The Good People

September 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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One hot summer, an unnaturally hot summer for my province actually, my friend Heather invited a few of her girlfriends out to her family’s cabin a few hours away from the city.

Going to the cabin in the summer is one of the most favored things for people who live on this rock in the middle of the Atlantic. Newfoundland is Canada’s most eastern province, and the most easterly point in all of North America. Heathers family owned a cabin on a little island about 5 hours away from the capital of St. John’s. A ferry ran twice a day across the bay to bring you over and take you back to the small community of less than 150 people. She brought three of us along that summer, her girlfriend Sarah, Jackie, and me.

The island where her cabin is located is small, and the community smaller. There aren’t a whole lot of people around and I was told it would be hard to get lost in the woods because of the size of the place, so it was perfect for the exploring Heather was excited to do. She knew there were tons of old houses out in the woods, but at that point hadn’t been able to go check them out. We were planning on staying there for a week. We left on a Sunday and on the following Saturday Heathers parents were coming to stay at the cabin for another week. We had a lot of time to relax, swim, sunbathe, smoke too much weed and eat way too much food.

On Wednesday we were taking a walk through the “downtown” of the community (downtown is a serious exaggeration, it was just where most of the houses are and where the ferry docks) when a family friend waved us over to his lawn to ask us how things were going. Heather knew him well and they were chatting about family, how the summer was going, if her father had got a moose yet, you know, the basic stuff, when Heather mentioned to him that she was interested in exploring the woods a bit. Her friend furrowed his brow and warned her that even though the island was small, the woods were surprisingly easy to get lost in.
“You watch it now, Heather. You knows these woods are teeming with the good people,” he said, giving the rest of us a little side wink. Heather laughed and patted his shoulder.
“Dad warned me all about them coming out here when I was a kid, I know all about the fairies and I also know not a damn one of us have had any trouble with them, so I think we’ll be ok,” she replied, “but I’ll put a piece of bread in my pocket just in case.”

Now, fairies. They are a weird Newfoundland thing brought over from our English and Irish ancestors. At the time I was in university majoring in folklore so (I thought) I knew all about them. I was beyond excited to hear them mentioned; it’s a dying belief here and isn’t really taken seriously anymore. It’s hard to find anyone who even knows about them these days, let alone anyone who would actually warn us about them, and call them by their old name, “the good people.” I know what you’re thinking… who the hell would be afraid of fairies of all things? But these aren’t the cute tinkerbell fairies with wings and magic dust and cute shit. The ones around here are a different kind of fairy all together. This is something that I would learn the hard way.

After Heather said her goodbyes, Jackie asked her what the piece of bread was all about. “They say a piece of bread in your pocket keeps you safe from them,” she replied with a grin.
Jackie gave me the side eye, “are you serious?” she asked, “safe from what?”
“You’ve really never heard of the fairies before?” I asked her, not being able to stop my smart ass from being superior in my wealth of folklore knowledge. “They lead you off into the woods and shit and make you lost, steal your babies and generally fuck you up. Little gnarly old guys who dance around rocks and think it’s a fun time to kill your animals and create mischief where ever they can. ”
Jackie rolled her eyes at me. “Ok miss paranormal expert, go get your degree in ghosts already,” she gave me a playful shove.

We reached the top of a hill that overlooked the “downtown” area and the beach. Heather pointed in the opposite direction, “and that’s where we’re going after lunch, ladies. Right into the woods!”
“Will our phones work out there? You know your way around out there, right babe?” Sarah asked her, frowning at her iphone, “I only have 1 bar right now.”
“Nah it probably won’t but we’ll be fine, we won’t go so far in we might get lost. I’ll just climb a fuckin tree and look for a house, not like this place is big,” she replied. Heather was the most adventurous and bravest of us all, I could see the excitement buzzing in her. We wouldn’t be able to say no to this idea, all of us knew that. So we put on our hiking gear and off we went.

The first hour or so was uneventful. We weren’t just wandering aimlessly, there ended up being a labyrinth of old trails and ATV tracks we could follow. I loved hiking so I was soaking up the sounds and smells of the woods, when Heather yelled out to us from further up the path. “You guys! Oh man, come here! Come look!”
We rounded the turn and came right up to a house. It was like the trail led right to it. It was old, obviously abandoned, just seemingly sitting right in the middle of the woods with a small, over grown front lawn that was lined with a falling down white picket fence. It was a salt box style house that is extremely common in Newfoundland, at one point in time basically all the houses looked like this one. The paint was peeling, one of the windows on the top floor was boarded up, and the old wooden front door was hanging off its hinges.
“Look at this beauty! Holy fuck we hit the motherload with this one, there’s still stuff inside!” Heather could barely contain her excitement as she peered in through the windows.

We entered through the open front door and began looking around. The house wasn’t big. It had a small sitting room, a dining room and kitchen on the bottom floor. Old, dusty furniture and random knick knacks were still scattered throughout, and wallpaper peeled from the walls. Jackie and I were looking at some faded and worn out pictures on the wall while Sarah was standing awkwardly in the middle of the dining room, biting her lip. I could tell she was feeling uncomfortable.
“Relax babe, no one is here and it’s only 2 o’clock, there’s tons of sunlight left. Look at all this stuff, this is wild!” Heather exclaimed as she inspected a very large old record player against the wall.
“I dunno I just feel… weird in this place,” Sarah replied as her eyes wandered around the room uncomfortably.
“That’s cause its old as fuck and probably about to fall at any moment,” Jackie teased. Heather shot her a disapproving look but I laughed. Sarah was the most anxious of us all, I wasn’t much better but I was feeling surprisingly ok, I was too interested and preoccupied in all the cool old stuff to worry about anything just yet. At once Heather decided she wanted to check out the top floor.
“Well I’m not going up there. Why is it so dark?” Sarah asked as she wrapped her arms around herself and glared up the stairs.
“That must be from the boarded up window,” I guessed, but I was feeling pretty uncomfortable going up there myself. Fuck that, I can admit to being a wimp just fine. Old houses are creepy, and it was really dark up there. I wasn’t interested in seeing any ghosts or falling through the floor. Heather however, was all about it, and the rest of us reluctantly agreed to follow her up.

“I don’t understand why it’s so dark up here, I thought only one window was boarded up,” I said as arrived at the top of the stairs. There was a room to our left but the door was jammed, so we went down the short hallway that led to the front of the house. The boarded up window was at the end of the hallway, but I noticed there was no window at all in a child’s room we had entered. Heather and Jackie were looking excitedly through a box of toys, talking about the weird old shit, while I glanced around the room. It was small, only big enough to have a small toddler sized bed, a toy box, and a bookshelf.
“This is too creepy you guys, I wanna leave,” Sarah said, her brows furrowed.
“Nooo babe c’mon this is so cool!” Heather pleaded, “What are you so afraid of? There’s no one here but us.” Sarah shifted uncomfortably, admitting defeat. Jackie stopped what she was doing and looked around slowly, “Did you guys hear that?”
My heart jumped in my chest. “What?” I asked, “Don’t say shit like that in here please, stop freaking us out.”
“No seriously,” she said and stood up. “I thought for sure I heard someone call my name.” I bit my lip, wondering if I should believe her or assume she was trying to scare us. “I don’t know…”
Then I heard it, very very softly, someone call my name. It was so soft and so far away sounding though, that I wasn’t sure I had heard it at all. I blinked and looked at the others. They were standing still as could be, and I could see fear in Sarahs eyes. “It was my name that time,” she almost whispered.
“But-” I started to reply, when Heather cut me off.
“Nah you guys, you’re just freaking yourselves out. Maybe we should leave before you start convincing yourselves of other shit,” Heather said, obviously annoyed. But I could tell the tone in the room had changed dramatically. We agreed to leave.

