Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
The sun began to set over the horizon. The sky had been consumed by a bright orange tint with a touch of pink. That was the countryside for you.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by nature. It was beautiful. From the amazing views of mountain tops, to the wonders of wildlife. I loved it all.
It was for this reason, that every year or so, four of my closest mates and I would drive to the base of a mountain and set up camp at the local campsite. While camping, we’d do all sorts of activities, but our time in the mountains mostly consisted of hiking.
This year was no different. My mates (Jason, Thomas, Samuel, Peter) and I were on our way to the same campsite we visit each year. It’s roughly a four hour drive, so we would all take shifts at the steering wheel.
We had already been driving for an hour and a half. By now, we were already in the countryside, far from any urban areas. In fact, there wasn’t another town for miles to come. We had already cycled through two people, being me and Samuel, and it was Jason’s turn at the wheel.
The sun was beginning to set by now. The way we had it planned, we were going to arrive at the campsite just after dark, at around 7:30 PM. However, due to delays and detours, we were significantly behind our schedule.
“Pft, we’ll be lucky if we make it by 10,” Exclaimed Samuel.
“Yeah, maybe if Jason wasn’t so shit at driving, we’d be at least half way there by now,” Peter moaned.
“Augh, shut the hell up, Peter. It’s not my fault that the highway was closed off.”
“Alright, calm down. Just pulling your leg, mate.”
As our long haul continued, we began to drive deeper into unknown terrain. Considering that our normal route was closed off, we were forced to take a massive detour. The turnout left us in the middle of nowhere.
“Are you sure you know where you’re going?” Thomas asked. “Almost looks like we’re lost.”
“I’m following the GPS. This is where its telling me to go!” Jason barked.
We continued to drive for another ten minutes or so, still in unknown terrain, when our worst nightmare suddenly became reality.
“What the hell?” Jason exclaimed as the car’s engine began to sputter, as the car began to lose speed. Jason pulled the car over to the side of the road, just as the engine gave out. Our car had broken down in the middle of nowhere.
“God dammit,” I sighed. “As if our situation wasn’t crap enough already.”
“See, this is what happens when we let Jason drive,” Peter said jokingly.
“Fuck off, Peter!” Jason snapped, violently slamming his hand on the steering-wheel.
“Alright, calm down, guys. We’ll sort this shit out,” I assured everyone.
“Nah, stuff you, guys,” Jason exclaimed as he opened his car door.
“Where are you going?”
“To check on the engine, you dipshit!” Jason shouted as he slammed the door behind him. He then walked to the front of the car and lifted up the bonnet.
“Jesus, what’s his problem?” Peter exasperated.
“Give him a break, Peter,” I replied.
“I’m just joshin’ with him. He doesn’t need to take it so seriously.”
“Na, mate, you got too carried away,” Thomas chipped in.
“Fuck off, Thomas, don’t act like you weren’t in on this.”
“Don’t tell me to fuck off, asshole.”
Tensions continued to rise as the guys bickered amongst each other. Jason was still behind the bonnet, checking on the engine.
As everyone was arguing with one another, I took a minute to get a proper glance at our surroundings. To our left was a massive, empty field. It was fenced off. There was a sign on the fence that read “DO NOT ENTER” in all caps. In the far distance, I could barely make out some sort of structure on the horizon of the field. Presumably a barn, or something like that.
To our right was a forest. Just like the fields, the forest was fenced off, this time with a sign simply reading “DANGER.” I couldn’t see anything beyond the trees. It was almost nightfall, so the wasn’t much light shining down on the forest.
One other thing that caught my attention was a semi-truck that was parked roughly 200 meters on the other side of the road. I couldn’t tell if there was anyone inside of it though.
We were truly in the middle of nowhere.
* * * * * *
Ten minutes had passed since our car had broken down. Jason was still behind the bonnet, checking the engine. Everyone else’s patience was wearing thin.
“What the hell’s taking him so long?” Peter complained.
