Gone Astray

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


At night eerie unearthly sounds ooze in lengthening shadows from the grim swamp....

Submitted: June 11, 2018

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Submitted: June 11, 2018

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My findings are difficult to explain, yet I shall endeavor to do so.  It is a matter of some inexplicable bioluminescence in the swamp mud at night and a numbness in my forearms when I touched it.  I've got to verify one fact tomorrow, then I shall type a detailed report.  I was warned by an old-timer not to venture very far into the gloomy heart of Tate's Hell Swamp because little people wearing gray suits live out there.  According to the old timer, a river rat named Durden Hall, few who see those strange little people in those eerie gray suits live to tell about it.  He told a morbid story of when a group of coon hunter's hounds went far off course to end up tracking out into Tate's Hell.  It was very late, past midnight.  The hunter's heard the hounds baying madly as if they had treed a big boar coon.  The vote to go into Tate's Hell to retrieve the errant hounds was not unanimous.  Only two of the party of five dared, the three remaining behind were very nervous and agitated even though they had a loaded rifle with them.  The flashlights of their companions disappeared into the dark tangles of the bewitched swamp.  After about fifteen minutes, agonized screams of utter terror rang out through the damp foggy night.  There was debate among the three about risking a rush into Tate's Hell to save the lives of the other two, the debate was a heated argument that was going nowhere when sounds of feet slogging through the muddy vines and palmettoes were heard approaching.  What came out of Tate's Hell was neither hound nor human.  

The three coon hunters ran all the way back to Carrabelle.  Their confusing tale of horror was repeated many times, yet with no clear explanation about the two missing hunters who were never seen or heard from again.  Of the three who escaped, two died within a year of a mysterious untreatable swamp fever and a third was sent 80 miles north to the state mental hospital at Chattahoochee.  He died after less than a month as a patient in the notorious insane asylum.  Durden lives in a homemade houseboat, a floating shack, on the S curve of the Crooked River.  He said that if I heard anything strange in the night, I should evacuate my tent immediately for the relative safety of his houseboat or the village of Carrabelle.  When, during my third week in that primeval haunted swamp I did hear the sounds of hounds baying as if at the Devil himself and desperate voices of men screaming like frightened terrorized children, I immediately vacated my lonely tent and paddled my rented pirogue to Durden's camp where I spent the rest of that dark moonless night without a wink of sleep.  At first light, I packed up my camping gear and left Tate's Hell Swamp.  I will never again set foot in that accursed lair of grim unknown.  There's much more to tell, and I shall do so after I have verified a certain fact tomorrow.  Thank you again for your genuine interest in the paranormal and unexplained mysteries I stumbled into during my grueling nerve-twisting three weeks in that foreboding bog of madness and secrecy.


© Copyright 2018 Sean Terrence Best. All rights reserved.

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