It was in our old house, the one my great-grandparents built. The house was so warm and comforting – you could feel the love that went into it when it was built. There was only one problem with it and that problem was my room. The room was nice, mind you, it was large and had its own bathroom but my window would always bother me. I had two in my room but the one that faced the large cornfield next to my house – it always felt like something was looking at me through it.

I would always keep the curtains closed and that would help sometimes but it still felt like something was there. Once and a while I would hear scratching but I never dared to look – till one night. A few of my friends had come over for a sleepover when I was in ninth grade. One of them, we'll call her Britt, lived in a house on the other side of the cornfield. She was my closest neighbor and my first friend.

Britt knew about my window but my other friends didn't – and when it came time for bed we started to tell ghost stories. She decided to creep everyone out by retelling some of the stories I told her about the scratching. They were horrified by it but also enthralled – they wanted to stay up and look to see if we would be able to catch anything. I didn't want to but they insisted, so, for the first time in a long time, we opened the curtains. It had been so long since I had looked out that window, I had almost forgotten what was out there.

Only three feet from my window there was an old stone wall and beyond that was the cornfield. Almost directly across from my window there was a gap in the wall where some of the stones had fallen away. Sometimes, to me at least, it looked like there could have also been a path at some point, leading up to the gap. The corn still grew but it just seemed spaced differently.

My friends all huddled around the window but I went to go sit on my bed instead – if there was something out there, I didn't want to see it. They sat there for an hour but nothing showed up, so they resorted to telling their own versions of what lived out there. I started to doze off and I may have fallen asleep but then the screaming started.

It wasn't the usual girly squeals but true screams of absolute terror. I barely had time to comprehend what was going on before my dad came in. He demanded to know what happened and they were all quick to begin talking at the same time.

“There was something out there, it came out of the field!”

“It was big!”

“Like a dog!”

“It wasn't an animal, it didn't have hair!”

“And it had hands!”

“Hands on all four feet!”

“And claws!”

“Big claws!”

“It was gray, gray and black – like spotted!”

“No, like potted.”

“Like marble!”

“It had a big mouth!”

“It didn't have ears!”

They kept on and on until my dad was able to calm them down. He told us that it had probably been a wolf that had lost all its hair from mange. It didn't sound like a mangy wolf to me but I didn't want to believe the alternative so I sided with my father. We closed the curtains and the girls began to chatter to one another – I guess the adrenaline was getting to them because they seemed almost excited.

Morning came and my friends went home. I was sort of happy when they left, Britt wouldn't stop talking about what they saw even when I told her to shut up. It turned into a small argument but I wish it hadn't happened because it was the last time I saw her. The next night she went missing and was never seen again. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it had something to do with what she saw but I never wanted to dwell on the idea. After that, I stopped even looking at the cornfield, every time it would catch my eye I would only think about whatever it was that lived there.

Years passed till the summer before my senior year. My great aunt came to live with us but she didn't stay very long. She was a weird old woman but looking back I guess I can't blame her. A few days after she arrived I came into my room to find her sitting on my bed. She had the curtains open and she was just staring out the window into the field. I knew she was a little loopy so I tried to be nice and asked her what she was doing.

She didn't even turn to look at me when she started to talk and it seemed like it was a story that she had been waiting a long time to tell.

“You know, I always knew I would make it back here,” she began slowly. “My mama and papa built this house but it wasn't the first house here. There was another before this one - they tore it down but the cornfield has always been here. Every person that buys that land, they always plant corn, no matter what, it's always corn. The land never seems to give out either, it's always been fertile.”

She started to laugh bitterly and shook her head.

“I always thought it funny, corn usually sucks the land dry but all those years it never did. I don't know who put that thing in there but I bet it was for the corn. I wonder if they knew the price when they did whatever they did. Seems awfully steep for a good harvest.”

I could feel my heart pounding as she spoke because I knew what thing she was talking about. I wasn't sure what to say or if I wanted to say anything at all.

“When I was a little girl, just after they built this house, I didn't know it was there but I could feel it lookin' at me during the night. You have to want to see it, you see, that's why it does that. If you want to see it and you see it, then it's like giving it permission. I wanted to see it, wanted to know what it was – it sat out there for so long, temptin' me. Then I looked out one night and I saw it, I wish I hadn't.

The next night, it came through the window. Looked like a deformed wolf with hands for feet – long twisted fingers and thick white claws. Its mouth was bigger than a wolf's and its teeth were jagged, each tooth being a different size than the other. All of em were sharp, nothing like a dog's or wolf's. I couldn't scream when it came in, or even when it stood up – lookin' at it, it didn't seem like it should be able to stand. I did start to cry though because I knew it had come for me, because I had seen it.

It was like it was speaking in my mind, telling me why it was there. Someone asked it to be there, promised it a girl every few decades in exchange for keeping the land fertile. Even after they were dead and gone, it remained – seekin' out permission on its own. Liked this house the most because it was the original location but that didn't stop it from lookin' into the other houses as well – but it couldn't go too far from the field or it would lose the land and agreement.

It picked me up and I just went limp. I knew it was gonna do something horrible out in that field but I couldn't fight it. Took me out the window and through the field but somethin' happened. A wolf, a real one, had gotten hold of the farmers goats, the farm over diagonal from here and the farmer was out lookin' for it. The beast dropped me just as the lights and yellin 'were getting closer, like it didn't want to be seen.

The farmer found me, took me home. I told my mama and papa about what happened but they wouldn't believe me. They thought I may have been sleep walkin 'and happened across the real wolf. I kept tellin' them but they didn't listen. They started thinkin' somethin 'was wrong with me... so they put me in my sister's, your grandma's, room. Kept all of it hushed up.

It never came for me while I was with someone. Not supposed to be seen, not without permission. When I left here, I was happy but I had a feelin' that I would be back, like he was callin' to me. Well, here I am but it doesn't bother me so much anymore. What will happen, will happen – I'm an old woman. It's still waitin' though, I can feel it.”

I stood there in silence after she finished because I was too stunned to really say anything. My thoughts started to wander to my friend and it made me sick to my stomach. They never found her body but I had horrible images of what could have happened stuck in my head.

I didn't really talk to my aunt much after that and she didn't say anything more. A week later she went missing from her room. Unlike my friend though, they did find her body. She was in the middle of the field, in a small circle where no corn grew. She was naked and her body had been torn open as if something had been digging into her.

When they began to clean up what was left, they dug down deep enough to find more remains – my friend Britt. They kept digging and every two feet they found the remains of another girl. I think they said it went down thirty feet before stopping. There was a lot of different theories about where they all came from and who did it but nothing ever came close to the truth.

To me it seemed like there was a set time, just long enough for the bodies to begin reaching the surface. If that were true then Britt should have been the last one but it was my aunt. I think it really had waited for her to come back.

I still can't look into a field, especially if it has a particularly successful crop and I never look out a window when I feel something there watching me – asking me if I want it to be seen.