As I recall, it started on one early April morning. I woke up in my warm comfortable bed as the sun started to make its first appearance over the horizon. Waking up this early seemed to be a habit of mine. Despite this being my vacation time, I chose not to stray too far from home and just relax, so I rented out a house near the eastern shoreline of South Carolina. I did my morning routine and fixed myself a cup of coffee and grabbed some fruit, this was all pretty standard until I realized that my dog had not accompanied me as she always did in the morning.
I eventually went outside to see my chocolate lab, Terra, starring out towards the cliffs of the coastline. As I looked out I saw it, a thin dark outline of a person, a silhouette. He looked like a man based off his tall lanky build. Nothing unusual, just a guy going for a stroll early in the morning along the rocky cliffs. But I noticed something odd about how the man carried himself, he was slow and walked in a jagged and somewhat spastic manor. I watched him as he seemed to struggle along his walk. Eventually I decided to leave and I tried to bring Terra back into the house, however she wouldn't budge, she was fixated on the man and nothing else. But as I looked up I saw that the man had disappeared.
I ran towards the cliff to see what had happened, worried that the guy might have fallen? My heart was racing but as I got there I saw nothing, he was simply gone. And yet I felt a presence looming over me. I looked back to see my dog, now fixated on me, finally walk back into the house. She was acting incredibly strange as she almost never left my side. I didn't know who that was but I decided to leave it for now, hoping the man had just slipped out of my sight.
The rest of the day was quiet to say the least. Terra was now even closer to me then usual, seemingly nervous but very quiet. She didn't seem to want to go for a walk, on top of that as I watched the area around the house I saw almost no other living people, other than the odd bird or boat out on the water.
The sun seemed to set early that night but as I sat outside as I then saw something quite disturbing. It was the silhouette of the man I saw from before, same lanky build and odd stance, except this time his body seemed even more distorted. His arms twisted, his right leg in a limp. I was scared this time, and then I saw him lift up his arm and point at me, making some strange faint noise. Terra was also gone. I needed to get back into the house. But as I came in I saw Terra shivering in the corner.
That night was uneasy as I lay in bed in the dark. I could hear the sounds of distant footsteps and the sounds of people speaking in a tone very loud yet distant and solemn. They seemed to reach closer and closer to the house, and often I left my bed to go see if any hikers had come in need of help. But there was nothing, until I once again noticed that Terra was out on the lawn, staring off to the horizon, until moving her head to the window where I was, staring at me. I figured I'd just let her sleep outside. It was until morning that I once again came out at the brink of dawn, I had rushed through my morning routine when once again I realized the dog was gone. I ran outside yelling out her name. But then as the sun pierced the scenery I saw once again a figure in the distance, this time though, it was Terra.
I ran out to find her but again she was gone. Now I was starting to get legitimately anxious, I called the local sheriff but they were no help and simply said they would keep an eye out for her and call me if they so happened to find her. This time the day was cloudy with dark storm clouds just on the verge of breaking. I had gotten my dirt bike out and was riding alongside the cliffs searching for my companion. And I found her, on the steepest part of the cliff alongside a great dead oak tree as she slowly walked towards it. My heart was racing as she got closer and closer to the edge, seemingly resistant. And then she was gone. I watched in total distress and horror as she jumped off and down towards her demise. My beloved companion. Consumed by the jagged rocks and waves. I cried. Despite my age, death was not something I was accustomed to. Now I was alone. I tried calling some of my family members but not a single one of them was available.
As I stood in the bathroom staring at myself in the mirror, I started to hear the deep howls of a dog, a long bellowing shriek of pain, it sounded almost like a pack as more seemed to join in. But also the murmuring of voices and the continued shrieking howls of pain emerging from outside the house. I, filled with sorrow and fear, slowly made my way out of the house where I was in complete darkness. The noise; murmuring, shrieking, laughter, and ringing all hit me as I stared out to the sea. I collapsed.
When I woke I was still outside of the house, but only semi conscious, I looked once again towards the cliffs as the early sun burned into my eyes. This time I saw it again, a whole group of people, silhouettes in the far distance. I managed to get up and saw a family. What seemed to be a mother, father and several children all slowly walking along the path. The young ones tripped over several times just as the others continued moving, leaving them behind. This all happened until all of them are surrounding the tree where Terra fell to her death. I couldn't take this, I sprinted all the way over to the tree once again, but I found nothing, not a single sign that anyone had been here. It was time I investigated this and then got the hell out of this horrible place.
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This place and home that I am in. No sign of any people, no sounds besides the occasional animal, not even the comfort of my beloved pet that I'd spent so much time with. I was feeling empty, the world was becoming isolated around me. I went back to my home, I was ready to leave and needed to get out to preserve any sanity I had left. But as I reached the door to my home to get my things ready to get out, a blood-curdling scream pierced the sky, causing me to lose almost all of my strength and collapse, but as I got back up I saw it, upon the cliffs, around the tree where the family is cloaked with darkness.
Their bodies hanging from the tree branches, their body parts mangled and broken as they slowly swung in the breeze. As I watched in utter horror I heard the low cries, those which carry regret and fear. And in a moment the sun plummeted and their silhouettes vanished. All traces of the grisly event erased. The next few hours were darkness, as I ran about, felling sick and vomiting at the things I saw and just the sheer fear of everything I had seen. I needed to get out of this fucked up world I was in.
Hours passed and I finally found myself prepared to make a mad dash for my truck and drive away. But then there was a scratching at the door, and a faint growl, just as Terra used to do when I had forgotten to let her in. But it wasn't Terra. Suddenly I felt compelled to go outside, I tried to fight the impulse but something inside me was forcefully pushing me forward. I opened the door only to see the cliffs as they had been, but I soon heard a deep sobbing. I was moved, taken, towards the cliff, not knowing what had gotten into me as the crying grew stronger and more voices weeping seemed to join in until I had reached the tree at the highest cliff. The sun began to rise and I turned slowly around only to see them.
Hundreds of them... adults, children, animals... Terra. They were mangled, and brutalized corpses standing along the walls of the house as they slowly looked up to me. As they did they let out a silent cry of fear and pain, raising their fingers towards me. I felt the morning sun light on my back. And then I felt myself falling, into the dark abyss below.
Written by LinebeckIV