When we got outside I felt almost instantly better. “I think the air in there was fucking with us, the place is moldy and smelly, old places will do tha-“ Jackie stopped abruptly, “what the fuck? Where is the trail?”
I looked ahead. The trail we came in from was no longer there. It was just thick trees and bushes. I gaped, my eyes wide. How is that possible? We were just out here and the trail was right in front of us.
Heather laughed nervously. “See you guys are all freaked out now and you know that just makes things worse. The trail is there, just hold on.” She went over to where the trail was supposed to be and tried to push through the bushes. “It’s here, we’re just… it’s just… “ She trailed off as she frantically pushed through tree limbs and thick brush. My heart sank. I was confused. The trail was RIGHT THERE. It brought us right to the house. But as we looked forward from the picket fence, it was like the house was smack dab in the middle of the woods with nothing leading to it at all.
Heather came out of the brush, “There’s… it’s just woods… ok no one panic yet, let’s look over here.”
We followed her around the house and to the backyard. “Look! See, there’s a trail! Ha!” Heather exclaimed as she pointed to a gate at the end of the backyard. Sure enough, there was a trail there. We breathed a sigh of relief. I still didn’t know what the hell happened out front, but I decided I shouldn’t think about it too much. I didn’t want to scare myself more than I already had. Before long, I could feel the tension ease a bit and we were joking and laughing just as we had before.

I took out my iphone, wondering what the time was, but to my dismay it was dead. “Aw fuck, my stupid phone died, what time is it?” I asked, stuffing my useless phone back into my pocket.
Like a cliché horror movie, Jackie and Heathers phones where somehow dead as well. We chalked it up bad reception and wonky battery percentages. But I could Sarah had tensed up.
“I didn’t even bring mine… are you guys serious? All your phones are dead?”
I looked up at the sky, “It’s okay Sarah, the sun is still up fairly high, it can’t be past 3 o’clock so we have lots of time to get back.” They all agreed, but I could tell everyone was feeling uneasy. Being out here with no way to call anyone in an emergency, well we’re the generation that just isn’t used to that kind of digital isolation. Not having a phone was making us all very uncomfortable.

Discussions turned to other things. What we were going to eat for supper that night, how we should have rolled a few joints for the hike, what we would do tomorrow, when Jackie exclaimed “oh look, I think I see a fence up there, another abandoned house maybe?” We hurried up the path to check it out.
Falling down white picket fence, peeling white paint on a saltbox house with a window boarded up on the top floor, a front door falling the hinges. “Oh you have to be fucking kidding me,” I said, confused yet again. It was the same damn house. We had walked in a circle for what must have been an hour.
“But, but… how? We walked in a circle? We couldn’t have, I…” Sarah was stammering but Heather just wrapped an arm around her and kissed her cheek softly.
“This sucks but it happens sometimes,” she said, “these trails are a maze, we must have somehow got turned around.”
“But we walked straight, we didn’t go down any other trails, Heather how-“ Sarah and Heather continued to bicker, but I was too busy staring at the house to pay attention to what they were saying. I squinted and shielded my eyes from the lowering sun. The windows were reflective, but I thought for sure I had seen movement in the upper window. My heart was beating faster than I was comfortable with and I convinced myself it was a trick of my eyes, but I noticed Jackie staring at the same window. I walked over to her.
“What are you looking at?” I asked her, worried what the reply was going to be.
“I’m losing it dude, I thought I saw something in the window up there. Something white, like a kid maybe, I don’t know I don’t see anything anymore, forget it,” Jackie turned around and walked back towards Heather and Sarah. I followed her.
“I don’t like this Heather,” I said, starting to feel really uneasy.
“Don’t sweat it. Look, the trail was here the whole time. We must have just not noticed it when we left the first time. The trail in the backyard leads back to the house, which makes sense, so this time we just go down the trail we came from and we’ll be back to the cabin smoking a big bat in no time,” she smiled at me. She was still pretty calm, still being silly old Heather. I felt better. She was right. The path behind the house would most likely lead back to the property if we weren’t paying attention. The woods were playing tricks on us.

The mood was getting more somber though, Heather tried to pick up our spirits but at that point we wanted nothing more than to just get back to Heathers cabin. Heather and Sarah took the lead, paying far more attention to where we were going this time and making sure we weren’t getting turned around again. The sun was getting lower in the sky, and the further we went the more my stomach knotted.
Suddenly, Heather stopped in her tracks and put a finger in the air to signal us to do the same. We stopped. “What?” Sarah asked, frowning.
“I thought I heard someone call my name,” she said, straining to listen. We did the same.
“I don’t hear-“I started to say, but then, I heard it. Someone shout out my name. Not too far off like before, but much closer. My heart leapt into my throat.
“Who is that? Who out here even knows my name?” Jackie said looking around, “Hello!” she called out.
The rest of us looked confused. “But… I heard my name,” Sarah said, “No one called your name Jackie, I heard someone call out Sarah.”
This was not good. I couldn’t hide the fear on my face, and neither could the others. No one said anything; we understood each of us had heard our own name being called. It felt like we stood there for a long time, just waiting. Then I heard it again, like it was someone in the distance but still close by, call my name again. I couldn’t tell what direction it was coming from and it sounded… wrong. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman, child or adult. It made my hair stand up and my chest flutter. I saw the color drain from mt friends faces.
“Let’s go,” Heather said, and started to walk briskly down the path again. We tried to catch up to her but Heather was taller and faster than the rest of us, and soon she was out of sight.
“Wait up!” Sarah called out, but a few seconds later we saw that she was stopped on the path again just ahead of us. “It… that can’t be,” she stammered.
I didn’t see it at first. But looking up higher, at the tree line, I could see that damn house again. At this point I didn’t think my heart could beat any faster, but it did. How could this be happening? How did we go in a circle again when we were being so careful this time?
“What the fuck Heather, what the fuck?” Jackie was yelling, “How the hell did we walk in a circle again?”
Heather was shaking her head. I’ve never seen her look scared before. Heather was always the level headed one of all us, boasting about going on random adventures and never losing her cool even when she ran into trouble. I felt at that moment we were fucked. We were dead lost and we would be out here for god only knows how long with no food and not enough water. At that moment the fairies came back into my mind and I believed in that moment that they were very fucking real, and they were screwing with us.

I could see Sarah was on the verge of tears, and Heather wrapped her arm around her again and told her it was ok, and that they would find their way home, and not to worry. Jackie and I just stood awkwardly in the path, not knowing what to say or what to do. We didn’t want to go near the house again. So we just stood there while Heather calmed Sarah down until it was starting to get dark.
“We need to move,” Jackie finally said. I agreed. We weren’t going to get out of here just standing around.
“Okay, this time we follow the sun. It’s setting, we know if we follow it we’ll be going in one direction and we can’t get turned around again,” Heather said. Off we went again. This time, none of us said a word. We were scared, we were hungry, and we were just getting pissed off.

It was getting dangerously close to being dark by the time Sarah spotted the house again. This time she just burst into tears, unable to control herself any longer. I felt the tears stinging my eyes and a hard lump in my throat myself. I wrinkled my nose as I tried to fight it back. Jackie swore and began yelling at Heather.
“What the fuck Heather? How is this possible? You said we wouldn’t get lost, you said it was impossible. You said you would climb a fucking tree if you had, to so climb a tree Heather! Climb a tree and find a way out, you got us into this. Holy shit this is so fucked up.” Heather just took Jackie’s strong words and said nothing while she bit her lip.
“Okay,” she replied when Jackie was done, and started to look for a high and stable tree to find. Almost all the trees in Newfoundland forests are conifers; pine, spruce, and fir trees. Not exactly that easy to climb. But at that point Heather was desperate, and she struggled to climb through the dense branches that cracked easily under her weight. Somehow she managed to get near the top and she looked around.
“There!” she shouted out pointing in the opposite direction of the house, “There’s a light over that way, I can see it!” She slid down excitedly. We started to jog in the direction, fighting our way through thick trees and ignoring the cuts the brush was giving us. I didn’t care anymore. I just needed to get away from that house and out of these woods.

We stumbled into a clearing and I heard Sarah moan loudly. I looked up. We were at the back of the house this time.
“That is fucking impossible, impossible! It was just behind us!” Heather had her hands to her head in disbelief. I just gaped. I couldn’t think straight. My breathing started to become rapid and uneven, my eyes began to cloud over. “How? How? How?” Repeated in my head. How was this happening? At this point we were all crying, none of us able to fight it back any longer. Even Heather had tears streaming down her face as she tried to calm Sarah down who was downright sobbing. We sat down in the grass behind the backyard fence, feeling defeated. It was more or less completely dark now, we had been in the woods for more than 8 hours by this time and I was tired. My stomach was in knots, my chest felt tight and painful. None of us knew what to do.

