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Rabbits in the Creek

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Estimated reading time — 8 minutes

I’m writing this because my family won’t talk about it anymore. I’m the only one who can’t seem to forget.

I was raised on the outskirts of Preston, a small town in southern Idaho with a population of around 5,000. My more immediate community was an isolated, dead-end dirt road called Bear Creek. Less than twenty families lived on the Bear Creek. I didn’t mind being so isolated. I grew up in the comfort of wide fields and close neighbors that only rural people know.

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We were a Mormon community. Very church centered. Very community centered. All the young girls, myself included, were part of the Young Women’s group. And all of the boys were members of the local Boy Scout troop (which doubled as a church group in our area). We had 4th of July parties at the local ballpark and swam in the nearby reservoir. It was a good, quiet community.

My house, a 92 year old farmhouse built by my great-great-grandfather, was situated on a small hill surrounded by a wide grass field on one side, and a snaking dirt road on the other. Across the road was the creek bottoms. Southern Idaho is categorized in a desert climate, so not much grows outside of the irrigated fields besides sage brush and burrs. The creek bottoms were the exception. The creek fed the growth of a thick tangle of pussy-willow bushes. In the late fall we used to go down into the bottoms and pick the white, cottony pussy-willow seeds to decorate the fences of our driveway.

Being so isolated, it wasn’t uncommon for animals to come down from the mountains. We had a female moose who brought her calf down and lived in our orchard every winter. And the occasional lion wasn’t unheard of either.

The summer when I turned eight (I remember because it was the same year as my baptism), a smaller mountain lion was spotted several times in our area. We weren’t worried. The big cats stayed away from the farms and usually moved on when the area didn’t yield enough food.

The same summer my neighbor, Payton, was working on his Eagle Scout project. He loved National Geographic, and thought it would be pretty cool to try putting together a National Geographic submission on our little creek bottoms. The young lion that happened to be in our area at the same time made him especially excited. He decided he wanted to try and get pictures of the lion and e-mailed the National Geographic team for advice.

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They recommended setting up an automatic camera that takes shots every couple of seconds in an area the lion was known to visit. They also recommended setting some kind of bait so the lion was more likely to come by. No one in the creek liked the idea of live bait or carrion, so we came up with a different kind of bait.

We decided to set up an audio recording of a dying rabbit and play it on a loop through a set of speakers hidden in the willows. I remember when everyone was down in the bottoms testing the speakers, and I heard the noise for the first time. The sound of a dying rabbit is horrible. It’s been described as being almost identical to the sound of a screaming child. If you’ve never heard it yourself, there’s plenty of recordings available online. It’s worth a listen.

The camera was set up. The speakers were set up. Everything was perfect. Payton explained that he would allow the camera and recording to play uninterrupted for a week, and then he would go check on it. This would give time for our scent to fade from the bottoms and encourage the lion to come closer.

At first I was worried about the noise. It was a truly horrible noise, and our house was the closest to the set-up point in the bottoms. My father assured me that the noise wouldn’t reach as far as our house, and I was relieved when we arrived home that night and he was correct. The bottoms were far enough away that I couldn’t hear anything.

I remember Payton the next day at church. He was fidgety and excited to check on the equipment. But he had to wait a week, which everybody kept reminding him. He couldn’t risk going down too early and scaring the lion away for good.

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That night I woke up to an awful noise. I sat ram-rod straight in my bed with my eyes wide in the dark, hands clutched so hard my palms bore the indent of my fingernails for hours after. I knew that noise. It was the recording of the rabbit. It sounded faint, and far off, like it really could have been coming from the bottoms. But that was impossible. Because the recording had been going all night the previous day and I hadn’t heard a thing.

I didn’t sleep that night. I was too scared to get out of bed and wake my parents. The recording played over and over again. I had the loop memorized. In the morning I stumbled into the kitchen for breakfast. My mom and dad were sitting at the kitchen table. They too had dark rings under their eyes. I hadn’t been the only one who’d heard it.

Mom was convinced that the equipment must have been broken. She wanted to go down into the bottoms to check it out. Dad refused. He was a kind, gentle man and didn’t want to stir up any unnecessary drama. He was sure there had been a strong wind last night, and the wind was carrying the noise farther than it’s natural reach. He told us to listen. We did. He was right, we couldn’t hear it now.

