Detention

February 8, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Detention. Joel hated detention. Detention and Mr. Briars. And his classmates. Detention, Mr. Briars and his classmates. And school in general. Pretty much anything and anyone associated with school he hated. Not that he showed it though – he was pretty good at playing the game in company and to his parents, but that didn’t do anything to reduce his dislike of it all.

Detention was at number one though on his list of hates.

Mr. Briars had unceremoniously picked him out at the end of his final class of the day for some minor infraction, dumping him in an empty classroom with orders to read a book silently, with the added kicker that he couldn’t leave until he’d finished it. He hadn’t argued. Mr. Briars had it in for him for some reason, always singling him out, always watching him from the corner of his eye. Whatever. Going with the flow seemed the best option to deal with the asshole for the time being.

Joel turned the book over in his hands. It was a light, slim book, the cover a garish cartoon picture of various men dressed in green tights and tunics carrying a variety of swords and wooden staffs, except for the one stood in the middle of the group holding a bow and bearing a wide smile on a blond moustached face beneath a hood. Joel groaned inwardly as he read the title in typical olde english font emblazoned across the top:


A TALE OF SHERWOOD FOREST
A Choose Your Own Fate Adventure


Great, he thought sarcastically, it was one of those books, the kind where you had to select from a set of options and flip to another page depending on your choice. On and on until your character died or achieved some kind of bullshit goal. The last time he’d read one of these he must’ve been ten or eleven, and even then he’d grown bored with it and hadn’t finished. Mr. Briars would probably test him on it when he came back like the unapologetic shit he was though so he’d best just get it over with. Slouching back in his chair, Joel turned to the first page.


Welcome Adventurer!
You have come seeking fame and fortune by joining Robin Hood’s merry men! Tarry not in the woods though, hold fast to your decisions, and you shall find the goal you seek!

Joel snorted derisively before continuing on to the first section:


1.
Sunlight pierces the canopy of trees high above you, sending shafts of light through the sky of leaves to illuminate your path. You entered Sherwood Forest but a short time ago, and already it is as if the woods have swallowed you whole. You have on you your trusty sword, three days worth of provisions, flint and tinder, plus a warm cloak which seems a burden on such a fine summer’s day.

The forest path is wide, the day pleasant, and your heart beats strongly in your chest. Today is the day when you shall achieve your goal. You will find Sir Robin of Locksley, the fabled Robin Hood, and join his troupe of merry men!

It’s not long before you come upon a fork in the path. To the left it curls off toward an area of the forest where a villager told you a small river runs through, but that there are plenty of man-made fordings available should you look. To the right the path is more or less straight, but appears to head into a dark, dense part of the forest which looks rather foreboding.

If you wish to go left toward the river, turn to 8.
If you wish to go right down the ominous forest path, turn to 11.

It read like any one of these books he’d picked up before. Joel looked at the options. Only an idiot goes looking for trouble in dark and foreboding places he thought, and wasn’t a river crossing and a contest a part of the Robin Hood legend? He chose accordingly.


8.
Before you even see the river, your ears pick out the sound of swift running water somewhere up ahead. You quicken your pace, eager to both see the source of the sound, but also to splash some water in your face to relieve yourself of some of the heat you feel from such a long walk.

You pass a large, gnarled oak tree and finally see the fast flowing river, the sunlight bouncing off it’s surface, and is that a fish or two you see slicing around beneath? Kneeling by the bank, you dip your cloth into the cool, refreshing water, then lift it and place it gingerly on the back of your neck. The initial cold is a shock, but a welcome one, and you feel the coolness spread through your body. The bigger shock though is when you hear a loud voice calling from across the way!

“Ho Stranger! If you seek to cross this river, you must first pass me!”

You look up in surprise and see a giant of a man, dressed in a dark brown leather jerkin with hands almost as big as the thick beard upon his rugged face, stood on the opposite bank next to a large log which breasts the river. In his right hand stands a long, thick piece of wood. You recognise it as a quarterstaff, and that he must be none other than Little John himself, one of the fabled merry men you seek!

In an instant you understand his meaning, and looking next to the large log on your side of the bank is another quarterstaff, obviously for the use of travellers such as you. Finally a chance to prove yourself! Despite your eagerness however, he does look rather large, and you wonder at your chances.

If you wish to fight Little John, turn to 15.
If you wish to return the way you came and try the other path, turn to 11.

Ha! He knew it. Barely in and he was already dealing with one of the merry men. Joel wanted this over with, so going back wasn’t an option. Best to carry on forward and get it done.


15.
Eagerly you sweep the quarterstaff up into your hand and approach the log bridge. As you step on carefully, so does Little John, easily twirling the quarterstaff in his hands. You wonder to yourself how many people have come this way before, only to find themselves unceremoniously beaten and pushed into the river. That your opponent is confident there is no doubt, but if the stories are true his naivety is just as strong as his biceps. Should you fight fairly, or trick him somehow?

If you still wish to retreat and try the other path, turn to 11.
If you wish to fight fairly, turn to 18.
If you wish to cheat, turn to 23.

Now that was an interesting option, he thought. Again, going back wasn’t going to happen. Of the other two choices though, Joel knew which one he leant towards. Fighting fairly may be the more honorable way, but to him the result was always the key factor to his way of thinking.


23.
As you approach him, you raise your quarterstaff in what you hope is a defensive position. He smiles good-humouredly, rolls his shoulders to loosen himself up, winks, and quickly raises his staff for an almighty blow. As his staff reaches its peak, you pretend to look past him and shout: “Bear!”

His head whips round to check, instantly forgetting about you. You take your chance, raise your staff high, and aim a truly thunderous whack across his skull!

Your arms vibrate with the impact and you think you’re going to drop the staff. Nervously you watch as Little John turns his head back to face you. His face moves quickly from confusion, to anger, and then dazed. He falls to his knees, and topples off the log, but is still able in his daze to roughly grab at a protruding broken branch on the underside of the trunk.

The cold water returns him partly to his senses, and he slowly grins up at you before speaking:

“Well done stranger! Robin has need of men with sense as well as strength. Give me your hand and I’ll take you to him.”

If you offer him your hand, turn to 26.
If you wait for him to climb back up himself, turn to 31.

It was a difficult choice Joel realised. Offering to help him up would put him in a dangerous position. Off balance, Little John could pull him into the water or anything. Joel could see the way the book was heading though. Once you bested an opponent in this fairy tale land of good and evil, you always fell back on the honourable option. He thought it a load of crap, but the answer the book was expecting was obvious at this point.


26.
You look down at Little John, bedraggled and wet and being buffeted by the river, and offer your hand to help him up. As he reaches up to grasp your hand though, you instead wrap your offered hand once more around the quarterstaff and drive it’s end into his face, catching him off-guard.

You feel the impact resonate up the wood as his nose shatters beneath the blow. He bellows in rage and agony, one hand moving to cover his now bloody face. You quickly strike at his remaining hand holding onto the branch under the log and hear the satisfying crack of broken bone. He yells once more and releases his hold, the river quickly drawing him under and away. You watch him struggle for a short while, then throw both quarterstaffs into the water and carry on your way.

Turn to 28.

Okay, thought Joel, what the hell just happened?!

He hadn’t expected that at all. Thinking about it though, it made a lot of sense. Who knew what Little John might’ve tried? His character’s response was sensible – he’d lulled his opponent and then acted, removing a potential danger. Joel found himself warming to this book.


28.
The path on the other side of the river is barely visible, and so obviously not a commonly used means of moving through Sherwood Forest. Logically therefore it must be a route used only by the Merry Men and Robin Hood himself!

Gradually the path grows narrower, the trees thinner and closer together on each side until finally the path appears to be a corridor of trees, leading to a dead end but with two large arches with a bowman stood in front of each. They look like twins, an image reinforced by them both speaking at the same time and with the same words as you approach.

“Greetings Stranger. You have bested Little John, but wisdom is as valuable as skill with weapons in Robin’s camp. Behind us lie two ways forward. One leads on to the camp, the other to a hidden pit filled with wooden stakes. You may ask one of us a single question, but beware, one of us will lie and the other tell the truth. Which route do you choose?”

You try to pick out any differences in the paths beyond the arches from where you stand, but they look identical. Your only choices appear to be to ask the bowmen or take a chance and pick a route at random.

If you take the left arch, turn to 36.
If you take the right arch, turn to 38.
If you ask one of the bowmen which archway leads to the camp, turn to 42.
If you ask one of the bowmen which archway the other bowman will say leads to the camp, turn to 62.
If you use intimidation on the bowmen, turn to 49.

Now that was a curious last option Joel thought. The first two random choices didn’t appeal, and whilst he was confident in his logic what the right choice was, he was drawn to the last action. It made a lot more sense to him, skipping the need to risk a correct answer against one he could guarantee if approached right.


49.
You walk slowly up to one of the bowman, rubbing your chin thoughtfully as if thinking of an appropriate question. Abruptly you draw your sword, catching them off guard and grabbing the nearest from behind, placing your blade against his throat before the other can react. The one you are holding trembles beneath your grip, whilst the other watches you nervously, fingering his bow.

If you ask the bowmen to tell you which arch leads to the camp or you’ll kill the one you’re holding, turn to 43.
If you kill the bowman you are holding immediately, turn to 47.

Another interesting set of options. That threats were useful Joel knew from past experience, but only if the other guy knew you’d carry them out. Carl in fifth grade had learnt that lesson the hard way. The answer was obvious.


47.
Without a flicker of emotion, you draw your sword across the throat of the man you are holding. He gurgles in alarm as the flesh parts and blood pours forth from the wound across his neck. Dropping him to the floor to breathe his last, you point your blade at the stomach of the other bowman.

If you ask the remaining bowmen to tell you now which arch leads to the camp, turn to 56.
If you force the bowman to go ahead of you by swordpoint through one of the arches, turn to 53.

Both choices would work, Joel thought casually, but one of them obviously added an element of insurance to his character’s survival.


