My friends and I used to wander into the dark woods at night, wielding little more than our flashlights and overactive imaginations. It was the surge of adrenaline we needed, gained from harmless, nonexistent horror.
Lucky for us, there was a forest bordering our neighborhood. It was full of ancient trees that creaked in the wind. Our parents had often warned us about entering the woods; claiming the trees would fall due to the weakest gust of wind.
Of course, their warnings fell on deaf ears. We were young, and felt invincible. Though we pretended to be brave, we usually didn’t get far into the darkness of the woods, before cowering in fear.
Each time, we’d mark how far we’d gotten before giving up. And, each time we set out on a new adventure, we promised each other to break the record.
Our last journey occurred on the 29th of October, 2012.
Liam and Frank were my best friends. Together, we ventured deeper into the woods than we ever had before. Liam, being a year older, always pretended to have all the experience in the world. He’d hide in the bushes a few yards ahead, and jump out in pathetic attempts at scaring us.
Before long, we’d reached the furthest point we’d previously reached.
“9th of April, 2012,” it read.
We kept walking, proud that we’d reached a new milestone. Shortly after, we noticed something in the darkness, contrasting starkly to the trees around it.
“Hey, what’s that?” Liam asked.
“I don’t know, let’s check it out!” I basically yelled in response.
As we got closer, we realized it was an old bunker. While it was a cool discovery, it wasn’t that uncommon in our country. There were still thousands of concrete bunkers remaining after World War 2.
Still, we were excited to explore our new findings.
Inside, it was rid of any equipment. All it contained, was a hole in the middle, with a spiral staircase stretching deep into the ground.
“Let’s climb down!” Liam suggested.
“I – I don’t know,” Frank stuttered. “It doesn’t seem like a good idea. The stairs might break and trap us inside.”
“You’re just scared, admit it,” Liam teased back.
Not willing to admit our nervousness, Frank and I agreed to follow him down the stairs.
The stairs themselves were made from metal. Though they felt solid enough, they produced loud, echoing sounds with each step down towards the bottom. After a minute without the end in sight, I started to get scared.
“How deep down does this go?” I asked.
In response, Liam took Frank’s flashlight, and dropped it down the middle of the staircase.
It fell… deep into the darkness.
“Holy crap, I can’t even see it anymore.”
“We need to go back. It’s too far down,” Frank said nervously.
“No way, we need to see where this leads.”
A short argument ensued. After some pushing, Frank gave in, and we kept going down.
It took us more than ten minutes just to descend the staircase. As we got further down, it progressively kept getting warmer, and more humid. I could feel the sweat form on my face as we reached the bottom.
Once down, we found a large room. It contained little more than a locked door, mold covered floors, and the broken flashlight Liam had dropped down.
“It’s locked. I guess we have to go back,” I weakly insisted.
But, Liam had already set out on a search to open the door. Before long, he found a metal panel on the wall. He pried it open, to reveal a lever.
“I’m going to pull it!” he said without consulting us.
It produced a loud clunk, and the locked door slid open.
Liam and I entered first, while Frank trailed behind us. Without a flashlight, he had no choice but to follow us closely. Inside, we found a narrow hallway filled with open prison cells.
Each door to each cell was marked with a date.
7th of July 1954,
9th of August 1954,
13th of September 1954.
The first few rooms didn’t seem to contain anything other than dust. But, once we got to the end, we noticed something lying in the corner.
There, on the floor, lay three completely emaciated people. They looked like skeletons covered in a thin layer of pale skin. According to the dates on the cells, they’d been there for more then fifty years. Yet, they hadn’t rotted.
“Are they – are they dead?” I asked.
As I uttered those words, one of them twitched to life. We jumped at the sight, and prepared to run. Only then, did we realize that some of these creatures had been attached to the ceiling. They dropped down in front of us, and blocked the way.
Their limbs were all deformed, too long to fir their small body. Still, they moved abnormally fast, almost twitching as they took their steps closer to us. Their eyes had been sewn shut, and they had far too many ribs.
They weren’t human…
“Run!” Frank yelled.
We tried to move towards the exit, ducking under their long arms, and spurting for the door. Frank and I made it easily enough, but Liam got stuck behind one of the creatures.
“Don’t leave me!” he yelled, as he tried to maneuver past the sickly thin monster.
With that, it reached out it’s thin arm, and pierced Liam’s abdomen. Unable to speak, he simply fell limp where he stood. Only held up by the creature that had killed him.
Knowing we could do nothing to save him, Frank and I made a run for it. Our footsteps were dampened by the fungus and mold covering the floor. The things didn’t even notice us until we reached the metal staircase.
There, our steps rang loud through the metal, alerting the creatures to our location. Without looking behind us, we an up the stairs, only listening as they got closer.
I was only a few steps ahead of Frank, but that was all it took for them to get him. I didn’t even notice he was gone until I got halfway up the staircase.
Then, a scream of agony echoed through the room. It was Frank, and thought I wasn’t sure how far he’d gotten, I knew I couldn’t help him.
I just kept running; up the stairs, and into the woods. I didn’t stop to breathe before I finally reached the comfort of the streetlights surrounding my neighborhood.
Exhausted from the escape, I collapsed on my own doorstep, and passed out. Safe, but broken. *
Once I regained consciousness, I told my parents everything. At first, they didn’t believe me. But, once the news of two missing children spread around our town, the police was alerted.
Still, they couldn’t confirm my story. They initiated a search and rescue operation. Though they found the bunker I mentioned, there were no traces of any malformed creatures, nor any proof that my two best friends died there.
To this day, the case remains unsolved. However, since we opened the cages in the bunker, there have been a lot of reported cases of missing children. Unsolvable mysteries… Only I know the truth.
I’m sorry, we never should have opened the bunker.
WRITTEN BY: Richard Saxon
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