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Four Gems and a Crystal

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I have something that I need to share with someone, anyone. I have a story that I have kept hidden deep in the darkest recesses of my mind, a memory that I have attempted to supress for twenty-two years. Today is the anniversary of an event that destroyed my life and the lives of my family. I nearly lost my own life in the process. I need to recount this tale, if for no other reason than for closure. Perhaps sharing this grisly tale with an audience that doesn’t include my parents or the police will alleviate some of the pain I have lived with for so long. Maybe someone out there can better explain what happened. This reason, coupled with some recent discoveries has led me to write this story.

My name is Cyrus Lynch. I was born and raised in Leon Forks, a small town situated in rural Western New York. For the first six years of my life it was just my parents and I. Then one day, my mother announced she was expecting a second child. I had some mixed feelings on the matter. On one hand, a lot of my school friends had siblings. They didn’t always get along, but they seemed content with the arrangement. So I had always wondered what it would be like to have a little brother or sister. On the other hand, I was the center of my parents’ universe, so I was rather reluctant to share the spotlight with a sibling. All too soon, the new baby arrived. My folks had come to pick me up at my grandparents’ house two days after the delivery. Dad took me into the living room and sat me on the sofa. “I have someone here I would like you to meet,” he said softly. He transferred the bundle he had been holding into my arms. “This is your new sister, Marjorie.”

All my doubts and concerns about having a new sibling vanished in that moment.

Marjorie was no larger than a loaf of bread. In most respects, she was no more remarkable than any other child her age, except her eyes. They were a vivid green, like tiny gemstones. A little tuft of auburn hair sat atop her otherwise bald head, and her little lips were parted slightly as she stared up at me with vague curiosity. Then she cooed, snuggled against me, and closed her eyes and went to sleep. I was in love. Mom came in and sat next to me and planted a kiss on my cheek. “Well, what do you think?” she asked. I looked up into her eyes, the same eyes the child in my arms possessed.

“She’s perfect,” I murmured. My parents chuckled.

“That she is, kiddo,” said Dad. My parents gazed lovingly upon us as I leaned down and kissed Marjorie.

Several years passed. Our family lived in happiness. Marjorie was everything to me: sweet, loving, obnoxious, silly, all of it. Having a sister was everything I’d hoped it would be. She was my best friend. I loved looking after that girl. I was always into music and movies. I used to show her all of my favorites, like Terminator, Star Wars, The Godfather, you name it. I got her into all my favorite bands, like Pixies, Ramones, The Beatles, Soundgarden, and Smashing Pumpkins. We would spend hours talking about this stuff. Marjorie and I were practically twins, despite the fact there was seven years between us. Not a moment goes by that I don’t long for those days…

Which brings us to August 18th, 1993. I had been attending college at Painted Post University in Upstate New York, majoring in audio engineering. I was twenty-two years old, and in my last year of school. I was set to graduate the following May. I would travel home every other weekend, and would spend holidays and summers there as well. I was set to return to Painted Post in two days, as the semester was starting the following week. With all of my stuff packed, I decided to spend my last evening home with Marjorie, who was fifteen at the time. We decided to ride our bicycles on the Clinton Hauser bike path. It was a beautiful August evening, one of the most beautiful of the year.

So we rode. It is strange how I can recall everything we talked about that evening. We discussed Nirvana’s upcoming album, In Utero, and were trying to guess how successful it would be compared to Nevermind. Marjorie was not as optimistic as I was, she could be so hard to please when it came to certain bands. This conversation went on for a good span of the trail. Then we discussed the trailer for Fox’s upcoming show, the X-Files. “It looks so creepy,” Marjorie squealed.

“I think it looks awesome,” I said. “I’ve never seen a show like it on network TV before, should be cool,” I said.

“It’s about aliens, and monsters and gory shit. No thanks,” she shuddered. I turned to look at her.

“You’re a fucking marshmallow,” I chided. “It isn’t all about monsters; I read in a magazine that it deals with conspiracies and cover-ups by the government.” Marjorie pulled a face.

“Still,” she mumbled.

“Look, when I come home on that weekend, we’ll watch it together, deal? I’ll make sure the ghosts and goblins don’t get my widdle sitter,” I snickered.

