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The Creature In The Pines

the creature in the pines


Estimated reading time — 12 minutes

My day started just like all those before it that month. Dark. lonely. I got up around 7:30, like usual. Nothing was happening. Nothing ever was. November was always one of my favorite months, a gateway to winter. I usually only went in the woods in the winter time, ticks scare me, ya’ never know what they could be carrying. I live in a densely forested part of the United States, wont say where, but there’s tons of forest, streams, rivers, etcetera. It was a very boring and lonely few weeks leading up to my decision. There was nothing going on, and no where i had to be, so i decided i was going to go hunting. I collect guns and military gear, rifles, shotguns, and handguns, backpacks, jackets, tactical accessories, etcetera. I’ve never been in the military, but I like the stuff. I wear combat trousers tied around my combat boots nearly every day.

I chose all the basic stuff to take with me, backpack, sleeping bag, tent, just all the necessary stuff to be out there. For my guns, I brought my Remington 1100 tac-2, semi-automatic shotgun, and my Ruger super-Redhawk 44 magnum revolver. I also brought a bottle of Sazerac whisky, and a small box of cigars. When I first picked up my gear I realized how heavy it really was, but decided to carry on into the forest anyway. I left my house and began walking, down the edge of my property, towards the woods beyond. Everything was perfect at the start, perfect temperature to note, a nice cool 40 degrees Fahrenheit, i always liked it cold. I picked a great day to start out, the sun was out, not a cloud in the sky, and it wasn’t supposed to rain for the next week. Before I left, I had made myself my favorite sandwich for lunch, honey ham, thick sharp cheddar cheese, and kettle chips, which I like ON my sandwich. They give it a nice crunch.

About 3 miles into my hike, I sat down on a downed tree, and pulled out my sandwich. I had made it so I wouldn’t have to prepare myself one of the MREs I brought, at least not until later that night. The forest was beautiful that day, birds chirping, and I didn’t see too many deer, of course, from the leaves crunching underneath my boots. I had a long hike ahead of me, around 28 miles of forest, trying to reach a certain part of the forested land. I reached a creak, and decided I would jump it, so I tried, and failed. My boot hit the water and my sock was soaked instantly. That put my day back pretty far, since the water was freezing and I had to stop and dry my boot out which meant starting a fire. I couldn’t continue with a freezing foot, so that was basically the end of my day. Before I set up my camp, I had to dry the damn boot out, so I collected some tinder, some round rocks, and lit a fire. I warmed the rocks up and stuck them in my boot, so it would dry it out. I attempted to set up my tent with one boot on, but it just wasn’t happening, so I decided I would just use my hammock for the night, so I set that up instead.

The night air was cold and dry. The sounds of the forest around me, I fell asleep to the light of the fire. I awoke at some point in the night to a crash in the forest. I sat up sharp, frightened, but I figured it was most likely a falling tree. I fell back asleep soon after. The next day started well, but very cold. By this point I was running low on water, so at some point I would have to boil some water today. I started down the trail, which wasn’t really a trail, just a way I knew in the forest. It was about 11am, when i decided, if i was going to continue i was going to need that water. Luckily I was walking beside a nicely flowing creek, so I started a fire, and gathered some water in the pot I had brought. My bag was large and heavy, because it had things I needed to be out in the forest for that long. The pot came to a nice rolling boil, so I removed it from the fire. I bottled my water, and I was ready to continue. Before I was to continue though, I thought I would have a cigar. This set my day back an hour and a half, so it was now midday, around 12:30 pm.

I heard something loud far off in the forest, an odd coincidence I thought to myself, but I still had to press forward. It had been a while since i had eaten, so i found a nice spot by the creek, with a nice amount of sunlight, and began preparing myself an mre. I always liked those things, regardless of things you see on the internet about them being “nasty” or “tasteless”, if you get the right one, they can be great. Chili and Macaroni. One of the best. I began heating up my food in the heater bag, provided in the MRE. Hot food was a great motivator to carry on, really picking up the mood. High in calories, you really only need to eat one a day. I poured some of my drink mix into my bottle, and picked up my gear.

I started once again walking along the creek, just as I had before. After about 30 minutes of walking, I smelled something. A familiar smell. The smell of death. I was the curious type, so I naturally wanted to investigate. I followed the smell for a few minutes, until I found its source. A deer Carcass. What I was looking at was something I had never seen before. The carcass was missing its front legs, and looked as if it had been turned inside out. Almost unexplainable, as it was just a mess. The intestines had been strewn everywhere, blood and fecal matter spread across the leaves and pine straw. “What could have done this?” I vocalized to no-one, in disbelief. The longer I looked, the higher the risk of losing my chili and macaroni was. I had to step away and compose myself. At first I thought maybe a bear? But there was no way this was a bear. The damn thing was eviscerated. I did some closer investigating, and, a thought popped into my mind, so i got closer, reached down, and stuck two fingers in-between some folds of flesh……..THE FUCKING THING WAS STILL WARM.

