In the early winter of 1998, a group of thirty campers aged between fifteen and nineteen disappeared at a camp site in Pennsylvania. Several possessions and pieces of equipment were salvaged from the site; including climbing equipment and various items of technology. One of the clues depicting the events leading up to the incident lies in a notebook containing a set of diary entries, uncovered at the foot of a tree stump about a hundred meters from the camp site. The entries span approximately over a four week period dating from November 26th to December 20th.
Thursday, 26th November 1998
So I've got this new diary for my birthday present last week, and since I've nothing better to do than write in it, that’s what I’ll do I guess. Diaries are so damn hard to maintain, the first two pages are always as neat as ever, then the rest all goes to shit. I know that’s what all my school books are like, haha.
Going camping with friends tomorrow.
Nothing on my mind really, packing stuff and probably doing some leisure activities to kill time.
Friday, 27th November 1998
We've arrived at the camp site and it’s raining. The weather sucks and the cold is horrible, but at least they said it might snow throughout the weekend. Then we can roll down the hills.
Despite all the trouble experienced during our arrival, the hills and mountains in this part of America are pretty damn beautiful. We spent the rest of our hours snapping photos of ourselves on the mountains, soaked in rain and our own sweat.
Looking forward to tomorrow, the guy organizing the trip says he’s got some “fun activity” planned. Bet you five bucks it’s a walk.
Sunday, 29th November 1998
Skipped yesterday’s entry. Well, it’s not like anyone’s forcing me to write or anything, just feel guilty when I don’t. Turned out the 'fun activity' was an orienteering game of some sort.
At the end of the day, I just collapsed onto my sleeping bag and died.
Monday, 30th November 1998
And what did I say about handwriting?
I just looked at yesterday’s entry and it looked like it had been written by a hobo. Seems I’ve given up with the neatness obsession already.
Tuesday, 1st December 1998
Trying so hard not to miss a day, hate leaving blank spaces for the dates. Still, it would be better to have more than just one sentence in the box.
Fourth day in the tent and I’m still alive, but Jack doesn't look like he’s having a great time. Vomited twice today, and he hasn't eaten since. He stayed in his tent all day today. Hopefully he gets better after a few days; we can’t send him home in the middle of the expedition.
Friday, 4th December 1998
Look at all the days I've missed!!!
I need a shower.
Saturday, 5th December 1998
Really quite worried for Jack, he seems to be sick in the head now, not just in his stomach. Earlier today, I asked him how he was and he responded by saying, "I hear shadows…"
I mean, if you think about it, how can you "hear shadows" anyway?
Yeah. He’s really not feeling well.
Sunday, 6th December 1998
I've got into a great habit of writing consistently now. I need to try and keep this up.
Told the leader guy to make us some hot tomato soup and he brought us lemonade for dinner. I guess I’m seriously worked up when I’m angry because somehow, it ended with me punching him in the nose.
Got suspended from all group activities for three days. Looking forward to sitting in my tent with Jack for a few days whilst everyone else is running about in the hills enjoying themselves.
Monday, 7th December 1998
Jack’s being annoying as fuck. When he’s not going on about how ill he is, he’s complaining about tiny noises outside the tent. He thinks there’s a serial killer or something out there.
To be honest, I wish there was. It would make things so much more interesting.
I’m having a generally boring and miserable time here; still got five weeks of this torture left. Wonder how mom and Victoria are doing at home. They’re probably watching TV on the couch after having forgotten about my poor ass.
Tuesday, 8th December 1998
I swear I could hear something creep by just now at around nine o’clock. The rest of the groups weren't back yet so I went to take a look, but nothing was there. Were these the noises Jack was talking about? It’s strange because I don’t hear them in the night whilst I’m sleeping, only in the evening. It’s great that it makes it a whole lot less creepy.
Alright, I’ll admit I heard them yesterday evening too, but I pretended it was nothing.
Jack won’t respond to me when I’m trying to talk to him, even after I apologized for calling him a dickhead yesterday. I guess he’s just feeling really down.
Wednesday, 9th December 1998
I heard the noises again today. They were distinct and more pronounced than they were yesterday. I’m planning to report this to the group’s captain because I know this isn't just my imagination. Jack heard them too, that’s proof. I’m absolutely sure there’s something sinister going on behind the wall of tents, and I’m going to find out what the hell it is.
Thursday, 10th December 1998
The captain didn't seem convinced.
Nevertheless, he put some of the older kids on patrol today. It was a rest day anyway; we’d all be staying inside the tents. The noises have gone away. How great, perfect timing.
One of the things I miss the most so far on this expedition is probably the TV. Can't wait to get back home and watch all the new programs of the new year!