Marjorie rolled her eyes. “Shut up,” she mumbled, but the corners of her mouth twitched.

“You do know none of that shit’s real? Aliens and monsters and stuff,” I said.

“I know, but still, that crap’s freaky,” Marjorie said.

We rode on in silence for a while. Monsters and horror wasn’t Marjorie’s cup of tea, despite all the science fiction her and I watched. She was just weird that way, I guess. I chuckled to myself. That was my Marjorie. There was no better way to spend my last day home than with her, talking about nothing important, just goofing off and enjoying the evening.

After a time, I decided to switch the subject to something that pertained to reality rather than media.

“So… sophomore year of high school. You excited?” I asked. Marjorie’s face brightened.

“Oh yes! I hope it’s better than last year, at any rate,” she said. Her freshman year was rough. Marjorie was bullied a bit, mostly because she was a bookworm and was quiet and sweet. Funny how a teenager’s mind works; the sweet and innocent are always the first to get bullied. But once the cheerleaders got tired of picking on her, she actually ended up enjoying the remainder of the school year. This year, she joined the Varsity Girl’s Soccer team. She was always good at soccer, and being on the team had helped bolster her self-confidence.

“The team’s looking pretty good,” I said. “Coach Harris has made you a starting forward, I hear.”

“Yeah, that camp I went to taught me some skills. Coach was impressed,” Marjorie replied.

“I saw that Evan Harris kid eyeballing you,” I said, smirking.

“Yeah… he’s cool. I was thinking of asking him to a movie,” Marjorie said, blushing slightly.

“Sure, but he has to pass Dad and I’s inspection first,” I said coldly.

Marjorie raised her eyebrows. “Really, Cyrus? You’re going to be one of those brothers?” she said.

“Hey, kids are animals. I just want to make sure he doesn’t… defile you in any way,” I finished lamely.

Marjorie rolled her eyes. “Evan’s a good kid,” she said. “Really.”

I just chuckled. “If you say so.”

We had reached the densest, most heavily wooded part of the bike trail. The sun was beginning to go down, and the trail was darkening in the twilight. The effect was simply beautiful. Marjorie and I stopped for a moment, standing with our bike seats between our legs. We paused to sip water from the bottles we had hooked to the bikes. As I lowered my bottle, I felt a chill run down my spine. In that instant, I knew we weren’t alone. I whipped my head around so fast that I cricked my neck. There was nothing behind us. Rubbing my neck and cursing under my breath, I turned to my sister. “Everything all right?” she asked.

“Yeah… yeah, fine. Listen, we should probably head on home soon. It’s getting dark, and we didn’t bring flashlights. We’ll ride up a little ways, then turn back, ‘kay?” I said. Marjorie nodded. We resumed our pedaling. We rode past the West Forks Campground, where various camps and summer programs rented barracks. It was empty until the 21st, when a boy scout troop would be staying there, then after that the owners would use it until winter. A small path to our right led down to the camp. We rode a ways past that. We stopped suddenly at the site of an obstruction directly ahead of us. In the gathering gloom, I could just make out three masses lying across the path. I dismounted my bike, and cautiously approached the obstruction. Marjorie made to follow, but I stalled her with a raised hand. “Let me take a look first, honey,” I said.

The masses turned out to be deer, three does and a fawn. The fawn had been torn in half; its rear half was missing. The doe on my left had been eviscerated, her intestines lying across her mangled body. I stood there, dumbfounded. Steeling myself, I bent down to feel the doe on my right, who had no marks upon her body, but the head was facing backwards. Whatever had attacked them had broken her neck. Upon touching her, I noticed she was still warm. My breath caught in my throat. This lot had not been dead long. The attack could have been happening while Marjorie and I were farther down the trail.

My first thought was that it was a bear. But surely a bear wouldn’t have left its prey lying around, especially not on our account. Then I remembered the chill I had felt minutes before, as though I was being observed by unseen eyes. Shaking my head, I stood from the doe I was examining, and lifted my eyes to the trail, taking in the surrounding trees. Apart from the deer carcasses, Marjorie and I were quite alone.

