Everyone has tales about the strange and bizarre. My story is about how my half-hole mask saved my life, and continues to save my life to this very day. Late in December, I was traveling north from California to my home state of Oregon. Nothing fancy, I was just going to visit the family for the holidays. On my way north I hit a small snow storm, nothing awful, just a lot of snow falling all at once.
I wasn't worried about the small increase of snow at first, considering I had snow tires installed before I started my long journey home. I did, however, get a little hesitant to drive when the snow started to really come down. The large amount of falling snow coupled with the large amount already littering the ground as I traveled higher into the mountains caused me to consider finding a place to stay for the night. I figured I could get some sleep while the storm passes over, that and the fact that I could give my car’s heater a break before it would decide to burst into flames - or worse, just stop working all together.
I scanned as much of the landscape as I could, but there were no buildings in the immediate area. The only other option that I had for my predicament was to keep driving and hope there was a town or exit nearby that I could take in order to escape from the storm. I must have been driving for at least an hour before I saw a sign up ahead indicating how far the closest city was. My heart sank a little when I read 162 miles as it flew by my windshield and vanished into the snowy night. At this point the snow was beating against my windshield, and I knew that I wasn't going to last 162 minutes let alone 162 miles.
The digital clock on my radio read 1:21 AM, and I decided that the next turn off I saw I would take and hope that I could find a neighborhood that will produce some results on my current endeavor. My thought process was: either freeze to death in my car, or stay the night at some random person’s house. Weighing the two options in my head I picked the only thing a sane person would pick and go with the house.
Another 30 minutes flew by, and still no luck finding a place to pull off. Just when I was starting to loose hope I saw a turn off in the distance. A small shape started make its way closer into my head lights and on further inspection it was reveled to me that they were two wooden poles that possibly belonged to a fence. When I turned onto the road between the two wooden poles the ground beneath me felt rocky and rough, like I was traveling on gravel. I didn't drive for too long before I started to see a small cabin creep into my field of view.
The lights in the cabin were off, but the place seemed to be in good shape. I parked my car under a tall wild-looking tree that took residence on the cabin’s front lawn. Getting out of my car, I immediately grabbed my extra jacket and put it on pulling the half-hole mask I wore around my neck up and over my ears to keep the heat around my face. I put my cap on and trudged up to the cabin after putting my cap snug on my head. As I traveled through the cold windy night up to, what I felt was my salvation I immediately regretted not getting any gloves for my hands.
Despite the irritation I had with my hands, my face and the rest of my body were comfortably warm so I didn't have much room to complain. I stuffed my frozen hands deep into my pockets and continued my journey across the cabin’s lawn. As I made my way to the door I noticed something odd. There was no indication of life anywhere; there wasn't even a car in the front yard.
Taking my right hand out of my pocket, I knocked three times, waiting patiently before saying, “H-hello? Is anyone in there? I’m sorry to bother you so late at night, but I need a place to stay for a few hours.”
Nothing answered my plea for help, so I knocked three more times on the door hitting my knuckles harder against the aged wood of the entrance. “Hello?” I said again a little louder before continuing with, “I’m not here to rob you or anything; I just need a place to stay for the rest of the night. I promise I'll be gone by sunrise.”
As I finished my sentence I touched the ornate metal door handle. Noticing that the door seemed to be unlocked I said in a loud voice, “I’m coming in now, if there’s anybody in there let me know now please.”
I pressed the metal leaver down, finding it a bit odd that the door was unlocked, and opened the door with little resistance on the other end closing it behind me with about the same resistance despite the fact the door looked really old. Looking around the area I noticed the cabin had five rooms: the living room - which was the biggest room - a small kitchen, an even smaller washroom, and - what I assumed were - two small bedrooms in the back. No lights were on inside the cozy cabin making it almost pitch dark if my eyes weren't already adjusted to the darkness from outside. I decided the best thing to do would be to search for a light switch, so I took out my phone and turned on my flashlight app to scan the walls. My scan produced no results however, and at the risk of losing precious battery power on my phone I decided the best option would be to turn off the light and put my phone on airplane mode.
Before turning off my light I studied the paintings hanging on the wall that I glossed over in the initial scan. Each painting that crossed my sights was just typical landscapes or harbors - things like that. There was a painting that looked like a fox hunt or something like that, but other than that it was just typical paintings you would see hanging on the walls around an elderly person’s home. There was a painting, however, that caught my attention. The painting was small and consisted of what looked like two adults - a mother and father - a teenage girl, and a small child.
