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I was on my way up to Mount Lemmon after I had returned home to Arizona. I had decided to make that my final exploration of the year, so I took my best friend with me to share the experience. When we arrived, we set up camp in a patch of forest close to our car and the road. The day went by fast and too soon night would fall.
It was that night that we heard the first warning of our fate.
After we had eaten dinner and were settling down for the night, we heard something that sounded like the wail of an air raid siren, but it only sounded once, which troubled us. At first I thought that the nearby city of Tucson was being attacked, but we heard and saw nothing in the south. Then we heard it again, louder this time. Because of the mysterious sound, we kept our lights off and our mouths shut the entire night, just in case it wasn't our imagination.
The next day, we went to the mountain's community to find out what that thing we heard last night was. We asked other people if they heard it, searched things on our computers, even looked for similar instances in history or reference books in the library, but we couldn't find any answers, except one. The only answer we could find, and that was at the end of the day, was an old man who told us that what we heard was the howl of a creature known only as the "Forest Dweller". He told us that in ancient times, a group of Native Indians had come to this forest region to perform a ritual of some sorts to contact their gods, but the product of the ritual was not a means of communicating with the native gods, but a monstrous creature which killed half of the Indians who had summoned it and the other half was dragged away into an obscure portal to another realm. I never really believed the man's story, until that night.
By nightfall, we had settled down in our tent, thinking of the old man's story of the Forest Dweller. While I slept, I had a nightmare of the creature itself, opening its portal and dragging me into it, though I could not see it at all. I awoke with a start. It was still nighttime. Before I could go back to sleep, I heard something that made my heart twist: an otherworldly bellowing roar. My friend woke up with a gasp of horror. Whatever it was, it was very close to our location.
Then we heard something else that made us stiffen to where we sat as still as statues: multiple thick heavy footsteps coming our way. It sounded like four people were walking toward us. When they stopped, there was a pause before something made of wood grabbed my friend and pulled him out of the tent. I rushed out to help him, but I was hit in the head by something thick and heavy. When my vision cleared, I saw it holding my friend. It was a horrific sight, completely made of wood, eight legs, a horrible smiling face, teeth like blades, claws like scythes. It took my screaming friend, and sliced him to bits, sending the gibs into oblivion before it turned to me and reached out to me. I got to my feet and ran for it. The creature was chasing me, roaring as it lunged forward. I had managed to make it back to the car and drove off as fast as I could. I could still hear the creature chasing after me, but oddly enough, the mirror didn't show its reflection, neither did the rear view camera (it only showed digital interferance). As the forest faded from view, so did the roars of the Forest Dweller, but I had made eye contact with it, and I can't be sure of it, but I think it knows me and now I can't be sure any place where there are trees can be safe at all.
It's been seven years since then, but I still cannot get the image of that horrible wooden face out of my head, the nightmares are the worst; I see the creature holding my friend, he's screaming for help, I cannot move, and in a single slash, he's gone and sent to its dark realm. Out of shere fear I cannot sleep, cannot go anywhere where the trees are thick, cannot look at spiders anymore, cannot bear to listen to howls or sirens. I do not know where it is, but I do know that it's coming for me and that it does not give up when it finds a victim. The Forest Dweller is relentless, and it will not stop until it gets me. What I saw will haunt me until the day I die... Which I hope is soon.