The Mourning

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


The unknown primeval thing is outside stalking around the log walls of the old cabin searching for a way to get in.

Submitted: November 22, 2017

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Submitted: November 22, 2017

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The Mourning

The haunting tale which follows this ominous introduction is an eerie account of the ill-omened fate of the rapacious vamp you know as Mitsy Bodkin. I penned this horror legend many years ago when I was alone on a stormy night in a little cabin in the north woods. The whole of that gloomy day had been dreary and overcast. I was conscious of unseen eyes watching me from the dense forest that surrounds the isolated camp.

A foul odor seeped silently into the foggy atmosphere. For some mysterious reason that I never have been able to quite get at, the pungent smell wormed its way under my skin and made my flesh crawl with an agony of anxious dread.

The closer it got to night, the stronger the uncanny odor became until it weighted the air with an unbearable stench. When the woebegone shadows of dusk inevitably settled down upon me, I huddled inside the cabin, fear gripping my pounding heart.

Some lurching creature of the primeval unknown was stalking around outside in the grave threatening darkness. I could hear its relentless sinister creeping. I stayed awake all night with a roaring blaze in the stone fireplace and a loaded 12 gauge across my trembling lap.

Could the faceless beast force its feral way into my cabin? If it did, would a loaded 12 gauge provide protection? What was the monstrous unidentified thing? What was it doing just outside the log walls of the little cabin? The anguish of these morbid questions haunted me with paranormal persecution. All through the long watches of the eldritch night I listened and waited and feared. The tight strain of the interminable apprehension was too much for my jangled nerves.

Once or twice, amid the howling wind, booming thunder, and pouring rain, I thought I heard the stalking steps cease and in their place the eerie sound of whistling or a baby crying; but, I remembered warnings about Lechuza, the winged witch who takes the form of a screech owl using such disturbing noises to lure unsuspecting victims outside to investigate the strange sounds. Regret of a wayward life of sin weighed heavily upon my palpitating heart. I knew that prayer would avail me nothing.

At last, the long stormy night passed, giving way to a cold damp gray dawn. The stalking steps of the menacing beast no longer assailed my tired ears, but still I hesitated, fearful that the thing may yet be lurking out there waiting insidiously for an opportunity to attack. I dared not let my guard down even for a moment.

Late that excruciating morning, when, in exhaustion and desperation, I finally mustered the courage to unbolt the heavy oak door and peek outside, I saw what appeared to be an appalling number of human skulls spiked on a row of spits at the edge of the clearing in which the old cabin was situated. I say appeared to be, because I only caught a glimpse of the ghastly diorama. My eyes slammed shut and refused to look again.

In horror, and with my loaded 12 gauge, I ran to my jeep, hopped in, locked the doors, cranked the engine, and sped wildly away from the ghoulish remote camp. I have never returned to the north woods. The grim experience has left my nervous system in shambles. I suffer wretched nightmares - wickedly abominable omens of Sasquatch and the Wendigo which turn the blood to ice in my veins.

I wake up nights tangled in sweat-soaked sheets mourning for the loss of a needful part of myself which remained behind, forever trapped in the horror of that lonely accursed wilderness cabin.

The Ghost of Mitsy Bodkin

At a certain upscale mountain retreat in immediate proximity of the seacoast (a luxury resort which, to avoid possible litigation for libel shall herein remain unnamed) a bizarre sequence of events played itself out one balmy summer many years ago. In this picturesque wilderness paradise of sapphire-blue mountain lakes, cascading waterfalls, aromatic pine, and gorgeous red maple that sets the slopes on fire in October, a diabolically gory nightmare reached from the grave to forever shadow what has become a place of gloom and fear.

The central figure in this eerie chain of creeping events was an attractive woman of middle age whose name was Mitsy Bodkin. I say was because this unfortunate lady is dead as a result of the strange circumstances that led, step by fateful step, to her piteous untimely demise. It is said by many in this life that one thing leads inexorably to another.

Nearly three decades prior to her shocking horrific end, Mitsy Bodkin had been a hopeful landscape painter fresh out of art school. She had a natural gift for the impasto technique and she quickly grew popular for the thickly textured colors of the vibrant nature scenes which she immortalized in oil on canvas.

The young artist's flamboyant painterly style came to the attention of a talent scout when Mitsy won first prize in an art competition at a local gallery, but this was no ordinary talent scout. Maude Perkins was a designated long-time employee of a globally recognized gallery in Manhattan's famous Soho district.

The owner of the gallery was Theodore Diedrich von Harlow the Fourth. His family had been in the art business for generations and he was himself a dealer of world renown. When his talent scout brought Mitsy to meet him, Theodore von Harlow developed an instantaneous adoration for the youthful high-spirited artist, but it wasn't her art he adored.

Mitsy was a blemish-free specimen of the female gender, with a complexion like new-fallen snow and hair like spun gold. A voluptuous young maiden, her measurements matched those of Marilyn Monroe, 37-24-38. Yes, Theodore von Harlow was hopelessly smitten with Mitsy Bodkin. She was so pretty and eager to please. The dew was still on her.