The family captured in that painting were wearing what looked like Victorian era clothing. I’m only guessing about the clothes, I mean they could have been the 1800’s or the early 20th century - the point is that the clothing was very ornate and regal. There was something really disturbing about the image in the painting though. The faces of each member of the family looked like they were smoothed over with clay - it’s kind of hard to describe it, but the three family members looked like they had no facial features. By no facial features I mean instead of the normal facial features you and I have, the three people in the painting had grooves of smooth flesh where normally you have an eye, nose, or mouth.
The only person in the painting that didn't posses a blank face was the teenage girl, which had normal facial features for a teenage girl - in fact she was quite breath taking. I pulled myself away from the painting to take a glance at my phone for the time. My phone indicated that it was past 2:00 in the morning, so I decided to go to the back room and check to see if it was occupied. To my relief the room was vacant besides a medium sized bed, ornate dresser, and nightstand there wasn't much to go by. The walls were blank besides more sappy paintings to give it a little more atmosphere.
Although there was no indication of a heating system - besides a chimney - the rooms were bearable enough that I figured I could just bundle up in my clothes under the covers in order to stay warm. I was only going to be there for a few hours anyway, so there wasn't much point in starting a fire plus the people who owned the cabin wouldn't be back tonight considering how late it was. I hopped into the worn out bed facing the open door next to another door I assumed was a closet and pulled my half-hole mask completely up and over my face to make sure my head would stay nice and warm the rest of my stay. Pulling the fabric of my mask down slightly I set the alarm on my phone for 4:30AM and put it back down onto the nightstand. I covered my face again and bundled up tightly with the sheets, closing my eyes and letting dreamland take me away until I woke up after what felt like minutes later to the sound of scratching.
My body froze as I heard the noise over and over again softly coming from the closed door. I tried to relax myself by thinking that all the noise that I heard was just a rat or some other animal that was spending the night in the closet while the cabin’s owners were away. Quietly I shifted onto my back, pulling my half-hole mask down slightly so a little slit appeared giving me a small window to look at what was out there. I laid on the bed stiff as a board with my cap and mask covering my face in such a way that it acted like a visor giving me a small peak at what was in the darkness. Thankfully my eyes were still adjusted to the dark, which gave me a small amount of reassurance as I continued looking in the direction the scratching noise was coming from.
The scratching continued louder and longer for what seemed like minutes until just like that, it suddenly stopped. Silence filled the room again, but it wasn't a safe kind of silence. The deafening silence in the room was a foreboding ominous sort of silence. The vacuum of sound in the air was the type of silence that happens in a movie just before something jumps out at you. Just when I began to calm myself down the door knob to closet began to jiggle and turn very slowly.
My heart was racing out of my chest as I saw and heard that knob turn, and every inch of my body wanted to bolt out of that bed and out of that cabin before whatever was on the other side of that door got out after me. I laid perfectly still on the bed despite the fact that I had a cocktail of adrenalin, nerves, and instincts telling me to get the hell out of there. My eyes widened as the door to the closet opened slightly and I saw what looked like a dried head attached to an elongated neck pop out of the opening followed by a skeletal body. The thing that was emerging from the closet crawled on all fours out of the doorway and slowly made its way to the bed I was sleeping in. I had never been more frightened in my whole entire life as the thing stood up, almost touching the roof of the cabin, and looked down in my direction.
The creature stood there studying me as I peeked through the thin slit in my mask, pure terror swirling around in my mind as I glanced up at the body of the creature. Looking at the creatures’ skeletal face I noticed that it had no eyes in its eye sockets, which lead me to believe that it couldn’t see me even though I could see it. Just when the idea of it not being able to see me started to give me a little comfort the creature began to speak.
“Strange…” The creature whispered softly as it continued to watch me, and then began to speak again.
“It has no fear of me…” the creature continued to say in a hoarse tone as it began to breathe loudly, continuing to look at me and gripping down on the edge of my bed. Feeling the creatures’ bony hand touch the edge of my bed caused my brain to go into complete panic mode. The only thing that stopped me from jumping up was the thought that maybe the creature believed I was dead or asleep and wouldn't attack.
“How can it not fear…? How can it not fear me..?” the thing said through clenched teeth before loudly gasping and suddenly pulling back with its mouth open in an expression that seemed like fear.
“It has no face,” the thing whispered to itself as it continued to back away.