We forgot about it and went about our daily goings.

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The next night, it happened again. I stayed up in bed with my back to the wall. The screaming was even louder than before. But this time something was different. It was lower pitched than I remember. And parts of the loop were slowed down, as if the recording were warped in places. At times the loop did not loop naturally, and instead picked up at a random place in the middle.

My mom didn’t mention anything at the breakfast table. But both her and my dad seemed tense.

The third night I mustered the courage to stand beside my bedroom window and look out into the yard. For a moment I stood, rooted to the spot, my hands shaking no matter how hard I clenched them. The noise sidled in through the cracks in the window. I watched the outline of the trees in the yard. Perfectly still. Not even the slightest breeze stirred their branches.

My mom announced that she would be going to visit her sisters in town the next day, and would probably spend the night there. She invited me to come along, but I was a daddy’s girl at heart and chose to stay at the farm. I took mom’s place beside dad in their bed that night but even that didn’t help. I don’t think my dad was asleep either, for he was unnaturally still the whole night.

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We began to hear the noise during the day too. I was drawing with chalk on the sidewalk when it happened. My shoulders tensed and the hairs on the back of my neck prickled. There was only one scream. A short, high pitched one. And then the recording fell silent. It happened again several times throughout the day, but never the whole loop. Just clips from it.

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Later that evening Payton’s dad came up the driveway on his 4-wheeler. He said he was looking for their dog, a sweet yellow lab who had been missing since that morning. Dad said he was sorry, and that we hadn’t seen her. I stared at him, silently begging him to mention the recording. But he didn’t. He was a quiet man after all. He didn’t want to bring up any unnecessary drama.

Mom stayed away the whole week. Dad and I didn’t sleep. By Saturday the screaming could be heard constantly, though it seemed to have deviated from the familiar loop entirely. I didn’t recognize any of it. Sometimes the screams were thin and long, other times they were hardly more than growls. Once, while my dad had been heating up meat loaf for lunch, the noise rose into such a rancorous din that he dropped the plate and it shattered. I pressed my hands over my ears where I sat at the table and squeezed my eyes shut, but it didn’t help. The noise forced its way in through the cracks of my fingers and pinched my throat and rattled in my ribcage. The din lasted for a whole minute, then fell silent.

Dad was shaking. That was the last we heard of the noise that day.

Payton came by Saturday evening to ask permission to cross our road to collect the equipment. He was so excited. I watched him disappear into the creek bottoms with a sense of tired relief. After the equipment was gone, it would all stop. I couldn’t wait to get a full nights sleep.

Not a minute later I spotted Payton coming back up from the creek. I was confused. It had taken us much longer to set up the camera and speakers, so I’d only assumed it would take just as long to collect them. My breath stilled when Payton came closer. He didn’t look right. His eyes were wide and his face pale. Something wet dribbled from his chin and onto his shirt; I later realized it was vomit. My dad caught him before he fell and demanded to know what had happened.

Payton couldn’t speak. He just cried.

We called his dad. I looked after Payton as both my dad and his dad went into the bottoms. They were gone a long time. When they returned, their faces were grim. And they smelled funny. I noticed red on my dad’s hands. I asked what was wrong but they brushed right passed me and immediately called the police.

Nobody would tell me what had happened. I sat on the couch as a blur of neighbors and police officers swirled around me. At one point an officer placed something on the kitchen table and left. I looked into the kitchen curiously. It was the camera from the bottoms.

I wish I hadn’t looked.

The camera was a little banged up. Tiny scratches and dents covered the plastic casing. When I lifted it my hands stuck to the plastic. Something tacky and odorous covered the screen, but it turned on fine.

The first set of photos were normal. Just the pussy-willows cast green in the glow of the night setting. As I continued to click through them they quickly became strange. At one point the camera angle changed, as if the camera had been knocked from its post. Grass now obscured most of the frame. Flecks of red appeared on the lens and remained for the rest of the sets. One photo made me pause.

