The cabin by the river had a sinister aura about it. Some even said that it looked evil. It was a log cabin which had suffered through many floods. All the windows were broken from local kids throwing rocks and the front door hung from its hinges. Willows hung around it like giant arms waiting to grab an unsuspecting passerby.
The cabin was set back from the road. Out of sight, it had stood as a silent sentinel to the mysteries of its past inhabitants. Many thought that it had deliberately been positioned where any activity within the cabin could not be seen. It was shrouded in mystery.
It was said that a dark history surrounded the cabin, though no one who lived in these present days could verify the stories. The old man who fished the river said that something dark had happened there when he was a child but his memory was clouded. He can remember being warned as a child not to go near the cabin but he could not remember why.
Rumours abounded about what may have happened there. Some tell of a woman who was murdered there, others that the cabin was a hideout for a gang of thieves. There were even rumours that it saw many acts of perversion or even that it was the clubhouse of an evil sect. Perhaps all these stories could be true.
One night a family passing through had decided to camp by the river next to the old cabin. They did not stay the night, abruptly braking camp they moved on. The publican in the next town reported a family fronting up looking for accommodation late at night. The children were crying and the mother looked a wreck. When he asked what was wrong the father said they had heard tormented screams coming from the cabin by the river.
Following this the council met to decide on the fate of the cabin. They did not want the cabin with its dark history in their local area. One family had already been scared away and the council feared that it would affect tourism. Local businesses were afraid of the loss of income that would result. Most of the councillors owned businesses and they were concerned with how it may affect their businesses.
One councillor objected. The cabin had been there since before any of them were born. He argued that it was a part of the town's heritage and should be left alone. He even suggested that they could use the cabin to their favour. They could attract visitors to the town by promoting it as the haunted cabin. He reasoned that curiosity would draw people to the town.
The decision went to a vote and it was decided to condemn the cabin. A sign was placed outside the cabin reading 'Trespassers will be prosecuted' and tenders were put out for the demolition work.
Neither of the local demolition companies would have anything to do with it. They knew of the rumours surrounding the cabin and were too afraid to go near it. Tenders were offered to demolition companies in the surrounding shires. After all the applications came in the council decided on one of the demolition companies from a town to the south.
The fate of the cabin seemed certain until the stranger walked into town. He had stopped to look over the cabin before coming into town. Upon arrival he headed straight for the real estate agent and asked for a price for the cabin.
The receptionist looked at him incredulously. "You want to buy what?"
"The little cabin about ten kilometres west of town, it is down by the river."
She shook her head. "I will have to talk to my boss, I don't think that cabin is for sale." She went into an office behind her and after a few minutes returned with a neatly suited man.
The man shook the strangers hand. "I'm afraid that cabin is not for sale. The council has condemned it and it is set for demolition next month."
The stranger considered this for a moment. "Then I shall have to talk to the council. I am willing to pay any price for it."
The next council meeting was held on the following Monday. Twenty seven councillors: twelve from the governing party, nine on the opposition and six independents, gathered in the chamber. In the public gallery sat the usual stalwarts who had come to listen to the machinations of government. One person sat by himself in a corner of the public gallery. He had never been at the council meetings and none of the councillors recognised him as a local.
The proceedings began with a discussion of spending. The government wanted more spending on public works: roads needed resurfacing and footpaths had to be laid through the residential areas. The opposition wanted to deliver more funds to improve the surrounding parklands. They argued that it would bring more people into the area and the extra money brought in by tourism could be used for public works. The independents were keeping their opinions close to their chests. It could go either way. They decided to vote on the issue at the next meeting.
The next item on the agenda was the cabin. The quote for the demolition was tabled and the councillors agreed that work should begin next month. At this point the stranger stood up from his seat in the public gallery and called out "I object!"
The murmuring in the public gallery was suddenly hushed and all the councillors look up as one. Questions went through the minds of all in attendance. Who was this man? What business did he have objecting to council matters? What interest does he have in the cabin? Others were infuriated that an outsider would interfere in local matters.
There were calls to have the stranger ejected from the chambers but the mayor stood up and hushed the crowd. He motioned for the stranger to come down to the floor and waited for him to approach.
"Do you realise that cabin has a chequered history? That it is supposed to be haunted?" The mayor waited for a reply.
The stranger paused as he collected his thoughts. "I can change it from inside, make it new and all of it's past will be forgotten."
The mayor considered this for a moment. "Don't you know that the cabin has been condemned already? It is too late." He stopped and gave the stranger a sly look. "How much are you willing to pay for it anyway?" Dollar signs appeared in his eyes as he contemplated making a tidy profit for the council's budget. Perhaps the additional funds would pay for road improvements and some work on the surrounding parklands. The extra funds could help his chances of being re-elected.
"I would give anything to redeem that cabin from condemnation, even all my life savings."
"And how much would that be?"
The stranger moved close to the mayor and whispered in his ear. The mayor smiled. It was more than he had hoped for. He put the amount to the floor for a vote and received bipartisan support. The cabin now belonged to the stranger.
The stranger began work on the cabin immediately. The first thing he did was to remove the boards that had barred it's windows for many years. The cabin was infused with light and the darkness receded. With the light came a new lease on life for the old cabin. The front door, hanging on it's hinges was repaired and given a lick of paint.
He then set to cleaning the inside. Cobwebs which had hung like nets throughout the house were pulled down and removed. A thick layer of dust which had settled on the floor and the furniture was swept away. Floorboards which had long been hidden became visible. All of the rooms received a long-needed spring clean.
The outside walls of the cabin were given a clean. The original cream colour of the cabin became visible making it once more attractive to the eye. The cabin began to look liveable again.
Finally the stranger worked on the garden. The weeds were pulled up and the front path appeared. Roses were planted and soon lined the entrance to the cabin. A vegetable garden was planted in the backyard. The cabin which had once represented death in the eyes of the locals was now filled with life.
The stranger had toiled for three years. He had paid a large amount to buy the cabin and had since sacrificed time, energy and money on restoring it. He stood back to look at his workmanship and approved of what he saw. There was renewed life in the cabin.
Having restored the cabin to its former glory the stranger opened it up for everyone to see. He threw a party and invited the whole community. He sent invitations to every household in the town and to all the nearby farms. However, the people were reluctant to come to the cabin, as they remembered it's dark history.
The local police constable was the first to dare to come. Expecting trouble he came armed with his gun and capsicum spray. Instead of trouble he found a well restored cabin. The stranger invited him in and he found that the interior looked like new. If there were demons in the cabin in the the past, there were none now.
The police constable phoned his wife and told her that it was safe to come. Word spread around the community and soon the cabin was full of locals. Even the mayor and all the council members arrived. Everyone was amazed at the transformation in the cabin. All signs of evil had been removed and the cabin was clean.
The stranger had put his mark on the cabin. He had lovingly entered the cabin and cleaned it from the inside. The cabin had never before been the recipient of such care and now stood as a testimony to the stranger's love.
Matthew 15:19 NIV
For out of the heart come evil thoughts---murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
1 John 1:9 NIV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
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