24 Jul Second Chances
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"Second Chances"Written by
Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
The following is a true story with real people and real media attention. I am going to try to be vague in areas which would expose my identity, but if you are able to figure out who I am I ask that you please respect my privacy and not try to contact me in any way other than the comment section here.
I am not a writer. I’m sure that will be obvious to some of you but I’m confident that I will be able to express myself in a readable manner. I’m simply a grandma who made an account to tell this story. After carefully reviewing my options, I chose here as my outlet because even if I am not believed, you will at least pretend to. I don’t think I could bear being called a liar or being laughed at after sharing something this intimate. You will be the first people to hear this story in its (almost) entirety.
It was late spring back in a time where you might have been hearing the Buggles on both the TV and radio. My husband of two years and I were doing what we loved most, enjoying the great outdoors. We had already visited most every national park and forest on the West Coast of the United States, but this time we were at a place that was special to us; a place that seemed to call to us. To us, the beauty of this wilderness was almost spiritual. This isn’t a place we visited; it is a place we explored, a place we engulfed ourselves in, a place we felt compelled to know every nook and cranny of.
We were slowly working our way up a calf-deep stream to a waterfall that we had found on a previous trip. The difficulty it took to get to this waterfall and the fact that there was no trail made us feel like we were the only humans to ever see it, even though I’m sure that isn’t the case. We were about halfway to our own private paradise when I felt the need to tinkle. I got out of the stream and pushed my way through about five yards of bush to a tiny clearing where I felt comfortable enough to do my business. As I was getting started I had a weird sensation. I’m not going to be able to explain it perfectly with words but I’ll do my best. It was a vibration. I could hear and feel it. It was very feint, but I distinctly heard a soft buzzing and could feel it gently pulsating through my body. My instincts told me something was wrong but I ignored them and finished up with what I had set out to do.
When I got back to the stream my husband was gone. Much happened in the next few seconds. I was surveying the forest all around me to see if he too might have gone off to use the bathroom but I didn’t see him. My thoughts were racing. Was he hiding from me? What is that buzzing? I called out to him but there was no answer. My head was on a swivel… where did he go? I saw him a hundred yards downstream from the direction we had came. Just as I caught a glimpse of him, he turned left and disappeared into the woods. I knww something is wrong. I could feel it. I started sprinting down through the water as fast as I could, falling on submerged rocks every few steps. I was completely soaked with a mildly sprained ankle when I get to the spot that I saw my husband vanish into the darkness of the forest. I noticed that the vibration was much stronger and louder, but I didn’t take time to think about it. I started in after him.
On solid ground, I was making much better time than I was in the stream, but it was at the expense of my body. I could feel the branches and thorns of various vegetations cutting me to pieces, which I suppose helped me forget about the pain in my ankle. I kept pushing forward. After about thirty seconds to a minute of running (which felt like a marathon), I saw my husband’s bare back up ahead of me. As I was yelling his name and crashing through the forest, I noticed his clothes placed neatly on the ground. I didn’t stop to think about it at the time. My husband was not moving; just standing there naked, so I slowed my pace and started walking towards him. I was within twenty feet of him then, so I was just saying his name instead of yelling it. When I called his name it was an odd feeling: I heard myself saying it, but it felt as though the voice was coming from worlds away. I realized the vibration was buzzing through my body so violently that I quickly pondered how I wasn’t not falling apart. The noise was almost unbearable. (For lack of a better way to describe it, I am just going to relay the strange thought that flashed in my head that day many years ago.) It sounded like a never-ending pterodactyl cry, but distinctly electronic at the same time. I was soon standing directly behind my naked husband, gently calling his name… but he was not responding. I delicately put my hand on his shoulder, and as my palm made the slightest contact, he swirled on a dime and his hand shot out and grabbed my neck. His eyes were looking upward and to the right. I had some strange thoughts as I lost consciousness. How did he see me with his eyes like that? Is this what they mean about eyes rolling back in the head? How am I going unconscious so quickly? It must be supernatural. (I found out later that there’s a blood choke which puts you out in about eight seconds if you’re grabbed just right.)
I awoke just moments after I had faded off into darkness. The noise was gone. Thank God. My naked husband was holding me and screaming my name while wailing, “What did I do?! What did I do?!” I smiled at him and him and told him everything was okay. We walked back to where his clothes were neatly placed on the forest floor, got him dressed, then got back to camp, packed up, and drove home. I tried multiple times to initiate conversation about what had just happened, but my husband refused to engage. All he kept doing is saying how sorry he was. I kept telling him that it wasn’t him, but he wasn’t having it. He was convinced that he had a mental break. We drove some hours back to our little starter home where my husband immediately packed a suitcase. He told me that he wasn’t safe to be around and that he was leaving for my own safety. I did everything in my power to get him to stay but his mind was made up. I made him promise to call the next day which he agreed to.
