I've never walked through the woods at night before. The slightest idea of it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. As for my friend, Charlie, he was quite the opposite. He loved walking at night, may it be through the woods or elsewhere. On one particular night, he asked me to come through these supposedly haunted woods with him. I absolutely refused to go until he offered weed, which I myself had been dry for a solid month now. In March of Michigan, weed usually comes in higher prices... or at least in the part of Michigan I'm from.
Around 8:00 PM, he pulled into my driveway and honked me out of the house. This was very unlike him; he usually likes to come in for a few minutes when picking me up. He must have been very eager to leave. I've gone on walks with him before and he's usually quite serious. Head always looking straight forward, never speeds up or slows down... we have had our most "intellectual" conversations we'd ever have, compared to just sitting around. These walks to him were treated as if there were rules, or like walking was an art.
Anyhow, I come out to his car with a maglight ready and a set of spare batteries. I even grabbed my largest fold knife I had, just for safe measure.
"So Charlie, about these woods…" I said.
"Yeah?" he replied.
"Where the fuck are they? We've been driving for a good hour now and I'm getting restless. I thought we were got for a 'walk,' not a ride."
"Fuck you. We'll get there when we get there."
"Whatever. So… what makes this place 'haunted'?"
"I got high and started looking at the scariest places in this state, and this one was the closest around. It's called 'Seven Gables.' Apparently some witch used to live in these woods 1-200 years ago, right? I can't remember why, but I guess she cursed the place. There's a good x-mile path through these woods and if we 'hear a scream,' the last person to leave the property is supposed to die somehow.
Also, some people moved into that witch's house some time later: a husband, a wife, and two daughters. One night, the husband went nuts, took a shotgun and shot his wife, then locked his two daughters in their room and burned the place down. He was gonna do himself with the gun when he 'suddenly' found some rope hanging in tree, already made into a noose, so he hung himself. Legend has it, the curse is what made him go crazy that night.
Anyway, I asked around about this place and everyone has some sort of scary story. Cell phones go out, people see little girls dancing with trees, people hear screaming… it just sounds like a good time."
"…Okay, so how do you know that not just people fucking with travelers? I mean, if it's in the top listed spooky places, I'm sure it gets a lot of traffic from stupid people like us. The neighbors must hate it, so I'm sure they fuck with tourists," I replied.
"Hey, I'm not saying one thing or another, but we're going," Charlie replied.
"Oh, and apparently no one can find the house. That's the last thing I read. There's so much woods and a lot of the paths aren't marked. There's a main path that leads you into the middle of the woods and we should come across a corn field surrounded by woods. There should be about two more hours of path passed that, then it's all more or less uncharted territory. The house is in that area."
"…And we're going to find this house? Especially this late at night?" I asked.
"Fuck. I hope so, but I was just in the mood for a more adventurous walk tonight. Since you're on /x/ all the time, I figured you'd want to go. finally have a story of your own to tell," he replied.
"I guess… so how much further away are we?"
We eventually come up to this dirt road named Seven Gables. It's only about four minutes long and it dead-ends at a gate that led the path into the woods. The road was more of a very, very large driveway to some haunted house no one knows exists or not.
At this point, I remembered that there was a cheerleader and her sister who went to my high school. They were in an accident with a drunk driver on the night of prom, but it was rumored that her and her sister were both here that same night with a group of friends. They were the last ones over the property line as they were apparently getting chased by something. They sped off to leave and as they got closer to home, the accident happened. I even remember receiving an invitation to the funeral I never went to. Regardless, it had to have been a coincidence.
Charlie noted that he read that the gate we just approached was considered the property line of the area. The most appropriate phrase I could think of to piss him off at the time (because that's what friends do) was "So, the last person back over the gate is a rotten egg?" He gave me a full-faced glare and hopped the gate.
"C'mon, ya pansy."
