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Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
My grandmother would always tell me ghost stories when I was young boy. She would tell me why I would always wake up at 3am with a heavy weight on my chest, or why I would hear the walls creek in the winter. Now that I’m older, I know that these stories of hers could be explained with things like sleep paralyses or the heat coming on in an old house. But there was one story she told me that I have yet to debunk.
“Never wander off alone on a cold winter night” she would say. To anyone with half a brain, this should already be obvious for many different reasons, none of which are supernatural. However, when she continued with her cautionary tale, the consequences were not what you might have expected. “For if you stray away from your family and friends, you will fall victim to the snow and HE will find you.”
“W-who?” I asked in a shaky voice.
“He who breaths tainted life into what has long since perished. The necromancer who lives beneath the ice.”
“W-what will he do?”
“What he does is unspeakably horrific” she said, her mouth twisting up into a sinister grin “when he finds you, wandering alone in his domain, he will pierce your heart with his cold, icy claws. But the nightmare does not end here. After you are dead, he will bring you back as his undead slave, a cold, mindless zombie, a Wight!” This is typically where my parents would step in and tell my grandmother she was scaring me. She would continue with these stories up until the day she died, but never did admit to any of them being fiction.
When I got older, my grandmother’s stories began to fade into the back of my mind. In truth, I never really thought about them at all, until recently. I was a junior in college and lived with my girlfriend at the time, Jessica, in a small apartment in Northern Massachusetts. During winter break, we decided to go on a ski trip together. Nothing fancy, just a weekend trip. As we were packing the last of our gear into my car, my girlfriend hesitated for a moment.
“Is everything ok?” I asked, thinking that maybe she was having second thoughts.
“Yea, I’m fine,” she said “It’s just, someone said something really weird to me in class the other day, and it’s just been bugging me.” I turned to her after making sure the last of our belongings were safely in the trunk.
“Can you tell me what? I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.” She looked up.
“They told me that those mountains are haunted by a girl that died there a couple of years ago.” It took me a moment to think about what she said. It was true that a young girl did go missing a few years back and one of her friends was later found dead, but I had never heard any ghost stories involving the incident or those mountains.
“Don’t let them scare you” I said with a smile “they probably just wanted some attention.” She looked at me, reassured, and gave me a kiss.
“I guess you’re right. After all, I have you to protect me.” With that, I gave her a hug and we were on our way.
We reached our destination after a couple of hours. It had begun to snow, but nothing that would hinder our ability to ski. After a quick lunch, we headed out to complete our first run of the day. When we got to the top of the ski lift, we made our way to a trail marked with a green square.
“Ready to go?” I asked, readjusting my goggles.
“Lead the way!” Jessica replied, “just stop halfway down in case I fall behind.”
The trail wasn’t challenging at all, but I figured we might have wanted to start off easy. After all, neither of us had skied in over two years, so I was convinced we’d be rusty. It was just like riding a bike. After I got the hang of it again I was finding every little bump I could to jump off. Since it was a beginner trail though, they were hard to find. I slid to a stop at the halfway point. Jessica was nowhere in sight. I knew she was a strong skier, so wasn’t really worried about her falling or getting hurt on such an easy run.
Ten minutes passed, no Jessica. Twenty minutes passed, still no Jessica. After a half an hour of waiting, I knew something was seriously wrong. I took my skis off and walked up the mountain. There was no sign of her at all. Nobody even looked concerned like they might have if they saw her crash. It was almost as if she just vanished. With no luck, I put my skis back on and returned to the lodge. I told staff what happened but, even after hours of searching, even they couldn’t find her. I felt like I was living in a bad dream. This was the kind of thing that happened in movies, but never in real life. Before it got too dark. I decided to try my luck and search by the woods near the lodge.
“Jessica!” I yelled “Jessica! Where are you!” No answer. I was blinded by my determination and before I knew it I was so deep into the snow and trees I had no idea how to get back. It started to get dark. I was scared, not only for what might have happened to my girlfriend, but for myself. I was lost in the woods at night during the winter. I was an adult and was taught to believe in logic. But for some reason, I couldn’t get my dead grandmother’s voice out of my head.
“Never wander off alone on a cold winter night. For if you stray away from your family and friends, you will fall victim to the snow and HE will find you.” I felt like I was going insane. Why was I so scared of this made up creature more than something that made sense like lack of food or a wild animal. All of a sudden, I heard a soft voice that brought me back to reality.
“I’m cold…” It said. For a second, I thought maybe it was Jessica.
“Jessica!? Is that you!” I should have run. I should have got out of those woods as soon as I felt the fear manifest inside my chest.
“I’m cold.” The voice repeated, only this time, it was louder. It wasn’t Jessica. The voice sounded ethereal. I felt like a small animal trapped in cage just waiting for my inevitable demise. It was then, that I locked eyes with a young girl. For a moment, time stood still, and the world seemed to go quiet. The girl was wearing a long coat and what looked like a beret. Her hair was short and blended in with the snow. What shook me to my core though, were her eyes. They were nothing but black sockets with glowing blue orbs in the middle. If it wasn’t for the eerie blue light they emitted, I would have never seen the body crumpled in a heap in front of her. It was Jessica.
“J-Jessica?” I choked and fell backwards onto a nearby tree trunk. My whole body was numb. I truly felt as though this was the end. But the girl never moved. She just stood there above Jessica’s body, those horrible, blue lights not once taking their gaze off me. I stumbled, regaining feeling in my legs and started running. I had no idea where I was or if I would get out alive. Eventually, by some miracle, I made it out of those woods to the lodge.
I told the police what I saw that night. Well, some of what I saw anyways. I left out the part about the girl. They found Jessica’s body but never released a report of what caused her death. I took a semester off after the incident. My professors were understanding and told me to take care of myself.
It’s been a year since all of this happened. I’m doing well in school and even managed to land a part time job at the café by my apartment. People think I’m crazy when I tell them what I truly believe is lurking in those mountains and, frankly, I don’t blame them. So, for the fun of it, I’ll tell you my theory. That girl who went missing was the one I saw that night, standing over Jessica’s body. She fell victim to the snow and HE found her. He who breaths tainted life into what has long since perished. The necromancer who lives beneath the ice. What he did was unspeakably horrific. When he found her, wandering alone in his domain, he pierced her heart with his cold, icy claws. But the nightmare did not end there. After she died, he brought her back as his undead slave. A cold, mindless zombie… a Wight.
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