Suddenly, Sarah gasped and pointed in front of her.
“What is, wha- wha- wha-“ she stammered. My heart flew into my throat. I turned around.
At the edge of the clearing, near the side of the house maybe 20 feet from us, I could barely make out a shape. It was all white, or maybe it was grey, in the shape and size of a small child. It looked like a human and it was completely naked, but it had no characteristics. Its face was blank and between its legs was smooth like a doll. Nothing, it was like a completely blank person. It was standing casually with its arm out leaning against a tree when it turned its head to look at us. I heard the others gasp behind me, and then we ran. We got up and tore ass out of there.
But it felt like we ran for only a few seconds when I bumped into Heather in front of me. She had stopped dead in her tracks, her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide. “What-“ I started to say, until I realized the house was right in front of us again. My mind buzzed, I felt like I was going to fall over.

We weren’t alone this time. Making a circle around the house, were a large group of these blank people. They were… well, I hesitate to say dancing, because it wasn’t really dancing. It was more like twitching and shaking. Their limbs looked like they were filled with liquid as their arms wiggled around their sides. Their legs stomped back and forth as they moved their white blank bodies, heads shaking and their whole body twitching in a way that made my blood run cold. They looked human but these were not human movements. Human limbs don’t bend or move that way, and they can’t jerk around that quickly either. None of us said anything, none of us screamed. We just stood there, transfixed on these creatures completely unable to process what we were seeing. My whole body felt frozen, my legs were jelly and a scream was trying to escape from my throat but it just couldn’t make it out.

Then, the creatures all stopped. They stopped and stood perfectly still, and in complete unison they turned and looked directly at us. That was when we ran. I ran as fast and as hard as I ever have. We ran with tears streaming down our faces until I couldn’t feel my legs anymore and my lungs were on fire. I didn’t know it was possible that I could even run like that. My mind was blank. The only thing I could focus on was Jackie who was directly in front of me, I couldn’t hear anything, I couldn’t feel anything. I just ran.

It felt like we ran for hours when we reached a clearing and I saw a street light. I burst into sobbing tears, I couldn’t control it any longer. My whole body was shaking and I fell to the ground. Jackie held me, we all cried together sat in the grass on the side of the road with a streetlight glaring down at us. We were out.

After we had composed ourselves, we began slowly making our way back to Heathers cabin. We were exhausted, everything hurt. We walked back without saying a word to each other. As we reached the driveway, we noticed the lights were on in the cabin and there was another car in the driveway. It was Heathers parents. They were casually sitting on the back deck, listening to music and drinking beers. Her mom jumped up as soon as we came into sight.
“Where were you? My lord Heather what mess were you in now?” She gasped, looking at all us cut and bruised with puffy eyes.
“What are you guys doing here?” was all she managed to say in reply.
“You knew we were coming today. Where in the world were you?”
“But… mom it’s only Wednesday.”
“It’s Saturday Heather, were you guys out on a bender in the woods? Are you ok? You’re all a mess!”

None of us said a word. We couldn’t. If we talked about it then that meant it was all real. I don’t know what happened to those 3 lost days we had in those woods. What I do know, is that I was completely wrong about fairies. They are nothing like the old folktales say. They are not little old guys with pointy hats that prance merrily around rocks, or cute little girls with wings. They are so much worse than that.

It has been many years and I still haven’t come to terms with what happened. Writing this has been a struggle. But maybe now, after writing it all down and admitting that it happened, maybe I’ll be able to hike through the woods again. Maybe I’ll stop hearing my name being called out in the distance. Maybe I’ll stop seeing those blank faces staring into my bedroom window at night. Maybe.

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Once, In Karachi

August 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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It was his first time in Karachi. The coastal city seemed to sprawl on forever, and for a little while he was concerned about getting lost there. But, fortunately he had a lot of friends accompanying him. One look at his them as they stood gathered there outside the bus station and he felt neither alone, nor afraid.

“Take one of these whistles with you!” said one of them, handing him a smooth silver whistle and moving on to the next person, handing him a whistle as well.

“What are these for?” he called to him.

“Well, since we’re dividing into small groups to explore, I thought it was a good idea for us to have a quick way to calling out to each other”

He looked back down at the whistle and then to everyone else slowly forming groups of different sizes. He was the only one travelling alone; Since he had a few relatives he wanted to meet, and a few traders he had to discuss terms with. ‘I had best get going’ he thought.

It was all a very boring affair. He wanted to finish his visits as quickly as possible so he could meet up with his friends and maybe go around the city seeing the sights. The British had left only a few years ago and the city had since become a model city for development and growth. It was called ‘the city of light’ and he wanted to see exactly why it was so.

It was already evening by the time he finished all his ‘work’. He was considering where to start looking for his friends when he was approached by a weak, aging woman.

“Could you help me carry these son, son?” she said, gesturing to a sack of rice. It looked heavy even by his standards and he was surprised the woman had actually managed to carry it at all.

“Sure gran. Where is your home, exactly?” he said, lifting the sack onto his back.

“Not far from here” she said, smiling sweetly.

There was something off about her smile but he kept following her anyway, dismissing it as his imagination.

It took him five minutes to toil to get to her house and he was grateful for it not being any farther. She offered him food as he sat on the threshold of her tiny house, trying to catch his breath. He tried to refuse, thinking he should probably be joining his friends soon, but she insisted.

“I really can’t let you go, son. You have helped this old woman. Besides, I have a real treat for you if you can do me just one more favour.” she said earnestly.

“What’s that?” he asked her, wondering if the favour was more donkey work.

“Well, you see… my son died last night”, she said, her face serious and strangely impassive. “…I am but an old woman and I do not have the strength to bathe him for the burial”

He felt shaken by the woman’s request, and a little embarrassed at wanting to get away from there. The helpless old woman was simply preparing for her son’s funeral.

“I’ll be honoured to help”, he said after a moment, resigning himself to do another good deed.

She thanked him profusely led him through a narrow corridor and into what appeared to be a rather austere lounge, seating him on a rug.

“I’ll get you some food first. You will need your strength” she said, bringing him a tray full of pilaf rice. “Let me know when you’re done” she said, and left him to go elsewhere.

He was grateful for the food. His stomach had been aching for a while now and some Pilaf was just the thing he needed. So, he dug in eagerly, searching the rice for some meat. He found a finger.

His body gave a shudder and he immediately spat out the rice he had been chewing. He held up the finger he had found to the light and realized beyond doubt that it really was a human finger. That woman was a cannibal. The horrifying realization hit him like a hammer and he dropped the finger out of shock.

And then, he realized that he had probably been lured there to be eaten.

He looked around him, searching for a way to escape. The woman was waiting outside, he knew, and he did not want to risk running through her. She could be carrying any number of weapons and he needed to be very, very careful about how he dealt with the situation from then on. One wrong move, and he could be the next guy to be made into pilaf rice.

So, the first thing he decided to do was to take all the rice he had scattered over the rug in shock, and sweep it all under the rug along with the finger. He threw some more rice under the rug to make it appear as if he’d eaten his fill and then called out to the woman, and told her that he was ready to bathe her son’s dead body.

She led him out back to a courtyard, where a dead body was indeed placed, covered by a large white sheet on a wooden bed. He wondered if that was really her son. Did she intend to eat her own son as well? Perhaps, the body was simply another one of her victims, and he was actually helping her clean him up for her next meal. The thought was chilling.

He was treading in dangerous territory he knew, so his senses became extremely alert to every single move the woman made. She was carrying an oil lantern and went over to stand by the body’s head holding up the lantern for light. He brought some water in a large steel bucket, and began to bathe the body, keeping an eye on the woman as best as he could.

The first thing he noticed was that the body was not very cold to the touch. Fresh kill, perhaps, he thought. Though a cold shiver ran through his spine, he concentrated on not letting any emotion show on his face. He required every single bit of concentration he could muster to stay in control of the situation, pouring water over the body slowly, and trying to adjust his eyes to the dark.