“It has no face,” the creature said again, but this time louder than before and slightly more threatening.
“It has no face!” the creature shouted as it backed off further away from the bed. I heard the thing breathing loudly and quickly before calming down and slowly returning to the side of the bed.
Leaning over me slowly, the creature continued to look at me before softly beginning to breathe on my face. I could smell its foul breath even through my mask. The smell was so powerful that it took all my strength not gag as a reflex to the awful stench. In my mind I made the choice to keep motionless, and not do or say anything that could compromise whatever illusion I was giving the thing that was currently studying me. The creature breathed on me again softly. The stench I smelled from its breath could only be described as pure death, which only strengthened my resolve to stay perfectly motionless.
“Strange…” the thing whispered at me again, leaning in close to me to the point where I could see and smell its decaying flesh.
The creature slowly reached for me, its hand slowly moving towards my face. With every inch that decaying hand moved I couldn't help but feel my situation becoming more and more dire. I thought that this was it for me. The creature would kill me tonight, or take me away and torture me then kill me and no one would know what happened to me. No one would find my body out here, and no one would know my story. I could feel tears start to swell up in my eyes as I thought of everyone I ever loved being yanked away from me in this one moment.
“No face, no face, no face,” the creature softly chanted as its hands crept ever closer to my face. I could hear the anguish in the creature’s voice as it continued chanting over and over as it reached for me.
As the creatures’ long bony hand crept only centimeters away from my face I braced myself for the worst, making the last thoughts I would ever have about the people who I loved. Just as I thought my life was all over a sudden loud noise erupted from the room, filling the ear closest to the nightstand with a flood of beeps, and causing the creature to scream and jump back. As the noise continued the creature threw itself back against the wall shrieking uncontrollably in terror as it stumbled back towards the closet. I was dumb struck for a second before the thought came to me that I had set my alarm for 4:30AM, which must have been the source of the noise.
I jumped out of the bed grabbing my phone and pointing the lit up screen at the monster as the alarm continued to ring loudly. The loud ringing caused the monster to shriek even more in confusion and terror as it retreated quicker as I approached. Seeing my chance I activated my phones flashlight and put it on strobe in order to disorientate the monster further.
“No face! No face! No face!" the creature shrieked at me as it withdrew to the safety of the closet. I continued to shine my light on the creature, and for added effect I started playing loud music as I continued to jab my phone in the monsters’ direction like a lion tamer. The thing threw itself into the dark recesses of the closet and I shoved the door back locking it after I slammed it closed. The shrieks coming from the monster started to get fainter and fainter, like it was retreating deeper into the house.
“No face! No face! It has no face!” I could hear the creature yell out as it got further and further away.
After hearing the last retreating words of the thing that terrified me the whole night I bolted from the cabin at break-neck speed, jumping into my car, and floored it off the gravel road. I was shaking all over as I drove, and when I pulled my half-hole mask further down my exposed skin was as white as the snow that littered the ground. I was so frightened by the whole experience as soon as I pulled into the first town I saw, I parked my car, and began to sob uncontrollably for awhile. The experience that I had just been through would scar me for life, but as I wept in my car in the parking lot of a seven-eleven I couldn't help but start to laugh a little in between my fits of crying. I got through my ordeal without so much as a scratch on me - well besides the mental scars - I was fine, I was alive, and I didn't have to worry anymore.
After I finished with my whole episode of crying and laughing like an insane person I entered the store sniffling and wiping away the rest of my tears. As I continued into the store the cashier looked up at me and traced my direction with his eyes before continuing with what he was doing. The store was mostly empty, besides an elderly couple, I was the only customer in there.
“Had a rough night?” the cashier said with one eyebrow cocked up while he scanned my items.
“You have no idea,” I said looking out the window at the sunny winter day.
“I noticed you looked a bit upset when you came in. What happened? Did you get dumped or something?” he said looking up at me as the register computed how much I owed him.
Looking at the young man behind the register, he seemed to be a little younger than I was - although that doesn't say much because even though I’m 22 I look younger than my actual age. I looked at the cashier’s name tag for a second before feeling that I had nothing to lose by telling him about the night I just had. The small name on his ID tag read Evan, and as I finished telling him my frightening tale something odd happened. I expected him to burst out laughing or say I was the best liar he had ever talked to. Instead of doing any of that Evan just stood there, his skin milk white as he stared at me with an expression so horrified he gave me the impression that he just witnessed someone get run over by a train or something.