53.
Prodding the remaining bowman with the point of your now bloody sword, you state coldly that what happened to his friend can quite easily happen to him and that he will now lead you through the correct archway to the camp.

Reluctantly, he moves toward the right arch.

If you follow the remaining bowman through the arch, turn to 68.
If you first run the remaining bowman through with your sword, killing him, turn to 65.

Joel was torn at this one; it wasn’t as obvious an answer as the last. Keeping the remaining bowman alive added an element of risk if he tried to escape, but then how far did the man’s loyalty to Robin Hood and his cause go? So far as to pick the wrong archway even, thus risking his own life? Despite the risks, having the captive bowman along gave Joel more options he realised.


68.
The bowman has been stumbling ahead of you forlornly at swordpoint for a few minutes when you notice his furtive glances back and the slowing of his pace. Prepared, you wait until he makes his move. Ten steps later he spins and makes a grab for your sword. You efficiently stab him through the stomach, then kick his shuddering body off your blade. As he falls backward the earth ahead of you gives way and his body falls into the trap you had previously been warned about. Skirting the edge you look down to see his bloody and broken form pierced upon multiple sharpened stakes, one piercing his cheek and exiting his mouth and giving him a permanently shocked expression. Content he is dead, you make your way back along the path to the two arches. You take some time to dig a shallow grave a little way from the arches and bury the bowman you killed earlier, covering the mound with additional loose leaves and sticks. Once happy with your work, you turn and take the left archway.

Turn to 22.

He’d known he was right to keep him alive! Additional resources were a useful buffer between himself and unpleasant situations, like the friends he’d cultivated at school. As long as they could be controlled or manipulated, they were handy to have around. Those that weren’t could be discarded easily enough later on should the need arise.


22.
You’ve been walking along the path for a while now and decide to take a rest and eat some of your food. Looking around you find a suitable tree stump and sit down, digging out from your bag half a loaf and a wedge of strong cheese wrapped in linen. You take a large bite of each and wash them down with some water from the skin hanging from your belt. Whilst you are eating you pull out the letter that lay beside the bread in your bag. Opening it, you read once more the instructions given to you yesterday:

“Hail and well met!

You have come recommended by Prince John himself, as a man who can get things done. Most in these parts have heard of the bandit in the woods, the one who calls himself ‘Robin Hood’. He claims himself a champion of the people, but in truth he is nothing more than a common criminal. However, his vile lies amongst the unwashed and uneducated masses have proven impossible to overcome of late; no one is willing to come forward and provide information on this scoundrel.

Therefore, I need you to enter Sherwood Forest and infiltrate his camp. He has broken the rule of law, as have his followers, and they must be treated accordingly. Robin Hood must be executed and evidence brought back to me of his demise. Deal with the others as you see fit. Succeed and the rewards will be great; fail and they will most likely kill you.

Good Fortune!

The Sheriff of Nottingham”

You fold the message back up and ponder what you should do with it whilst you enjoy the remainder of your meal. If found on you, the merry men will treat you harshly. By the same token, it would be useful as evidence of your true siding should you encounter any of the Sheriff’s men. You also realise, if used correctly, it could be planted as evidence against another within the camp, thus sowing division and discord.

If you burn the letter, turn to 78.
If you keep the letter, turn to 103.

Suddenly a lot more things made sense to Joel. Sure, the character in the book wanted to join the merry men, but his motives had never been fully spelt out before. The fact he actually worked for the Sheriff of Nottingham appealed to Joel. It was far more interesting to be a manipulative spy than a two dimensional woodland terrorist. He also liked the idea of keeping the letter. It would be a risk for his character, but he was guessing an option would come up later to plant it in the camp, or Little John might make another appearance and if he still had the letter in his possession one of the options given might be to plant it on Little John himself as a means of discrediting him and any accusations he might make against Joel.


103.
You carefully place the folded letter back in your bag, stretch your weary muscles, and continue down the path.

Gradually your nose begins to pick out the smells of roasting pig and your ears the faint crackle of a campfire and the bustle of people. The path you’re on twists sharply ahead, and as you follow it round you suddenly find yourself facing a reasonably sized encampment. Makeshift huts and canopies of thick hide stretch between a rough circle of trees surrounding a large campfire, a boar roasting on the spit above it. Moving in and around the camp you see a fair number of people, somewhere between twenty and thirty, engaged in various activities. Some are checking their bows, a few engaged in mock sword battles, whilst others are mending tunics and shoes. Your eyes though are drawn to one man sat before the fire, a large hood covering his face as two people sit either side talking earnestly to him in low whispers.

You go to move forward when you feel the sharp point of an arrow tip sticking into the small of your back. Turning your head slightly you see a stranger with a drawn bow behind you, who then reaches round and removes the sword from your scabbard. He does not speak but prods you in the back a couple of times with the arrow, indicating for you to move. Slowly you walk forward toward the fire and the hooded man.

If you want to try and escape, turn to 92.
If you simply continue forward, turn to 79.

Why try to escape, thought Joel. His character was where he wanted to be, and he doubted it would end well if his character tried to escape with a drawn bow pressing a sharp arrow into his back. No, now was the time to see how things would play out now he’d reached his target.


79.
As you get closer to the fire, the two men talking to the hooded man notice you and fall silent, turning to look hard faced at you. The hooded man reaches up slowly and pulls his hood back, turning to face you. His golden hair and moustache would’ve been enough identification, but the sardonic grin and twinkle in his eyes introduces him far better than any spoken word: the Earl of Locksley, Robin Hood himself.

He waves back the man behind you, appraising you for a moment in silence, and then offers his hand. You reach forward and shake it, and he laughs heartily, slapping you on the shoulder.

“Welcome friend! To get this far you must’ve bested Little John and the twins. This shows you have both strength of character and wisdom, both qualities I look for in my merry men. As you see, we do not live comfortably, but we live well enough. The forest provides whilst we work to topple the Sheriff and behind him Prince John. Now, as well as robbing the rich, there are other roles in the camp which need to be done. You have the look of a smithy or a cook to me. Which do you fancy?”

If you choose to work with the blacksmith, turn to 6.
If you choose to work with the cook, turn to 112.

Sure, thought Joel, blacksmithing offered easy access to weapons and the opportunity to thin the herd of Robin’s lackeys with them, but it would be a slow process he guessed and would place his character under growing suspicion the more bodies that turned up. No, if his character was to succeed, a quiet, unassuming role in camp would be the ideal place to start.


112.
“Excellent! Come with me to meet our resident cook. Ho! Friar Tuck! You were complaining just this morning about needing help, and see if I haven’t answered your lament already!”

Robin leads you round to the other side of the fire where sits an overly large man in a friar’s robes, stirring a large pot of vegetables over a smaller fire. He looks up from sipping from a wooden ladle, his cheeks ruddy and his eyes bright.

“Well bless my soul, my prayers have been answered! No time like the present, come help me with this evenings meal. Go gather some herbs for the stew I’m preparing to go alongside the meat.”

He points vaguely off to the side, returning his attention to the pot. You look over to where he pointed, noticing a small herb garden he must be cultivating. Grabbing a clay bowl nearby, you walk over and start picking handfuls of herb leaves. As you do so though you notice in the undergrowth nearby a wild plant growing whose leaves you know to be deadly if consumed in even the smallest quantity.

If you return with just the herb leaves, turn to 130.
If you return with leaves from both the herb and poisonous plant, turn to 109.

Yes, this is good, thought Joel. A subtle attack that could incapacitate some, if not all, the merry men at once. It was ideal. He’d done something similar with his step-father, crushing sleeping tablets into his drink before he’d driven to work one morning, and that had gone quite well.


109.
You walk back over casually, being careful to keep the clay bowl hidden by your body to avoid the Friar’s eyes noticing the difference in leaves. Grabbing a pestle and mortar, you quickly grind the leaves down until they are the same unidentifiable shreds. You pass the mortar to the Friar and he favours you with a pleasant smile of thanks, before pouring the contents into his cooking pot.

Turn to 72.

This should be interesting, thought Joel, eagerly turning the pages now.


72.
To your delight the entire camp partakes of the stew prepared by the Friar before attacking the roasting pig, all sat round the campfire engaging in friendly banter and conversation in it’s warm, orange glow. You also accept a bowl when offered but are careful to dispose of it’s contents whilst pretending to eat it.

It’s not long before the first merry man staggers to his feet, clutching his stomach, his breath rasping from his mouth. Several of his fellows dash over to see if they can help, though you see a few themselves stagger as they do so. The first man falls to his knees, coughing blood from grimaced lips, his eyes bulging in their sockets. He collapses prone on his side, choking weakly on the blood spilling from his mouth, then stops.

Others are now complaining loudly of agonising pains, one going so far as to stagger uncontrollably into the fire, knocking the roast pig to one side and catching himself on fire. He shrieks in agony as the flames pour up his legs and arms, melting his clothes and skin. A few short steps and he drops to the ground. None have come to his aid though as the carnage continues throughout the camp. Bodies now litter the floor in various states of painful disarray following their individual death throes, gouts of blood abundant everywhere within the light of the flickering flames.

You pick your way through the bodies, looking for Robin. As the only one with a hood, it doesn’t take long to find him. Surprisingly he still breathes, though with difficulty through blood-speckled lips. He has propped himself up against a log as you walk over, his eyes displaying that he knows what has befallen him and his men.

“And so my dream ends, struck down from within by a traitor.” He coughs up a little more blood, but struggles to continue speaking despite the obvious pain he is in.

“If any honour exists within you, please grant me this final boon. Bury me here with my loyal men and true. Do not make me a spectacle for the Sheriff I beg!”

A final cough rips up through his throat, spilling blood and bile down his green tunic. Robin Hood and his Merry Men are no more.

If you accede to his final request and bury him with his men, turn to 74.
If you ignore his request and return with evidence to the Sheriff, turn to 164.

