Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
Nathaniel H. Jackson’s Journal
November 11, 1911
I had never intended on venturing into that cave. That cave where no one ever dared to go near. I remember when I was a child how my friends and I would play around the property border. Back then, the cave was on a plot of land that belonged to my uncle. He did not let anyone trespass, not even his own family. He hated his brother (my father) and didn’t do anything with the 200 acres until he died. Naturally, all of the land was an untamed wilderness.
When my uncle died, my parents had already been gone a long time. Being that I was the eldest in my bloodline, the property went to me. Whether my uncle wanted me to have it or not I will never know.
With the inheritance from my father, I had a lovely estate built on the property and am in the midst of cleaning up the land. Considering I don’t need too much space, I am also in the process of selling parts of the land. I have had no trouble doing so. The property, as it turns out, is quite pleasant with a bit of grooming. The cave is the only exception.
I cannot determine whether they are wolves or coyotes but they do pose a threat. There is also the reason I began to investigate the cave in the first place. There is some sort of creature living in the cave. While there is probably a very logical explanation for what is in there, the legend behind it goes back several decades.
During the war, a group of Confederate soldiers marched through the territory which I own today. They found the cave and decided to camp there for the night. One man, who suffered from somnambulism, walked deep into the cavern while still asleep. He walked right up to a drop-off in the cave and fell about 200 feet. When the other men woke the next morning, they did not find their friend and went looking for him in the cave. When they came to the drop-off, they heard what they believed to be the voice of Satan himself.
I have heard and told this scary story many times. It has never affected me the way it does now. While the wild dogs are a problem, the legend also scares off potential buyers. I thought it in my best interest to find out what is in that cave and drive it out.
I have gathered some rope (a little more than 200 feet), some flares, an oil lamp, and my pack to carry it all in. Finally, I shall bring my father’s rifle, which I have only ever used on quails, and hope that it will be enough to protect me against any wild hounds. I will discover what exactly lurks in the cave first thing tomorrow morning.
November 12, 1911
It is difficult to write, for my hand is still shaking and my heart has not stopped racing. I did in fact encounter a malevolent being in the cave. I cannot say what I saw for in reality I saw nothing, but I fear I will never again be truly at peace after today’s venture.
I had left the house this morning at around five O’ clock and had taken the automobile as close as I could get it to where the cave was. The vehicle could not drive over the brush, so I set out on foot. From there, I was only about a mile away from the cave. As I was on my way, I realized what an effort it would take to make this land attractive to buyers. Several tall, dead trees are scattered across the land and refuse to fall. Their grotesque branches cast a grim feel over the land. The grass is up to my midriff and the insects are really quite terrible. I told myself that if I did not find anything remarkable about the cave that day then I would forget about the land around it entirely.
I made it to the cave unscathed but still annoyed at the swarm of bugs I had met on my journey. There were less bugs around the cave, which I was thankful for. It was still early in the morning but I wanted to get home as soon as possible. With relative precaution, I entered the cave.
The mouth of the cave was a bit of a squeeze, but I am somewhat slim and was able to maneuver my way through. As I went deeper into the cave, the ground slowly changed from rough soil to hard stone and the walls grew further apart. I did not need my lamp at first, for the light of the rising sun reached deep into the cave. There were no stalactites to worry about and the roof of the cavern was about eight feet up. I was beginning to feel a little disappointed. This legendary cave did not seem to have any significance at all. There was no light in the area ahead, so I picked up a small rock and threw it. To my surprise, I did not hear it land as soon as I thought it would. Instead, I heard it impact very far away.
My heart began to thump with excitement. I lit the oil lamp with a match and walked forward. Sure enough, just like in the old story, a steep cliff lied before me. I am not afraid of heights, but I did not want to fall into the abyss where no one would ever find me. I placed the lamp on the floor and lay myself flat on my stomach. I inched forward to get a better look at what was down there. I peeked my head over the edge to look down. It was pitch black. I would need to climb down.
With the tools I had brought, I hammered cleats into the stone floor and fastened my rope to them. I began to descend. I held my lamp in one hand and gripped the strong chord with the other. My pack held the flares and the rifle. For about five minutes I steadily lowered myself down into the darkness. I listened for any noise from below, but there was nothing. As I delved deeper, I began to wonder how facile it would be to return to the surface.
When the bottom of my boot touched the ground, I let out a sigh of relief. My lamp was still lit and the rope was still tethered to the surface. I looked around a good bit and walked forward. It was as though I was walking through an empty field at night. The air around me felt almost open and I could’ve sworn I felt a faint breeze. However, the ground was barren as a tile floor and the silence was quite ominous.
My brief amazement had distracted me. I really should have used some sort of marking system. When I was finally struck with reality, I found myself lost in the nothingness. A slight panic overcame me as I looked around, unable to determine which direction I had come from. I wandered in the vacuum and the silence, feeling like a helpless toddler. It was then that I stumbled upon the notebook.
I had felt something under my shoe and retraced my steps to find a small, leather journal. I picked it up and held it close to my lamp. The cover read one name: DANIEL RODRICK. I thumbed through a couple of pages and read one of the entries near the middle.
June 17, 1862
I had to see the doc today. He told me I got some namalism. I dont know what he meaned at first but he told me its just a fancy word for sleep walking. I dont need a doc to tell me I been sleep walking. I been doing it sinse I was a kid. Anywho the doc wants me to take these special pills to stay asleep. I gotta pack a whole bunch befor I leave tomorow.
I froze after reading that entry and closed the notebook. I had just found the journal of a man who sleep walks in a cave where a similar man is said to have died. As I stood there, in the midst of the nothingness, I heard the noise that will haunt me for as long as I live.
At that very moment, there came a low hissing sound. I have never been to the Arctic Circle, yet I felt my blood turn as cold as the ocean water that runs through it. A shiver ran down my spine and I nearly dropped the lamp from my trembling hand. Clutching the notebook and my oil lamp, I ran.
I ran as far as I could from the noise, but it did not cease. The hissing only grew louder and louder. I was looking straight ahead as I sprinted, not daring to look behind me. I was so blinded by genuine terror that I did not see the rough stone wall as I barreled into it. The force of the impact was so great that I shattered my lamp into a thousand tiny pieces and shards of glass.
I hit my head rather hard on the wall, but stood up immediately. Complete darkness. I put my hands to the wall and frantically walked parallel to it, moving to the right. I thought my heart would give out when I finally felt the familiar, coarse feel of my rope. I took a moment to steady myself, for I was breathing heavier than I ever had before.
When my breathing calmed, I realized that it was completely silent once more. I let out a small laugh, unsure if it was a laugh of relief or hysteria. Still clutching the rope with my right hand, I turned and put my back against the wall. My eyes might have been just as useful closed. There was only black. I stared into the darkness, my breathing now having gone almost silent. I could’ve turned around at any moment and ascend back into sanity. However, an unknown force kept me staring into the nothingness, expecting something more…
Something right in front of me began to hiss.
This hissing was the most horrifyingly vile sound to ever enter my mind. Whatever was before me was large and could strike fear into death itself. How I got out of that treacherous cavern is beyond my understanding. My memory of escape is smeared by the sound of that demon. That monstrous entity should have finished me off right then and there in that cave with my back against the wall. However, I came home today knowing that that beast wanted me to live in fear for trying to exploit it.
In the end, letting me live was the greatest torment that the monster could have bestowed upon me. It is now my curse to live with the memory of what the devil itself sounds like.
Credit To – Nicolas MF Morton
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