Marjorie got off her bike and walked over to stand at my side. She gasped and clapped a hand to her mouth at the sight of the deer. “Oh, Cyrus, what happened?” she whispered. She looked terrified. I put my arm around her shoulder.

“It was probably a bear,” I assured her, though I did not believe what I was saying. “We should probably go,” I whispered. Marjorie agreed that we should leave and turned to go back to the waiting bicycles. Before returning to my ride, I decided to take a closer look at the fawn, to see if I could determine what had killed it. As I went in to take a closer look, I felt it once again, the chill, that feeling of being watched without your knowledge or consent. I froze. I stood still for several seconds. Then slowly I turned to see what was watching me. Nothing was there. I saw Marjorie standing a little ways ahead of me. I walked over to her. She was a foot or so away from our bikes, staring back the way we had come.

“Come on, lil sis, let's go,” I urged. She didn’t budge. I caught sight of her face. There was a look of terror frozen upon her face. “What’s up?” I asked, concerned. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Worried, I followed her gaze up the trail, but still I could see nothing. Then she spoke, and I jumped at the sound of her voice.

“There was a woman,” she said softly. The look of fear was still frozen in place. I moved closer to her.

“A woman? Who was she?” I asked gently. Marjorie tore her gaze from the trail and looked me in the eye.

“I don’t know, Cyrus… I couldn’t see her face with the little light here. Besides, her hair was hanging in her face. But she was naked… and there seemed to be a dark stain down her front…” Marjorie trailed off. No man or woman alive could have slain these deer without the aid of weapons. Perhaps this apparition had nothing to do with the animals. But I had to know…

“Are you sure you saw a woman?” I urged her. A flicker of annoyance penetrated the look of fear on my sister’s face.

“Why would I make this up, Cyrus?” she snapped. “There was a naked woman, she stood on two legs there staring at us, then she turned and scampered away on all fours.”

“Okay, okay, I believe you,” I said, holding my hands up. “I just had to be sure, that’s all. Let's get out of here.” We made for our bikes. Marjorie looked as though she was about to cry. I put my arm around her shoulder, and kissed her on the cheek. “It’s gonna be fine, Marjorie. I won’t let anything happen to you. We’ll be home and safe in no time,” I promised. She still didn’t look convinced, but there was no time for further reassurance. If there was a potential predator nearby, whether it was man or beast, then riding home with the utmost haste was the only acceptable course of action.

So we rode with all our might. We were determined to put as much distance between the corpses and us as possible. I was uncomfortably aware of the fact that we were going in the same direction as the beast or woman or whatever it was Marjorie saw. But if it had really run off as she said, then maybe whatever it was would keep away. But what was disturbing about all this was she took off on all fours. All I hoped was that Marjorie was just seeing things in the gloom and it wasn’t as sinister as it sounded. But something didn’t feel right…

It happened suddenly. One moment Marjorie and I were rounding the corner near the campgrounds, the next the two of us were flying sideways through the air. Something had collided with my left side, knocking me into my sister, and we both flew from our bikes. I scrambled to my feet, swearing at the top of my voice, looking around wildly for our assailant. Then I heard a sound that made my heart skip a beat.


I whipped around. Something had a hold of Marjorie and was dragging her away from me by her ankle. “Marjorie!” I screamed. I dove forward and seized her hands. Looking up, I saw the woman she had described earlier. The woman was standing upright, pulling my sister with one hand. Her face was obscured by a long curtain of raven colored hair. Even in the gloom I could see a horrible dark stain down her front. It was blood. It didn’t look like blood in the gloom, but I knew that it was. This… thing had mutilated those poor deer. This thing wasn’t human. I didn’t know what it was, but it had to be a monster. Only a monster could have done that to those animals, could do what it was doing now.

“Cyrus! Help me!” Marjorie cried. She was furiously kicking at the beast-woman’s legs with her free foot, but she was missing the legs and the woman seemed unperturbed by her efforts. As we were being dragged, I noticed a sizeable rock on the ground ahead. I quickly released Marjorie and dove for the rock. Marjorie, fearing that I had abandoned her to her fate, began to scream and sob in earnest. I seized the rock from the ground, took aim, and whipped it at the woman’s obscured face with all the force I could muster.