“Evan, a-are you alright?” I said looking into his eyes while we both stood there quiet.
“W-what? Oh… Yea- it’s just…” Evan began to say before his thoughts trailed off due to the new feeling that we were both being watched.
I began to feel eyes burn into the back of my head before turning around to see the old couple I glanced at when I entered the store beforehand. The old couple possessed the same horrified look that Evan had just a few seconds ago, they must have heard the whole story I told. After a few moments of silence the old couple asked me what I knew about the cabin, to which I couldn't really say, I gave them the best description I could about what I saw. The couple proceeded to tell me about the cabin, how long it’s been there, and that it was haunted by a presence so terrifying that the place was condemned and left to rot away after so many people disappeared there. They told me that no one who ever stayed in that cabin has ever been seen alive again - if they've ever been seen at all after their visit.
“One of my best friends stayed the night in that cabin…” Evan said quietly as he stared off into the distance, but continued his thoughts with “I refused to go into the cabin, I knew something bad would happen if we went. I tried so hard to convince him that the dare was stupid and to not go in, but he refused to be labeled as a chicken and continued with the dare.”
Evan’s eyes began to water as he continued with his story, “I never saw him again after that night. I kept calling his house but his parents still couldn't find him. We put out flyers and billboards but we never had any luck. After a few days we contacted the police and I told them about the cabin.”
Evan began to choke down tears as he clenched his fist “They found him in the basement of that cabin sprawled out on the floor. His eyes were surgically removed from his eyes sockets, his nose was removed, and his lips… they were sliced off. When they found him he was naked with an incision from the bottom of his rib cage to his pelvis down the middle of his body. All of the internal organs were extracted from his body and to add insult to injury his genitals were sliced clean off. He was put in victorian era clothing, and there were three other bodies in a similar state to him. But you want to know the worst part of it all? When the police did an autopsy on the body, they found that he was alive during the whole process.”
Evan winced as he remembered the whole gruesome site and said, “They never found who, or what did it. There was no DNA evidence to convict anybody, they didn't find the tools that made the incisions, and they didn't find anything.”
Evan clenched his fist tighter on the table before the old man listening to our conversation put his hand on Evan's shoulder to reassure him that it was going to be alright. As he comforted Evan he looked at me and said “People have been disappearing from that area for decades - maybe even centuries for all we know, but the bodies always end the same gruesome way. I don’t care who you are, no one deserves something like that happening to them. They should just torch that evil place to the ground.
The old lady joined her husband's side and looked at me with the most foreboding face I had ever seen. “If your story is true, you should consider yourself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. In all my years of living you are the only one to go into that cabin and come out alive,” the woman said gripping onto her husband's hand tightly as she spoke to me.
After hearing the old woman’s words I realized that Evan said the body of his friend was found in the basement, which explains why the monster's voice got fainter. It would have pulled me into the basement if my phone hadn't gone off. I quickly paid for my items and left the store more troubled now than I was when I entered. Feeling drowsy due to the lack of sleep and constant adrenaline rush caused by my whole terrible ordeal I decided to go to a hotel and spend the day sleeping and relaxing to get my mind off things.
That night I sat on the bed in my hotel room and looked at the two items that saved my life. In one hand I gripped onto my half-hole mask, which hid my face from that terrible monster. In my other hand I held my cellphone, which scared away the horrible beast that could have killed me. I decided that from that day on I would always wear my half-hole mask to bed - it saved my life that’s the least I can do for it. The recent brush with death I just experienced had taught me that life is too precious to waste, so I decided to ask my best friend Samantha out on a date and things worked perfectly.
Samantha and I were together for two years before I recently asked for her hand in marriage - which she said yes. Part of me will never forget that awful night and because of it not only have I been wearing my half-hole mask to bed every night since then, I've also made it a priority not to live in any type of house that has a basement. I as an added safety measure I started locking every door before going to bed - it’s a pain, but you can never be too careful. Despite these crazy precautions Samantha has accepted my little quirks and has continued to be supportive as we continue or journey through life together. I couldn't be happier with the way things turned out in my life, and I'm so lucky to be with Samantha - everything’s perfect.
There’s just one thing that bothers me - and I think I might just have to blame my imagination, but sometimes when I wake up at night, when it’s really quiet… sometimes I'll hear soft scratching noises. Also - and I think it’s just paranoia, but I swear, sometimes I hear something whisper, “No face… It has no face...” from inside my closet.