Over the next year my husband and I talked every day. Neither he or I made even remote steps towards moving on from one another. I knew what had happened in the woods that day was something unexplainable and not my husband going insane. I think he knew this too, but he would’t admit to it. He wouldn’t even talk about it. He simply paid rent on our little house that he wasn’t living in and called me every night at 7pm. After a year I told him it’s time to come home. The episode was obviously a one time deal. He agreed under one condition. He got me a pistol and made me learn to use it. He made me promise that if he had another episode that I would put him down. I lied and promised. Many years went by and my husband never mentioned the incident and he immediately shut down any attempts I made to bring it up. Then one day out of the blue he looks at me with a weird expression on his face and asks, “Honey? That day everything happened… did you see a big dog out in the woods?” I told him no and then had a million questions for him about it. I watched him shrink into a shell right in front of my eyes but I kept pressuring him about what he saw. All I got out of him is that he shouldn’t have brought it up. I have no clue if that information is an integral part of the story, but since it’s my husband’s only interaction on the event, I figured I better include it.
We had a family, successful careers and lived happily ever after…
…until one day when our children were grown and we decided to go back to the place we once loved so much. We set up camp and had a wonderful time. Each day we ventured out to one of our favorite hidden little gems. On the morning of our final day, I told my husband that we should go see our waterfall. A relaxed and happy husband agreed. It surprised me that he didn’t even hesitate. I think conquering this part of our lives was what we both had in mind when we came. We hiked along until we got to the stream. We started up it again, just like we had all of those years ago. It was much, MUCH harder to walk up a stream than I remembered. I had stayed in shape, but most reading this would still call me old. As we trudged along, I was looking for familiar landmarks… but really, it all just looked the same. I would never be able to pick out where everything happened last time. We’d been hiking for maybe an hour when my belly rumbled, and I knew I should have passed on my husband’s specialty campfire charcoal tin foil burrito. I won’t go into details of IBS, but it is going to happen to many of you. Those of you familiar with this ailment will understand that I had to take action immediately. I ran off into the woods. The thought had crossed my mind of the similarities of last time, but the physical reaction I was having was too violent to dwell on it. As my body was getting back to normal, I felt a slight vibration in my head. I knew that my life had forever changed.
I didn’t wipe. I barely got my shorts back on before I charged back to the stream. He was gone, just like I knew he would be. I looked up and down stream. He wasn’t there. I knew I only had this chance. I started running downstream from the direction we had come, just like last time, but the vibration wasn’t getting stronger. In fact, I realized it was gone. I was going the wrong way. I sprinted back upstream, trying to catch the noise. Over the next few hours, I went every direction in the woods, but was not able to find my husband or pick up on the vibration. Search and rescue was there within two hours of me getting ahold of them. The next day they had dogs. I took them right to where he went missing, but they never caught a scent. I heard one of the handlers state that he’d never seen his dog act like this. A certain number of days into the search, they found my husband’s clothing resting neatly on the forest floor not too far from where I showed them to start the search. I hated myself.
I have never told this story to anyone. I consider myself an open minded person and I know how I would react if someone told me a story like this. That’s why I chose to keep this to myself all this time. The one person I knew I could talk to about it did not want anything to do with the conversation. Some years later a retired police officer has stumbled onto the fact that there are a multitude of mysterious vanishings in wilderness areas. He has written a series of books on the events, and has included my husband’s case in one of them. He doesn’t have a lot of the story right, but what he had about the dogs and my husband’s clothes was close enough to the truth that I had considered telling this man about what happened to us all of those years ago. Instead of contacting him by email or phone, I decided to fly out to one of his seminars. I thought I might get to be around people who were going through something similar to what I was. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. I don’t think anyone at this man’s seminar had missing loved ones. It was just a bunch of middle-aged men talking about freaking bigfoot (excuse my language). I thought to myself that at least these men were open-minded. I picked a small group of men chatting amongst themselves, introduced myself, and told them a very small portion of my story. They laughed at me. These grown men talking about how to identify the different kinds of bigfoot scat laughed at me. I was furious and left. Maybe I should’ve waited around and spoke with the author of the books, but I decided to let it be.
Once again, with enough due diligence, you’ll definitely be able to figure out who the author is who included my husband in one of his books… even though I think I changed enough to disguise who I am. If I’m wrong and you figure it out, please keep it to yourself.
Thank you for listening to this. I’ve needed it off my chest for some time now.
Credit: Granny Gunslinger
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