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Grey Hunting

Grey Hunting


Estimated reading time — 10 minutes

My name is John Dawson. I’m a police lieutenant from Canton, Georgia. In my twenty years on the force, I have dealt with some pretty rough characters. My family and I live in a small suburban house just outside the city. Although I spend most of my time in the hustle and bustle of downtown Canton, I’ve always been an outdoorsman at heart. I think that’s because of my father. Every year during the summer, I would take time off work to go camping and hunting in the woods with my father and my two sons, Robert and Richard.

Robert, my oldest son, was a bit of a troublemaker. Every other day, I’d get a call from his school’s principal saying that Robert had been picking fights with other students. In spite of his violent tendencies, Robert loved to go hunting with me and my father. I taught him from a young age how to handle a rifle, and after only a month of practice, he was as deadly as a Marine sniper. Richard, on the other hand, was the polar opposite. Don’t get me wrong; Richard was a good kid and always got the best grades at school. But when it came to the outdoors, Richard was never too keen on camping. He mostly liked to read sci-fi comics and stay up watching b-movies on weekends. He especially didn’t like the idea of killing other animals for food or sport. Despite this, I would still bring him along with his brother. While Robert and I would go off into the woods to hunt deer, Richard would sit around at the campsite listening to his grandpa lecture on about fighting in the Korean War. Richard always seemed to like Dad’s war stories, even when he went into the occasional gruesome detail about blowing a North Korean’s head off with his rifle. Dad had passed away about four years ago, ending our little yearly hunting trips. At the end of July, I decided to surprise my boys by doing something special before they had to go back to school. I had rented a weekend up at a campground in Blue Ridge. We were gonna have our first hunting trip in years.

I fixed up the old family RV for the trip. The RV was spacious with a long walkway that ran down the full length of the motorhome. Behind the driver seat was a small kitchen area with a sink, stove, oven, and refrigerator. A decent sized dining booth sat opposite of the walkway just behind the passenger seat. On the other end of the side door was a small lounge area with a large window that allowed sunlight to pour through. Towards the rear of the motorhome was a small bedroom with a long pull-out bed and a bunkbed across from it with a moderately sized bathroom nearby. Robert was elated to hear the news; Richard was less than enthusiastic about going hunting. Then, I remembered there was going to be a meteor shower that weekend. Knowing Richard’s love of space and sci-fi movies and the fact that we would have a good view of the shower from our campsite, I told Richard about the meteor shower. Immediately, his face lit up like a Christmas tree!

The weekend soon arrived and we got up early Friday morning to finish packing. While Robert and Richard loaded up the camping gear, I prepared the guns for our hunting trip. I decided to bring my .308-Winchester rifle and my father’s old single-barrel shotgun along with about 15 rounds of ammunition for each; we weren’t planning on hunting too many deer that weekend, and since Robert and Richard hadn’t practiced shooting in a while, I felt it best to go sparingly and save on ammunition. I also brought my Smith & Wesson Model 19 revolver as a backup along with an extra clip of ammunition. We got on the road at eight in the morning and got to Union County within a couple hours. Union County was a large unincorporated community close to Blue Ridge; aside from a few shops and gas stations, there was nothing but forest and farmland as far as the eye could see. We stopped for gas around 10:15. While I was pumping the gas, I noticed a crusty-looking old man in ragged clothing standing next to the gas station store. He was ranting on about strange beings arriving from space using the meteor shower as a front for their arrival. Richard seemed pretty unnerved by the old man, so I quickly finished fueling up and got us back on the road. In hind sight, I probably should have listened what the man said…

We got to our campsite around noon. We unpacked our supplies, loaded our guns, and began our trek deeper into the woods. I gave Robert the rifle while Richard held onto the shotgun. Both of my sons understood basic firearm safety, so, under my supervision, I had little to worry about any accidental fire. As we reached a small clearing, we spotted a three-point buck in the distance. Robert aimed down the scope at his target, making sure to account for the wind. With an exhale, Robert slowly squeezed off a round. The round hit the deer in one of its front legs. The wounded creature began to stagger away. Fearing he’d miss his chance, Robert quickly racked the bolt to chamber a new round and fired it into the deer’s head, finally dropping him. With the noise of the gunshots driving the other animals deeper into the forest, we decided to haul back our prize to the campsite. I told my two sons that this deer would be our dinner for the day and that Robert would need to clean it since it was his kill. I pulled out my hunting knife and showed Robert how to skin and gut the carcass. With a little time, Robert soon flayed the carcass like a professional butcher. Richard was understandably troubled by the sickening sight of his blood-stained brother butchering the deer. He turned away with a pale, anguished look on his face.