You can well imagine that Mitsy, coming from a background of financial mediocrity, quickly seized on von Harlow's weakness for her. She brought all her feminine charms and wiles to bear upon the aging art tycoon with the efficient result - much to the hysteria and chagrin of his peers - that Miss Bodkin became Mrs. Theodore Diedrich von Harlow in less than six months.

In addition to celebrating their wedding, Theodore's 59th birthday occurred about that time and he planned a gala reception - to which all family, friends, and business associates were invited - commemorating both the happy events to be held at his favorite wilderness getaway, the aforementioned luxury seacoast mountain resort.

The big bash was a rave success. Silk covered picnic tables, graceful ice sculptures, cases of Dom Perignon chilled to frosty perfection, a sterling silver fountain oozing with melted Dutch chocolate, rustic cabins festooned in dangling rainbow-colored lighting, and even a fireworks display right after a picture postcard sunset - the wilderness retreat was an idyllic natural setting decorated with every trapping of lavish pageantry that money could buy.

As the years drifted by, and to everyone's surprise, it appeared that Mitsy was a devoted loving wife. The happily wedded couple spent their summers at the resort. The lushly forested hills nestling that distant lodge grew a deeply rooted sentimental attachment into Mitsy's ebullient beating heart as the cycles of the seasons ebbed and flowed, so that 25 summers later when she found herself the grieving widow of a finally deceased world famous art dealer, she returned to the mountain resort to sooth her mourning soul among the condoling scenes of her favorite remote hideaway.

But, as often happens in these fairy-tale stories of true love, all was not as it had appeared on the surface. Old von Harlow had been a childless multimillionaire which meant that, upon his death, the bulk of his estate fell into the hands of his now middle-aged wife. Mitsy Bodkin was loaded with cash, so naturally it didn't take long for rumors to start festering that sentimental endearment wasn't the only reason she returned each summer to the coastal mountain retreat.

It seems that being immersed for decades in the surfeit opulence of upper crust society and great wealth never succeeded in wrestling Mitsy's character away from the tightly clinging zeitgeist of her upbringing among the common drudgery of financial mediocrity. It was no secret that the rich widow was quite fond of the company of the resort staff, particularly the handsome young men that flocked to the lodge for the lucrative summer wages.

With the brooding authority of the old art magnate out of the way, the staff no longer feared whispering among themselves, even within earshot of the resort's epicurean guests, about the alleged fact that their previous highest paying patron, Theodore von Harlow, had been bribing members of the lodge staff to keep his beautiful wife's infidelities under the bed covers - this lamentable request was made by a very troubled husband with no pun intended.

Deck Dirkson was among the most virile of the stable of studs that worked summers at the resort. Tall, dark, and handsome, he was known as 'Spooner' among his cohorts for the Rasputin-like power he seemed to wield over every member of the opposite sex that laid eyes upon his rippling muscles.

The aquiline Dirkson was twenty years the junior of the rich widow when their first steamy love affair began. According to rumors circulated among the resort staff, Mitsy had begun her illicit trysts with the burly man-stallion while her husband was still alive.

Deck's duties did not include romantically coddling lonely rich widows, especially when they were guests of the resort, but he was a hard worker who knew the ropes so, provided a tawdry scandal didn't break overtly, his superiors politely overlooked his unwise lustful indiscretions.

Deck Dirkson was strapping and strong. He worked on the crew who performed maintenance and repairs on the cabins and the main lodge building. He often labored with his shirt off so that the hot summer sun tanned his brawny hairy chest to an alluring complexion that, when glistening with sweat, had the appearance of warm caramel.

Mitsy couldn't resist Deck's youthful vigor and seemingly inexhaustible physical stamina, and she lavished her young lover with monetary gifts far exceeding what his summer employment paid him.

The late Theodore von Harlow's favorite luxury cabin at the posh wilderness resort had been named the Matterhorn on account of a nearby rock butte that bears an uncanny resemblance to the famed Swiss peak. Theodore loved the cabin so much that every year he reserved it for the whole season. It was an annual tradition that the wizened art mogul and his sensually attractive wife spent their entire summer in the cozy charm of the Matterhorn.

After her wealthy husband's death, Mitsy Bodkin continued to reserve the Matterhorn, and this of course was the clandestine rendezvous where the secret passionate scenes of her illicit love affair played themselves out on sultry summer nights.

To be sure it was a setup that lent itself perfectly to adulterous liaisons because the only inhabited area for many miles in any direction was a little coastal mountain village thirteen miles away along a winding two-lane ribbon of asphalt.

With a luxury resort nearby, the village shops naturally catered to an effete la-di-da clientele. Mitsy's landscape paintings could be purchased at exorbitant cost from the village gallery, and the jewelry dealers and apparel boutiques were wont to stock their sparkling glass showcases and stainless rolling racks with the latest collections from Tiffany and Gucci.