My aim was true. The rock collided with her face with a dull crack! The woman released Marjorie and tumbled over backwards. I charged forward, grabbed my sobbing sister by the hood of her jacket and pulled her to her feet. Grabbing her hand I bellowed, “RUN!” and we began tearing back down the trail. My first thought was that we would grab our bikes and ride away from this horror. But as the bikes came back into sight, I felt a hot, foul breath on the back of my neck. My own breath caught in my throat. The woman was right behind us! I had been sure my projectile had knocked her unconscious, or at the very least disoriented her enough where she couldn’t immediately give chase. Not only was she up and running, she was almost upon us.

As we ran, we came to the path that led into the campground. I tugged Marjorie down the path as fast as I could move with a person in tow. The sound of feet skidding on rocks and leaves reached my ears as we turned onto the path. It sounded as though the thing had pounced and had just missed us. I experienced a moment of relief; I may have just bought us some time. We tore down a row of cabins, diving behind the end one. There, we found a dumpster, and we dove behind it.

I was aware that a mere dumpster wasn’t going to shield us from that menace, but I was banking on it not having seen where we hid. We sat there, our arms around each other’s shoulders. “Cyrus, I’m scared,” Marjorie moaned. I squeezed her shoulder.

“I won’t let anything happen to you, kiddo,” I murmured. “I promise…”

“What is she?” Marjorie asked.

“No idea.”

“It seemed to take her no effort to pull me… she was incredibly strong, Cyrus. And fast, she nearly caught us,” she whimpered. I tried to find something to say that would console her, but comforting words eluded me. I promised I would protect her, but deep down I knew they were empty words. I mean, I would protect her to the best of my ability, but this animal-woman had abilities well beyond mine. Marjorie certainly could not protect herself; the woman had gone for her first, as she was viewed as the weaker prey.

We sat in silence for several minutes, listening hard. All we heard was the sound of our breaths, and I could hear my heart pounding in my chest. A terrible thought then occurred to me; what if the woman had a heightened sense of hearing? Our beating hearts would certainly give us away. But I couldn’t see or feel the woman’s presence. I was hoping that maybe the creature had abandoned its chase. But even as I thought it, I knew it was unlikely. We had pretty much just got lucky in eluding her and bought ourselves five minutes at best.

“I’m scared,” Marjorie moaned. I still couldn’t come up with anything comforting to say. I kissed her on the cheek.

“Me too.”

We held on tight to each other. I never wanted to let go of her. After awhile, I decided we should peek around the cabin and see if there was any sign of our predator. But, as we made to crawl around the corner, I heard the crunch of feet on gravel. A slow, heavy breathing was coming from the direction of the footsteps. It made my skin crawl and the hair on the back of my neck stand up. And then suddenly, the breathing was replaced by a loud sniffing. The woman was trying to catch our scent! I wanted to get up and run screaming from the place, but fear kept me rooted to the spot. A few more seconds of footsteps and sniffing and then-

“AAAAAAAAAAARGH!” Marjorie’s scream went through my body and pierced my very soul. Without pausing to think, I seized her arm and ran with all my might. She was still screaming. Down the gravel pathways we ran, me panting, her screaming. We darted between cabins, coming to a halt under a balcony connected to the mess hall. Night had fallen in earnest, but the camp had lights set to timers. One of these stood a few feet from the mess hall, so we had a bit of illumination. I looked at Marjorie. She stood there, clutching a stitch in her side, the shoulder of her left jacket sleeve slightly torn and bloody.

“What happened?” I asked urgently.

"I looked around and her face was inches from mine! That’s when I screamed. Sh-she g-grabbed at my arm as you pulled me away… her n-nails tore my coat,” she sobbed. I reached into my pocket for my handkerchief. I applied it to her wound and gently put pressure on it. Marjorie inhaled sharply when I placed the handkerchief on the gash.

“Sorry,” I said quickly.

“I saw her face this time,” she said, her eyes wide. “Cyrus… her eyes… so big, and-and-“ she faltered, and then began to sob.

