The McAdam Cave

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


A young wife and mother investigates strange sounds coming from the woods on a horse-ride home from church.

Submitted: May 01, 2018

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Submitted: May 01, 2018

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Laura DeWolfe lived a quiet, rustic life with her husband and son in a sleepy country house just outside of McAdam, New Brunswick. She had been a homemaker since her marriage to one Edward DeWolfe 13 years prior, who worked as a telegrapher at the railway station. She was a woman of elegance but not dainty and was no stranger to the country life and wilderness of rural New Brunswick in 1899. She had been very active in her youth and was known to have even gone along with her father on hunting excursions and trips to larger towns such as St. Stephen. But nothing could have prepared her for what she was about to experience on this particular day when her husband Edward and son Edward Jr. were away visiting family in Fredericton in mid-October of that year.

Laura sat in a rocking chair in the den of her country home sipping some tea she had just made that morning and reading a local newspaper. Her auburn hair was done up in a bun above her shoulders as was her frequent preference for daily life. Her deep brown eyes stared down at the articles on the page; some of the usual railroad and logging business that was of interest to the area. Laura was missing her son and husband and felt a slight uneasiness, being alone for a few days, but she had the family cat Penelope to keep her company. The black and white tabby cat purred and swirled around Laura’s ankles as she sat reading. She came upon an article of a missing dog that had gotten lost in the woods that week and the owner who had thought they heard strange noises from behind their home, but she dismissed this as just another case of drunken negligence of some of the less than wholesome country folk. Despite her casual dismissal of the story, there was something vaguely familiar about it. There had been whisperings and rumours of disappearances of domesticated animals and even people down in Charlotte County some years back. It was not spoken of openly as folk usually attributed some sinister and grotesque circumstances which were not quite desirable for the usual pleasant discourse between families and townsfolk.

Later in the day, Laura had attended an informal community service at the Anglican Church that the clergy had organized to help raise some funds. Afterwards, she rode on horseback towards the DeWolfe home. Along the way she heard suddenly and unexpectedly a shrill wailing that gave her goose bumps coming from the trees to the left of the road. She thought perhaps it was a child who had gotten lost or attacked by a wild animal. She dismounted her horse and, out of half concern and half peculiar curiosity, she made her way into the woods to see what was making this strange noise. It seemed to fade as she came closer, but she pursued it with determination. At this point she had gotten somewhat carried away with it, having treaded roughly half a mile through the wooded area. Eventually she spotted a rocky bulge protruding from the surrounding terrain. She could still hear the shrill sound but now it seemed to echo from beneath somewhere. Then she had spotted it: an opening in the rock that led downward into a dark cave. Now she could hear the sound echoing from below at the most audible level it had been thus far. This was it, she thought. She strongly considered turning back and riding into the town for assistance but the curiosity was burning in her now like a brush fire. She remembered that she had some matches for lighting candles at the Church gathering and she found the driest, ideally sized piece of wood for a torch, lit it, and then descended into the unknown depths before her.

***

Mrs. Laura DeWolfe found herself in the most adventuresome spirit she had been in not since she was a teenager when she was out in the wild with her father. She was walking down a descending cave that was just large enough for one person in average height to navigate. Her heart quickened pace with excitement. The cave eventually became level, more or less, and she came to a halt when she noticed there was some kind of markings on a smooth side of the shaft of the cave. It looked like a representation of some strange being standing upright like a human but having strange, animal-like features. It was a shocking image to her and she trembled for a moment, then gathered her wits and surmised that it must be an old native tribal rendering of some kind of mythical creature.

She had almost forgotten about the shrill wailing sound for a moment then realized it had stopped.

“Hello? Is anyone there? Are you alright? I’ve come to help you!” she called out down the cave, her voice echoing as though it stretched on for some ways. The air in the cave was dank and filled with a smell of decay and putridness. It turned Laura’s stomach, but she decided to go further down through the cave until she heard a rustling like some animal trying to move hastily away from her. The cave shaft then turned a corner and Laura heard a loud, powerful, unspeakable, screeching cry in the cave ahead. Laura came to a dead stop, now trembling with fear and trepidation. She held her torch up high and saw, about 10 feet in front of her, a monstrous creature exactly like the one depicted on the cave art. It was the most hideous and frightening thing that had even befallen Laura’s gaze and she screamed in terror and immediately ran back in the other direction towards the opening of the cave. In the commotion and sudden rapid movement, the flame on her torch swept out and she was in near total blackness. Her mind now filled with regret at entering the cave and panic in wanting to get out as quickly as possible; she tried to move swiftly with her hands reaching out to touch either side of the narrow cave shaft. She bolted as quickly as the situation would permit her.

The 33 year old lady then heard, as she ran frantically, what sounded like numerous creatures screeching threateningly behind her. What had she gotten herself into, she thought? Finally she reached the mouth of the cave and made her way up and out onto the wooded tundra. Without looking back, she ran as fast as she could the entire way back to the road where she had left her horse tethered to a small tree. She was breathing very heavy and her boots and leggings were soiled with mud and debris from the hastily retreat back from the cave. She could perceive no wailing or screeching now and as she caught her breath she untethered her horse, mounted it and rode as quickly as her horse would go back to her home.

When Laura arrived at her home she was still fraught with the stress and anxiety that the whole ordeal had taken as its toll on her nerves and her mind. She quickly opened the door, got inside, and locked it, grabbed a gun from the rack, loaded it and sat quivering in her rocking chair, Penelope meowing with concern and scurrying back and forth in front of her. She sat for hours in a kind of paralysis, unable to take her eyes off of the front windows as she feared the creatures may have followed her back to her home. There was no apparent sign of them. She then either fainted or simply passed out due to exhaustion.

***

When Edward Sr. and Jr. returned to the family home outside McAdam a day later, they were not welcomed at the door by their loving wife and mother. Instead, they called out to her and only discovered her upon entering the upstairs room where she was bedridden; her nerves completely shot at the horrors she had witnessed. They tried to console her and brought her food and drink which she slowly and quietly consumed, hardly saying a word other than, “must get away, must get away…”

Laura was never the same woman after the events of that day. She had to spend a month in psychiatric supervision at the hospital in Fredericton where she described what had happened to her to the doctors and nurses. They dismissed it as hallucinations brought on by panic and hysteria. She did return home eventually, but suffered from frequent fits of panic and nightmares. She never traveled down that road unaccompanied again and forbade her son from ever entering the woods alone.

Different people in the years since had spoken of strange caves in the wooded outskirts of McAdam, but so far none of them have reported seeing strange creatures infesting them. Laura, in later years, sometimes wondered if it all really had been a hallucination of sorts brought on by the stress of being alone. Yet, she was resolute in her abstinence of any further wanderings through the woods.


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

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