I started walking in slow motion toward the gate to push him more. He glared at me again, pulled out a joint, lit it, and walked off. I was not about to get my turn skipped, so I chased his ass down. We walked through the woods for what felt like at least an hour, so I reached for my phone to check the time. It was 12:40 AM and we had arrived at 11:22 PM.
While I had my cell phone out, I noticed big bold letters labeled, "No service," where my bars should've been. Apparently, Verizon is not everywhere I go. After showing Charlie my service was out, he pulled out his phone as well and, sure enough, no service. We poked at each other, making very fake spooky sounds, and continued our walk. The path we were on began to grow narrow and curvy as it became more and more covered with thick foliage.
I know I was high, and I know that I grow paranoid when I'm high, but I began to hear noises. It wasn't like a shuffling in a brush or branches moving. It was definitely no bird or owl, nor crickets or frogs. It sounded more like "boom" sounds in the distance. It wasn't an explosion, but what I can only describe as a heavy "bass" sound or like something giant dropping and hitting solid dirt. I turned and asked Charlie about it and the only thing he said was, "It's been getting louder the further we've been going down this path. I've been hearing it for a while, but I wasn't gonna say anything."
After a few moments of careful listening, he was right; it was getting louder. We could even start to feel it beneath our feet. It had finally got so loud that it seemed as if we were standing next to a shitty car that someone had dropped way too much cash for shitty sub-woofers blaring their shitty rap. And then… it stopped.
When it did stop, we were coming to a large bend in the path. When we turned through the bend, we found the cornfield. It was hard to imagine a cornfield in the middle of the woods, from listening to Charlie's story, or at least I had never heard of something like that. It wasn't that large of an area, but low and behold...there it was.
It was much untamed and there wasn't really anything growing in it. It hardly even had any grass. It was also very hill-y; enough to where if one of us went around a small hill, the other couldn't be seen around it. We split up and explored this field for a little bit, searching for anything to show each other. There was nothing but old left over garbage that other tourists had left on their visits.
After ten minutes of aimless wandering, Charlie yelled out my name. I could hear him running in my direction. I ran toward him, too, until I saw his flashlight, then let him just run to me.
"Sup, Meng?" I asked.
"Someone started to run toward me from the woods," he replied.
I was more than sure that he was fucking with me until I saw a dark figure approaching from behind him. It was too far away to see with my flashlight, so I reached into my pocket and started to run my fingers on the groove in my knife blade. I was not about to die in the middle of nowhere.
As the figure got closer, I was able to start making out features. It was definitely another person. He got close enough to where I could even begin to see colors in what he was wearing. I called out to this person and got a reply: "Thank Jesus!" It was a middle-aged man wearing a brown vest, hiker's boots, and a backpack. He was covered in blood.
"You two need to get the fuck out of here, now!" the stranger yelled.
"Wait, who the hell are you? There wasn't another car parked by the gate. We were the only ones here," I asked.
"My name is Tim. I don't live too far away from here, so I biked. But you two need to leave now!" Tim replied.
"Fucking hold on a second and don't get the fuck any closer. What the hell are you covered in and why?" Charlie asked.
"We don't have much time! I don't know how far behind me they are, but I've been running and lost for four fucking hours!" Tim screamed.
We didn't really know what else to do at this point, so we took the man's advice. With him in front of us and me still feeling the groove in my knife, we ran down the path. The man did not hesitate to make it over this gate before we did. Fucking urban legends. We walked toward Charlie's car and Tim began his story.
"I come out here every Friday night with my three hounds. I'm an amateur ghost hunter; I came here tonight with all of my gear and my boys. They run right behind me if I ride a little slow. I know that spirit energies are more active at night and I've heard every story there is to this place. For the five months that I've been coming here, I've only found orbs in my footage. No audio, no faces, nothing. I bring my boys because they can pick up on stuff more than I can and before my cameras and meters do.
Today, they took off barking into the woods and I chased after them. They split up on me so I just followed Jonathan because I knew he was the closest. He howls differently than the others. I followed him until he got too far and I figured, 'they're smart dogs. They'll find me in no time if I wait by where they took off.'