He quickly became aware of an advantage he had. With the woman standing at the head of the body, she cast a very sharp shadow across the walls and he could see if she moved slightly even with his back turned to her. He thought about it a bit and decided that if the woman really wanted to kill him then he might as well try to lure her into an attack.

So, he deliberately started working on the body with his back turned to her, keeping both eyes on her shadow as he worked. At any moment, he would see hand move, and would immediately counter-attack.

He saw what happened next quite clearly as shadows started to shift. The woman’s left arm slowly drew out something from within the folds of her clothes and raised it high to attack. At the same time something else happened just as slowly though. Something he had not been expecting. It felt like terror creeping up his limbs as he saw the body’s right arm move as well, drawing out something long and blunt from under the shroud.

He jumped away from them reflexively. Fortunately for him the old woman chose to strike at the same moment; her iron rod missed him by mere inches as she brought it down. Her son, who had sat up to reach him, was not so lucky. Her full-blooded swing hit him to the side of his skull and he was knocked out immediately from the hit.

He could not let her recover, either. He jumped right at her and delivered a kick straight into her chest. She was lifted clean off her feet and flew back into the wall. That was it. He did not check to see if either of them was still conscious. He ran out of the house as quickly as he could, covered in cold sweat and short of breath as he was. And as soon he reached the street, he found the whistle his friend had given him and started blowing as hard as he could.

It did not take very long for him to gather a crowd. Some of his friends arrived as well, and he quickly told them what had happened. The police arrived soon after, and began searching the house for the the woman and her son.

The search resulted in a few shocking discoveries as bones of over 50 people were found from the basement of the house. The woman, and her son were arrested. Apparently they had been luring people to the house and eating them for quite a while. Also, according to them, they were not the only ones. Not by a long shot.

Writer’s note: This true story comes from my maternal grandfather, and has been told from his point-of-view. I have tried to keep all the details intact.

Credit To – Salman Shahid Khan

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They Came From the East

August 8, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“They came from the east”, he said. A pot of malt ersatz coffee stood steaming on the table between us. We both took it black.

“Fearsome warriors on horseback they were, a fierce barbarian horde, the most lethal mercenary tribe to plunder and pillage Europe for centuries. They fought for the Russian Czars against the Poles you know, and then for the King of Sweden against the Russians. They fought the Turks and the Persians in turn. They fought Napoleon. They fought for anyone who promised them a country of their own. They were the Cossacks and they were feared by all.”

“I was 23 when they came to our valley”, he said. “Of course, everything was different then, it was 60 years ago after all.”

I looked out the window, the crags of the Dolomite mountains looming over the valley below us, shadowy in the twilight. Their house was perched by the steep edge of the tree-line, one of ten clustered around a small church. Barring indoor plumbing and electricity, time already seemed to have stood still. A city girl meeting her boyfriend’s parents for the first time, I had been startled by a sheep peering into the bathroom window that morning.

“I was one of the only boys left in Lienz. At the beginning all my friends volunteered, and I was eager to fight too, of course. But the army didn’t take me because of a goiter. Years later, it was different. They were rounding up everyone they could get their hands on, boys of twelve, thirteen. Grandfathers. I would’ve been drafted except for a tractor accident on my father’s farm.” I looked at his blunt carpenters hands folded on the checked tablecloth, and I wondered if his father had been equally capable … and practical-minded enough to manufacture a minor glitch in his machinery when called for.

“The fighting was all but over, the war had really been lost years ago. Now everyone left alive was fleeing west, trying to outrun the Soviets and reach the Allied zones. American was best, of course, but we all trusted the British too. At the time.”

What did you know? I wondered, and when? What of your neighbours? Did you believe the propaganda in the papers, on the radio? Did your priest preach of sacred duty to the fatherland? Did your mayor hang the swastika with pride? Growing up in Austria, you are taught to respect your elders, but whenever I see someone of that generation I always ask myself – what did you do to survive? Or rather, what did you not?

“Stalin had it in for the Cossacks especially. They’d been vicious in battle against the resistance partisans and they hated the Soviets. It was 1945 when they fled from Yugoslavia. They fought their way through to the British, who put them in an internment camp here on the river Drau. Enemy combatants, you see. Prisoners of war who surrendered voluntarily.”

What did they look like, the men? I asked. “Men? There were entire families. Husbands and fathers on horseback with their women and children trundling behind them in carts. Old and young alike. Defeated they were, but proud too. They’d been beaten before, and regrouped. And they were safe now, under Churchill. Or so they thought.”

Yalta, I remembered. The treaty, a betrayal to some, the salvation of Europe to others. Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt – men with moustaches, waistcoats and cigars, divvying up a continent with rulers. Most refugees who had fled the east were granted safe haven. The Cossacks, with their democratically elected leaders and their nomadic freedom, were not.

“They settled in happily enough here, for the most part. Made friends with the villagers, helped with the harvest. They were waiting to see where Churchill would resettle them. Perhaps they would have been happy to stay. They certainly didn’t bother us. But they were to be sent back to Russia to face execution. Cattle cars came to the train station, this time sent by the British. Soldiers encircled the valley, the internment camp, trying to round them up. We could hear them all the way up the mountain. The screaming. Men. Women. Horses. Mothers threw their babies into the river to drown and jumped in after them. Men cut their wrists as the soldiers dragged them toward the train tracks, trails of blood wending behind them.”

And you heard this? I ask, you saw? “Yes. Yes.”

A long silence. We gaze out the window to the mountains beyond, as if listening for echoes. “Those they caught were sent to the Soviet Union, where they were shot. The Communists executed men, women and children alike. But some, some managed to escape deportation. They hid in haylofts, scrambled up cliff faces to abandoned sheep sheds. The mountain farmers helped to shelter them if they could.”

Did any of you shelter anyone in the years before, I wondered. Other refugees, perhaps the very partisans hunted by the Cossacks and the Nazis? There had been only one Jewish family in the town of Lienz before the war, or so I’d read, and not one of them survived.

“But most of them” he continued, “ran away and hid in caves. The British spent months clambering about the mountains, searching for the ones that got away.” He chuckled briefly. “Those caves, some of them were crevasses, narrow slits between rock-faces. Some were no bigger than holes. Tricky to climb into, but even more difficult to get out again. Kossakenloecher – Cossack holes – we call them to this day. When we talk about them at all.”

He paused. I wished for a cigarette. “Because some of the holes aren’t empty. We had archaeologists here last summer, searching for remnants. A medal here, a belt buckle there. But they didn’t get very far, didn’t climb high enough, or stay the night.”

Another silence, more tense this time. Do you mean to say there are still bones? I asked. “Bones… it’s not their bones I worry about.” he replied, and crossed himself reflexively. “Some nights, when the stars are out and the moon is low, you hear the river screaming. And some nights, even closer, you hear the rocks scream back.”

He makes eye contact for the first time in what feels like forever. “We put you in the guest room” he says, “it has a balcony. It’s looking to be a lovely clear night.” I dutifully assure him that it is a lovely room, careful not to to mention I’ve taken down the various crosses and icons hung from the walls, a constant reminder of my status as godless-city-girl-evil-influence-on-beloved-son.

He grunts assent and, rising from his chair, bids me goodnight. “I’d lock the windows and doors before turning in if I were you.”

Credit To – cinekat

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Frogs Are Good Luck

August 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I grew up in Northern Nevada, and have always had a love for the macabre side of things. Interested in ghost stories and the town’s folklore, I often found myself searching for haunted locations around the city. All through high school, I never found one that was truly haunted, and it let me down. I began to think that there was nothing in the city that was weird enough for me, so after I left high school, I went to college in Washington, in a town that I thought had much more history to it. I had only learned about the real dark stories of my home town when I came back to visit at the beginning of this summer…

During vacation I was working the summer at a sushi restaurant that had employed me a few years before, I only really got the job because most of my friends were still working there too. I was up talking with the sushi crew and they invited me to hang out on north fifth and talk about life and probably smoke a little. North Fifth is a street that leads (as you would guess) out the north side of town. If you follow the nicely paved road out far enough you will come across a cattle guard and the pavement will give way to sand and dirt and rocks. The roads are lined with gnarled sagebrush, the kind that grows everywhere in Nevada like a cancer. I felt like I hadn’t seen my friends in ages and I didn’t want to spend the night indoors so I agreed to go.