Joel laughed darkly. Well that was surprisingly easy. He’d worried that it might’ve come down to some kind of stupid single combat in the end. Violence had it’s place as a tool, but it still had that element of unpredictability. Far better to plan and strike when least expected if at all possible. So, what to do with Robin Hood’s body? Much like his stepfather’s when he’d idly viewed it lying in state, a corpse was just a corpse, a bag of meat and bones with no rights to further affect the living with its demands. The only function it had now was if it’s demise could be of benefit to those still alive.


164.
Rolling Robin Hood’s body over with your foot, you examine his eyes for any further sign of life, then drag it over to a nearby tree stump. After some effort you prop his body in place, his neck and head now resting on its flat top. You grab a large axe from the blacksmith’s hut, rest the blade gently against his neck for aiming, then raise it high above your head and bring it swiftly down.

The blade easily cleaves through, blood spurting from the gaping wound as his head rolls down next to the stump. With effort, you rip the hood from his now decapitated body slumped down against the tree, and wrap his head within it. That done, you take one last look around the camp for any survivors, then pick one of the huts to sleep in till morning.

You awake refreshed and upon exiting the hut are once more greeted by the cold corpses of the now unmerry men surrounding what remains of the spent campfire. Flies are already buzzing around them and the stench of death will soon become unbearable. A quick search later you have gathered enough food and water for the return journey to Nottingham.

If you take the path you used to enter the camp back to Nottingham, turn to 128.
If you decide to go deeper into the forest, turn to 58.

Again, another no-brainer. The job was done as far as Joel was concerned, and once your goals are achieved, that was an end of it. No reason to go looking for trouble.


128.
The Sheriff is ecstatic at your return and the evidence you bring, throwing a large banquet in your honour and showering you with gold. He also mentions that Prince John has decreed that on the successful completion of your mission you will be both knighted and awarded all the lands previously owned by the late Earl of Locksley.

Three days later, dressed in the fine garb of a nobleman and with your own servants, the Sheriff bids you farewell from his castle as you leave to take up your new position. As you pass under the gates of the drawbridge, you look up to the battlements and nod in parting to the grey face watching, the dead eyes of Robin Hood gazing down upon you from atop a spike.

The End

Now turn to 154.

What, there’s more? Probably a recommendation to read more of the books in the series, thought Joel. He had to admit though, he’d liked this book despite his initial distaste for it. It appealed to him somehow, the answers more in line with his way of thinking. To his surprise he found he was interested in seeing what the other books in the line had to offer.


154.
Congratulations on completing the story adventurer, but your adventures don’t have to stop there!

If you reached this result straight through without cheating (we’ll know if you have), and are interested in continuing your adventures, ask the teacher who gave you this book for more details. They recognised something special in you, and we’re always on the look out for young people with a unique way of looking at the world!

Your government needs people like you, and we can offer you REAL LIFE adventures you wouldn’t believe! Training in all the cool skills you’ve read in this book and more, and the opportunity to travel the world!

If you’re interested, please turn to the inside of the back cover and fill in your name and address in the space provided before returning the book.

See you soon adventurer!

Joel smiled to himself, a genuine one for a change rather than the one he mainly employed when in social situations. He pulled a pen from the bag at his feet and turned to the inside of the back cover. As he started to write his name though, the thick paper tore. Joel swore under his breath and tried again slightly further along from the tear. The same thing happened. Biting his lip to control his annoyance, he looked closer. The paper was far flimsier than it should’ve been, and was that writing visible underneath? Curious now, he tore the paper away and read what was written there:


Thank you for your interest.

You have decided to further your adventures with us. Not all are selected however and there is one final requirement for your application. If you look closer at the cover of this book, you will find it has two plastic layers.

Before returning this book to the teacher who gave it to you, please peel off the thin layer on top of the book just prior to handing it over, being careful not to touch the cover with your bare hands once you have done so.
One to two weeks after your teachers death we will contact you further.


Mr. Briars sat alone in his office, looking through a pile of student folders for new candidates. Two years he’d been at the school, two whole fucking years, dealing with pre-pubescent teens who thought they knew everything and their asshole parents at PTA meetings. Out of six possibles over that time, only Joel had come closest. Shame. He’d had a good feeling about Joel. He had potential.

Despite all the psych profiles and observation, it still came down to the book as the final test in stage one recruitment. Despite your promise, you fail the book, then your journey ended there. Literally. One advantage of the psychology of the kids the agency were trying to recruit – if they failed the test they were also the most likely candidates for teenage suicide, so closing the loop was easy.

He looked over at Joel’s book on the corner of his desk. Each candidate had their own book, tailored to them specifically and supplied by the agency when they were to be tested. Company rules stated he wasn’t allowed to read them himself, just hold on to them for a day after the test and wait for a call. If the call came, the candidate had got through, otherwise he just burnt the book, waited a month, and then staged the kid’s suicide. Again, it was a shame the call hadn’t come through. Joel had shown a lot of promise.

Sighing, he leant across his desk and picked the book up, turning it over in his hands, seeing Robin Hood’s face beaming up at him amongst his gang of merry men. Yup, a real shame.

Putting the book in his bag for disposal, he stood and went to the bathroom to wash his hands; the kid must’ve spilt his soft drink on the cover or something judging by the stickiness. Yeah, he had potential alright, but obviously tidiness wasn’t part of it.

Credit To – CharminglyShallow

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Katie’s Song

February 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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You ever have a song pop into your head that you just didn’t want to hear? Whatever song you’re thinking of, mine’s worse: it’s Katie’s song.

Katie.

Yeah, I knew her.

The parts of my life where our paths cross flash before my eyes: Katie eyeballing me in class; Katie putting her hand on my leg on the bus; Katie and I staining each other’s clothes; Katie stretching out the collar of my shirt as I pull away from her. There she is, showing up at my apartment, unannounced, uninvited, in my mind’s eye the way it happened. But I don’t want to see it. I shut my eyes and the images won’t go away.

It’s three in the morning and I should be in bed. Katie’s thinking the same thing and wants to keep me company.

There’s a knock at my door. My heart starts racing. Whatever this is can’t be good. Good news doesn’t knock no your door at three in the morning. I go to check the peephole knowing full well that whoever’s on the other side has heard the floorboards creak. Another knock raps away.

I check the peephole. It’s Katie. Of course it’s Katie. How’d she get in the building? I open the door.

“What are you doing here?” I hear myself say.

“So, no ‘hello’?” she says.

Her eyes are stuck on the spin cycle, I can tell she’s flying on something and it pisses me off.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in,” she says.

“You show up here at three A.M., high as the fucking moon and you expect me to invite you in?”

“I’m not high. I’ve been drinking a little…”

“You know what? No.”

“No?” I can tell my rejection hurts her, it excites me a little.

She wasn’t expecting to not be let in. The thought never crossed her mind. But if I let her in now, I know that I’m implicitly telling her that it’s okay to pull this shit. And once it’s okay it’ll happen again and again …

“Go home, Katie.”

I start to close the door but she slaps against it with an open palm.

“Please,” she says, “I can’t go home. I just need a place to crash, I swear I won’t bother you.”

“That’s not my problem, I don’t even know you right now,” I say and the door closes. I take a look through the peephole and I can see she’s just standing there stunned. She crosses her arms unsure of what to do. Some weak part of me starts to crack, she looks vulnerable, devastated. It’s almost irresistible. But I need to be strong here. I have a point to prove, a valid point, an absolutely essential one.

I stand by the door, listening to her heels clip clop slowly, unsurely down the hall towards the exit door. When I hear it open and fall shut, I hit the sack.

But she doesn’t let me sleep.

I can hear her pacing in the loose stones between my building and the one next to it. Lot of shady characters in that building, mine’s the nice one, but it hardly matters because if either one of them caught fire, the other is fucked, they’re that close. And no matter how nice my building is or once was, the one closest to it taints it. Guilt by association —

I lose my train of thought.

Katie’s phone goes off right beneath my window, that stupid ringtone, Katie’s song.

Why doesn’t she answer it?

It’s cold out there, I know, and she’s not exactly dressed for it. I wish she would just go away, just go home. My mind screams, nobody wants you here. But that’s guilt tripping Katie, she’s just trying to make me feel bad for not letting her in.

Damn ringtone, there it goes again.

Christ, answer it!

But she doesn’t. Had enough of it so I stick in some earplugs, they do just a good enough job to cover her pacing, disturbing loose stones.

I can still hear her though. Pacing, banging and scratching against the stucco wall trying to get my attention. I can hear her muffled pleas through the window but I only smile to myself knowing that I’ve won. Your guilt trips are meaningless, powerless against me.

I hear Katie’s song once more before drifting off with a smile on my face but wondering why she doesn’t answer it.

At eight o’clock I look out my window with puffy eyes and creased skin. I can see about a half dozen people in and out of uniform in the dark, narrow space between the buildings. They’re kicking up one hell of a racket and they don’t seem to care too much that they’re waking everybody up because they’re examining the body of a dead girl.

A dead girl named Katie.

She was strangled, stabbed, murdered. Looking out the window I can’t un-see her lying atop the loose stones no matter how tight I close my eyes.

I follow the investigation on the news. Police have no suspects. Before too long the story goes away. And all this time I’ve never been able to get that song out of my head. I hear it when I’m driving, I hear it when I’m working, it pops into my head in the shower so I start humming and whistling the tune just before a shadow darts behind the curtain.

And now it’s three in the morning and I’m hearing it again with my own ears.

I can hear it playing outside my window. I always hated that song, but this time it isn’t driving me crazy. This time it’s a banshee’s cry, the chimes of a grandfather clock at the crossroads of infinity. ‘The bell tolls for thee,’ the thought comes in to my head from out of nowhere. This time, it makes my throat go dry.

“I’ve lived with the guilt,” I say to no one in particular, “isn’t that enough?”

But the only response is Katie’s song. I’m talking to myself here, but not for long. I know what’s coming. I try to brace for it and will it away. But there’s nothing I can do, my mind can’t turn back time or turn away a ghost. And then it comes.