I examined the wound closely. It didn’t appear to be deep, and I told her so. She appeared not to have heard. I pulled her into my arms. "We’re going to find a way out of this,” I said. Of course, I didn’t see any avenue of escape. But it was all I could say.

“I love you,” I whispered.

“I love you more,” Marjorie sobbed into my shoulder. I gently pushed her away, and cupped her face in my hands. I looked into those gemstones that were her eyes, those brilliant orbs that had first gazed at me all those years ago. We were going to die, and I knew it. She knew it too. I kissed her on the mouth and said, “You’re my best friend. I wish you weren’t here being chased by this thing with me. But, you are, and a part of me is glad we have each other. We’re in this together.”

We stood there, under the balcony, holding on tight to each other. Marjorie was shaking uncontrollably. As I stared over her head, a tall, lean figure moved slowly from the shadows and into the light. I couldn’t see its eyes through the curtain of hair, but I knew it had spotted us. “Run!” I cried. As we turned to flee, I could hear the telltale sounds of the woman giving pursuit. I hardly knew where I was going. I just ran, dragging my sister when she fell behind. Eventually I started dragging us in a serpentine pattern, in the vain hope we could throw the beast off. We ducked down paths at random, hoping we could lose her. There were more cabins than I had thought there would be. It was a maze, and we were fast becoming lost. All I could have hoped for at this point was that our assailant was lost as well. But she could smell us, too, so any respite we would have had would have been brief.

We had reached a wooded area that had a few stray cabins scattered about it. One of them was raised off the ground slightly, and the gap was just big enough for us to slip through. I seized Marjorie and dove under it. We slid on the soft dirt, coming to a rest halfway to the other side. We lay there for several minutes, trying to catch our breaths. Marjorie was crying. I placed my hand on her back. “Calm down,” I whispered.

“Please don’t let anything happen to me, Cyrus,” she whimpered. I looked at her. It was difficult to see her, due to the severe lack of light. Then, as a car drove by, I could see by its light her green eyes. They were wet and contained nothing but terror. As I gazed into them, I was suddenly struck by what I was seeing. A car was nearby! That meant we were close to a road! If we could just get to it, maybe we could hail a passing vehicle and be rescued. I looked out in the direction of the light. The car was about twenty yards away from us. I watched as it passed the camp going up the hill towards the village. At least that’s where I thought it was going, anyway. I wasn’t sure where in the campground we even were. I watched the retreating taillights for a moment, then formed a quick plan of escape.

But, as I turned to tell Marjorie this, the sound of feet on dirt interrupted me. We both lay silent, listening hard. It was sniffing the air again. The sound was unnerving. I could feel my sister trembling under my hand. As the sniffing came closer, I lifted my head toward the noise. My breath caught in my throat. I could see a pair of large feet standing a yard from where we were. The woman had found us. I stared at them, waiting for her to bend down and show her face, or for an arm to reach for us. But, miraculously, the feet moved to our left, away from the cabin. I breathed a small sigh of relief.

I listened closely for the sound of feet and sniffing, but we seemed to be quite alone. I took the opportunity to whisper my plan to Marjorie, who continued to tremble. But she listened, and when I finished, she nodded her agreement. “Ok, I’m gonna count to three,” I whispered. “Then we take off, ‘kay?” She nodded affirmatively. “On three then,” I said. “One… two… thr-“

A sudden high-pitched squeal assaulted my eardrums. Wincing, I saw Marjorie sliding backwards away from me, seemingly of her own accord. I tried to turn to grab her arms, but it was difficult in that cramped space. Marjorie dug her nails into the dirt, but it was no use. She slid easily from the space, screaming and crying. Her body jerked upward and out of sight. All I could see were two large feet. Then the feet turned and scampered in the direction we had come. “No!” I cried.

I still couldn’t turn around, so I crawled out the opposite end and sprinted around the cabin. They were nowhere in sight, but I could still hear Marjorie screaming. I attempted to ascertain which direction the screams were emanating from. I ran back the way we had come, the direction I had seen the feet running. I ran down two different roadways and ducked between cabins, following her screams. Then, suddenly, Marjorie’s cries ceased.