Once the clock struck 9 P.M. all five of us busted our asses out of the restaurant and headed up Fifth Street. My friend Liam and I were in his jeep, following behind Jay, Austin, and Jay’s girlfriend Danielle. We passed the cattle guard as we were following our friends, and Liam turned to me.

“I hope we don’t go out too far.” His eyes darted around his face, almost in a fit of paranoia. I had no idea what provoked that statement, but I felt like it would lead to something terrifying, so I bit down and swallowed the bait.

“Why shouldn’t we go out too far? Ghosts?” I chuckled as I spoke, because I was a supernatural junkie. There isn’t anything like the rush of encountering something that felt like it wasn’t totally there. We waited in silence for a moment as I watched the weeds pass the jeep while we got deeper and deeper into the desert. I’ll never forget how my friend looked when he replied, like there was a history. Like there was something out north fifth that Liam had run into before, and never wanted to see again.

“I’ll tell you later.” His voice had turned cold. There was only fear present in his words.

“Why?” I probably sounded angrier than I wanted. Admittedly, I was irritated and confused at Liam’s dodgy attitude.

“They don’t like it when you talk about them.”

My head was jumping from thought to thought, I was trying to delve into my subconscious and remember what my family and friends used to say about the desert. My brain never stopped thinking, I was coming up with all kinds of monsters in my head. After a while I began to think that I wasn’t going to get any sleep when I got back home tonight. That was par for the course though. As a matter of fact, my brain was often the cause of my sleep loss, and I hated it. Of course, if there wasn’t a piece of me that loved the adrenaline from this supernatural, paranormal terror, I wouldn’t have been driving out North Fifth in the middle of the night to begin with. I seek it out. I loved that feeling. I don’t think I will anymore, though. A few minutes passed, and Liam spoke again.

“Just be respectful. We’re coming out to smoke and talk. We won’t be destroying anything. We should be okay if we are respectful.” Liam’s words confused the hell out of me, because I wanted to know exactly what it was that he was talking about. Of course, he wouldn’t tell me. I wanted to respect his fear as much as possible. Even if I had to spend the next couple hours in a blind confusion.

We arrived at a clearing way out of town, and as we got out the car I heard him mumbling about “Reservation Land” and Coyotes. I was still confused, but out of respect to his fear, and the realization that he didn’t want me to talk about it, I didn’t say anything.

The two of us met up with our three other friends and they loaded their pipes as we all began talking. Our conversation bounced from parties we had been to, how life was for us now, how the restaurant was doing. We talked for maybe thirty minutes before Liam decided to speak up. He shivered when he did.

“Are we on reservation land?” His body was so cold that his teeth were chattering. At least, I hoped that’s what it was. He told me the next day that he was terrified and wanted to leave as soon as he asked that question.
One of our friends, Austin, spoke up.

“I think so. Why? Are you not supposed to be on Tribal grounds?” He was as confused as I was. Liam grabbed his hat and pushed down on his scalp.

“Oh my god I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here.” Liam’s face was hard to see under the black sky. The moon was cast behind thick shadowy clouds, all we had to light our adventure were a handful of dim stars.

“Did you guys see any coyote’s on the way here? It’s important.” He was leaning up against the door of his jeep, almost as if it was holding him up. At this point, I was pretty freaked out too. I didn’t know what was the matter and he wouldn’t tell me, so I was forced to sit in a cloud of confusion, which made me uneasy.

“Why?” came Jay’s voice, out the driver’s seat of his car.

“Wait… is that frogs?” Liam spoke up, more or less ignoring Jay’s question. The rest of us sort of chuckled, but Liam got excited. He turned his ear away from the rest of us to get a better listen.

“No, no. Frogs are good luck! They keep evil spirits away.” He said, leaning off of his car and now standing, the fear in him had subsided at least a little bit and it seemed like he was enjoying the experience a little more.

“Are you talking about skin walkers? Is that what you’re afraid of?” Austin let out a laugh, after figuring out what it was that Liam was so afraid of. As he spoke, his dreadlocks swung around his neck. “I don’t give a shit about a skin walker. Don’t worry. I will kill every single one of them if they come try and mess with us.” Austin patted Liam on the shoulder and the group fell silent, minus the sound of inhalation and the occasional lighter flick.

After ten or so minutes had passed, Jay and his girlfriend Danielle looked out the front of their car and turned the lights on. It wasn’t strange, because Liam had been randomly turning his lights on when he couldn’t handle being in the dark anymore. I was thankful, because I was growing more uneasy by the minute. I wanted to ask exactly what a skin walker was, but I was sure that I didn’t want to figure it out.

After a while Jay turned his lights on again, and we all shifted our attention to the front of his car after we heard him yelp. Standing in the road about thirty feet ahead of us was a single coyote. Its eyes were dark, and unreflective. Unlike the way animal’s eyes usually were. This one didn’t reflect light from anywhere. As a matter of fact, they looked almost… human but they were devoid of emotion, and staring at us. It wasn’t a blank stare, there was intent in it. Liam and I had screamed, but Austin remained quiet, Meanwhile, Jay and Danielle had tightened their grip on each other and Jay was trying to keep Danielle calm.

See, we all knew deep down what the skin walkers were. We knew the stories. We’ve been hearing them since we were little kids.

According to some people, if you find yourself on Indian Reservation land at night, and are causing a ruckus, or even just doing something you aren’t supposed to be doing, they will come out. They will crawl from the shadows, and peer over hilltops. They are sub-human, and often come disguised as coyotes. Vengeful creatures, and the only way to know what you’re really looking at is to look at its eyes. They will never look natural. The animal’s eyes will look flat like a humans. There will be very little gloss on them…

I pulled in a breath, and whispered to Liam.

“We need to leave…” I watched the coyote with him as he was nodding his head at me and opening his jeep door. I slid slowly from the side of Jay’s car to the door of Liam’s jeep. My eyes were fixed on the coyote’s eyes, and it followed me. It was staring at me, unblinking as I climbed into the vehicle. Before I broke eye contact, I could have sworn that I saw it smile. The sight of its fangs shook me to the core. Long, and sharp, they seemed to glow in the night. It howled, and was met with an echo of howling all around us. The sound of the dogs bellowing everywhere in the canyon twanged at my soul. It was an evil sound.

The worst part though, was what was just out of sight. The lights from our cars bathed the ground in front of us and illuminated the coyote, but on the edge of the light, my eyes caught multiple pairs of feet. There were maybe ten people standing there behind the coyote, staying out of the light of our vehicles. Their skin was dark. It was dark and unnatural, like is wasn’t really attached to the flesh. Like it could slip off at any moment. The feet then, began to move toward us. From dark skinned ankles covered with mud and paint, the light slowly illuminated the hunched over figures. Their knees were scraped from rocks and dirt, their legs covered in blood. I couldn’t bear to see the full figure, so I slammed my eyes shut and felt Liam shift his car into reverse.

Liam backed out of the clearing that we were parked in. the trees passed us, and I was sure that I could see glowing eyes in the shadows. The way the legends go, when the Skin walkers were in their human form, they would have the gaze of a beast. Their eyes would never match their bodies. Always shining when they weren’t supposed to be. We were backing up quickly. Dangerously. I don’t blame Liam for wanting out. He didn’t even want in.
As we broke through the tree line and back into the sagebrush, Liam turned the car around in a patch of grass off the side of the road. He must have seen an owl fly past, because he pointed it out and said that it was good that we left.

“Owls are observers. They are smart creatures, and they know to leave when there is danger. So… we should leave. Now. Is Jay behind us?” Liam’s voice was trembling and his fear was easy to feel. I’m sure that mine was too. I remember looking back and seeing jay’s truck, but not before I saw the man standing right behind the jeep. His eyes glowing white, skin painted black wearing the skin of a mangled coyote. He had a sick grin on his face, a grin I’ll never forget. His teeth were black and yellow, and his body looked like a gnarled root. I screamed, and ducked under the seat as his hand slammed against the metal frame. There were no words coming from his mouth, but we both heard a howling. A dark howling, coming from out in the darkness.