There was a figure in this one. Or half of a figure as most of the upper torso hadn’t made it into the frame. I thought it could be human. But it didn’t look like it should be standing upright. It’s legs were twisted, like an animal, and it seemed to be having difficulty supporting itself in an upright position. Beside the legs a long, thin arm hung. Whatever it was must have been stooped over, for its fingertips hung below its crooked knees.

The next set was different. It was as if the camera had been picked up, and was now being held. The first photo was of the bottoms at night. The next startled me. I had to look closely before deciding what it was. A rabbit had been laid in the bushes, but its ears and most of its scalp had been peeled away. The next was of the same rabbit, but a thin, dark hand was holding it up against the sky. It’s limp body hung like something from a nightmare.

In the following photos more rabbits joined the one, each with their ears and scalp removed. Then a cat. Then more cats. Then a dog, the yellow lab. Then the lion. The following photo was of seven rabbits, three cats, one dog, and the lion all laid out in a row facing the same way. Their arms and legs had been arranged as if they were marching. Like some parade. All of their scalps had been removed and tiny white glints of their skulls could be seen.

The last photo was overly bright. Like the photo had been taken too close with the flash on. An eye dominated the frame, but it was yellowed and crusty, and had a bar pupil like a horse. In the bottom corner the edge of a mouth could be seen. No lips. Just teeth. Sharp and little, with wide gaps of red gum between them.

I wish I hadn’t looked.

I heard my dad talking to the police outside. They said the speakers had malfunctioned. The recording had only played the first night.

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132 thoughts on “Rabbits in the Creek”

  1. But why the dog :( I just hate it when dogs die! I hate it when anything dies but dogs especially.
    Good story though! Wish it was a little longer actually!

  2. Lately this site and other horror story sites have just disappointed me. Lately I’ve found myself just re-reading my favourite stories over and over to avoid more disappointment and boredom. This story is one of my few favourites. Probably 5th time I’ve read it now.

  3. The “based on a true story” tag is a little eyeroll-inducing, but that is basically my only complaint. While the story itself isn’t a masterpiece of characterization or anything, the sheer chill factor is among the very highest of any creepypastas I’ve read. I only had a vague idea of where it was going all the way through, and though my basic prediction was correct, it all managed to still get so much more hauntingly strange and terrible than just the basic twist on its own. It does an excellent job of leaving things hideously unexplained without it resulting in outright plot holes. This is a creepypasta for the top shelf, for certain. Ten outta ten from me, and I don’t hand those out willy-nilly.

  4. Wow this was a really good story! I voted 10. I don’t see this being in the true stories though I mean, it seems a tad farfecthed

  5. good and scary story and all but something about it just bothers me. how the hell could a little scrawny thing like that injure, let alone kill, a mountain lion? almost nothing messes with a mountain lion. even a big male grizzly bear will think twice about going up against one. just a small piece that didn’t make much sense to me. still, a good story.

  6. wow, creepy. it would be even creepier if the mom gave an excuse and actually went to see what’s up in the woods and later appeared in the photos too

  7. Our cat got hold of a young rabbit when I was a kid and the sound has stuck with me for 30 years. Add to that the time neighborhood bullies forced me to watch them skin a squirrel, and the sights and sounds of this story were unnervingly present for me. Chilling and effective. Great job.

  8. I really enjoyed this! I loved it but I didn’t enjoy the ending so much. I did but I didn’t. I feel like you could have left most of the descriptions of the ..’Creature’ out. Like its torso or claws. The last scene of its eye all bright and blurry was enough and it’s more terrifying with the less you know. The description of long arms, curled claws or whatever is so cliche around creepypasta now. It’s too boring. I feel that the story was perfect except for those few descriptions.

  9. I’m reading that at midnight and all I hear is creepy sounds outside *I have my window open*, I would absolutely die if I looked out my window to see the creature walking on the sidewalk on my street.

  10. omg dude ive been hooked into creepy pasta for like 2 years. ive read and heard some creepypasta on youtube mostly but wow this one is the creepiest one ive read in a long time thank you that pasta was delisious too bad i read it at 3 in the morning

  11. Its cool just Snake-scent passing by

    great story good build up and amazing open ended end ( not intended lol) is this based on a true story? If so remind me never to go to Idaho

  12. The last photo That was really bright and with a mouth without lips and a eye. I kinda feel like this has something to do with Jeff. Really good pasta. Good job 9/10

  13. My basement is unfinished and scary on its own. After reading this I have to run past it fast. It has a half door too so I can see right down into it. Ugh. Great story. Really creepy. I don’t think I’ll sleep now

  14. I found this on the “based on true stories” section … It’s a good read, but I didn’t buy a thing. Should be taken out of that section.

