This is a true story. I wanted to write it down before I convinced myself it was all a dream, that I just cut myself on barbed wire while sleepwalking, maybe fell down the stairs and hurt my leg, I don't know. If you have experienced anything similar please, please respond, especially if you live locally.
So just a bit of background, I'll try and make this quick. My family and I moved here about two and a half years ago, a small town outside of Puyallup WA, on a 15 acre farm with four pastures. Our back left pasture, the “play field" is half wooded, half open, and mostly used to race quads in during the summer. It is the only field on our property with woods. Through this pasture — in the wooded section — and the pasture in front of it, runs a creek. This time of year the creek is normally flooded over and tonight was no exception.
A little less than a month ago, our Gypsy Vanner colt had been attacked and killed by a cougar. Since then, we have been on high alert for livestock security. Me and my siblings are on spring break, so my sleep schedule is all screwed up. I was up, texting my friend Nadine, cleaning my room and half assed playing with my ferrets, when I hear our LGD puppy (livestock guardian dog, sorry if I use lingo that people don't know, I’m so fucking freaked) start barking like crazy. My bedroom window faces the property, not the road, and I keep it cracked to hear the crickets and frogs at night.
I didn’t even really register that she was barking at first, when I noticed, I yelled at her to shut up. I checked the time on my phone, early two-something in the morning. Suddenly I heard our horses whinnying and snorting. My heart pounding in my chest, all I could think of was the cougar. I decided to wait it out for a few, horses can get spooked easily so maybe they were just running around. God, I wish now that I’d stayed inside.
The horses weren't quieting and I was getting more anxious, so I went downstairs to knock on my mom’s bedroom door (I would have tried waking up my dad -- the one with the guns -- but he works nights now). I threw on my boots, grabbed my headlamp and knife by the door, and headed out to check. Living on a farm I've learned that animals are priority, call it a motherly instinct maybe, I don't know, but I would do anything for them.
The pasture that held our horses was quiet (front left pasture, with the front half of the creek, without the woods.) but I could still hear the whinnying. I hushed our guard dog Mattie and checked on the horses in the front right pasture (our tenant leases the field). Everyone was fine. I decided to check the back two fields by the barn, by then I was wishing I had grabbed a rifle, or my brother's Red Ryder at the least. What was I supposed to do if it was a cougar?
Looking back now, I wish it had been.
By the barn, the moon was bright enough that I didn’t need a head lamp. Tomorrow is supposed to be the full moon, the fog coming off the creek was lit up like a floodlight. The whinnying had stopped but I could hear a horse pacing. There wasn't supposed to be anyone out here, the horses had been moved up because of the attack.
Sorry, I know this is all kinda confusing, but this is the real part. The part I'm writing about.
That's when I saw it.
That's when I saw her.
A beautiful mare, I don't know what breed, we breed draft horses on our farm, but she was a light horse. When she saw me standing there, she stopped running about and stared. The only thing separating us was the gate to the pasture, and white fog.
She was incredible. I forgot about the cougar and coyotes immediately, that I will admit. She was solid black, and the moonlight accented every muscle on her body. Our horses still have a bit of winter fuzz, but she had a slick summer coat.
At first I thought she might be from the Arabian breeder down the road, but she wasn't an Arab. I still have no idea where she would have come from.
I whistled and she didn't even twitch an ear. She just stared at me. I tucked my pajama pants into my boots to keep them clean, zipped up my hoodie, and climbed over the fence.
I half expected her to run away or even charge at me; all she did was snort. As I jumped down into the mud, I felt myself sink a little. I clicked at her and stuck my hand out. I was close enough to smell her. She smelled like a combination of wet horse, and the woods the morning after it rains hard. I walked towards her slowly, suddenly aware that if she chose to rear and kick me, no one would know till morning. But I didn't care. I wanted to touch her, I needed to touch her. I can't explain the pull.
Each step I took made a nasty sloshing noise. (Now that I think about it though, I don't remember any such noise when she was trotting about.) When I got within arms reach she sniffed my hand. I expected warm moist breath, but it just felt cold. She whinnied and started to walk around me. I was so excited, I wanted to feel her beautiful coal colored coat so badly. Never have I wanted something more in my entire life.