“Yeah, it’ll be dark out any minute. I don’t wanna be stuck out here after the sun sets,” Samuel added.
They were right. We didn’t have a lot of time before night would fall. I decided it was finally time to check on Jason. I rolled down my window and stuck my head out.
“Oi, Jason!” I shouted. “You fix the engine yet?”
I got no response.
“Jason! Are you done yet?”
Still no response.
I opened my side door and stepped out of the car. I walked up to the bonnet. Jason wasn’t there. I walked back inside the car.
“Is he almost done?” Peter asked as I closed the door behind me.
“He’s gone,” I replied.
“What? What do you mean he’s gone?”
“I mean he’s not there anymore.”
“Well, did you see where he went?”
“No. Hold on, let me try calling him.”
I dialed Jason’s number and held the phone against my ear. I instantly got his voicemail.
“He’s not picking up.”
“Shit!” Thomas exclaimed. “Where the hell could he have gone?”
“I don’t know,” I replied.
We all just sat in silence for a second.
“Maybe he went over to that truck for help,” Samuel said while pointing to the semi-truck across the road.
“Alright, I’ll go check,” Thomas said as he stepped out of the car.
We all watched as Thomas walked up to the semi-truck.
“Is the engine fixed at least?” Peter questioned.
I leaned over to the driver’s seat and tried starting the engine. The car sputtered momentarily, and then gave up.
“Nope. Engine’s still busted.”
“Well, let me go check on it then,” Peter said as he opened his door.
“No!” I abruptly exclaimed. “J-just stay here. Wait for Thomas to get back.”
“What? Why?” Peter questioned.
“I just- I don’t know. Something doesn’t feel right,” I replied.
Peter stared at me questionably for a second. “Alright.” He finally said as he closed his door. “If you say so.”
“Guys!” Samuel abruptly shouted. “I can’t see Thomas anymore.”
“What?” I said as I glanced over at the semi-truck. “Did you see where he went?”
“He disappeared behind the truck.”
“Shit,” Peter said as he opened his door again. “I gotta check on him.”
“No!” I shouted once again. “Stop! Let me try calling him first.”
“He might be in danger, you idiot!” Peter shouted.
“Just get back in the fucking car!” I shouted as I held my phone against my ear.
Peter stared at me with a frustrated look in his eyes. He held his position as the phone rang. It kept ringing for a few seconds. Then, finally:
“Hello?” I heard Thomas’ voice answer.
“Thomas!” I shouted. “Are you alright, man? Where are you?”
“Calm down!” he assured me. “I’m just behind the truck. Look.”
I glanced back at the truck to see Thomas waving at me. Reassured, Peter sat back down in the car.
“Jesus, man, we thought something happened to you,” I replied. “What are you doing back there? Did you find Jason?”
“Nah, but I found some supplies in the truck. Figured we could use them to fix the car,” he replied as he disappeared behind the truck once again.
“Alright, well just stay on the line while you’re getting them,” I said.
“Okay, if you say so. But I’ll have to put the phone down to carry this stuff.”
“Alright, just stay on the call,” I requested once again.
“Sure thing.” Thomas proceeded to put his phone down and continued gathering supplies. I could hear the clanking of metal in the background of the call.
The sun had just about set by now. The sky was slowly being consumed by the darkness of the night.
“Jesus, someone’s a little paranoid,” Peter exclaimed as we waited for Thomas.
“You can talk. You were about to sprint out of the car and run after Thomas,” I replied. “And besides, we still don’t know where Jason is. I’m seriously worried about him.”
“Here, I’ll try calling him this time,” Peter said. He dialed Jason’s number and held the phone to his ear. Suddenly, Peter’s face filled with horror.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
Peter didn’t say a anything. He just glanced at his phone, and then slowly handed it to me, still with a horrified look on his face. I held Peter’s phone against my ear.
* * * * * *
Horrified, I hung up on the call and dropped Peter’s phone. “What the hell was that?” I asked Peter.