I hear a knock at the door.

Credit To – Lucas Klaukien

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The Revolving Door

February 3, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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1.

I’m looking at myself in the mirror, not really realizing how bad I look. My skin looks extremely pale and I got dark bags under my eyes. What on earth happened to me? I’ve been leaning forward, clenching my hands around the sink. I don’t really know how long I’ve been standing here. I don’t even know where I am exactly. My mind has been empty for days.

Well I’m in a hotel, that much I know. But I have no clue of why I went here. Why did I leave home?

I look away from the mirror, down into the sink. There’s a distinctive smell of metal in the small bathroom area. It looks like the sink hasn’t been cleaned in a while, on account of the dust that’s in it. I open the tap to wash away some of it. The water starts running slowly, it makes a nice relaxing sound. I close my eyes and listen to the flow of the water.

My hands… they were red. I open my eyes again and turn my gaze towards my hands. Strange. What is that? Blood? How did I get blood on my hands? At least that explains the smell. I put my hands under the water flow and start scrubbing.
I turn off the water tap and leave the bathroom area. My hotel room isn’t a luxury suite. As a matter of fact, it’s far from luxurious. The walls are cracked, the paint is peeling off and there’s mold in the corners of the room. I sit on the bed that hasn’t been made and bury my face in my hands. What has a man done to end up in a shithole like this, I wonder.

I can hear voices.

No, not in a crazy way of course. The walls aren’t very thick, so it’s very likely that I can hear the neighboring guests of the hotel. I try to hear what they’re saying.

‘Are you listening to me?’

‘What do you think?’

‘…not responding…’

‘Why not?’

‘It’s just not working.’

‘…not even there.’

The voices sound muffled. It sounds like an argument, I assume they aren’t satisfied with this hotel. I can’t blame them. But it doesn’t matter anyway. I get up from the bed and walk to the wall to shout that they need to quiet down. I listen a little while longer, but the voices have faded. Good.

I think I’ll go to bed, get some sleep and tomorrow I’ll try to freshen up my memory.

2.

The droning sound of a buzzing phone. It’s one of the worst sounds to wake up to. I put my phone on the night stand next to my bed when I entered the room. I slowly open up my eyes and grab the phone. I pick up and listen to the voice on the other side of the line.

‘Hello?…’ I say with a broken voice. I keep listening, but nobody is responding. I wait and listen for a minute…

I look at the screen and only realize now that it was the alarm clock on my phone that caused the buzzing. An alarm clock at 3 AM, what was I thinking? I throw the phone across the room, turn around and try to go back to sleep.

I’ve been tossing and turning for about an hour. Damn it. I can’t sleep anymore. I get up and sit on the side of my bed. I guess that’s the end of my night. I’ll go outside for a nightly walk then. I get dressed, take my key with me and go outside, locking the door behind me.

The hallway on the 4th floor is long and dark, there are only a few TL lights illuminating it. At one side is the elevator. The other side turns around a corner towards a flight of stairs. I put my hands inside my pockets and start walking towards the stairs. While I’m walking through the hallway, I take a look at other doors. Most of them have a ‘don’t disturb’ card hanging on the door handle with the guest’s name on it.

‘Don’t go there!’

I immediately stop walking just before I turn around the corner. I look behind me to see who shouted at me. It was a woman’s voice. But there’s nobody in the hallway.

‘Hello? Who’s there?’

No response. I start walking back in the direction of my room to see if there’s someone hiding in the elevator. I click the button as I arrive and the elevator doors slowly open. I take a peek inside and see that there’s nobody inside. Relieved, I get in the small area and proceed to the ground floor.

‘You’ll be here for a while.’

There’s that voice again. I look around panicky to see where it came from, but I can’t see anyone in the elevator with me. Am I going crazy? With a shock, the elevator comes to a stop at the 2nd floor. I’m pressed against the walls, scared to move. The doors slowly open and I’m able to look into the hallway. But once again, the hall is empty. The doors close again and the elevator starts moving. I assure myself that nobody is following me. I probably imagined the voice. It’s about 4 AM right now, so it would be very unlikely that there’s someone still awake, watching me. I calm myself and as soon as the elevator stops at the bottom floor, I quickly get out.

Finally I see a familiar face. I greet the receptionist as I walk by and he gives me a slight smile, suppressing a surprised look because of my appearance at this time of night.

‘Just going out for a nightly walk,’ I tell him.

‘No you’re not,’ he mumbles.

3.

I look at him surprised, but I keep walking towards the entrance. The hotel has two doors, as most hotels do. There’s a revolving door and a regular one next to it. I’ll just take the revolving door then. As soon as I get close to the door, a sensor picks up my movement and the doors start moving. I get into the first of four openings, which quickly closes behind me. Then it stops moving.

Great… I push against the window of the door to get it moving again, but I can’t get it to budge. I call out to the receptionist, but he doesn’t notice or hear me. I knock on the window and wave to get his attention but he walks away without even looking into my direction. I’ll just hit the door a bit harder then. I kick against the window, I start hitting the glass, but it doesn’t even move in the slightest, nor does it damage.

Sigh… I’ll just wait for help to arrive then. Surely in the morning somebody will come. Daylight’s only a few hours away anyway. I get the idea of using my phone to call to the hotel desk, but then I remember I threw it away in my room. I sit down against the glass outer wall, looking at the three other parts of the revolving door. I close my eyes for a little while to make time pass faster. This’ll give me time to think about why I went here.

It feels like hours passed. I have no idea what time it is. Outside it’s still pitch black, there’s no trace of daylight to be found, but how is that possible? I’ve been here longer than 3 hours, I’m sure of it. I get up to look inside, to see if the receptionist is back already. But he isn’t. I try to push the door again. But it still isn’t moving.

I put my forehead against the glass and stand there for a little while, when all of a sudden I hear someone breathing softly behind me. I turn around and look straight into a pair of woman’s eyes in the left part of the revolving door. She has her hands pressed against the glass, her eyes are large, almost popping out of her head. Locks of her uncombed greasy blond hair stand up, her lips are chapped and she’s even more pale than I am. Her lips are shivering and it seems like she’s trying to say something. The dimmed light from the background gives her appearance a strange glow. Hesitantly, I get the courage to speak.

‘Excuse me, miss… I’m stuck in here. Could you please help me?’

Though not surprising, she just keeps staring at me, not responding. Slowly she takes her hands off the glass and points down. She doesn’t take her eyes off me. I turn my head slightly to see what she’s pointing at, but I don’t want to turn around entirely. From the corner of my eye I can see a familiar object on the ground.

My phone! Cool!

I bend over to pick it up and look at it. How did that get here? I look up to ask her, but… she’s gone. What the hell was that all about?

I look down to my phone and I can see that it’s fully charged. Quickly, I dial the number of the hotel desk and wait for someone to pick up. Meanwhile, I see the receptionist returning to the desk and pick up the phone.

‘Finally,’ I tell him while taking a glance at the parking lot in front of the hotel. ‘Listen, I know this sounds odd, but I’m stuck here at the entrance. Could you help me out please?’

I wait for his response, but I don’t hear anything. I turn around to look at the desk to signal the man. My heart skips a beat when I see there’s something written on the glass of the door where the woman stood few moments ago. I drop my phone from my hand as I read the giant word written in what appears to be blood.

Pictures.

Pictures? Through the gaps of the letters I attempt to see the receptionist at the desk. But he isn’t there anymore. Did I really see him then? Of course I did. Someone picked up the phone… or was it her? No, not possible.

I look at the word again and sit down on the ground to pick up my phone. Perhaps it means the pictures on my phone?

I open the image folder on my phone and take a look. The folder shows 1 image. It’s a picture of me with a woman in front of a house. In front of us is a small girl playing with her teddy bear. There’s a lot of blur in the picture and I have a hard time identifying the woman next to me. I zoom in on the woman. It’s a pretty woman, that’s for sure. Blond hair, pretty blue eyes and a broad smile. Something is coming back to me.

With all the confusion and the issues with the door, I completely forgot why I tried to go outside in the first place. Could it be that I left my home because of her? Then why is my head completely empty?

I look up from my phone and see that the word that was written on the glass is slowly fading…

I know this woman. We were together! I’m pretty sure she was my wife. And yes, we had a daughter together!

4.

It’s been silent for a while now. The excitement from my partially returning memory has faded.

‘Hello? Jamie? Do you remember? Do you remember what happened?’

That same voice. Again! I get up and look around to see if there’s anyone around. Maybe it’s the woman I saw earlier who’s calling me. But all the parts of the revolving door are empty. I check out my phone to see if the voice maybe came from there. But no… I’m all alone here. Surely I’m not imagining things!

‘Shut up!’ I shout out to the voice.

Dead silence…

I sit down again, facing the opposite room of the door. I close my eyes and try to convince myself of not being insane.

‘Mommy doesn’t want you anymore.’

I open my eyes and see a young girl in front of me. I sit up on my knees and look at the girl.

‘Hey, I know you,’ I say to her with a smile. The girl doesn’t smile back at me.

‘Do you remember me, daddy?’ she asks me.

‘Of course I do, you’re Celine, right?’

She smiles at me now, revealing her teeth. It’s coming back to me. My daughter, 8 years old. She always liked to wear a white dress, just like she’s doing now. She’s holding her teddy bear with one hand. In the other she’s holding a mobile phone.

‘Daddy is a bit confused though. Do you know what happened?’ I ask her.

She nods.

‘Would you like to tell me?’

She shrugs.

‘Hmm? It’s okay to tell me, sweetie.’

She stands there silently, thinking.

‘I can’t tell you, daddy…’

I look at her, thinking of what to say to make her tell me.

‘…but I can show you if you want.’

‘What do you mean, you will show me?’

She laughs. ‘You’re funny daddy. I will show you, okay?’

I nod to her. She turns around and starts to play with her phone. I stand up and move closer to the glass to see what she’s doing.

‘No peeking!’ she commands me.

