There is Something Strange in the English Woods

So, I’ll begin by explaining the context of what happened during a school trip that I went on a long time ago. Me and my friends signed up for a trip that involved camping in the woods. Boring, I know. But back then, the internet was a luxury. So going outside and doing something was your one of your only options. Plus, camping is not as boring as you think it is.

A quick introduction about my friends and me. Firstly, there is Jay. Jay is really laid-back. Nothing ever concerns him. Secondly, we have Alex. He is the smart one, always has good ideas. Thirdly, we have Jack. He is the person who we like to prank the most as he is always so clueless about what is going on around him. He also took a camera to the trip that I will be talking about, since he is a good photographer. Lastly, we have me. I’m a bit of a mix between Jay and Alex. My name is Nick, by the way.

Now, I’m going to explain how everything went down. It was the day before the last. On that specific day, we had some sort of an orienteering event. The rules were as follows:

You must get into groups of four. You will be given a sheet with coordinates and a map and a compass. Every time you arrive at the marked location, you will find a small yellow flag (unless if the flag has been taken, in which case you will find a sign saying “If the flag is not here, that means it has been taken”). The team with the most flags found will win and get a prize. Everyone is to start at the location which your supervisor tells you to go to. If someone asks your team for the location of a flag, do not tell them. If you get lost, follow the trails. They all lead to the camp. When you think you have enough flags, return to the camp.

Once all the teams were ready, a whistle was blown. Everyone rushed and pushed to get to the flags. While our team (with the help of Alex) mapped out the location of the flags. Early into the event, we actually got a pretty good amount of them. One time, we ran into a team and asked how much flags they’ve got. They had six less than us.

I began to notice strange things about the forest. Sometimes, when we were passing some places, our compass needle would freak out and point in all sorts of directions. But after some time, the needle would finally stop pointing in random directions and return to it’s original position. One time when the needle was freaking out, Jack turned to me, pointed into the direction of the needle and  quietly said, ‘look!’ I turned to see what he was pointing at, but… nothing was there. ‘I swear I saw two yellow glowing eyes! I’m not kidding!’ muttered Jack. ‘Oh stop lying, these woods are goddamn empty. I haven’t even seen a squirrel since the start of the event.’ Alex said, which was also kind of strange, if you think about it. No squirrels, no animals, nothing.

It was getting quite late and the sky began turning a strange mix of blue and red when Jay decided it would be a great idea to prank Jack. Jay told us his plan. We would give Jack our map and compass and tell him to hold it for a second. Once we gave our equipment to distract him, we would bolt out in different directions. That way, he wouldn’t be able to follow us. We would run back to Jack after several minutes and scare him. So that’s what we did. Alex gave Jack the map and I gave him the compass and told him to hold it for a second. ‘Huh?’ he replied. That’s when we bolted.

However, when we came back – much to our disappointment – Jack was no longer there. We shouted his name, we looked for him, but we could never find him. We thought he could’ve went back to camp, so we decided to stop orienteering and come back. When we came there, half of the teams were already there, the supervisors were checking if everyone made it to the camp and didn’t get lost. We searched the camp and came up empty handed. Jay (for the first time in many years) began to get worried. We didn’t want to get told off, so we could do nothing but go back and search for him.

After about an hour, me and friends were approaching a small cave. I remembered this was the place where the compass needle freaked out the most. Suddenly, I saw something shining on top of a small rock. I ran up to the object and picked it up. It was a camera, more specifically: Jack’s camera. ‘Hey guys, come take a look at what I found!’ I shouted.

After we had returned to our tent, we decided to look through the slideshow before searching for Jack again. At first, the pictures were taken when we were still with Jack. They were normal, just pictures of trees and plants. Then the pictures didn’t have us in the shot, meaning we had gotten to the part where we pranked him. The pictures started to get weird. They were no longer pictures of trees and plants but of shadows and dark hiding places. But the pictures got even stranger when the photos consisted of yellow orbs in the formation of eyes. ‘Hang on, those are eyes…’ I thought.

But it gets even stranger. Some pictures look like they are rushed and show a humanoid silhouette with what looked like antlers protruding from the head. The last picture is the strangest though. The picture seemed to have been taken by accident as the camera fell. The picture is upside down. It shows Jack being dragged by the humanoid into the small cave. Why didn’t we look through the cave before?

When we finished looking through the slideshow, Jay began swearing under his breath. ‘We need to get Jack.’ said Alex. ‘How?’ I asked. ‘What if Jack is dead?’ replied Jay. ‘Don’t say that!’ I shouted. ‘Shut up and listen to me’.  After shushing us, Alex told us the plan.

We grabbed the biggest and firmest sticks we could find, flashlights, and a new compass before storming into the forest. Every time the compass needle started moving randomly, we jumped onto the ground and hid. I also had a feeling as if someone was watching me, too. After some time, we finally made it to the cave.

For some reason, the needle was not freaking out anymore around the cave. We went inside it cautiously, looking out for one of those creatures. A few metres into the cave, Alex caught sight of a silhouette and shone a light at it. To our relief, it was Jack. The first thing we noticed about him was that his eyes were completely white. No iris, nothing.

I checked the compass to see if the needle was freaking out. It was. I looked at my friends and whispered ‘Guys?’  They looked behind me and shone their torches. I slowly turned around and saw it. That thing. It was huge, around 12 feet tall. It looked like it couldn’t even fit into the cave. It had completely unreflective yellow eyes. What we previously thought were antlers were actually just raw bone protruding from its head. Worst of all, the creature looked like it had hundreds of tiny teeth in the place of where its mouth should’ve been. The body looked human, though.

The creature grabbed me by the throat and lifted me of the ground. It stared at me for a few seconds. Out of nowhere, there was a loud crash before the creature dropped me and fell onto the ground. It took me a few seconds to realise what had just happened. Jay hit the thing so hard with his stick that it snapped into two pieces. Jack’s eyes suddenly appeared again. We saw and heard the injured creature howl. All around us yellow eyes appeared.

‘RUN!’ I screamed loudly, my voice echoing down the cave. We ran, hearing many footsteps behind us. But as we got closer to the camp, there were less and less footsteps until I could only hear only four pairs of footsteps. Our footsteps.

We had to lie to the supervisors why we got so late to the camp. We said that we got too carried away by the nature and lost Jack. We knew if we told the supervisors the truth they wouldn’t believe us. They told us to be careful next time and “thank our luck”.

The next day we had to go back home. Since then we’ve never went camping and have been good friends. Jack is now more wiser than before and sometimes has flashbacks to this event. I read about the forest that we went to and it turns out, it has closed down due to the number of disappearances in there. Personally, I’m just glad that we got out in time and that no one else disappeared.

In case if you were wondering, we came first in the orienteering event. All we got was a useless badge. If only we knew better.

  • HorrifyingPickles

    Tell me if you find any mistakes in my work, thanks!

    • Leeloo

      Hey, there is one when they first returned to camp – after they lost Jack – there is “Jack (for the first time in many years) looked worried” – it should be Jay I guess.
      Pretty good story though 😉

      • HorrifyingPickles

        Fixed it, thanks.

  • Puddin Tane

    Needs work. There are some grammatical errors in it. An ok story though.