“Marjorie?” I hollered. “Marjorie?” No answer. “Marjorie…” I stood there helpless and sobbing. I listened with all my might, but all was quiet. I took a breath and began to race up the path, blubbering her name to the silent air. No response came. Through my terror I felt furious at myself for not just taking her and running. Why did I have to count to three? We may have managed to elude the woman and make it onto the road. But then, I reasoned, there may not have been anyone to save us there, and she’d have gotten us anyway.

I paused again for breath at the end of the path. That’s when I heard it. A terrible slurping and crunching sound was coming from the direction of a small cluster of cabins toward the middle of the camp. Steeling myself, I cautiously approached the noise. There was a lamp several feet from me bathing the square in golden light. An object was lying near the lamppost, surrounded by a large, dark stain. I slowly approached it, barely able to breath. I stopped when I reached it.

It wasn’t an object at all. It was a human head with long auburn hair and wide, staring green eyes. In that moment, the world stopped. Time ceased to move. I stood there staring into those wide, fearful eyes. As I gazed into them, I was transported fifteen years back in time to when I first looked into those gems. I was once again holding that little bundle Dad had handed to me so long ago. I sank to my knees and took the head into my hands. It was heavier than I had expected. “Marjorie…”

It wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. This was either a dream or a cruel joke. She wasn’t dead. She couldn’t be. “It’s okay,” I said to the head. “I’ll find the rest of you…” But what I hoped to achieve by finding her body I didn’t know. Just the fact that I was talking to the head as if it could hear me was enough to prove I was becoming unhinged. I tucked the head under my arm and approached the sucking sound. It was coming from behind the building in front of me. Holding my breath, I crept around the structure. I started slightly as the motion sensor light on the back wall was activated. I slowly peeked around the corner. What I saw made me drop Marjorie’s head.

The rest of her body lay there, the torso torn wide open. The woman was facing me, crouched over the body, consuming what looked like my sister’s large intestine. I cringed. The sound was awful. I looked on in horror as the creature began sucking the blood from the outside of the intestine. I placed my fist over my mouth and swallowed in a vain attempt to suppress my gag reflex. I couldn’t control it, and I vomited on the ground, soaking my sneakers in sick. I looked back toward the grisly sight, taking deep, shuddering breaths. The woman had ceased her consumption of my sister and was now looking directly at me. She slowly rose, and as she did so, the curtain of hair finally fell away from her face. I shouted in terror, took a step backwards, and tripped over Marjorie’s head.

I pulled myself into a sitting position, the better to keep the beast-woman in sight. Her eyes were larger than any I had ever seen before. They were a vivid green color, very much like the eyes of her most recent victim. The pupils were slit like a cat’s, and they were slanted at the ends. Her mouth was stretched into a bloody grin, a wide, toothy smile that made me want to scream. It was wider than a normal person’s mouth, and the teeth were long and sharp. They were so large I wondered vaguely if she could even close it. My sister’s blood had stained them scarlet. Her lips were thin and red, but I couldn’t tell if that was from blood or if that was their normal color. Her front was caked with dried blood, but I could still make out the features of her breasts. She had no nipples. Her groin was hairless, and her genitals had what appeared to be burn scars. Her arms and legs were lean and muscular, and her feet were even larger than they had appeared in the dark. They seemed disproportionate to the rest of her body. She stood over six feet tall.

I slowly got to my feet, keeping the woman in sight. I wanted to flee, but fear kept me rooted to the spot. Besides, I feared making a sudden movement might provoke her into pursuit. So we stood there facing each other. Her breasts were heaving as she observed me. She seemed to be excited about making me her dessert. Her smile widened (I didn’t think it could get any wider) as she began to slowly walk toward me. Her nostrils flared as she sniffed the air. It was creepy enough just hearing it, but actually seeing this thing sniff the air like a ravenous wolf made me want to sink into the ground and disappear. This woman was a perversion of nature. Who or what she was I had no clue, and I had never seen or heard of such a creature in that area before.