Liam knew that it was time to stop asking questions, and he slammed on the accelerator. For a moment, we quit caring about Jay, Austin and Danielle. We just wanted to get out of there. About four miles away from the tree line, Liam started to slow down. My heart was still beating furiously, and I was still huddled in the back seat of Liam’s jeep.

“It’s okay. We aren’t on reservation land anymore. We should be okay.” His voice came slowly, through long gasps for air. We drove until we reached the pavement and then stopped to wait for Jay. A few minutes had passed and we saw his truck crest over the sagebrush behind us. My head flashed images of the eyes, brooding, waiting, thinking, floating in the trees. It was so much darker there than it was here in the city. It was darker, but there wasn’t any less light than where we were. It was the air itself that felt dark.
I parted my ways with Jay, Danielle and Austin after I made sure that they got back to us safely. The ride with Liam was quiet, so I tried to break the silence.

“Man, I thought frogs were good luck.” I tried to joke with him, but Liam didn’t respond. He just pulled onto the street and drove me home. The silence bothered me, I felt bad for Liam because he didn’t want to be there, and yet we talked him into going with us at work. He pulled up to my home, and we then parted ways.

The next day we all talked about the experience. I still didn’t get a lot of information about them, so I left work and did a lot of research when I got home about skin walkers. None of the natives wanted to talk about them, so it was hard to hear the local stories. I did find out some interesting things online though… They say that they have all of these poisons, and dusts that they can use on you. Or that they can take the shape of anything they’ve consumed. Anything that they’ve consumed…

They say… When you lock eyes with one, it attaches itself to you. That it’ll follow you to your house, try and break in, try and take you. They try and take you. All I can think about is that coyote’s eyes. They seemed so… dead and empty. So here I am now, my dogs are barking downstairs, and there is a banging at my door.

Man… I thought frogs were good luck.

Credit To – Alan Larkin

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The Junkyard

August 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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It was late into July when we decided to visit a place from our past. This would be one of the final nights we would all spend together as friends. There were five of us and we were soon to be going our separate ways. Cooper and I would be starting our college degrees in the fall, him across the state in East Tennessee, and I in Missouri. Lawrence and Amanda were a package deal. They were juniors and had been dating on and off since elementary school, for all the good that did them. They were often times arguing, but always seemed to make up one way or another. Finally, there was Hannah. She was two years younger than us, and the first week of August she was moving across the country. Her father was a software developer and after decades of struggling he was offered a job by some promising start-up company in Silicon Valley.

The week before Hannah was supposed to move she asked us to go out to the field and forest right off Old Union Road. It was a strange request coming from Hannah. She was never the one to suggest we hang out there, but she was always happy to accompany us, and considering the accident she had in the forest nearby, it was stranger still. Perhaps it was for the sake of nostalgia. We had grown up in those woods, playing in that field; there was no way we’d pass up one last chance to be kids together. We arrived at sunset. I parked my car at the top of the hill not far off the road. The field sloped down gradually until it ended at the edge of the thick forest. We spread out our blankets and laid out to stare at the heavens above us. After a couple hours, a lull in our conversation allowed my mind to wander. I turned my head and my eyes caught sight of the trees through the twilight. I began thinking about what lay beyond that tree line.

The initial outset of the forest was dense. A small path designed for a four-wheeler or Mule cut along the surface and followed the tree line. There was no see-able path deeper into the forest without traveling by foot. Many large trees had collapsed either near or across the path from time to time. The caretakers of the land would often drive through and clear the path, moving the large trees to the side. Over the years the build up of fallen debris had created a barrier re-enforced by gnarled branches, saplings, and bramble bushes. It wasn’t worth the effort trying to get a motorized vehicle over the mound, so we always traveled by foot once we got as deep as the path would allow. Besides, we knew it was pointless, as not much farther in was a narrow creek that cut deep into the earth. The easiest way across was a well-timed jump. Otherwise, it was a laborious descent down into ankle deep water and a messy climb out.

The trees of the forest become sparse once further in. That’s when you knew you were almost there. The small trees gave way to ancient oaks and pines that towered over the forest. The shrubs and bushes were mostly gone, and the ground was covered in moss, vines, and dead leaves. Barely visible was a large ridge in the distance at least 25 feet high. Originally a railroad lay on the top of that ridge and cut through these woods, ending in town, but that was many decades ago. Now the track was all but gone. A few ties were left behind, but the metal had been recycled into scrap, or so we thought.

The railroad wasn’t the most interesting part of the forest, however. It was what was at the base of the ridge, a small junkyard, or more appropriately, a dump spot. It wasn’t uncommon to find these places around the more rural parts of the county. You see, the railroad eventually intersected a road many more miles down to the east. The ridge was just wide enough for a truck to travel down, and although it was a very slow drive, it was much faster than driving across the county to the landfill. To the west, the track eventually ended in overgrowth deep into the forest.

The ridge sloped down at a near sheer drop. Some small trees sprouted up from out of the side, but nothing of any substantial growth. The only tree of any size that grew in the junkyard was at the bottom and dead center amongst the morass. The maple was still pretty young by the standards of the trees around it, but it’s bark was strangely dark, much darker than any other tree I had ever seen in the forest.

At the base, all manner of garbage could be found, anything ranging from soda cans to an entire washing machine that was half embedded in the dirt. Radiating out from the ridge, the junkyard formed a semicircle. It occurred to me that the structure of the junkyard was planned. At one point many summers ago we had found the intersection and followed it all the way in. From up above, the uncanniness of the semicircle could be seen. That same adventure ended with Hannah falling down a lesser part of the incline and spending a few weeks in the hospital. It wouldn’t be the last time we visited that place, but an unease about the junkyard would always remain etched into our minds.

Well all knew these woods well. We spent hours upon hours hanging out at the junkyard, just being naïve juveniles, until, of course, Hannah’s fall. We never really went back to the rubble. She had become frightened of the area, and most times it was enough just getting her past the creek. I remember it had been a couple years since I had seen the familiar rubble, but I caught a glimpse of it one late afternoon while we were trekking through. A pang of nostalgia struck me. Hannah urged us to turn back, so we complied.

Someone shifting on the blanket brought me back into the present. My eyes broke from the trees and returned to the stars. There we were, five of us laying out in the field. The forest was not far in front of us, and behind us, the nearest house was almost too far away to see except a small prick of light cutting across the tall grass. Faintly off in the distance I heard the familiar sounds of coyotes barking and howling deep in the woods. It was always an unsettling sound to me, but this time was even stranger. The cacophony continued for quite some time. After about twenty minutes I noticed something else was permeating the sounds of the coyotes, something slightly higher pitched and reminiscent of a bird. Kyuu, kyukuku, kyuuk, followed by a series of clicking noises. I seemed to be the only one that heard it at first. The coyote calls continued for a few more minutes, and then the strange sound happened again.

“What the hell was that?” asked Hannah.

I quickly replied, “I heard it, too, but earlier. I think it’s been happening since the coyotes started.”

“I think it’s some kind of bird,” said Lawrence unconvincingly. Through the darkness I could see his eyes shining, apprehension scrawled across his face. “Well, I think it’s time we when back and put on a movie. I’m bored,” but his voice betrayed him and cracked on the last word.

As we shuffled to stand and gathered the blankets, we heard a rushing sound in the tall grass behind us. Something had cut across between us and the car. Was it a coyote? I had never come face-to-face with a wild animal, especially a scavenger desperate enough to attack 5 of us. That’s when I heard the rushing coming from a different angle. It cut across our path again and all I could see was the tall grass waving in the moonlight. We were all frozen in fear. Had it been the same animal, or another? Almost in answer, the rustling happened again, but this time from two different points; they came to a halt in front of us. We were still at least 50 yards away from the car. The a pack of coyotes had circled around the field and cut us off. There was no way we could make it.

