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Summer in the Country

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It was the summer of 1993. I remember it was summer, because I had just finished building my son's old tree-house in the back paddock, and it was hot as hell out there. We had lived on a farm at that time, so we had plenty of space for it and more. I never understood why some other families would up and move to the city, what with all the freedom there was out there in the fields. Everyone always knew one another, and so you always knew who was or wasn't trustworthy. It was the sort of place you were bound to raise a family, you know?

Anyway, there was a lot of hubbub that year about some big thing that had happened around that time. My neighbour, Mark, had been wounded while out hunting, and swore up-and-down that it was something big that had done it. Now this is the country, mind, so there was a good bit of woods between my neighbour and me, and while it was good for hunting, I didn't hold much stock in the idea that something big could fit in there. Biggest we ever saw was deer, and they didn't seem like the sort of animals to give Mark no injuries like what he had. Mark was a trustworthy sort though, so I figured he believed it at least.

Some of the less sceptical of the locals on our road had banded together into a sort of hunting group, I guess, to go into the woods. They likely figured it was a boar or something of that nature, and they might be able to get something for catching it. When they'd approached me about it, I'd wished them luck but generally decided to stick where I was. My late wife Anna wouldn't much like if I wasn't keeping an eye on our son, I said, rest her soul. They accepted that and moved on, and I did just like I said.

Now my son had always had an active imagination, so I didn't think much of it when he told me he'd seen something in the woods out by his tree-house. I'd gone to do some work, you see, and he was old enough to be by himself for a few minutes. I figured if he was up in his tree-house, there wasn't much wrong that could happen out there, you know? There weren't no animals out there that could climb that high and be anything approaching dangerous, and like I said, I knew everyone that lived out there.

So he comes to me and tells me about some thing he saw out there. Said it had scared him right good, and he'd come straight to me about it, because he didn't much like the idea of being out there alone anymore. Now I was glad he'd come to me as soon as he was scared, but I made sure to tell him he'd likely have been safer to stay up there if there was any sort of animal snooping about. I let him stay with me until I was done feeding the animals, and then we went back out to see what the trouble was.

I'd taken the old shotgun just in case, but just like I thought, there wasn't anything out there. Nothing that would cause much trouble, anyway. So I just smiled to my boy and told him things looked safe enough to me. He still seemed a bit shaken, so I made sure to stay up there with him this time until he was tired of it. Worst came to worst, I felt sure I'd be able to deal with any animal that came wandering up, especially being safe in the tree-house and all.

About an hour later, he looks out the window and freezes up. He grabs me and points out into the woods, and by the look on his face I was expecting him to yell but he was quiet as a little boy can be. "Pap," he whispers to me, "it's here again!"

Now I was tense, mind you, but I still figured it was something simple he just wasn't looking at with the knowledge I'd had. Some regular animal, or maybe one of the hunting group was lurking out in the trees spooking him and I'd have to have a talk with somebody.

But that's not what I saw when I looked out the window.

I'll try to put what I saw to writing as best I can manage, but I'm not sure if I know how. This thing with long, slick dark hair was creeping through the trees a little ways off. I call it a thing because it sure as hell wasn't no man or animal. The best I can describe it is looking like someone what had broken his arms and legs but kept crawling anyhow. Like its joint were all wrong. But it couldn't have been a man, because it was twice as big as any man I knew, and moved in a way that no man could with limbs like that.

I was only looking at it for a few seconds, still trying to disbelieve what I was seeing, when I saw it look up to the window. Its eyes were dark beady little things, barely there at all, and they met mine almost exactly. My blood was ice, and I can't even describe how sick a feeling I got in my belly looking into those eyes. It cocked its head, and barely a second later it slowly raised up a gnarled hand. I swear to you on God Almighty, it waved.

Something about this snapped me right out of it, and I grabbed for my shotgun, but by the time I'd found it and aimed it out the window, the thing was gone. I'm telling you, there's no way anything that big could have moved so far so fast without making so much as a noise. I grabbed my son and we got the hell out of there.

I still can't explain what it is that we saw that day, 'cause I never saw nor heard of it again. But I know one thing for certain, and that's this: I don't know why most folks leave for the city, but I know why we did.

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