Mitsy drove a white Mercedes-Benz SL500 convertible. She loved to race along the winding road between the resort and the village with the top down so the sunshine and the salty mountain seacoast air could rush wildly through her platinum blonde hair.

Among other eccentricities, Mitsy had a peculiar penchant for going to the village wearing nothing but a chic fur coat over her Victoria's Secret lingerie. Four-inch stiletto heels rounded out her bawdy fashion ensemble.

One afternoon while returning from her daily jaunt to the village, Mitsy was driving at an unusually high rate of speed. Driving through the mountains is a risky business, especially when dangerously exceeding the posted speed limit. She was flying along so fast that she failed to safely negotiate the turnoff from the highway onto the gravel road that leads to the resort.

Her glossy Mercedes skidded of the road surface and plummeted perilously down into the shady depths of a steep-sided rocky gulch. You can no doubt conjure abhorrent images of the disastrous outcome of such a fatal mishap in a convertible. Mitsy Bodkin was decapitated.

The moment of her freakish gruesome demise was precisely known because an SUV full of lodge guests witnessed Mitsy's car careening off the road into the deep stony gully. This turned out to be a foreboding twist of fate that, in the years to come, would trigger many macabre allusions whispered around campfires and in the gloomy candlelit booths of the village pub.

Several transient drivers from out of town passing along the section of highway between the village and the resort who had no idea of Mitsy Bodkin or her terrible vehicular catastrophe phoned in reports of a strange sight to the village constabulary.

Even in the coastal mountain range expensive Russian sable draws attention, especially in summer where right there on the grassy shoulder of the road in broad daylight several people passing by in their automobiles witnessed a woman behaving oddly. What was as strange as the woman's odd behavior is the fact that she appeared to be stumbling along the roadside in high heels while dressed in nothing but a fur coat.

All of the disturbing reports came in during the moments immediately following Mitsy's fatal car crash. According to witnesses, the oddly behaving and weirdly attired woman seemed bewildered or confused as if she didn't know where she was or what to do.

Deck Dirkson's whereabouts on that fateful afternoon remain unknown to this very day. That night, in the dormitory that houses the male members of the summer staff, Deck's bunk was not slept in. It wasn't until late the next day when two females of the housekeeping staff entered the Matterhorn that the unfortunate lover of the late Mitsy Bodkin was located.

The Matterhorn was the most luxuriously appointed cabin at the grandiose resort. It's ceiling rose high to an aesthetically pleasing apex of thirteen feet. Deck had apparently gone alone to the lodging place of his deceased lover where, tying a curtain cord around his neck and securing the other end to the banister of the spiral staircase that leads up to the loft, the lovelorn stud leaped to his death.

The two female members of the housekeeping staff who unwittingly discovered Deck Dirkson's viscerally revolting mortal remains quit their jobs and never returned to the resort.

There was something they saw in the Matterhorn on that grievous afternoon that upset them so severely that they could never face their former place of employment again. It wasn't just the fact that they had suffered the misfortune of walking in on the lifeless body of a dead man, it was the grotesque condition of that mutilated corpse that irreversibly warped their disbelieving minds.

The cords that one pulled to open and close the curtains in the cabins at the resort were small in diameter but very strong. They were of a coarse fiber and many guests had complained of injuries involving cuts and scratches due to pulling on the stout abrasive cords. As a matter of fact, the night manager had on the preceding evening placed an order for all curtain cords in the cabins to be replaced by a smoother softer design.

The replacements didn't arrive in time to prevent the two housekeepers from having to bear witness to the appallingly morbid find. The cord was so narrow and abrasive and strong that the force of Deck's body weight dropping from the loft was sufficient to rip the cord right through the tender flesh of his throat. In his attempt to commit suicide by hanging himself, Deck Dirkson had torn off his own head - his decapitated corpse lay in a stiffening pool of thick, coagulating, dark red blood. This was the grisly sight that sent the housekeeping women running from the Matterhorn and far away from the luxury coastal mountain resort never to return.

The nightmare of this savage stalking horror doesn't end there, however, because should you ever travel that unhallowed winding length of two-lane asphalt between the upscale resort and the lonely village that caters to it, you'll see a number of red hand-painted danger signs along the roadside warning drivers in no uncertain terms NOT to pick up hitchhikers.

It would seem that not all travelers heed the warning signs because once or twice each year tragic automobile accidents take place along that cursed section of highway. In the steep stony gulches and deep rocky ravines, overturned vehicles are discovered smashed into barely recognizable heaps of twisted flame-scorched metal. The bloody carnage of the headless victims that are found among the grim wreckage baffles coroners because rarely does an automobile crash result in decapitation.

To this very day not one single head of any of the decapitated car wreck victims has been found.

It is interesting, and hauntingly unnerving, to note that these sinister freak accidents occur only during summer months along the 13 mile stretch of highway between the isolated village and the ill-omened luxury resort.

The haunting secrets penned by ghost writer Sean Terrence Best are at your fingertips via Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, and many other booksellers.


© Copyright 2018 Sean Terrence Best. All rights reserved.