The Thing in the Woods

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Dark And Suspenseful


A father and son go hunting in the woods and end up being the hunted.

Submitted: May 01, 2018

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Submitted: May 01, 2018

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It was a cool, bright afternoon in January of 1889 in rural Charlotte County, New Brunswick, just five miles northeast of St. Stephen. Ben Robinson, a local homesteader, and logger, was out hunting for deer with his son Trevor and the family dog. This would prove to be no ordinary jaunt into the wild on this particular day, though.

Ben Robinson walked among the trees and brush searching for deer to feed his family of four. He carried with him an old, rusty shotgun that had belonged to his father. Alongside him walked his son Trevor, 14, and their family dog Willy was somewhere up ahead of them sniffing around enthusiastically for potential prey. The Robinsons remained very quiet as they scanned the woods with their senses and watched for any movement. This was a weekly ritual for the Robinsons, especially during winter months when food was scarce. Survival was an everyday challenge at this time in rural areas of Atlantic Canada and New England.

When Ben and Trevor had stopped to rest for a moment, Willy the dog wandered off without much notice taken by the Robinsons. They made small talk and chewed some tobacco together, enjoying a joke or two when suddenly they heard a “yelp!” in the distance. They immediately stood up and yelled out to the dog:

“Willy! Willy, where are you, boy? Are you alright?” cried out young Trevor Robinson. Ben whistled loudly for the dog. There was no more sign of him. They searched the area thoroughly and came upon a place in the snow where the paw-tracks ended. All around, there were other tracks but they were not like anything they had ever seen before. These tracks were roughly larger than a man’s footprint, but not as big as a full-sized bear, and the strangest part was that the print appeared to have only three toes which vaguely resembled human toes.

“Somethin’s wrong here, all wrong,” said Ben. Trevor simply stood in shock, staring at the strange prints, his mouth wide open in disbelief.

Night was soon approaching. They continued to search and call out to Willy for another half hour or so with no success. Eventually, in complete shock and resignation, they turned for home. They had lost track of the time and the darkness at this point in the year came quickly and abruptly. They knew the lay of the land well, but still it was a challenge to navigate the woods in the moonlight. It began to become colder, as well, and Ben and his son shivered as they tried to make their way back to the homestead.

Ben thought he heard something and stopped, holding his hand out to Trevor to stop as well and they both heard what sounded like footsteps some ways behind them that then stopped also. Ben put his finger to his lips to indicate to Trevor to not make a sound. Ben slowly turned around, shotgun at the ready, and peered into the dark, wooded unknown. Then, Ben observed that something was breathing out there beyond. He could see the breaths clearly in the cold air, but could not quite discern what it was that was causing this. At first he thought it must be a bear. Then, he remembered the strange tracks. Ben whispered:

“Trevor, I want you to head back to the house, lock the doors and make sure your Momma and Sister are safe. You go on now!”

“But Pa, what if—“Trevor replied. But Ben Robinson simply put his hand over his son’s mouth and sternly yet quietly ordered him back to the homestead.

Trevor took off running in the direction he best guessed was the way home. He was afraid for his father, but knew he had to get home to protect the rest of the family. After running for about five minutes, he heard a shotgun blast echo through the woods behind him. He stopped and called out:

“Pa! Pa, are you alright?!” Trevor was now trembling in fear. He was quite tempted to run back and look for his father, but he pressed on back to the homestead.

When he arrived back home, he opened the door abruptly, his face white with shock and fear.

“Trevor, what in the world is wrong, son? Where’s your father? Alice and I have been worried sick when you didn’t come back for supper!” said Mrs. Mildred Robinson; with her daughter Alice sitting near the wood stove silently awaiting Trevor’s explanation.

“Ma, there’s somethin’ in the woods!” Trevor blurted out frantically. He started closing and locking the door behind him.

“What is it?! A bear?!” replied Mildred.

“No, I don’t think so. We lost Willy. We were lookin’ all over for him. We found these tracks. I don’t know what it was but it’s somethin’ strange! It ain’t natural, whatever it is! Pa saw something behind us and he told me to get back here and make sure you and Alice were safe and to lock the doors!” Trevor was speaking very fast, was struggling to get his breath back and was trembling. He walked around the house nervously. Finally, he decided to grab the other shotgun and load it. He peered out of the window into the cold, dark night. Wild-eyed and frightened, he could no longer stand waiting. He opened the door, made sure it was locked behind him, and stepped out into the moonlight near the woods.

It seemed like an eternity that Trevor stood there, shivering yet warmed by pure adrenaline and terror. Then it came. A dark figure emerged from the woods and was making its way towards Trevor. When it caught the moonlight, Trevor could see it resembled a man and had tough, greyish skin, three digits on each hand and the same for each foot. Its eyes were deep in its cranium and shone brightly red and menacing. It was exhaling heavy and its breath was very visible as clouds of vapour emerged from its wide, repulsive mouth which had sharp, jagged teeth like that of a bear. Trevor scrambled in sheer horror, clasping his shotgun, trying to aim at this morbid creature that was bearing down on him slowly but steadily.

“Stop or I’ll shoot, you devil!” screeched Trevor. The creature did not comply with Trevor’s demand. Trevor aimed as best he could and shot at the creature. It let out a loud, spine-tingling roar of pain. Trevor had blown off the creature’s left appendage. But the thing, having stumbled for a moment, relentlessly kept on drawing nearer, its right appendage now outstretched threatening towards Trevor. Trevor was blown over by some kind of mysterious, unseen force that the creature emitted from its hand and he now lay there on the snow waiting for what he knew would be his certain demise.

In a flash of clear thought, Trevor reached down and drew out his hunting knife as the creature towered above him. The young man shoved the blade as hard as he could into the creature’s abdomen, sending it reeling and screeching in pain once again. The creature consequently took off running back into the dark woods, dripping a strange yellowish blood-like substance behind it. Trevor did not give chase.

***

Three years had passed since that horrific night in the woods. Trevor was now living in a small home in St. Stephen with his sister and mother. Trevor was working to support the family and try to bring some sense and peace back into their lives. The homestead, now empty and deserted, was never inhabited again. Many folk dare not to venture there for fear of the whisperings of strange things in the woods. They had never found a trace of what happened to Ben or the family dog Willy. The authorities had characterized the event down to what they presumed to be a mal-formed bear and a case of isolated paranoia on the part of the Robinsons.

Trevor Robinson eventually lived a relatively stable life working at the post office and had a family of his own. But sometimes, late in the evening during the winter months in his St. Stephen home, he could swear that he could see clouds of vapour from the breathing of some awful thing on the edge of the woods.


© Copyright 2018 A.N.J. Babcock. All rights reserved.

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