  15. It was terrifying like someone was playing a game what a sick creature but other than that I give if a 10/10

  16. Sounds to me like whatever was in the picture was Ryuk from Deathnote. Yellow eyes, long arms, twisted legs? Ryuk. Not sure why he’d scalp bunnies though xD

  17. Sucks to admit that I read this by midnight…

    9/10 very spooked.
    Requesting a follow-up story on this one!

  18. haha preston idaho! I have tonz of family that live up there! great story i definitely had to share it with my family that has lived in preston for many years!

  19. I can see why my boyfriend likes creepypastas so much now, because that… That was absolutely fantastic! It terrified me, I had to go turn my bedroom light on!

    And the description of the creature! Like… Just… I’m speechless, it completely blew me away. Fantastic job!

  20. WOAH THAT WAS BOSS one of the best stories I’ve ever read, with that classic terrifying realization at the end, and the way it was better than any classic story, with all that gore and everything. All in all, a perfectly-made pasta. 10/10

  21. Amazing, absolutely amazing; original plot, detailed (and gory) descriptions, logical flow 9.5/10
    Great story, can’t wait to see more of your work!

  22. If you had the pictures still, you should post the ones of just the creature and spare the image of the poor animals. I’m curious to see the pictures of the creature’s eye, and bottom half of their body.

  23. Why is it that the famous creepypasta’s are riddled with mistakes, wrong tenses and poor writing, while ones like this; which aren’t 7/10 material, but are written well enough are left to rot here?

  24. Honestly I thought I’d never find another Mormon on this website. This year my sister is going to byu Idaho and I’ve had plenty of paranormal experiences

  25. Being a morman and all I can understand in dark spirts and the first time I heard a rabbit get caught by someone thing was in a small farm area in arizona. I thought someone was killing someone else untill the owner of the farm said it was rabbits.

  26. Wonderfully written and a very good concept. There is nothing, NOTHING I love more than an amazing concept that has been well written.

    Creepy, disturbing, and mutilation of all the animals I love so much lead to one very good pasta.

    Hoping to see more from this artist.

  27. Good story. Really creepy. Especially since the town you described sounds a lot like the one I live in. And even creepier, a few years ago, I had a neibor and some of her cats started going missing and they were found in a similar way to how the animals were found in this story.

  28. This is horrifying! What can seem to do that with those poor animals? When I finished reading this post it felt like really weird and the description is more of a monster. Take care and if it is a wild animal I hope the police or whatever authority captures it soon.

  29. What type of recording and speakers would have been able to play continuously for a week? Solar powered?

  30. Excellent, now this is what I’ve been searching for!! This story is well written I enjoyed this story It was both disturbing and creepy at the same time.

  31. Great pasta!!!! Very original, the story flowed and kept me completely drawn in! I’m just a little over the whole alien/monster kind of stories. Other than that great!

  32. Wow this story was definitely a creepypasta legend!!! I rate it 10stars! I would hope to read more stories like this. Jusstt to scare the $#!+ out of myself….

  33. Lily the Killer

    This is awesome! I love this pasta! My heartbeat literally quickened when I read the last sentence. This is seriously awesome! Please make more? You’re a great author!

  34. I’ll admit the audio recording was a bit of a give away…but the malfunctioning that was thought to occur during the week was enough to satisfy that “oh cool; it worked.” MAAAAAAN I was actually expecting a gruesome mountain lion tale actually! Real life is just as scary as imagination! But, dear deity of your choice, those poor bunnies AND THE PUPPY! >:U only bad parts lol

    This was throughly delicious through out and I would actually submit this into a contest. You’d surely win if I was the judge.

  35. I lived in Preston ID for years. My grandparents live there and we visit every so often from Idaho falls….. It makes this story even more disturbing.

