The Hunt

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

I did it last year, so I decided to do it again. A short horror story for Halloween. Enjoy!

Allow me to collect my thoughts for a moment. What happened that night was… I wish I could say it was a nightmare, but it was real.

We were five friends. Five friends that loved going on hunting trips. It was Freddie’s idea to go someplace new. None of have hunted in those woods before. He swore that he saw some giant deer driving by place the other week. I was skeptical about it but the guys seemed on board with the idea.

So on Friday we drove to the new location. Freddie being the only one who knew where it was. A few things stuck me as odd. Fist was how close it was to a suburban area. A small town but still a town. Hunting this close to a residential area didn’t seem like a good idea.  Freddie insisted that the locals hunt here all the time. We left our trucks in the town and walked along the road for a bit. The woods surrounded the road out of town and looking at the maps it was plain to see they covered everything from this town to the next one. It was an impressive area.

As we kept going deeper into the woods I saw no trace of any animals. It was rather dark and a lot of the trees were naked and black. It was fall, nothing unusual for this time of year, except for the lack of animals. After maybe an hour of walking we came across something that should have cause suspicion immediate. It was a tall chain link fence with barbed vires on top. I did find it odd. But Freddie got his sleeping bag out and tossed it over the wire.

I was very skeptical, because it occurred to me we may be doing something that wasn’t entirely legal. Hunting on private property was a crime.  Freddie insisted that it was alright. He saw the locals do it all the time- come in and out this place. He insisted the deer were giant. Then he began talking about how the fence was just to keep the animals of the road and it was fine to hunt here. I gave in. All the guys were eager to get hunting and I didn’t want to be the one holding us back.

We set up a camp not far from the fence, but out of sight. We walked around looking for tracks but found nothing. We sat by the fire and drank some bears. We all agreed to go deeper in, thinking that the animals would be deeper in the woods. If we found nothing by afternoon tomorrow we agreed we would turn around.

The night passed and we all got up early in the morning. I slept well enough. I usually do in these trips.  But one of the guys, John, said he heard somebody walking outside the camp last night.  We all slept like logs and nobody knew what he was talking about. Freddie suggested it might the local hunters. Looking around for tracks we found nothing.  No people or animals were here. So everybody agreed that John just dream the whole thing up. We were so naïve.

As the second day began, we moved right after breakfast, breaking camp and going deeper into the woods. It was dark, wet, mossy, smelled of rotten wood. The trees were dense, all close together but tall and spindly. The ground was littered with leaves, muddy. Still no tracks of any animals. No deer, no boars, not even a rabbit or squirrel. The guys began to question Freddie about where this supposed giant deer was. So he admitted he had never seen the thing himself. But some local hunter tipped him of in the bar last week about this being a good hunting spot.

We pondered over what to do. We have seen no trace of there being any animals in the area for almost two days. The tip was most likely a hoax.  That’s when we decided to turn around and leave. Maybe we could still get to our usual spot and catch something before going home.

We didn’t change direction. At least I don’t think we did. We walked straight from the fenceas we entered yesterday and we kept going straight. So we just turned around and began walking back. Yet, Larry called out that something was wrong. He couldn’t see our footprints from when we came here. Now everybody was getting a little unsettled. We looked at the ground. It was wet, muddy. Footprints would flood with water, deeply imprinted into the ground.

“Impossible” I said.

Everybody agreed. So we turned around again and headed into the opposite direction. Still we couldn’t see our previous footprints.  This was more than odd. In all our years of hunting I’ve never had this anything like this happen. Even in deep winter, when it snowed we found our way back. How could we get lost now? 

“Come on. The fence should be to our left, let’s go.” David said.

We didn’t bring a compass. It was a mistake. We always went to the same spots. Spots we knew well. So never brought one. It became a habit.

As we walked towards what we believed to be the exit, it started to rain.  It got darker, more difficult to see.  We decided to wait it out and set up a tent before the rain turned heavy.  We waited and yet it didn’t seem to get any lighter. It was like night had set in. then Larry checked the time. we could not believe our eyes as we all checked our cloaks. It was 6 PM.

“Impossible” We all agreed.

We got up at 6 AM. Packed up camp at 7. It should be noon, or 1 PM, maybe 2 PM. No way that we had been walking for this long.  My phone had no reception, neither did anyone else’s. I thought it was strange since we were close to a town.

The rain stopped. We were setting up our respective tents for the night. Freddie called out to us. He was pointing to the ground where had planned to set up his tent.  The ground was littered with something white. Bones. Typically normal in a forest. But these were human. A skull and some parts of the rib cage. Covered in moss. The skull was missing a jaw.

Some poor bastard ended up dead. I thought nothing of it at first. Maybe some hunter misfired and killed another. Maybe he got lost and starved. These things happen in the wilderness. Freddie didn’t want to set up his tent on top of a dead body so he set it up further away from us.

