The situation felt like a real life horror movie.
She moved slowly, she didn’t want the pine needle floor to make a sound, she couldn’t give her position away. It was a few days after she saw the message. Now she would find out what the truth was. She didn’t know how much her life was about to change.
Sharon Campbell pulled up the zippers on her twins’ jackets and kissed them on the forehead.
Being a parent might have been exhausting, especially when juggling a full-time job, but it was totally worth it. But the mad dash of family life was made a little easier with her husband by her side.
Love At First Sight
Sharon met Thomas when they were studying in college. He studied business and she studied advertising. The pair met in the campus cafe and have more or less been together ever since.
From the outside looking in, their love story resembled a real-life fairytale. Sharon couldn’t have imagined that she’d be so lucky to share her life with such an amazing man. Or so she thought.
The tech world kept Thomas busy, but he tried to have quality time at home but he struggled, especially when a difficult project demanded most of his time – which was most of the time!
Sharon also did her best to stay connected to him through her phone. Lately, however, things had been more stressful than normal, and it seeped into every part of their lives.
The happy medium they used to keep between work and their relationship was hanging in the balance.
Her husband was working crazy hours and seemed more irritable than ever. She even took the kids to the mall for a few hours in the evening so he could relax in silence. It didn’t take long until that too started to lose its effect. Then, he suggested something completely unexpected.
He suggested taking a couple days off and going to their old cabin, she couldn’t help but stare. That house was so old and needed a huge makeover to be comfortable.
Sharon was too tired to take on a project like that and neither of them had the luxury of just quitting on their responsibilities. However, his next suggestion sealed the deal.
Seems Like A Great Idea
He said that he would go out and work on the cabin so the family could use it for the coming summer.
It seemed like a good idea. In fact, it seemed like a great idea. He would get the time off he needed and destress and she could continue taking care of things at home while he worked on the old cabin that she has been meaning to make over for years. But she would soon find out it was all a horrible ruse.
At first, Sharon and Thomas stayed in close contact, messaging and calling each other about twice a day. But as the days passed, Thomas began to change.
It started with a couple messages going unanswered. His late responses said he was just busy with construction. Sharon gave him the benefit of the doubt. But then, all of a sudden, the messages stopped.
Under normal circumstances, she wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But he was out there in the middle of the woods with no one to help him if something went wrong.
Images of him all alone and injured in the dark forest made her heart go into overdrive. There was no question as to what she needed to do next.
Can’t Take It Anymore
Sharon grabbed the car keys, dropped off the twins with her sister, and raced out to the cabin. She prayed he was okay. It was a long 2 hour drive before she met her destination.
The long, overgrown driveway felt so creepy even during the day. No wonder she kept putting off the makeover it so desperately needed. But as she reached the cabin, she noticed something very strange
Surrounded By Forestry
Her heart pounded as she drove up the loose gravel stone road. She was already surrounded by the forest. She forgot how huge this area was.
Part of her was excited to see what work her husband managed to get done on the cabin. She couldn’t remember the last time he worked outside with his hands and it was part of the reason she was so worried. And for good reason.
No One There
When Sharon reached the house, she was surprised to see that there was no car and no sign that the cabin had even been touched at all.
Sharon gripped her keys, and walked the parameter, praying not to find a body. She opened the door to the cabin and checked every room. There was no sign of him. Then she spotted something.
Sharon closed the door and walked around the cabin, searching frantically. Suddenly, she spotted a blotch of white. Her heart pounded like a jackhammer and her palms turned sweaty.
She froze, her feet glued to the earth like a moth to flame. She was too afraid to move. It looked like white fabric. Like a sweater or a coat. What was going on?
What Could It Be?
Silence filled the air. She walked slowly, keeping a close eye on the bushes behind her in a paranoid reaction.
Sharon pulled out her phone, ready to dial 911. But when a clearing opened before her, she couldn’t believe her eyes. She walked closer and closer, trying to understand what on earth she was seeing. Her jaw dropped.
Table For Two
In the middle of the forest was a table and two chairs. The white she had seen was from a tablecloth.
It was a table setting for two. The leftovers of cheese, crackers, and fruit lay scattered across beautiful plates and a silver tiered dessert stand. The worst part was the champagne glasses … half full and one with lipstick stains.
Sharon stood before the abandoned meal, her mind screaming with every worst-case scenario. Her stomach flipped. She felt sick to her core. What was this?
She didn’t want to believe it. She wished she could just ignore all of this. Ignoring it would surely be better than confronting the tremendous hurt she was surely about to feel. But she couldn’t ignore what lay before her.
She forced herself to move. She raised her phone with a trembling hand and snapped a photo. She looked around the forest one last time before deciding to turn around.
With that, she got into her car and let the tears fall. By the time she got home, her eyes were puffy and her throat was raw. She knew exactly what to do next.
The kids were still with her sister – and were going to stay there for a couple more days. She couldn’t let them see her like this. And she definitely couldn’t let them see what was about to go down.
Sharon forced herself to stop crying. He didn’t deserve her tears. She realized that she was crying over losing someone that simply never existed. The man she loved wouldn’t have done this. This wasn’t that man. Suddenly, her sadness transformed into anger.
Sadness To Anger
She paced back and forth, thinking back on all of their memories together. When did he start to change? How long had he been acting this way? Deceiving her? What a despicable human.
Sharon puttered around the house, not really paying attention to anything. It was all just to burn time until he walked through the door. As soon as she heard the latch click, she took a deep breath.
The Waiting Game
He walked in, holding his “cabin” backpack and whistling like he didn’t have a care in the world.
As soon as he walked in the kitchen, however, his expression turned to worry. “What’s wrong, babe?” he asked. “Where are the kids?” Sharon held back her angry tears and pulled out the phone.
Without speaking a word, she swiped to the photo – the one that spoke volumes.
The blood drained from his face, and he stood motionless before her. He opened his mouth, but she held up her hand to silence him. “I only want to know who and how long. After that, you can take your bag and get out.”
“No, babe. You got it all wrong”, he said. His face was already gleaming with sweat. Whenever he got in trouble and knew it, he had this tendency to sweat beads. Once upon a time Sharon found it endearing, now however, she found it repulsive.
He tried to deny it outright. The more he tried to convince her it wasn’t what she thought, the more anger she got.
Sharon slammed her phone down on the table. “I’m not stupid!”, she screamed. “Answer me! Who? And how long?!”. Her heart pounded harder and harder. Daring him to answer her questions and in doing so, single handedly tearing apart their marriage and their family.
He began to cry, pleading with her to listen to him but her patience was running thin.
Sharon could see his mind racing, trying to search for a way out but he was cornered – and he knew it. Quieter now she pressed, “I won’t ask you again Thomas. Who is she and how long has this been going on?”.
He fell to his knees and admitted to everything. Sharon was left feeling numb. She looked at the man she built a family with and realized with intense pain that who she used to see was a complete illusion. She wouldn’t wish this man on her worst enemy.
Relieved And Proud
Without a word, Sharon walked to the bedroom and put all of his clothes in a suitcase. She threw it in front of him and demanded he leave. When he left, Sharon felt a strange feeling come over her – relief.
She felt relieved, after months if not years, of struggling to get their relationship back on track, the slow and strenuous uphill battle had finally ended, and through no fault of her own. She could hold her head high and proud.