  36. so this really happened, huh? even though all my questions are unanswered, gotta tell ya: [sorry, can’t talk…all I can do is look at you and nod–and nod] thanks.

  37. ahh, such a good pasta!! it caught me by surprise too, I was expecting the the lion to be the cause of all the dying rabbit screams, and the description of how they were killed gave me chills. The creature at the end is creepy af as well 9/10

  38. One of the best pastas I’ve read in a while. I can’t suggest much, maybe a tiny bit of tightening, but for the most part it’s really well-written. The level of description is A+, love the specificity.

  39. It wasn’t horrible, a couple things stood out for me though.
    “I heard my dad talking to the police outside. They said the speakers had malfunctioned. The recording had only played the first night.”
    How would they know this? Did the speakers have some kind of time stamp when they malfunctioned?
    “At one point an officer placed something on the kitchen table and left.”
    Yes, because police wouldn’t take evidence with them, they would just leave it on the table on their way out.

  40. I’m from Pocatello, Idaho and so I could get the imagery perfectly. Very creepy, would love a sequel

    1. I’m like you; I grew up in Mountain Home just SE of Boise…I knew EXACTLY what it’d look like… I’m seriously scared out of my wits, man! This is amazing, and I hope beyond hope it’s not true.

  41. Really excellent work. The description of the eye was particularly unsettling. I think with your talent you can do even better with the ending though. By the time we get there the audience has already figured out that the speakers were not responsible for the noise and I couldn’t help but wonder how the police knew that the speakers malfunctioned after exactly one night. Nevertheless brilliant work. Be proud of it.

    1. I know exactly what you mean! i read this at 3 in the morning during a calm morning much like the night in the pasta.

  42. AMAZING STORY. Creepiest one I have read here so far. Perfect delivery. You had me reading as fast as I could to see what was going on. 10/10.

    is this REALLY based on a true story?!?!? *shivers

  43. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to drive I-84 again after reading this. Definitely a 10/10 in my book! Would LOVE a sequel, find out if they find this creature, this man-beast, if it grows to attacking humans…*gasp* like the mom! On her way home! O.O PUH-LEEEEEZ write this!

  44. Himynameisnope

    This pasta is the creepiest i have ever had, would love to eat more *shovels pasta into mouth* truly delicious!

  45. That was one of the most freaky but the best pastas I have ever read definetley 10 stars i loved the part with the thing with the teeth

  46. I don’t care how much of a “daddy’s girl” I am, I would’ve gone with the mother, espeascaly since I have rabbits, a cat, a dog, and some chickens that live outside.

    1. Same here, but then that feeling of leaving my dad alone with this disturbing incident would make me worried…

  47. OMG! I read this in the car and when I got home I left the lights in my room on all night 10/10. Delicious pasta!

  48. The mom visiting her sister seemed out of place, unnecessary. And after reading that they were going to use audio recordings, it became very predictable. There was no fun to be had here.

    1. Out of place? This is based on a true story. Take your half thought up criticisms somewhere else. The author doesn’t need to cater to your demands or preferences.

      1. Dude, its not based on a true case, very few pastas are. Plus, if it was, what do you suppose that crooked-animal creature is ?

        1. ^^^^ You say that like monsters come in standard forms. They don’t all have to be Jeff The Killer.

  49. That was a really creepy story, in between when you said look the rabbit sounds up, i did.. it was like a baby crying.. it was awful, so i continued reading, and it was really shocking.. Im amazed by your story. (sorry for my english)

  50. ?????????mystery??????

    That was really good! An original pasta too, I like ones like this. I liked how nothing “scary” or “creepy” happened until the end, but you had a gut feeling something was wrong. Great story, I really enjoyed it!

  51. I know that sound.My brother brought in a wounded rabbit he found in the woods, and when I heard it scream I came out of my room to see what the Hell it could be.Ugh, it was horrible poor bunny.It’s perfect for a Creepypasta.Good job. :)

  52. mrspatrickbateman

    That was horrifying. Just the idea that the thing was getting more and more brazen with each day and attacking more and during the day would give me enough reason to move.

  53. That was really good but thinking of the “recorded sounds” man that was gory. But I rate it 10 stars!!!! :D

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