Some weird urge suddenly came to me. I felt exposed, I needed to get out of that field “The forest,” I croaked in a whisper. My chest was tight and I could feel the familiar pangs of heart palpitations incurred by my anxiety. I hadn’t blinked since the second rush. As my eyes flashed closed, I heard the rustle in front of us move forward and come to a stop. I was taken off guard and stumbled backwards. One of the girls let out a short cry. The sudden movement must have startled the animals in the grass as everything around us began moving and rustling. The dread set in completely now. We were surrounded in a wide arc with the forest as our only retreat.

I quickly stood back up when suddenly everything stopped, the light breeze ceased, the grass slowed…The silence enveloped us, and for a moment I thought I had gone deaf, but I was reassured by the sound of blood pumping through my ears.

Kyuu, kyukuku, kyuuk! The shrill cry pierced the silence. It was right in front of us. The animals in the grass were making these noises. Another responded from our left, and then another clicked multiple times from our right.

“Go,” I said exasperatedly. Lawrence spun and sprinted for the forest line, and we were all following close behind. As we approached the black towering trees I could hear the quick footfalls of an animal running parallel to me. I could even hear it’s labored breathing as it raced across the field with us. I lost control of my voice and I let out a guttural scream just as we entered into the darkness of the forest.

We passed through the first line of trees and ran perpendicularly across the Mule trail. My shin slammed into something hard and I felt myself falling. I crashed into a pile of logs and debris that were built up on the side of the path. The wind was forced out of my lungs and I clawed at the bark trying to drag myself over. Something warm wrapped around my wrist and arm and pulled hard. I slid over trees and rolled down the other side.

It was Cooper. He had pulled me over and I could barely make out his face but he had his index finger to his mouth. The other 3 had disappeared deeper into the woods. I heard something stirring back behind us at the tree line. I quietly rolled over and laid on my stomach to see over the barrier. Black four-legged figures paced back and forth in the moonlight. They had stopped at the treeline. Long fur hung off the creatures, but something was odd about the way it moved. There wasn’t a strong wind that night, but the fur moved back and forth like tendrils. These things that were hunting us were not coyotes.

“Where are the others?” I whispered, barely audibly. Cooper grabbed my shoulder and motioned for us to keep moving into the woods. I turned back to look at the creatures at the tree line. One slowly entered into the shadow of the canopy. It was wheezing and panting in strange uneven breaths. It kind of hopped forward and stopped on the Mule trail. My eyes got bigger as more of the animals entered the forest. Cooper tugged at my shoulder and I began pulling myself up. I placed my hand on a branch and I immediately knew it was dry and brittle, but before I could stop myself from applying my weight I felt the branch give way. A loud crack echoed briefly and the creatures chortled their strange sound and rushed into the woods.

We were sprinting again. It wasn’t much farther before we hit the creek, and I knew in this darkness and at this speed I was sure to miss the jump. Falling in would give the creatures enough time to catch up to us. Cooper was only a few feet ahead and very quickly I saw him leap. I estimated and leaped as well. The ground didn’t come up to meet me. Instead, I continued to fall.

I landed and my feet sank into mud up to my knees. The summer heat had mostly dried the creek up; all that was left was a soft sludge along the bottom. I looked around and Cooper was down there with me. He was laying prostrate. I didn’t have time to check if he was alive or dead. I laid in the mud as the rustling of the animals behind us grew louder. They were right on top of us. We were dead. We were dead, and no one knew it. How long would we be missing before anyone came looking? Would they even find our bodies?

The first creature to arrive at the bank leaped over and continued running. Then two or three more. Or was it four? How many of these things were there? As their panting and rustling dissipated I reached out for Cooper. His head was facing the opposite direction and I couldn’t make out if he was breathing in the darkness. My legs were still stuck and he was outside of my grasp. I stretch and writhed in the mud.

When my finger brushed his arm he recoiled violently. His head spun around to meet my own. He grabbed my arm once again and pulled. I could feel my legs coming free, but the suction of the mud ripped the shoes from my feet.

“Are they gone?” he asked. I had to lean down and nearly place my ear against his lips to hear his words. There was a quiver in his voice that made it difficult to completely understand him. “We have to go back and get help.”

“What about the others?” but my question was only met with horrified eyes waiting for the only thing he wanted to hear: a confirmation that we would leave the forest, that we would be safe. I couldn’t do that for him. Despite the overwhelming desire to flee, I couldn’t leave my friends in this hell. It would be nearly two hours before we could get help out here. I shook my head, not really convinced I was making the right choice.

A short whimper escaped Cooper’s lips and he stood. The forest had grown unnervingly quiet. I hoisted myself up and stood where the mud wouldn’t suck me down again. Cooper turned towards the bank in the direction of the car. “I’m sorry. God, I’m sorry.” He whispered and began climbing using twisted roots as steps. I did the same, but only on the opposite side.

“Cooper. You cannot leave us here. Get to the car, lock the doors, wait for us. Do not leave us,” I said as loud as I dare in hopes that I wouldn’t attract unwanted attention. Cooper did not respond.

Once we had both climbed out of the ditch I looked around towards the tree line. Only a few slivers of moonlight on the field could be seen if I looked at just the right angle. We were a ways in, but it was deeper still to the junkyard. Calm momentarily crept over me as once again memories of past summers flashed through my mind’s eye. If my friends had gone anywhere, it was there. Cooper had his back to me, but I knew exactly what he was doing: calculating the fastest way out of the forest.

A human shriek cut through the forest, and like a gun shot at a race, Cooper bolted away from me. But it was a short lived escape. He made it only about five feet before he stopped and made a choking sound like he had been hit in the throat. His hands shot up to his neck, grabbing at something I couldn’t see in the darkness. His head jerked up and he was quickly lifted into the trees with his arms flailing and his legs kicking. The scream that issued from him sounded like it was being pushed through his clenched jaws.

Kyuu, kyukukukukuku! It came from above and multiple other calls responded followed by a sea of clicking.

The creatures were in the limbs of the trees.

How had it grabbed Cooper and pulled him up and so high? They were medium sized animals, nothing larger than a Labrador and yet Cooper was gone, pulled into the blackness like a doll. His scream suddenly ended and I could hear the sound of liquid drizzling down into the branches and grass like rain running off a clogged gutter.

I twisted around and sprinted through the dense trees, small saplings tearing at my face and brambles attempting to snag me and bring me to the ground. Every time I brushed against a larger limb I pulled away, afraid that dark unseen hands were reaching out to grab me and pull me into the branches. Tears were streaming down my face and my chest was tighter than it ever had been before. It was like some enormous rubber band had been wrapped around me, and with each passing second it squeezed just a bit tighter. My breath was coming in short bursts and I could feel my vision becoming hazy. Of all the times to have a panic attack, this was both the worst and most fitting moment.

I pressed on for what seemed to be far too long. I should have reached the junkyard by now. I was exhausted. Pain from running had begun to form in my lower abdomen and my speed was decreasing. I could feel my steps becoming sloppy, but finally I noticed the forest had become thinner. A bramble wrapped across my ankle succeeded in tripping me up. I stumbled forward and fell to my knees. My hands came down hard on a rock and something sharp. I knew immediately I was bleeding.

I was still hyperventilating and my vision was blurred from the tears. My hearing was diminished by the rushing of blood through my ears. I couldn’t make out if any of the monsters had resumed their chase. My hands probed the rock, it was smooth, incredibly smooth except for a patch that felt like sandpaper that flaked off as my fingers ran over it. I quickly wiped my eyes and brought my face down low. It was a half buried washing machine, partly rusted, but mostly still covered in smooth white painted metal.

My breathing began to come under control. That’s when I heard the sobbing. I stood up quickly, reeling from being lightheaded, but I pushed through the rubble and into the semicircle. I tried to speak, but only a croaked moan came out.

Hannah screamed through her sobs. My eyes locked on her. She was sitting in the middle of the rubble with someone laying beside her. “Hannah? Oh, my god, thank god. Are you alright?” She didn’t respond. She only continued to cry. When I reached her it was like she hadn’t noticed me. She was holding Lawrence in her arms. His eyes were closed. I reached out and placed my hand on her shoulder. She jerked, released Lawrence and flailed. Her arms and hands struck my face, my chest, my arms. I bit back the pain and pulled her into an embrace.

