Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
3 weeks ago, I moved into my new house in the Ramapo Mountain State Forest in New Jersey. I moved in with my friend Ben. Ben and I split the cost of the lease 50/50 and since we were long time friends it only seemed appropriate to move in together. I had family in Jersey City and Ben’s family had moved to Pennsylvania when we were young, but nevertheless we kept in touch. We had visited each other from time-to-time and we had always made plans to rent out a home together somewhere near the wilderness. And finally now was the time. We were fresh out of our homes and ready to begin our lives as true adults – or as I came to know in the past week, end our lives. As I mentioned before, we rented our home relatively close to a state forest, which is about as wilderness as we needed. Ramapo State Forest is roughly 4,200 acres of dense, green brush and trees.
After settling the first week, we took a few hikes out into the wild to see what it would be like. Hot, muggy air surrounded us as we walked through the thick brush. Twigs snapped under our feet as we traversed the forest landscape. In the area of the forest we were in, there were rarely any other people around and when they were, they often just passed through, so we didn’t notice anyone as we walked through the brush. Though, thinking back on it, I did feel a strange sensation as if I had eyes on me. But, I brushed the feeling off initially and we continued into the forest a bit farther before stopping and turning back.
Ben was asthmatic, but not to the point where he was in any extreme danger. Typically, after pushing himself for awhile, he’d begin to feel dizzy and a bit nauseous, but I think he mostly used it as an excuse to get out of any type of physical labor. I, on the other hand was relatively healthy, no big conditions or surgeries, nothing. Usually, I was the one to had to do the heavy lifting. Anyways, after stopping for a breather, we turned back. I’m guess we traveled farther into the forest than I thought because it seemed like 40-50 minutes before we arrived back at home.
I remember as we were about to walk in in Ben had asked, “Hey dude, you hungry?”
“God, yes. I’m starved.”, I responded.
Ben then said, “Well how about we go t-”
Ben stopped as he opened the front door.
“Hey. What’s the hold up? Having an asthma issue?”
Ben turned towards me, with a confused and ghastly look on his face.
“What’s wrong?”, I asked, a bit startled by his behavior.
“We locked the door right?”, Ben asked.
“Tighter than Fort Knox”, I said, confused.
Ben motioned me into the house. My knees turned to mush. The inside of the house was wrecked, furniture turned over, broken glass everywhere, possessions and keepsakes strewn all over the place, but what struck me the most was the scratches on the walls. They weren’t made by ANY type of blade I’d ever seen. I dragged my hand across the wall, feeling the coarse slices that were now there. The scratches were just far enough apart to mimic the distance between fingers which made thoughts of Freddie Kruger pop into my head. The scratches went down the entire front hallway. I followed them down into the living room where there was only more carnage to behold. I thought that, maybe some thieves broke in a trashed the place looking for anything with value. Ben snapped out of his shocked state and helped inspect the damage.
The house had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large living room and kitchen, several little places for storage, a laundry room, a garage, and the basement I had dubbed “The Pit”. Every room in the house was wrecked apart from the basement which was virtually untouched. I figured that thieves probably saw no value in a dusty, damp, old basement. But still, something in the back of my head told me there was more to it than that. We spent the next few days cleaning everything up.
By the second week, we had successfully cleaned up, repaired, and replaced most of the things we had. Though, there was nothing we could do about the scratches on the walls. Every time I walked past them I had this weird feeling, like, the feeling you get when you shut off all the lights in a basement and you feel the need to run up the stairs because you think there is something behind you. Fear.
The rest of the week was.. odd. I often felt sick before trying to go to sleep and if I didn’t, I felt watched, it was like 1000 eyes were cutting into my skull through the darkness. I didn’t get much sleep those nights. Ben looked pretty tired too.. I noticed through the wall separating our bedrooms, that he had been talking in his sleep, rambling really. It was muffled though and I couldn’t make our a single word though. We joked around saying that our house was haunted by Edward Scissorhands and Ben had mentioned something about hearing tapping on the walls outside our rooms. I was scared, even then. I went into the basement once to put some extra items in storage, a single bulb lit most of the central ground but left a lot of area submerged in darkness. I could’ve sworn I felt something just outside of my sight, somewhere in the darkness. Hiding. Waiting. Watching. I ran up the stairs and slammed the door behind me. I startled Ben, but had said nothing of what I had felt down there.