Later that afternoon, I cooked us some venison burgers on the stove in the RV. We lounged in front of the RV and ate our dinner as the sun slowly set in the sky. Surprisingly, Richard enjoyed the burgers and, with the golden sky giving way to the star-spangled blackness of night, was in awe of the beauty in front of him. For the first time, it seemed like he really enjoyed coming with us on this trip. As sky grew darker, we could finally see the meteor shower. We were all taken back by the glistening balls of blue-tinted light raining down from the heavens above. As Robert and Richard continued taking in the starry spectacle, I couldn’t help but think about Dad. He would have loved to have seen his two grandsons enjoying the outdoors together. After an hour, it was time for us to get ready for bed. We cleaned up our mess so as to not attract any animals foraging for food. We went to bed a little after nine. Richard slept above Robert in the bunkbed while I lay on the pull-out bed across from them. As I felt myself nearly falling asleep, I was jolted awake by a small explosion in the distance. Normally, with the sounds of nature, I wouldn’t have noticed such a sound so far away. But as I sat up, I realized the forest was eerily silent around our motorhome. There were no crickets chirping in the grass or owls hooting in the trees above us. Richard and Robert were still asleep in their beds; the fatigue of the long drive meant that hardly anything could pull them from their slumber. I quickly crept out of bed to the side door. I grabbed the flashlight and shotgun, fearing it might have been a bear or some other large creature that made the racket.

I slowly creaked the door opening and walked out in front of the motorhome. The forest was ominously dark as even the stars had receded in the void of blackness. I slowly looked around with my flashlight, the shotgun propped against my shoulder ready to fire. After about a minute of silence, I breathed a sigh of relief and turned to head back inside when I heard something unusual: a strange series of erratic clicking noises. It sounded otherworldly, like no animal I had heard before. As I turned toward the source, I realized the noise was coming from the back of the RV. I slowly crept along the wall of the motorhome and peeked around the corner. What I saw made my blood run ice cold. I tried to scream but was too paralyzed in fear to utter a sound. Standing in front of the small bedroom window was tall, thin creature.

Its long, lanky arms hung so low that its knuckles nearly touched the ground. Its skin was a pale gray color, like charcoal after it’s burned all the way down. It had a large, elongated head, seemingly too big for its scrawny neck to support it. It lacked any lips as its yellow teeth locked in a permanent grit. It’s most noticeable feature was its large, pupil-less eyes, even blacker the darkness pervading the forest. It leaned up and stared through the window with an unrelenting gaze. As I could feel my palms becoming clammy with sweat, my flashlight slipped out of my hands and hit the ground with a thud. The creature suddenly turned and was soon staring at me with the same unrelenting gaze as before. I stood frozen as the creature paused to stare at me. Then, it began to lumber towards me with its lanky legs. Immediately, I regained control of my nerves and fired the shotgun right at the creature, knocking him back against the ground. My ears were ringing from the gunshot as Robert and Richard ran out of the RV to find me standing over the fallen creature. Green blood oozed from the pellet holes in its abdomen. As we contemplated what kind of creature this was, we heard rustling from the bushes near our RV followed by more erratic clicking sounds, now merging together into a cacophony of clicks and grunts. Immediately, we ran back inside our motorhome and locked the door. I unplugged the refrigerator and pushed it against the door. As we looked through the large window, we could see over a dozen of those things lumbering closer to our motorhome.