I began to slowly back away from the approaching menace. A low growl was coming from her now. It was almost a purr. She dropped to all fours, ready to pounce. I finally turned and ran. I ran back toward the mess hall. Reaching it, I tore up the stairs to the balcony. I was about to kick in the door to the upper barracks, when something grabbed my ankle, bringing me to crash on the deck. I screamed in terror. The woman had not followed me up the stairs, but had jumped from the ground to hang off the balcony. She had reached through the wooden poles to grab me, which should have been impossible, as the poles were too close together. This woman had somehow squeezed through to grab my ankle. She began to gnaw at the wood with her large teeth, all the while ripping the rest of it with her free hand. In less than a minute, she had torn a small opening in the poles, but it still wasn’t wide enough to accommodate her. Yet somehow she was managing to squeeze through. She could contort her body to fit through small openings, I realized. I tried in vain to wrench my ankle from her grasp. She pulled me towards her, flipped me onto my back, and placed her knees on my stomach so I couldn’t move.

Her face was just inches from mine. Through the sliver of light I could see her nightmare eyes, alive with bloodlust. She licked her lips, eager to consume her next meal. I looked into that grinning face, and I knew I was dead. I closed my eyes as she bent toward my exposed throat, her mouth wide open.


I opened my eyes. For a moment, I thought it was the woman who had spoken, but the voice had been much deeper, a male’s voice. The woman was no longer approaching my throat. She was looking out over the balcony, her face frozen with fear. She released me, walked to the opposite ledge, and jumped. I hauled myself to my feet, and approached the edge cautiously. Looking down, I saw the woman crawling toward a figure silhouetted at the edge of the ring of light. In its hand it held what looked like a crystal filled with white light. As I watched, a beam of light sprung from it, striking the woman, who crumpled. Another flash, and she was gone.

I stared in shock, barely able to process what I had just witnessed. Then another beam of light emitted from the crystal, this one headed directly towards me. Before I could even attempt to clear its path, I was bathed in it, and I cried out as a white-hot agony coursed through my body, setting my very bones afire. Next thing I knew, I was curled under the lamp at the feet of the stranger.

“I am so sorry for my daughter’s behavior,” the figure said in a deep, rich voice. “I do not know what has gotten into her.” I lay there, unable to speak. My entire body ached from the effects of the crystal. “I saw a body back there. The head rested a few feet from it. It was the remains of a young girl. Was she accompanying you?” the stranger asked.

“Yes. She was my sister,” I said, tears welling up in my eyes. “Your daughter dismembered her. She had chased us through the camp.” I waited for a response from the man, but he remained silent. The only sound was that of my labored breathing. At long last, the man spoke.

“Well, that is most unfortunate,” he said, though his tone stated otherwise. He seemed rather amused. “You see, she and I have some business to attend to a few counties north of here. I had left her alone for a few minutes too long, I guess. When I returned to our campsite with her supper, she had already slipped out to hunt on her own. I will not be making that mistake again. I am sorry for the inconvenience,” he said.

“Inconvenience?! My sister is dead!" I bellowed. “Besides, what business do you have here? What business is more important than my sister? And what the fuck is that thing you call your ‘daughter’?” Any business involving a monster like that woman could not be good, and I wanted to know what manner of creature she was.

“That is no concern of yours,” the man said coolly. “If you knew, you may try to warn someone, which would earn you another visit from me. Once my daughter catches a scent, she never forgets it, so I will find you. And believe me, you do not want to see me again.”

“What is your name?” I yelled.

“My identity is of no consequence,” the figure snarled. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to my daughter. She will wake soon, and I do not want her sneaking out again. I have a task to complete, you have a loved one to mourn, and I have already wasted enough time. I bid you farewell, young man.”

I lifted my head in an attempt to get a better look at this strange man. He was mostly in shadow, but I could see two flaming gold eyes staring pitilessly down at me. He lifted the crystal. “Wait, what about my sis-“ I began, but the crystal flashed again. The light blinded me, and when my eyes finally readjusted to the night, the figure was gone.

I must have passed out after that, because the next thing I recalled was being aboard an ambulance wrapped in a foil blanket. Through the windows I could see blue sky. It was early in the morning, judging by the hue of it. The paramedic with me explained that Jerry Michaels, a friend of my family and a cabin owner at the campground, had found Marjorie and I. He had discovered Marjorie as he pulled into the camp, nearly running over her severed head. As he ran to call 911 on the phone in the mess hall, he discovered me lying under the lamp.