My phone starts buzzing in my pocket. I take it out and pick up. I see Celine putting her phone to her ear as well.

‘Hello?’ I say.

5.

Again, nobody responds to what I say. I don’t have my daughter on the line, I’m sure of that. I look at her while I hold the phone to my ear. She’s looking back at me as well, but she put her phone on the ground. She still holds her teddy bear in her hand. Through the speaker I can hear some murmur, but there’s not someone talking to me directly. Slowly but gradually the murmur is getting louder and I can make out a heated conversation going on. It’s me, arguing… with my wife I guess?

‘You know what? Maybe I will just leave. I’m fed up with this bullshit!’

‘It’ll suit you. You always run away from everything anyway!’

‘Oh please.. what do you want from me?..’

‘You really want to know?’

‘Do tell me, yeah.’

‘I want you to get out of this house! And out of our lives!’

‘Your lives? If I’m leaving, I’ll take our daughter with me.’

‘Oh, no you won’t…’

A third voice joined.

‘What’s happening?..’

‘Celine, go to your room. Mommy and daddy are talking!’

The conversation suddenly ended, followed by a dead tone. The argument repeats itself in my head. I look at my daughter who was looking at me the entire time I was listening to the phone.

‘Daddy… that’s not all I wanted to show you.’

‘What do you mean?’ I ask her.

‘I want to show you more too. Mommy said I can’t show you because you don’t deserve it. But I won’t tell her if you won’t.’

‘Please show me… what happened,’ I tell her.

She doesn’t respond to me, yet she doesn’t take her eyes off me. I look straight into her eyes and see that they start tearing up. I try to say something as soon as a tear rolls out, but I can’t find any words. I’m looking at the tear, which rolls down her cheek, down her neck and onto her dress. On her dress several red spots are appearing. Red spots which are slowly growing…

‘It hurts…’ she says.

The bloodstains slowly grow. I can see my daughter struggling to stay on her legs. My eyes start tearing up. I can’t do anything about it. I try to smash the windows around me, try to bash through the corner of the revolving door, but it’s no use. I want to hold her in my arms.

‘You wanted me to show it to you…’ she says to me as she drops down on the ground.
I drop down on my knees, in tears to see what’s happening to my daughter. I close my eyes and put my head to the ground. My daughter…

6.

I shouldn’t have made her suffer like that. The argument, it had to do something with her death. But what really happened?..

I’m not sure anymore what is real and what isn’t. I’m stuck inside this door, that’s for sure. However, this door is unusually strong and withstands everything I throw at it. But then I just saw my daughter. But was that actually happening? Was I hallucinating? No… I couldn’t be. So many things have happened in such a short time…

‘Do you remember your daughter?’

There it is again! That voice! That voice of which the source is missing…

‘My daughter died!’ I shout to the voice. I know it’s insane to be talking to a voice that might not exist. But it’s taunting me… Obviously it too has seen what has happened just now.

‘What do you remember exactly?’

‘She’s dead. And I’m stuck here. I can’t do anything about it.’

I get back on my feet and start pacing around. This door I’m trapped in. It must have something to do with my family. What am I missing… Surely the voice of the woman can explain something.

‘Hello? Are you there?’ I ask.

No response. I look outside to see if there’s a sign of at least a shimmer of daylight. There’s still only darkness to see. However in the distance a small light appears. It looks like the headlights of a car driving towards the hotel. Can it be? Slowly but gradually the lights get closer. I can see the shape of a car turning and parking in front of the building, the beams of light are still pointing towards the door. A person gets out of the car.

The silhouette appears to be moving towards the trunk of the car. I can’t see what’s happening on the back of the car, but after a little while the person starts walking towards the entrance, carrying something. I put my hands on the glass, trying to identify the individual. The silhouette gets clearer and I know that I’m looking at a woman now judging by her hair. She’s holding something in a blanket. A few meters from the door, she stops walking and I assume she’s looking right at me.

‘Jamie?’ the woman says.

Frightened, I back away from the window.

‘Who are you? Come closer so I can see who you are. Please…’

The woman does as I ask. She walks towards the glass and puts down the object she’s carrying.

‘It’s me, Jamie.’

I also approach the glass to look at her.

‘Sally, what are you doing here? Call the police, call an ambulance. Our daughter is dead!’ I say to her while pointing at Celine.

She doesn’t respond to me. Instead, she bends over and opens the blanket she was carrying. I watch her slowly unfold it. She picks up the object and holds it with both hands, showing it as if it’s a holy relic. The knife shows Sally’s reflection through the dried up blood.

‘You remember this? I do…’ she says.

‘I don’t. But I heard our argument over the phone,’ I reply.

She doesn’t respond once again. Instead she looks to the other part of the revolving door where our daughter lies.

‘Our angel. She didn’t deserve this. And neither did I,’ she speaks without looking at me.

She looks at me now. She drops the knife and takes her phone out of her pocket, dialing a number.

My phone starts ringing now. I turn around, put my ear to the phone and listen…

7.

‘What’s going on?..’

‘Celine, go to your room. Mommy and daddy are talking!’

‘Why are you holding a knife?’

‘What? Put that away…’

‘Daddy, stop it!’

‘Shut up child, get out of the way and go to your room!’

‘Jamie, drop the knife now.’

‘Jamie… please. Don’t do this.’

‘Daddy!!!’

‘But this is what you wanted, isn’t it? Me separated from you and Celine? Well if I can’t have her, then you can’t either!’

‘No!’

I can hear objects being thrown around the room, people shouting… until the dead tone appears again. I take the phone off my ear and turn towards my wife who dropped her phone on the ground. I’m not looking at the same woman anymore. She turned into the woman I saw on the other side of the door, the woman I saw first. I didn’t recognize her before, but now I do. She raises her arm and points to behind me. I turn around and look at the words that appeared in blood on the glass.

You did this…

What did I do… I turn back to look at her and I see her clothes are slowly turning bloody as well. I can only stand there and watch what’s happening. I killed my wife?

I killed my child in a fit of insanity?

I drop down on the ground with my hands covering my head. It all makes sense now. I did this. I’m a killer.

I spent what felt like an eternity in that room on the ground, disgusted by my own being. I get on my feet and look at the opening of the revolving door, which is right in front of me. I’m not trapped anymore! I can walk straight towards the elevator towards my room. I feel the urge to go to my room. I don’t even want to leave the hotel anymore. While I’m walking towards the elevator, I hear a familiar voice.

‘Let’s get you back to your room, shall we?’

8.

The officer, clouded by a troubled mind, enters the building after a 3 hour drive. He checks in his gun and badge at the entrance.

‘Please take a seat over there,’ the receptionist says.

The officer, wearing a casual stylish blouse and jeans with white sneakers, does as he’s requested. After a 15 minute wait, he is approached by a woman wearing a long white coat.

‘Officer Martin?’ she asks.

‘Yes, that’s me. You must be Dr. Colton,’ he replies.

‘Please, call me Alice. If you’d follow me. I understand you were closely involved with this case?’ Alice says as they’re walking through the long corridor.

The officer replies: ‘Yes. Well… kind of. To be honest, I’m here on family reasons.

You see… the victims who were murdered, were my sister and my niece.’

‘I understand. Normally we don’t allow insights into our patients, but in this case I can make an exception. Just keep it on the down-low please.’

‘My lips are sealed.’

The two arrive at an office, at the end of the hallway. They enter. The officer looks around to see what’s in the room. The room looks very messy. There’s paper scattered all over the places, several cabinets are opened and there’s dust on the shelves where diplomas, photos and other objects are kept.

‘I’m sorry for the mess. I was looking for the documents you required and I made a bit of a mess I’m afraid…’

‘That’s okay, I know how bad paperwork can get,’ the officer replies with a smile.

‘Now then. The patient. So I’ll explain the way we work around here. What we do is we keep audio logs of every day we treat a patient. We start off by picking up the patient, then taking him to a room where we try talking to him. Now this patient is a very peculiar case. We know what happened, all the evidence was there. However… this man isn’t healthy on a whole different level,’ the doctor explains.

‘I’m afraid you lost me there,’ he says.

‘I think that when I let you listen to our audio logs, it’ll be much clearer for you.’

The doctor takes a USB flash drive from his desk and plugs it into the computer on his desk.

‘I took the liberty of compiling the most useful excerpts from the whole therapy session for you on this drive,’ Alice says before she plays the audio files.

9.

Audio log day 1.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Day 1. Patient’s name is Jamie Garth. Garth was admitted to the hospital three days ago. Declared insane. He was accused and found guilty of slaying his wife and daughter. He was found in a hotel room, rambling and mumbling to himself. Tomorrow I’ll try to talk to the patient in his room to find out more about him. I had the opportunity to see the patient while he was being escorted to his chamber. He doesn’t seem to respond to anyone or anything except himself.

Audio log day 2.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: Day number 2. This is Dr. Colton, accompanied with my assistant, Dr. Landon. Today we’ll have our first contact with the patient. Continuing log at the patient’s room.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: I’m in the patient’s room now. Doctor Landon will follow shortly. The patient has been standing in front of his mirror for a while now. He doesn’t see or hear us. I’ll keep observing him.

Dr. Colton: Patient has moved to his bed. He shows signs of depression. Trying another attempt at making contact.

Dr. Colton: Jamie? Are you listening to me? Can you hear me?

———————————————————-

Dr. Landon: Making any progress?

Dr. Colton: Not really, no. I’m trying to talk to him, but it’s like he looks right through me. He doesn’t even notice me being here.

Dr. Landon: What do you think is wrong with him?

Dr. Colton: No idea… he’s just not responding to anything.

Dr. Landon: Why not?

Dr. Colton: I haven’t figured that out yet. All I know is that mentally he’s not even there.

Jamie: Quiet down!

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: It does seem he is aware of people somehow. But it’s not this world he’s actively living in. We’ll continue tomorrow when we’ll take him to the therapy room.

Audio log day 3.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: Going to pick up the patient. Entering the room now. On my own today.

