Before I get to me, I need to start here. There’s a story people began telling in our town of Casper. They call it the Tale of Sam Fuller.
A while back, Sam and his little brother Toby were playing by the lake. Sam was using a rock to write things in the sand, and Toby was playing with his new shark toy. It didn’t take long before another group of kids came around. They started making fun of Sam. Apparently he would talk to himself in the mirror at night, and that story got out. The bullying persisted, and the boys demanded that Sam and Toby swim to the middle of the lake. Sam protested, saying Toby was too little and couldn’t swim.
That didn’t stop these boys. One of them threw Toby in while the others held Sam back. The main bully started throwing rocks at Toby to get him to swim deeper. It was obvious he was struggling but his fear of the rocks instinctively forced him to go deeper into the lake.
Sam fought to escape but it was to no avail. Toby didn’t get far before he started going under. The bullies were too busy dealing with Sam to notice. A rush of adrenaline hit Sam. He gouged one bullies’ eye, grabbed a stick, and pierced another boy’s leg with it.
Sam dove into the water and swam as fast as he could to rescue his brother. By this time Toby had gone under. There was no sign of him in the dark murky water. Sam frantically looked for Toby. He bawled and screamed in between dives. Eventually, he had expended too much energy, and he began to go under himself.
Coming to the realization that his brother was dead, Sam stopped attempting to swim. As his body gradually approached the lake’s dark floor he felt nothing but pure hatred. As he descended deeper, water entered his body, and his lungs began to collapse. It’s speculated that his last thoughts were that he would give anything to get his revenge.
Shortly after is when the disappearances started. The city was already in mourning due to the loss of the two boys lives. That story had been manipulated by the bullies, and was said to have been a terrible accident, no questions asked.
Didn’t take long before children started saying they saw a creature at night. The creature allegedly had pale, and permanently wet skin. It’s face was said to lack facial features, except for an abnormally large mouth, one that was constantly muttering.
One of the bullies was quickly found dead, impaled by dozens of sticks. Another was found dead in the lake. He’d been tied to a rock and drowned. His eyes had been gouged out. The final bully and his family moved out of Casper shortly after.
Those in the know say the creature is Sam Fuller reincarnated. That he’d made some deal with the devil to come back at the cost of his soul. That’d been the price he was willing to pay to get his revenge. Rumor spread that there were three signs he was coming for you. First, you’d be left a toy in a weird place, giving it a deeper meaning. Next, he’d carve you a message with a rock. Finally, he’d give you a glimpse of him in the mirror 24 hours before you’d die. The mental toll this took on you seemed to be its primary weapon.
Those in town didn’t seem too bothered by him going after the bullies. They justified it. Except it didn’t stop there. Lowlifes started to go missing. Rebellious teens were next and then it was children. Eventually anyone who did things the creature didn’t like became a target.
It became an unwritten rule in Casper that if you wanted to be left alone there were certain things you needed to avoid. Going to the lake after dark, or ever messing around near it was strictly prohibited. Throwing rocks was another. Lastly, you couldn’t speak ill of Sam or Toby Fuller. Once these ground rules were understood, things started calming down. The last alleged victim of Sam Fuller was a little girl named Verona White.
Anyways, I hate to force all of that on you but it’s important to understand how and why things work the way they do in this town. I’d been overseas for years, only recently returned, and I missed that entire chapter in the history of Casper.
When I returned I had decided to make up for lost time. I unpacked at the old family cabin, and did some maintenance in the shed, including a little painting. The shed was not in any condition to be useful at that point, and the work to make the necessary changes was extensive. I noticed a bottle of vodka in the liquor drawer, and emptied it out. I decided to fill it up with something more appropriate. All in all it took about a week.
After I fulfilled my obligations I wanted to reach out to an old friend. It’d been forever since Mark and I had gone fishing, and it was about time we changed that.
Today, Mark was late. I’d gotten to the lake just before dawn, and the wait was beginning to wear on me. We’d always started fishing at the same time, and yet today he was at least 45 minutes late. There wasn’t much to do so I began skipping rocks.