Once at the hospital, I was treated for hypothermia, which struck me as odd, as it had been a warm night. I supposed the crystal had had some effect on my body temperature, and lying unconscious in the open without a blanket for several hours hadn’t helped. The police questioned me at length, and I told them everything, omitting the part about the shadowy figure and the crystal. I just told them the creature took off and I walked from the balcony to the lamp and passed out. A beast-woman chasing Marjorie and I had been incredible enough without adding the strange man and his device.

The police were a bit skeptic about my tale, which was understandable. Whoever heard of an animalistic human ripping a girl apart with her bare hands? But they set an all-points bulletin out for a female matching the woman’s description. As unbelievable as the story was, I wasn’t named as a suspect due to the gruesome nature of the murder. The police didn’t believe that it was physically possible for me to have done that to Marjorie.

Even worse than relaying my story to the police was having to tell my parents what really happened to their daughter. The police had notified them, of course, but they weren’t willing to believe anything until they heard it from me. I will never forget my mother’s cries of anguish as I recounted the tale, or my father’s wounded scream. I had never heard those sounds from them before, and I hoped never to do so again. I myself broke down in howls of agony during my recollection. A part of me was in denial that she was really gone.

I was discharged from the hospital two days later, and three days after that, we held my sister’s funeral. The funeral didn’t help me to say goodbye; on the contrary, it finally made me realize she really was dead and was not coming back. I was reluctant to return to college, but I did anyway. I completed my degree. Marjorie was in my thoughts constantly. She would have been proud of me for graduating, and I would have loved to witness hers. I went on to become a recording engineer, working with some big names in the music industry. Every time I met a well-known musician, all I could think was, “Marjorie would have loved this.” Her absence in my life left a crater that could never be filled. Five years after her death, my mother passed away. She had been having heart problems, but I knew what really killed her. It was apathy from losing her daughter.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with Jerry, the man who rescued me. He was never quite right after seeing Marjorie the way he found her that morning. I was having coffee at his house, when he told me there was something he had been meaning to reveal to me. A few days after my sister’s murder, a religious cult called the Hand of God had been the subject of a mass suicide. This was in Tariff County, about forty miles north of Leon Forks. But, that was only the official version of events. Jerry had heard from a friend of his, who was a retired police officer, the true story. The man had confessed on his deathbed that members of the cult appeared to have been torn to shreds by an animal of some sort. Others were burnt to a crisp. A hiker in the woods near their compound had seen a figure in a black trench coat and Stetson hat accompanied by a naked woman who moved along on all fours.

The hiker said that when the duo spotted him, the man pulled some sort of glowing white object from his pocket and they disappeared in a blinding flash of light.

So there it was. Marjorie and I had just been victims of circumstance. We were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. These “people” had been on their way to deal with this religious cult (who I later found out were self proclaimed exorcists) and the woman escaped and happened across us. Why the police never revealed the true cause of death at the compound, I have no idea. My only guess could be that the hiker’s testimony sounded so preposterous that the police didn’t dare reveal it. It would have been easier to claim mass suicide, as religious cults were apt to do. But I couldn’t have cared less. Knowing the reason was not important in the face of the tragedy that plagued my family.

So today, I visited Marjorie’s grave. I placed flowers on it, and kissed my finger and touched it to the name engraved in the marble. Upon returning home, I took a little nap on the couch. I dreamed that a shadowy figure was dancing with my sister around her grave. I cut in, and when I placed my hands on Marjorie’s waist, her face changed into that of the beast-woman. She opened her mouth wide to bite my face, and I woke up screaming. It took a full ten minutes for my wife to calm me down. Once I was relaxed, I grabbed my laptop from my office. I had to tell this story. I had to warn people of a horror that exists in our world. I had to honor my sister’s memory by telling the world our story. I placed the computer on the coffee table, opened Microsoft word, selected a template, and began to write this narrative.

Written by DarthWeezer1994
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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