Estimated reading time — 11 minutes
Around five years ago, my sister graduated from college with a master’s degree. She was always wicked smart. She graduated not only with honors, but six months early as well. Instead of graduating in the beginning of summer, she graduated in the middle of winter. I promised her we’d do something fun when she graduated, and I wasn’t one to let the snow stop me. She deserved it.
Originally, I had planned to take her to Cancun. She had been talking about wanting to go there since we were teenagers. It was going to be a surprise. Well, I wasn’t about to take her to Cancun in the middle of winter. It just didn’t seem logical, even though the weather there is slightly warmer. I still wanted to take her on a vacation though. One she’d always remember.
Taking the weather and everything else into account, I opted to go for a cabin. A nice one, not a one of those “authentic” cabins. It was basically a beach house cosplaying as a cabin. It sat in the middle of a dense forest. It was three stories, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a hot tub, 5 flat screen TVs, heating, AC, a full modernized kitchen, and other miscellaneous luxuries. It was about the same price as Cancun would’ve been, and we’d be staying an extra 2 days at the cabin than we would have at the hotel in Cancun.
When I showed her the cabin and our reservation receipt, my sister was beside herself. Her eyes beamed with excitement. She started to pace and talk quickly, something she’s done since we were kids. It’s how you could tell when she was genuinely excited about something. I felt like the best sibling in the entire world. I told her we’d be leaving in a couple days and we should start packing right then and there. She was more than happy to oblige.
Now, I didn’t just randomly pick this cabin. I swear I did my research. I wanted to make this a great time for my sister, and I wanted my money to be well spent. I searched for days, and this was one of the most highly rated cabins in the world. It claimed to be so luxurious, that you’d never want to leave. That kind of defeats the purpose of going exploring, right? Weird sales pitch for a cabin, but that went right over my head. The cabin was across the country, and it wasn’t snowy. We could still go along the trails and explore the forest without freezing to death. It seemed perfect. The reviews were surprisingly all really well written and said great things. I thought I saw the same comment twice here and there, but thought nothing of it. I think I was about just as excited as she was.
Two days of packing and making more plans than we’d probably have time for, we finally set out for the trip. It was a twelve hour drive, and I think she only slept for about an hour. She talked the whole way there, even when we switched places so I could take a break from driving.
We got there around 10 hours after we’d left our house. My sister definitely shaved off some time when she was driving. I’m honestly surprised she didn’t get a ticket. You had to drive down a beaten path about 30 minutes into the woods to even reach the cabin. The trail was tight, giving no leeway to swerve. It was surrounded in dense forest. If you walked away from the trail you’d get lost in minutes. It was eerie. The sun was setting and the darker it got, the creepier it got. The second we reached the cabin though, all of those feelings were washed away.
It was beautiful. Unlike any cabin I’ve ever seen. The wood was dark and polished. The exterior had a wide front deck that wrapped around the entire first floor of the cabin. You could walk from the front door all the way to the back deck. The back deck had a hot tub that was shielded by a small pavilion. You could access the sliding door to one of the bedrooms from the back, and if you walked up a small flight of stairs you’d enter the back entrance. It was incredible.
We hurried our stuff in and quickly picked out our rooms. After we had settled, we stocked the fridge. I made us each a steak with mashed potatoes, and I pulled out an expensive bottle of wine I had been saving. I poured us each a glass and we ate in the living room so we could find something to watch. Each TV had a streaming service list, and we picked one we already had an account to. We put on a show we’d been watching back home and turned on the fireplace below the TV. Everything was perfect.
The next day, we had planned to go exploring along the trails that lay about a quarter mile from the cabin. We had a map with us, and felt pretty confident. We didn’t plan to explore for long, but we had to give it go. I didn’t really like hiking or really the woods at all. She loved nature though, and I loved her. This was all for her after all. Seeing her enthusiasm about the whole trip was enough for me to put my fears aside and be excited for her.
Everything was going so well. We reached the trail in no time. Me being asthmatic though, I had to stop for a few minutes. I used my inhaler and waited for my breathing to return to normal. After that, we were on our way.
Halfway into the trail, I realized my sister hadn’t said anything in almost an hour. I thought she was just consumed in the nature surrounding us. It was cool outside. Not cold enough to make you shiver, but cold enough to need a jacket. It didn’t matter much anyways, as we were sweating like crazy going through the trails. After about 2 hours, I finally broke the silence.
“Hey sis, I think we should head back now. What do you think?” I was over walking, but I tried to sound cheerful.
“Okay, I guess.” Her voice sounded happy, but I could tell she was shielding disappointment.
On our way back, she started to talk very quietly. I was about 10 feet behind her at all times because I wasn’t exactly in the best of shape. She was trucking along while I was struggling. I didn’t complain though, she seemed to be enjoying herself. Even with all the silence.
