and it brought me you."
She shook her head. "I'm not perfect."
"I don't mean literally perfect," Khamael laughed. "I mean perfect for me."
She stared at him. "You don't even know me."
"No, but this cabin searched the multiverse and brought me you. I can't question it. I must, however, explain it to you. You have a choice."
"You can return to your world or stay here."
"I don't understand," she said, sitting up and rubbing her temples with a pained expression on her face.
"Are you all right?"
"I have a bit of a headache," she said, wincing.
"That's to be expected. It will go away shortly."
She dropped her hands to the quilt beneath her. "So, tell me about this cabin and how it all works."
Khamael drew in a breath, thinking of how he'd explain it to her. Really, he didn't understand it all, though he knew the fine points. He'd just tell her what he knew and hope she wouldn't refuse to stay.
"No one knows where this cabin is at any given time. It knows who seeks it, and if they are in real need, it appears to them. I drove out into the country in search of it, and it came to me."
"But how does it know you're searching for it? How does it know anything? It's a cabin."
Khamael smiled and held up a finger. "But it's not just any cabin. It holds all the major magics and some minors, as well. It was designed to help those who are lonely and in need of a soul mate."
"Yes, the perfect person for them."
She shook her head. "You keep saying 'perfect,' but I'm not perfect."
"You don't have to be. No one is--well, except the Gods."
"Yes, Illdir and Tatia. They created this world and the first people on it."
"So, what are the rules governing this cabin and what it does?" the woman asked, slowly moving closer to the edge of the bed so she could let her legs dangle down over the side.
"I'm no expert. I only know that it searches the multiverse, and when it finds the right person, it creates a portal in front of them. In most cases, they don't even recognize it. They just move right into it."
"That happened to me."
"You have one full week to get to know me and decide whether or not you want to stay. If you don't, I'll escort you back to where I found you in the forest."
"What happens if I stay?"
"I take you home, and we take it from there."
"Can I ever go back to my world?"
"You can if you know when your time to die is coming close. I can bring you back, take you to where you came through the portal, and you can return to your world."
"If I do that, can I ever come back here?"
"You can, but only once, and once you return here, you're here to stay. That's to keep people from abusing the privilege."
The woman sat thinking for several moments. Khamael said nothing to interrupt her thoughts, as he had his own to sort through, as well.
"Lani," the young woman said at last.
"That's my name. Lani Miller."
"That's a pretty name. I'm Khamael Asmodei." He held out his hand, and when she took it, he gave it a little squeeze. "As I said before, I'm a warrior."
"Is there war going on here?"
"Minor wars here and there. The main war on this world lately has been the one between divine good and evil. I fight to protect the defenseless."
"That's a noble thing," she said with a smile.
Khamael shrugged. "It's what I was made to do. I was created with the skills I have. I figure I should put them to good use in protecting the chosen ones of the Gods."
"I don't know. Are you mortal?"
"Yeah. Average life span on my world is about 70 or 75, at least in my country."
"What's the name of your world?" Khamael asked, looking into her dark eyes. He could get lost in those eyes, and he wanted to more than anything.
"Earth. I know it's not a very creative name. Not as cool as Illdirin."
"I like it. What's the name of your country?":
"Its official name is the United States of America, but most people just call it the U.S. or America. The continent is called North America, and there are two other major countries on it. There's also a South America with a bunch of various countries. There are a few other continents too, with many other countries and races who speak different languages."
"I should like to visit your world some day."
"Maybe you'll find a way."
Khamael gave her a little grin. "I'll give it some thought."
She looked into his eyes for several heartbeats. "I've never seen eyes like yours. What do you call the color?"
"Amber," he said.
"It's a nice color."
"You have beautiful eyes," Khamael said, reaching up to brush the hair away from her face. "How old were you when you left your world?"
"I'd just turned 50."
"You don't look a day over 16."
"Does the cabin make people younger?"
"Those it brings from other worlds, it brings them to the age of the one it brought them here for."
"I'd say you can't be any older than 20, but you're an angel. You're probably way older than that."
"I am. A lot older."
She laughed. "I won't ask. It wouldn't be polite."
"I'll tell you anyway. I'm over twelve thousand years old. Young for an angel."
"Are there many like you on this world?"
He nodded. "More than a few."
"Will I meet any of them?"
"If you stay, you definitely will. And you'll get to meet my son."