“I have no fucking clue,” Peter replied, still mortified.
It’s hard to describe, but on the other end of the call were these strange noises. It sounded like a mix of demonic screaming, crying and other horrific, indistinguishable noises. And I can’t be sure, but I think I heard Jason’s voice faintly in the background of the call.
I was frozen in fear for a minute, still trying to process what I had just heard. I don’t know what those noises were, and I don’t know what had happened to Jason. All I knew, was that we needed to get out of there as quickly as possible.
In a flash, I grabbed my own phone, still in a call with Thomas. “Thomas, you need to get back to the car right now!” I shouted.
I didn’t get a response.
“Thomas! Answer me!”
Then, suddenly, I heard the sound of a loud bang in the distance. It was the sound of metal clashing, as if someone had dropped a bunch of supplies on the ground.
“Oh, shit, it got Thomas!” I shouted.
“What do you mean it got Thomas? What the hell is ‘it’?” Samuel asked in panic.
I didn’t answer Samuel. Instead, I locked all of the car doors and turned off all the lights.
“What the hell are you doing?” Peter shouted.
“Shut the fuck up for a second. Everyone just… shut up.”
We all sat in silence. It was dark now, almost pitch black outside.
“What are we doing?” Samuel whispered. “Why’d you turn off all the lights?”
“Just keep quiet and stay low. I think there’s something out there,” I replied.
“Like, what? A bear or something?”
“No- I don’t know. I don’t know what’s out there, but whatever it is, I think it got Jason and Thomas. We just need to stay in the car and keep quiet. Hopefully it won’t know we’re here.”
“N-nah man. T-this is crazy,” Peter said, shaking uncontrollably in his chair. “W-we gotta get out of here!” Peter wasn’t in a sane state anymore.
“No!” I shouted. “Stay in the car!”
Peter didn’t try to argue with me this time. He was too scared to do anything.
There was silence again. Peter was shivering in fear. I sat still, staring into the dark abyss outside our car. It was too dark to see anything. I couldn’t tell if something was out there or not.
Suddenly, a faint screech was let off in the distance. It didn’t sound human.
“W-what the hell was that?” Peter asked, horrified.
My heart was racing at this point. Something was definitely out there, something inhumane. I tried thinking of what to do next. “Samuel, try calling for help.”
“I can’t. I’ve lost reception,” He replied.
“Crap, we’re stranded.” I contemplated again, thinking of another plan. “Alright, we’ll just have to stay calm and stay in the car no matter what. If we wait till sunrise, then we can-”
“Are you fucking insane?!” Peter shouted aggressively. “No way! I’m not staying in here till morning! That thing is gonna kill us if we wait here!” Peter then proceeded to open his side door and sprint out of the car, right into the dark abyss.
“Peter, no!” Samuel shouted as he opened his own door.
“Samuel, don’t go out there!” I shouted.
“I gotta go after Peter!” Samuel shouted as he ran off, leaving his door open behind him.
“Samuel, please! Stay here!” But it was too late. Samuel had already ran off into the darkness.
Freezing and mortified, I tried contemplating what to do next. Should I go after them? Should I try making a run for it, too?
Before I could decide what to do next, I heard the sounds of screaming in the distance. It was Peter.
I could also hear Samuel shouting in the distance. I couldn’t make out everything that he was saying. I could only make out one of his words. My name. He was calling out to me. He was calling out for help.
I just sat in the car, chilled to the bones, my eyes wide open with fear. I’m alone now. Everyone else is dead.
I don’t know what’s out there. I don’t know what to do next. Peter and Samuel left their door open as they ran out. I’m too scared to close it. I’m too scared to move.
It’s been fifteen minutes since Samuel and Peter left the car. Every few minutes or so, I hear a screeching in the distance. It sounds closer with each screech.
I’m writing this story because I don’t know what else to do. I’m scared. It’s dark. I’m alone.
And there’s something outside, slowly coming toward me.