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Mission

There’s an old, abandoned mission in the hills west of Tucumcari, New Mexico. It’s about a 3-hour hike from the nearest access point by car. It’s not marked on any map and there’s no clear trail to it, but if you had a day or two to spend searching, you could probably find it. I …

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Her Silence

He turns the steering wheel in different directions, taking different roads when he needs to. He needs to go through the woods to get to his destination. He’s confused, but not about that. What confuses him is why his sister is being so silent as she sits in the backseat. The time is currently 6:36, …

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The Shadow in the Lake

It was nothing new. Just a normal trip to the lake. My friends and I had gone to lake Thunderbird many times on weekends, it was our favorite retreat from college and family and everything else that stressed us. I was 19 at the time, fresh into college and fresh out of a bad place; …

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Black Sap

We were having another lockdown drill when I found out about Holly Reyes. I was in Social Studies, third period, when Principal Weston’s muffled voice spat at us from the ceiling. We all sighed and ducked under the long tables, limbs shoving aside plastic chairs as we army-crawled into tucked positions. Mrs. Loew shut the …

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A Loving Ruination

I’m awoken by Rebecca’s sudden lurch upward. The whole bed’s shaking from it. My mind’s jumpstarted awake. Immediately, I’m feeling disorientated. Inactive for many hours, my brain now has to remind me where I am. The information floods in: I’m in my bedroom. In my house. It’s dark. I instinctively look at my alarm clock. …

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The Stars of Bigface Marsh

It was cold. Cold and dark. That’s all I could feel when I stared into the black abyss, that made up its eyes. There was a tingling sensation in my feet, that slowly rose up in my body like panic trapped inside of me. I felt changed. I don’t know what he was doing to …

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It Wasn’t a Reindeer

“Christ,” I muttered to myself, as the first flakes of snow started to fall.  They gathered in fuzzy clumps over the windshield before my wipers cleared them away.  I’d been waiting for fifteen — no, twenty minutes now — in my sister’s driveway.  Had I chosen to wait inside with her, I’d have been dead …

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The Hiker’s Lapse

Maintaining a steady pace—placing one foot in front of the other, trudging along as he’d done for the past four months—Sam felt the distance growing between himself and the Creek. A crisp breeze came down from the mountain and Sam took in a slow breath, smiling at the scents of earth and pine. Minor hunger …

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Alone

Part 1: Good Will Hunting I’m a producer for Alone, the TV show on History. This story is about a participant we had in season 2, whose footage we had to cut. I’ve never felt comfortable talking about this before, especially because it opens me up for liability. After all, giving away TV show secrets …

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The Man In My Bedroom Window

For as long as I can remember, there has been a man in my bedroom window. It seems strange to say, I know, but it is true. From the earliest, fuzziest memories I have all the way up to now, he’s been there. Looking at me. In my first memories of him, he was an …

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Biting At My Heels

I enjoy running quite a bit. It might come off as a bit odd to say, but it really is important to me. I found my love for it back in high school, when I ended up drifting aimlessly onto the cross country track teams. Joining was less of an active choice on my part …

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The Whistlers: Bill’s Account

I’ve got calluses on my hands from burying my brother. If we’re rescued today, I’ll have to explain that to someone. Some search-and-rescue trooper, some forest ranger, will hold my palm to the light of a chopper window and want to know how I managed to rub the heel of my hand raw. I practice, sometimes. I practice what I’ll say to people when we get back home. Dr. Harmon, the department head, will need to know how I got Geoff and Lillian killed doing what was supposed to be straightforward field research. They were both his students, hand-picked for great things, led astray by the man who wrote his dissertation on the Russian Yeti, who taught a cryptozoology class disguised as a folklore survey. I got bumped off the tenure track for that. Harmon talked over me in meetings. Like I wasn’t there.

The Whistlers: Ruth’s Account

The man on the trail is dead and will need to be moved. It is a more difficult task than I would have guessed, and nearly impossible for a 5’ 4” woman with no help and no gurney. I tried to drag him toward camp right after I found him this morning, but only succeeded in pivoting him and twisting his legs around each other horribly. Bodies look so wrong once they stop feeling pain. I never thought I would have so much experience with death, but I haven’t cried over the loss of someone since the lighthouse. This man shit his pants before he died, and moving him made the smell worse. It will bring the animals in. Still no sign of Ira or Bill.

The Wolves of These Frozen Woods

I can’t stand to be back here. This tiny, rural town I grew up in, it makes my skin crawl to see everything around me. I’m well into middle-age now, but it’s like this town has been frozen in time since I was a teenager. And the older I get, the more things that in …

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