Chapter 43

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Mitch grabbed the kettle with his bare hand then instantly released.  He curled his knuckles to free the slight tinge then reached again, this time with a towel, and pulled the boiling water from the stove.  He poured the hot water into a cup then shoveled in instant coffee.  Oatmeal bubbled in a saucepan.  Mitch was not thinking clearly.  His head was cloudy from lack of sleep.  He was awake in bed most of the night and had been up periodically, compelled with thirst or the urge to leave the inside of the cabin and walk out onto the lake.  At one point in the late evening, or early morning, he wrapped a blanket around himself and sat out on the porch.  He sat until he was numb from the cold and then sat a while longer before sauntering back to bed.  The air on the porch had been refreshing and he thought that might help him rest better.  Rather the fresh air revitalized his restlessness.

The coffee went down before the oatmeal finished cooking.  The coffee was acrid still he was invigorated.  Mitch may have lost a night’s sleep, yet he was still a fit man that could be jolted by a cup of caffeine.

By the time Mitch went outside to start his truck he had begun to feel confident about the day ahead of him.  As he waited for the engine of the truck to warm, he looked up through his windshield to the tops of the maples and pines that surrounded his yard.  The sky was a bright blue and the morning sun shown golden on the highest branches of the trees.  He looked at the small Japanese maple that grew just in front of the cabin with branches still covered in morning frost that lightly glistened whatever light could reach the shadowy hiding place.

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