You hear all the time, “Kids are afraid of monsters and ghosts, but when you become an adult, you’ll be afraid of the death of a loved one or taxes.” or “I’m way more afraid of real people than ghosts or monsters.” But I can assure you that not only kids can be afraid of monsters and you should be very scared of them. When I was in my sophomore year of college, I went on a fishing trip with my older brother, Aiden, during the summer. My brother reserved a cabin for us in the Wapalo Lake, a very popular location in upstate Maine. The sparkling green-blue lake and the calmness of the area welcomed me instantly.
After unloading our luggage into the cabin, I grabbed my fishing rod and rushed to the lake. My brother staying behind to quickly finish some work. I set my chair along the edge of the lake and cast my line. The woods to my back and the chirping and chattering of the woodland creatures within relaxed me. Eventually, I fell asleep.
I woke up when the sun was starting to set. I chastised myself for letting the peaceful ambience overcome me. A very dreadful feeling spread over my body and I had no idea how such a peaceful place could convey such a malicious aura. Suddenly, I knew why. There was an uncomfortable silence that filled the air. This area that was once blooming with life was replaced with utter nothingness. I quickly collected my belongings and ran back to my cabin, not even daring to turn around until I got to the door. I gripped the doorknob, ready to run inside if I felt threatened to. I quickly turned my head towards the woods. Nothing. There was nothing out of ordinary about the woods. I breathed out a sigh of relief and opened the door. My brother was sitting on the couch, watching television. “Hey, Cade. Why were you out there so long and somehow didn’t come back with any fish?” I smirked, walked over to him and punched him in the shoulder. “Well, I would have come back sooner if your stupid a*s didn’t take so long getting here. I have jet lag and we DROVE here!” We both laughed and Aiden handed the remote to me. “Alright, I’m a bit worn out, so I’m heading to bed.”
“Okay, don’t forget that we’re going fishing in the morning!”
Aiden gave a slight wave and walked into his room and closed his door. I plopped down on the sofa and changed the channel to the one of my choice. I continued watching television until I heard a barely audible shriek from outside. “What the hell?” I voiced aloud. I paused the television and slowly walked over to the window. My heart was pounding in my chest when I grabbed the curtain. I quickly yanked it open and was both relieved and dissatisfied. There was nothing but dormant, dark cabins and the moonlit lake that welcomed me at the window. I closed the curtains and chuckled to myself. “I’m really getting myself worked up over nothing. It really has been awhile since I’ve been out in the woods.”
I decided to call it a night because I finally settled on that I was possibly really tired.
I climbed in my bed and tried to drift off into a peaceful slumber. I tossed and turned for about an hour until I felt a cold shiver run up my spine. The moonlight was shining in through my window that lacked a curtain. In the midst of the light, I saw a black mass pass by my window. My heart started palpitating rapidly again. I closed my eyes and hoped it was just a late night fisher and not something malicious. I eventually drifted off into an uneasy sleep.
I woke up to the sun hitting my face, or what I thought was the sun. In reality, it was Aiden shining the light of a flashlight in my face. “What are you doing, assh-” Aiden cut me off before I could finish my sentence. “Get your knife and come outside with me,” Aiden demanded, a slight quiver in his voice. My knife was used for when we gutted fish, but from his countenance, I knew he meant it for something else. “Why? What happened?”
“I heard something outside, like someone in pain being silenced,” Aiden said, hushed. I was a bit hesitant at first. Wasn’t this how people in horror movies died? However, there was no stopping my brother and I didn’t want him to go alone. “Fine, but if I even hear a stick crunch, we are going inside.”
Aiden nodded and exited the room. I threw off my covers and grabbed my knife. I met my brother by the door and we crossed the threshold into the cold night. We quietly made our way down the steps and walked towards the other cabins. “I heard the noise from over here,” Alden whispered, pointing towards the nearest cabin. We made it to the front of the cabin and found something very peculiar. The front door was open. I started to panic and turned to run back to the cabin. I felt Aiden grab my arm. “Cade, please. What if someone needs our help?” I pulled my arm away from his grasp. “Aiden, enough with your hero complex. If someone is in trouble, that’s their issue. I am not risking anything to help someone I don’t know. Now, are you coming back with me or not?” Aiden had a hurt and shocked looked on his face. Eventually, he said, “Okay, little bro. You go to bed if you want, I’m going to stay out here a little bit longer.”
I sighed and sprinted back to the cabin. I closed the door behind me and felt an immense amount of guilt, the feeling tugging at me that I should go back out there. I shook off the feeling and went to bed, having yet another restless sleep.
Eventually, the actual sun shone through my window and awoke me from my rest. It was very… quiet. “Aiden?” I called out, expecting to hear a sarcastic response back. It didn’t come. I jumped out of my bed in hysterics. I looked for Aiden all around the cabin. He wasn’t there. I felt a hot tear run down my face. I quickly wiped it away and tried to rationalize with myself, “He’s probably just fishing. He promised he would fish today.”
I opened the door and was met with an eerie silence. I looked around the cabins and didn’t find a single soul, despite it being highly busy the day before. I was yelling for Aiden, but he didn’t reply. I make my way towards the lake and stop dead in my tracks. My brother, along with eight unidentifiable others were hanging from the trees in the forest. Their entrails pulling out of their bodies and their faces disfigured to the point of almost no recognition that their face had once belonged to a human. The only reason I knew one of them was my brother because of his college sweatshirt that was now torn and bloody. The silence was finally filled with my blood curdling screams filling the air.
I’m much older now, this memory haunting me every day of my life. Fortunately, I no longer have to worry about this memory plaguing my thoughts for much longer. I have always felt like I wasn’t supposed to make it out alive. I can’t help but smile as I hear heavy footsteps stalking down my hallway, ominous scratching on the walls filling my head. Finally… finally I will get rest for the first time in years.