the cabin by the mountains

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

This is the first of a duo of stories

This is a little piece of what seems to either be a piece of written fiction or a madman’s journal, one of the many books and photo albums I found when cleaning out my now-deceased great-great-great grandfather’s basement, in a cardboard box simply labeled “1844”, which is what I suppose might be an attempt to date its clearly antique contents.

I don’t know what else to say apart from the sheer non-believability, so I’ll just let the thing speak for itself.

I do not claim any credit to this, and my grandfather said that he wishes the author’s name not be mentioned, as he is deeply embarrassed by his great-great grandfather’s lunacy.


I don’t remember why or when I saw the mountains, but they’ve always been there, casting their shadows onto the roof of my isolated cabin. The peaks and jagged slopes protrude from the prairie like the knuckles of a corpse digging its way out of a grave, cold winds witling away at its hideous edge. Two caverns are visible, and in the illumination of a full moon, they look akin to the eye sockets of a half-eaten face, the dark red, algae-stained streams running down like tears of blood.

It is with this revelation that I find I have no memory of how I came to live in this cabin, even, apart from scarce recollections of building the frame, gathering the wood, and unloading a single vomit encrusted suitcase.

My mind blurs with delirium, and minutes blur into hours, which blur into days, and even weeks and months. My face has become wrinkled with stress, and on touching my face, my grey whiskers scrape my fingers like cheese wire. My eyes are bloodshot, and opiates and pages of journals found beneath the floorboards are strewn about my cluttered home, each discovered clue dragging me deeper into a sense of oncoming terror, even more so as I delve deeper and deeper into the entries of what seem to be a massive and intimately detailed collection of journals.

“Once again, the strange caverns of the mountains captivate me, their crimson streams glittering in the lights of the night. As a frequent pastime, I often imagine myself climbing the mountains and exploring them with a candle or electric torch in hand. Perhaps within those twin tunnels there lies an abandoned mine, or even some lost civilization!”

I flip through the pages, and soon I find that a slight curiosity has translated into that of an unhealthy obsession. If I were to look in a mirror, I might find that my withered face grows worse, and stranger, by each sentence read. And then, I finally find the one page I dread reading most; a description of the night I braved my way into one of those horrid caverns.

“Tonight, I did the unthinkable, a thing which I have both deeply feared and fantasized upon my arrival here in the prairies of the New World, and upon the building of my cabin by the mountains.

It was tonight that I found that the reason for this strange mass of rock being not some sort of strange natural formation as I had hoped and believed, but an abnormal thing of hewn stone; stone carved by something far more ancient than any tribe or settlement.

I first wrapped a piece of cloth around a large piece of spare wood, which I then set alight, then taking the three hour hike to the foot of the mountain. I first noticed that unlike any stream simply stained red by fungi or a plant of some sort, the water coming down in streams from the caverns is thick and syrupy, running down slowly like sap from a tree; like blood.

As a man of science, I assume that there is still some natural explanation, and forge onward despite my shaky hands. The mountainside is considerably easy to ascend, and footholds and grips are found so easily that I almost wonder whether someone had been here before and cut them in for easy climbing, but quickly chase the thought away with the knowledge that I am the only settler here for hundreds of miles.

I eventually reach the caverns’ openings, side by side like nostrils, and I go into the nearest one, the cavern leaning towards my right. My feet stick to the cavern’s floor like glue as I wade through the strange stream, as the stream is only ankle deep, and I feel no concern that the stream would suddenly become any deeper.

The current goes on upwards for at least a mile more, and as I stroll it grows more and more humid. Soon I wish I had thought of bringing water, and I get to the point that I cave in, and take a single sip from the mysterious stream. A few more minutes of wading, and I finally reach an edge, and the stream diverges into one of the walls. I look down with my torch onto what seems to be a deep, narrow pit, one with the same sorts of ledges and footholds as before. Another thing I notice is the strange pale light at the bottom which is only visible from here as a gray speck.

I put out my torch with my foot, and toss the useless stick aside, though I now know that I will deeply regret this upon reaching the bottom. Another obstacle is a crowd of growing stalactites dripping down, and so I kick them with full force and send fragments and pieces flying down at ridiculous speeds.

The climb down is equally long, boring, and nerve racking, and at one point I even have to hold on with one hand as I urinate in the direction of the opposite wall, the sound of the piss making contact with the rock, echoing obnoxiously.

Upon reaching the bottom, I let out a startled scream upon the feeling of soft, cold flesh against the sole of my shoe, and fall back, slamming my head against the wall in the process.

‘It must just be some animal that wandered off and fell into the pit,’ I say reassuredly to myself. But an itching in the back of my head seems to tell me otherwise, and every hair on my body stands on end.

I move on anyway, and as I do, my imagination betrays me once again. I am plagued by sudden visions, and senses are stimulated which must never be known to exist. The source of the pale light is revealed to be that of an enormous underground… city, and every detail, person, action, and feeling is shown to me simultaneously.

Oceans of oil and mercury slop about lazily against a rocky shore of gravel and brimstone, and carved boulders depict images of a civilization which had once thrived on the surface world. Humanoid shadows dart about as their owners seek shelter behind their hiding places in columns and pillars, as they are completely unaware of my heightened senses. I see, hear, and feel everything around me, and the overload is excruciating.

In churches and cathedrals, the creatures commit sexual acts on large altars before various horrid idols, and an enormous veil which somehow hid its contents even from me, and upon looking over the rest of the repulsive city, I somehow manage to gather the courage to come down the giant set of sloped stairs before me.

The vile things crowd around me as I reluctantly take each step closer and closer to the veil in the putrid church, their eyeless rubbery faces staring me down with senses of their own, my obsessive curiosity outgrowing my fear with each passing moment.

As a walk nearer and nearer to the church, my new senses can feel them stirring from their altars and floor orgies to watch as I open the ancient, cold steel doors, and through a path outlined by ornate gutters filled with more of the flowing red-stained water

Hushed whispers fill the chamber; I must be the first true human to come here for thousands, if not millions of years.

As if my mind had been read, two more of the humanoids approach before urging me silently towards the curtain, effectively communicating my permission to remove it.

My fingers wrap around the faded cloth, and pull with full strength, yanking the curtain down completely, watching it fall all the way down for fear of looking up and upon what or who is hidden. I choose to look at literally anywhere but past the fallen curtain; the delicately detailed carvings and paintings of the ceiling, the chipped floor, and even the hideous crowd surrounding me.

And then, at the very moment I turn my head upwards, complete and udder terror fill my soul, burning away at any morbid curiosity I may have once ha-”

Slamming it shut, I rip that volume to pieces, and toss it into the fire place, praying to never know what horrid thing would be so terrible that any memory would now be gone. Over the next passing hours, I gather the rest of the journals, both read and unread, and place them all in the fireplace, never to be read again.


At this point, the journal entries grew quite slow, and boring, followed by strange ramblings of coming ages of darkness and pagan, occult, and even references to some of the Indian lore. The final pages were completely comprised of indescribable illustrations; strange word puzzles, and encrypted messages I could not manage to decode. In the end, I suppose that those of insanity seem to have the strangest imaginations of them all.




Submitted: June 27, 2018

© Copyright 2023 Zach Reynoldson. All rights reserved.

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