I sprinted for a second to catch up with her. She was still talking, but I once I caught up to her I realized it was more of a mumble. She was mumbling so fast I couldn’t make anything out.
“Hey? What’s up? What’re you talking about?” I asked quietly.
As soon as the words left my mouth she went completely silent.
“Whoa, I never thought you’d catch up to me. You don’t have to strain yourself. Walk at your own pace. I’ll slow down.” She smiled.
“No, I know. I just, I thought you were talking to me. What were you saying?” I asked, a little more concerned.
“Nothing. I haven’t really said anything since we’ve been out. You’re losing it already?!” She said jokingly.
She really didn’t remember? I thought maybe she just didn’t want to tell me. She wasn’t known to talk to herself, but we weren’t in our usual environment either. Maybe she was just thinking out loud.
“Ha. I guess so. You know the woods creep me out.” I tried to remain cheerful.
We got back to the cabin around 6 pm. I was starving. My sister immediately went upstairs to her room and shut the door. I figured she was probably getting a shower, and I started dinner.
“SIS, DINNER IS READY!” I shouted hoping to get her attention.
“Hey, are you good up there?” My voice was quieter this time.
I walked up the spiral staircase that led to second floor. I went up to her door and knocked. The door creaked open. After a few moments, she opened it the whole way. Her eyes were wide and bloodshot, like she hadn’t blinked in an hour.
“Are you okay? Dinner is ready.” I locked eyes with her.
“Yeah. Okay. Dinner. Okay. What’s for dinner again?” She sounded confused.
“Chicken dumplings! One of your favorites!” I smiled, but I was worried.
“Okay. I’ll be down.” She sounded monotone now.
Around 9 pm she finally came down. Dinner had been cold for hours. I was getting tired. As I was laying down on the living room couch, she walked by without even acknowledging my existence. I watched her grab a plate and two dumplings. She ate standing in the kitchen. I looked over again a few minutes later and she was putting her plate in the sink already.
“Wow. Hungry much?” I asked lightheartedly.
She didn’t even look at me. I was officially worried and weirded out now. This wasn’t like her at all. She never liked being pressured, so I didn’t try to pry information out of her.
She didn’t even get done rinsing the plate before she was sprinting to bathroom. I could hear her vomiting. I remember asking myself if she could’ve gotten sick. Even when she was sick though, she was always bright and cheerful. Not even the highest fever could break this girl’s spirit. Was she pregnant? That would explain her sudden mood change and the vomiting. If she was pregnant, she wasn’t ready to tell anyone. I wasn’t about to ask either.
After she didn’t come out of the bathroom, I went to see if she needed help. Before I could even reach the bathroom door, she swung it open. Her eyes even worse than before.
“Thank you for dinner. What a wonderful trip this is. You’re an incredible big brother.” She smiled so wide I could see every single one of her teeth.
“You’re welcome.” I replied. I was trying to remain calm, but I could feel myself shaking.
She bolted past me back up to her room. Now, by this point I knew something was seriously wrong. It wasn’t even about the vomiting, the weird and fast mumbling, or the odd behavior. She called me an incredible big brother.
I was 2 years younger than her, and a girl.
I went to call my mother and realized I had no service, only WiFi. I decided to try and download a free texting app that didn’t require data, but my calls and texts still wouldn’t go through. Around 11 pm I went upstairs to go to my room. I could hear a faint scratching sound coming from my sister’s room. I quietly made my way over and pressed my ear against the door.
My sister was talking fast and almost manic like.
“What a wonderful beach. I love the beach. I love the beach. I love the beach. What a wonderful trip. I’m happy dad came. I love dad. Thank you for coming dad. What a wonderful trip.” Her voice sounded monotone despite the speed.
She was talking about our father? To our father? I couldn’t tell, but our father had died years ago.
Panicked, I grabbed the doorknob to open the door. It was locked. As soon as I tried to open it though, the scratching stopped. I heard shuffling and then the click of the door unlocking. This time she didn’t peek first, she whipped it open. The white part of her eyes were now completely bloodshot. I stared at her, and watched a tear of blood roll down her face. She was smiling.
“Hey, we’re going home tomorrow, okay? You’re not well.” I tried to sound reassuring.
She cocked her head to side.
“Okay.” She replied, still smiling.
I stepped out of the doorway and ran to my room. I quickly gathered all of my things together. I wanted to leave right then, but there’s no way I could drive us out of here at night. The vehicle trail was too narrow. All it would take is one wrong swerve, and we’d either go over a cliff or into a tree.
I stayed up until I couldn’t anymore. Ever since I left my sister’s room, it had been silent. I figured she finally went to bed. I tried to stay awake all night, but I finally succumbed to the exhaustion.