The light from the moon was replaced by that of the sun, and after a while I simply sat down to wait for him. He arrived soon after.
“You’re late,” I said.
“Don’t wanna get here too early these days,” he replied.
“Why? The kids around here a problem nowadays?” I asked.
“Something like that,” he said. With that we pushed his canoe into the water. I was filled with a rush of familiarity. The cool breeze washed across my face, reminding me of my many trips out here. I’d never forget the scent of this lake as long as I lived.
“I heard you’ve gotten yourself a few medals. ” He said.
“I would have preferred if I hadn’t,” I replied. He chuckled.
The hours flew by. We did some catching up but mostly just enjoyed nature in its purest form. I don’t know exactly how long we were out there. I suggested we head back, and Mark agreed. I tried to adjust my position on the boat but lost my balance stepping over some rods. I fell into Mark, knocking him into the water.
I had started laughing but Mark immediately started to scream.
“It was an accident! I swear! It was an accident!”
It was hard to tell, it looked like flailing from where I was standing but it appeared Mark was trying to gesture something. His face was pale, and his eyes were darting back and forth at his surroundings.
“Yeah, I know Mark, that was my fault,” I said, reaching my hand out towards his.
“I’m not talking to you!” Mark gasped, grabbing my hand and struggling back into the canoe.
“Well then who the hell are you talking to?” I asked. That’s when he told me all about Sam Fuller.
“Really? That’s a pretty unbelievable story Mark.” I said.
“I have a family Grayson, I’m not risking anything,” he replied.
We made our way back to land and said our goodbyes. I gazed upon the lake once more to admire its beauty. Then I started to chuckle. Sam Fuller. The lake creature. Yeah right.
I made my way back to my truck. I was going to be hiking later and figured now was as good a time as any to change into my boots. I grabbed them out of my backpack, and began to put them on.
As I did so my right foot met some resistance. There was something inside. I pulled it out. A shark toy? What the hell? I pondered what this could be.
Oh I see.
I was being messed with. A shark in my boot. A predator was afoot. Talk about on the nose. I laughed it off, and went on my way. I placed the toy in the passenger seat of my truck.
I called up my old flame Molly to join my hike. It’d been forever since we’d seen each other, and she had always loved hiking. We spent the day laughing away at all the good times we’d had. It was really good seeing her again. I dropped her off at home, and kissed her goodbye. It had been a great day.
That night I had trouble sleeping. There were these loud scraping sounds outside. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. The old cabin didn’t have any neighbors in close proximity.
When I awoke the next morning I got my answer. Something had been carved into the pavement. It was the word ‘next’. Well that’s just perfect. If Sam Fuller was real, he worked quickly. If he pops up in my mirror I know exactly what I’m going to do…hand him a bill for this shit.
The rest of the day went by without incident. I bought some ammo and put it next to the gun rack in the shed, just in case. Before I knew it the sun had come and gone. I was brushing my teeth when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. My eyes darted in that direction, and I saw a glimpse of something horrifying.
In an instant it was out of sight but the details have been seared into my brain. The pale gray skin, dripping with water. The absence of facial features except the mouth. That disgusting mouth. Extending the entire width of the face each part of it moving autonomously. As if it were a combination of different mouths, each trying to tell its own story, bending unnaturally to do so.
I gently left the bathroom and surveyed my surroundings. There wasn’t anyone there. I looked down to my left, and noticed that some of the carpet had darkened. It was wet.
So he was real.
The rest of the story must be true then as well. He’d be coming for my life in 24 hours. For the first time, fear had begun to creep in. It was really hitting me now. I was going to be hunted by an entity of unknown strength and ability. It’s quite possible that this was my last night on this planet.
I had to ask myself an important question-if this was it for me, how did I want to spend my last day? I tossed and turned all night contemplating the answers to this question. I awoke the next morning around 6 am. I had roughly 16 hours to live.
Despite all the tossing and turning, I realized that at my core I am truly a simple man. I didn’t have many desires. After I awoke I went fishing out on the lake again in an attempt to ease my nerves. By the time I got off the lake I had 10 hours to go.