Jamie: Hello?

Dr. Colton: The patient is aware of his surroundings. I want to see if he’s able to walk around the hospital. Just to see if he does recognize physical areas beyond his own mindset.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: Patient is getting dressed and walks outside into the hallway. He’s walking down the hall, looking at other patient’s doors. He doesn’t show any interest to disturb them.

Dr. Colton: Don’t go there!

Dr. Colton: Patient stops and looks around. I think he heard me that time. Selective hearing maybe?

Jamie: Hello? Who’s there?!

Dr. Colton: The patient is looking straight through me again. I’m going to escort him to the therapy chamber. The patient doesn’t seem to instantly be able to find his way to the elevator.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: Don’t worry, you’ll learn your way around this place soon enough. You’ll be here for a while anyway.

Dr. Colton: The patient appears to be afraid of my voice. He’s looking around panicky.

———————————————————-

Jamie: Just going out for a nightly walk.

Dr. Colton: No you’re not, Jamie. Just come with me.

Audio log day 4.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: We’ve kept the patient in the therapy room for a while. The patient seems to be trapped in his own world. He’s asking people for help and tries to talk to people to help get him out. At this point, it appears he has no memory of what happened to him. Attempting another interaction.

Dr. Colton: Hello? Jamie? Do you remember? Do you remember what happened?

Jamie: Shut up!

Dr. Colton: Interesting.

Audio log day 5.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: Something just happened. Garth is talking to someone, his daughter probably. This means that he is trying to remember what happened. He’s visualizing the past to help him figure things out. Interesting. I wonder how accurate his visualizations are.

Jamie: What do you mean, you will show me?

Jamie: Please show me… what happened.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: The patient has been silent for a while now, he seems to have become desperate. Judging from what he said, I assume he found out that something happened to his daughter.

Audio log day 6.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: A new day. We’re going to see if the patient has retrieved some of his memory.

Dr. Landon: You will do the talking then, I assume.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: Hello Jamie, you spoke to your daughter yesterday, didn’t you? Do you remember your daughter? Do you remember your wife?

Jamie: My daughter died!

Dr. Landon: So he is remembering some things.

Dr. Colton: What do you remember exactly?

Jamie: She’s dead. And I’m stuck here. I can’t do anything about it.

Dr. Colton: You hear that? His memory is getting clearer. But not entirely yet. Part of his confused state the police found him in.

Jamie: Hello? Are you there?

Dr. Landon: Let’s take this step by step. Best continue tomorrow, don’t you think?

Audio log day 7.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: We’re witnessing something interesting today. Garth appears to be interacting with his wife. He’s pacing around the room, looking frightened, confused.

Jamie: Call the police, call an ambulance. Our daughter is dead!

Dr. Colton: The patient still hasn’t figured out the facts regarding his daughter. Wait. Something is happening. He lies on the ground now. All interaction seems to have faded away. He’s mumbling that he doesn’t deserve to live. Perhaps his memory did return after all. Best take him to his own room.

Dr. Colton: Come on, Jamie, on your feet. Let’s get you back to your room, shall we?

Audio log day 10.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: No signs of improvement. The patient keeps repeating his own actions over and over. He doesn’t seem to have any indication of time and place.

Audio log day 19.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: I’ve now spent 18 days trying to get through to him. But it’s no use. The patient relives the same experience over and over again. He still thinks he’s trapped somewhere. He doesn’t realize he’s stuck in his own head. We call this the revolving door effect. The patient gets into an imaginary revolving door. He wants to go straight out, but his own mind doesn’t let him. As soon as he thinks the experience is over and he can reach the outside, the mental door puts him right back in.

His lack of memory, combined with an overwhelming feeling of guilt, doesn’t allow him to leave that circle of despair and move on. Each part of that revolving door shows him things that happened. From what I and dr. Landon could gather, is that he clearly remembers his daughter and wife, finding out along the way that he murdered them.

This cycle has repeated itself 3 times now. It’s unclear to us if he will ever break the cycle and manage to leave the revolving door. We’ll try to talk to him a few more times, but if there aren’t any signs of change, I’m afraid we’ll have to put the sessions to an end and search for different approaches to solve the problem.

10.

The recording stops. A few minutes have passed and the doctor and the officer have been listening to it quietly.

‘The revolving door effect, huh…’ the officer says.

‘That’s what we like to call it, yes.’

‘So what will happen to Garth when the therapy sessions are over?’

The doctor puts her hands behind her head.

‘In cases like this we either let the patient live in his room, live out his life. Or we try to find different methods. Perhaps after a while he will snap out of his delusional state himself. But we highly doubt that will happen.’

‘I see. I still wonder what could possibly drive a man this far into madness.’

‘Don’t we all,’ the doctor replies, ‘but that’s what we’re trying to figure out with our therapy sessions. Anyway, I hope I helped you out. Perhaps you’ll be able to have some closure now.’

‘I really appreciate your help. Thank you for that,’ the officer says as he gets up to shake the doctor’s hand.

‘Don’t mention it,’ she says. ‘If you’ll excuse me now, I have a session with another patient in a little while. I’m sure you can find your way out.’

The officer nods with a smile and leaves the office. He walks back towards the entrance desk to pick up his stuff and proceeds to the exit. Before leaving, he stops and takes a look at the revolving door that’s in front of him. Slowly he exits the building, deciding that he’d rather use the regular door next to it.

Credit To – TvanK

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Shadows of Bedzin

January 3, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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When I was young my grandmother used to tell me stories of her youth. When I was about the age of fourteen, she told me about her and my grandfather’s time in a Polish city by the name of Bedzin. She described Bedzin as a quaint city; it had been where she first met my grandfather, where they married, and where they planned to live for the rest of their days.

Their aspirations of a normal life were abruptly crushed in September of 1939 when Hitler’s armies invaded. By 1940 their beloved hometown had been transformed into a dirty ghetto where my grandparents were forced to work in German munition factories. By late 1940 my grandparents realized that there were fewer workers each day and decided it was time to get out. As soon as they had the chance, they joined about six others going into hiding.

They were welcomed into a local library were many others were supposedly hiding, the library had an attic were my grandparents believed some were hiding, but they were told that they would be staying in the basement with the other six. The basement was behind an old bookcase that covered a small door that was just large enough for an adult to crawl through. The space was made up of two rooms, one with a few cots and the other filled with stacks of books. They stayed in those two rooms for years, living in secrecy, never venturing out of that trapdoor. The librarian delivered food and water every night along with new books. They lived in relative peace for those few years, save for the occasional clamor of the war above seeping through the thin wood over their heads.

Eventually, the war caught up with them; the librarian had stopped bringing them food, fuel for their lanterns, and new reading material. There was no warning, only a loud blast, an earthquake-like shaking, and the sound of shattering glass and falling rubble. They had begun to ration what little food they had left, though the librarian had always brought them enough provisions to last them until the next night when he would return. After a day in the two room basement the food had run out and they decided that they would rather face the Nazis than stay down there and starve. They had tried the door but it was suck; they didn’t know whether it had been the bookcase still in front of it or if the building had collapsed and rubble blocked the door, but when they couldn’t open or knock down the door, some of their group began to panic.

Eventually they all returned to their cots, dejected and without hope, wondering whether they would ever get out of the basement. Their savior had become their damnation, and they had no way out. After about two days, the roof had begun to leak. The water was fetid and brown, but they had no other choice than to drink from the seemingly unending stream. The water had kept them alive, but it had also started give those who drank it symptoms of some kind of sickness. As they drank, my grandparents showed some concern; they had tried to convince the others to wait until they had filtered it and boiled it from the heat of the lantern, but they had been so thirsty that they disregarded her warnings and drank straight from the leak. As my grandparents cleansed their water, the others had become anxious, confused and agitated, constantly scratching at an itch that seemed to not cease and enveloped their entire body.

They had drunk the water for two days, and the other’s symptoms had grown worse and worse over that short time. It was on the third day that the others had grown too hungry. One of the others, a young woman of about twenty by the name of Cecylia had pounced on an old women named Agatha. Almost instantaneously, the others had joined in and pounced on the poor old women. They tore into her with teeth and nails, biting into her jugular and spraying blood onto the floor around them. My grandfather had grabbed my grandmother and pulled her into the next room that had been filled with books and a single cot that they had moved shortly after they had first arrived. Knowing that they would eventually lose interest in the old woman, my grandfather began stacking the books against the door. Within ten minutes, hundreds of books that they had accumulated over the years were stacked against the door and what had happened had finally sunk in.

My grandfather held my grandmother as she wept, and tried to console her, though he had no idea how. He had been just as frightened as she was, and had no idea how he would get them out of this.

The sickening slurping and crunching of bones had ceased as suddenly as it had begun, leaving only the sound of my grandmother’s weeping and the sound of aimless footsteps from the other room. All of the sudden, the footsteps stopped. My grandmother’s sobbing ceased as she pulled her head away from my grandfather’s chest as they listened anxiously for the footsteps to continue. They sat in absolute silence for minutes, only the faint glow of the lantern providing them any solace. My grandmother sighed as she wiped tears from her eyes, and as soon as she did she heard rapid footsteps. They both jumped as something from the other side slammed into the wall. They heard another crash, and another, until the sound of splintering wood had begun to accompany it. With another loud crash, a piece of wood flew from the wall, and a large crack had run through the wall to the floor. The dim glow of the lantern on the other side of the wall shined through the hole, and though they waited for another loud crash, it never came.

After what felt like hours of sitting and waiting for another crash, my grandmother decided to stand and approach the hole in the wall. It was only big enough to fit a finger through, and gave a partial view of the next room. As she peered through the hole, she saw a mass of bodies lying near each other, their chest rising and falling. She looked down and saw another body, lying on the ground with an indentation in its head and a small river of red coming from its now closed eyes. It was Cecylia. She had caved her head in charging at the wall. In the very end of her field of vision, she could see an arm. Nothing else, just an arm. The arm was wrinkled and pale, missing a few portions and covered in bite marks where the arm still had skin to show them. She slowly backed away from the hole and sat on the cot, returning to the arms of my grandfather.