It was time to go. I picked up my bag, and began quickly down the edge of the creek. What the hell had I just witnessed? I wanted to get as far away from that thing as possible. Still shaken up about the previous event, I tried to forget about it, but it just kept me wondering. I was still about 20 miles from my destination, so i had to keep pressing on, for i only had about 3 hours of sunlight left. I reached a small clearing, which I decided I was going to set up my small camp in for the night. I had about an hour of sunlight left, and the creek was a short walk away. I walked towards the creek with my pot, to collect some water, got to stay hydrated. When I made it back to camp, I set the water down and started my fire, which I had already collected the tinder for, prior to going to get water. Daylight was fading quickly, so I set up my tent while the water was boiling. When I sat down by my small fire to take a breather, and collect myself, I thought I heard something out in the woods, which sounded like footsteps. Just an animal I thought, but my mind wandered back to that deer I found earlier on in the day. “Could it be a bear?” I thought at first, but it was pretty far off, and sounded like it was moving in a different direction, so I wasn’t worried about it.

I crawled into my one man tent, with the front flap open, so I could see my fire, about 7 feet away. I cracked open the bottle of whisky I had brought, it was cold, just from the night air. I took a couple nips off of the bottle, and settled in for sleep. I laid down, and a few seconds later, a loud *POP* echoed through the forest, like a live tree branch breaking. It scared me, a lot, so I grabbed my shotgun from the side of my bag. Already loaded thankfully, I didn’t want to make much noise. 12 gauge buckshot. My fire was just coals now, the dull glow illuminating the ground in front of me. I didn’t hear anything else, but I sat there at attention. I wasn’t going to get much sleep anyway. Ever feel like you’re being watched? Yeah. you know, that feeling? It’s horrifying. Some time in the night I dozed off, when I woke up, the sun was up, which was comforting.

I checked around my camp to see if anything was different, luckily, it wasn’t. I tore down my tent and packed up my stuff, I had to get going, I was already going to have a late start. I started down the trail once again, just happy I was free from the troubles of everyday life. A couple hours into walking, I realized I wasn’t familiar with this part of the forest, and I was curious to know where I was, so I climbed a nearby rocky hill. On my way up, I saw something odd, a rock overhang that didn’t look right, so I went to check it out. After making my way around so I could see the front of the rocks, I saw it wasn’t just an overhang. It was a cave. I’ve always been an explorer naturally, but sometimes i did some stupid shit, like going into unknown caves alone. If you fall down a crevice, you’re dead no matter what.

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My curious nature wouldn’t let me leave without seeing the inside of the cave first. I set my bag down and pulled out my mag-light, and walked towards the mouth of the cave. I shined my light inside the cave, a tunnel was illuminated, and I was just too curious. I walked into the cave and began down the rocky tunnel. The tunnel began a left hand turn, which I couldn’t see around. When I was able to, I saw it opened up into a room. The room wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t small either. The first thing I noticed was the smell. Musk and rot. The second thing I noticed were the bones. They. were. everywhere. I thought it must’ve been a mountain lion den, but I wasn’t worried, not with my 44 magnum. I shined my light around the chamber, didn’t see anything living, so I walked further in. my light fell on an opening at the other end of the chamber, another tunnel. I walked around the first chamber, seeing what I could find. “That’s strange”, I thought, as I had found pieces of clothing lying around. A bright orange jacket, shredded, and stained with black splatter. Maybe a discarded jacket, that a hunter had skinned a deer in, and the lion had dragged it back to the den, because it smelled like deer blood. I wasn’t exactly ready to try to venture further into this cave, but I pressed on a little ways. I’m just too curious. Bones crunching underneath my feet, I walked to the second tunnel, and it went off into the dark, and split into two paths. The ceiling in here was quite high, so the darkness just ate my light.

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I decided to turn back. It was starting to get dark, and I needed to find a spot to set up camp. I stood at the entrance to the cave for a minute to compose myself. I had a quick smoke, and began to look for a spot to pitch my tent. I found a nice flat spot, and started cooking my mre, while i set up my tent. I began eating my meal just inside the tent, with the flap open, and yet again, i heard something, like human feet, one two, one two, one two. What was strange, was the distance of the sounds. The distance between each footfall. At least 10 feet between every crunch of the leaves. They were very close. I hadn’t lit a fire, so i couldn’t see anything, and i didn’t dare turn on my flashlight, as i didn’t want to alert whatever or whoever was out there. I was miles into the woods, so seeing another person at this time of evening was very strange. I waited a while with my shotgun, and I didn’t hear anything else, so I went to sleep. Foolish. I didn’t hear anything else, meaning, I didn’t hear it move away from me. I woke up to breathing outside my tent. I was mortified. The breathing was high up, like it was in a tree or something, but it was loud. I picked up my shotgun, which was laying beside me, and sat up slowly. The breathing continued as I sat there, motionless. It had not occurred to me before then, but I had left my tent flap open, not that it would help much being closed. I clicked the crossbar safety on my shotgun off. It clicked a little louder than desired, as the gun was fairly new, and the breathing seemed to move closer to the surface of the tent, and I could almost hear sniffing.