I only slept for a few hours before I was awoken by a loud bang. It was roughly eight in the morning. After I was fully awake, I heard another loud bang. It was coming from my sister’s room. This time I didn’t knock or act stealthily. I barged in her room, which was unlocked to my surprise. She was sitting in the corner of cabin, facing the wall. I watched her swing her head back, and slam it against the wall. It let out another loud bang.
I ran over to her and pulled her away. Her forehead was bruised and bloody. She was still smiling. Behind her, I got a glimpse of the wall. It was absolutely torn to shreds.
There was wood all over the carpet. She had scratched into the wood until she reached the middle. The center of the wood was covered in black mold. There were chunks of mold missing.
That’s when I noticed her once bright smile, was a dark gray. She had been eating it.
“Come on. We’re leaving. Now.” This time my voice was sharp.
“Okay. I’m going to go play in the snow first. Isn’t it beautiful?” Her head still cocked to the side, smiling.
“No. We’re done. You’re sick, and there’s no snow. We’re on the west coast. There’s no snow. See?” My voice was growing more panicked as I pulled up the blinds.
“See? No snow.” I was shaking.
“It’s beautiful. Daddy said I could go play. He’s waiting for me.” She straightened her head, still smiling.
Before I could grab her arm, she fled down the stairs and out the front door. I tried to chase her, but she was out of my range of vision in minutes. She went toward the trails, but she didn’t have the map. There’s no way I’d be able to find her if she went off the trails at all. I contemplated my options, and opted to get the hell out of that forest. I needed to get a signal. I wasn’t going home without her.
I made it to the main road in about a half hour. As soon I was out of the forest, my phone lit up like a Christmas tree. I had missed calls from my mother and multiple texts from friends. They were all saying how worried they were about me. We hadn’t even been here a full 48 hours. Why were they so worried? I called my mother first. She was frantic. “Where have you been? It’s been 2 weeks. Everyone is looking for you. Are you okay?” She was in tears.
Two weeks? No way. We pretty much just got here? How could that be possible? My mother said she looked for the cabin everywhere online and couldn’t find a single thing about it. It’s like it didn’t exist, but it did. I was there. We were there.
I told my mother about my sister and she started crying even harder. I couldn’t make out a thing she was saying other than that she was coming to pick me up. I googled the nearest police station and told her I’d be there.
When I got to the police station I was swarmed by police. They started examining me and asking a million questions at once. I remember being scared, and them taking me to a hospital. No one was listening about my sister. I was screaming she was lost, but not a single person paid any attention to what I was saying. The next thing I remember was my mother holding my hand while I lay in a hospital bed.
“The doctor said you’re going to be okay. They pumped your stomach and they’ve been monitoring your vitals around the clock. They say you’re extremely lucky to be alive.” My mother’s voice was gentle.
I started to cry. I didn’t understand. I pleaded with my mother to let me talk to the police. We had to find my sister. My mother sighed.
“The doctor said your hallucinations should start going away soon.” She said, still very gentle.
“What hallucinations? What’re you talking about? We need to find her. She ran off into the woods. She’s lost and sick. We need-“ my mother cut me off.
“Honey, your sister has been dead for over a year now. She’s not lost. I’m sorry, honey. I really am. I know it feels fresh but once you regain your memory, I promise it won’t hurt as bad as it does right now.” Her gentle voice was calming, but her words were terrifying.
I closed my eyes and started to sob. I couldn’t understand what was happening.
“The only thing the doctor isn’t sure of, is how you managed to consume so much black mold without dying. They’re also not sure how you made it the whole way out here without crashing. Do you remember why you even left the house.” Her was hand still holding mine.
“I promised her I would take her on vacation when she graduated. I promised. She deserved it.” My voice was faint.
“I remember, you did promise her that, but she’s been gone for a while now. Your father and sister knew how much you loved them. Why did you do this?” Her voice had lowered into a whisper now.
“I promised her I would. I promised.” My voice now a whisper too.
“You also promised me you wouldn’t stop taking your medication, and there’s not a trace of it in your system.” She was still whispering.
I closed my eyes, and fell asleep. When I awoke, I was in the hospital near my house. My mother still beside me.
“I’m sorry, mom. I just wanted to see her one more time. I had to keep my promise.” My voice sounded hoarse.
My mother’s eyes filled with tears.
“You kept your promise to her a while ago, sweetheart. It’s not your fault what happened. You can’t keep going off of your medication. Last year when you two went camping, she fell down a ravine when you two were hiking. It was an accident. You have to let her go. You have to move on. I can’t lose the only child I have left.”
I haven’t stopped taking my medication since. Sometimes I want to, just to see her one more time. I have a new promise to keep though, and I won’t let my mother down again.
Credit : Eekpeek
Reddit : https://www.reddit.com/u/eekpeek/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf
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