Saturday, 12th December 1998
I’m allowed to join in activities again, but I can’t be bothered. Rather sit in my tent and talk to Jack about stuff happening at school. But I’m being forced to take part, as always.
It snowed this evening, much to the delight of the younger members of the group. For some reason, I’m not in the mood for anything today. Didn't even touch a single snowflake.
Sunday, 13th December 1998
I can hear crunching noises outside the tent. It’s kinda creeping me out.
Tuesday, 15th December 1998
Oh shit, I hear screaming of some sort in the distance. I was planning to start writing a long, emotional entry about how tired I am in the morning but I’m just going to chec—(entry abandoned mid-sentence)
Wednesday, 16th December 1998
Oh my God, help me, I can’t (remaining length of entry unscripted due to illegibility)
Friday, 18th December 1998
Great, I've just discovered I’d brought my diary along with me in by backpack. I’m in hiding, terrified I could die at any minute right now. What a great way to kill time.
I thought I saw something in the corner of my eye on Monday. Looking around, I tried to spot what it was whilst packing my rucksack, and I heard those crunching noises behind me again. Even though it was early in the morning and I’d just regained half of my consciousness, I unzipped the tent and peeped out.
There was nothing peculiar in front of me, so I dragged myself outside and turned around to face the direction the noises were coming from. First, I couldn't quite make out what the patch of blurry red and pink on the floor was, but then as I zoned back into reality, I realized it was a human - Jack, lying on the floor with his innards flying everywhere. He was shaking violently as blood ran down his neck and down the side of his shirt.
At first glance, my mind was so startled by this sudden macabre scene that it refused to comprehend what it saw. I just stood where I was in utter silence, frozen in total fear.
Worst of all, Jack was completely silent, but I could tell he was in immense pain as he seemed to be gargling and choking, flailing about all over the place. Then I noticed that he was trying to move his arms to pull himself away from that… thing.
My eyes edged away from Jack, and turned towards the creature that had seemingly done this to him. It certainly wasn't a pretty sight. To this day, I don’t think I've ever been more terrified in my entire life.
What I saw in front of me was something of a cross between a human and a spider.
That’s literally the best I can describe it for now.
This thing was about the size of an adult man. Its bones stuck out from its skin, which was a raw and pinkish tone. A map of veins could be clearly seen protruding from its flesh, and it was bald with skin stretched tightly over its skeletal face.
I could swear its jawbone was twice the size of a normal human’s, and when it opened, it looked like a hinge on a lever being rotated. Its eyeballs also stuck out from its face like two giant spheres, but they were placed on either side of the head like a rabbit’s. Worst of all were its grotesque, contorted limbs. The first thing I thought of when it crawled was how much it resembled a spider, or a giant insect.
Sure, it had four limbs. It was standing on all four of them, much like a dog or cat, but very much unlike a dog or cat, they stuck out sideways like an insect’s. It crawled extremely fast and whenever it did, it was terrifying.
About two seconds later, I realized my life was in danger.
I saw the creature sniff the air as turned its head unnatural one-hundred-and-eighty degrees to greet me with its wide grin. Suddenly, it began to scuttle towards me at a hundred miles an hour; writhing and bending in places I never thought possible. I snapped out of my petrified state and ran as fast as my legs would allow, screaming and crying as I thought of my own innards being torn apart by the creature’s dagger-like teeth as I choked to death on my own blood in pain. I wasn't even bothered to throw my rucksack off my back, all I wanted to do was get away.
To be completely honest, I didn't run because I thought I’d be able to escape from it or anything – I ran because I was trying to get away from that horrifying face I’d seen. It was one of the only times in my life that I’d ever thought I was truly going to die.
Luckily for me, my climbing skills saved my life that time. I knew I wasn't going to outrun it, so I headed for the forest in search of anything that would fuel my survival for at least a few more seconds. Grabbing the branches of a tree, I pulled myself up with all my might as the thing crawled closer and I worked my way up step by step. There were tears and snot everywhere, leaking down my face as I desperately tried to save myself. Sitting on the branches, I shook as I watched the creature intently, trying to crawl its way up.
After a few seconds, I was so relieved and utterly delighted that I almost wanted to laugh.
It couldn't climb. I was safe for now.
I watched it snarl and slither back to the camp area. I could feel a sinking feeling in my stomach as I thought about the rest of the campers. With that thing around, they stood little chance of survival, but I wasn't getting off that tree until I was completely sure it was gone. The spider cannibal thing returned to the small red patch on the ground and I winced in pain as I watched it tear out Jack’s spine and ribcage, leaving a hollow void in his gouged-out chest. It then proceeded to eat the intestines, heart and lungs and lap up the blood around the area.