We should have left then.
The next week was the worst. Everything seemed to intensify. I heard the tapping now and it was maddening, but I was too scared to try and confront it. I heard whispers that were loud enough to be heard over the rustling of the leaves outside my window, I was terrified.
Wednesday is when everything fell apart. The night was unusually quiet. Too quiet. No birds chirping, no wind, leaves. Not even the hum of our air conditioner. Even so, I wasn’t passing this up. I said goodnight to Ben, I was tired from the lack of sleep, but also because we had a Star Wars movie marathon that night. I went into my room, closing the door behind me. I didn’t bother to undress, I hadn’t been out of the house that day. I lied down in my bed, checked my phone for messages, and shut off the bed-side lamp and closed my eyes. Instant sleep.
Something crashed outside. I jumped out of bed and eyed the door. Ben screamed. I ran for the door but before I could even reach it, it flew open. Ben trembled and yelled at me, “We have to leave! NOW!” Before I could respond, I heard bones crack. Something splattered against my face, I placed my hand up against my face and when I pulled my hand away from my face all I saw was red. My hands trembled and my muscles tightened up. I looked to Ben’s direction, my eyes took a moment to focus and when they did, I tried to scream but it was useless. There before me was Ben with a look of pain on his face and a hand pushed through his chest. The hand retracted with inhuman speed and Ben’s body fell to the ground. There I saw a dark figure with long, deathly black hair. His arms were long and dark, he wore a tight black cloth on his body that covered everything except for his hands and feet. His legs were long, he was maybe 5’9. Everything about him was disturbing, dark, morbid. His skin was pale and had a dim glow to it which made it appear a dull gray. His hair was out of his face just enough to where I could see his features. He has a slightly tall face, thin, not round at all really. His eyes were large, too large to be human and they glowed like an animal’s eyes in the moonlight that came through my window. He had no pupils, just bright white eyes that glowed candescently when the light him them just right. Also, a particularly disturbing feature was his mouth, or, more like his smile. He smiled at me like his mouth was made of stone. He had a mad grin from ear to ear. His teeth were relatively sharp and they were roughly the same color as his skin and he just stared at me. His hands though, his hands were the worst though. He were inhumanly long and his fingers were split in half by blades that were merged with his knuckles. Even so, he moved each half of his fingers like they were all separate.
I blinked. In an instant, his head cracked sideways and I heard a noise that sounded like an entire spine snapping in half. He was still.
In that moment, with Ben dead on the floor and his killer looking me dead in the eyes, I decided that I need to run. Run as fast and as far as my body could let me go. I blinked again. His hand twitched and his voice rattled and he said to me, “This… is… my… domain.” He let out and inhuman screech and I dove out of my bedroom window and into the backyard. I got a few cuts, but I wasn’t dead. I ran into the forest, it was my best bet. I heard him run after me, he was fast. I heard him growl and screech after me. I ran as far as I could and somewhere deeper in the forest, I must have lost him. I couldn’t hear anything, no wildlife, nothing. Even the stream was still. There was an opening to a cave I crept into in and settled in the corner. I reached into my pocket to see if I had any food, but all I found was the sheet of paper and my favorite pen. So I began to write. I lost track of time and it is still too dark to see much, but my eyes have adjusted to the light. If I don’t make it out and somebody finds this paper, burn that house down to ash. Ben would’ve wanted it that way.
I’m beginning to sob, I placed my hand over my mouth to muffle the sound.
Wait… No no no no no! I hear something outside of the cave entrance. I think he’s found m-
Credit To – Zak Yates