I was paralyzed with fear, gripping my shotgun in a death grip. Then it hit me. I was breathing very lightly through my mouth until now, and I took a deep breath through my nose. The smell of carrion and rotting flesh filled my nostrils as I winced from the smell. At that moment I realized I was going to die if I didn’t do something. I carefully slipped my 44 magnum out of my bag, tucked it into my waistband, and picked up my flashlight. I listened for the breathing, and I aimed my shotgun at the roof of the tent where I heard the breathing coming from, took a deep breath, prepared myself, and fired. A thunderous roar emanated out through the still air, and I would have pissed myself, if I wasn’t already in motion. I bolted from the tent, clicking my light on, as I ran through the forest. The creature roared again, as I heard thunderous footsteps behind me, quickly closing the distance. Trees snapped and fell as the creature gave chase. I quickly changed direction and bolted right, jumping the creek with the adrenaline coursing through my veins. It had momentarily lost track of me, so I took the chance to turn around to defend myself. I shined my light around in the area I heard it, and I spotted what was chasing me. In the very short moments that I got to look at it, what I saw horrified me beyond belief.

The thing was at least 15 feet tall, bipedal, with pale gray skin. Its head was similar to a dog’s head, but much larger, and longer. Spiraling horns shot out from the top of its head, each at least 3 feet long. long sharp scythe like claws on its hands and feet. Pale jet black eyes trained on me, it charged me, beginning to close the distance rapidly, I raised my shotgun, and unloaded the tube into the beast’s chest. 5 shots. Thank god I had bought an extended tube for my shotgun. The beast roared in pain, but seemed only stunned by the shots. I turned and began to run yet again. Trying to put as much distance between myself and the beast before it came to its senses and began to give chase, I ran faster than I ever had before. I slowed down momentarily, fumbling in my pocket for more shotgun shells, and luckily I found some. Four one ounce slugs. I loaded them into my gun, trying not to drop any as I jogged through the forest, holding the light between my teeth. A thought came to me, I remembered my light had a strobe function.

“Maybe it would disorient it” I thought as I ran. My heart dropped as I heard a roar and heavy footsteps pounding the forest floor towards me. I switched my flashlight to strobe, and turned to face the beast. Through the flashes of light, I saw the creature making 10 foot bounds towards me on all fours. I focused the light in its eyes, as I assumed it was mostly nocturnal, in the moments I had enough time to think. The beast slowed down drastically, as it tried to cover its eyes, fumbling to its right, and ramming into a tree. It roared in anger, stood up on its hind legs, and splintered the medium sized maple tree with its claws. I raised my shotgun, blasted all four slugs into the creature’s torso. It roared in pain, but again seemed relatively unfazed. I reached for more shells, but found none. I had left them in my bag which I had ditched when I ran from the tent. I still had a 44 magnum and a pocket full of rounds. I drew my 44 from its holster on my hip, pulled the hammer back, and nailed the creature once in the head.

The results from this shot ended in making the beast angrier. It threw its arms to its sides and roared a primal roar of rage, and charged. I bolted right, around a large pine tree, as the beast was nearly on top of me. It smashed the tree with its claws, sending chips of wood flying at me. I dodged in between trees as I ran from it yet again. I turned yet again, hitting in the eyes with my strobe light, stunning it momentarily. I had no idea how far I had run, but I pressed on. The sun was beginning to rise, overcast clouds in the sky. Vision was gradually improving, working to my advantage. Still being trailed by the creature, as I ran, I ran right out of the tree-line and directly into a road. I had never been so happy to see pavement in my whole life. The sight of something manmade filled me with determination as I had no intent of being shredded today.

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There was no way I could avoid it in the open, so I darted back into the tree-line, and began to run along the tree-line down the road. I turned once again, and unloaded the rest of my cylinder into the creature. It jerked in pain and frustration as I began to increase the distance between us. Then I saw it. Headlights in the distance. Maybe a mile out. I was running towards it, as it was driving in my direction, so the distance was closed quite quickly. When it was about 200 feet away, I ran from the tree-line in front of the truck. A 1970s Chevy. It pulled closer and began to slow down as I ran towards it yelling. The driver must’ve seen the creature running after me, and screamed for me to jump in the bed, which I did. The truck tires screeched as it peeled away. We began picking up speed, as the creature gave chase. It began to bound and leap on all fours, as I opened the cylinder on my revolver, and began to load each round. Just as I closed the cylinder, the creature had gotten close enough to reach the truck, slashing at the back of the vehicle, smashing the tailgate off. I unloaded the gun into the creature’s face, as it fell backwards. unable to pick up enough speed to catch the truck again, it roared, and bounded back into the forest from which it came. I sat back in the bed of the truck and began to laugh, as the distance between that thing and I increased. Just glad I was able to escape with my life.

If your ever alone, deep in the woods, and feel like you’re being watched, you probably are.

Credit: Roland Curtis

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