Note from the Author: I have been publishing my stories later than I want to lately, so here's an early segment and I will try to get a third out overnight.  I feel better about this story than the last one so enjoy πŸ˜€  And thank you for reading!

 

The old log cabin had seen better days, the door was barely hanging on, swinging lightly in the breeze with a high pitched squeak, then thump against the outside wall. We stood there, mouths open in utter shock. None of us ever believed it existed but here it was in all its dilapidated glory. Then reality hit every one of us right between the eyes.

If this is real, could it be possible the thing guarding these woods is real too? We are in the middle of monster territory with no idea which way was town.

We were dumb kids, barely 15, and thought we knew everything and nothing could ever hurt us. That one moment, 20 years ago, changed everything. Without intending to, that night we unleashed an evil we never dreamed possible, and that little country town and all it's secrets will never forget that summer (and most likely will never forgive us stupid kids).

See, we had been told stories our whole lives, stories of "The Guardian of the Forest". According to legend, it had the head and antlers of an Elk, it had long, skinny arms with sharp, pointed talon-like claws, with a body so skinny it's rib cage was well defined, it walked hunched over but moved smoothly and swiftly. By all accounts, it was a Windigo, only it wasn't, not exactly. See this creature was also a shapeshifter, it would turn into someone you know and trust and lure you into its grasp and make you do things, horrible, terrible things. If that didn't drive you to the most literal form of insanity, then you would turn into a creature yourself and guard the forest for years and years.

Pretty unbelievable, right? We thought so, up until that fateful summer that changed our lives forever.

Here we were, in the last purple light of sunset, standing in the middle of the clearing, gaping at this skeleton of a log cabin that up until that very moment, didn't exist in our minds. We all looked at each other silently. Finally Max said "might as well take a look" Luke shrugged "I'm in". Becca looked terrified, her eyes were the size of saucers. "Come on, Becca" I said quietly "we don't want to be standing around out here alone when it gets completely dark" I reached for her arm and gently pulled her along. "Gabby?" She said quietly. "Hmm?" I was staring at that cabin and barely paying attention. "How are we going to find our way home?" I paused, mostly because I was wondering the same thing but didn't want her to see that I was just as scared as she was, I was fairly certain that would drive her to hysterics. 
"Don't worry, we will find the way, we just got turned around. Once we get our bearings, we will be home in no time" I sounded way more confident than I felt.

The four of us found ourselves standing at the front door. Luke looked the cabin up and down "are we sure this piece of junk won't collapse on us?" He asked, but Max was already inside. "Hey guys! Are you coming?!" Luke sighed and stepped over the threshold. Us girls were on his heels.

The inside was just as bad as outside, there were plates sitting on the table with what once must have been edible food, but now was some form of black mush. I looked around with my hand covering my mouth and nose from the putrid smell. "Guys? Let's get out of here before I throw up!" I called to the guys.

Just then, both boys screamed, and I mean an all out terrified, blood curdling scream...in stereo. Then thumping of feet running clumsily toward us. "We're getting out of here!" Max yelled as he flew past me. I didn't care why were running, I was happy to just get out of there before the smell sunk into my clothes and hair.

We were back out in the clearing, catching our breath "what did you see?" I asked when I caught up. "Gabby! We don't need to know, I just want to go home and forget this!" Becca whined. Ignoring her, Max answered, breathing hard "blood..looked like...blood...everywhere" he bent over with his hands on his knees, catching his breath. "Let's get out of here" Luke said in a shaky voice. The rest of us just nodded and headed back into the trees.

The sun had finally set, as we entered the tree line, I stole a look back at the cabin, out of curiosity maybe, or maybe I felt like someone was back there, I'm not sure. There was a shadow of a man standing in front of the door. I gasped and ran to catch up to tell the others but when I looked again, there was nothing there. "Just my imagination" I said under my breath.

"Hey guys!" Max called "I hear people ahead of us!" "Great" I said "they sent out the search party, our summer is gonna suck now" the four of us trudged toward the voices, forgetting about the horrors in that little cabin.

If I only knew how right I was, just not in the way I was expecting...

Published by Liz Zemlicka