"It's raining." Molly's finger traced a raindrop down the window as it joined one, then another and another and finally ran in a rivulet to the bottom of the glass and off the window sill and frame.
"It's the Pacific Northwest, it does that a lot," Todd replied behind her. The damp outside made the bedroom seem cold, even if it wasn't. He continued to turn down the bedclothes only giving her half his attention.
She shook her head and pressed a cheek against the cold pane. Her breath created a cloudy patch on it in which she sketched a mountain shape with dots for rain around it.
"We're in the mountains; it's supposed to be snowing." She sighed.
Once in bed he pulled the covers up to his chin and waited for his body heat to warm the crisp sheets. "We're here for a week. The forecast said there would be snow, for sure. Don't worry you'll get your chance to make a snow angel, in the meantime, let's have a little dessert before dinner."
She ignored the suggestion as she made another breath cloud on the window but this time sketched a caricature of a frowning Todd with his glasses askew. "Jackson's out there. By himself."
"He probably found Mara and they're doing what they always do, arguing. Either that or she managed to hitch a ride down the mountain and he's sulking somewhere. Come to bed."
"But it's raining."
"Okay, she caught a ride and he's getting wet while he sulks. They're grownups, Molly. They'll figure it out."
She left her post and got into bed, deliberately placing her cold feet on his leg. He tried pulling away but his legs were no match for ten freezing cold toes finding their mark.
"That's what you always say, 'He's a grownup. She's a grownup. You're a grownup. He, she, you'll figure it out.' Well that grownup – out in the middle of the woods – is my brother whose bitch of a so-called girlfriend just told him she was pregnant but doesn't want the baby."
"Alright, already, I get it. I get it."
He got out of bed grabbing for his clothes on the chair. "I'll see if I can find him. Where are the flashlights?"
"Downstairs in the kitchen. Doesn't matter, though, the caretaker has all the outside lights on."
"Still? You'd think there'd be at least a couple flashlights in every room. What happens if I have to go into the woods? Hell of a way to run a lodge."
"You're the one who picked it." She snugged the duvet closer to her shoulders and face.
"I picked it… " he hopped around getting a foot into a pants leg, then lost his balance and fell next to her on the bed. She snorted a giggle as she pushed him away. He scowled at her but managed to pull on the pants.
"I picked it" he said "because it promised a week of relaxing calm for all of us. Of course that's before Mara dropped her bomb. Which – by the way – if she is "with child" as she so dramatically put it, I'll be surprised. Truth telling is not her strong point. Over dramatization is."
As if to emphasis his statement he gave a jerk on the pants zipper and winced. He wiggle-walked to adjust the pants on his way to the window.
"Did you see what direction he went when he left?"
Before she could answer he held up his hand to stop her.
"Oh my God." He turned from the window eyes wide and fearful.
"What? What is it?" She rushed to him to look out.
At the edge of the forest that surrounded the rental lodge was a man, on his knees, his clothing in tatters. His hair was tangled and his bare chest covered with blood.
"JACKSON!" She ran from the room.
Family members came out of their rooms as she ran down the hall, down the stairs to the great room of the lodge and out the front door. As Todd ran past them his parents tried to stop him, demanding to know what was happening but all he could do was stammer out his brother-in-law's name as he followed his wife into the pelting mountain rain.
They stopped in front of Jackson. He was sobbing as he held out his shaking hands to his sister. They were cut and bleeding, palm and backs, with more cuts up to his elbows and across his chest.
She dropped to her knees next to him as their parents and the rest ran up to them.
"What the hell happened here?" At first the voice was unfamiliar but then Molly recognized it as the caretaker's. He must have heard her screams and come running. "What's going on?" He demanded.
Jackson grabbed his sister's arms. "Mara. She's …" He looked behind him, then at her and then at the others. "I tried, I tried to get her out. She's…" He collapsed into Molly's arms, unconscious.