After it was done, it began to use a thin, bony finger to scrape out the intercostal muscle and fat in-between the ribs, stripping the bone clean and savoring the fleshy taste. Obviously, these parts of the body – the muscles between the ribs – were its favourites.Unable to stomach any more, I turned my head away and convulsed, vomiting all over my trousers.
I’m feeling better today, I’m glad to say. Getting over the shock, I think I’m able to use my head once more. It’s been two days since the first attack and I can’t deny that I’ve heard screaming coming from the camp direction every now and again.
I wonder how many of the rest of us are alive – actually, it’s likely I’m the only survivor out here. Recently I've found I've been crying for no reason, but it’s probably because I’m worried about my friends. Either that or it’s the shock, because I can almost guarantee they’re dead. I can still see those things everywhere, crawling in the corners of my eyes. It’s dragging mangled corpses of my companions’ bodies into the woods and devouring them like ice-cream. I've never seen a man eat another man before and I try not to look, but every time my eyes accidentally take in a glance, bile rises up my throat.
My hand hurts like hell, and WHOA, look how much I've written today! Looking back at my older diary entries, the only thing I ask myself is, why couldn't I write like this all the time? Well, I've got nothing better to do sitting up a tree. I guess people only realize how precious life and time is when they've got a few days left to live.
How many more days will these packs of biscuits in my rucksack last me? I’m praying to God that I’ll get out alive because I have a family and a home I need to return to. Oh my goodness, if only I could know how this shitty situation would end…
Saturday, 19th December 1998
(Written on page on the 5th of January, 1999, in original text.)
Yeah, I know the printed page says it’s the 5th of January next year, but it’s actually just Friday the nineteenth. You never thought I’d live to see the New Year, did you? I've been tearing out the pages in-between to wipe my tears with, because I've been having pretty depressing thoughts lately. Ugh, I’m going insane. I’M TALKING TO A DIARY FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!!!
Who wouldn't when they’re stuck up a tree, cold, hungry, alone…?
I wonder if my family knows I’m still alive. If this carries on, will someone come to rescue me? Our group leader chose a seriously remote campsite right next to the woods, so I doubt it. But I’ll never lose hope.
Fuck, fuck. Shit, shit. ARGH.
The smell of death is everywhere here. As I get more accustomed to the fear I’m constantly experiencing, I’m starting to wonder about the origins of these creatures, and how they found us. Did anyone know they existed until now? Why didn't they simply attack us on the first day they saw us? I guess everyone has questions that will never be answered.
Debating whether to plan my next move or not.
I know waiting probably won’t do me many favors. And getting off the tree isn't a good idea either – I’m surrounded by them everywhere and there’s no escape.
But if it’s me, I might be able to do it. I honestly think I stand a chance of getting out here alive. Well, eventually anyways.
Thinking of climbing a tree was a genius idea, I’m glad I thought of it since I’d be dead by now if I hadn't. So, what should I do next?
Sunday, 20th January 1998
(Last entry – written on page on the 6th of January, 1999, in original text)
OH MY, holy fuck, they’re coming for me!
I’m so scared
I’m so scared
I'm so scared... (Repeated eight times each on separate lines.)
They’re going to fucking get me, I know it… please, god PLEASE don’t let them reach me. I woke up today to see a hoard of around ten of those things, each scratching and chewing on the bark of the tree. It seems they've worked out how to climb and they’re trying to—
OH FUCK, they’re weakening the bark on the tree. It looks like it’s going to collapse, and I’m going to fall. And die.
Please, someone needs to read this. Any human being, anyone, YOU HAVE TO FIND THIS! These cannibalistic creatures won’t just disappear; they’re scuttling all round Pennsylvania’s forests, eating humans as prey…
I believe someone will find this in the future. So here are my last words. I’m going to die alone and in pain, and I’ll be another one of those wasted lives. I’m sorry mother, I’m sorry father. All the effort you spent on me was in vain. I’m just another victim of this terrifying tragedy, I’m sorry everyone. I have minutes, even seconds to live.
I’m really scared, really. Their hungry mouths are beckoning towards me, their eyes glowing with anticipation, ready to tear me apart into shreds. I can just feel their long, jagged fingers ripping my skin, stripping off the flesh between my ribs... They broke the branch. It’s cracking and slipping… and breaking in half. They’re getting nearer, I’m about to fall, I – (entry ends abruptly)
Mysteriously, no obvious human remains were discovered at the scene of the disappearances. There have been many attempts to locate the creatures described in the entries after it was released to the public (with the creature being named the 'Spider Cannibal' as used in the context), with all attempts failed. However, several minuscule spots of dry blood and bodily fluids have been discovered all around the scene and police are offering a quarter of a million dollars to anyone able to provide trustworthy information in the hunt for the missing bodies at the camp.
Written by Rinskuro13
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