I got lost trying to find my way back to the path, and I found a house. I took out my camera, since I was sure that this is the house all the stories were talking about. I went inside and started taking pictures."
Tim started to shake and sob as he reached for his camera. I looked over at Charlie and he was gripping his flashlight, ready to strike this man. I knew he was reaching for his camera, but I don't think he did. I pulled out my cigarettes and passed them around.
"Thanks. You have to see these photos," Tim said.
He started flipping through the photos. It hardly looked like a house at all, with all the burn damage. I could see that Tim was hardly smoking his cigarette, since he was focusing too hard to not just explode into tears.
After viewing a bunch of burnt wreckage, the photos started to give more of an ill feeling each time he hit next. Finally, he hesitated to hit the next button again; he wiped his tears on his face, leaving more blood smeared than tears. He hit next again and it was a photo of two of his dogs, disemboweled and dragged across the floor. Someone or something had used their blood to draw some giant symbol on the floor. It wasn't a pentagram, but it gave the same dark feeling a pentagram would give in a photo like this.
Tim gave up holding back and started crying. He hit next again. It was more or less the same photo, but with one of his dogs looking up at him. It was barely, but still alive.
"I picked him up and held him and cried with him. That's why I'm covered in bloo-"
Tim had thrown up all over his and our shoes.
"Aww fuck, dude!" Charlie yelled.
"I dropped Isaac when I heard some woman start humming in the room next to me. I could hear that bitch walking to me, so I just ran. I fucking ran and ran and ran. I couldn't figure out how to get the hell out of these woods! These fucking woods! A..and then I started to see and hear things all around me. These...things were following me. I never found Jonathan, but he's probably dead too. When I was certain I lost them, I saw lights up again, and that's when I found you guys."
We took whatever bottled water we had in the car and gave them to Tim to wash himself off. Charlie offered to take Tim home so I took off my coat for him to sit on and keep blood from getting all over the seats. I never cared much for that coat anyway. We started to hear a single dog howl before we took off. I turned to look down the path behind the gate. I could hear something small running in our direction.
"Go! That ain't my dog! That's something else! We gotta go, now!" Tim yelled.
Charlie started the car and I hopped in. I looked back behind us as we drove off, but I couldn't see anything through the darkness. We dropped Tim off and he didn't say thank you or even look back as he walked inside.
"So, what do you think about all of this?" I asked.
"Whatever the fuck this weed is, I'm sure as hell gonna buy more after tonight," Charlie replied.
Charlie then took me home. Throughout the whole ride, he kept checking his mirror and looking over his shoulder. He was definitely uneasy about something. Before stepping out of his car, I asked him if anything was wrong. He drove off without saying a word. "Whatever, he's just high," I thought.
I threw the blood-stained coat away and called the police to let them know of this incident. It was now about 5 AM and I was tired. I never even found out what that bass sound was. At around 1 PM, I woke up and did my daily "morning" routines. I went and checked my phone and I had 132 missed calls and a single text message, all from Charlie. "Holy fuck," I thought before immediately trying to call him back.
No answer. I didn't have any voice mails or anything; all I had was a single text message. I opened it and all it said was, "I still hear that sound." Pocket dialing? What the fuck is with this text? I never got hold of him and I couldn't figure any of it out.
A couple of days later, I received a phone call from Charlie's dad. He said he hadn't seen Charlie since before he left to come pick me up on the night of our walk. It's now been nearly three months since this incident had occurred and no one has seen or heard from Charlie since that night.
Police have stopped by numerous times to question me about the incident. They say they can't find anyone named Tim who lives in that area and no one in the area has ever heard of some amateur ghost hunter. They also claim they've heard stories of this "Seven Gables" and it's all urban legend. There IS no house, no ghosts, no witch, nothing. I know I'm the department's number one suspect, but unfortunately…
The only thing I can tell the police about the whereabouts of my friend, Charlie… He was the last one over the fence.