I had difficulty sleeping. For the first time in my life I just kept drifting off and waking back up right before I fell into deep sleep. The clock said it was 2AM. I was tired yet on edge, tense. I remember hearing a sound that at first didn’t strike me as odd. But once I went outside I realized how out of place it was. All this time I kept hearing what sounded like crickets. But it’ late October, there is hardly any grass in this forest. There is no way there are crickets here, yet I hear them all around.

I looked at the four tents in the camp fire light. Freddie set up his tent further away, I couldn’t see it. I just looked at the direction where it was. The crickets went silent. Larry got out of his tent.  I told him I couldn’t sleep. Neither could he. I asked if he hear the crickets. He did. Then we both went silent. There was a rustling sound. The leaves on the ground crunched for a moment.

We looked around.  Nothing. Larry had his flash light out. John got out of his tent to take a leak. We figured it was him. We decided to check up Freddie. He was awake, holding his knife and flashlight. He wanted to know if one of us tied to get into his tent just now.  We said we didn’t. Then we heard John scream.

David was out of his tent when we got out with Freddie. We all rushed over. Freddie had his gun. We went towards where we saw John go. There was blood on the ground, on the tree bark and his flashlight.

Everybody was panicking. Nobody knew what happened. If it was an animal attack the animal would be here. No bear or wolf could do this not even a rabid one. Then we heard it again the sound of crickets. It was all around us. Then in distance, I thought I saw something. It was as tall as a human, but I could see it’s eyes glowing in the light of the camp fire. And I hear it emit that sound. In an instance it was gone. It was then that I realized what it meant. We were surrounded.

“Run” I yelled.

We all took off running but the sound followed us. We got back to the camp and Larry went for his gun. It went quiet. And then something lifter Larry up by the neck. We all saw it but we didn’t see the thing that was doing it. Freddie shot. Blood splattered out of thin air. There was that sound again only now it didn’t sound so much like a cricket. It was more like clicking.

We ran, leaving Larry’s mangled body in the camp. Whatever those things were – they were hunting us. We ran into the woods without direction. The only though was to escape whatever creatures were chasing us. We stopped after running for God know how long. It was quiet, had been for a while. Then I hear a branch break.  We looked around. We saw nothing, but then back at camp that thing was invisible when it got Larry. 

“Let’s go.” I said.

We tried to take of running again. Tired disoriented. Rain began to fall again. Wet and heavy. The mud slippery under our feet. They got David some time later. It came from above, from the trees. I just saw its white flowing eyes flash as it grabbed him by the neck. Freddie shot the thing but it just climbed higher dragging David up with it.

They were still around. The clicking got closer. Freddie shot some random shots- trying to scare them away. But now he was out of ammo.

“Shit. I got nothing left. We’re screwed. I’m sorry. It’s all my fault. I got us into this…” He began apologizing.

I dragged him off with me. We were too tired. I slipped and fell in the mud.  No idea where we were. It was night, pitch black. Got mud on the flashlight. I felt something break under my hand as I tried got up. Freddie got up faster. In the light of his flashlight we both saw something that took us time to fully comprehend. The ground was white. Downhill into a ditch or a dried up creek. All littered with white stuff. I looked at my hand and saw that I had placed it on a skull trying to get back up. The bones broke, my hand was bleeding and muddy.

“There must be hundreds.” Freddie said.

This was the most horrifying realization I had all night. They didn’t just chase us around. They were driving us towards this place.

“This must be their lair. They were driving us here. “

Branches cracked.

“WE have to cross it.” I got up and ran down hill into the ditch.

Trees were further apart, the forest fooled less dense on the other side of it.

Climbing up the slippery slope was hard. Freddie fell down.

“Go on without me. I will try to occupy them.”

“Don’t be stupid.”

He just shook his head. The bones were breaking down just below us. The things were coming. I turned and ran. I kept on running. I fell. I must have lost consciousness at some point. It was day when I woke up. Few feet away I could see the metal fence. The flashlight died at some point so just ran blind. I would not have had the energy to get over that fence last night. I could have died few feet away from escaping.

I got out somehow. My friends are dead. But no one believes me.  When I got the road I stopped a car and went directly to the town sheriff.  I got fined for illegal hunting and trespassing. Apparently nobody is allowed to hunt in those in those woods. All the locals know not go there.  Yet the man at bar told Freddie a completely different story.

Now I am a suspect. Accused of the murder of my friends. They say that I made up the story about the monsters. It’s the truth, I swear. Something was hunting us in those woods that night. Something not human and not animal.

I noticed the same car parked outside my house every day. Men in black suits. They were talking to the police and everybody. Been seeing a lot of them outside my house. I don’t know why but I got the feeling their watching me.

They’re crossing the street now. They’re walking up to the front door.

Submitted: October 28, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Blackheart Ravensoul. All rights reserved.

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