I first gazed upon the old farmstead in complete and utter awe. The land had an unnatural beauty to it. It would call out, like a tugging sensation, to those who ventured within its boundaries.
I’m not sure exactly how to put it, but it’s similar to those old stories of how a mermaid caught the attention of ancient sailors, putting them into a trance at the sound of their voice and later on, feast on the flesh.
No, this place wasn’t normal..
Whenever I find myself, regrettably, thinking back on it; the first thing I recall is the vast and seemingly never-ending, rolling hills that remained in a constant golden glow of sunlight.
The land was like something out of a fairy tale.
Flocks of small birds pecked at the ground for worms and the deer grazed at the edges of the fields. Water in the creek gently lapped over the stones. The trees bore many fruits and nuts and the bushes provided us with berries for making pies.
It was perfect.
The house my father purchased, sat at the edge of the field next to the rustic barn.
During the day, my father would tend to the fields and ensure we’d have a good harvest. As for I and my mother, our mornings were booked with my home schooling.
The account begins on a sunny afternoon in the midst of an early spring.
I, my ten-year-old self with a stick in one hand and a dollar store compass in the other, and my dog, Spitz, who followed me with his tongue hanging out and his tail wagging excitedly, both decided to take an adventure into the deep woods, a place neither of us had explored before.
It must’ve been hours before Spitz and I stumbled upon it. The place hidden among the trees. A place no one was meant to see. We waltzed through the mud and weeds spread across the forest floor, before stopping for a rest.
I had only just sat down on a stump, when Spitz went crazy. He ran ahead, barking and so I chased after him, my feet feeling weighted down from the exhaustion.
I called his name repeatedly as I ran and eventually slipped in the squishy mud. Upon reaching the bottom of the hill, I took a moment to gather myself and stood.
I found him. At last I had caught up to him. Spitz, my adventure buddy and faithful companion was showing an emotion I had never seen him display before.
When my sight traced his, it was at this moment that my world shattered. The moment the magic of the farm dissipated to reveal the hell hidden in plain sight.
In the centre of a small clearing, sat a heap of dead animals. Raccoons, possums, deer (mostly Deer) and at the top, a bear. This wasn’t what disturbed me however, it wasn’t the fact that the animals were dead, nor that they had been gathered into a pile by someone or something, but rather the state of which they were in.
The bodies had been shredded to pieces, ripped apart like… bread given to a toddler.
The bear was the worst. His mouth was cut at the edges and stuffed with parts of the dead animals. His belly had burst open, down the middle, and thick intestines spilled out. Foam dripped from the bear’s mouth and his eyes were rolled back. His arms and legs were ripped off and scattered among the treetops. A mixture of fresh and dried blood surrounded the pile of animals.
I remember standing before the pile and bawling my eyes out, not out of sadness or pity, but a severity of fear I’d never known. Yeah, I’ve been scared plenty of times, but nothing came close to this.
I dragged my feet through the door as night fell. Supper was quiet enough to trigger red flags within my parents, yet when asked what happened, my mouth wouldn’t form the words.
After dinner was over and I had helped with the dishes, I made my way to my room and hopped into bed.
I awoke sometime later to a voice from the moonlit window. “Meow… Meow…” I simply cracked one eye open. Even under the cover of the darkness in my room, where I was sure it wouldn’t see me, I dared not move. This wasn’t a cat, it sounded like a… mentally impaired kid… trying to mimic one instead.
Outside, nothing moved.
The trees loomed high, yet they themselves appeared paralyzed in fear.
The crickets, which normally sung to the vast ocean of stars overhead, were dead quiet tonight.
A few minutes passed and even the meowing stopped, this exemplified the horror I was already feeling. Blood pulsed through my body and I could scarcely breathe.
Whatever the source was, it was now listening… and then… It was moving, stalking.
It wasn’t until the… *thing* wandered into the light, that I caught my first glimpse of it. The nightmarish beast crept along the ground on all fours.
It had the head and body of a deer, the arms and legs of a bear, and the tail of wolf. “Meow… Meow…”
Tears spilled down my cheeks when I realized where the monster was heading.