That night my grandfather put out the lantern in their room, wanting to conserve their fuel for as long as possible. Through the hole in the wall, she could see the faint glow of the other room’s lantern. She stood up and looked through the hole once again and saw nothing different; the others were still sleeping in a large pile and the two bodies were untouched. She looked back at the pile where the others were sleeping and saw that now only three were lying there. She gasped and stepped back. She knew that there should be four of them there. They came in with six others, two were dead, so where was the last one? She looked around the room but saw nothing. The lantern began to flicker and its glow began to die, but she continued to study the room. As the lantern gave off its final seconds of light, she saw a shadow in the corner, standing and staring at her. She watched the shadow until the lantern went out a few seconds later.

My grandmother never told me what had happened after that moment, just that they had pulled at the rotting wood above them, climbed out of the basement and saw a large pile of rats lying dead near a broken pipe spewing water. By the time they had escaped, the Russians had liberated Bedzin and freed them of the Nazi’s rule. My grandmother couldn’t see her hometown in the same light after she had escaped the basement, so my grandfather bought a house in a small village in Bosnia. That’s where they raised my mother, and where my mother raised me. My grandmother called them the Shadows of Bedzin, what she thought to be a fitting name. I agree, those people were no longer human, they were hosts to a horrendous disease, just a shell of their former selves.

I’m writing this because I now find myself in a similar situation. The year is 1993, and I am in hiding from the Scorpions Paramilitary organization who have begun to ethnically cleanse Bosnia. I’m hiding with eight others, and twenty minutes before I started writing this we heard a large explosion, followed by the sound of an earthquake, accompanied by the sound of rubble sliding and glass shattering. If I die, let it be known that the shadows of Bedzin, have become the shadows of Bosnia, but I was not one of them. I didn’t drink the water, I didn’t become a monster.

Credit To – Erik Clements

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I Sat On The Bus

January 2, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I sat on the bus, on my way to school.

Listening to music, and paying little to no attention to the other students.

At one of the stops my mind snapped back to reality.

I looked towards the small house. Tommy’s house, I thought.

A hand slipped through the drapes of the window and waved the bus driver to move on.

‘He’s sick’, I thought, paying no large amount of attention to the situation.

The day flew by.

I watched the local news channel after school, and what I heard paralyzed me.

Tommy’s entire family was murdered that day by an unknown suspect.

After hearing this news, I moved back up to my room and quietly fell asleep.

——————————————-

The next day, I sat on the bus.

We drove past Tommy’s house and the bus driver, unaware of Tommy’s families fate, stopped at his home.

As I was about to get up and explain to her what had happened, something caught my eye.

A pale hand slipped through the drapes of the window, and waved the bus driver to move on.

I sat on the bus, terrified.

Credit To: Isaac Cook

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The Silence of the North Woods

January 1, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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The first thing I remember of my arrival in Ahtunowhiho, the small Native American village in the northern reaches of Minnesota, was the smell. The familiar aroma of soaked dirt permeated the air and was instantly noticeable as soon as the doors of the cramped, twelve-seater plane were opened. The runway that we landed on almost looked like it could have been constructed a month ago. Not at all because it looked new, but because it looked so…basic. Like it was built for my arrival only. The dirt runway stretched about 950 meters and was accompanied only by a small, one-story concrete building. I had come to this godforsaken no-mans land in order to do research for a book. I was an aspiring author and planned on writing a fictional story set in the wild and needed inspiration. I was also interested in the local legends of the area and the mysterious deaths that were rumored to have taken place near the town.

I was not excited about camping in the coldest regions of the country and being torn from my luxuries for 2 months, but I did it in the name of gathering useful information and becoming inspired. What I experienced though, is something I can barely bring myself to recollect.

A thick pine forest surrounded the runway entirely, with only one solitary trail leading to the main village. I could see patches of unmelted snow that punctuated the landscape and gave the entire area a perpetual moisture. I was still taking in the surroundings when my bags were stripped from my hands and loaded into a pickup truck by a thick, robust man who looked to be about 6’6. Just as my mouth opened to object, a much smaller man stepped out from the truck and came to meet me. “Patrick MacLaren?” He said curtly. “Y-Yes?” I was too startled by the bear of a man who had loaded my bags to give an articulate response. “Afternoon, I’ll be helping you settle in. As soon as your possessions are taken care of we’ll take a drive to the town.” The Bear never said a word and effortlessly tossed the rest of my luggage (which I had considered quite heavy) into the bed of the pickup. The shorter man motioned for me to get into the passenger seat of the truck and shut the door. The Bear hopped into the bed of the pickup and I swear to God the entire vehicle lurched like a boulder had been dropped in. The shorter man hopped into the driver’s side, and before I had time to say anything, hit the gas like he had no time to waste.

“Now that we’re off, I suppose we have time to give you the details. My name is Adrian, I’ll be showing you around and getting you settled in your new lodgings.” I continued scanning the forests. I could just barely make out small clearings that were spaced out every couple hundred yards. “Alright,” I responded “Hey, how did you know my na-” I stopped. Something had just briefly flashed through my peripheral vision. As I turned to look, I was greeted with the same comforting but somehow menacing pines. “Your name? Easy. You’re the only one who’s come here in weeks. We don’t get many tourists around these parts. There was only one name on the ledger and only one man on the plane. I put two and two together.” This left me unsettled, but it made sense. The town is secluded, and had little to offer a normal person.

We soon arrived at Ahtunowhiho and I was checked into the Inn. My room was a loft on the second floor and every item in it seemed to be cloaked in a thin layer of dust. “Oh well,” I thought, “I’ll only be staying here for one night” I was brought down to the lobby to meet my guide. The man I’d be sharing a tent with for a month. “Patrick,” the short man said “This is Abraham, he’ll be your guide in the wilderness and he’ll give you an insight to the more….in-depth aspects of our culture.” I extended a hand, which he firmly shook. “Nice to meet you.” Abraham said with a nearly expressionless face. “Well then. Now that the introductions are over, I’d say you both better get a good nights sleep. You’ll need it.”

The frigid morning air chilled me to the core. Even under 3 layers I was shivering and could barely feel my nose. Abe and I set out on a small trail and walked for about an hour before we got to our camp site. Something wasn’t right. My guide seemed tense. Overly so. Constantly whipping his head to face something that I never could see, never letting his guard down. Our camp site was in the middle of a large clearing next to a half-frozen lake. I didn’t like being in the dead-center of the meadow; it made me feel so..vulnerable. After the tent was pitched I went on a short walk around the vicinity. I couldn’t shake this feeling of being followed. This eerie veil hung over the very atmosphere of the place. Every time I was sure something would be behind me I would turn to find absolutely nothing. Yet every time I tried focusing on the beautiful scenery, the more haunting it became.

By nightfall I was already regretting this trip. In addition to the lingering paranoia, winds had picked up. Not strong, but just enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand upright. We made a fire and cooked some beans in a pot, but whenever I finally felt relaxed, i’d see something that would make my blood run cold. A figure just barely visible darting into the forest, a twig snapping a few yards behind me. Just something, that would put me on edge again. Abe and I climbed back into the tent and bundled ourselves into sleeping bags. It felt good to be out of the open, but the sobering reality that the only thing separating me from the outside was a thin piece of fabric settled in as well.

I fell asleep surprisingly soon but was woken up by the wind. It was no longer an eerie breeze, but a vehement, blustering storm. The tent was flapping and shaking wildly, and I could hear the trees and grass swaying and rustling violently. I tried to ignore it and buried myself in my sleeping bag, but several minutes later, I heard something that guaranteed me no sleep for the rest of the night. I could hear the wind calling something. The only way recognized this was because the wind had a pattern. The whistling repeated in a way that was unmistakably a voice. After listening for several minutes I could make out what it was calling. DeFago. I had no idea what it meant, but it sounded like a name. “De-FAAAay-go, De-FaaAAAAay-goooo.”

I could barely contain myself. I rolled onto my other side to face Abe. “Do you fucking hear tha-” When I looked over at him, he was huddled in the corner of the tent, shaking, with his head buried in his knees. “Abraham, What the hell is this?!” He didn’t look up. “Hey, you alright? what the fuck is going on?!” Still nothing. I moved toward him and touched his shoulder, which caused him to snap his head up at me, with a look of the most genuine terror I have ever seen. “W-We have to go, have to go now. Now. Have to go. We have to go now.” He stammered. “It’s not safe, we have to go.” As he said this he began to get up and move toward the tent flap.

“Stop, no! We are not going out there. I don’t know what the hell is happening but going out there is the last thing I am doing.” He was not phased by this whatsoever and continued crawling over me. As he reached for the zipper, I grabbed his arm. “Abe! You cannot leave me out here!” He continued to wrestle with the zipper and I grabbed his other shoulder and tried to keep him settled. He grew even more frantic and delivered a strong kick to my chest. I let go of him and fell back down to the tent floor. He opened the tent flap and ran off into the night. “Are you insane?! You can’t leave me out here!” I screamed out at him. I quickly lost sight of him. When I looked out into the night, I was stunned by what I saw. The air was still. The trees and grass were motionless.

“This is impossible.” I thought. Seconds ago the entire tent was being ravaged by a windstorm. Even worse, the wind became silent. I heard screaming, and identified it as Abe. It drew off into the distance and became inaudible. I wanted to cry. I zipped the tent flap up faster than I had ever done anything in my life and huddled in the corner, listening to the intense silence that hung over the outside.

I awoke surprised. Not startled by anything, but surprised. Surprised that I somehow fell asleep, even while gripped by the most intense fear I have ever felt in my life. After making sure that there was nothing outside waiting for me, I gathered my courage and stepped outside. The morning air was crisp and as freezing as ever. My mission was to make it back to Ahtunowhiho. I didn’t bother getting the tent. I simply did not care. All I grabbed was my knife, a jacket, and a few granola bars before heading out. I noticed that, in the patches of snow, there were foot prints. At first resembling human footsteps, but then becoming…distorted. They became longer, more stretched out. After a while I was sure that they were not foot prints coming from a human, not even an animal. The longest set of these prints I saw was roughly five feet. In fact, my own imagination couldn’t create a monster with feet of this caliber.

