I am standing in the room that was built to be theirs, added as an inner sanctum to what is otherwise only a hunting camp in the bush. The rest of the cabin is a single room, cedar posts sealed with mortar outside and nothing at all inside, heated by a woodstove, furnished with timber bunkbeds, roofed in tin. This added room, though, it is sided in split cedar outside and panelled with cut cedar inside, a small room that once had its own wood stove also, when it was theirs, and it had certainly been warm then, though it is cold now.
There are boxes of their things stacked under the window, the bits of their life that were too insignificant to be be moved to the new cabin, the one insulated and plumbed and wired, almost a house. I leave everything where it is, but I can see some of her spy novels in the tops of the boxes, a framed map of the waters around the island, a picture of their youngest son at the wheel of a fishing boat, an orange safety vest, a piece of wood with a Bible verse painted on it. There is a cake of green rat poison sitting on top of it all, and there is another in the far corner, a third on the bedside table. The bed is stripped to the mattress, leaving only coverless pillows, and everything is sprinkled with a fine dusting of pine needles.
In one corner, beside a cake of poison, there are marks on the floor where the woodstove once was. A hole gapes above it, like a wound that has released the soul of the place, leaving only this behind: the boxes of unwanted things, the nameless green poison, the uncovered bed, the litter of needles.