“He’s dead. He died only a few minutes ago. Amanda was pulled down by the dogs. But they aren’t dogs, are they? Are they?!” She was still hysterical, but at least she was also coherent.
“No. I don’t know what they are.” Her face raised up and our eyes met. The moonlight danced off her tears.
“Their fur, it moves like hair underwater. And their hooks–”
“Hooks?” I hadn’t noticed any hooks on the creatures when I saw them at the treeline.

“The ones in the trees. They have these long arms that reach down, and their hands are large hooks, like what you hang meat on.” She began to tremble violently. “As we ran, Amanda fell behind. She doesn’t know these woods like we do. She called to us but I was too afraid to look back.” Hannah was crying harder now. “I heard her scream and then those things, I knew they had gotten her. It was only a few more feet before Lawrence caught his side on something, just under his armpit. He was pulled into the air and flipped sideways. He fell and I grabbed him. I don’t know why I stopped for him, but I saw it.”

Chills ran down my body. My arms and legs pricked up in goosebumps. I couldn’t look away from Hannah. She had regained some composer, but her eyes were hard. “Wha-” I began, but was cut off.

“It was covered in that black wavy fur. As it climbed down I could see its arms were incredibly long and where its hands should be were two hooks. It got so close to us. I couldn’t tell where it’s head ended and it’s body began. And it’s eyes. There were so many, like a spider, glossy red in the light.”

I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. My mind kept replaying the moment Cooper died. How his head snapped back and that terrible scream he loosed. One of the creature must have caught him in the throat or under his jaw. It was almost like these things were fishing for their prey.

“We managed to make it here,” Hannah continued. “Lawrence was still alive for awhile. He was bleeding so much. I—I couldn’t stop it. There was so much. All he kept asking me was if Amanda and I were fine. Oh, god, Patrick, what is going on?!” Her eyes finally broke from mine and she stared down at Lawrence, who I could see was pale from blood loss. The moon shining down gave him an ethereal quality.

I didn’t have the answers. I doubt anyone did. I suddenly became painfully aware of the silence that had been present since my arrival to the dump. “Have you heard them since you came inside the junkyard?” Hannah didn’t respond. “God dammit, Hannah! Have you heard them!?” Her head snapped back to mine and for a moment all there was in the forest, in this entire universe, was her face.

Kyuu, kyukuku, kyuuk!

The pain of my heart skipping pierced through my chest. For the first time since I had arrived I noticed Hannah had been leaning against the one tree in the center of junkyard. It was the maple with the darkest bark in the forest, and the animal call had come from directly above us. The rapid clicking of the creature filled my ears as I slowly looked up and met it’s glossy red eyes staring back at me.

Credit To – B.P. Gee

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Creepy Bridge on Mumbai Expressway

July 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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To begin with, I am Ankit Saxena living in Mumbai, India. I have newly joined as a Consultant in Capgemini. I am kind of an atheist and don’t believe in any supernatural but these past few days, there have been some incidents which have shaken my belief, if not shattered it completely. And when I am sharing this on creepy-pasta, I am not putting a story, but a portion of my life, to have the answers which have eluded me, as I believe on this forum there are many people who have faced similar situations in their lives and can really help me out. Now I would like to share the incidents or rather some creepy incidents which occurred with me in these past few days.

I live alone in a 1-Room-Kitchen Apartment in a sub-urban area of New Mumbai, known as Koperkhairne, this area being very far from my Office, so we use Transport facility provided by the Organization for our smooth travel. It’s nearly an hour journey, which goes from crowded city roads to a long stretch of Expressway to my organization. On the stretch to Expressway there is a 200-300 mtr long bridge which is over a small stream of water which comes from the Gulf between Mumbai and New-Mumbai, this bridge end with a toll-booth and then the Western Express Highway.
We have our working hours fixed at nine and half hour every day. Failing to complete it, means a negative point against you in annual grading or appraisal as we call it. This incident is from some two weeks back on a Tuesday, I returned from a week holiday and I had lot of work. Normally I leave office at around 9:45, but that day I stayed back to complete my back-logs. Around 10:00, I was finished with most of my work, So out of boredom, I decided to go to a nearby mall (R-City) for dinner, thinking that I would be able to return for the next bus which is at 10:45. But unfortunately I was able to return around 10:50 and I could see the bus leaving in front of my eyes. I enquired and got to know that there is still a bus left which is at 11:15. I went inside to find, that the bus was already there and boarded it.

The bus took off at sharp 11:15, I was the only traveler, other person was the driver, there was a cool night breeze and I felt sleepy after a long day of work, so I dozed off. It was at around toll-booth when I got up, I looked at my watch which told me it was around 11:40. I rubbed my eyes and lean my head outside window to have the awesome view of the area from the bridge, with the town lights on one end and shining water from moon-light below. As we reached the middle of the bridge, I saw a laborer standing near a light-post, I could see that he was completely drenched, as we were closing on him, I could feel that the area was rather cold, maybe because of water body below. I felt sorry for the laborer to work in those harsh conditions. As the bus was passing him, and he was just parallel to me, he suddenly took his head up and looked at the bus, I felt something strange about him as his eyes meet mine, I can swear that I felt goose flesh going in my body, his face looked so devoid of expressions almost lifeless. I took my eyes down feeling sorry for him, as bus crossed some distance, I turned my head back to see him, but there was no-one standing there. I mean I could very well see the whole portion of the bridge from that point, but he was not there.

At that moment I knew that this was something different, I enquired to the driver and he reacted as if it’s a regular affair, He said in almost dismissive tone that, it was one of the ghosts, which people sometime see on this bridge. For the first time in my life, I had my heart in my mouth. He further told me that it is believed that some laborers died during the construction of this bridge, when an Iron beam fall on them while working below it during Monsoon season, some of them fell into the raging stream and their bodies were never found, the incident was hushed up, but since then some people have reported sighting of these laborers, including the Contractor who owned the contract of construction of that bridge, it is said that he was so terrified that he never returned back to the sight, even for the ceremony when the Bridge went operational. That night I had terrible nightmares all night long.

Now this incident is of this Wednesday, I was asked to sit late that day by my manager as UAT (User acceptance testing) is going on, and unfortunately I had to stay that day also till 11:15, I boarded the bus, but my heart was already pouncing. I saw one more traveler with me, which was kind of a relief, there was a heavy rainfall as this being the Monsoon season in India. I had kept in my mind that I will not look outside my window during that stretch of journey. At around 11:50, we were on the tollbooth, I was on the second seat, the other person was on the first seat and he was sleeping in-fact snoring. The driver stopped the bus after just crossing the tollbooth. I asked him, why he has stopped the bus.

He told me that he has to renew his monthly pass for this tollbooth, I insisted that he should do it next day, but he told me that at this time there is no rush, and next day he has an afternoon shift, when it will be heavily crowded. He took off from the ‘driver’ gate, bridge was just 5-6 meter from where, the bus was standing & it was still raining cats and dogs. I closed my window as well as my eyes while put on my earplugs listening to ‘Teri Galliyan’ a new hit song from a Bollywood movie to distract myself. It was not even a minute, when I felt that somebody was knocking, I pull out my ear plugs and saw a person standing below my window with his hand out, begging. I never wanted to open my window, because in back of my mind I knew he could be a ghost, but somehow I couldn’t stop myself from opening it. He was just staring at me with his hand out, I took a ten rupee note and said, “Take it quick, or the note will get wet”, but he didn’t took it.

At the same moment, I was shook by the other person from the first seat, he asked me who I was talking to and when I turned back there was no-one, I told him what I saw, he was scared too. The driver returned and I told him that what had happened, this time he replied with a serious look, and he said that he was not asking for money, but he was asking my hand, but he didn’t told me what he meant, I asked him many times, but he never told me the meaning of his statement.

Now I am frightened, as I have no idea, what it means, does this have happened to anyone else too, on that bridge. I am now frightened enough even when the bus crosses that place in daylight. If anybody has any experience or suggestions, what this meant, then I would be very grateful.

Credit To – Ankit Saxena

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