I drove around town, remembering the days of my youth, and all the good times I’d had in Casper. Eight hours to go.
I went to the firing range to see how rusty I was. Six hours to go.
I hit up Molly again. If this was my last day, I wanted to spend my last few free hours with her. I took her to dinner, and then we rekindled some of the old magic for a bit.
Before I knew it, it was time to get back. There was one hour left. The sun had set. Only one last thing to do.
I made it back to the property with about twenty minutes left. I grabbed the shark toy and one other thing from the seat, and headed inside the cabin. From there I made my way over to the kitchen. I browsed through the liquor cabinet and found the recently filled vodka bottle. In one hand was the bottle, the other held the toy that had forewarned me of my impending doom.
I wanted things to be on my terms, and I headed over to the shed. Inside I looked to my gun rack. It was empty. The ammo was missing too. Yep, only one last thing to do. I took a seat on a bench at the far end of the room, and I drank away.
I don’t know exactly how long it took from that point on before I heard the rustling outside. Should’ve been minutes but felt like hours; my mind was racing and it all blurred together. I knew exactly what was coming.
That’s when the door creaked open.
“Sam F…Fuller, I…I presume,” I said turning around in my seat.
There he was, in all of his disgusting glory. Every inch of his gray figure dripping. Now that I had a good view of him, I noticed his limbs appeared elongated, and that his joints allowed a greater range of motion than any human had. His mouth widened, forming what I could only assume was a smile as he took a few steps closer to me. My gaze moved from his head to his feet.
“Allow mee to intr…introduce…myself. My name…is Grayson…Grayson White.”
The mouth didn’t flinch but there was a little movement where the eyes should’ve been. Almost like little circles were hiding underneath the layer of gray this thing called a face.
“Y…you took my…guns. Now I’m justttt a helpless d…drunk,” I stammered.
I continued, “If that’s what you thought, you’d be wrong,” I waved the bottle in my left hand. “This is actually water. I’ve been waiting for you, you piece of shit.”
I instantly threw the toy I was holding in my right hand to the left of the creature, drilling the wall, hitting a button painted white. The floor beneath Sam folded downward, and he fell.
I slowly made my way over to the rectangular hole in the floor and peered down. There was Sam, his body impaled en masse by sharpened silver spikes. He wailed a grotesque howl as puss exited his many piercing wounds.
“I don’t know your state of consciousness or awareness. So I don’t know if you understand me or not. But like you, I tragically lost a sibling.”
I pulled the other item I’d taken from the car out of my pocket, a remote. It had three buttons lined up vertically in the middle. I hit the top button. More spikes shot out horizontally, piercing him further, and dismembering his form. By the wails I could tell that despite being ripped and torn apart, he was still alive.
“Also like you, I would’ve done anything to get revenge.”
I hit the middle button on the remote and sprinklers rained down from above over the hole. The stench of gasoline filled the air. It was so strong I could taste it. My foe peered up at me, and even without eyes I could tell he was staring bullets through me.
“The funny thing about revenge is that it’s short sighted. If you justify revenge against others, you will give others reason to justify revenge against you. It’s a never ending cycle. I didn’t start it, you didn’t start it, and neither did the boys who killed your brother. But we all perpetuated it.”
I sighed. My arm extended and I slowly wagged the remote back and forth. With my other hand I methodically moved my pointer finger closer and closer to the button on the bottom, pausing for a brief moment.
“The truth is Sam Fuller, we’re the same. I, like you, am a part of this cycle. I’ve been a part of it for a long time. I know eventually the cycle will come back for me. But today, it’s come for you. For Verona White, may you rot in hell,” I said, pressing the third button. The hole was immediately set ablaze. The heat was tremendous, and parts of my skin singed. I didn’t budge. It was worth it to keep my eyes on this pitiful creature burn straight to hell.
I waited until the flames waned, pissing on the ruins to douse the final embers. I looked down at my handiwork, and saw the burnt remains of my prey. I’d avenged my sister.
I admit I had expected there to be more remains. It was almost like all that was left was a burnt outer husk.
Credit: Sam Gallenberger
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