"You have a son?" She narrowed her eyes at him. "Are you married?"
His expression grew sad, and he lowered his gaze. "No, not anymore. My wife died a few years ago."
"I'm sorry," she said, laying a hand over his.
He looked back up at her. "Bane, my son--he's all I have left of her. He lost his wife a long time ago, and they had a son, Tide."
"Bane's not his real name, but he didn't like Baldan. He thought Bane sounded more cool, and he's been Bane ever since he was a boy. And Tide's mother was a mermaid. He's half mermaid, or was until magic turned him into a full arael."
"Half elf and half angel. It's what Bane is."
"Your wife was an elf? Aren't they immortal?"
"No, just very long lived. Nephenee, my wife, was killed when her people's village was attacked. It was burned to the ground, and she burned with it. I couldn't get to her in time."
"Don't you have magic?"
"Yes, but in the heat of battle, I lost sight of her. I didn't find out she was dead until we counted our losses. She was one of them. I knew it was her by the bow she still held. It was indestructible. She was not."
"I'm so, so sorry," Lani said.
Khamael let out a breath, then turned his eyes back to hers. "It's okay. I still miss her, but it's gotten better. But I've been lonely for a long time, and when my friend, Ronen, told me about the cabin, I thought I should try to find it. I'm tired of having no one to love."
"I was married on my planet. I had kids. They'll wonder about me. Miss me. Probably think I've been kidnapped."
"Do you want to go back?"
"I should. But I don't want to leave you in a lurch, either."
"It's okay. I understand."
"I just--I don't feel right leaving like that, you know?"
Khamael nodded. "Maybe in another life, huh?"
"Definitely in another life. I'm sorry I can't stay. I just--well, you know."
"I do. It's still early enough I can walk you back now, if you want."
"Okay," Lani said, but her expression was one of sadness. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"No, but I will be."
They walked in silence back to the edge of the forest. Khamael stopped and listened.
"You were attacked by a large demon when you came through the portal. That's why you needed a healer. Your whole left side was crushed."
Lani stared, wide eyed, into the forest. "Are they still there?"
"I don't know, but I'm armed, and I'll protect you."
Lani moved closer to him, and he led her into the forest. A few minutes later, they neared the spot where the portal had been. As they approached, it opened.
She turned to Khamael and took his hand in hers as she looked up into his eyes. "I hope you find the love you're searching for. I won't forget you. I'll pray for you."
He gave her a sad smile. "Thank you. I'll need it."
She turned back toward the portal, but never had a chance to take another step toward it, as a powerful pair of demons flew out of the deep forest shadows and attacked.
Before Lani knew what was happening, Khamael drew his sword and moved between her and the demons.
"Run!" he cried.
She stood frozen in place, the sight of the demons having terrified her into inaction.
"Run! Now!" he ordered again, but more demons swarmed around them, blocking the way to the portal--or anywhere else.
He muttered a curse and sheathed his sword. He stepped close to her and wrapped his arms around her, then they vanished in a flash of bright light.
When they rematerialized, Lani looked up at him, her dark eyes full of confusion. Then she lowered her head to stare at the bright white wings he had wrapped tightly around her.
"Sorry," he said, quickly withdrawing and folding his wings behind him until they disappeared. "There were too many of them. I had to bring you back to the cabin."
"Can we try again?" she asked hopefully, her eyes sparkling with moisture.
"The portal has closed by now, since you already tried to go back. There won't be another way to open it until we get close to your death."
"Oh," she whispered, plopping down onto to the foot of the bed. "I guess I'll have to make the most of the situation, then."
Khamael sat down beside her and laid a hand on top of hers. "I truly am sorry. If I could do it all again, I'd call my brother to assist. But there's no guarantee he could even find us."
"Yes. He's a greater warrior than me, and much stronger."
"We can't change the past, so we'll just have to look to the future." Lani wiped her eyes and smiled. "I refuse to dwell on what might have been, or think about it as if I'm stuck here. This is an opportunity, and I plan to make the best use of it."
"We'll discuss the possibilities. There are many. But I hope we can get to know each other better."
"I'd like that."
Khamael tightened his hand around hers. "You forgive me for my failure?"
"Failure's not fatal, and it's not final. Even though you brought me here and couldn't get me back, it doesn't mean I have to wallow in self pity or hold a grudge for something that was beyond your control." She shrugged. "It's not your fault. I have no reason to forgive you. You did your best."