I reached out my fingertips and barely touched her coat. It was wet, almost slimy. I scratched her shoulder and to my utter joy and astonishment she began to scratch and groom my head with her lips (if you've ever had a horse, you understand). I pulled my fingers through her mane, it only had one little knot in it (obviously well taken care of) but she had... Plants in it, I don't know what kind, but they were a bit slimy too.
As I stroked her coat I realized she was looking at me. Not just towards me, but straight at me, her eyes locked on mine. I might be exaggerating this part, but I swear to god, she was looking through me. Now, I know horses are smart, but this one seemed over the top. I thought she wanted something, she trotted about impatient. I thought, maybe she wanted me to ride her.
So, sorry, I have to add this part in real quick, my first summer here on the farm I got thrown off our horse Gizmo, got my first trip to the ER, and since then I've been nervous about riding. But here she was. I wished I had brought a stool or mounting block to stand on, and as soon as the thought finished in my mind, she laid down. Did this mean I could just get on her back from the ground? She nodded. She fucking nodded. I swear on my life and everything I hold dear that the horse nodded at me.
So I sat on her back. As soon as I did so I was filled with biggest adrenalin rush I'd ever had. She stood up and my fears from the summer before last, vanished. This horse seemed so steady and beautiful and perfect. I held onto her mane and kept my legs loose around her. She gave an excited whiny and started prancing like a horse in a parade. I was so exhilarated that I clicked for her to go faster, and she did! I couldn't see her feet as we ran through the fog. She raced the length of the open part of the pasture and I let go of her mane and put my arms out like I was flying above the clouds. I felt like I was flying!
But then it changed. Dear God it changed. She sped up and as she got to the end of the field, she turned around so suddenly that every ounce of dread and panic returned about riding. I clung to her neck for dear life. Suddenly I wanted off, I wanted to go home, I wanted to be in my bed away from this horse. As I tried to "whoa" her to slow her down but she wouldn't stop. My worst fears were realized as I was stuck on a wild mare, no reins or stirrups.
We have some trails through the woods for quads, and she suddenly darted toward them. We were on the trail "Chocolate Puddin'" that ended just after a bridge over the creek. She was heading for the water. I tried to let go of her neck but I was stuck! My arms were sticking to her skin! She didn't have hair on her neck now, it was like it had started to melt, it was cold and slimy and disgusting, like mud at the bottom of a lake. I don't know how else to describe it. As branches hit my face and arms, little trickles of blood dripped down. I accepted that I was done for. I was going to die out here and no one would know.
I could see the creek glittering from the moonlight that shone down through the trees, fast approaching. I could hear branches break with every hoofbeat.
To our left suddenly I heard howling. Never in my life have I ever been more thankful for coyotes. Why the hell a pack of coyotes would think they could take on a horse, I'll never know, but I don't care. It threw her -- it -- off long enough to make her slip, and slide right off the bank of the creek. As the beast fell, it landed my left leg, I didn't care, I didn't waste a second.
As soon as she was down, I was up, free from the horrific creature's sticky skin. Even in the dark I could see that it didn't even look like a horse any more; it snapped at me as I pulled my leg out from under it, and the thing had canine teeth! Its skin looked like it was melting off its face, its mane looked like black seaweed, and it smelled like water-bogged death.
I ran away as fast as I could. I sprinted back down the trail we had came from, as I got into the open part of the field I knew I was home free if I could just reach the fence. I tripped once from not being able to see my feet in the fog, but, quickly recovering, flew over the gate, past the barn, and into the house. Our guard dog was barking like mad again, this time at me. As soon as I got the back door shut, I leaned against it, locked it, and just started sobbing. By now my left leg was in crippling pain and my lungs felt ready to explode. My mouth tasted like blood and I think I got my tongue ring caught on my teeth at some point. But it doesn't matter. I'm alive.
As soon as I recovered, I got out my brother's laptop and started to type this. I'm scared to death that it's still out there. I didn't hear it chase after me on my way back, but that doesn't mean it's not still there. Nobody is going to fucking believe me, but it's true. Please, if anyone knows anything, email me, PM me, comment, anything.
That thing might still be waiting in the water. It wanted to kill me, drown me, eat me, I don't know. But I'm desperate for answers. I know I'll have to go to the ER tonight, but I should be online again by Monday night.
-- Avy Rivas --