Let me tell you a story…

There is a small town on the outskirts of a slightly larger town, the people there call it a city. This is where I live. I live in a big house with a lot of land, though my favorite place to go has always been the forest. I love the big trees and the dense bushes, and the howl of the animals at night. In a small clearing in the midst of the woods and bordered by a field stands a lone cabin. This was my clubhouse, my base of operations, my castle, my home away from home. I loved it. I decorated it and called it my own. My favorite times were when I could spend the night out there, my friends and I telling ghost stories and squealing late into the night. I didn’t always stay out with a friend, though. The woods were my home, I loved them, I was never afraid. I would pack up my sleeping bag and march proudly down the trail with my little lantern, until I came upon my cabin. I would unlock the door with my special skeleton key and set up my bag on the cot my mom had given me.

I did this one night, one clear summer’s night. I settled in per usual and listened to the sounds of nature, the chirps of crickets and whooo’s of owls my lullaby, soothing me to sleep. I don’t know when exactly it changed. I only know it was dark. The once abundant noise of the nocturnal forest faded, and the silence was so loud it jolted me awake. The forest only goes quiet for one of two things: a storm or a predator. I glanced up at the window in the wall above my head and saw at once there was no storm. The moon and stars shone down on me like a million diamonds illuminating the black velvet of the night sky above the clearing. I figured there must be a predator - some wolf or cougar - on the prowl. The window was locked and the door barred, no matter what creature may be out there I was safe.

I snuggled back in and rolled to face the room, back against the wall. I began to drift back to sleep, reassured by my logic and the security of my little abode. A soft grunt came next to my ear, clearly heard through the paper thin wooden walls of my cabin. My eyes shot open and I laid perfectly still as a subtle sniffing followed the grunt. I squeezed my eyes shut and held my breath, hoping the creature would go away before making an attempt to break into my cabin. I smelled like prey and was on ground level, of course it would attempt to pursue me. I only hoped it wouldn’t hurt itself trying to break through the walls. My hope was misplaced, though. The sniffing stopped. I waited a few moments and sighed. It had left. But…. something else was wrong. The light. The moon had casted a light through the small window above me, but that light was gone. Not completely, though. There was enough left to show the silhouette of a head and shoulders blocking the window. I rolled onto my back as quietly as I could and looked up. There was indeed something in the window, something for which I have no words. I stopped moving, paralyzed, mouth open in a mock scream, when it turned. It cast its head downwards and its eyes - those awful, soulless, red eyes - looked into mine, peering into the depths of my soul. That is when I screamed, loud and shrill, a cry for life, mercy, help. And that is when it moved, faster than the eye can follow. The cabin, my safehaven, crashed in on me. The world went black.

Now, let me tell you another story…

There is a small town on the outskirts of a slightly larger town, the people there call it a city. This is where I lived. I lived in a big house with a lot of land, though my favorite place to go has always been the forest. I love the big trees and the dense bushes, and the howl of the animals at night. The big house no longer exists, replaced by a worn out shell comprised of a few sorry crumbling walls. The woods are still there, though, and the field too, though now overgrown and unkempt. In a small clearing in the midst of these wild woods stands a lone cabin.

Many a stories are told about this cabin and about the things that happened there, all those years ago. What exactly happened, though, nobody knows for sure. Some say it was a madman, escaped from a nearby prison. Others say it was a case of child abuse. Others still say it was an accident, or an attack from a rabid animal. These are among the prominent, logical theories. Hidden among these, though, mostly popular with the kids, are other theories. Supernatural theories. These theories range from demon to werewolf, but the major theme is curiosity.

All their lives, children are told to stay out of those overgrown woods, but children never do as they are told. They are told that there is no cabin there, that the tales of the supernatural are wives tales. The children have a different idea, though. The cabin, they say, still stands, and whatever was there that night still lurks inside that wooden house from Hell. This scares the children for a while, but as they grow older and more adventurous they begin to question it. Then the dares start. “I dare you to spend a night in Hell’s cabin.” And they do. Curious youngsters come every so often. I see them, their nervous faces flushed from the effort of the trek through weeds and ivy. The looks of surprise and suppressed fear on their faces when they see the cabin is there, looming in the middle of the clearing. They usually come in groups, fear suppressing the desire to come alone.

These groups stay, scared through the night. Then they leave. I watch, sad that they have come and gone. But some come alone. It is for these brave souls that I wait. I watch as the sun goes down and the crickets chirp, their noise lulling the child to sleep. I watch as the moon rises and the stars twinkle and I leave my hiding spot. The forest goes quiet and I watch as this silence disturbs the child. I watch through the window, my silhouette cast down onto the floor. I see the child freeze, fighting the urge to look out the small window. Sometimes I have to knock, but they always give in to their curiosity eventually. With a turn of their head and mine, I meet their eyes. The look of confusion, then fear, as my deep, red eyes penetrate deep into their soul, seeing their past, present, and reading their future. I grin, showing my pointed, yellow teeth. They open their mouths and scream, the cabin crashes, and the world goes black. I slip away as the sun peeks over the horizon, and I watch as yet another victim is found in the cabin from Hell.