"But it wasn't good enough."
"Maybe not, but I have a second chance to make something of my life. I can leave a legacy here, thanks to you."
"I have no doubt you will, and it will be a great legacy."
"Yeah, if only I can find my true purpose in life."
"I'd like to help you with that, if you'd let me."
Lani gave him a bright smile. "I'd like that. I'm new here. I'll take all the help I can get."
He looked down at his hand on hers, and he took hold of it, turned it over, and lifted her palm to his lips. "I'll do anything to make up for my failure. You may not hold it against me, but I take my failures seriously."
"Fair enough," she said, a slight blush coloring her cheeks. "In the meantime, I'd like to see your world, learn about it, have a positive impact on it."
"That can be arranged," Khamael said with a grin. "Whatever you want, you can count on me."
Lani glanced around at their surroundings. "Do we have to leave yet, or can we hang out here for a while?"
"You mean--just the two of us?"
"Something like that," she said with a smile.
"As far as I know, we have one week. Then, whether we're ready to go or not, the cabin will phase out of our dimension and wait for the next needy person to come along."
"What season is it here? Is it autumn?"
"Early autumn, yes. Why?"
"I as wondering if the nights are cool enough to have a fire in the wood stove."
"Here they are, yes. If you'd like, I can get that started."
"Okay, and I'll see what food there is and see if I can figure out how to use the range."
"Sounds like a plan," Khamael said, rising to his feet.
He was about to pull his hand away, but she grasped it tighter, lightly tugging him down. When he was down to her level, she kissed his cheek.
"What was that for?" he asked.
"That was for being so kind and attentive. I have a good feeling about you. And me. It's still too early for me to tell how it will turn out, but I have a feeling we'll be great friends, at the very least."
"I won't lie to you," Khamael said, his voice soft and low. "I'd like us to be more than friends, but if that's where you want to keep us, I'll abide by it. I just want you to be happy."
"I'd like us both to be happy. Maybe we'll be happy together. Time will tell."
He smiled and kissed her forehead. "Yes, time will surely tell."
With that, he went outside to gather some wood from the shed. He carried in several armloads and stacked them on a rack near the wood stove, then he set to building their first fire.
Lani busied herself in the kitchen. She'd found the icebox all right, and figured out what was what in the cupboard.
"You know, it's strange," she said, holding up a can of string beans and studying it. "An hour ago, I wouldn't have a clue what this says. Now, I can read it with no problem. Is that an effect of the cabin?"
Khamael nodded. "Once someone decides to stay--or has no choice, in your case--the cabin starts magically adapting them to live here."
"Adapting? You mean, kind of like terraforming a world, only doing it with a person?"
"Something like that, yes."
"Cool." Lani smiled and set the can down on the counter. "I can't find a can opener here. Can you help me find it?"
"Sure. Just give me a minute."
He got the fire going, added another log, then closed the doors on the wood stove before joining Lani in the small kitchenette area. He found a can opener and showed her how to use it, then he filled the quava machine to brew some quava. He chose the decaffeinated kind, since it was starting to get late, and Lani didn't need its stimulating effects so close to bedtime. Then he rooted around in the ice box and found a creamy, frozen treat in the freezer section. He set it out to soften up a bit while they ate. Then he dished up some of the dessert afterward.
"So, what do you think so far?" he asked, once they were seated on the sofa.
"So far, I think your world has delicious food, and you are very good company."
"I'm glad to hear that," he laughed. "You're good company, too. I can't wait to introduce you to my family. And to Ronen."
"I'll admit I'm a bit shy, but I'll try to overcome it."
"In this family, you won't have a choice. We're all pretty outgoing."
"I'll look at that as a challenge."
"Good," Khamael said. He leaned his head against hers. "It's been a long time since I've sat and enjoyed an evening with a beautiful woman. I don't know if I'll ever want to go back home."
Lani said nothing, and he looked down at her, a little worried. Her eyes were closed, and her breathing was shallow. He realized she'd fallen asleep.
He smiled and kissed the top of her head. He let her sleep long enough so that she wouldn't awaken easily, then he rose, lifted her off the sofa, and laid her in the bed.
He went back to the sofa and watched her sleep, hoping with all his might that she would grow to love him. He could already feel his heart warming to her, and he wanted her to feel it, too.
Time would tell, he supposed. And if this first day with her was any indication, the future looked to be bright. Very bright, indeed.