Spitz’ dog box.
Spitz only got a single bark in before his jugular was ripped out and flung into the side of Dad’s old truck. A choking/gurgling noise replaced the barking as blood spurted across the lawn.
“Meow… Meow…” The creature stood on its hind legs and grabbed Spitz, pulling at him in opposite directions until the horrid sight of Spitz spinal cord being ripped from his now limp body, played out in front of me.
His intestines just… splattered on the ground… popping like water balloons. I couldn’t do anything besides watch that animal or… demon drag the corpse of my dog, my friend, my… my adventure buddy into the deep woods…
After that, I… went quiet. I hardly left my room. I missed my dog, yes, but I also feared whatever it was that had killed him. The world didn’t make sense anymore. If that creature exists, what other horrors are waiting out there? It’s true what they say: ignorance is bliss.
A week or so later, the beast returned.
I awoke that night to the sound of something rubbing against the window. As before, I cracked an eye open and my heart nearly leapt out of my throat.
On the other side of the glass was Spitz. Or rather, what was left of him. His bottom jaw had been ripped off and a tongue hung down in the night air. It smeared my dog’s head across the glass like a sponge.
I laid frozen in terror. Somehow the monster knew where I was. How it discovered where in the house I slept, I had no idea.
But clearly it had found me. It wasn’t going anywhere and I was feeling more and more trapped in my room with each passing moment.
Then, it dug the bear claws into the siding of the house as it spoke… The damn thing spoke… in the lull of a maiden’s voice.
“coMe… oUtSide. i wANt tO… pLaY.”
It beckoned to me… for hours, to leave the comfort of the house…
Just before dawn, I watched it turn into a woman. Black hair fell upon the pale skin of her shoulders and a pair of soulless yellow eyes stared at me. She wore the attire of a posh woman in the late 1700s, but appeared no older than 30.
I remember the woman stared intently into the room and made a slight smirk, yet before leaving, she mouthed the words. “Tonight you come out or I come in,” and with that she bounded away faster than any human or animal could ever have.
That night, that… horrible night, I hid in the kitchen cabinets as the monster entered the house from what sounded like the front door. I listened while it slaughtered my entire family. My father’s screams still haunt my nightmares today. The wails that came from his mouth were enough to make me freeze. Whatever the hell it did to him, I wasn’t budging from my hidey hole to find out. Next was my mother and little sister.
All through the night, it searched and searched, tearing apart the house and calling to me in that sick… lady… voice.
I thanked the false panel of the cupboard I don’t know how many times. There was no doubt if I hadn’t found it when we first moved in, I would already be dead.
On a single occasion, the beast swung all the cabinets open and swiped all the pots and pans to the floor, enraged at not finding me.
I don’t think it expected to find me in there. No, it mostly tore apart the bedrooms, closets and bathrooms.
By dawn, it had given up.
Perhaps it thought I left earlier in the day to spend the night at a neighbor or relative’s or maybe I simply fled. Either way, as far as it was concerned, I’d been long gone and with that it left, defeated.
I waited for hours, well past 10AM before I crawled out of the wreckage and snatched the wireless phone. I dialed 911 from my safe spot and practically whispered into the phone.
The sirens blared about 30 minutes later and an officer walked me to the safety of his squad car.
I never looked back at the dilapidated house for the next 18 years.
It wasn’t until I visited the town once more to attend my grandmother’s funeral, that I heard the old farm brought up.
My older cousin just shook his head as he told me of the missing people that accumulated throughout the years. Some families were lucky and only lost a pet and some lost everything. The home was currently abandoned.
My great aunt, who happened to sit near us, told my cousin and I about the creature. She and her grandmother before her, had called it: blóð hjörð or blood deer. A foul creature that shifts into the animals it has killed and offered as sacrifice to the old gods. The natives of this land called it ‘Skinwalker’.
I suppose the reason I’m writing this down at the moment, is so someone may know what happened to me.
I saw her… I saw her face peering at me from inside the vents no less than 20 minutes ago. She was making a racket, but now the house is dead silent… and I fear this time, there is no place to hide….