Robert and Richard ducked behind the dining table as Robert grabbed the rifle and fired through the window. I leapt to the driver’s seat to get the engine started when I heard a new sound: the sound of feet against something metallic. I soon realized that something was on the roof of the RV, drawing near to the large dormer window on top. As the window slid open, Richard grabbed the shotgun and fired up at the roof. I looked to the window next to my seat just in time to see one of the creatures falling off the roof with a loud thud. Richard had never shot anything before, but somehow, in the heat of the moment, his survival instincts kicked in as he joined Robert in holding off the besieging creatures as they continued advancing toward our motorhome. I continued to try and start the engine, but to my horror, the starter motor began to click rapidly indicating that the battery was dead. There was no way to jumpstart the motor with those creatures still outside. As we grew lower on ammunition, the creatures swarmed from all sides and began to beat on the walls and windows furiously. It seemed that we were done for…

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Suddenly, I was blinded by a bright light pouring in from the windshield through the darkness. I soon realized it was an old pickup truck. The driver door swung open as a Molotov cocktail soared through the air and landed in front of our side door, causing the creatures to recoil and shriek in fear of the roaring flames. Soon after, a familiar and crusty-looking face emerged from the truck. It was the old man from the gas station we saw earlier that day. Immediately, the old man popped the hood of his truck and grabbed a pair of jumper cables from the back.

“Quickly”, he shouted, “before the flames die down! It’s the only thing they seem to fear!” Immediately, I popped the hood of my RV and watched the man frantically attach the jumper cables to the batteries of both vehicles. Suddenly, I saw one of the creatures sneaking up behind the old man. I immediately drew my revolver and fired, downing the creature before it had a chance to strike. The man gave me a nod of gratitude before hopping back in his truck and revving his engine. I tried the key again and finally managed to start the engine on the RV. Just then, the flames from the Molotov cocktail died down as more of those creatures emerged, scowling with anger. The man climbed into the bed of his pickup and began firing at the creatures with an old lever-action rifle. We continued firing to stave off the horde but soon ran out of ammunition. The man then motioned us to go on and leave him. I hesitated for a moment not wanting to leave him behind, but with the creatures breaking through the windows, I reluctantly maneuvered past his truck and drove off, not caring that the jumper cables were still attached to our battery. Richard looked back one last time through the bedroom window as the man was tackled by the horrendous horde. I don’t think I took my foot off the gas until we were back near our neighborhood. We got back home around midnight. Apart from our battered and dented RV, all of us survived uninjured.

I doubt any of us slept the rest of that night.

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The following Monday, I returned to work at the station. Shortly afterwards, the captain handed me a missing person’s report for Union County. When I read the file, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The report was for the old man that saved our lives! I didn’t tell the captain or anyone for that matter about what happened that weekend. No one would believe what we saw; heck, I’m not even sure I believed it! Over the next week, I oversaw the investigation to try and find the man. As we combed every inch of the forest, we could find no trace of the man or his pickup truck. Only a trail of tire tracks in the dirt was found. Soon after, a convoy of unmarked black sedans drove onto the scene. A group of shady men dressed in black suits and brandishing badges emblazoned with the seal of Justice Department emerged from their vehicles and announced that they would take over the investigation. It seemed strange considering that the captain never told us that the FBI was taking charge or that no other branch of law enforcement was notified of the investigation—not even the State Patrol. But we all went along with it; I don’t think the rest of my men even knew the true nature of what happened or how deep the iceberg was. Before leaving, I managed to find something at the edge of the forest clearing. It was a dented lever-action rifle stained with green blood. I decided to keep it as a memento. I’m not sure what drove me to keep a piece of evidence from the rest of the investigators.

Maybe I thought it wouldn’t have made much of a difference in aiding the investigation; or perhaps I wanted to keep it to remember the unnamed man who gave his life to save my family. I still don’t know what those things were or why they attacked us. I can only guess that they were in fact invaders from space. When I heard that initial explosion that night, it must have been one the meteorites they had traveled on. The old man must have been trying to warn us back at the gas station through his seemingly insane rantings; I guess you really can’t judge a book by its cover. I don’t know what made him come to our aid, but I’m glad he did; we wouldn’t be alive right now if it wasn’t for him. I just hope no one else would come face-to-face with such horrid beings. Personally, I think I’m done with the great outdoors for a while. I said before that I had busted some pretty rough suspects during my career. But those creatures were unlike anything I ever faced before. And so, I leave with this… If any of you decide to go into the woods for hunting or camping, stay safe and stay vigilant. For I can say that despite my experience enforcing the law, there is only one law that all living creatures live by in the wild.

And that is the law of…SURVIVAL!

Credit: Jared Tomlin

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