Then it dawned on me. They weren’t foot prints. I mean they were at first; I could see the pattern of the bottom of Abe’s boots imprinted in the snow. But the long ones? Absolutely not. No, they were drag marks.

The long tracks in the snow were evidence of Abraham’s futile resistance of being pulled and dragged by something. “Oh my God,” I whispered to myself. I sprinted out of the meadow with a pace that would rival olympic. I turned what was once an hour long hike into a 35 minute dash. I wanted to throw my guts up by the time I reached the village. I was greeted by several caring townspeople and was escorted to the local tavern for some hot food and a drink.

An older native of the town sat down with me and listened to my account of the events. “I swear to God, my life, and every dead ancestor I have ever had, that what I am saying is true.” I expected skepticism, but received genuine concern from the man. I think this may have troubled me even more.

“I see.” He responded. “The- the name. What was the name being called?” I tried to recollect what I had heard. “I don’t know. Defay- something? DeFayg..DeFago. DeFago! That’s it.” The look on the man’s face told a story on it’s own. “Why? Does that mean something? Is it important at all?” The man remained silent for a few seconds before responding. “DeFago…was a prominent hunter. He lived many years ago. Before I was born. One night, he never returned. The same night, a horrible storm came over the entire region.” He quickly ended the sentence and looked down at the table, looking as though he had made a mistake. I was frustrated at this horribly vague and seemingly useless information. I could tell he was hold something back. Something important. “And? What happened? How is that important? What the hell does this all mean?” I responded rather aggressively. The old man sat still as a statue for what seemed like ages, but finally whispered “The Wendigo…” Every head in the tavern simultaneously turned and glared at the back of the man’s head. And then turned to me.

“What the hell is the Wendigo?” The tavern patrons continued glaring at the both of us with a twisted look of suspicion and fear. Even The Bear looked worried. Reluctantly, the old man responded “It is something we try to escape…” My look of confusion at his answer must have spurred him into elaborating, “The legend holds that it survives on the flesh of humans. It may have even been human once before, but no longer. It is a vile creature that stands taller than any man and can strip the flesh from bones. It grows stronger with the very acknowledgement of it’s existence, and seems to have returned from whatever darkness it has hidden in for so long.” He paused, “Before, the Wendigo only took several people a year. We simply accepted it as life.” The man turned to face the rest of the tavern goers, “Over time, the town vowed to adopt a silence. Never to speak of or even acknowledge the Wendigo, and soon, miraculously, the abductions waned.”

I looked up form my food, trying to process what I was hearing “And DeFago?” The man nodded, “DeFago was the one man who attempted to conquer the Wendigo. Like I said, he never returned.” But there was one more thing. One thing that didn’t add up. Abraham.

Why was he so disturbed? Why was he driven insane by the wind and why did he frantically dart into the night like a madman? “What did Abraham have to do with any of this?” A somber look came over the man’s face. “It’s time for you to go home. Adrian can arrange for your flight to be rescheduled for tomorrow morning.” I got up to leave and as I walked through the door, the bar patrons never shifted their gaze from me.

I wanted answers, but I was exhausted and already overwhelmed by this impossible information. After weighing my options, I decided that I had to spend another night out in the woods. To this day I have no idea what came over me. I can’t imagine what could have motivated me to spend a night in the belly of the beast, that not twelve hours before, had abducted and most likely killed an innocent man. Whether it was the goal of being able to write about my experiences, a need for closure, or pure delirium, something, made me go back out there.

My walk through the woods was even worse, because this time I was alone. I didn’t even try to convince someone to go with me. Something told me that I had doomed the entire town just by raising this monster from the dead. Breaking the silence. The ever-present voyeuristic and dreadful paranoia was now piled on with a load of guilt. I finally made it to my camping grounds and noticed that not much had changed. The looming trees remained standing and the sickening drag marks on the snow still sat on the ground. I couldn’t take it. I kicked the snow over to erase the marks and footprints.

I followed the tracks, continuing to erase them, to the tree line. The edge of the meadow. I could see the kicked up dust and dirt in the woods. But there was something else. A massive wound on a tree. Like someone had taken a jack-hammer through it. And on another one just a few feet further, looked like a massive claw-mark. Almost like when a wolf marks their territory. But this looked as if something had just scraped it while walking through the forrest. I felt sick. I went back to my tent and waited for nightfall.

The wind picked up again. Not nearly as bad, but still enough to shake the tent. I knew it was time. I stood up and got out of the tent. The night was illuminated by a soft but passing moonlight, as the clouds repeatedly obscured it from view. This time, the wind had a physical effect. I could see the trees swaying softly and the grass pressed over in one direction. I couldn’t tell if this was comforting or not. I switched on my flashlight and scanned the perimeter. Nothing. After standing in the wind for a while longer I decided to go back in my tent and wait some more. I turned on my heel and nearly fainted at what I saw.

There it was…standing directly behind the tent. It towered at least a foot taller than me, and looked straight down with eyes like a hawk. It’s head resembled that of a human, but had teeth like a canine. In place of a nose, there was a short, bulldog-like snout, and long, wispy, facial hair sat on it’s face. I could see pointy ears poking through the long, grayish-black mane that ended just before it’s waist, with locks of hair hanging over it’s shoulders. But it’s arms. Oh God it’s arms. They were incredibly long, with it’s fingers ending below its knees. It’s fingernails looked as though they could carve through steel. The body was lean and sinewy, with a pale gray complexion hidden under a very thin layer of hair and fur. The lower body looked as though it was covered by torn cloth wrapped around the waist, and I could see a fragment of the leather jacket worn by my former guide. I knew what it was. there was no mistaking it. It was what I was told of, WARNED of.

It was the Wendigo.

My voice was lost. I could barely breathe let alone form a coherent thought. I didn’t know what to do. I took half a step back, but before my foot even touched the ground, it suddenly crouched and leaped over the tent on all fours, knocking into me and ripping through my side with it’s massive talons. I scrambled to get away and began to frantically crawl towards the tree line. Violently snarling, it grabbed my leg and pulled me back at least five feet. My god it’s strength was incredible. I was nearly lifted off the ground by the force.

I rolled onto my back and met it’s gaze yet again. I could see it’s hot breath steaming out of its nose in the cold night air. It let out a blood curdling screech and pounced for me. I rolled, with great pain, several feet away, narrowly missing the creature’s fatal strike. On its fours, it turned to face me again. I pulled out my knife, faced it upwards, and closed my eyes. This was it. I would die, but at least get one good shot in. It leaped for me, but was impeded by the blade. I heard the knife stick into the right side of it’s chest, causing the monster to release a foul screech a mere foot from my ears. It’s breath stunk of rotting flesh and stale blood and nearly made me vomit.

My ears rang, but I somehow got to my feet and began a desperate, adrenalin fueled sprint to the tree line. As my hearing returned, I listened to the monster snarling with anger behind me. I hoped against hope that it hadn’t begun to chase after me; if it did, I was done for. I made it to the edge of the forest and dodged several of the massive pines, while continuing to hold my bleeding abdomen. I could make out the trail in the dim moonlight and summed up all the strength I had to make it there.

I never slowed my pace, for fear that if I let up for even a second, I’d be back in the arms of the beast. I ran out onto the trail and was instantly assaulted by a blinding light and a force that felt as if an elephant had rammed into me. Before I knew it, I was flying, and landed with a thud onto the dirt road. I opened my eyes and saw three figures. Two of them, were natives of Ahtunowhiho, stepping out the truck they had just hit me with, the other, was the Wendigo. It was standing silhouetted against the moon at the edge of the dirt path opposite of me. It ripped the knife out form it’s chest and dropped it on the ground with almost an air of arrogance. I tried to get to my feet but felt fiery, staggering pain in my left leg. One of the men helped me get to my feet and practically dragged me to the vehicle and tossed me into the truck bed like I was a sack of potatoes. The force of landing on my broken leg brought tears to my eyes, but I was just to relieved to care. The man who brought me to the truck was The Bear. I didn’t have to see his face to know who that body and personality belonged to.

The other man stood in terror in front of the monster, raising a pistol before him. Before he could pull the trigger, the Wendigo grabbed the mans leg and dragged him off into the woods. I could hear screaming, and the sound of boots scraping against earth and snow.

I don’t remember what happened after that. I woke up in a hospital in Minneapolis, where a pretty nurse told me in a comforting voice that I was brought here by helicopter after a man found me on a trail. Apparently I was attacked by a bear on a rock climbing expedition. I knew it was completely untrue, but I just nodded my head and on the pillow.

Now i’m here, many years later, with a family of my own. I realized I could never publish what I saw in a book. If it really does grow strong with belief of it’s existence, I just couldn’t. Who knows what i’ve doomed Ahtunowhiho to after going hunting for this thing. Generations of torment from the Wendigo? I don’t know. Writing this here, putting it on this site…gives me closure in a way. Just letting it out and being able to tell my story…helps. At least here no one will take it seriously.

I learned just a few years ago, after researching the small town, that DeFago, the hunter, was Abraham’s great-grandfather, and that Abraham’s own daughter was taken by the Wendigo ten years before I arrived in the town. I felt bad that he died in the way he did, but maybe now he’s with her somewhere. I like to think that.

Some people can move on from traumatic events. I guess in a way I have. I still get paranoid when the wind picks up. I can’t stand going on camping trips, and to this day, on some nights… I swear I can still hear the wind calling my name.

Authors Note – This story was inspired by Native American Folklore and a classic short tale written in 1981 by Alvin Schwartz included in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” I hope my reboot of the classic story was worthy and I hope you enjoyed, Thank you.

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